Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Everyone once in a while a gem comes home in the backpack. Don't get me wrong... I love the spelling tests and math worksheets. I also love the stories that he's written and illustrated. And the book order forms and library books. But a few weeks ago, this priceless gem made its way into my hands...
This is a self portrait - made during the first week or so of school.

The 'I Am' Poem...
Each and every blank is SO Bennett. I love it. It is now hanging in my pantry where I see it often. 
He says: 
I am Hungry... I say, that's true. He's always hungry!

He says: 
I wonder if my aunt will have a boy... I say, that's so true. He's so excited about being a cousin (and hoping the baby is a boy.) I love it when he says 'How's the baby going, Gigi?' 

He says:
I want the Galactic Battle... I say, SO TRUE!! We ordered our Galactic Battle game board in July and he's religiously checked the mail EVERY DAY since looking for it. I've tried to explain how things take time... he's persistent. Can't imagine where that comes from?!?!?

He says:
I pretend I am a Jedi... I say, yep. All the time. ALL THE TIME. I get to be Leia. Or Padme.

He says:
I touch almost everything... I say - way to be honest! And how else do you learn about things if you don't touch them, right??

He says:
I worry about Bubba's dad... I say, sweet, sweet boy. He was very sad to hear that Bubba's dad was sick and even sadder to hear of his passing. He wanted to go to the funeral. Sweet boy.

He says:
I cry when something sad happens... I say, he's so tender hearted. He can be tough. And he's learning to hold his tears back (which - is that a good thing?? I'm not so sure...) but I can see his face when he's doing it - and it makes ME want to cry! Just today he got upset about some confusion at carpool. It was all I could do to get in home so I could hug him. Love that boy!

He says:
I understand this poem... I say, ha! So funny and matter-of-fact :)

He says: 
I dream different... I say, good for you! I know that he's probably thinking about this night-time dreams. But I think that he has big dreams, and I think he can do anything he puts his mind to! I can't wait to see where he's headed. Well, I CAN wait... he can slow down a bit!

Sometimes me heart is filled to over-flowing. Emotions that I've only felt as a mother. Such a blessing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Meal Plan - week 2

First, I'll start with a review of the Slow Cooker Orange Chicken from week 1... it received 4 thumbs up from our family. So, it was ok. I'll serve it again, but it won't make it on the regular rotation. Here are the adults' thoughts: it was a little 'too orangey'. It wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be - you know how yummy the orange chicken is at your favorite chinese restaurant? Well, not quite. It could have been that I used cheap orange juice concentrate. Maybe. We might try it again with lemonade instead of orange. I'll let you know!

Week 2 Meal Plan:

Monday night: Cheese Ravioli/Pasta with green beans and rolls (Bennett's pick) Have you tried Ragu's Chunky Super Vegetable Primavera pasta sauce??? It is SO good! Chunky, with tons of veggies (that don't taste gross - trust me!) and it has a light sweetness to it. Yum!! I just add a little browned lean ground hamburger and called it a meal. I know, what?? But that's Bennett's choice, so I'll just be thankful :)

Tuesday night: Hamburgers/Hotdogs (and fixin's), Baked Beans, French Fries (Brad's pick)

Wednesday night: Church (although we're not really eating at church this week b/c I'm not a huge fan of 'tex-mex' lasagna. So, we'll eat out on our way to church :)

Thursday night: Cranberry Roast Slow Cooker (new recipe) found here... I'm going to use a lean pork roast and serve it with mashed potatoes and peas.

Friday night: Eat out after soccer practice

Saturday night: Quick Chicken Teriyaki (new recipe). I got this from my kraftfoods.com magazine 4 years ago! I have quite a collection of recipes that I'd like to cook... anyone relate?? So, this has been great for digging back through them!  Here's a link...

I'll report back on the new recipes! What are you cooking this week?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

special memory made just for us

Last week, Brad was gone from Wednesday through Sunday on a boys' trip. I was happy for him to be able to go and spend time diving and dining. No, really, I was! Honestly, I enjoy time at home with just Bennett every once in a while - just the 2 of us. He is such a sweet mama's boy :)

On Friday my prayer partner emailed me that she was praying for me and that she was specifically praying that Bennett and I would make a special memory together over the weekend. I loved that! So I was on the look-out for what God had in store for us.

We went to soccer practice on Friday night. I'm sure that the special memory was NOT my yelling at him in front of everyone to stop climbing that tree (that I'd told him about 1,000 times). We went out to eat with friends, and he was super behaved in the midst of quite a bit of chaos. Could that have been our special memory?

Saturday morning we went to his soccer game. He had a good time playing, even though they lost 3 to 1.  Was that our special memory?  We went shopping at Kohl's with Gigi and Nana. He was super behaved - and loved getting a AU jersey and sleep pants. Was our special memory when he told me 'I was the best mommy ever'? :)

Our next stop (after lunch) was the Boy Scout store to get his Cub Scout uniform. He was so excited! We went into the dressing room to try on the pants and he wanted to put on the whole uniform - and then, there it was - our special memory.
As I turned my head to keep the tears of happiness from showing, I praised God for the opportunity that He's given me to be this kid's mom. Look at him! So proud to be growing up and trying new things. So many times I want to keep him little, to keep him with me and 'safe'. Who can possibly keep him safer than his Heavenly Father? I can tell that God has big things in store for my little guy (who's not so little any more!)

