Sunday, January 31, 2010


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteous;
No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
In every high and story gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
Sustain me in the raging flood;
When all supports are washed away,
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in him be found,
Clothed in his righteousness alone,
Redeemed to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Temm family in the loss of their sweet baby Madison Joy. May God's love and peace sustain you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pray For Madison

Baby Madison is Joy M.'s niece. She was born on Christmas Day. Madison was taken into the emergency room yesterday for difficulty breathing and congestion. They found a brain bleed and she is in critical condition. Please pray for her recovery and for Janese and Mike (Madison's parents) as well as Stan and Donetta (Janese & Joy's parents) and the rest of the family as they travel to be with their tiny Madison and lend support to Janese and Mike.

***Update***Madison has suffered at least one stroke and appears to be suffering with other complications. Please Pray!

***Update***I just talked to Joy and she, Sheldon and the boys are still 2 hours from the hospital. Stan, her Dad, said that they needed to get there quickly. Madison's outlook is very poor. She seems to have had two strokes and there is damage. Please continue to be in prayer for this family and tiny Madison.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Barista Baby

I love coffee.

A couple of months ago I mentioned to my non-coffee drinking husband that I would love to find a good deal on a "quality" espresso machine. I have had a small Krups machine for a year now and I originally paid $10 for it on Craigslist. Once I had the ability to make espresso in my own home I stopped purchasing my favorite latte's at Starbucks. I can honestly say I have purchased less than 5 (I honestly think it's 2 but I can't be positive) in over a year. That little $10 machine paid for itself in no time. I would indulge in a $5 coffee about once a week.

Jared began reminding me of the economy and questioning if espresso was a need verses a want. Obviously having a coffee maker of any kind is not a "need" in the grand scheme of things (Haiti!) but it does make my day to day life a little sweeter. Coffee is a healthy alternative for me. In my previous obese state I would crave wonderful warm goodies, bake them, and then consume them. A yummy hot latte with awesome froth is a great substitute and not to mention the truck loads calcium I consume daily. My bones rock! :)

After many weeks of reading reports and watching eBay and Craigslist I found the deal of a lifetime. A sweet woman that lives over by the Chiefs stadium felt it necessary to buy not one but two $400 espresso machines just in case one broke. Maybe I'm just fond of coffee. She LOVES coffee :)

Since her functioning espresso machine was working just fine her husband requested that she sell the "back up" machine. You can imagine my delight when I arrived to find the highly rated, very expensive machine brand new in the box. She failed to mention that in the ad. I handed over the amount of the ridiculously low asking price and skipped to the car.

With traveling to Oklahoma I hadn't had a lot of time to play with it and my first couple cups of coffee were not good and I longed for my $10 Krups. I did a lot of reading online and now I am an educated and talented Barista.

I didn't realize how similar coffee people were to wine people. There's some hilarious snobbery out there. It's really funny to google "how to make a latte" and read about grinding only the freshest of beans and using the fresh grounds within 2 minutes of grinding or it's ruined. My favorite was when frothing the milk you should froth it for 21 seconds so as not to scald it.

Regardless I did learn a lot and I'm super delighted with the delicious espresso that I pull from my awesome machine. The crema is fantastic and the coffee buzz is high. Momma's happy :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

NEVER A Dull Moment

-Tanner was being super goofy and Brennan says to me, "This one's been off since birth I tell ya. He's got issues and he gets it from your side of the family," he says gesturing my direction. Umm apparently we need to go over fractions again in class. He must have forgotten he's 50% "your side of the family."

-Elijah and Graham were told to go bathe and the older kids, Sis, and I were listening from the kitchen. Graham says, "My train's name is Arthur but he can't go in the bath." To which Eli replies, "whaaat?" Graham repeats, "My train's name is Arthur but he can't go in the bath." Again Eli replies, "whaaat?" Graham repeats a little louder and slower, "My train's name is Arthur but he can't go in the bath." Again Eli says, "whaaat?" Graham frustrated says, "I'm not saying it again!!" Eli replies in the same tone, "whaaat?" Graham yells, "I'm not telling you again!!" Eli says, "whaaat?" The boys and I are cracking up in the kitchen trying not to interrupt the hilarity when Graham shouts, "You need to wisten to peoples!!!"

-Graham and Elijah were finally bathing and our little mobile Anneliese loves to stand at the tub and talk to the boys as they bathe. Yesterday she decided to tap into her seal like talents and slide head first into the tub fully dressed. Elijah screams out, "Ohh NO SIS!!!" I came running to find her fully dressed sitting in the bath with her brothers giggling and splashing.

