Friday, February 27, 2009

Foto Friday!

Even though I had a session with the most ADORABLE little newborn last weekend, I for some reason feel inspired to post a picture of my sweet little Reagan today. But do check out my photography blog to see little Baby O in all of his cuteness.

wm e DSC_0008

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Panko Chicken . . . Tasty Tuesday on Thursday

I missed Tasty Tuesday this week so I am doing it on Thursday. This recipe is from my friend Lindsey who is a part of our cooking club.

4 chicken breasts
1 egg
1 T water
1 cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
olive oil for frying

1. Pound chicken with cooking mallet to flatten.
2. Flour chicken lightly, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
3. Mix 1 egg with 1 T water.
4. Dip chicken into egg mixture.
5. Mix 1 cup Panko bread crumbs with 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in Ziplock bag. Dip chicken into mixture to coat.
6. Bring oil to medium heat in skillet. Fry on each side for 5 minutes.

This is so good. We have had it twice now. After it is fully cooked, Lindsey freezes it. I just thaw it overnight and then fry it up a little more to heat it up.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You Were Right!

Okay, so some of you already knew, but congrats to those of you who correctly guessed the answer to Friday's pop quiz! :)

Since I think the word is now out to everyone we know around here and our families, I thought I would share it with all of you - especially those of you who know me personally but do not leave comments or ever call (Belinda!!!!). :) This week marks the 11th week of pregnancy for me. I'm feeling pretty lousy and have been for about 5 weeks now. I'm looking forward to feeling better, but I must admit that this time around has not been nearly as bad as I recall the last three pregnancies being. I've actually had a couple of good days and several okay days. (I usually only get bad and really bad days.) So I'm grateful for that.

I'm also grateful for all of my dear friends from church who have been over to help me clean my house, cook dinner, and watch my kids so I can get a bit of extra rest.

Things have been interesting for me thus far. This is my first pregnancy during which I have been trying to simultaneously run our family and a business. It's been a challenge to say the least. Usually the time I work on business-related projects is after everyone goes to bed (around 8pm), but I've been so exhausted lately that I've been in bed at the same time as everyone else! I am slowly learning how to balance things and getting into a rhythm, I think.

I also really appreciate Gretchen taking the time to do most of the posting lately as I have not been up to it. (Thanks, Gretchen!)

My husband and I are so thankful for this new life the Lord has given us! We hope you will rejoice with us in this miracle! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Money Monday . . . Some freebies

Go to IHOP tomorrow, February 24th, for a free short stack of Pancakes. You can find the details here.

Get a free Kashi frozen entree - go here to fill out the form and get the coupon!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Foto Friday!

Guess what this is and win a prize! Well okay, not really. I have no prizes. But go ahead and guess anyway... :)

foto friday fun

I'll give you a hint. These usually come in pairs.

...and a Praise!!

I posted a prayer request about a month ago about two newborns who were in very critical care. I am happy to report today that the Lord has answered the prayers of His people! Both babies are now home with their families and doing well!

For updates you may visit their mommy's blogs here and here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Overcome with Grief

As I was surfing the net tonight, I came across this horrific story about a 16-month old boy who was murdered last month in a Chicago daycare. According to the daycare attendant's own testimony, she became frustrated with the child for being so noisy so she slammed him into the floor. From there, he grabbed his blanket and crawled to his "comfort zone", a bouncy seat, where he later died.

I am absolutely heartbroken over this. My youngest daughter is 16 months old and this story just hits too close to home. The tears continue to fall as I type this post.

People are ranting and raving about why such a woman as this would have been allowed to be a daycare aide. But I am reminded that we are ALL sinners by nature, we are ALL prone to outbursts of anger, and we are ALL capable of this. Does that justify her act? Absolutely NOT! But as we consider this story, let's remember that any of us at any time could lash out in this manner. Thankfully, solely by the grace of God, most of us have not.

Hug your kids a little tighter today. Count your blessings a little more often. And you think of this family and their tragic loss, pray for them. I just cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through....

