Friday, December 2, 2011

Someone's Not Getting a Christmas Card this Year....

.. and that person is you.

Seriously.

It's nothing personal - I've just decided that I'm not sending them out this year for the following reasons:
1. Most of the people who would get one are already my friend on Facebook. You've seen a quasi-recent photo of my family so it doesn't make sense for me to get photo cards printed. Any decent photos of us have probably already been posted to good ol' FB, so I have no new material to offer you guys.
2. I am too lazy to do hand written cards. Sad, but true.
3. I've decided to take the money that I could have spent on sending out Christmas cards and to put it to better use. Which is where you come in.

Instead of spending $50 to buy cards and stamps, I'm going to offer you a generic Merry Christmas via my blog and donate the money to World Vision. Since you've been cheated out of a card from our family, you get to vote on where the money goes. Here are your choices:
1. Fast growing, drought resistant seeds for 2 families. This will enable a family to grow and harvest foods like cabbage, green beans, maize, peas, rice, etc.
2. Four Chickens - This provides eggs for the family to eat and extra eggs to sell.
3. Mosquito nets to protect children in Africa from malaria. Because mosquitoes suck.
4. Emergency food for children in Africa.
I'll also allow a write-in vote if you know of a ministry/organization that's in need.
Cast your ballot in the comments section. I'll let you know which received the most votes in a couple of weeks! And have a Happy New Year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Welcome to the World Baby Evie!

Evangeline Grace was born on November 8th at 3pm. So far she has been a pretty good sleeper (which I am not used to) so I'm enjoying it for as long as it lasts. :-) Here are a few pictures:





Monday, November 7, 2011

Just in case you were wondering...

Yup, I'm still pregnant. Today is my due date, but I'm in no rush for this kid to come out. Besides, it's an odd numbered day and we all know how I feel about that.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Look Who's In My Womb.....

Today I had an ultrasound. They usually don't do them at 34 weeks, but my placenta was really low at my 20 week ultrasound, so they needed to see whether or not I would need a c-section. (Apparently you need a c-section if the placenta is less than 2 cm from the cervix. Mine is exactly 2 cm away, so I am going to barely squeak by in avoiding the c-section. Hooray!) Anyway, baby #3 was not very cooperative last time and the only picture I got looked a tad like Skeletor. I asked the tech to see if she could get a few pictures that I could show my kids without scaring them. She was able to get a few semi-decent shots, but the kid kept putting it's hand next to it's face and sucking on the umbilical cord (which she assured me was totally normal, even though I thought it was weird). I took a quick glance at the pics and stuck them in my purse.
An hour later, after stopping for a celebratory no c-section Baja Fresh burrito, I brought the ultrasound pics home to show my mother-in-law who was watching the kids. She took one look at them and said, "This one looks just like Lou!" Apparently there is some type of artifact (maybe the umbilical cord or something) right around the mouth which makes the kid look like (s)he has a goatee. It looks like my husband is growing in my uterus. Seriously. If this kid ends up being a girl, she might not appreciate this ultrasound picture when she's a teenager. So, without further ado, I present baby #3...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Pen

The following is my favorite conversation of the day:

 "Hey mom - did you know there is something called a happy pen?" 

"Really?"

"Yup - you get it when you go to kindergarten. It looks cute. I saw it on tv. I need one."

She's actually referring to an epi-pen. We saw a commercial about a little girl who had a peanut allergy, but her mom felt safe sending her on the bus to school because she had her epi-pen (or happy pen) with her. Ah, the power of commercials. 



Friday, July 22, 2011

Want to Venture a Guess?!?

The baby poll is up and running. Click here. The game name is "BabySierra3" in case you need to enter it. Winner gets bragging rights and a big hug from Gabbi.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why You Won't See the First Picture of Baby #3 on My Fridge

Apparently this kid is an acrobat. It twisted and turned and flipped and punched and kicked its way through my ultrasound. So this is the one and only picture I have. On top, the sonographer did manage to get a view of its foot before it kicked the transducer. The bottom picture appears to show that the kid has at least one eyeball. 

