Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Little Guy is Lucky!

Today was Caleb's 18 month appointment and it went pretty well except for the finger prick and the two shots he got. We also found out that my little string bean is underweight. He is almost 19 months old and he only weighs 22 pounds!! That would've been a good weight 6 months ago.

We feed him all day long. He eats whatever we eat and apparently that is keeping his weight down. He loves green beans, corn, noodles, bread, etc. Remember that I am trying to lose weight and that is reflected in my choices in lunch and dinner and since Caleb eats our table food, he is getting "lose weight" food. When given the choice between a chicken nugget and a green bean he will pick the green bean every time. Chris and I thought that was a great habit to be starting this early. We were wrong apparently. Beans have no fat and hardly any calories and an active 18 month boy needs calories, fat, and protein.

We also thought it was great he was drinking his whole milk throughout the day. Nope! Apparently, the whole milk is filling him up and he doesn't want to eat a decent amount of food which is where most of his calories need to come from. Milk in the morning and evening and water/juice during the day from now on. I guess that will help us stretch our milk budget farther.

I wish I was in Caleb's shoes. Instead of cutting out the sweets and the hamburgers, to hear the doctor say "Bring it on!" would be a dream of mine. He is so lucky! ;-)

The doctor told us to come back in two months for a weight check and she wants him to have gained 5 pounds by then. That is a lot for such an active little boy. I guess this is a great excuse to pick up my baking. I don't mind one bit, Buddy!

Guess What Today Is?!

Happy Birthday, Frog with Banjo

Happy Birthday
To Me!!

WFMW--Rising Bread Dough

The one thing that I really don't like is waiting for my bread dough to rise. It seems to take FOREVER!! It is slow especially this time of year because we keep the house at 68 degrees. I don't have the time to wait around for my bread to rise...things to do...places to go.

But, guess what?! I discovered a cool way to make my dough to rise quicker and it is super easy. This is not one of those fancy "proofing boxes." Nope! Super Easy!

All I do is take a microwave safe measuring cup and I pour some water into it. I then put the measuring cup in the microwave and nuke the water for about 30-45 seconds. The water is slightly bubbly and the microwave is full of lovely warm humidity.

I then stick the dough in the microwave and close the door.

The dough probably rises twice as quickly as before.

Using my warm, humid microwave to rise my bread dough Works For Me!

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Exercised My Civic Duty Today

Norman Rockwell Paints America at the Polls

Caleb and I made a trip to Chris' office this afternoon so we could go vote in the primary as a family. The official primary is not till February 5th here in Georgia. But, today was the day you could go to the Registrar's office for advance voting. I can't resist an opportunity to skip long lines.

There were only two items on the ballot this time. The Presidental Primary was the first. I voted in the Republical primary and I voted for XXXXXXXXXX. Nope! Not gonna tell. It is called a private ballot for a reason and I really don't want this blog to become a political platform. I'll just say that I voted my conscience and for whom I thought had the most Biblical policies.

The second item on the ballot was a local issue. It was to vote yes or no on whether distilled spirits can be poured by the drink in this county. Yes. My county is still a "dry" county. Believe it or not! Hard liquor cannot be sold in any place within this county. Beer and wine can be sold in the grocery stores and in the restaurants but not hard liquor. The county is growing like crazy and there are some rather large restaurants that have voiced interest in coming in but can't due to the "liquor law." Needless to say, this is a rather hot topic around here especially among the church-going crowd. The options were to vote "yes" to allow the liquor and "no" to not allow it. I voted XXXXXXX. Once again, I don't want to start a debate. Thanks for understanding.

I felt good as I was leaving that I exercised my right AND duty to vote. Now I have bragging or griping rights however this primary turns out. ;-)


Graphic From

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Slow But Fairly Steady

Weight Problems

It has been about four weeks now since I started my journey in weight loss and if you look to the right you will see that I've lost six pounds so far. I've gone from 176 to 170. I was really hoping to have crossed over into the 160's this morning but alas, it wasn't meant to be. I only lost one pound this past week and I blame it completely on PMS and how our bodies just LOVE to hold onto every ounce it can for dear life. I ate very healthfully and I worked out like crazy and yet it was only a pound. But, that is OKAY!!! One pound is much better than zero and even better than gaining.