-Elijah had a rough evening last night. He was struggling at church and when he was summoned to the van without being able to grab a candy from Dad's office it was the last straw. He came out to the car shoulders slumped and tears flowing. As I was figuring out the issue his grandmother came charging towards the van, opened his car door, grabbed him by the head and tried desperately to shove a caramel into his cranky unthankful lips. He refused and was quite rude to his sweet grandma. On the way home I sternly rebuked his behavior telling him he should have gracefully accepted the candy even if it wasn't one he liked. I told him he should have shown appreciation to his grandmother for caring soo much that she would come out in the cold just to bring him candy. When we got home he was informed he would call and apologize to her. Once on the phone he apologized with a quiet, "I'm sorry." She told him she forgave him and then my 5 year old said, "I really appreciated it."

Shrek Free until 2010

Many years ago Jared and I saw the first Shrek movie in the theater and decided it wasn't really little kid friendly with all the innuendo and raunchy humor.

We had successfully been Shrek free until just a few weeks ago. The kids haven't seen any of the movies and any knowledge of the large green frog like troll came from friends and commercials.

Tanner went to stay the night with his NeNe (my mom) and she offered to let him watch Shrek 3. Being the amazingly good child that he is he said, "I'm not allowed to watch it. Maybe we should call my mom."

Jared and I discussed it and thought the older kids are probably old enough to know what's appropriate to repeat and young enough not to get a lot of the innuendo that's aimed at adults. So Tanner watched it and like most boys fell in gross stinky love with the characters and their raunchy ways.

He repeated a lot of the punch lines to Brennan and yesterday even though Brennan's not ever seen it he quotes it and giggles hysterically. Since my mom was coming over today she offered to bring the DVD so that Brennan could experience it first hand. They were thrilled.

So we made it Shrek free until 2010 and now I'm sure we'll be searching trying to find the first 2 so they get the full story :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Introducing Leesy Legs!

I will be posting several pairs of these in my shop! Little bitty leg warmers for little bitty legs. They are too cute! They are great for crawling babies to protect those knees or for extra warmth under or over pants!

Graham and Mellie

Graham LOVES Mellie and Mellie loves Graham. The problem is Mellie affects Graham's allergies and his 3 year old little self just can't stop loving on her. After this session he had a bath, clean clothes, and a nap. Poor little guy just doesn't understand that the fluffy little snuggle bug makes him ill. He's perfectly fine when he doesn't use her as a kleenex.

Sleeping Beauty

I'm not sure if we're in a growth spurt or on the verge of an illness but my little girl can't get enough sleep.

She took a 4.5 hour nap yesterday and had enough by 7:30 last night. I strongly debated whether or not to lay her down but her cries won in the end. She then slept through until 9:45 this morning!!!

I checked on her several times to make sure all was well. She was snoozing away peacefully.

I have to say I missed her precious self since she slept 18.5 hours out of the last 24!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Walk Around The Garden

This is what Sis learned while I was away! Too cute!!!

Until We Meet Again

I'm so thankful to be home and settled. Jared did an exceptional job of keeping the house up while I was gone. Other than some laundry there's not too much to be done around the house. Thank you so much Jared!!

Due to Jared's job/calling going to a funeral at a different church is always a little weird to me. I don't attend other churches hardly ever and rarely hear other ministers speak.

Southern Oklahoma is a little bit of a culture shock compared to Kansas City. The Southern drawl is thick and the hair is high.

Grandpa's funeral was beautiful and was attended by the population of Duncan. He was a very loved and admired man.

There was gospel singing and even a little hand clapping during a rendition of Grandpa's favorite song sang by a woman's harmony group. They were all dressed in red and black since Grandpa Red's favorite color was red.

Randy, the Pastor, did a good job and made the funeral sermon about our family and the reassurance of Grandpa's faith. As a believer I have great hope of being reunited with him again and Randy continually reminded us of that. It takes the sting of death away.

At the graveside is always the most difficult part in my opinion. Saying goodbye for the last time this side of glory has a physical as well as emotional pain. My chest hurt and I couldn't breathe at the idea of leaving him there. It was a very windy, wet and cold morning and even thought I know in my mind he is not there my emotional, irrational side didn't want to leave him because he would be so cold.

We went to the funeral dinner at the church. Again this was a little odd for me. I'm usually the one helping with the meal not one of the attendees. The food was very southern with fried chicken, "funeral potatoes" cheesy potato casserole, fried okra, coleslaw, and banana pudding.

Jess and I headed home after the meal. I was so worn out and desperate for my husband and my babies.

I can't even begin to express enough love and thankfulness to Jess for going with me. She is shy and tends to stay close to home. To volunteer to go 7 hours away into a mourning family that she does not know had to be very uncomfortable for her but she didn't even hesitate. I told her I wanted Jared to stay and I was scared to go by myself and she replied, "When do we leave." I can only pray that God would create in me that kind of selfless love for my friends.

