Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Naomi's Room

Welcome to Naomi's room! We are so excited about the arrival of our second baby girl. I'm 30 weeks tomorrow and I'm so excited the room is done and ready to go. When we had Nyla last July we had just moved into our house and her room was completed when I was about 36 weeks pregnant. I did NOT want to do that again! I like to be ready and organized even though I don't want Naomi to come until I'm at least 37 weeks so her sweet little lungs develop. :)

Enjoy all the pictures of Naomi's room. It was fun to paint with Hubby, giving us the chance to talk to one another and fun shopping for all the great stuff and making our little projects for her. We did quite a few for Nyla's room not too long ago so we had to do some for Naomi. I'm so ready to meet our second baby girl!

Welcome to Naomi Carrick's room!

Changing area and shelves. These 2 pieces were both in Nyla's room and they were great to have. The shelves will soon be filled with diapers, wipes and anything else we need to keep handy.

Wow this is super blurry.
I originally made this for Nyla but since she's against hair bows it got moved into Naomi's room yesterday. Glad it transferred over though.

Cute lamp my mom recovered from leftover bed skirt fabric. We wanted purple this go around and found some cute fabrics.

Sorry about the blurry pictures, yuck.
I made similar pictures for Nyla, unfortunately I'm not too creative so Naomi got pretty much the same pictures. :)

Hubby's favorite one I did. It hangs in the middle of the 3.

Naomi's crib. This crib was the one my sister and I slept in when we were babies so it's pretty special to be able to have one of my daughter's in it. I originally wanted to use it for Nyla but my mom wanted to set it up in their house; it only got used about 6 times so we so could've used it for Nyla. Oh well.

Up close shot of the bumper pad fabric and ribbon ties. This is the fabric I fell in love with at JoAnn's and couldn't put done. It was VERY hard to match though which was the only set back. I wanted a different fabric on the inside of the bumper pads like we did for Nyla but because of the odd shades of color it didn't work out. It still turned out cute. My mom made all the bedding. She's so good!

Here's a picture Hubby did for Naomi. He's so good and the colors are perfect in her room. I'm in love with it! Now Nyla needs an original by her sweet Dada. :)

Leftover fabric and ribbon make for a super cute pillow. This is another creation on my mom's. This will be our chair to rock, snuggle and feed Naomi in. It was also in Nyla's room but since she could care less to be rocked it got moved. My mom did recover a chair for her room and it's totally cute. I'll have to post the changes me made to her room while in the process of creating Naomi's room.

And the curtain. It was just a plain, beige curtain so my mom used leftover bumper pad fabric and put about 20 inches tall on the bottom and topped it with ribbon. Then did about 10 inches up top (but not all the way to the top) with more ribbon. I'm so happy with how it turned out!

So there's Naomi's room. I hope you enjoyed the tour. We're very excited about it turned out and can't wait to see our baby girl in it! I hope she likes the purple as much as we do! :)

Menu Planning Made Easy

I'm done with involved recipes, at least most of the week. I'm back to making simple meals for our family, meals that don't require a lot of prep time. I'm just tired, tired at the end of the day from chasing a 13 month, being 6.5 months pregnant, it's hot outside, dishes pile up, laundry needs to get done, I need a shower and a nap. I'm just tired. Who's with me?

I love menu planning and won't stop but the meals you'll be seeing here will be more simple than they have been lately. I'm back to recipes with few ingredients.

Menu planning, where to begin?

I do my menu monthly, it's just easier for me at this point. Yes, our plans change and I do move meals around but I don't let that stop me from planning the whole month so it's already done week in and week out. I used my colored pens (yes I love pens) to separate my weeks. I'll use light pink one week, orange the next and blue the next, etc. This just makes it easier to see what week and day we're on. I also mark through the day once it's done. So here's my steps for how I menu plan.

