Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Left over Turkey?

This is a recipe for Chicken and Vegetable Soup (from pocket cookbook from my sis called slow cooking simply delicious recipes) but I replaced the chicken with turkey and also cooked it on the stove in large stockpot!

green onions 6
celery stacks 2
zucchini 1
carrot 1 (I used 2-3)
potatoes 2 medium (I omitted)
tomato, 1 large
chicken thigh fillets, 2
butter 2 Tbsp
chicken broth 8 cups
salt and pepper
green beans 2 oz
green peas 1/2 cup
parsley 2 Tbsp chopped
rice 1/4 cup uncooked

Finely chop green onion, celery, zucchini, carrot and potatoes. Core, halve, seed and chop tomato. Skin chicken , trim away fat and finely dice meat. Heat butter in large pan over medium high heat, add celery, onion, carrot, and zucchini- stir often until veggies are softened (5 min)

Transfer veggies to slow cooker and pour in broth, add potatoes, tomato and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Put on lid and cook low 8-10 hours. About 4 hours before serving add green beans, peas, parsley and rice.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making the Holidays special without going broke!

When I think of Christmas several things come to mind:
  • Jesus' birth
  • family and traditions
  • cold weather and staying cozy inside
  • Christmas music
  • yummy food that is only eaten at this time of year

I have been blessed with so many wonderful Christmas memories, I could tell you stories for hours. Our family traditions have changed over the years as we kids have grown and moved out on our own. I have continued several traditions that were part of my childhood. One example is Christmas breakfast, I make the same Spanish Omelet that we ate growing up. At our house we also open Christmas stockings first. When we were kids we would wake my parents and then we could start on our stockings while they got up and ready to start opening presents.

When Bill and I married we started a few traditions with his kids and we have kept them going with our kids, one is to read the story of Jesus' birth before opening gifts. I do love the gift giving and as a child I loved the receiving but I always want our children to understand the reason we celebrate Christmas.

At our home we love to bake and Sydney and I have always made sugar cookies and decorated them. I come up with several Christmas crafts to do throughout the month. My mom gave me the idea to wrap a Christmas book for Sydney to unwrap and read each day leading up to Christmas. So much fun we will be repeating again this year. Sydney and I made cinnamon ornaments for her teachers last year and also for some family. We are already working on making ornaments to give as gifts this year. Personally I think a hand made gift is so personal and full of thought. I will share pictures of what we made this year soon.

We also try to give to a charity each season. We are making a great effort to teach our children that we are so blessed and God calls us to share our blessings with others.

This season will be filled with crafts, baking, yummy food, cozy times snuggled by the fire, reading Christmas stories and the Bible and a few gifts. So much fun and not very costly at all.

What are your memories of Christmas and what traditions do you participate in?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Generous or Irresponsible?

Okay this post may offend a few, sorry. I will say that there was a time when this would have offended me but I am at a different place now and I can respect the process we all go through in regards to spending.

Christmas spending can get out of hand. Many families have traditions and things that they do and the list that they buy for and that is always what they have done so they continue, whether they can afford it or not. Growing up we had a drawing and you spent a certain amount on the person you drew. This method keeps it more affordable for big families. It was always fun to draw a different persons name and shop. Since Bill and I moved to NC we have not participated in my families Christmas (unless we were going to be in MI). In a way I miss buying for my family but at the same time it seems silly to shop for everyone. I feel like we are all so blessed and it is ridiculous to feel that we need to buy something for everyone (most of us do not need a thing). The other reality is that gift giving and receiving should not be the focus of Christmas. We celebrate Christmas because of Christ's birth. I am just like you and I love to get gifts. I also love the joy of giving gifts but if there is guilt attached because it was irresponsible spending then the joy is lost. Two of the last five Christmas seasons I was on maternity leave and money was very limited. Bill and I agree it is irresponsible to spend money on Christmas gifts when we do not have the cash. I refuse to charge Christmas (and anything else for that matter) that is not a necessity. The past few Christmas' have been just as special despite little gift receiving and giving.

