Sunday, August 31, 2014


35/52: The other day, we practiced tumbling in the backyard. I'm not as limber as I used to be, but it was FUN!

35/52, Sunday: I went to a consignment sale yesterday and found this little treasure. Oh, and her hair is insanely pretty, but increasingly harder to wrangle into a bun. Come ON, October!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fridays with Ella (and also Girls and Pearls, August edition): Traditions are Important


Today, I'm writing about traditions and covering for my Mom. She's not feeling well.

A lot of families have traditions, or special things that they do together. Some people have Christmas traditions, or Thanksgiving traditions (we have one: we have soup every Thanksgiving because my Mom used to be too afraid of cooking a turkey)

But, some families have other traditions. When my Mom was little, my Pop-Pop (her Dad) would have a big housecleaning party every Saturday and then he would take the whole family to the park.

When we lived in Illinois and my Mom worked at the newspaper, she would take me to the craft store every Friday and give me 5 dollars to buy whatever I wanted. We'd go to the grocery store, too, and eat at Mr. Submarine. I don't remember much of it because I was so little, but I remember buying glow sticks and making ghost noises on our way home.

For now, we live in the country and there aren't any craft stores close by to where we could go out there all the time. Mom came up with a new tradition in May: Girls and Pearls.

Basically, we dress up fancy and go somewhere to eat and maybe shop. It's not so much about where we go, or what we do. It's about spending time together. We've been to McDonald's, a Chinese restaurant, and we've even had a picnic in our living room.

Today, we went shopping for more pearls and went to the Mason Jar, one of our favorite places in town. We heard it's closing this fall, and wanted to go before it did.

We don't do much. We just hang out, and talk. Today, Mom told me about all the times she and my Aunt Gosia would sneak out of the house to go get donuts from a place in Chicago. We laughed a lot and just spent time together. What about you? What are your traditions?
What Ella wore:
Dress: gift, no tag inside (don't know what brand)
necklace and peacock clip: Family Dollar
Shoes: her trusty Sketchers

Tidbits from this week

Something New: Ella and I attended Bible Study at a local church other than our home church, and we are in love. With the material we are studying, with the people there and just everything in general. We're not leaving our home church at the moment, but are seriously loving the Bible study!
...And Speaking of....: I just found out that this church has a HOMESCHOOL RESOURCE CENTER! Where has this place BEEN all my life?
Holy Allergies, Batman; Our pine trees are shedding....right on my back deck. I'm lucky I can breathe right now...only a few more months til winter, right?
Random Weirdness: Ella and I saw a spider monkey at Family Dollar today. Yes. It was absolutely real, and it tried to lunge for Ella. Scary!
Girls and Pearls, August: Today, Ella and I had our Girls and Pearls day. I'm going to let Ella write about it in her weekly blog. Partly because it ties in with what she had planned to write, but partly because I feel so awful. (Thanks, allergies!)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Unappreciated? or Unappreciative?

That's a title that just screams self-pity, isn't it?

Sadly, it's how I felt all day Tuesday. I got up way too early after way too little sleep and went to work. Then, I put in a full day of homeschooling, and it was one of THOSE days where nothing goes right, where homeschooling is not fun or productive and to spare you any more self-pity details, it just plain sucked.

That night, before I went to bed I told God that the day had pretty much sucked. I felt like nobody appreciated what I did. A little recognition would be nice! (how selfish am I?) I went to bed angry, defeated and turned my back on my husband in bed.

Yesterday morning, with husband and kid still in bed, I made my way to the living room and picked up my Bible. I don't remember where I read, but I do remember the overwhelming feeling that God was telling me that the prior day wasn't the problem, my attitude was.

You're upset that nobody recognizes you?

You're upset because people aren't willing to do things for you?

What have you done for OTHERS lately?

But, Lord, You don't understand. I'm so busy all of the time doing things for others. I'm so busy and nobody notices what I do.

Oh, they notice.

No, they don't! Nobody notices ANYTHING I do.

That's because all they notice is your attitude.

Conviction hit me like a wrecking ball. My attitude? Well...

*I snapped at my daughter
*I rolled my eyes when I realized that we had a minor plumbing problem that my husband couldn't fix, and muttered the whole time I was fixing it.
*While I made dinner, I clattered kitchen implements as loudly as I could.
*And let's not forget, I picked a fight with my husband before bedtime.

Once I got over the shock of what a JERK I've been, I decided I was going to devote Wednesday to SERVING other people. And not in the way I had been.