John 15:13 (New International Version)

13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Thank you to all of you for your prayers, cards, and love during this time. I would greatly appreciate your continued prayers for my Mom as she comes home and settles in. I know the next few months will be the most difficult.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On The Road Again

I'm leaving in the morning to go back down to Duncan, Oklahoma. I assume it will be my last trip it won't be soo bad.

Grandpa's funeral is Saturday and the visitation Friday night so I should get there just a little before the viewing and plan to head home Saturday late afternoon. It will be a whirlwind but I'm thankful to be able to reconnect with some family while I'm there. My sister from El Paso and my niece and nephew will be there.

My mom told me my favorite cousin will also be flying in. I haven't seen him since I was 10.

My sweet Jess is going with me and I'm so thankful. Jared and I were in the process of figuring out who would go where and I finally just said, "I would have so much less stress if you just stayed here and took care of the kids and the dogs."

We don't want to take the kids and neither of us like leaving them with people especially overnight (5 children, even as well behaved as mine ;) , are still a burden). Plus I hadn't even thought about who would care for the puppies while we were gone. It just made more sense for Jared to stay. He finally agreed after insisting he wanted to go and wanted to be there for me.

I'm leaving first thing in the morning and I'm leaving my delicate flower, Anneliese. That is going to be emotional. She's 10.5 mths old and hasn't left my sight in her short little life. I've been weaning her this week in anticipation of this trip. It was really hard for her to be buckled in for 7 hours one way and if I did take her it would be for selfish reasons and not what's best for her.

I will miss all of my family but I think leaving my sweet baby is going to be the hardest emotionally. She's heading out to Aunt Sonya's where I know she'll be well loved and well cared for.

We greatly appreciate all the kind words and sympathy that you've shown over the last week.

Edward LeRoy

PhotobucketThat's pronounced Edward Leh-Roy (not Lee-Roy) for those of you who don't know :)

Grandpa was a redhead so he was known as Red or Grandpa Red his entire life. I honestly didn't know his name was Edward LeRoy until I was a young teen.

Out of my 4 grandparents he was most active in our lives. I never met my Dad's parents and my grandmother on my mom's side was ill with bi-polar disorder so her visits were few.

Grandpa visited Kansas regularly usually driving some fancy vehicle. He loved cars/trucks and he seemed to take great pride in how long he could keep them looking like new and how few miles they had on them regardless of the year they were made.

When I was really young I remember his baseball hat collection. In their old house they had a porch dedicated to his ball caps and they lined the walls.

Most importantly Grandpa Red was a believer. He is home, pain free loving on his mother and meeting Jesus. I'm so thankful for the long life he lived and how we were able to have him far longer than we had hoped. I remember when I was pregnant with Brennan and we all headed to Duncan because Grandpa was in the ICU with internal bleeding and we all thought it may be the end. That was 10 years ago.

We love you Papa, and you will be missed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Other White Meat #3

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted a chicken recipe. This is super simple but yet super yummy. Jared and I are just like most people and we love hot wings. Well, we love the taste of hot wings. Neither of us like to pick at tiny little wings to only receive minimal meat and massive mess. Plus Jared's not a fan of dark meat.

While doing Weight Watcher's I figured out that we could have the yummy flavor without all the fat so here it is!

I defrosted 4 large boneless skinless chicken breast and sliced them length ways into strips.
This is essential! William's Spicy Wings Seasoning. I can find it at our new Wal-Mart and it's by far the best one I've tried.

Pour the seasoning into a large zip lock bag and drop the strips of chicken in and use your best "it's shake and bake and I helped" until the chicken is coated on sides.

Once the chicken strip is coated place it on a stone or cookie sheet that's been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is white inside and the juices run clear. Jared enjoys these just plain and they're pretty spicy but I eat them with Light Done Right Ranch or Blue Cheese. Both of those dressings are really good and are 1pt/Tbs.

Points for this chicken is 5pts/breast or 2pts/large strip.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back To The Grind

Today was supposed to be a "normal" day for us. Unfortunately Brennan's mouth gear fell out of his head again last night. His orthodontist has two offices and unfortunately today he was at the office as far away from us as possible and still be considered Kansas City.

We got together this morning after bathing all 5 kids (that is a days worth of work in itself) and then headed over to East Overland Park. The kids had asked if they could have burgers off the dollar menu after the appointment and since it was at 11:30 I conceded.

Just as we were leaving the office the nice secretary stopped me and handed me 4 coupons for 4 children's meals at Red Robin. There was a Red Robin just 2 miles from the doctor so I thought a sit down meal for free was definitely better than the dollar menu at McD's!

I honestly don't think I've gone to a sit down meal with all 5 kids by myself. They did fantastic and loved being able to order their own meals. Normally Jared and I try to be as frugal as possible and they often share an adult portion.