We have lots of family and also friends that we would love to lavish with gifts but it is just not responsible. What is your opinion and how do you make the holidays special without the crazy spending?

Part two of this post is about how you can make the holidays special without spending lots of money.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful Hearts

On Thanksgiving day we read through all the slips that we have been writing on for the past month of what we are each thankful for. We thought we would share:

Griffin Sawyer: (Sydney helped come up with Griffin's list)
  • Paci
  • getting the paper with daddy (Bill carries Griffin out to get the paper every morning and Griffin loves it)
  • successful surgery
  • being able to walk
  • for all the colors of the world
  • feeling better
  • yummy food
  • Ryder
  • toys
  • trees and wagon
  • big sis
  • momma
  • daddy

  • teachers
  • grass, butterflies, rain
  • momma fixing boo boos
  • Ryder
  • weather and earth that God gives us
  • hair
  • mail (birthday cards!)
  • Griffin feeling better
  • momma
  • daddy
  • For God and us
  • the lights on our tree working
  • all the kids in my class
  • daddy helping brush my teeth
  • people around us

  • wonderful husband
  • our jobs
  • successful surgery for Griffin and Sydney
  • my half day
  • my upbringing
  • sisters
  • extra day together as family
  • health insurance and access to care
  • food
  • Christian station KLOVE
  • Ryder turning 2
  • fall season and beautiful colors
  • healthy nieces and nephews
  • good friends

  • rain
  • our home
  • momma fixing boo boos
  • Ryder, Carson and Ireland
  • sunshine
  • healthy kids
  • Bud sleeping better and Syd making good choices
  • Today
  • Sydney being helpful in yard
  • my mom
  • good business at work
  • successful surgery
  • momma managing our home
  • my kids

We could keep going with this thankful attitude and we will but we are no longer writing it down, we will attempt to have thankful hearts on a daily basis.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

We had the best Thanksgiving day.
We attempted a walk this morning and got part way down the road and it was drizzling so we came on back (both kids have colds and Syd has been coughing for almost 2 weeks)

So many leaves you can hardly see the driveway, but you can see my sweetie.

Sydney pushing Griffin

She is so sweet

Brie ready to go in oven

Our favorite wine we discovered on our honeymoon in Bangor, Maine
It is so yummy and difficult to find

Bakes brie, so delicious

Griffin ready to eat

Apple Crostata

It was a lovely day. We hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We will be home Thursday enjoying a Thanksgiving meal just the four of us. I will admit I am a bit home sick. Two of my three sisters are home in Michigan and it seems odd to not be with my parents, siblings and nieces and nephews. It is times like this I hate living so far away.
So anyway we will be having a small celebration but a celebration indeed, we have so much to be thankful for.

Our Menu:

  • Turkey (16 pounder!)
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Green bean casserole (a must, one thing about not being with family is that I will not have to fight Audra for the casserole, she loves it)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cranberry Pineapple Minis


  • Apple and Berry Crostata with vanilla ice cream
So yummy! I love to cook so it will be fun! We will be reading over all the slips of paper we have written on so far this month listing what we are thankful for.

Kiddo Update

Sydney: she had her four year check up last week! She is such a big girl. She weighed 38 pounds (75th percentile) and 40 inches (55th percentile). She passed her ASQ (developmental screen) with flying colors, she is so smart. We are so proud of our four year old. On another note she started wheezing the day before her appointment and we are doing nebs three times daily. Her cough still sounds horrid but it is more loose now instead of super tight.

Griffin: tubes just over 1 week ago and he is the happiest kid, although he was so happy even when he had infected ears. He slept 11 hours Saturday night but since then has not done as well. We had Mexican Sunday and I think maybe the spice bothered him and then we had Chili Monday and again it was a bit spicy. I also think he is teething. Poor guy. He is walking everywhere and loving it. Griffin walks circles around the house usually carrying his little golf club. He says mama, daddy, quack, uh-o, and go. If you say "ready" he says "go". So sweet.