So, I finished up my Bible reading and set about making breakfast. Cinnamon rolls. Bagels if the family didn't want cinnamon rolls. I prepared Ella's lessons. Lovingly fed the fish and kittens. I sat around for another while, reading a devotional. Ella woke up. We had a long talk about the previous day.

Lessons flew by. There were no problems like the day before. We were nearly done with school time when Gabe ambled into the kitchen, sleepy-eyed before work. I apologized, and he looked at me as if I had gone crazy. I never apologize. (yet another fault I need to work on desperately)

I told Ella about me wanting to serve others, and she jumped right on board with that idea. We saw our neighbor Denise and asked her if we could do something for her. She asked us to run to the store for some butter. Happily, we obliged. On the way back, another neighbor handed me a bag out of the blue.

"Here, take this."

Organic peppers. Organic broccoli.
I said, "I can't take this! Don't you need it?"
He replied, "Nope. Besides, you're doing something for someone. I overheard you and Denise talking."

Not thinking anything else of it, I went to church last night. Made it a point to be friendly to everyone. Talked to a lady who had been at Bible Study the previous week but I hadn't really noticed. Turns out our daughters are friends. How had I not noticed this?

Today, I decided to keep on serving others. I was friendly to everyone I talked to. (Apparently, this isn't always the norm for me. What's WRONG with me?) Ella and I helped a neighbor harvest flower seeds.

The seeds. When they are planted, and grow, they will turn into these yellow and orange flowers
Aren't they beautiful?
I texted my Sunday School teacher to check in. We talked gardening and she told me she would be in my area in about 30 minutes. What on earth for? She brought over some cabbage, potatoes, zucchini and kale...and....
I now have two arrangements gracing my kitchen table. Aren't they lovely?
When I made up my mind to commit to serving others, I let go of my selfish notions of what others should be doing for me. And then...I didn't feel unappreciated. I felt loved. Not because people did things for me, that was something that happened by God's grace, and unexpectedly...but because I saw that one small act from me actually made a difference to someone.
My attitude while helping someone made a world of difference, both to me and the person in question. What we do needs to be wrapped in love, whether we're running to the store for someone, or folding yet ANOTHER load of laundry.
After all, everything God does for us is wrapped in His love, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sometimes, this is what I need.

Sometimes, when everything in the world is just too sad or just too crazy for me to understand, this is what I need.

I need to go to Grandma's house and cut flowers to take home with me.

I need to watch my daughter run around Grandma's yard until she's little more than a blur on camera.

I need to pick out tomatoes from Grandpa's garden.
I need to take pictures of this amazing woman with Ella, so we can look back on them when we move up North and remember that we know some amazing people, our chosen family.

I need to put flowers in my house. To bring the outside inside. And you know what? I need to take pictures of these flowers too.

I need to simplify. To breathe. To slow down and actually LOOK at the world and the people around me. It's far too easy to lose sight of what God puts in front of you.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

I'm sitting at Grandma Jean's house, and we're having hot dogs. Way to screw up my Meal Plan, right? Oh, well. I'll be cooking for Gabe later tonight anyway, and he and Ella can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

It's been a very long few days, and truthfully, I'm melancholy and sad, which is why I came to Gram's. A good friend of mine passed away this weekend, and I just got news of a mother losing her sweet baby at 6 months' gestation.

It's a lot to wrap one's head around, this grief. Also, a friend of Grandpa Bruce's passed away, and I ran into his family on the way here. Mr. Floyd (Grandpa's friend) had a heart of gold. The very first day he met me, he gave me a box of apples. People just don't DO that.

So, I'm just breathing, sitting here at Gram's and looking out the window at her flower garden. I get to take some dahlias home with me, and put them up in the big pitcher that Gabe got me.

That's a purple angel trumpet

Dinnerplate dahlia

So, here's the Meal Plan for this week

Monday: Ham, green beans, and new potatoes
Tuesday: The Angel Chicken we never had last week
Wednesday: Frittata
Thursday: Pizza
Friday: Chicken Stew
Saturday: Steakhouse Soup
Sunday: Skillet Lasagna.


34/52: You can't see her. heheh. She cracks me up!