I think it is fair to say the kid's new favorite place to eat is Red Robin with their never ending basket of fries. Anneliese ate her weight in fries and Graham thought his pizza was the "cutest pizza ever." He kept thanking the waitress with his deep voice and big bug eyes. He's hilarious.

We swung by JoAnne's on the way home where I found some fantastic fabrics and two new patterns so I can change it up a bit. Their patterns were on sale for $.99 each! The original price was $15.95. I'm really excited to try out them out and the fabrics are amazing. Keep and eye out over the next week in my Leesy K Shop I'm really hoping to double my inventory. I've yet to sell a bag and apparently the more I have listed the more traffic I'll get.

Once we got home it was 2:30 so I laid the babies down and jumped right into school. Whew, it was a crazy day! I'm really hoping for a restful day tomorrow with some normalcy mixed in.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Humor Me

My heart and mind have been more than a little distracted with the health of my grandfather and I haven't taken much time to really dwell and ponder the horrors that have occurred in Haiti until today.

I was watching Fox news where they were reporting on the front loaders being used to dig mass graves for all the deceased. There were an estimated 50,000 orphans before the earthquake.

James 1:27 (NIV)
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

What would happen if Christians from around the world stepped in and did what we are called to do. Take care of the orphans. In my need for information I came across a website called Together for Adoption. It is full of information and has a Church Centered Initiative. I challenge you to read and research and call on God and ask what can I do to show Your love and care for the orphans.

Catch Up! or Ketchup! or Catsup!

Anneliese and I arrived home late last night and the fog was HORRIBLE! There were two times between my mom's in Lawrence and my house that I was startled because the road started curving and I couldn't see far enough ahead to anticipate it. Yikes!

I'm really thankful that Mom and I were able to go spend some time with my sweet Papa. When we arrived on Friday it was difficult to stay in the room with him because he was so bad. He has lung cancer and a multitude of lung disorders as well as a blood disorder similar to hemophilia so his blood doesn't clot quickly enough.

He's always been such a strong man full of humor, wit and sass. All my life he's greeted me with a joke and a quarter :)

Yesterday we had a wonderful visit with him. He had renewed strength and wasn't needing his morphine so he emerged from the morphine fog and teased and joked and loved on us all.

I am so thankful that we went to see him. Two of my mom's aunts and one of her uncles were there as well and it was such a blessing to spend time with them. They were smitten with Ms. Anneliese and helped me immensely with her care. She wasn't too keen on being held for three days so walking her around and playing with her helped soo much.

The best part of the trip was spending time with my Mom. When mom said she was going down to see him I just knew I couldn't let her go alone and I'm thankful I went. Jared was soo precious and supportive. He just said, "it's absolutely the right thing to do and we'll manage."

Mom took me to the home of her grandparents and told me stories of her youth. It's was such a blessing to have a some insight to the person that I call mom.

Please keep praying for my Papa as he fights, he has decided he will go home and told us not to count him out just yet. Please pray for his wife of 40 years who is also in poor health and her daughter my Aunt Suzie who has been their caregiver her entire life. Pray for my mom as she balances her responsibilities here and her desire to be with her Daddy and for all of us grandkids who desperately want to hold on to our Papa.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Taking a Break

I am currently sitting on my Grandpa's couch listening to my daughter cry it out in the spare room. I brought her home for a break from the hospital and for a much needed nap.

My Papa is not well. The doctors told us it would be any time and Papa said all he can think about is his "Momma, and Jesus".

My brothers are on their way and our hearts are heavy. Please pray for my Mom. It's so hard to see her so sad. Please pray for my Sister Courtney since she's in El Paso and is simply too far to be able to come. Please pray for my brothers for safe travel and most of all pray the Papa has relief from the severe pain and discomfort that comes with all of his illnesses.

Location:Duncan, Oklahoma

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I've always been an all or nothing kind of girl.

If you've been reading over the last few days you have probably picked up on that. I've had a lot of fun making purses and have at least 3 in the works. I just haven't touched laundry or much of anything else in days.

My grandfather is ill and my mother and I are planning a trip to Duncan, Ok on Friday and if I don't leave the sewing alone at least for tomorrow my house may reach the point of no return while I'm gone.

I currently have 8 whole items in my shop :) It's fun to watch how much traffic they get. My least favorite purse is getting the most traffic. Hmm.

Anneliese had her first modeling shoot this afternoon on my couch. I was trying to get a good picture of the flower on her head. This is my favorite :) Aren't those eyes just beautiful!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grand Opening of Leesy K Bags :)

By grand I simply mean there are currently 3 purses on a website out there somewhere in internet land.

I fully intend to continue adding inventory but currently the website is having a hiccup I guess and it takes at least a hour or more to post one item. Shockingly enough I don't have time for that. I haven't sewn a single stitch today because any spare time I had I spent trying to upload information to my shop.

