Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prayer Request

Please pray for someone near and dear to me who is going through a hard time right now. Also, please remember my family in your prayers. Pray for wisdom and for the Lord to speak clearly. No more details, sorry, but prayers to the One who cares and loves us more than anyone ever could are so very much needed and appreciated right now.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Beware. These are seriously addicting! This is my favourite recipe for snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles - yields 3 dozen

1 cup softened butter (I very rarely use margarine in baking or cookies. Butter is better :-) )
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp white sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Beat butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs in a large bowl until smooth. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture. Chill dough and 3 ungreased cookie sheets for about 15 minutes. Mix 3 tbsp sugar and 3 tsp cinnamon in small bowl. Scoop out dough with cookie scoop, roll in sugar mixture. Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes in preheated 350 F oven. Bake until slight cracks form on top of cookie. Promptly remove from cookie sheets and place on rack to cool.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday: Out for lunch,
             Supper was random leftovers

Monday: Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, Tossed Salad

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas, Creamy Dilly Cucumber Salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: BBQ Meatballs & Rice, Steamed Veggies

Saturday: Leftovers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup

This has become one of our new favourite soups.

Cheeseburger Soup - serves 4-5
1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parley
4 tbsp butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced, peeled potatoes
1/4 cup flour
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
dash of red pepper flakes or tabasco sauce, optional
pepper to taste

Brown ground beef. Drain and set aside. In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery, carrots, basil and parsley in 1 Tbsp butter until vegetables are tender. Add broth, potatoes, and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining 3 Tbsp butter. Add flour, stir and cook for 3-5 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking away any lumps. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Once mixture is thickened, add shredded cheese and melt. Add cheese sauce to soup shortly before serving.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finally...The Kitchen Reveal!

Months of work and now our kitchen is finally done. We are so pleased with how it turned out!

Here it is...

A good old before & after picture...



Another Before 

Progress??? At this point, I felt like the kitchen would never get finished and was greatly regretting ever starting!

Another Before (with pantry closet, which seems good in theory but was set up very inefficiently)

AFTER (we knocked out the closet, and our fridge is now where the closet used to be )

My tall built-in pantry on the left that replaces the closet pantry. My new pantry can hold way more :-)

Dining area. Paint colours are Left wall: Silver Fox, back left Stardust, right back Shaker Beige, and then right is Silver Fox again.

The cabinets are Ikea Lidingo in white. So far I'm very pleased with them! Our old kitchen had only 3 drawers, and one of them was broken. Our new kitchen has 13 fully extending, soft close drawers. I am so happy we went with as many drawers as possible. Our old counter top was also bubbled up and needed to be replaced. The old floor was peeling up in a few places and also had a few tears in it. We debated back and forth as to what exactly we should do in our kitchen - if we should just repaint cabinets and replace counter/floor, or re-do the whole thing. In the end, despite all the work (and it was a LOT of work!), we are happy we went for the total renovation. 

The counter top is Formica Perlato Granite laminate. Our lights are from Home Depot and are from the Alexa Collection. Our new table (the one in the before picture was actually my Mom & Dad's table and is now passed onto my sister) is solid wood with 2 toned stain and a glaze. We got a great deal on it (half price) on the Canada Day long weekend. It is by the company Winners Only and from the Quaint Retreat collection. I love the warmth it brings to the room. Paint colours are Benjamin Moore Silver Fox, Stardust (on Accent Wall), and Shaker Beige. 

P.S. I do plan to jazz up the space a bit with some window treatments and art on the wall. Just haven't gotten around to it yet :-). 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

We do eat a lot of leftovers around here. Thankfully, no one complains about it! :-)

Sunday: Visiting Family

Monday: BBQ Hamburgers

Tuesday:  Cheesy Lentil Bake (NEW), Cucumber Dill Salad

Wednesday:  Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, Tossed Salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Company Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies (probably green & yellow beans)

Saturday: Leftovers

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday*

Thursday, August 16, 2012


 I think that word sums up the past few months for our family. Changes of all kinds. For the good, though! Changes like...
  • Different curtains in our living room (Gray Ikea ones to replace our taupe ones). I think our living room looks SO much better than it did a year ago. I MUCH prefer the Shaker Beige to the old Dorset Gold colour. It looks a little greener in the picture than it is in real life, in my opinion. It is one of my favourite "beiges". We also have different couches here since our first set had issues and needed to be refunded a year after we bought them. They were under warranty, though, and I am kind of glad of the problem with the first set because our current set is a lot comfier :-) The walls are a little bare still, but I'm still waiting to find the right artwork...

Here's what the living room looked like about a year ago. Oy. Can't stand that dorset gold now! Notice what else is "missing" in the above picture? The t.v. Yep, missing on purpose. We got rid of our upstairs tv many months ago, and it is one of the best decisions we ever made. Don't miss it one bit. The space is just so much more relaxing to me. Constant background tv noise is a pet peeve of mine, and I used to find myself 'always' turning the tv on if I sat down for a rest. It was just too convenient. Now, if I really want to watch tv or put a dvd on for the kids, we still have one downstairs. We likely will never go back to having a tv in the living room.