Step 1: Get out supplies.
I get out my recipe binder with my favorite recipes, any other cookbooks, my colored pens and this sheet. I write in my date (ex. Mon, Aug 29) in the smaller box and in the bigger box I write the meal plan along with where I can find it (ex. Parmesan Chicken Tenders-Binder; Baked Chimichangas-Taste of Home, pg. 171). I do this so I can find it so when it comes time to cook and I'm not searching to find my recipe.

Step 2: Start the process.
Pick out your favorite recipes and your family's favorite recipes and write them down. Ask your family to write out a few recipes that are favorites and start with those. I try and prepare as much variety as our budget allows a week. Some weeks it just happens that we have more chicken, like this week, and that's fine with us because it's all prepared differently.
I usually do one Mexican dish and one Italian dish a week since we like those so much. I also do either pizza or breakfast on Friday's and just switch every other week. Some weeks we have leftovers, but I do specify what leftovers we have to plan ahead and use my freezer inventory wisely. Some nights we just have sandwiches and chips too. On Wednesday's and Sunday's I make it easy on myself so we're not rushed before and after church. That's where the wonder of the crock pot comes into play most often. I like that appliance on those two days.

Step 3: Fill in the gaps.
This happens more times than not, I have too many chicken dinners here and I've already done sandwiches that week or breakfast and I'm not sure how to fill in my gaps. Hey, it doesn't always work out perfectly! So I just put in quick stuff, i.e. baked potato with bbq chicken (I always have cooked chicken in the freezer) or we'll do sandwiches again but I'll make a french bread loaf for something different or we'll have more leftovers. It doesn't matter, the fact is I'm planning and thinking ahead and it just works for me.

Step 4: Stick to it.
This may be the hardest step of all for me somedays. I'm craving something different or what's on the menu just isn't appealing. But here's where I don't go crazy... I just move my menu around and pick something from another day. *gasp* You can do that? Of course! I told you, I'm flexible when it comes to that. We do that probably once a week in this house. I don't fret, I just make sure we have all the ingredients for the other meal and adjust. The idea of "stick to it" is just stick to the monthly menu and try not to go away from it. Use what you have and what's available. And it's no problem.
This also comes in handy for not going out so much. People say, "oh we have nothing to eat in this house so I guess we'll just go out." Well that's great for some people but it doesn't work for us. We can't go out every single week, our tight budget doesn't allow. And we both try and watch what we eat and going out doesn't come in line with that. People say they have nothing to eat because they don't plan. If you plan ahead you will have all the food you need for that week's dinners. When you menu plan, make your grocery list, go shopping and you're done. It's that easy!

Step 5: Make it easy on yourself.
Don't pick crazy recipes you know you'll never make. So what if you have spaghetti every week?! Do what you feel comfortable doing and just get in the habit of menu planning. For a long time we'd have spaghetti and chicken fingers every week and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm going back to doing that and Hubby doesn't mind at all. I'll throw in a new recipe here and there to challenge myself and just to have fun with it (most likely on a Saturday when I have help wrangling the babies), but I don't go crazy. Look at my past menu's. They are so not elaborate and detailed. I just don't have the time to make big elaborate meals. If I want to make something somewhat fancy I pick a day where I'm not so busy, say a Saturday that I have free.

I hope that helps you as you venture into the world of menu planning. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try and help. I love talking about planning. I feel it's too easy not to do, but that's just me. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gratituesday: On Comfy Chairs and Love

Last night my Hubby wrote the sweetest blog about our baby girl. Yes, it brought me to tears as most of his blogs about our life together usually do. Read on and be reminded of our loving God's great love for us.

Here's the post:

Every once in a while we need reminders and perspective on the preciousness and value of love. Tonight was my reminder.

You see, our sweet daughter has been undergoing a barrage of teething the last few months. Not just any teething mind you, but the dreaded molars - the big ones - have been popping through. For whatever reason, the last one-year molar is soooooo close to erupting, which, by the way, might be the worst term ever for a tooth coming in, but has yet to break the surface.

Click her to finish reading this post...

This post is linked to Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday!

