Tuesday, November 24, 2009

thank you crayola

...for making washable crayons. what was supposed to be "playroom time" turned into...





pretty inconvenient, but i wouldn't feel like k and b's childhood was complete if they didn't do it at some point. don't all kids have a picasso moment on mom's (newly painted) walls?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

lost sheep

i listened to a sermon by one of my favorite pastors, tim keller, this morning. it was an interesting teaching on jesus's referral to us as sheep. when reading of myself as a sheep before, i pictured myself as a sweet, cuddly little lamb that jesus likes to hold and pet because i'm cute and sweet. this morning, i was given a new view of myself that lined up even more with the ultimate picture of redemption god has been been showing me over the past 8 or so years.

i spent most of my life trying to do better. i grew up in church and pretty much always knew in theory that i needed a savior, but really i thought i needed a savior to save me and get me into heaven and the rest of it was about doing better and trying to emulate jesus's perfect life. i was pretty good at being good. i'm a people pleaser by nature. i like approval and i like for other people to think i've got it together. it's why i understand kennedy so well and struggle to understand blakely sometimes. i like to cooperate and meet people's expectations. so my life looked good. the truth is that my life looked like a life surrendered to jesus, but my heart was a phariseeical mess. i thought others should have it together like i did. i was self-righteous and propped myself up above others, demanding that they act like i was acting. that's not to say that i've arrived now and grown out of that; it's just that the older i get, the more i see my sin, my need for a savior, and god's complete and total pursuit and redemption of his people.

i like when i'm given a new picture to point me towards god's redemption of my rebellious heart, and tim keller's reminder of us as sheep was a good picture of who i really am and the amazement of god's love despite it. here's what i learned about us as sheep:

when the bible calls us sheep and god our shepherd, it's a very well-meant insult. a sheep is a stupid animal. it loses its direction continually in a way that a cat or dog never does. and even when you find a lost sheep, it goes to and fro and won't follow you home, so when you find it you must seize it, throw it to the ground, tie its 4 legs together, throw it over your shoulder, and carry it home. that's the only way to save a lost sheep.

i love this picture of myself as a sheep. i like being insulted in this way. when i was the sweet, cuddly lamb, anyone would want to love me and rescue me. there was something in me that called for that. when i'm a rebellious, wayward, stupid animal, if i'm rescued it's because jesus just loved me that much. nothing in and of myself deserved the rescue. even in the ugliness of my sin, he wrestles me to the ground, throws me over his shoulder, and takes me home. i don't waddle over to him, rub up against his leg, and ask to be petted. my heart is rebellious. i'm not good. he is. and i constantly need to be rescued. like the sheep, i am completely and utterly lost and the shepherd must do everything for my salvation. i'm not a dog or cat who will willingly follow my master home. it wouldn't have helped me for god to send a great teacher who tells me how to live and gives me a great picture to emulate. it's not okay for me to just try and live like jesus. i need a savior. i need someone to do everything i should have done, who has to live the life i should have lived, and die the death i should have died to bring me all the way home. i'm the infinitely lost sheep, but i have an infinitely loving shepherd. my shepherd will do anything to bring me home, and he does do everything to bring me home.

in my old identity, i was a good person, and i took a lot of pleasure in that. it left me feeling good about myself, but left me feeling superior to those who couldn't perform as well as me. the more i see my new identity as being completely wretched, but completely loved in spite of that fact, the more i'm learning to love others and see myself as better than no one. do i do it perfectly? not even close. i don't even do it to my own husband or kids. if i did, i wouldn't demand performance out of others the way i do. but the more i see how very sheep-like i am, the more i am able to see the great love of my savior, and that love is slowly transforming my self-righteous, wayward heart. it's a slow process, but he promises in his grace to continually rescue me and take me all the way home.

Monday, November 16, 2009

meat mania

kroger is having a 4 day "meat mania" sale through this wednesday, so it's time to stock up if you've got some extra freezer space. protein is my 2nd favorite nutrient, but with 4 (very hungry) mouths to feed, meat can get expensive quickly. not to mention, most men don't consider a meal without meat dinner...just a "snack", and my husband is no exception. i'll give you my methods for quick meals using chicken and ground beef...

chicken is $1.59 a pound during the sale for boneless, skinless breasts, which is the lowest i can ever remember seeing it at a grocery store. it's still not as low as the tyson plant, but much more convenient. so here's what i do with the packs and packs i bring home (raw chicken grosses me out, and pictures of it are no exception, but it helps me explain):


1. place each piece individually on a piece of foil. i use reynold's wrappers, which are individual sheets of aluminum foil that my dollar tree sells. there are 25 sheets in each dollar box, so it's a really good deal and much easier.


2. sprinkle each piece with salt and pepper and maybe a little garlic powder. i avoid using any other spices because i use it in lots of different recipes and don't want the flavors to clash. wrap each seasoned piece.