In other news, I am taking any and all name suggestions. Lou and I haven't even discussed names, and I'm pretty sure we won't settle on anything anytime soon. We don't know what the gender is. (I didn't want to know, but Lou did. The sonographer told me that she was soooo relieved that I didn't really want to know because she couldn't have told me with all of its flippy flopping and general lack of cooperation.) So, send me any and all names you think of for this kid. Obviously, names that rhyme with "Sierra" are out. 
No Karas or Sarahs or Taras.
Thanks. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Super Duper Busy Month




June has been super busy for us. (I actually wrote part of this post when it was still June, but only got to finish it tonight.) Here's a few of the things we've been up to...

Dutch Wonderland

Early in the month we took a trip with the Sierra side to Dutch Wonderland. (Gabbi keeps calling it Scotch Wonderland. I think a wonderland of scotch would be a whole different experience.) Despite it being really hot and poor Micah coming down with a fever, everyone had a good time.



Micah and Daddy chilling at the pool.

Gabbi would like to live at the hotel, especially when I let her eat oreos and watch cartoons in the bed.

Hooray for the choo-choo!

Charlie's First Birthday 


Mom & Tot's Camp
Shannon, Liz, Audrey and I loaded up our kids and drove several hours to Camp Hebron in PA. It was a nice mixture of mom time, kid time, and family time.

The kids were not invited to archery. 



This is prior to the super bumpy "Landon and Micah think they are going to die" tractor ride. Everyone is happily eating their cookies. 





Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Parade Time Again

Gabbi and Micah really enjoyed the recent Deptford Day parade, despite the ear piercing noise from the fire engines and police cars.

Micah is always happy if you give him a soft pretzel.


I would also like to show you an example of appropriate parade marching/dancing and less appropriate parade dancing. I'll let you judge which is which. 

video
video

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why My Daughter Loves Me...

Gabbi's preschool made Mother's Day cards this week. The theme was "I love my mommy because..." Here's what Gabbi had to say:


At least I know she's easy to please...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Helpful Hints for the Digestively Challenged

A good friend of mine recently started a blog on her journey with ulcerative colitis. Her diet used to consist of all of the things we all love - coffee with lots of cream and sugar, cookies, and your run of the mill easy to make dinners. After struggling with some digestive, uh, "complications", she decided that she needed to make some changes and she's seen great results. She thought that she would pass along some of the information that has been so helpful for her. If you or someone in your family also struggle with digestive issues, check out her blog here.
We know a little something about malfunctioning digestive systems in our house. Lou was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in his early 20s. After a successful resection of his small intestine and lots (and lots) of maintenance meds and vitamins, the disease doesn't really effect him on a daily basis. I haven't made much change to our diet, but I'm hoping to try to get our family to eat healthier at some point. (Seriously though, when I can't convince Lou that Totino's frozen pepperoni party pizza is a terrible choice for breakfast, I know that I won't have much luck eliminating most dairy, simple carbs, and processed foods. Baby steps...)
Hope this is helpful!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Where My Mother Fathers At?!?


We recently decided that it was time for a larger vehicle. Lou wasn't thrilled with the idea of a minivan, but I pretty much refused to drive a station wagon. We ended up getting a pretty sweet deal on a used Toyota Sienna (in gray! woo-hoo!). When I told my friend Shannon what we'd purchased I believe her words were as follows:
"You got the Sienna because you liked the Swagger Wagon video, right?"
The Swagger Wagon video? I hadn't heard of it, but thanks to the miracle of YouTube we can watch it over and over again. Love it. And even Lou is feeling less dorky about having a minivan in the family.




Now, does anyone want to buy a well maintained Honda CR-V?

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Pencil...

Hello friends!