The trip to Atlanta with Chris during his Insurance class was expected to be a setback because I was out of my normal routine and surroundings. I could've gone to the YMCA that was walking distance away but I kept telling myself that it was just too cold to make the trek over there. I was dreading coming home and stepping up on the scale. But, I was extremely happy to find out that I had gained nothing. I didn't lose, but I didn't GAIN either. I was jumping up and down after that. I think it was the walking up and down all the stairs after Caleb that saved me.

This week was difficult because I craved everything that wasn't in my pantry. I ate more apples than I would like. I think apples have lost their intrigue. That's too bad because they do such a great job filling me up during that mid-afternoon slump. Chris and I also had a volunteer appreciation banquet to attend on Friday and the catered was Mmmm-mmmm GOOD. It was very hard to control portions. Then we went to Sonic after church because I was craving a cheeseburger and don't forget our weekly trip to McD's for our Sunday morning family date. Ugh! The one thing I did really well this week is that worked out FIVE times and I worked out hard on the elliptical machine at the YMCA each time. That's how I got that pound squeezed out after all. ;-)

It is now a new week and I have a clean slate. I will eat right, drink my water, and exercise like a maniac. Those pounds better run away in fear because I'm coming after them.

Graphic From

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt


WOW!! It has been way too long since I've done the Photo Hunt. Sorry for my absence. But, I am ready to be joining everyone each week. Here is my "Old-Fashioned" pick for this week.

I know my husband will just love me for this one. ;-) This is a picture of him receiving his very first Personal Computer for Christmas. The times and computers sure have changed, haven't they? Check out those clothes!! Hee hee! I Love You, Honey!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Give 'Em A Belly Scratch

I get tears in my eyes every time I see it. ;-)

Now, Go Hug Your Dog!!!!!

Note: Sorry about how the video shows up before you hit play. ;-) I guess that's just part of being a dog...and we're for that too, huh?

Sometimes the Old Stuff Really Does Work

I have been suffering from a horrible sinus issue for the past month or so. It always felt like the whole left side of my face was going to implode and I've been convinced I had a cavity because of the achy teeth on the left side. I was blessed when my Mother-in-Law recommended a great over the counter drug combination to help drain the sinuses. I could only take in the morning because anything 12 noon would keep me up all night long. So, I suffered in pain through the night and when I woke up in the morning. I figured I wanted to sleep more than I wanted the pain gone. My daytime was virtually pain-free because of these lovely drugs.

Last night I was so frustrated with my head that I decided to try another remedy recommended to me by my M.I.L. Why not try a hot compress on my face to help loosen the ickiness up? I haven't tried this because I was so stubborn and determined to let the drugs work. Surely you can't beat modern medicine, right?

I asked Chris to warm up my "Feel Better Bag" (a flannel bag that has rice and herbs in it that warms up in the microwave) and bring it to the bed. He lovingly did so and I put it right on the epicenter of the pain and tried to rest. Y'all, after a few minutes I could literally FEEL the junk break apart in my head and flow out of my sinuses. WOW!!! I fell asleep and enjoyed a pain free night.

This morning I woke up and realized that the pain was STILL GONE. The Feel Better Bag has a place of honor on my pillow and it will be used again tonight.

Isn't funny how the old stuff can really be better than the new stuff sometimes??

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Homemade Dog Food?!?! Yes, I Did!

A few weeks I posted about making Homemade Doggie Biscuits and what a hit they were with Eowyn. She ate her last one last night. I guess I'll have to make some more, huh? After I posted that recipe I got an email from my brother. He had forwarded my blog post to a friend and his friend responded with another biscuit recipe AND a recipe for dog food. Hmmmm. I was intrigued. I read over the recipe over and over and came to the conclusion that I actually had all the ingredients on hand and it looked easy enough. All the ingredients were leftovers from previous Angel Food Ministries boxes except for the oats and the eggs.

I am stranded at home today due to Chris' van being worked on, so I decided to take the plunge and actually make this homemade dog food.

Here is the recipe:

3 cups dry beans (I used pinto beans)
3 Tbs. minced garlic
3 cups rice
1 lb. finely chopped meat
2 lbs. frozen chopped veggies
1 cup rolled oats
4 eggs, beaten


Rinse beans and soak overnight in 6 cups of water (Or you can bring them to a boil, set aside, covered, for 2-3 hours until they are hydrated).