34/52, Sunday: That dress is a size 10. And it's barely past her knees. Sigh. The pitfalls of having a child with extremely long legs. When I was unmarried, a guy I dated used to call me Sally Long Legs. I can see she is following in my (long-legged) footsteps.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Farm Tour 2014

We look forward to the Farm Tour every year. It's a blast! Today, we visited five farms: a beekeeping/honey farm, a small fruits farm, a tree  nursery, a livestock/vegetable farm, and the tree farm we visit every year (that's where the picnic takes place afterward)

As usual, we had an awesome time. I'm exhausted and so is Ella. But I figured I would just put up a few pictures to show you all how awesome farms are :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fridays with Ella: A Kid's Job

We all have jobs.

My Dad's got one.

My Mom's got three.

I do, too.

The other day, my parents and I were talking about work and how we all have to do our job to make sure that our household works the way it's supposed to.

Dad explained that the Bible says that every member of a family has a job. Dad's job is to provide for our family. So, he goes to work. Mom's job is to be the keeper of our home. That means she cooks, and cleans, and teaches me during school time. Mom has two jobs outside of our house, too. She's pretty busy.

I have a job too. One of the first Bible verses I learned was Ephesians 6:1.
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

I know Mom quotes this verse a whole lot when I'm not doing what she needs me to do.

My job, as a kid, is to obey my parents and God. That usually means keeping my room clean and helping Mom or Dad if they need help. Today, Mom and I cleaned the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom and our fish's tank.

So, I did my job today. I know I need to be better at doing what I'm told. I think most kids are.

What Ella wore:
T-shirt: Gift
Shorts: Thrifted
Flip-flops: Family Dollar

Tidbits from this week

On the Mend: Ella and I both came down with some awful stomach bug this Tuesday. I have a stomach of steel, and haven't thrown up in ages, but Ella was pretty miserable. Thankfully, we were over it by Wednesday.

God's Creation: We've had some lovely sunsets this week. Yes, this is absolutely worth mentioning!

It's Weird, but... I don't know if I will ever think of Chicago as "home" again. Yes, it's where Riley was born, where Ella was raised for the first 4 years of her life...but I don't know. Gabe and I look forward to setting roots down...somewhere. Further up north than where we are, but I'm not saying where yet.

Never TOO Early, right?: In the midst of Ella and myself being sick, we went to Wal-mart and there was a display of "Frozen" fabric. For those of you who missed it, Ella is super excited to be Elsa this Halloween. Yes, I bought fabric. Yes, I am that crazy mom who works on her daughter's Halloween costume in August. Deal with it ;)

(Home)school Days: School's in full swing yet again, and yet again, I am amazed at my daughter and her ability to retain information. This kid can quote the Bible like nobody's business.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Walking On

I remember when Ella first started wanting to walk everywhere with me. I'm above average height for a woman, and to see this tiny little girl trying to walk beside me must have been comical for anyone who was watching us.

I loved those walks. I loved showing her my Italian neighbor's extensive flower garden. I loved taking her to the dollar store and letting her pick out a treasure.
Now, Ella is this beautiful, impossibly long-legged 8 year old. And for the time being, she loves to walk and talk with me, still. Our walks have taken on more serious topics these days.
"Mom, why are people so terrible to each other?"
"Mom, I hope my friend gets saved and comes to church."
"Mom, do you think I'll ever get married?"
The passage of time has been heavy on my mind as of late. I've been thinking of Ella's baby days more and more often. Pictures like the one above reduce me to a crying, teary mess.
What to do at a time like that? It's so tempting to give in to the tears, you know? To cry myself out.
Instead...I'm choosing to ask God for as much time with Ella as He will allow. We have to walk together, as far as we can. Because one day, I'll have to let her walk on without me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meal Plan Monday

Today has been a comedy of errors. It's been another one of those all-over the place days! But the day is drawing to a close, finally, and I've made it through. 

I was out for a walk earlier and I noticed that while it's still Summer, Fall is definitely sneaking in here and there.

We all managed to sit down to dinner together tonight, which is no easy feat considering Gabe is at work more than he is at home, and I usually end up reheating his dinner after midnight on the nights that he works, and by then Ella has been in bed for hours.

Here's our meal plan for this week

Monday: Leftover baked ziti, sautéed green beans, garlic breadsticks and apple cobbler
Tuesday: Pizza Puffs
Wednesday: Alphabet-veggie soup and ham sandwiches
Thursday: Shepherd's Pie
Friday: Chicken and rice, peas and carrots
Saturday: Pizza Soup
Sunday: Spaghetti

Ya'll know what's awesome? Fresh vegetables in my kitchen! I picked a ton of green beans at work last week. Freezing some. I also have tomatoes and peppers on stand-by :)

Desperation in the Kitchen: Apple Cobbler

I warn you right now: unless you are very meticulous about making your food look pretty (I'm not, by the way!) this will not be pretty. But it will taste awesome. So it all evens out.

