Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Menu Monday (on Tuesday, AGAIN!)

I did pretty well with my menu last week, however we went out on Saturday night (to the Pure Barre Birmingham opening party, congrats!) so I moved the spaghetti to Tuesday. And we didn't do Sunday's chicken and hibatchi rice, so that will be moved to this week. SOOO, the menu is as follows:

Sunday - Whole Wheat Spaghetti with meatballs (homemade meatballs, Ragu sauce doctored a little)
Monday - Leftover Spaghetti :)
Tuesday - Slow cooker Turkey Chili, crackers
Wednesday - Leftover Chili
Thursday - Chicken tenders, pasta, creamed spinach (Green Giant low fat, it is GOOD!)
Friday - Thin crust pizza
Saturday - Hot dogs, baked chips

I would love for you to let me know in my comments if you are going to do Menu Monday!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snow Bunny

I know this post is LONG overdue, but I did want to show you some pics of Margaret Anne that I took on our "Snow day" a few weeks ago. I use the term loosely because it was probably the most disappointing snow day that I can remember in a while. Nothing stuck, but we did get to see the snow falling pretty hard. While it was falling I took Miss Priss out to see what she thought about it.

Not quite sure at first

"This stuff is sticking to me... I think its pretty funny!"

"I think its REALLY funny!"

These are just to show my preciousness.

Once the snow quit falling, we went inside. Then we came back out again because it started back up. We decided on a different coat this time, because the other one was not a good choice, I just grabbed it in a hurry.

Here you can see the snow on the steps. It stayed there for about an hour or two.

And then, while we were outside, Daddy came home. So we all went in and got warm by the fire!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A World Apart

It has officially been a loooong time since the last time I posted. I think it is similar to exercise; the longer you go without it, the harder it is to start back. But enough about me. Tonight I want to tell you about an amazing story I had the opportunity to hear. Our men's group at church had a young man by the name of Victor to come speak to us. Victor is one of the "Lost Boys" of the Sudan in Africa. In my protected shell of a mind, the Sudan is a place mentioned often in National Geographic where some people are killing alot of other people for no good reason. Tonight I got to hear a firsthand account of what things are really like over there.

As a young boy, Victor (his baptized name; no, Victor is not a Sudanese name) and his older brother were in charge of tending the cows. On a seemingly normal day, 8 year old Victor and his brother were watching the cows and sculpting clay cows out by the riverbanks when the sound of automatic gunfire and screams rang out from his village. Terrified, they ran away. When they reached the jungle, Victor and his brother were separated. He said he spent the better part of two days crying, both missing his family (whose fate was unknown) and afraid of being attacked by lions. Which is a legitimate fear in my book. He remembers being so hungry that he tried to eat the leaves of the trees he slept in, but his throat was so closed up that he couldn't swallow. By the grace of God he heard voices in his language, and joined these people who were also fleeing the Sudan. They made the 1,000 mile (not a typo!) journey to Ethiopia on foot. At the time, Ethiopia was not yet under siege from the Islamic movement. Eventually, they had to flee Ethiopia and travel to Kenya, and this journey continued for many years, until he had the opportunity to travel to the United States.

Long story short, Victor made it to the US, uncertain of his future, and landed in the Atlanta area, where there was a modest Sudanese population. He found a warehouse job, and guess what day his orientation was? September 11th, 2001. The first day he ever saw the World Trade Center was on the news feed as we were under attack. At that time, he began to wonder if he would ever escape a life of conflict and war. A few years later, through a friend, he got hired on with a ministry called Make Way Partners. They asked him to relocate to Birmingham, where there are virtually no Sudanese, and he said, sure, why not. Make Way Partners has been his opportunity to share his story about the terror and horror that has a stronghold on the Sudan. What was so fascinating to me is hearing his story of adjusting to modern society. For example, he was so accustomed to eating one meal a day in the displaced persons camps in Africa (where they often had to feed 70,000 a day), that he can only eat one meal a day. He said his stomach physically can't handle more than one meal a day. Do you know any Americans that could use THAT diet?? Also, at first he was very scared to leave his apartment. He didn't leave for a week, until one of his friends coaxed him out and said that there was nothing to fear here. He said that he couldn't figure out why he would look out the window and see people walking and riding bikes. "Where are they going?", he wondered. His friend kindly informed him that people do that here to exercise and stay in shape. He thought to himself, "Being that I walked 1,000 straight miles, I think I'm good!".