Add the garlic and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are tender.

Here are the beans as they simmer away.

While the beans are cooking, brown the meat in a pot, then add 5 cups of water and the rice. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is done, then add the veggies, oats and eggs.

Here is the meat all chopped up.

Combine the beans, meat, rice, and veggies.

Yum!! ;-) All Done!

Place in containers to freeze.

All ready for the freezer.

Note: The recipe I was given says this is enough for 12 meals for a 45 pound dog (1 1/2 cup servings). Eowyn is 13 pounds, so I expect it to last much longer.

I think we have a winner!


It appears Eowyn doesn't like broccoli either.

Alpha Dog Gets Bumped to Beta Dog

We have a CRAZY dog who is rather neurotic most of the time. She is sweet as can be and she has loved Caleb since the day the met. They are the best of friends and I couldn't ask for more. I love Eowyn as one of my own...almost. She is a dog after all.

One of her quirks is how she is 13 pounds going on 100 pounds. She things she is top dog of the neighborhood and she makes sure everyone on the street knows that. She barks at anyone who comes by and I've even seen our UPS man (who calls her "The Monster" lovingly, of course) running to his truck because she was chasing him. She chases all creatures out of her yard and often stands guard when she is outside. Gotta keep the family safe.

Unfortunately, Eowyn is a bully too. She bullies the smaller dogs in our family when we all get together. It is frustrating for us and for everyone else too. We often wonder if we should just leave her with a babysitter when we leave town.

Well, there was a shift this past week. Our Alpha dog became a Beta dog.

I was in the front yard with Eowyn and Caleb at my sister's house, playing. We brought Eowyn's wireless fence with us so she wouldn't leave the yard. I didn't see how it started, but at one point I heard some awful dog-fighting sounds. I quickly turned and saw Eowyn in a terrible fight with the next door Golden Retriever. This Retriever is a good 3 to 4 times bigger than Eowyn and she had Eowyn down on the ground. Eowyn was being DOMINATED!! I felt safe enough to break up the fight and Eowyn was yelping like I've never heard her yelp. I thought she was either bleeding, something was broken, or scared out of her mind. It turned it was the latter.

I put Eowyn in her kennel to calm down for the rest of the afternoon and she just shook and shook. For an entire day I had to carry Eowyn outside to go potty because she wouldn't go out there on her own. She continued to have shaking spells.

I think the shaking spells are over now. She is so happy to be home and some of the barking has returned. One good thing about this incident is that she is definitely more cuddly now.

Chris and I hope this domination will teach Eowyn that she is not queen of the world and she will be more respectful of other dogs and people. Hmmmm. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Make It From Scratch Carnival--January 22nd

Hello Everyone!!

Welcome to the Make It From Scratch Carnival! I am so excited to be hosting this week. Over the past few weeks I have really gotten into making more and more of our food from scratch. I am slowly becoming more aware of what we are putting into our body and I've come to the conclusion that the only way to not really worry about it is to just make as many things as I can from scratch. My mind is swimming with all the different things I want to try in the future (ex. jams and jellies, dog food, peanut butter, etc.). I am jumping head first into the "Make It From Scratch" Bandwagon. So Exciting!!

Anyway, please check out what all these lovely people are making from scratch. Not everything is food either. Leave a comment if you wish. ;-) ENJOY!!

A young man shows how he could be a future engineer.

Did you know you can use dishwasher fluid with your laundry?

Yummy Cappucino Muffins AND some great financial tips to help with the New Year.

My mind is spinning with gift ideas because of this lovely recipe of Cakes in a Jar. Hmmmm....maybe just a great idea for my own enjoyment. ;-)

Great ways to get your family to eat those icky vegetables. Geez! I need this one.

Have you ever tried making your own paper?!?! Learn how here.

All I can say is "OH MY GOODNESS!!" That looks so good! Check out this recipe for Bananas Supreme.

One of the things I REALLY want to make from scratch is jams or jellies. I was excited to see this post for garlic jam. Did you know you can make jams in the bread machine (some models)? I'm going to have to check my bread machine!!

I really want to attract more birds to my yard. This recipe for homemade bird suet might help.