I know I've been MIA for awhile, and I promise to try not to drop off the face of the earth for so long in between posts. Anyway, I have a whole bunch of stuff in store, and I thought I would start with my favorite Gabbi story from this past December.

First, I need to give props to my friend Julie Veith over at You Know You're A Mommy When... She recently posted about understanding her son's gibberish, which totally reminded me about this story. (By the way, her son and Micah are only a week apart, and for awhile they looked a lot alike. Which means her son is totally, completely adorable.)

It was early December and Christmas was coming up, so I asked Gabbi what she wanted.

"A pencil."

"Really?!? A pencil? Do you want one like this?" I held up a number 2 pencil to show her.

"No." (As she looks at me with slanting eyes.)

I let it go for awhile. I figured that it was just one of those random things that she wanted spur of the moment. Surely she would give me a better gift idea next week.

Nope.

I asked her again. I had both grandmothers ask her. The answer remained the same.

"I want a pencil for Christmas."

So, I had planned on getting her a pack of pencils. The kids are overwhelmed with gifts from their grandparents, so we keep Christmas morning pretty low key in our house. I thought I would throw in a few other art supplies for good measure, but I was pretty sure that she would be happy with the pencils. That is, until I got the Christmas wish list from Gabbi's preschool.

Her teachers asked each student what gift they would like to give baby Jesus, and what gift they would like themselves. Gabbi wanted to give Jesus some frankincense. (No surprise there, Lou had been going over the Christmas story with her since the mall had put up its Christmas display, so that had been drilled into her head for months.) And what would Gabbi like?

"Barbie."

Barbie?!? How does she even know who Barbie is? We don't have any Barbie dolls in our house. We don't even have cable, so I know she didn't see it on a commercial. (BTW, one of the only benefits of a cable free home, other then not having to pay for cable, is that there are very, very few kids' commercials when you only have 9 channels. My kids have little to no idea what the latest toy/cereal/kid craze is.)

I was perplexed. I decided that we needed to have a little chat on the way home. It went something like this:

Me: "Gabbi, what do you want for Christmas?"

Gabbi: "A pencil."

Me: "Oh. I read on your paper from school that you wanted Barbie."

Gabbi: "Yeah, Barbie."

Me: "Do you even know who Barbie is?"

Gabbi: "Barbie is a pencil."

That's when it hit me. Not a pencil. Rapunzel. Holy smokers. She just couldn't say it correctly. Tangled had just come out and there were ads everywhere and I kept talking about how I would take her to see it. Rapunzel. I kept imagining her face on Christmas morning when she got to her "big present" and found a packet of pencils.

That would have been a shame.

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to say Grace, Gabbi Style

Tonight as we were sitting down to eat some chicken and broccoli with rice, Gabbi announced that she would like to say Grace. It went a little something like this:

"Dear Lord, I don't want to eat anything that I don't like, especially anything yucky like rice or vegetables. Amen"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And the Winner Is....


I had Gabbi pick the winning entry out of one of the handbags. She liked the giraffe print, even though it didn't exactly match her polka dot owl pajamas and her favorite acorn hat. 


Congratulations Megan! Thanks to everyone else who participated!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion.... And a Giveaway!

It’s official - I am now a Miche Bag rep! Haven’t heard of Miche? It’s only the best bag ever. Here’s the story behind the bag:

On the way home from work in the fall of 2004 Michelle Romero did something most women have done – she spilled on her favorite handbag. Frustrated by the thought of hunting for a replacement then transferring all the contents, she wished there was a way to just change the outside of the bag. The idea immediately popped into her mind to create a bag with changeable covers. Not to be deterred by her lack of sewing skills, Michelle grabbed her super glue and scrap fabric, took apart the stained bag, and made the very first prototype. With her rough creation in hand, Michelle set out on a mission to bring to life the Miche bag.

