Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm Just Here to Serve (You Meatballs)


So I made a mental note of these ages and months ago but had basically forgotten all about them, so when I hopped on PW's site, as I'm wont to do on a near-daily basis, and she listed them on the menu for her cooking show that I can't watch because of NO FOOD NETWORK, I purposed in my heart to prepare them as soon as I could get the goldfish swept up from underneath my feet.

Which led to me yesterday.  

(And the longest run-on sentence in maybe ever.)

She didn't disappoint, y'all.  I don't think I've ever had a recipe source with so many suggestions that are not only successful but yield results that I actually like eating.

In other words, the woman knows how to create some Yum.

On the down side, my house started smelling distractingly tasty about two hours before I was able to eat, and this may be the first time in the history of ever that I wanted to lick the oven door. 

I KNOW, right?? 

When I first saw the recipe I thought the whole frying-them-in-oil-after-dredging-in-flour step was possibly overkill.  And unnecessary work.  And an unnecessary layer of not good for me.  But what do I know?  So I decided to stick with the recipe for my first attempt, and they were good, really good.  But I think I'm right in that they would be plenty tasty if I skipped that step, thus freeing up that time better spent on Twitter and those calories better spent on Pepsi with extra ice.

But that's just me.

What I do know is that they really are comforting (thus their "comfort food" moniker) and would probably please any new mama or friend who just needs a dinner-laden hug.  Oh - and they would probably be their very best served with the suggested mashed potatoes.  I was worn out from all the meatball preparation and went the buttered noodles route, and while yummy, I kinda wanna drool when I think of pairing them with said potatoes.

You should be warned, thought, that the aroma will fill your house to a distracting level, to the point where you might dream of meatballs and wake up considering them for breakfast.  

Hypothetically, of course.

Y'all have a great Tuesday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Balmy Breezes and Strawberry Jam on the Wall

I have determined not to ramble on and on today about my delightful weekend with the fam.

No one needs to hear about all the hugs and giggles and Green Eggs and Ham and peek-a-boos and chocolate milk, and yes, struggles for possession of whatever is in the other (beloved) child's hand.

Roll-out-of-bed and go to IHOP?  Who needs it?

Read the menu and call it school?


I'm going to keep the fact that the weather was balmy, wonderful, weird, and bitter cold practically at the same time.

No sense in bragging to my friends who do not reside in the south.

That would just be mean.

...and I most definitely, absolutely without a doubt will keep the fact that I went to sleep (SLEEP) at approximately 8:00 p.m. Saturday night - and slept through the night like the proverbial baby - to myself.

No one would ever believe it anyway.

(A Thousand Gifts 983-1004)

his early-morning joy and her late-night snuggles 

balmy breezes and warm shelter when they turn bitter

strawberry jam on the wall and goldfish on the floor

the big blue chair and finding the remote

rocking horses on the porch and watching them "mow the lawn"

a good night's sleep and curling up with her on the floor

spontaneous pancakes and changing plans

that messy-faced boy and messy-haired girl and always the just-bathed babies

quiet times with Jesus and jumping with joy

new perspective and old lessons

Stopping, and seeing, and thanking Him with all my heart for 1004 special gifts undeserved

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who Did Cut Down That (Not-Really-A-) Cherry Tree Anyway?

Well it's a good thing I have the pix of my backyard trees in all their snow-laden glory because that's all I have left to prove they were ever, well, snow-laden.  Said snow was about 85% gone before the sun went down on that very same day.  It's quite possible I have never seen a-bunch-of-inches of snow melt quite so quickly.  It sounded like rain for pretty much the whole day as all that snow abandoned us en masse.


I'm mostly glad because that balmy winter I've been going on about?  Well it came right back and I'm glad.  If we aren't going to enjoy the white stuff then I say bring back the balm, right? It's been warming up steadily every day this week, and today is supposed to kiss 69 degrees right on the nose.

Sixty-nine degrees, y'all.

If it hits 70 I am doing the happy dance and there's no stopping me.

In celebration of such happy weather times, today has been designated Library Day.  To be followed closely by hot dog day.  Homeboy often eats not much, but stop at the neighborhood 7-Eleven and he can consume two all-beef Oscar Meyers with chili, mustard, and ketchup before I can get the straw in my Pepsi.

It's impressive, is what it is.

I'm hoping to find some little-boy appropriate historical biographies while we're there.  You know the ones?  George Washington is the Father of our Country, and my oh my wasn't that Abe an honest fellow...and hey now that I think about it who was it that cut down that cherry tree?  I'm thinking it could make for some riveting, and well, educational, couch reading with my little man.

(It's a true fact that I seem to have mostly forgotten my elementary education.  I'm reasonably sure I am not, in fact, smarter than a fifth grader.)

