Friday, January 29, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Valentine's Day!! My friend, Carrie, made a cute heart garland made of felt and so I decided to try one myself. The results are above. It was so easy! I am back to sewing again...I think the last time I sewed was in high school or even earlier.
I also made these hearts to hang from our lights. Another, quick and cheap project...wax paper and red crayon shavings! Anyone else have any good Valentine's decoration ideas?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What you buy matters

Some of you may feel overwhelmed when going shopping and wanting to pick out a product that you know is safe for your health, safe for the environment and safe for those making your product. Well, you no longer have to be overwhelmed. You may have already been to Cosmetic Database and found this helpful. I just came across Good Guide that also rates your comsmetics along with cleaning products, food and toys. Hope this helps you in your purchases to make good decisions for your family, the Earth and the treatment of the workers! Remember, every time you make a purchase you are making a vote. Let me know what you think or if you know of any other good sites.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chicken Tacos

In our attempt to go sugarless this month, I have found that I am trying to also get away from many other processed things. One thing I have made this month and highly recommend is a taco seasoning for chicken taco filling. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Tacos
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper or 1 serrano chili, minced
1/2 cup tomoato sauce
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
12 whole wheat tortillas
toppings of choice

Heat the oil in a large skilled over med. heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper or chili. Saute' for about 6 minutes, until the onion has softened. Add tomato sauce, cumin and salt and continue to cook for one more minute. Add the chicken and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste, and adust seasoning as necessary. Serve in tortillas and top with choice of toppings (we like tomatoes, avocado, mexican cheese and sour cream). Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Would love to hear if you have any recipes for pasta sauces, pizza sauces, salad dressings, etc. I will be sharing some of theses that I have made up soon but am still in the tweaking phases.


(Picture from here.)
Several of my friends have been pressuring me to join Netflix. However, I have been a Blockbuster member for several years now and feel comfortable with going to the store, holding the dvd case in my hand while reveiwing it's description, being around other movie renters (I am a stay-at-home mom who doesn't get a lot of adult ineraction during the day.), and then having interaction with the workers who check my movie out. Last night, I went to Blockbuster on a typical Friday evening and found it strange that rows were empty in the "new release" section. Then I noticed as I took my movie to the front that the entire section to buy movies was empty. I asked the girl checking me out if they were moving. To my dismay, she informed me that they would be closing their store and that this was the last weekend they were open. I asked both the workers if they were going to be moved to another store and they said they were not. I was terribly sad to hear that they had only been given a couple of days notice about the closing and were losing their jobs! Now, I am going to have to succomb to Netflix. Yes, I have heard all the great things about it--cost, selection, not having to leave my home, etc. But, through all of this, I am realizing that jobs are easily being taken from people from companies like Red Boxes and Netflix, where in many cases you can just download to your computer or tv. So, I will slowly become more tech friendly but less social. :(

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sugar Free

(picture from here)
I am not much of the new year's resolution type. I have never been successful in setting a resolution and then keeping it for an entire year. However, I do like the beginnings of a new year and starting out fresh. One of my friends, Carrie, challenged several of us on Facebook to do a month without sugar with her. She did it in November. I said there was no way I would give up sugar the month of my birthday (plus most of David's family's b-days) and Thanksgiving. I love b-day cake and Thanksgiving pies too much, plus the tradition of it all. Then, December was of course out. So, here we are in January and both David and I are charging through the month without sugar. I wish that I could say that we are TOTALLY sugar free but our bread does contain it. However, I believe that is the only thing that we are currently allowing in our diet with it. We are trying to only use natural sweeteners/sugars, such as fruit/fruit juice, honey, agave nectar.

Through this challenge, I have discovered several things. First, sugar is in EVERYTHING!! You may not even realize all the things you buy that contains it (pasta sauce, peanut butter, crackers, salad dressings, soups, and many other things but these were the first that came to mind). It took me forever to complete our grocery shopping the first week of this because I was reading every label. We have been amazed at how we have made it this far and have decided to does this the first week of every month (excluding February...we need a reward!). Second, sugar is addictive and the more you eat the more you crave. If you stop eating it, you loose the addiction to it and you don't crave it as much (realize I said "as much"). I still can't wait to eat a piece of cake or pie but mostly chocolate again!! However, I think now we will change many of the things that we were eating that has unneeded sugar in it.

I have made a banana bread this month that contained agave nectar instead of sugar. I would like to find other recipes to substitute sugar with a natural sweetner. Please let me know if you have any to share. I have also been using agave nectar to sweeten my green tea. I will continue to use this instead of sugar.