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Write about it on your blog, then come link up with us here.
If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 29

August 29th-September 4th

As you've seen or will see in posts I'm changing up my dinner menus and going back to make simpler meals. I'm still menu planning but the meals I'm using you may see more than once a month. :) I'm just needing to make life more simple and preparing simpler meals is a step in that direction. While this menu plan doesn't have too many of those simpler meals, I decided to go simple after this week since it was already planned.

Check out my recipe index for all the recipes we eat in this house. I've linked them up to my blog, other blogs, recipe sites and google docs for a quick print out version.

Monday, August 29th:
Beef Chimichangas {new recipe}

Tuesday, August 30th:

Wednesday, August 31st:
Baked potatoes with bbq and homemade bbq sauce

Thursday, September 1st:
made in 2, 8 inch pans for another meal another night

Friday, September 2nd:
Breakfast-Sourdough Waffles {new recipe}
I successfully made my first sourdough starter last week!
And this recipe makes a lot of waffles but I freeze our leftovers, especially breakfast items. Hubby likes to take different breakfast foods to work so I keep our freezer stocked for him.

Saturday, September 3rd:
Easy Chicken and Dumplings {new recipe}
This is a Paula Deen recipe I got from her magazine that I borrowed from a friend. I'm sure it will be tasty! And it's my first try and chicken and dumplings. :)

Sunday, September 4th:

What are you cooking this week?

This post is linked at Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check it out for more great menu planning ideas and options!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 22

August 22nd-August 28th

Happy Monday Ya'll! Sorry I'm late getting my menu out but wee had a nice relaxing day yesterday and I didn't want to give it up and I didn't plan ahead and schedule my posting. Sorry about that!
Here's what's happening in our house this week. For some reason I have a lot of chicken going on, some weeks that's just how it is. When Hubby looked at the menu this week he was really excited about what was planned even if there was a lot of chicken. It features a lot of his favorites, plus 2 new recipes I've been wanting to try.

Monday, August 22:
Grilled Chicken Roller (one of Hubby's favorites)
with mac and cheese and vegetable
I cook this in the oven and will use italian dressing

Tuesday, August 23:
Smothered Aussie Chicken (another of Hubby's favorites)
with rice and vegetable

Wednesday, August 24:
Hamburgers and mac and cheese
We go easy on Wednesday's since we have church

Thursday, August 25:

Friday, August 26:
BBQ Chicken Pizza (a family favorite)

Saturday, August 27:
Lunch: reunion on Hubby's side, we'll make a quick appearance since it's around Nyla's nap time.
Dinner: Breakfast

Sunday, August 28:
Lunch: Crock pot Brown Sugar Chicken (new recipe)
Dinner: Out with church people to discuss Sunday school class stuff
And I have no idea where the recipe came from so I can't link it to anywhere. I'll figure it out and get it on here. Sorry.

What are you enjoying this week?

This post is linked to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check it out for more menu planning ideas!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gratituesday-August 16

I'm thankful for...

My sweet Hubby! I just thought this vacuuming picture was funny. He still does vacuum for me every week which I love; I HATE to vacuum and he doesn't mind so it's win-win!!

Not only am I thankful he likes to vacuum I'm thankful for the man he is. He strives to serve our Lord and learn more everyday. He's getting together studies for a Bible study we're starting at church next month and I love being able to sit with him and talk about what he envisions for the study. I'm praying for him and the people that are to come to it. It's an exciting time in our lives! We have a sweet baby girl and another on the way in November and he's so in love with both of them. I'm thankful he's a loving father and follow of Christ. I couldn't ask for more!
What are you thankful for today?

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday? Write about it on your blog, then come link up with us here. If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 15

August 15- August 21

Happy mid-August!
I have been doing so great with sticking to our menu. I'm so proud of myself. It's not easy with a toddler at your feet but thankfully my husband is home to wrangle her so I can get it done. She still escapes into the kitchen but I hope that means she'll like to cook with me someday!