For those cold, windy days there is nothing like a good cup of Hot Chocolate. Here is some very informative post on how to use organic Cacoa to make a yummy Hot Cocoa.

Need a little pampering?? Here's how to use strawberries as an instant scrub or as a foot scrub.

Here's a post about an adorable kimono-style apron for all those littles running around the house.

We love pancakes swimming in syrup around here. I was intrigued when I saw this recipe for homemade pancake syrup.

This Warm and Fuzzy Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal looks lovely for those cold mornings too.

I've heard of Corn Fritters, but Zucchini Fritters are new to me. Check out this recipe.

Here a blogger selects her MVP list of cookbooks (very useful) and offers a recipe for Chicken Provencal.

Valentine's Day is coming up!! How about making your Valentine's Cards this year?

Not only was this curtain project frugal it was pretty too.

Since we are being crafty a minute or two, check out this post on how to make those handy magnetic notepads for your fridge.

I am starting to really enjoy Eastern European cuisine because of Chris' Polish background. This Chicken Paprikash looks scrumptious!

This one is for those who can't fight off that terrible cold. Try these down-home remedies. (Let me throw in that vinegar and honey (equal parts) works great on a sore throat. The vinegar cuts through all the junk in your throat and clears it and the honey makes it easier to swallow and just feels good going down.)

This All Natural Chicken in Red Sauce looks easy enough to make.

Ooohhhh...I love recipes with as few ingredients as possible. Having a toddler makes prep work a bit tough. Here is recipe for Taco Soup that has only SIX ingredients. Whoohoo!

For those traveling with small children, try these Travel Felt Boards.

I am all about being easy and I enjoyed looking at this recipe for Easy Chicken Vegetable Bake.

Here are some wonderful ideas of how to use orange zest in your cooking and around your house.

Finally, here the account of my adventure into baking most adventurous bread yet.

Thank you Everyone for participating this week. There are some real gems up there. ;-) Be thinking about what you want to submit next week. Our friend over at GreenStyleMom is hosting.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Don't Forget!!

Just popping in to let you know we are back home and anxious to get back into a routine. Also, don't forget that the Make It From Scratch Carnival will be here on Tuesday!!

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Once Upon a Winters Night

We are still here in Atlanta and it is snowing like crazy. We are settled in for the day because it is supposed to be like this well into the evening. I think Chris and I are still going to try having a lunch date down the road before it gets really bad. Besides, there is something romantic about going on a date in the snow. ;-) Maybe that's just the southerner in me. Hopefully, it won't be too frozen over tomorrow when we are supposed to be heading home. The weather man said that the plummeting temperatures will freeze anything left on the ground. Hmmmm. In the meantime, it is fun to watch the snow come down and to hear my nephews running around the house saying, "Blizzard! Blizzard!" I think this is going to be a wonderful, cozy day with my family. I will soak in all this snow because I know I probably won't see it again for the rest of the year.

Graphic From

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Miss Y'all!

Hey! I just wanted to pop in and say hello. I miss coming here on a regular basis. I thought I would be able to blog a whole lot more while I am here at my sister's house and Chris is in his class all day and everyone else is in school or working. Surely, I could take a moment and write a short post. Well, I have found that I am either disciplining Caleb because he decided to climb the stairs for the 100th time or I am referee-ing my dog and the other dogs. Geez! Eowyn is such a bully sometimes! I miss hanging out here on the blawg. Hopefully, things will slow down enough.

In the meantime, I also wanted to tell you that I will be hosting the Make It From Scratch Carnival here on Tuesday, January 22nd. Feel free to submit a post on anything you made from scratch and I will feature everything here on Tuesday. Be sure to have your posts turned in by Sunday. To submit a post, just click on the graphic below and follow the instructions. I'm looking forward to seeing all the cool things people are making from scratch!! See you then!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Made Challah!

I feel like I've reached a new level of breadmaking this past week. I took the plunge into challah. Yeah! Just a few months ago, I never would've imagined being able to make a breaded bread from scratch much less a basic white bread. I feel so confident now. It also helps that Chris LOVED the challah I made.

I found this recipe over at Tammy's Recipes and after I clicked on over from Biblical Womanhood. These two ladies have really become two of my favorite blogs. Such wonderful recipes and inspiration.

Anywhoo, on to the actual recipe and pictures.