Well that is it for now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Great Giveaway

Okay this is a must, check out The Vintage Pearl. Erin has some beautiful jewelry. I cannot even tell you my favorite because it is too hard to narrow down. Take a look, enter the giveaway and tell a friend.

Baked Brie

Recipe from Food Network- Jill Davie

1 (7 to 8-inch) wheel brie cheese
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 sheets (12 by 18-inch) puff pastry
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a warmed sharp knife, or unflavored dental floss (See Cook's Note 1) cut the wheel of brie in half horizontally and separate the top half of the wheel from the bottom half. Sprinkle the bottom half of the brie with the dried cherries, toasted almonds, and brown sugar. Replace the top half of the brie and apply pressure to secure the stuffing. Working on a well-floured surface, roll out the puff pastry so that it will fully cover the brie. Place the brie in the middle of the puff pastry and fold the excess pastry around the wheel. Put the wheel aside. Roll out another piece of puff pastry and cut out a circle the same circumference as the top of the brie. Save the trimmings for decorations. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg on top of the brie in the puff pastry and place the circle on top. Brush the top of the circle with egg. Cut out decorations using cookie cutters or a small knife on top of the brie. Brush the entire top side of the brie with the egg and place the brie on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry begins to turn golden brown, then turn the temperature down to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes. Serve on a pretty platter. See Cook's Note 2.

Cook's Note 1: Instead of using a knife to cut the brie, use a piece of unflavored dental floss. Make an initial cut half way down, along the outer side of the brie with a pairing knife. Then, take a long piece of dental floss and wrap it around both hands. Starting at the front of the wheel at the initial cut, work through the wheel with the floss, separating the top half of the wheel from the bottom.

Cook's Note 2: The brie can be made, wrapped securely and stored in the freezer up to a month ahead of time.

This is delicious and will impress your guests but it is easy! I made mine fancy by cutting out leaves from the puff pastry and decorating. We had this at a wine and cheese party we hosted and it was gone in a flash.

If I want brie and do not want any hassle, I simple put brie in my brie dish and cover with apricot preserves, sprinkle of brown sugar and some pecans and back at 350for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Bill and I will be having brie as an appetizer for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oh Yummy!


2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (must be pastry)

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (I left out)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp agave nectar or honey (I have honey)

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup unsweetened organic brown rice milk (I used skim milk)

1 and 1/4 cup organic yogurt (I used plain)

1 Tbsp melted butter, cooled

1 Tbsp butter for cooking

Blend flour, baking powder, flaxseed, cinnamon. vanilla, agave nectar and salt in large bowl. Whisk eggs in separate bowl, add milk, yogurt and melted butter. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Melt butter on skillet and cook as you do normal pancakes- wait til they bubble to flip.

So yummy even with my changes. I also added a few blueberries to mine. I think this time of year it would be yummy to add some pumpkin in place of the some of the yogurt. I made these this afternoon and tried one plain to see how they tasted. Yummy even without syrup or a drizzle of honey. Griffin can eat 5 pancakes and I mean regular size pancakes! The boy can eat so I usually make a big batch of pancakes on Sunday for week day mornings. Try these on your family they are yummy and healthy. Reminder children less than 12 months should NOT have honey!

This recipe is from A book called Organically Raised by Anni Daulter.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Same Shirt Different Kiddo

I love this little Halloween shirt that I found at a consignment sale- Sydney wore it and so did Griffin. Syd was so much chubbier than Griffin- both so cute!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin-Raisin Scones


Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 9 servings


Amount Per Serving
Calories 300
Total Fat (g) 6
Saturated Fat (g) 4
Cholesterol (mg) 38
Sodium (mg) 500
Carbohydrate (g) 55
Fiber (g) 2
Protein (g) 6


Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

3 cupsall-purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoonsugar
1 tablespoonbaking powder
1 teaspoonbaking soda
3/4 teaspoonsalt
1 teaspoonchopped crystallized ginger
4 tablespoonscold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cupcanned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cupbuttermilk
1 egg
3/4 cupregular or golden raisins

1. Heat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking-sheet liner.

2. Combine flour, 2/3 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the crystallized ginger in a large bowl. Add butter; mix with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and egg. Gently stir into dough, along with raisins.