 
With Miche Bags, you can literally change the entire look of your purse in seconds, and the shells are compact and easy to store.  Best of all, there is no annoying process of having to switch all of the contents of your purse into another bag.

They are also a great fashion investment. The company comes out with different “shells” every month, so you as trends change you can be sure that your bag can keep up with them.

Miche Bags come in three sizes. 

Classic

Big Bag (My personal favorite. Fantastic if need a little extra room in your bag.)


Mini Miche 




Here's how they compare in size:

And here's how it works (in a nutshell):



To celebrate my new endeavor, I am having my first ever blog give-away. The winner will receive a Classic Miche Base Bag and one Classic Shell. (If you already have a Miche bag then you’ll win two Classic Shells or one Big Bag Shell – we’ll work it out.) 

As some of you know, I have a weird thing with numbers. (For example, I would only get married on an even numbered day. But that’s a topic for another time.) Twelve is my favorite number, so I’m giving you each an opportunity to receive twelve entries. Here’s how:

1.   Share this post on Facebook. Leave a comment at the end of this blog letting me know you did this and you’re good with one entry.
2.  
       Mosey on over to my website at www.BestBagEver.com  Take a look at the all the products and shells then answer the following questions: Are you a Classic kind of girl, or do you love the Big Bag? What's your favorite shell? Email me at BestBagEver@gmail.com with your answers. This will put you on my e-mail list - great new shells come out every month, which mean other shells go on sale, sometimes for half price! It also gets you one entry.

3.     Book a purse party with me. I'm taking bookings until June, so it's never too early to reserve a date. Send me an e-mail at BestBagEver@gmail.com to reserve yours. This one is good for 10 whopping entries.

Purse parties are a lot of fun. I bring all of the bags and all of the shells, and you pretty much get to play with all of the samples and hang out with your girlfriends. No pressure, no big sales pitch, just a fun evening. I’ve heard that some hosts decide to have theme parties that have gone over VERY well. (Seriously, what could be better than an evening of girlfriends, super cute handbags, and fondue? Well, maybe girlfriends, super cute handbags, and margaritas…) As a host you’re eligible for some pretty sweet discounts too. If you have any questions or want to book a party, give me a call or send me an e-mail.

The giveaway will be open for one week. I'll put all of the entries into a bag and draw a winner the evening of Wednesday, March 16th.  Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Awesome Cousins...

...were in the newspaper again. Check out the story here. Obviously the athleticism gene skipped over me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Optimal Way to Eat a Cupcake




Sorry Gabbi, but that ain't it.

Start with your basic cupcake, wrapper removed. This one happened to be a super yummy Key Lime Coconut. 


Cut or tear the top off of the cupcake. (Imagine my delight when I did this and discovered that it had filling inside! Woo-Hoo!)


Place the bottom of the cupcake on top of the icing. 


This creates the optimal cake to icing ratio, and it keeps your hands and face from getting too messy. Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Favorite Cupcake In the Whole Wide World

I am a bit of a baked goods snob. I figure if it's not fantastic, it's not worth the calories. I'm also not a fan of my kids eating processed baked good junk. So when Steph's grandma was thoughtful enough to bring mini-cupcakes to a family event last fall, I wasn't thrilled with the idea that  Gabbi and Micah were going to ingest the pasty over-sugared nastiness frosting that I associate with mini-cupcakes from Walmart's bakery.

Except these cupcakes weren't from Walmart. She got them from a little cupcake place in Haddon Heights called Trendy Sweets

Anyway, after dinner, the kids ate their cupcakes, and the adults sat down for a cup of coffee. There were a few remaining lil' cupcakes sitting in the box staring at me. I thought, "Cupcakes and coffee could be a pretty good combination. And if it tastes like crap then I can just take a bite and toss the rest, since it's just a mini-cupcake." So I took a bite. And it might have been the best thing I ever put in my mouth. Seriously, sooooooo delicious. Soon it was time to clean up the table and head home. My mother-in-law graciously gave me the remaining mini-cupcakes to take home "for the kids". Yeah, right. I got those bad boys home and shoved them in the back of my fridge. (The cupcakes, not my kids.) I wasn't going to waste their deliciousness on children who also think that dirt is delicious. Mine! All mine! Mwhahahahahahaha!