My next goal is to make 3 beautiful flowers and list them with a single neutral headband. I know that's something I would snatch up for my little bald beauty :)

If you want to check out my work on a logo, masthead, and all around website savvy feel free to click my logo in the top left corner of the blog and visit my very humble little store with it's three whole bags :)

Anneliese 10 months!

Happy almost birthday little girl! It's going way too fast for my taste. She's crawling, climbing up to standing, and even balancing on two feet for a few before she sits down. Could it be she'll be walking soon? Oh be still my heart.

I can't believe I've already had her 10 months. We are so blessed and are so thankful for all 5 of our precious bundles. Today is one of those days where I step back in amazement at the family God has given. Thank you Lord!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bags 4 & 5

These bags are both ones that I just kinda made up as I went along. I hope that I will get better at that as I go but honestly I don't recommend it for those of you there that are thinking of picking up sewing. Patterns are our friends.

This first one is so cute. Pictures just don't do them justice. This is a smaller bag that was per Alanna's suggestion. It's lined with 4 pockets and it has raw edges on the floral fabric that I think adds a lot of character.

The second one reminds of a little girls dress. It's pleated at the top and then angles down. It has 4 pockets inside and is not as big as it looks. The colors are a deep green and a rich deep red the flash apparently washes it out. I made a nice long wide strap so you can wear it across you if you wish. I really like bags like that since I tend to have kids all over me. I don't have to keep putting it up on my shoulder.

Ms. Alisa recommend a web site were I can sell these and I am in the process of setting that up. I named the shop "Leesy K Bags" after Anneliese Keegan. The logo I created is up in the left corner of the blog. I figure in time if I keep making these she'll participate and I can't wait to make her little purses to carry around :) I'm having a lot of fun creating! I hope you don't mind reading all about it :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Purse #3

This is the best one so far. I used interfacing this time since the fabric was soft and pliable. It gave it great shape and I also put two pockets in the lining. This one has chocolate lining. I LOVE IT!

The Other White Meat #2

Tonight we had chicken enchiladas and they were awesome! I didn't get my pics taken before I started so the images are post consumption. This is obvious by the empty containers on the counter and the half empty pan! I apologize but either way you'll love these simple spicey enchiladas.

Ingredients (add a taco seasoning, I apparently already tossed the pouch):
-I boiled the chicken (1.6lbs) for quite a while (approx. 35 mins) on the stove top with the taco packet and enough water to just cover the chicken. Once it was fully cooked I shredded it and drained the liquid off.

-Spray the pan (8x8) with non-stick cooking spray. Take a tortilla and spoon about 1/2 cup of chicken and sprinkle with cheese. Roll it up and place it in the pan. I was able to fit 5 in my pan and used 99% of the chicken.

-Typically I blend enchilada sauce with tomato sauce but this time I just poured my jar of enchilada sauce straight and I really like how much flavor it added. I used a jar (16oz) and a half. We really like moist enchiladas and I think it was perfect. Jared commented, "You like a little enchilada with your sauce?" So feel free to use less :)

-Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

A little fat free cheese etiquette:
DO NOT put fat free cheese on top of anything and then bake it. You will need pruning sheers to get through the plastic layer that will form on your meal. I have found baking it in things works just fine hence the direction to sprinkle it inside the enchilada.

Feel free to sprinkle the top of your enchilada after it's baked but do not microwave it or the plastic sheeting will return.

One more thing, always buy brand name. I'm an advocate of Kraft and have tried several generic trying to save a buck and they don't taste as well, keep as long, or melt as well.

Jared ate his plain, but I topped mine with fat free sour cream and shredded cheese. I ate two but seriously could've polished off another. They were so good!

From what I can figure they're 4-5pts for one whole or 2 pieces pictured above. I cut them in half to make the easier to transfer to the plate. Let me know if you get something different.

Oh, So Crafty

-I've had a few of my sewing friends ask for a tutorial on the bags I've made so I thought I'd give you the link that I used. Here it is! Have fun and be creative :)

-At Wal-Mart today I found knitted headbands that are about 2" wide. I matched them with the "party flowers" I've been making and I may have started something I don't have the will or desire to stop. They are absolutely beautiful on my little girl .

-Apparently my thread breaking was due to old thread. I didn't know that could cause such frustration. My sewing machine is really lucky it didn't get lobbed outside in the snow last night. I cleaned and oiled it and still was breaking my thread every 20 stitches or so. I googled the issue for some help and the only option left was bad thread. I tried some new thread today and it's good as new.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Bag #2! This is My Fav!

I made another bag with the same basic pattern and just switched up the fabrics and I did a single pleat vs multiple. I really like it. It's lined with a chocolate fabric and I made the flower with a pin back so it can be used on a lapel as well. The straps have the 2 fabrics and decorative stitching. Oh, and even though my machine KEPT breaking my thread I was able to make this one in half the time. There's a brown and blue one in the works. Pictures to come! I heart this bag!