I praise God for special memories like this one. I never know when these moments will find me - it's often in the most unexpected places... like the dressing room at the Boy Scout store :)

We finished our afternoon with a stop to get some eye black (which is actually not black, but orange AU stickers for under his eyes for baseball), a run by Wal-m@rt to get a fan spray bottle (why is it still so hot in September???), a stop for a new bat and a bat bag, and finally a stop for some yogurt. I savored each routine step we made along the way.

We sure did have a good time together - just the 2 of us. I treasure these days when he's still so happy to be with me. As we snuggled up together for bed, we talked about how we could wait for daddy to get home :) Three is a good number too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The meal plan - Week One

When school started, I knew that I needed to develop a way to make sure that we actually ate at home most nights of the week. With Brad's work schedule making him late sometimes, it can be hard for me to be motivated to cook. And then, when baseball and soccer started... well, cereal or carryout looks so appealing! So, we started a meal plan. When I say 'meal plan' it brings me back to my college days... but this is better, I think :)

So, here's what I'm doing. Each of us listed our 3 favorite meals. Brad listed Taco Soup, Soup/Salad/Grilled Cheese, and Hamburgers/Hot Dogs/French Fries. Bennett listed Chicken/White Shells noodles, Cheese Ravioli/Rolls/Green Beans/Fruit, and Lean Cuisine Pizzas/Cherries/Grapes. My choices are Spaghetti, Breakfast for Dinner, and Chicken Burritos.

My goal was to make 6 weeks worth of dinners - 4 dinners per week. I know, I know. Only 4 dinners each week?? Don't judge :) Each of us would get one of our 'picks' each week and we'd rotate in a new recipe. Each of us rates each new recipe with a vote of two thumbs up, one thumb up, or no thumbs up. Any recipe with more than 4 'thumbs' overall will continue in the rotation... I know that sounds simple, but it has been a huge motivator for Bennett to try new things. He loves to vote! (and he's so sweet - I've had to tell him that it's ok to tell me if he doesn't like it - he doesn't want to hurt my feelings :)

We've done this for 6 weeks now, and it's worked great! We've already found recipes that we love, and those that we aren't going to try again. So, here's Week One (with recipes if you'd like to cook along)

Monday - Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
(This is our new recipe for the week... I'll tell you how many thumbs we give it!)
Check out the recipe I'm using here.

Tuesday - Taco Soup
-1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
-1 package taco seasoning
-1 package ranch seasoning
-1 large can diced tomatoes
-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 can kidney beans
-1 can northern beans
-1 can corn (recipe calls for 2 cans, but we like less)
-sometimes I add another can of beans

Mix all ingredients together (including the liquid of the corn and all the beans except for the black beans, as noted above) and simmer for a while. Sometimes I put it in the crockpot on low for the afternoon. Serve with cheese and sour cream. We also like corn bread or saltines. Brad likes to add a little hot sauce to his.

This recipe makes a lot. So, I take the leftovers and freeze it in individual servings. You'll see the leftovers in another week's plan :)

Wednesday - Wednesday night dinner at church :)

Thursday - Lean Cuisine pizzas, cherries, and grapes (and applesauce!)

Friday - Eat out after soccer practice

Saturday - Crustless Quiche, Fruit, Muffins or Biscuits
Crustless Quiche - I halved this recipe and it worked great! Below is the whole recipe.
- 1 cup green onions sliced (I leave this out - no onions around here!)
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (1 medium)
- 12 slices bacon (I substitute ham)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms (4 oz)
- 12 eggs (I use 1/2 egg beaters)
- 1/3 cup sour cream (I use light)
- 1 c shredded cheddar cheese (I use light)
- 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese (I use light)

Preheat oven to 325 (for my oven, I needed 350). Reserve 2 Tbl each onions and tomatoes; set aside ( skipped this step). Cook bacon in skillet until crisp, reserve 1 TBL drippings in skillet. (I didn't do this because I used ham. So, I used a little olive oil for the next step) Add mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir 2 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Chop bacon (or ham). Add to mushrooms along with onions and tomatoes; mix well. (I cooked the tomatoes and mushrooms for just a little bit longer to make the tomatoes a little less firm).

Beat eggs and sour cream with wire whisk until blended. Pour into greased 13x9 baking dish (since I halved the recipe, an 8x8 worked great). Top with bacon mixture and cheeses.

Bake 30 minutes or until center is set. Sprinkle with reserved onions and tomatoes (I skipped this step). Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Bennett gave this only 1 thumb, but Brad and I loved it. Not sure why Bennett didn't love it - I left the mushrooms out of his portion, and he loves all the other ingredients. I'm going to try him on it again to see!

What are you cooking this week??