Since then, I've ordered from Trendy Sweets for at least one holiday, and then I picked up a variety of normal sized cupcakes for New Years. Then they decided that they were moving on up to a bigger and better location. Instead of being semi-close in Haddon Heights, they opened a kiosk at Moorestown Mall.

Not exactly around the corner.

This was a mixed blessing to me. Bad news for my taste buds, but good news for my hips, thighs, butt, and general abdominal area.  (I'm pretty sure weekly cupcakes runs would have taken their toll.) 

Today we met Lou for lunch at the Chick-Fil-A near his work. This isn't too far from Moorestown Mall, so I promised Gabs that if she ate all of her chicken we could go get a cupcake for later. (Cupcake?!? Yeah, mommy! I don't want to lose weight and get skinny, so that they take all of my blood!") So we headed down to the mall in search of the cupcake kiosk. (It's right across from the GAP, in case you're looking for it.)

When we got there, I took a look at the cupcakes, while my kids decided to play in dirt in the planters right next to the fountains. Which is adjacent to the kiosk. (I know I have a run on sentence and then a fragment. Don't judge me.)  Kiahna, who bakes all of the cupcakes and runs the kiosk, noticed my kids and gave them pennies from her drawer so they could throw them in the fountain. It was seriously the nicest thing I have ever seen a business owner do. I thanked her for the pennies and for her thoughtfulness and we struck up a conversation about cupcakes and our kids. Somehow the conversation turned to how we think we are in control of our lives until God steps in and shows us who is really running the show. Fifteen minutes of talking to this wonderful woman and I felt as if we had been friends for years. It makes her cupcakes even better, and I didn't think that was possible. :-) 

So, if you've ever got a craving for something sweet and you're anywhere near the Moorestown Mall, stop by and say hello to Kiahna and grab a cupcake or two (or a dozen - I've heard you can freeze them, but I tend to just binge on them.) I am super excited about what they are featuring this weekend:
March Monthly Flavor- Cookies-n-creme available every Sat & Sun!
Our freshly "baked from scratch" dark chocolate cookies crumbled in our vanilla bean buttercream...it's to die for, really it is!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Spring...

Dear Spring..

We've been enjoying you the past few days. We've gone outside to collect leaves and wood chips and dirt.

We also like to find rocks and leave them in random places so mowing the lawn will be more of an adventure for daddy. 

Then we cruise on our awesome tricycles. One of us just barely reaches the pedals, but he looks good doing it.


Finally we end the day sitting on our deck with some family fire pit time. (That's right people. Our playhouse has an awesome little deck while our real house does not. Mom thinks that this is pretty ironic, but she'll take whatever kind of deck she can get at this point.)


Burn stray sticks! Burn!


Please don't leave us again, Spring. Despite the mosquito that kept flying around daddy's head last night, we're ready for you to stay.
Sincerely,
Gabbi and Micah.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Black Daddy


Has anyone else seen "The Electric Company"? It's a pretty big hit in our house. The kids like the silly story lines and I'm always impressed when Lin-Manuel Miranda performs. (Although I think it's pretty sad that I'm much more familiar with "Silent E is a Ninja" then his work on "In the Heights".) Anyway, EVERY TIME the music man segment comes on, both of my kids point at the screen and yell "Daddy! Look mommy - daddy is on this show!" This is the music man:
So many things about this boggle my mind. My husband is bald. And white. Well, Hispanic, but you'd never know it from looking at him. I also feel that I should point out the Lou does not have a round middle. Usually you only see the music man from the head up, so my kids probably didn't take that into consideration. If I take away the Afro, maybe I can see it a little bit.. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I Suck as a Parent...