So this is what I have been up to for the past couple of weeks. It has been quite an adventure but a good one. I feel like I have more energy and my body just feels better. Let me know if you have ever tried this or if you would like support from me in taking this challenge!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A baby shower

This past weekend I helped host a family baby shower for my friend, Tracey. Her husband and three boys moved back to the US last year after being missionaries in Togo. They were surprised when they found at they were expecting again...and to find out it was another BOY!!! So, we decided to have the whole family at the shower to help their boys (from 6 to 11 y/o) be a part of welcoming this new baby. One of the families wrote out advice for the three boys on how to be a good big brother to their baby boy who will be arrving soon. It made the afternoon very special. I was in charge of making the cake for the shower. I decided to make a baby block and spelled out "BABY" with a letter on each side.

Since there were kids at the shower, I decided to also make mini cupcakes as well. The cake was chocolate with buttercream icing and the cupcakes were vanilla with a buttercream glaze icing.

Looking forward to making my next cake! Anyone in need of one?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christmas 2009

Our lives were quite busy leading up to Christmas with friend activities in Nashville and then we headed to Cincinnati for Christmas with my side of the family.
Asher being our "Santa."

We were supposed to have Christmas with my sister and her two kids along with my aunt and grandmother but Asher came down with croup so my sister and her kids stayed away. Thankfully we didn't have to cancel all of Christmas.
Asher and Jonas enjoying playing with Asher's wooden pizza set from my mom and papa Bruce.

My mom helping Jonas unwrap a gift. (He is only acting like he can't open it so he can have some lap time with his Nana.) My aunt Candy is videoing for all of us in the background.

David's parents came to our house for Christmas Eve and then returned Christmas morning to see the boys open their gifts. The boys were so glad to have them there, especiallly since they brought their dog, Princess!

Asher trying out his "new" (consignment sale purchase) bike! Jonas looking on and trying not to covet. Ha!

This picture pretty well sums up our Christmas with the Wilsons! Our nephews and neices had a great time but our kids were sick (Asher with croup and a fever) and tired (Jonas missed his morning nap b/c we were taking Asher to the doctor before going to David's parents.)! Glad that the rest of the family put up with our kids in such positions.

Well that is a quick summary of our 2009 Christmas! Jonas ended up having a fever on New Year's Eve that kept lingering and after two visists to the doctor's office we found out he had RSV (bronchiolitis) and a right ear infection. (He also had this a year ago during Christmas 2008!) So we are now glad the holidays are over, we are all on the getting better side, and we have the internet again (our internet has been down for awhile, in case you were wondering why it's been so long!). It's good to be back in the blogging world!!

Snowy Day

While it may be great to go to Hawaii or some other warm, exotic place for Christmas, you just can't beat going to Ohio and having a white Christmas! The boys and I arrived a few days before Christmas and were welcomed by snow. Asher could not wait to play in it and get dressed as soon as he woke up. We told him that he had to eat breakfast first. Then, we got dressed. My mom went out a bought him some "snow gloves" and "snow boots" that were on clearance. I think the boots may be for girls, but Asher didn't care. They were boots!

Jonas loved just sitting in the snow. Of course, I don't think he could do much more than that with as wrapped up as we had him.

Asher walked all over the yard. I think he wanted to walk through every bit of the fallen snow. His glove looks like it has a lightsaber on it!

Jonas attempting the sled with Nana (my mom).

Asher and I built a tiny snowman. He was so proud and when we turned to go inside, he had a full conversation with the snowman, telling him good-bye and that we would come see him later. It was so sweet.

We have had snow in Nashville since Christmas but when it's less than 1/4", it don't think it counts. We were so thankful to have fun with it in Ohio!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hope Gardens Luminaria

Our neighborhood wanted to do an event over the holidays so I suggested a luminaria. We used to do this in my dad's neighborhood at Christmas time when I was growing up. I have fond memories of it, so it was easy to convince the others to try this in our neighborhood. Our playgroups planned the event. So, as the days approaced closer to having it we slowly kept scaling the event down....we all have kids two and under! We ended up having the luminarias around our neighborhood park and offered free hot chocolate (thanks to Jessi's mom for an incredible mix) and cookies (I baked up some slice and bake cookies). It was cold but the kids from the neighborhood and our own kids had a fun time (and the adults did too, of course). Maybe next year we can expand to the sidewalks in front of our homes!