(No matter.  I'm a quick study and can re-learn what I forgot I already knew.)

I also would like to find some good reading material for the Lenten season.  I've downloaded Ann V's devotional but I'm not entirely sure it would be best for Mr. I'm Only In First Grade And Focus Is Not My Name.  I need, like, a summer vacation by the pool to go over said material and figure some things out.  

Either way, I have my doubts that the Public Library will have a wealth of Eastery devotional-y types of material but hey, a girl can dream.  Of course now that I think about it this is the same library that has all the "Christian" fiction back behind this wall like it's some type of you know, adult inappropriateness.  They say it's logistics.  Whatever.  I think they're just afraid someone might accidentally pick up a copy of The Yada Yada Prayer Group and accidentally start praying or something.

I've got their number.

Enough of all that.  I need to hit the showers since it's already 8:33 a.m. and in my new life that's gettin' late.


Remember back in the good old days in January when I slept for long periods of time like 7 hours, wiggled my toes for long periods of time upon waking, and my friends worried that a noonish lunch was too early?

Good times, they were.

Although I'm not gonna lie.  Researching historical biographies and lamenting our government's attitude toward wacky women who like to pray makes life feel pretty much full and colorful too.  

Even if my sister did greet me with "Oh my, Aunt Nay does look a little tired this morning..."

I'm sure she meant it as a compliment.

Happy Thursday y'all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mostly Just Wanting to See...

So today is Ash Wednesday.  

Last year I observed Lent by fasting from something utterly meaningless and yet pitifully important to me.  

This year the season is literally on top of me and I still have no idea if...or what I will "give up."  

(Whatever I decide, I think I might keep it just between me & my sweet Jesus this time around :)

I'm not sure why I'm so completely unsure/unsettled this year - I was so certain last year.  

Maybe it's because I'm feeling altogether generally unsettled and overall squirmy right now.

I'm also not sure why I feel so...private about it this year.  
It's interesting how God works differently in our hearts in different seasons, isn't it?

What I do know is time spent with Jesus while focusing on his unfathomable sacrifices for Mess-of-a-Me, is sweet, sweet time well spent, and I'm looking forward to seeing what He wants to show me over the coming weeks.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  Psalm 51:1-2

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bring Out The Popcorn 'Cause It's Movie Time!

Okay folks, time to pull out your favorite blankie, grab a Pepsi on ice, and assume your most polite, albeit blank, stare.

Thaaat's right.  I'm pulling out the home movies.

It had to be done and frankly I'm shocked I don't do it more often.  If I had to guess I'd say perhaps it's because my skills as a videographer are right there on a par with my photography skills and that's all I think I'll say about that.

I lied.  I'll say one more thing.  I don't know what I'm doing.  This video looks so much better viewing it on my computer than after I downloaded it to YT.  If you have knowledge and/or suggestions I'm all ears.  

Whatever.  I'm forging ahead.  It can't be helped.

This is Owen.  He's opinionated, and one, and a little bit messy and crazy-loud, and he sometimes often sounds madder than he is.  He is also snuggly, and cuddly, and smart.  And when he deigns to flash you a smile the whole world just melts away.

So without further adieu, behold my man, my buddy, my sweet, full-of-yummy Owen in all of his grody glory!

(you might want to turn your volume down a touch, ha!)

1.  It was going oh-so-beautifully until I talked over him as he tried to say daddy.  We never fully recovered.  It's all fun & games until Naynay interrupts your flow.

2.  He was terribly aggravated because there were goin's ons to his right with a certain three-week-old bundle of Peyton.  Sir Owen was not having any of the sharing and just couldn't. let. it. go.

3.  Did you catch him blowing that kiss?  Don't worry, it was easy to miss (at :57ish) but in my grandma opinion HILARIOUS.

3.  I tried so hard to get him to say/wave goodbye for the camera (all the flickering shadows are me behind the camera frantically waving at him, ha!) ...and then totally cut the wave off at the end.


Happy Tuesday :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

That Tingly Excitement and Napping While the Flakes Fall


How's that for a bedside view?

Not too shabby for a Monday, huh.

Of course our first snowfall of the year would strike on the very weekend I planned to ditch all the snowmen in my life.  As this has been the balmiest winter in recent memory, I have been SO OVER the snow decor and longing for springy goodness since about the second week of January.  Ironically enough, this would have been my weekend to get the spring-train moving.

This now feels a bit absurd, what with our little valley covered with the white stuff.


Tomorrow is indeed another day.

For THIS day, I vote we revel in all things cold and clean and full of sparkly goodness.

Viva la WINTER!