Is it because prior to typing this I was playing fetch with my 2 year old? (Seriously, I was trying to type an e-mail and he kept handing me his ball. I would throw it across the room and he would run after it and bring it right back. Who needs a dog?)

Nope.

Most of you know about my current issues with Micah and his “failure to thrive.” He’s not a great eater and he’s super active, and when we went for his two year check up his pediatrician was concerned about his lack of appropriate weight and height gain from the last visit. So, while I had subscribed to the “this is what we’re eating and you can take it or leave it” method of mealtimes, apparently my kids just don’t care if they starve. They are content to live on Cheerios and drinkable yogurt. Is this why I suck? Nope.

Since that fateful visit, I’ve pretty much let him eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants. I still try to get nutritious foods in him at mealtimes, but the rest of the day is a free for all. 

Globs of peanut butter in a bowl?!? Sure! 

Extra Chick-Fil-A waffle fries AND a milkshake?!? Yup! 

Shots of whipped cream from the can?!? Of course!

I still haven’t reached the point in this little story where I have an epic fail in parenting skills, so here it is.
Micah has been eating much better. It seems the more I let him choose to eat between meals, the more he would eat during meals. This was not holding true for Gabbi, so I thought I would try to motivate her in a different way.  About a week ago, after she ate two bites of her dinner and declared herself done, we had this little conversation:

Me: “Gabbi, do you know how Micah needs to gain some weight so he can be healthy?”

Gabbi: “Yeah.”

Me: “Well, if he doesn’t gain the weight the doctors will have to take some blood to make sure there is nothing else wrong with him. If you don’t eat your food, you might get too skinny, and the doctors might get worried about you too.”

Gabbi: “I don’t want the doctors to take my blood.”

Me: “Well, then you need to eat a good dinner, and maybe try a veggie or two.”

Fail.

After every meal (and sometimes just at random), Gabbi says “Mommy – I don’t want to be skinny! I don’t want them to take me to the hospital and take all of my blood!” I have managed to plant the seeds of an eating disorder at the tender age of 4. Twenty years from now, if you see 400 pounds of poor Gabbi on the Biggest Loser, it’s my fault. 

And that is why I suck as a parent. (This week, anyway.) 
Chocolate Peanut butter hearts?!? I'll need at least 12 of them, or else I might get too skinny...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Expecting:Haiti

For those of you that are praying with me, go to this post. Names, pictures, and due dates are up!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The funniest thing I've read this week..

...was this post. I think this might be me in a few years, and it's a very good example why homeschooling is not in my future. Myriads of children dodged the bullet when I decided to switch out of an education major.
Speaking of funny, this was the card I picked up for Lou for Valentine's Day.
 Pretty generic, right? Then I opened it up...
 

...and it looks just like our family (minus the dog). I'm not sure if this means that we're the typical bald-dad-brunette-mom-two-child-white-bread family, or if some creeper saw a picture of us on the internet six months ago and decided to make a Hallmark card. Thoughts?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cheesy Potato Goodness


Here is the much requested Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole Recipe. This is a great brunch recipe, but I could eat this morning, noon, and night. 
  
Ingredients
1 (10 ¾ ounce) can cream of chicken soup
8-ounces Colby cheese, shredded
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup margarine, melted
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
42 ounces frozen country-style hashbrown potatoes

Directions
 1.  Preheat oven to 375ยบ.

2.  In a stand mixer, place soup, cheese, onion, margarine, pepper and salt. Mix on low speed for one minute. (I don’t have fancy kitchen gadgets, so I just used my hand mixer.) 

3.  Add frozen shredded potatoes. Mix on low speed for one minute. (Make sure that the potatoes are slightly thawed and not in one giant frozen clump, especially if you’re using a hand mixer. I learned this the hard way.)