The Other White Meat

Since we eat so much chicken and so should you :) I decided to do some posts entitled "The Other White Meat" with meal ideas using boneless skinless chicken breasts.

**Just FYI Price Chopper is running a sale until Tuesday on boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.47/lb! Stock up! I know I will!**

This actually turned out really well. I typically save my BBQ Rub for summer time but Jared and I are always looking for new and exciting ways to eat chicken. First of all here's the rub recipe (this is an amazing gift I'm giving you, cherish it).

1/2 Cup salt
1/2 Cup chili Powder
1/4 Cup garlic powder
1/4 Cup onion powder
1/4 Cup black pepper
1/4 Cup sugar (I use Splenda so it's Core friendly)
1 TBS dry mustard
2 bay leaves crushed

Simply mix it in a zip lock and store in the freezer. It makes a ton and can be used on practically anything. Thanks Emeril!

I dusted the bottom of an 8 x 8 stone with about a 1/4 c. of rub

The laid the chicken breast in on top

Sprinkled another 1/4c or so on top

Cover it with some foil, bake at 350 for about 40 minutes and it was tender and so flavorful.

I paired it with some homemade mashed potatoes (made with skim milk, lo-fat margarine and fresh pressed garlic to hide the taste of the margarine) and frozen corn. It was a simple meal that was heart healthy. The rub doesn't change the points value so the chicken was 3pts/breast.

For any spice wuss' out there this gets a 3 out of 5 for spiciness.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting Healthy in 2010? Here's Some Tips

My brother in law has had me on speed dial as of late since he has joined a weight loss program for the next 16 weeks. I really miss helping people and since I quit Weight Watchers this is a good outlet for me to share! I know there are lots of people who will make the New Year's resolution to get healthy so here are some of my favorite tips to get you on the right track.

1)When eating pasta's always go with red vs. white. Red sauces are tomato based while white sauces are typically cream and butter based.

2)If you're going to eat nuts as a healthy snack there are right and wrong choices! First of all the nuts need to be "raw" and salt free. Almonds are the best heart healthy choice, but all nuts have "healthy fat" if eaten in moderation. A serving is around 1/4 cup. I highly suggest parting out servings into those tiny zip lock bags to ensure portion control.

3)Wear a pedometer. They're cheap (approx. $5-$10) and just wearing one encourages people to walk more; about a mile on average. 10,000 steps a day is considered healthy and active, but moving more today than you did yesterday is success even if it's only 30 more steps.

4)Eat more chicken and fish. Lean proteins are your friend. Not only do they help you stay full longer but if you're working out, protein is fuel for rebuilding muscle. Try to have a lean protein at each meal.

5)Eat something within a hour of waking. This jump starts your metabolism for the day. It doesn't need to be ham and eggs with a large glass of OJ. Just some caloric intake to wake up your digestive system. Continue to eat small nutritious snacks/meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism at it's peak.

6)Drink more fluids. There are studies that show drinking non caloric green tea boosts fat loss and we all know we eat less when we drink more. If you have a hard time getting your waters in flavor it! I love decaf tea with splenda, diet green tea, sugar free Kool-Aid etc. Just keep yourself hydrated.

7)Portion Control! Start out with 1/2 of what you currently eat. Eat it slowly and if you're still hungry get a little more. You will be shocked at just how much less actually satisfies you. Most people eat 1/3 to 1/2 MORE than what they're physically hungry for.

8)Take a minute. If you feel hungry stop and evaluate. Are you hungry or are you bored, upset, angry, happy etc. Skinny people eat brownies, the difference is they eat them when they're actually hungry and stop when they're satisfied vs polishing off the pan due to an argument with a spouse. It's essential to long term success to recognize the difference between head hunger and stomach hunger.

9)Accountability. Like with most things our personal will power will fail us eventually. Having someone to keep you accountable or even try to get healthy with you will make a world of difference. Misery loves company :) It helps if you're not the only one turning cheesecake down. There is strength in numbers, plus a little competition never hurt anyone. Weight Watcher's is a fantastic program and they are offering free registration right now. If you don't like the leader shop around. Each meeting is seriously affected by the leader, don't assume that once you've been to one meeting you've been to them all. That's just not the case.

10)Quit buying junk. You know your weakness. In time (years maybe) you'll be able to have Twinkies in the house and not desire them but now is not the time. Don't give me the, "I buy them for the kids" excuse because they shouldn't be eating them either. After all do you want them to have the same issues we do? I sure don't. Keep your kitchen well stocked with healthy point friendly snacks and foods. The worst decisions are made when we're hungry and have limited options. An oldie but a goodie: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

There are so many amazing resources online. Use them! Some of my favorites are:

-Allrecipes It's not specifically a weight loss website but they have nutritional information on the recipes and you can plug in your main ingredient like boneless skinless chicken breasts and it will give you a huge variety of choices. Just pick the healthy ones!