(A Thousand Gifts #967-982)

that tingly excitement that comes when the first flakes start flying

yeasty cinnamon rolls free of guilt because it's a snow day

the none-other-like-it silence that fills the air

the usually-mundane sparkling in the sun

road trips and audrey conversations and the way my girls tolerate the rambling

napping while the flakes fall and waking to the flakes still falling, and enjoying the happy

lunching traditions

unexpected "free" time

electricity that teased but ultimately chose to stay

promises of the soon return of warm

a near-silent Lord's Day spent only with Him

the perfect completeness I feel when sitting in a room with my children and their children

Happy Monday!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five-Minute Friday: Delight

So I'm sitting here with my laptop on my, well, lap.  I have a large amount of laundry sitting in my car waiting to be carried in the house, dragged up the stairs, and put away appropriately.  Yet I'm sitting here with the aforementioned laptop.

My excuse is I needed to eat the carefully-constructed all-beef hot dog from my local 7-Eleven before it got completely inedible from lack of hot.  As far as excuses go I'm thinking that's a pretty good one.

We did school in the living room (a tiny bit), the car (a little more), Food Lion (what does that box say and what's the difference between that box and this one?), and a good bit inside the laundromat.

I had forgotten how fun it is to school at home where you can make the rules as you go along.  Personally I think watching Elijah's delight in discovering the crazy-big, huge washing machine spinning out the now-clean clothes is the most delight I've experienced since, well, yesterday when I squeezed that newborn that I'm so fond of.

I also find the sound of his laugh to be on the delightful side, 
and quite frankly, hearing him sound out his words makes me a different kind of happy altogether.

...and when he lagged behind me to hold the door open for that delighted woman heading his way?

Yeah, delight doubled.

I do love me a sunny Friday spent with love.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here's What I Know Today

(It ain't much.)

This child slays me.


* * *

The days of the snowman-y theme are numbered here at AB-Inc.
Never have I been so ready for winter to be over in a winter that utterly lacked, well, wintry-ness.  

No matter.  I'm over it.  BRING ON THE TULIPS, is what I'm saying.

* * * 

Elijah just asked me if he can call me Big Granny. 

Big Granny.

* * *

I'm feeling a little stressed out as I'm down to my last four episodes of Murder, She Wrote.   

That's all I can say about that right now.

* * * 

This. I know I've been talkin' Pinterest too much a lot this week, but forget thumbs up
...this little dish gets two hands up from me. Make it today.  Go ahead.  Trust me.

* * *

I'm secretly hoping that Katie is seriously missing her sweet new nephew and is planning to surprise us with a visit very soon.  (Don't tell her as I don't want to exert undue influence.)  This would be a very good thing in that I'm really-really missing my littles.  That silly girl?  Those yummy little-boy smiles?  Forgetaboutit.

* * *

I do not like to prepare breakfast.  Like seriously.   If I don't have hard boiled eggs in the fridge or oatmeal prepared ahead of time or strawberries for my favorite cereal it's going to be a chocolate chip granola bar.
Because that's just the way it is.

Just so's you know, I just this minute ate a granola bar.

* * *

These last couple of days that have strongly resembled winter have cleared out and I'm not even a little sorry.  Back to the 50s!  With abundant sunshine!  And no brutal, knock-me-on-my-bum wind!

* * *

A book should probably be written on the stalling tactics of the first-grader.  I'm glad this first spring we're just getting our feet wet, so to speak, as this kid is way more clever than I in the ways of being very terribly busy doing nothing.

The big accomplishment of today appears to be getting the spelling words written out.  

His mama will be so proud.

Also, I may have just uttered the words, Dude, that's not even a little bit cool.  

I don't remember.

* * *

 This child slays me some more.


Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine

If you don't have a sweet Elijah in your world, 
may I humbly suggest you go forth and find yourself one just as quick as you can?

They tend to color in all the gray parts...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Safe Trust and Undeserved Grace

If I close my eyes I could almost believe I'm 26 years younger and holding my firstborn in my arms.

(Well.  That sounded terribly melodramatic, didn't it, ha!)

A mom doesn't forget the birth of her child.

She just doesn't.

And evidently it never feels more than a closing of the eyes away.

Katie was born amidst a flurry of drama and activity after my doctor discovered on a routine visit that I had preeclampsia.  So they decided right then and there to do a C-section.  You can imagine the frantic goings-ons as we tracked down her dad and other family members while preparing me for surgery.  

I was much too young to be even remotely concerned.  Now that I'm creeping toward oldness I realize that had to be an unsettling time for family who had a clue, but I was all YAY BABY and not the least bit worried.  About 5:32 p.m. (give or take, ha!) she was born and life was never the same.

The end.