Thankful Thursday

My little girl spent the evening in the ER last night.

She is such a little stinker! She found a bottle of Claritin in my purse last night and had opened the "child-proof lock", resulting it me going into a COMPLETE panic. I called 911 who directed me to poison control who directed me to go to the ER with her.

We sat and sat for 4 hours and she was fine. They said she would have had to have eaten more than 4 pills to have an adverse reaction (seriously??? 4 pills in a 2yo????), so apparently she had fewer than that, if any. She told me she ate some, but who knows if she actually did.

Here is a (terrible quality) camera phone picture of her in her hospital bed holding the little bear she was given when we arrived:

Anyway, we are thankful to be home and that she is fine! But boy, am I exhausted!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Brownies . . . Is there anything better?

I made these brownies this week. I am always on the look out for homemade brownies that are as fudgy as the mix kind and these are the BEST brownies ever - really (except for my friend Amanda - you are still the brownie queen). I posted them on my other blog this week. Anyway, my husband absolutely loves these and he isn't the biggest fan of desserts (weird I know). And I know what you are going to say, yes, Gretchen, you put 1 cup of butter and over 2 cups of sugar in anything and it will taste good. Well, live a little and enjoy these brownies - just don't eat the whole pan and have a salad before and a big glass of water afterwards to make yourself feel better.

Thanks King Arthur!
Fudge Brownies


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

For more kitchen tips and recipes please check out Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy’s recipes and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Money Monday . . . Allowance or Commission?

If you have listened to Dave Ramsey you have probably heard him say that he doesn't do allowance he does commission.

An allowance is defined as:
1. The act of allowing.
2. An amount that is allowed or granted: consumed my weekly allowance of two eggs.
3. Something, such as money, given at regular intervals or for a specific purpose: a travel allowance that covers hotel bills.

A commission is:

4. A fee or percentage allowed to a sales representative or an agent for services rendered.

As of now, we choose to do the commission route. Our son is 3 1/2 and he is quite the capitalist already.

We have a "responsibility chart". It is already filled out with things for my son to do such as brushing his teeth, making his bed, cleaning his room, helping his sibling(s), using good manners and other tasks such as that. He gets a check for each thing he does everyday. At the end of the day we put the total number of checks in the box. At the end of the week we add up how many checks he got and my husband pays him $0.25 per check (high, I know!). Then we immediately take 10% and have him put it in his piggy bank. We take the other 10% and have him save it for tithe at church the next day. We allow him to spend the rest as he wants to right now. We of course, guide him into making good choices with his money, but lets face it - he's 3 so toys are what he thinks about right now.

I have found that this system is working. My 3 1/2 year old son did something amazing tonight. He came up to me and said, "Mommy, come and look I cleaned my room." I was skeptical because we had not asked him to clean his room so I checked it out and he had cleaned his room! The toys were put away along with his clothes. I was so proud and amazed! Then I realized the motive. He had been carrying around the Toys R Us ad from today's paper. He already had some toys in mind to buy.

But hey, at least he is learning that he must do something in order to be paid for it. I think whatever you choose to do with your children, whether allowance or commission is fine. Either way as long as you are teaching them how to handle their money and what is a priority then you are doing the right thing.

Of course as our son gets older we will steer him in a direction of giving and not just buying toys for himself. Although he always wants to buy toys for his cousin too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy (almost) Valentine's Day!

I hope you enjoy lots of time with your loved ones this weekend!

wm e DSC_0159

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It seems we all have so much to be thankful for. This week I am so thankful for good friends. One of my friends from church has a daughter who is a year older than my daughter. Just a few days ago she brought over 4 boxes of clothing and a big bag of shoes. It was so fun to go through all of these boxes. Literally I should not have to buy my daughter anything for the rest of the year. There were so many outfits and pajamas. I am so thankful for this! It was incredibly generous I believe.

What about you? What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tasty Tuesday . . . Bacon Cheeseburger Roll Up

This is one meal that my husband really loves. I know it may not be the healthiest, but it is easy and you can add a salad and it won't be that bad. The original recipe is from Kraft. I made just a few small changes.