-Hungry Girl I heart her! She is a Weight Watcher and offers points values for all her stuff. You can sign up for a free newsletter that is stuffed full of great ideas.

-Dottie's Weight Loss Zone If you need a restaurant resource that is ridiculously exhaustive this is it! She has great recipes, meal ideas, and did I mention the restaurants? Seriously check this out before you go out to dinner ever again!

-Weight Watchers I wouldn't even consider leaving out this one. There are thousands of recipes and meal ideas on here. Not only that but the message boards are amazing. If you need an idea just post it and you will get bombarded with great tips. I once posted, "Help, I eat so much chicken I should have feathers. I need new ideas!" By the end of the day there were close to a hundred posts with all kinds of recipes. A couple of my staples over the last several years came from that one post.

The best advice I can give you is to never give up. The difference between those who gain their weight back and those who keep it off is whether or not they wake up the day after a binge and get back on track. Everyone makes mistakes, it's how you respond to it that makes or breaks your success.

Brrr, It's Been Snowy Just FYI

-I am guessing this isn't going to help our heating bill much. I don't know if you can see it but that's daylight there on the left of the door. That little pile of snow would be the tiny snow drift that worked it's way through over night. We have 3 doors in our home and two of them serve as air conditioner vents in the winter. That snow came in even though I had a rolled up rug against the base of the door.

-Yesterday the boys and I cleaned from sun up to sun down. I armed the 3 older boys with microfiber clothes and we washed walls, doors, cabinets and anything else under 4 ft. I washed all our bedding including the actual pillows. They received the bleach treatment and smelled soo good last night. The washer and dryer worked all day keeping the house a little warmer. Graham has been struggling with allergies and has a cold on top of it. Apparently he was struggling due to dust because yesterday was the first day in a week or more he didn't have any issues. We've been concerned our new little Mellie was the problem and she may be a contributor but yesterday and so far this morning he's much improved. We may have to print out a chore list so dusting, vacuuming, and giving things a good once over become weekly events (I already vacuum daily but the others not so much). I know the wonderful cleanliness and beauty that I currently enjoy is temporary but my is it grand!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Taking A Break from Spring Cleaning

-I'm getting lots done but keep coming back to computer to check this or that. I love this thing and I think I may be addicted. Well, addicted has such negative connotations. How about I'm dedicated to exploring and communicating with the world outside of my house. Yes, that's much better :)

-My mom in law gifted me a tube of White Tea and Ginger body cream for Christmas and I LOVE it. If anyone has some of it just laying around due to not being real fond of the smell you're welcome to pass it on. My dry little hands will put it to good use!

-I weighed yesterday at my High School weight! Only 11 pounds to my Weight Watcher's goal. I'm more than a little excited about all that. I thought about about yelling it from my porch but I thought the neighbors (who already think we're a bit off) may stare.

-The Tortilla soup I keep talking about has become my lunch staple. I added a can of black beans to the latest batch and I have to say it's a very good addition. YUM

-If you currently own a purse you just love or have seen a purse online that's just amazing please send me a pic or a link. The bag I made I found online and really liked the shape of it. I'm having a hard time finding another one I like enough to make it. If I don't find a little variety I'll end up with several that look very similar.

-My espresso machine is on it's last leg and I have a strong desire to replace it since I drink at least 1 latte a day. So, I am going to sell a few things in order to raise the funds needed to get a nice one (Well relatively nice, they can be thousands. I just want one that works fully and doesn't scald my hand). I just hope people will actually use craigslist in this weather. I wouldn't get out personally. We'll see.

-My husband is the love of my life, my best friend, and an amazing husband and father. I'm feeling overwhelmingly fond of him and thought I'd share :)

Spring Cleaning!

Okay I know it's not spring or even close, in fact a small blade of grass doesn't have a chance in this blizzard but humor me!

I woke up this morning with a determination that only comes around once in a while. My plan today is to listen to some awesome coffee house Christian music (Enter the Worship Circle) and clean every square inch of my house.

The poor kids are in for a rude awakening since they've been on couch potato patrol for 2.5 weeks. Jared has had the last three days off so we as home schoolers have the ability to extend our break to accommodate Dad's schedule.

We are going to do school, organize, wash some clothing, mop some floors, and the like. I'm quite excited. I'm going to sleep in freshly laundered sheets tonight!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Spring Somewhere!