Here's what's happening in our house this week:

Monday, August 15:
Fettucini Alfredo meal
from our Angel Food box ordered last month

Tuesday, August 16:
Bean and Beef Enchilada Casserole {new recipe}
I've been hitting up our local library the past couple of months and have found a huge section of cookbooks, this is a recipe from one of the books. I think the book was 9x13 casserole type meals.

Wednesday, August 17:
Baked potatoes with leftover bbq
Who doesn't have tons of bbq leftover in their freezer from all the summer's activities? This is a great way to do something different with it. Try our homemade bbq sauce too!

Thursday, August 18:
Chicken Taco Pasta {new recipe}
This is another meal from the cookbook finds at the library. It's made with ground chicken which I've never used so it'll be an adventure in new recipes and new ingredients!

Friday, August 19:
I've been looking at this recipe for awhile and I think I'll finally try it!

Saturday, August 20:
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches {family favorite}:
This is a quick meal to throw together because I already have cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer from making my chicken in the crock pot. I also make some homemade rolls to go with it. So yummy!

Sunday, August 21:
Stouffer's Meal
from our Angel Food box ordered last month

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

For more menu planning ideas see Menu Plan Monday's.

This post is linked to I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check out the page for more great ideas.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Favorite Finds

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with SnoWhite for her weekly "Friday Favorite Finds" where we share the recipes we've been spying this week. Hop on over to her blog and check out the great recipes!
Here are mine:

from: Picky Palate

from: Eat at Home Cooks

from: Picky Palate

Just a few this week as it's been busy around here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pizza Sauce-My Quest for the perfect one!

French bread pizza-another favorite in our house!

The past few years I've experimented with so many different dough recipes until I found my favorite one. You can find the recipe here. I love it and so does Hubby. It makes a great whole wheat thin crust just the way we like it. I've been dabbling in homemade pizza's for about 4 years now and love the taste so much better than frozen, though I don't turn my nose up at frozen. If we're in the mood for one we certainly go get one but we try and make our own as much as possible.

Lately, I've been looking for our perfect pizza sauce and have yet to come up with one. I have one (recipe here) but I haven't liked it very much lately. I found another one from What Meghan's Making and tried it this past Friday but it's just okay to me. I feel like it could be our recipe but it's missing something, I'm just not sure what it is. And don't get me started on store bought. Yuck! I just don't like it; it tastes really fake to me and weird too. I can't explain it, it just does.
So, I need your help! I need a great pizza sauce recipe and I want to know your recipes. Please help!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday-August 8

Week of: August 8-August 14

Bbq chicken with sauteed peppers over brown rice
(My homemade bbq sauce recipe)

(Unfortunately this is a store-bought version since I haven't found a great homemade version. Do you have one you'd like to share with me?)

Lean Cuisine Meal
(We got it in our Angel Food box last month)

Nyla, my mom and I are headed to Kansas City, Kansas to see my little sister. We were supposed to go in March but Ny got very sick and we had to call the ambulance; hoping that doesn't happen again and we're all healthy enough to go! So Hubby is on his own, but I have stocked the freezers with good meals so he won't starve!!! :)

Fettucini Alfredo
(We got this in our Angel Food box last month)

What are you cooking this week?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Favorite Finds

Welcome Friday! I'm ready for the weekend and I know y'all are too!!
I'm linking up with SnoWhite at Joy in my Kitchen for her weekly addition of Friday Favorite Finds where we share recipes we've been eyeing all week long and can't wait to try. Come link up and join the fun!

Here are the recipes I've been looking at:

from: A Season for All Things

from: Joy in my Kitchen

I'm going to combine these 2 recipes to come up with my own, at least that's the plan!

from: Annie's Eats
I've been looking for a starter for awhile and might finally take the plunge into the process, we'll see!

That's all I've got this week since we've been busy around here. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

BBQ Cheddar Chicken Roll-Ups

Last week I used some fresh vegetables (bell pepper and jalapenos) from my garden to help with this delicious chicken dish. I had leftover homemade tortillas in the freezer that I defrosted and was able to make this chicken dish in about 15 minutes. I like that kind of dinner night!
Because of the jalapenos the dish was a little spicier than we like, but the flavor was spot on.
Happy Cooking!