Yeah, not so much :)

When my first child was born my life was a swirl of stress and fear, and off-the-charts anxiety.  I couldn't imagine how something so perfect (again, ha!) could be growing in the midst of such real-life hard but isn't God wonderful to insert the wonderful right in the middle of all our hard.

Even when the hard is often of our own making. 

Due to physical maladies, Katie was the baby I never expected to have.  I really hadn't even asked for her...I had already accepted adoption would be my probable path.  And yet there she was.  Here she is.  The deepest desire of my heart in the form of utter joy placed in my arms when I least expected it.

Oh how I love Him so much for that!

(A Thousand Gifts #956-966)

beauty in the middle of hard

fulfilled heart desires and sometimes He doesn't even wait to be asked

trust in a safe place

sweet undeserved grace sprinkled through all of my days

talking without a point on the phone for a long time, and hearing her using her mommy-tone, and how she loves Jesus and how she loves her family, and how she wants to bring honor to His name

her smile, and her laugh, and her cranky face...all mostly the same to this mom

memory...another little something He gives us to make our lives beauty-full.

Happy Birthday Katie!

(I am so hugging you right now)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pinning Can Be a Productive Endeavor From Time to Time...See?

Ah Pinterest.

What did I do with myself before I discovered I could spend way too much time
filling my mind with great ideas that will likely go nowhere?

Source: food52.com via Renee on Pinterest

I feel I might as well just tell you.  You're bound to find out somehow.

My follow-through is broken.

It's been in need of repair for years now.

However, I have actually, in real life standing in my very own kitchen, tried a few or a couple
of the recipes I pinned, and I thought you might like to know how they turned out.  

I'd hate for you to waste your time finding something I've pinned only to find out YUCK.

I'm here to serve.

I aim to please.

(Cause I love ya.)

I shall refrain from talking about things like the home-baked banana chips that in my humble opinion were a Big FAIL.  Mainly because that would be mean.  Also, yummy is somewhat subjective, and if we're really honest with ourselves we know we can't blame the author for the buttered cabbage tasting like...buttered cabbage.  

That being said...

These baked Parmesan tomatoes were a big hit for my discriminating palate.  They were easy as pie to throw together and I'm not lying when I tell you I made pan of these and called them dinner.  

Verdict?  Two thumbs up.

Now the Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries, Banana and Chocolate was kind've a mixed bag for me.  It was actually quite tasty.  The flavors blended well, and I really liked the chocolate chips thrown in with the fruit...but I did have a couple of problems.  First off, it makes quite a bit.  I halved the recipe but still ended up throwing half of it out.  It had a pretty short "shelf-life," and I do live alone, ya know.  

This would be much better if you aren't all alone in the world.

(insert melodramatic, woe-is-me music here.)  

Also, I've tried and tried, but as it turns out I'm not a big fan of baked oatmeal. 
Which is weird because I really, really love oatmeal.  

Verdict?  Thumb up/thumb down.

Speaking of oatmeal, I've mentioned this one before so I won't bore us all with repeating myself. 

(But don't forget the blackberries is all I'm saying.) 

Verdict?  Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

I've baked this tasty delight twice...and enjoyed it about a dozen times.  These spinach lasagna rolls are allegedly on the healthier side, AND I can freeze the rolls individually.  Win/win in my book. 

Verdict?  Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

This crock pot chicken concoction also freezes beautifully, and therefore I've enjoyed it several times.  It actually makes a lot.  When I first made it I put in in a tortilla, burrito style, and it was just...okay, perhaps a touch bland and dare-I-say boring.  When I pulled some out of the freezer later I heated it on the stove, added some more salsa to jazz it up a bit, and then served it over brown rice.  NOW we're talking.  The rice and salsa transformed it into just right, propelling it to favorite status. 

Verdict?  I'd say a modified two thumbs up. 

I've said it before but it bears repeating...PW's pumpkin smoothie is quite possibly the tastiest thing I've come across in recent history.  It both fills me up and makes me feel like I've indulged in a treat.  This is hands down my favorite new recipe of the last year or so.

(p.s.  I really like most of her recipes, but in case you were wondering I'll just tell ya that I found the cheeseburger salad to be just okay.  This is quite possibly my fault.  I probably should have used sweet pickles, ha!  I'll probably give it another try eventually.)

* * *

I also really found the tip about putting together smoothie packets for the freezer very handy.  Again, living alone it's often hard for me to eat up fresh fruits and what-not before they start to get old.  I even froze the yogurt in ice cube trays & then popped them out.  Easy peasy!

So what's next on my list of things to try?

Well, I've had my eye on this dish full of goodness for a while now.  

(Roasted vegetable enchiladas!)

(I'll let you know how it turns out)

In the meantime, have a swell Friday!