1 lb. lean ground beef
4 slices Bacon, chopped- Sometimes I just omit the bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) Shredded Cheese - the original recipe calls for Velveeta (I personally don't use a "cheese product" I prefer to use real cheese)
1 homemade pizza crust - this crust is quick and easy and good

Then I just follow the instructions:

oven to 400°F. Brown ground beef with bacon and onions in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain.

UNROLL dough onto baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Press into 15x8-inch rectangle; top with meat mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Roll up, starting at one of the long sides. Rearrange if necessary so roll is seam-side down.

BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until golden brown.

This meal is even easier if you have a frozen pizza crust on hand that you have pre-made and some frozen ground beef that you have already cooked up. It makes for a quick week night meal!

For more kitchen tips and recipes please check out Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy's recipes and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Money Monday . . . Cheap TV

Many of you might subscribe to cable (and you might not). We have been off of cable for some time now. Well, we have the limited basic which is your basic channels plus a few government channels and one cable channel (AMC I think). Anyway, if you do find you miss some of your shows once you shut that cable off you may want to visit You probably have heard of this. It is a free website that allows you to view many shows. You can watch Home and Garden shows. Shows on Bravo. You can also watch recaps of your shows from ABC, NBC, FOX and so on. There are also several movies and family friendly shows.

You can also visit Nick Jr. to watch Dora and some of the other Nickelodeon cartoons. If your older children liked Cartoon network they have some of their cartoons on their to watch for free. Just be careful, some of their cartoons are very inappropriate.

Also, once you get those converter boxes that the government is subsidizing (don't you love that TV is now a NEED instead of a want), you will also get more channels than you have had (unless you already have an HD TV). You will get at least three PBS stations and other stations as well.

We have our computer in our kitchen so we can moniter the shows that our kids watch because it is in a central location. It is nice also to be able to watch cooking shows and other things while I am doing the cooking and cleaning in the kitchen.

Also, there is a satellite company called Sky Angel that only allows family friendly programming. The subscription is not very expenisve, but the set up might be. I haven't checked into it that much, but if someone has, please let me know what you think.

If you have any more tips for free TV or entertainment, please let me know.


Friday, February 6, 2009

A Winner - For Real!

The winner of the book Financial Peace is:

Sarah (savvysahmreviews@)

Thank you all for participating!

Sarah, if for some reason you did not receive my email, please leave a comment here and I will contact you again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And the Winner Is!......well......

Sorry this post is a bit late. I completely forgot about posting a winner for the Dave Ramsey book giveaway this weekend!

There's also one other small detail: The winning commenter posted anonymously and did not leave an email address.'s what we're gonna do....

The writer of the following comment needs to contact me by NOON on Friday, February 6th (yes, that's two days from now!) in order to claim the prize. The comment that was left was this:

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book! We are in control of our finances, but would like to stay that way. And maybe find helpful advice for my mother who is entering bankruptcy for the second time!

(Anonymous, you can email me at fluud7(at)yahoo(dot)com if you don't want to leave another comment.)

If I don't hear from "Anonymous" by NOON on Friday, February 6th, a new winner will be chosen and announced!

Thanks for participating, everyone! You may still have a chance! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tasty Tuesday . . . Smoky Corn Chowder

We had a Ladies' Soup Cook Off at my church on Saturday. It was a good time. We got to try out various different soups and vote on our favorite. Well, I was excited when the soup that I chose as my favorite won first prize. It was delicious! So I thought I would share the recipe with you today. Normally, I am not a fan of chowder-type soups, but this one was so good!

Smoky Corn Chowder
by: Carol Stephens

1/ c. chopped yellow onion
4 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 c. milk
1 17-oz. can whole-kernel corn, drained (I'm sure you could use frozen as well)
12 or 16 oz. pkg. smoked sausage links, drained and sliced

In a saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender, but not brown. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk all at once. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly, about 1 minute. Stir in corn and sausage. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

For more kitchen tips, please visit Tammy's Recipes.

Also check out Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.