Oh, and I forgot to take step-by-step pictures. I had kids and cats weaving their way through my kitchen. And a husband who had the day off and was asking me every 30 seconds: "is it done yet? huh? huh? huh?"

I have NO idea where I got my recipe from. It's been in a little tiny notebook where I keep all of my other recipes with no source. I'm pretty sure I googled "apple cobbler and came up with the recipe from there.

So...without further ado:

Apple Cobbler

5 cups of apples, peeled and sliced (I used frozen. we have a ton of frozen apples in our freezer)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use more, but that's because we love us some cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla...I just realized I forgot this didn't matter!
1 Tablespoon softened butter

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons softened butter
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375.
In a medium bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and water. Turn into slightly buttered 9-inch square pan. Dot apples with the 1T butter.

Combine all topping ingredients. Beat with wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Drop batter in 9 portions over the apples, spacing evenly. Batter will spread.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

I told ya'll it wasn't pretty. But it tastes awesome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


It's been a loooong week!

33/52: Both Ella and Gabe have been under the weather this week. This is what I found her like yesterday after she told me, "I'm up, I'll be out in a minute!" She's on the mend now, thank God :)

33/52, Sunday: The owl dress makes its return! I'm going to turn all of her owl-themed clothes into a quilt once she outgrows them...I HOPE. My limited sewing skills need major work, but I'll do my best!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tidbits from this week

Yay!: I was finally cleared for exercise this Monday....

Double Yay!: I received a prize from my friend (and Beachbody coach) Brittney. You can find her Facebook  page right here...she's awesome. I got some Shakeology shakes, and the Slim in 6 DVD...just in time to get cleared for exercise! It's been kicking my butt, but in the best way!

Ugh: For the first time since high school, I own a scale. I'm not posting much about it, but I was very wary of buying one for me. In high school, major insecurity led me to starve myself. I'm not going to let the number control me, but it will be nice to keep track of my progress!

Time flies: Ella started 3rd grade this Monday. It's bittersweet because while it's amazing to see her grow up, I'm still not ready to let go. Not ready for 4th grade. Or 5th. Or high school. Lord help me!!!

Exhausted!: Why, you ask? Because I picked over 100 pounds of green beans. Yep. I spent more time on that farm than I did at home. Of course, Ella helped with a fair deal of it.

I'm in love...: I'm going to tell Gabe that when we move, I want, no...I NEED a Blue Heeler dog. There are two on the farm (Tippy and Drippy) and I love them.

Fridays with Ella: Farmers and Food


This week, I started school and because I'm homeschooled I learn a lot of different things in a lot of cool places.

My Mom works on a farm a couple of days a week, and she thought it was a good way for me to learn about where my food comes from. So, she brought me along to help her out.

The farm where Mom works is organic. That means that no chemicals were used on any of the fruits or veggies. Sometimes, in order to kill bugs, farmers spray plants with these chemicals. The thing is, these chemicals can be bad for the people who eat the produce.

After reading more about these chemicals, Mom decided that it was best for our family to eat as clean as possible. That doesn't just mean washing our food before we eat it, she says. We're trying to eat as much organic stuff as we can.

At the farm, I picked organic green beans, organic blueberries, and organic raspberries. Even though the organic strawberries are smaller than the ones I see in the store, they taste way better.

This week, I learned a whole lot about how much work goes into keeping a farm, and how much work goes into picking produce! Mom and I picked over 100 pounds of green beans! We even got to take some home. I love green beans!

What Ella wore:
Camo t-shirt: Justice
Hoodie: Justice (but thrifted)
Shorts: Old navy
Shoes: Sketchers

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On Having a (Joyful) Servant's Heart

Let me tell you all a story.

Once upon a time, in a far away country, a boy was born into a family of two parents, two older sisters and one older brother. There was something special about this boy, that much could be said from birth. He was the pride and joy of that family.

The boy grew, and entered school, never forsaking his responsibility to his parents, whose health had begun to get bad, and his siblings. Even though he was the youngest, he was always the first to help others. Even if they were total strangers. Even if their intentions were bad.