4.  Spray 13” x 9” pan with food release spray.

5.  Place entire contents into sprayed pan, loosely spread casserole to fill pan at even level.

6.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

7.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Super easy, and it tastes just like what they serve at the Crack. Let me know what you think if you end up making it. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who Loves Preggos?!? Part 2

 Expecting:Haiti 
        My first experience with Haiti was right after college. We went on a cruise that was supposed to take us to Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Thanks to a wicked hurricane, we were diverted to Haiti and Jamaica. (Not the tourist Jamaica. The roosters running wild/men peeing in the street/do-NOT-take-a-taxi-without-a-red-license-plate-because-you’ll-never-be-seen-again part of Jamaica. But that’s a story for another day.) In Haiti I bought this awesome soapstone carving of a woman holding her baby. (Unfortunately it was somehow decapitated in my baggage on the way home, hence the glue necklace). 
Anyway, since that trip, Haiti lodged itself in my brain heart. A few years ago, Compassion began the Child Survival program. This program helps mothers and babies in impoverished countries like, you guessed it, Haiti. (It’s an awesome program. You can read more about it here.) So I decided that I should throw some support their way. Maybe that would be the end of it, and it was. For awhile. Then the earthquake happened. And my friends started adopting. I started reevaluating certain things. And suddenly it’s not enough for me to just donate some money every month. I really, really want to adopt from Haiti. (Siblings, preferably.) It seems that God has other plans for the moment though. Lou is not totally on board – he’s not against it, but he doesn’t feel strongly that it’s something we’re called to do right now. Also, to adopt from Haiti, you are required to have been married for 10 years, and we’ve got a few years to go. So I’ve been thinking about what else I could do to shut-up quiet this voice in me that keeps telling me that Haiti and I aren't quite finished yet. (Notice I said “thinking about” and not “praying about.” It never dawned on me to pray about it. I wonder how much simpler life would be if I just would pray before I thought.) 
Last week I came across this blog. That’s right, click and read. Right now. I’ll wait.

Can you imagine? 

I.Must.Do.Something. 

Thankfully, God impressed the same thought on Marla Taviano’s brilliant mind.  (I know you guys are probably tired of the hyperlinks, but it’s totally worth the read.) In a nutshell, Marla wrote a book called “Expecting” that helps you pray through the forty weeks of the baby’s development.  This next part I copied directly from her blog:

“What if WE women here in this online space, we women who CAN read and have the luxury of time and money and safety and access to health care and know Jesus, what if WE could do something for these women and their unborn babies?
What if WE could hold a copy of Expecting in our hands and pray the prayers for a God-breathed womb-baby down in Haiti as he or she develops inside of Mama? What if we could pray for a Haitian girl BY NAME, pray for her THROUGH HER PREGNANCY, and then get to rejoice with her when her baby is born?
I get chills just thinking about it.
I e-mailed Heather with my idea, and she was so gracious, so thankful that there might be some women who would care enough about these women in Haiti to pray for them once a week, or a couple times a week, or every day.
She’s going to get me a list of names of mamas-to-be along with their estimated due dates. Some will be early on in their pregnancies. Most will probably be later on. And you can do however much or little God lays on your heart.
You can choose one name to pray for. You can pray for the whole list. You can pray for a handful. You can pray once a week or more than that.”

I am super duper excited about this. I have a book on the way. If this is something that God is laying on your heart, but you can’t afford the book, you can still pray! Who’s with me?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Who Loves Preggos?!? Part 1


If you have your hand raised, or just yelled “Me! Me! I love pregnant women!”, then this post is for you. (Notice that I did NOT say “Who loves being preggo?!?” as I’m sure that statement would have been met with much less enthusiasm.) I have two ministries that I’d like to highlight;one today and one tomorrow. I had originally put them all on one post, but it was super long, so you have to come back tomorrow for part two. And today's preggo-friendly ministry is:

Choices of the Heart 

Most of you know that I have been involved with this ministry for a few years now. Check out their website here. Choices is our local non-profit crisis pregnancy center. It offers confidential guidance and support to those who face an unplanned pregnancy. This pregnancy resource center supports both women and men who are looking for assistance in any of the following areas:
  • Abortion information
  • Pregnancy counseling
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Sexuality information
  • Post-abortion syndrome
  • Financial assistance
  • Medical referrals
  • Ultrasound screenings
  • STD information
There are a number of ways you can help support them:
          The Baby Bottle Campaign -  I give you a baby bottle, you fill it with your loose change, you return it to me and the proceeds go directly to the ministry. Easy and painless.

          Clean Out Your Closet – Get a jump on your spring de-cluttering! Choices has just opened a thrift store. Instead of dragging your clothes and/or other stuff you no longer use to the donation bin near Wal-Mart, drop it off at Choices. They will resell your stuff and all proceeds will benefit the ministry. You get more closet space and they benefit from your old stuff. Everyone wins.

          Volunteer! – Choices is currently in need of volunteers, especially in the Burlington Mall location.  As a former counselor, I can tell you that counseling is not always easy, nor is it within the comfort zone of most people. However, I think that God can’t use us too well when we’re too comfortable. I’m pretty sure that He wants us to rely on what He can do, despite ourselves, rather than thinking that we’re skilled or qualified to “help Him out” in ministries. If you fell like God has been calling you to this ministry and you’ve been dragging your feet, or hemming and hawing about it, then consider this a swift kick in the butt from the Almighty. (And, did I seriously just use the phrase “hemming and hawing”? Where did that come from?)  
     
     Pray about what role you're going to take. And make sure you come back tomorrow because I'm going to share something that I'm super duper excited about. :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Favorite Recipe

Dinnertime is always an adventure in my house. I live with a number of picky eaters. Gabbi won’t eat anything that’s a fruit, or a veggie, or has sauce, or is not the right shape/color/consistency. Micah has gotten a little bit better, as long has he has a number of utensils to pick and choose from (on demand) and as long as he can eat half of his meal off of someone else’s plate. Lou claims that he’s not picky, and he’s not. As long as the meat is chicken or pork chops…and said chicken or pork chops are breaded and/or smothered with sauce…and said sauce contains NO chunks and is completely smooth…and that the side is egg noodles or macaroni and cheese. That being said, this is a recipe that everyone in my family really likes. It’s my go-to recipe for bringing meals to people after they’ve had a baby. I got it from my awesome mother-in-law who also knows a thing or two about picky eaters. 

Savory Crescent Chicken Squares
Serves 4(ish) 

Ingredients:
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 tbsp butter, softened
2oz cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp half and half (I just use milk)
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
½ tsp dried parsley (I omit this – Gabbi won’t eat anything with “leaves” in it and I’m not sure that it adds any actual flavor)
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 (8oz) cans of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Directions:
1.       Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine all ingredients (except for the crescent rolls) and mix well. (I usually do this ahead; it makes it quicker to put everything together when it’s time to actually cook dinner.)
2.       Separate each can of dough into four rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Pull the four corners of dough together and twist. Pinch edges together to seal. (It’s usually not pretty, but as long as it’s all sealed you’re fine.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
3.       Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with gravy.

Gravy:
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
½ can milk
¼ tsp dried parsley (again, I omit this)
Combine in saucepan and heat, stirring often.

One other modification I use when making this has to do with the onion. Lou won’t eat anything with chunks of onion in it. (I know, he’s not picky at all.) Instead I use a tablespoon of Tastefully Simple’s Onion Onion spice mix. It adds a really nice flavor to the chicken mixture and it saves me from having to chop an actual onion.

There you have it – comfort food at its finest. (And by finest, I mean easy to make and still super delicious.) If you make this, let me know what you think. Bon Appetite!