3. Drop dough by 1/2-cupfuls onto prepared sheet, about 2 inches apart. In a small bowl, stir together remaining tablespoon sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chopped crystallized ginger. Sprinkle sugar-ginger mixture evenly over dough.

4. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This recipe is from parents.com and is so yummy! Pumpkin is on sale now so stock up. I think the consistency is more like a muffin than a scone but yum. I did leave out the crystallized ginger but added some nutmeg and cinnamon instead. I used regular raisins and I must have made mine smaller because I had at least 14. I baked mine on a pampered chef stone. Pumpkin is a super source of vitamin A!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Star

I am making a Christmas craft, as I usually do. I started out making these for several people and the list keep growing and honestly I am not sure how many I am going to get done. I really wanted to make a bunch for our own tree but we will see. They are not hard to make just a bit time consuming and rough on the hands. I really think I need a stronger wire cutter.
So here is the wire 16 and 20 gauge. I bought mine at Lowe's Hardware- cannot remember cost but cheap.

I found a scrap of wood in the shed and used a star to put nails in the board.
I actually have made a few smaller stars- cookie cutter size but I like the larger star better (5.5 inches from point to point). So I wrap and bend the thicker wire around the outside of star and then cut wire- wrap overlapping section to secure. Then wrap thinner wire around each point and across star.

Then I made a tag and used a brad to lace ribbon through. At first I tried silver spray glitter but mine got clogged and wasn't glittery enough. So I bought adhesive spray and sprinkled with silver glitter.
Finished product

I think they are pretty and the picture does not do them justice. I am excited to see what they look like hanging on a tree with white lights.

Are you making any Christmas crafts? Care to share ideas?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two bellies and Two boys

Traci and I were pregnant at the same time. I met Traci when Sydney started going to Shepard's Way and Traci taught in the infant room. Since I went and spent 1 hour everyday at lunch feeding and visiting Sydney I got to know both teachers very well.

Traci then moved up to the toddler room as Sydney moved up so we were blessed to have her again! Traci and her husband also babysit for us, although we rarely get a sitter.

We now call Traci and her family our friends.
This picture was taken at my baby shower at Ellie's house. Traci also had a baby boy a few weeks after I had Griffin.
A month or so ago we met at the park, isn't her little guy a cutie!

We had a fun play date and look forward to more as these boys grow up.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Surgery today

Griffin had surgery this morning, myringotomy with tube placement.

He looked so little in the gown. Daddy did not want to let him go.

Sydney played with her little pets and vet supplies and then we read a book.

Griffin did well, he was a bit irritated by the anesthesia but overall it was smooth sailing. Once we got home he ate his usual BIG breakfast and then took a nap.

We are so thankful today for a successful surgery without any complications and our access to great health care and doctors. Our little boy means the world to us and we are so thankful it went well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

She did not know what she was asking

My mom asked for a picture of my kids in their pjs for her Christmas card. Sure, no problem.
Well here is the best picture, I think.

I tried to get rid of the paci but that resulted in tears.

I included some of the attempts just so you can see how much of a challenge it was to get these two together, happy.

I think Griffin was climbing off the chair and I dropped the camera

Sydney not cooperating

Does your mom ever ask these things of you?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sydney four years old

Our baby girl is four years old! Where to begin? I have four years worth of stories, pictures, special moments, scary moments, and tearful moments. I decided to let you look at some pictures from now going back to the beginning. Sydney has a passion and excitement for life. She is so precious and compassionate. She is beginning to really understand our teachings about God and Heaven and the Bible. She is head over heals in love with her brother. We are head over heals in love with her. Enjoy some pictures, I have thousands but just picked a few.

Dear Lord,

We are in awe of your creation and the life of our child. Thank you seems so insignificant. We recognize that she is Yours and you have graciously entrusted her to us.

Thank you for all the moments we have had and for those to come.

We ask for your help in parenting, we fail miserably at times and we are thankful for grace.

Bless Sydney and perform a work in her life.