3. place each wrapped piece in a gallon ziploc and freeze.

now when you're ready for a quick lunch, pull a piece out of the freezer, bake it wrapped and frozen, and you've got a high quality, inexpensive, and easy source of protein to pair with a fruit plate or shred over a salad. when you need a quick dinner for your family, pull out as many pieces as you need and bake the same way (i usually bake on 350 for an hour and a half or so if i've got a lot of time, or bump the heat up to 425 for 40 or 45 minutes if i'm in a hurry). if you're really tight on your budget with thanksgiving and the end of the month coming up (actually, it's the middle, but for some reason my budget feels like the end this month), head to publix. i got sweet potatoes this morning for 38 cents a pound. i wrap a bunch of those up in foil the same way and keep them in the fridge...they'll keep for a few weeks and you can just add them to the oven with your chicken. i always keep salad fixings on hand, so on nights i don't feel like cooking, dinner is as easy as throwing chicken and potatoes in the oven and tossing a salad. (and as usual, high in my faves, fiber and protein). if you've got more time, you can bake and shred some chicken for casseroles.

k and b just woke up from their naps, so i've gotta run, but i'll try to get back on tomorrow and write my method for ground beef.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

mini me x 2

k and b like to cook almost as much as me. they know how to work my kitchen-aid mixer and crack an egg, and instead of watching cartoons, they ask to watch food network. i don't really know what it means to cook alone anymore, but i love having 2 little helpers in my kitchen. i feel like i have my own cooking show. here's my audience...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

pictures

so, the pictures are here and katie is amazing for still getting so many good shots despite our issues that day. here are a few of them. i'll put the rest on facebook so they don't overtake the blog...











Tuesday, November 10, 2009

weekend recap

this weekend was a much needed one for brett and i. we try to have a date night once a week to re-connect apart from our kids, but lately we haven't spent as much time together as our marriage needs. in an effort to crack down on some of the discipline problems we've encountered, we haven't wanted to leave k and b much for fear that they would fall back into some of their old habits. they've been in boot camp. it's been pretty effective, but it's hard to know how to find a balance between parenting our kids effectively and making sure we pour enough time and energy into our marriage. kennedy and blakely have been different kids for almost 2 weeks now. i really don't even know what we're doing that different, but whatever it is, we need to keep it up. i want to figure out a way to be what k and b need, but be what brett needs at the same time. always a balancing act...

anyway, brett was in a wedding of one of our friends from college friday night, so between the rehearsal dinner thursday night and the wedding friday night, we got some much-needed time together. we were surrounded by people both evenings, but it was fun to enjoy a couple of nights out with friends, and to have saturday to spend time with just brett. my aunt and uncle kept k and b, so it was good to know they were having fun and not missing us too much ("not too much" as in they didn't want to come home and begged to stay 3 nights). i love to be alone with brett and laugh and have good conversations that have nothing to do with our kids. i love being married to my best friend and i love that every time i'm with him i realize new ways he's perfect for me. not to mention, i'm pretty sure he's the only guy that would put up with me for 6 years. i've had some pretty psycho mood swings with these crazy kids of mine ;) i had some cute pictures i was going to post from the weekend, but i can't pull them up for some reason. if i figure it out, i'll post them later. good night!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

flip flop

so, i'm wondering if any of my cyber friends have been worried about my sanity and prayed for blakely. if so, i've got good news and bad news. the good news is blakely has been an angel this week. she's been pleasant and sweet and obedient and smiled way more than she has whined. the bad news is she passed her old vibes on to her partner in crime. she's enjoying her week as "the good one". she informed me last night that she's "very fa-rustrated with the way kennedy has been acting this week", and asked k this morning if she was going to be in a better mood today.

on another note, if you live near an ingles, they have london broil on sale for $2.28 a pound this week. stock up to throw a few in your freezer and you'll always be ready for one of my favorite mexican crock-pot recipes from cooking light....

{slow-cooker beef-and-bean burritos}
*ingredients:
2 pound london broil
1.25 oz package taco seasoning
1 cup chopped onion
1 T white vinegar
4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
16 oz can fat free refried beans
12 8 in flour tortillas (i use whole wheat)
6 oz low fat shredded monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomato
3/4 cup low fat sour cream
*prep:
trim fat from meat. rub taco seasoning over both sides (i usually just sprinkle on top in the crock pot. it all gets mixed together at the end anyway). spray crock pot with cooking spray and place meat in. add onion, vinegar, and green chiles. cover and cook on lowest setting. when meat is done, shred it with 2 forks and mix around with all of the cooking liquid. warm beans and tortillas and place 2 T beans down middle of each tortilla. spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture on top, then top with your choice of tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese.

these are cooking light's directions, but of course you can be more lax. i just throw a little of everything on each tortilla.
if i use a big london broil, it makes enough for 2 meals for our family, so i freeze the cooked meat and heat it for a quick week night meal. also, if you want to always have the ingredients on hand, you can buy frozen chopped onions and keep tortillas and an extra london broil in the freezer to use since everything else except the toppings is non-perishable. i like trader joes' handmade whole wheat tortillas. adds to my favorite nutrient, FIBER! this has also been my latest go-to meal for taking to moms who have just had a baby. it's a healthy alternative to the fat-laden casseroles we usually take. i just package each item in a separate aluminum container and tie it all up with raffia. looks cute and something a little more unusual. hope you try it and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

i could...

give my towels a pretty home.


never forget a trip essential.


pretend it's summer anytime i want to.


hang this on my oven but never use it because i like it too much.


drop off the dry cleaning in style.


www.shopmadisonbelle.com
i would jump up and down if a package from this shop showed up on my doorstep. there's nothing here i don't love.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ladybug, ladybug

not much to report on the halloween front. we saw kole and laney, my brother kevin's kids, the day before, but that was the only time k and b wore their costumes. between the georgia/florida game and rainy weather, we stayed in and the girls had more fun giving out candy (and eating half of it) to the kids who came to trick-or-treat. here are some pictures of the girls with their cousins...


kole the monkey


laney, the other ladybug


blakely hugging kole


kennedy hugging laney