And here's what it looked like with the horrid purple verticals that came with the house. Wasn't sorry to see those go, either.
  • Nathanael crawling (a bit of a belly crawl, but a definite crawl nonetheless. That boy can MOVE!
  • Nathanael starting "real" food (and loving the rice cereal, sweet potatoes, and carrots so far)
  • A different church fellowship (For reasons I won't go into on this blog, it was time to move on from our former church family.) We temporarily home churched for several weeks but through various circumstances the Lord heard our prayers and led us to another fellowship where we've been growing and have been meeting people for the past couple months. It's a bit of a drive, but we have not minded so far. We have been enjoying such wonderful Christian fellowship with like-minded believers. This church does not have a head pastor but is rather elder-led with different men in the church gifted in preaching taking turns. 
  • Elianna drawing pictures that actually resemble things...she draws people (with arms & legs to boot!), oceans, and kites. So cute!
  • A new family member joining the family soon (no, I'm not pregnant!!). My brother got engaged to a very sweet girl! SO excited for their wedding in a few weeks!
  • A new dining room table (we got a GREAT deal on Canada Day weekend). I am SUPER pleased with it (kind of a modern cottage look??) other than the fact that the butterfly leaf doesn't work properly and we have to get it fixed...grrr. I tell ya, after doing this kitchen reno, I've sure realized that things are build SO poorly these days. We had to send back TWO stoves before we got the 3rd one that wasn't all scratched up on the cook top. We've also had our fair share of issues with the lights, too. Crooked semi-flush mounts, anyone?. Thankfully, my hubby is a bit of a creative genius when it comes to fixing things and shimmed it so that you can't even tell, so that I didn't have to send back the light that I waited like 2 months to get. Yes, that was a night that I pretty much cried in frustration for over an hour until we came up with a genius solution. Then I was laughing. Literally. 
  • A new exercise routine. I am finally facing the facts that if I have any hope of dropping the last 10 lbs of baby weight, I'm going to have to get serious about exercising. I'm still not super on board or committed to the idea, but it's the cold hard truth. I started jogging on the treadmill again during the kids naps. I miss my nap time but alas it's a proven fact exercise increases energy, so I'm holding onto that hope. Now to stick with it... Sigh....

Yes, pictures of the kitchen reno to come...we just need to get up the dining room light and we are done. Decided to nix the back splash for now. Don't really need it/miss it, and I like a simple look anyway. Many pictures of kitchens I like do not have a back splash.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Something About Rainy Days

There's something about cool, rainy days that makes me feel like snuggling down with my babies with a good book while taking in the aroma of something delicious baking in the oven.
A tall mug of coffee pairs well with rainy days.

There's something about rainy days that reminds me to be grateful that I can stay home, all cozied up and doing what I love to do. Homemaking.

There's something about rainy days that makes me get all teary-eyed as I'm keenly aware that my babies are growing far too quickly. Far too quickly.... Oh, what an enormous task I have, raising these little babes for the glory of God. And for such a very short time...

I came across this verse today. "He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." - Job 9:10
What an awesome God we serve.

Have your heart on things above,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Sandwiches and fruit for lunch
            : Family's house for supper

Monday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted veggies

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Cheesy lentil bake (NEW), tossed salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit salad, veggies & dip

Saturday: Pizza & salad

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Green Onion Tip

Saw this online somewhere and thought I'd try it. Pure genius. Am I the only one who didn't know this?

Sure, green onions are cheap at the store and free in your garden, but in the winter this is going to come in really handy. I often want to throw in some green onions into dishes for a little flavour but usually don't have them on hand since they go wilty so quickly.

Here's what you do:

After using your green onions, keep the roots & white parts (with a little green still), stick them in a glass of water in a sunny place and watch them grow. You can snip them any time and they'll just keep coming back. Change the water occasionally. I've had mine going and using it here and there for about a month now! They grow back super quickly, too!

Growing Home

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chef's Salad

This is a delicious, healthy salad. It makes a fantastic lunch and can easily be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Chef's Salad - serves 1 as a main

6 romaine leaves (sub in any greens you like)
6 baby carrots, cut into match sticks
1/4 cup cooked cold peas
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp chopped green onions
2-3 slices of deli turkey breast, diced

Dressing: (makes more than you need)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp minced chives or green onions
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Whisk together. Add 1-2 tbsp to salad and toss. Save extra in fridge for up to 1 week.

Growing Home

Monday, August 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Leftover cheeseburger soup (new - will post recipe soon!) & easy focaccia bread

Monday: Crockpot beef stroganoff (didn't make last week) over egg noodles, green beans & asparagus  

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Baked sweet & sour chicken with veggies over rice, tossed salad

Thursday: Quesadillas, bean, corn & tomato salad, veggies & dip

Friday:  Leftovers

SaturdaySkillet Light Lasagna (didn't make last week)

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday
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