I'm having a little fun with excess fabric that's been laying around for years. Now I just need to run to Wal-Mart for some pin backs so these can be used soon :)

Now for the Flower

I really felt like the purse needed a little extra embellishment and Alisa makes these beautiful flowers and I thought one would be the perfect touch. This morning I started out and though they are a little tedious I am really pleased with how it turned out. I really think once you had it down you could turn one of these out in 20 minutes or so. This is the website I used for directions. I may spend the afternoon creating some more out of all the fabric remnants I have. They are super cute!
It blends right into the desk! Too funny.
I used the same fabrics that were in bag itself along with a solid red coordinating fabric. I really like the rough edges so I didn't finish any of the pieces.
The perfect touch!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My First Bag!

I decided this evening to go ahead and see what I could put together. I took some pics of the process for you just in case you were curious. I actually drew out some templates on paper for myself since my experience with sewing comes from Mrs. Ellerman's 8th grade Home-Ec class. The pattern I found was something an individual just typed out directions. I've never sewn anything with just written directions before. I plan to make one of Alisa's beautiful little fabric flowers in the morning and add it to dress it up a bit.
I love the poppy fabric. It's really pretty and seems like it would wear well.
The green is the lining.
These are the fabric pieces for the band around the top.
Getting there! The main part of the bag is complete and now for the band and handles. Tada!

Nice green lining. I didn't add any pockets or fasteners so this is a pretty simple bag. Be honest, would you carry it?

Carpet Bagging

I'm about to create and I'm really excited!

Today I went to Joanne's fabrics to look through their bargain bin and found a bunch of great fabrics. The best part is I saved $178. according to my receipt. I found some wonderful upholstery fabrics for 70% off and I am going to make some hand bags.

Here are the fabrics
I found all kinds of odds and ends and the biggest deal was a fabric that was originally $42/yard and I bought 2 full yards for just $10! It's a beautiful neutral and will work great with all the different remnants I found. It will be neat to see how many different combinations I can come up with. Stay tuned and I'll post pics as I finish each bag.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup!!

I am OBSESSED with this soup right now. It's freezing outside, it's Core friendly (Weight Watchers) and it's absolutely delicious (for a point friendly version just omit the oil)! It's free on core and 2 pts/cup on points.

First of all, make sure you follow the recipe. I made it the other day and didn't have the green chilies or the ground cumin so I used cumin seed and went sans chilies. Yesterday I made it again with all the proper ingredients plus added the sliced avocado, fat free cheddar cheese and fat free sour cream and it was so much better. I'm not kidding it's amazing, delicious and SO filling. I'm in love!

Thank you Alisa for sharing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Who Am I Really?

I've been thinking about reworking my blog since my template is a basic beige and few of you out there have the same one.

Last night I was talking with my friend Alisa over at the Sweet Life. I mentioned that she has a multitude of followers and said something like' "you have like 56 followers!" To which she smiled and said, "No it's 60."

I have to say to you 60, Good work! I follow her too because she's amay-za-zing! Her blog is easy to read, full of information, and it's attractive. I love the template because it's personal and unique but if I copy it it's no longer personal and unique to her. She knows who she is and her blog speaks to her strengths.

What I'm trying to say is this, I've been thinking for some time about who am I really? The blog template is just a side bar to a bigger question I've been wresting with. I want to be the best me God created me to be. I've looked through a hundred blogs looking for inspiration and I found lots that I like but nothing that speaks directly to who I am.

The problem is I'm a chameleon and feel like everything I do is a remnant of something I've admired from someone else. I see things that people do and they have passion for and I think, "hey, I can do that!" And I can do it but do I want to? Do I have a passion for it?

I've spent time here and there thinking about who and what I want to be when my kids grow up and I have no idea. We started our family when I was 24 and I had Anneliese when I had just turned 32. I am quickly coming up on a time in my life where I will have the freedoms to do hobbies, more education or whatever. Even with homeschooling life will get less hectic as the kids grow and I'm going to be 40 without a direction.

My goal this year is to seek God's plan for my future. What is HE passionate about? What skills/talents/gifts has He given me that can be used for His kingdom?

I guess a better question than the title of this blog is, "Who am I in Christ?"

Happy New Year!

Last night the kids and I headed up for the lock in at the church. I figured we'd stay as long as the kids handled it and they did great!

Brennan and Tanner ended up staying until midnight and sweet Alisa brought them home (THANK YOU!). The babies and I headed home just after 10. I couldn't believe Anneliese hung on that long but she was a doll and had a great time watching everyone run and play. The cookies Sonya and I kept feeding her probably helped a little :)

Everything was so well organized and the kids all really seemed to be responding extremely well to what Chris had planned. The bulk of the guests were people I hadn't ever seen before and that's always awesome to know we're actually reaching out beyond our church.

Jared's still passed out so I haven't had a chance to chat with him but from what I saw it was a great success and we had a wonderful time chatting with friends and snacking on yummy food.

Thank you to Chris and all the church family that worked so hard to reach out last night to a huge group of kids!