This recipe yields 2 large loaves of a lovely braided white bread traditionally served on the Sabbath.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cups honey
1 tablespoon oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons dry yeast
5 cups flour, plus additional flour (mine was closer to 6-6.5 cups)

1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl in order listed. Add enough flour and knead to make a smooth dough. Knead approximately 10 minutes.

2. Oil a bowl and place dough inside. Flip the dough to be sure both sides are oiled. Let rise in a warm place until doubled (mine took just over 2 hours...kind of cold in our house). Punch down.

3. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 14-15" long and an inch in diameter.

4. Lay 4 ropes side by side and pinch tops together. Braid tightly (the difficult part for me) starting on the left, taking the rope over two and under one. Pinch bottom ends and fold under.

Being Braided

Finished Braid

5. Place braids on greased baking sheets (I was able to use one with the braids side by side) and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes.

Both Braids ready for the oven

6. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar (or whatever you want...Tammy says to use sesame or poppy seeds). Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until done. (Note: If loaves are on separte sheets, rotate halfway through baking time for even baking).

I had so much fun making this challah and I look forward to making it again. I took one loaf to a women's retreat I attended on Friday night and left the other one for Chris to eat while I was gone. He loved it and made sure I would make it again for him. That is no problem, Honey!


What we are up to

This past Sunday Chris and I packed up the family, including Eowyn, and headed to Atlanta so that Chris could take a class for his business. I had the option of being a "big girl" and staying home with Caleb and maintaining our regular schedule at home. But, who wants to do that? We are staying at my sister's house so we don't have to pay for a hotel and I am staying home during the day while Chris is in his class. Everyone else is either at school or work. It is just us during the day...and two other dogs.

I have to say that it is interesting during the day. I have to referee everyone all the time. The two other dogs are terrified of Eowyn and I think Eowyn enjoys the power has found. I have to make sure Caleb doesn't go tumbling down the various staircases and doesn't further terrorize the other dogs. {SIGH} It is fun, though. I would much rather be doing this than staying home alone for a week.

The cool thing is that I have my sister's car for the day and we're are about to head out for a little "out of the house" time. My sister gave me a "Free Cappacino" coupon at Barnes & Noble and you know that is where I am headed.

We are having a blast and enjoying the change of pace, once again. I will come by here as often as I can sneak away to the laptop. I can't wait to share a post I am working on about my most recent and most ambitious bread adventure.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Before I Was A Mom...

Mother and Child

I found this poem in this month's newsletter for my MOPS group. I almost started crying right there at my discussion table. Just wanted to share. There is no author mentioned, otherwise I would reference the proper person.

Before I was a Mom
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom -
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into tear eyes and cried.
I never got glorously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.
Before I was a Mom.
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mom -
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the job, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

Graphic From

Monday, January 07, 2008

Expanding Into Wheat and The Bread Machine

Whole Wheat Bread

I LOVE baking bread as anyone who reads this blog knows for sure. I love the mixing, the kneading, the rising, and the baking. I love it all. Not only is it yummy, but it is also quite therapeutic for me. There is just something about the process that makes me feel so good.

For the longest time, I've been making Amish White Bread because it was the first recipe I made from scratch and with my own hands (no bread machine). It is great for sandwiches, cinnamon toast, eggs-in-a-basket, etc. I've been making the dough for awhile and freezing it.

But, recently I've come to learn the time-saving beauty that is the bread machine. Don't get me wrong. I am still a "bread shape" purist. I don't like the shape the bread machine makes when it bakes your bread. I like the longer, more sandwich bread shape. A long time ago I learned from Crystal that you can use your bread machine to mix, knead, and rise your dough but then use a traditional bread pan to bake it in the oven. SCORE!! I still love, love kneading the bread but this time saving method is a winner in my household right now.

The first recipe I've made using the bread machine method is a Whole Wheat bread that I got from Crystal too. I am on a journey towards healthier eating and weight loss these days and I figured that I really need to open my mind to whole wheat bread especially since Caleb eats a sandwich of some sort just about every day. I tried the recipe yesterday and it really turned out great. Chris liked it and I think it will become our staple everyday loaf of bread for now.

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Wheat Bread

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast

Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. Set on dough cycle. When dough cycle is finished, take dough out and shape into a loaf in a greased bread pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Graphic From