The boy developed many talents. He could draw. Animals and birds so lifelike, that you would swear they could come off the paper and walk or fly away. He could do complicated math in his head and come up with the answer faster than any teacher. He could even imitate bird calls. He was a prankster in nature, but again, he would give someone the shirt off his back if he could. His teachers spoke of his endless potential and told him he could be whatever he wanted one day. The boy's dream was to travel, and to study nature.

When he was 15 his father died of a heart attack. With his older siblings either marrying off or working, the house responsibilities were left to the boy. He took care of his mother. He took care of the farm animals. He cooked. He cleaned. He made sure all of the bills were paid. All while finishing school and going on to trade school to become a machinist. Eventually, he met a girl and fell in love. When he was sure his Mom was sufficiently taken care of, he enlisted in the army.

After the army, he married the girl. Only two weeks after his wedding day, his Mom passed away. Eventually, the young man (because he was no longer a boy) and his wife welcomed their first daughter. The man realized that their meager income wouldn't do and so he temporarily left his wife and daughter to work in America because there was more opportunity there.

He began looking for work the day his plane landed. He rejoiced when a company hired him, even though he spoke no English. He worked hard, keeping a tiny apartment and budgeting carefully, so he could send money back to his wife and child. He came back home to visit whenever he could, sometimes staying as long as three months. More children followed.

When it was clear the couple would have no more kids, the man set about working to bring his whole family to America. He worked even harder. He bought a big car to accommodate the wife and children who would be coming one day.

That day finally arrived. There was a happy reunion. A brief reunion. The man had to go to work the next day. He continued to work hard. He was so tired when he came that he sometimes fell asleep on the couch before dinner was even served, but if one of his children needed homework help, or even just wanted to talk, he was right there.

One day, one of his daughters had an assignment for school. She had to interview one of her parents and ask them about their life. She chose her father. He told her about his boyhood dream to travel and study nature.

"Dad, WHY?" she asked, "WHY did you give all of that up? You have all these kids. All these bills. Your life is so HARD."

The man laughed softly then.

"Well, my dear," he replied, "I did it so YOUR life wouldn't be so hard."

That little girl was me, about 20 years ago. The man is my father.

I was struck by the unfairness of that situation. My Dad married young. He had children young. He gave up everything to go to a country where he didn't know the language. He worked nonstop, giving of himself. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer, he still helped everybody he could. Now that he is cancer free, he is helping out his neighbors in their garden. He has a servant's heart. A joyful one. I've often admired that trait. When I was in the 6th grade, my Dad got a new job. His old boss was not happy with that and actually came out to our house to have words with Dad. When his boss left, I turned to my Dad and said, "WOW. He is crazy! When I grow up, I'm going to be the boss. So I don't have to deal with bosses like THAT."

Dad looked me in the eye and said, "That's very admirable, but I think God has something bigger in store for you."

Dad was right. I'm a proud wife. A proud Mom. I also work two jobs and homeschool. I am often tired and sometimes fall asleep on the couch if I sit for too long.  I've been accused of "doing too much" and often am told to "slow it down already." Despite my two jobs, I cook dinner more often than not. Sometimes, I feel like I'm living in a state of constant motion.

Yesterday was one of those days. Where nothing stops. Where everything keeps moving. I went to my first job in the morning, with no time to grab breakfast. I came home to a sick 8 year old and a sick husband. They are both down with the summer cold. Gabe is particularly miserable, as he doesn't get sick often, and gets hit HARD when he does. As soon as I put my handbag down on a kitchen chair, I began lessons with Ella, who worked diligently despite the fact that she is sick. I cooked lunch and dinner for Ella and Gabe and after a quick lunch, I was out the door again.

My first job is cleaning houses. I'm what one would call a professional housekeeper. (aka: I clean up after other people) My second job? I work on a farm. I picked about 20 pounds of shelly beans yesterday. It's hard work. I got home yesterday, took a shower (because farm work is dusty and dirty) and set off to the grocery store to get English Muffins and cough drops.  At some point after returning home, I sat down on a kitchen chair. Maybe I fell asleep because I looked up to see the concerned eyes of my husband and daughter looking at me.

"Do you want me to heat you up some soup?" Gabe rasped. His voice was nearly nonexistent.

"Can I get you anything, Mom?" Ella piped up. "I could bring you your tablet. You could read a book. I got your pajama pants out of the dryer."

"I'm okay. I'll heat up the soup." I replied. "Thanks, honey. I'll get my pajama pants in a bit."

"I've been in bed pretty much all day." Gabe protested. "You've been working all day. The least I can do is heat up some soup for you."