BBQ Cheddar Chicken Roll-Ups

1 each-large green and red pepper, cut into strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into strips*
1/3 cup bbq sauce (my homemade version)
4 whole wheat tortillas, warmed (homemade tortilla's recipe)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook veggies about 3 minutes, add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add in bbq sauce and heat through.
2. Spoon chicken mixture down center of tortillas, top with cheese. Roll up and cut in half.
3. Serve and enjoy!

*You could always use pre-cooked chicken if you're in a hurry. OR try my whole chicken in the crock pot, shred when done and somewhat cooled and freeze for later use. I do that all the time!

See wasn't that easy?? :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Homemade Wheat Tortillas

Have I mentioned how much I love SnoWhite's recipes over at Joy in my Kitchen? Okay, I thought so, but I wanted to tell you again! :)
Quite a few months ago I ran across her wheat tortilla recipe. I saved it on my "recipes to try" list for awhile, then printed it out and it sat in my recipe binder for quite some time, months in fact. About 6 weeks ago I finally tried them. Yes, it seemed overwhelming looking at the recipe, I mean they're homemade tortillas for goodness sakes. I can easily buy them right? Well not anymore! This recipe is too good to go out and buy some now. And they're surprisingly easy to put together. Don't be daunted because they're homemade. They're actually quite fun to roll out! And they freeze great to be used later. I actually pulled some out of the freezer just last week to use and they tasted just as good as if they were hot off the griddle. So that's win-win.

Homemade Wheat Tortillas-from SnoWhite

Yield: about 10-12 tortillas

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1/4 oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

In a bowl, stir together oil, water, salt and baking powder. Slowly stir in 3 cups flour.
When mixed, knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes.
Form into a ball and set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
Cut dough in half and divide each half into 5-6 balls. Form them into balls and set aside for another 10 minutes (resting makes them easier to work with).
Using your rolling pin roll out on a floured surface, in an 8-10 inch circle. It won't be a perfect circle, don't fret!
Preheat griddle to 350 F and place tortillas in a single layer on hot griddle. Cook on there 3-5 minutes, per side, until a little brown and bubbly.

Then use in any recipe you like. They're worth it, try them!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Strawberry Fruit Pizza

Fruit pizza, who doesn't love it? I had someone tell me the other day, "There for a while everyone was making fruit pizza at get-togethers, then suddenly they stopped. It's not like it wasn't good anymore!" And I couldn't agree more!

The past few weeks I've been spending a decent amount of time getting my recipes organized through Google Docs and have really enjoyed it. It's given me a chance to look through some of the recipes that I've collected but never made or haven't made in quite awhile. This is one of those recipes. It's actually a combination of recipes that I have. This recipe is for strawberry pizza and a fruit pizza I made a few years ago.

The variations I did were, no cool whip in the topping (b/c I didn't have any); 4 oz cream cheese instead of 8 oz and I added half a stick of room temperature butter. I also added more than just strawberries on the top. And for the glaze the container was only about 13 oz, not 16 and that was more than enough.
It was my first time to make this actual crust, I usually use my sugar cookie recipe, but this one was great and much easier to put together.

Strawberry Fruit Pizza

Strawberry Pizza

From: Julie Richardson

Yields: 1 pizza



2 cups flour

½ cup powdered sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

Mix until like dough and spread over ungreased pizza pan.

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until light tan.

Cool completely.


1 cup powdered sugar

1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1 (8 oz) cool whip

Cream sugar and cheese together.

Add cool whip and mix together.

Spread over cooled crust.

Clean 2 quarts strawberries, sliced and mix with 1 (16 oz) jar of continental strawberry glaze.

Spread over pizza.

Refrigerate before serving, 2+ hours.

Store leftovers in fridge.

This post is linked to Blessed With Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.