"Yeah, Mom! Sometimes, I think your life is so HARD! Why do you do that?"

A scene from 20 years ago flashed before me as I looked down at my daughter and replied, "I do it so your life isn't."

Yes, sometimes I have days when I want to be the boss, not the servant. There are days where my thoughts aren't fixed upon God, and I begin to feel unappreciated, and overwhelmed. There are days where I want to throw in the towel and stay in bed for a while. But I don't. Because I have the best examples of a joyful servant in my life.

Jesus Christ, who served everybody He met. Healed the sick. Ministered to total strangers. Lifted up those who were down. Died for people who didn't deserve it...

...and my Dad, Edward. My inspiration. My proof that a servant is just as important (oftentimes even more so!) than what the world considers the boss.

If you ever have a chance to minister to somebody, do so. Do so with a joyful heart.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

Sometime last week, I decided to even further my OCD-ness in Meal Planning. I've always done Spaghetti Sundays, and Soup Saturdays, but now I'm adding Crockpot Tuesdays, and Simple Wednesdays.

I also did some cleaning up in my kitchen. Some background: I have virtually ZERO cabinet space in this house. When we move to our next digs (hopefully up North and away from here!), I want more space in the kitchen. Because of my space issue, Grandma Jean took mercy on me and got me a set of shelves where I keep my nonperishable foods. When I'm rushed, the organization there suffers terribly.

That thing up there with the rooster? it's a cookbook rack. It was a Christmas present. Anyway, that's the before picture. Avert your eyes. eek.
Better, right? Oh, and if anyone has ideas as to what I should do with those GIANT cans of pinto beans on the bottom shelf, please let me know!

And: without further ado, the Meal Plan for this week.

Monday: Tostadas
Tuesday: Angel Chicken
Wednesday: Taco Soup
Thursday: Beef with Broccoli, white rice
Friday: Chicken Cacciatore (wish me luck, I've never made it before)
Saturday: Beef Vegetable Soup
Sunday: Baked Ziti

Rambling update!

Because, really, do I ever write updates that are not rambling? (the answer is no).

Ella started third grade today. I am officially the mother of a 3rd grader. Which of course means I am also the mother of a should-be 4th grader. Riley Grace would be going into 4th grade. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to have two little book-end girls going to (home)school together.

This morning, I woke up early and went to read my devotions in the living room. I tiptoed out of our bedroom and past a grouchy cat, and then it hit me. Life seems to go so much more smoothly when I take the time to converse with God first thing in the morning.

Today, I asked God for patience as my daughter begins another school year.
I asked Him to make me the mother and teacher she needs.
I asked Him not to let me neglect my duties as a homemaker and wife, in the wake of this school year.
I asked Him to bring me closer to where He needs me to be.
To gather me into His will.

For the most part, school went smoothly. I'm just not ready to be the mom of a 3rd grader. I'm not ready for time to steal my little girl from me.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Desperation in the Kitchen: Chicken Spaghetti in a Rosy Red Pepper Sauce

Sounds pretty fancy, doesn't it?

It's not.

But you can totally tell people it is, because it tastes fancy. Oh. You must must must have the red peppers. I tried making it without the red peppers (obviously, I didn't call it red pepper sauce) and it didn't taste right. I've been making it this way so long that Ella automatically equates chicken spaghetti with red peppers...she seriously reminded me to buy a red pepper when she read the meal plan calendar.

Here's what you need (note: the spaghetti is not pictured...duh. I had me a dummy moment. also, the olive oil is not's been a long day)

*Olive oil (not pictured, ugh)
*Peppers (I have a green one and a red one)
*Diced Tomatoes
*Pasta Sauce (I used Food Lion Brand, but I am also partial to DelMonte)
*half and half, or cream cheese, or heavy cream...or milk. It depends. today, I used half and half
*Spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder)
*Pasta (I used angel hair...and it's not pictured. whoops)

Here's what you do

*Heat olive oil in a skillet, then throw your chicken (cut into bite sized pieces) in

*When your chicken is browned, throw in your onion and peppers

*Throw in your diced tomatoes, juice and all.

*Let that simmer a few minutes, then add about half a can of spaghetti sauce, and spices to taste

*While that's simmering start your pasta water. I always put olive oil and salt into my pasta pot.

*And when your pasta is just about done, pour some half and half (or whatever) into your sauce, and heat through. This gives it that awesome rosy color.

*Strain your pasta, and serve!