One thing that really stuck out to me was the baptized name he chose for himself. He was baptized in Kenya as a Catholic, and was required to take a Christian name to recieve baptism (not sure how I feel about that one, but not a discussion for here). He didn't want to at first, but once he found out what "Victor" meant, he knew that was who he was meant to be. A "Victor" is triumphant, persevering, an overcomer. I can't think of a more fitting name to choose.

A few times in his story, I found myself realizing how trivial some of my worries are in comparison to Victor. I haven't fled my home and family to a backdrop of gunfire and genocide. I haven't slept in trees to avoid jungle beasts. And I certainly haven't traveled thousands of miles with no apparent end in sight. But I would imagine there are many stories like Victor's that never get heard. I am glad he is able to share his story with those who are able to help his cause of providing and protecting children and citizens of the Sudan. What really blew me away was Victor's faith in God as his protector and provider, even after all the pain and anguish he has witnessed firsthand. He closed our time together by saying the Lord's Prayer in Dinka, the indigenous language of the Sudan.

If you would like to learn more about Make Way Partners, you can visit their website at http://www.makewaypartners.org/ Please take a moment to read about their cause to help those who don't have the resources to help themselves.

News story on Pure Barre!

I told you guys I am obsessed! I also want to support my friend, so you guys check out this video. It gives great insight into what the classes are like.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

UPDATE: Pure Barre, One week later.

Internets, I am officially addicted to Pure Barre class. I love going, and I love the way my legs, arms, and "seat" feel like Jello when I leave. I love that when I am doing something incorrectly, the instructor comes over and helps me. I despise that when I am doing something incorrectly, the instructor comes over and helps me because it usually makes it oh so much harder. While in the class, I don't like the pain and the shaking and the horrible burning that I feel in my muscles (when they say lift.tone.burn., they MEAN IT), but when it is over I have this incredible sense of accomplishment that I ACTUALLY MADE IT THROUGH 55 MINUTES OF TORTURE CLASS.
However, the very best thing about Pure Barre is that after 4 classes and 2 weeks of eating better, I got my second pair of pre-pregnancy jeans on, buttoned, and zipped.
Do I need any more motivation than that to continue? I think not.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Menu Monday (on Tuesday)

Yes, I know I am behind with my menu Monday post, but yesterday was a holiday, so give me a break! We did pretty well last week! I stuck to my menu, but I did have to switch some nights around. However I did cook everything that I said I was going to AND I had some great leftovers to take for lunch.
This week's menu:

Monday - Penne a la Betsy, bread (This was WONDERFUL)
Tuesday - Dinner with a friend, Hubsy and Baby on their own. I hope they don't starve :)
Wednesday - Turkey burgers, brown rice
Thursday - Hubs has Men's dinner at church, so I will have a leftover turkey burger and baby will have something yummy.
Friday - Thin crust pizza, salad
Saturday - Spaghetti with meat sauce (we will see about this one, Hubs thinks we eat too much spaghetti)
Sunday - Chicken tenders, Hibatchi Fried Rice

I am going for EASY this next few weeks. We are about to start tryout season, AND I am trying to work out at least 4 times a week, so it leaves me little time or energy to cook. But I am trying, especially since the cooking is an integral part of maintaining my New Years' resolution!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I have found it.

My new workout, that is. Pictured above are Lindsay Lancaster and Danielle Davis, owners of the new Pure Barre Technique that opened this month in Birmingham. Danielle is a friend of mine (she is married to one of Hays' best friends), so I really wanted to try out the classes and experience all of the greatness. I went yesterday, and it is the best workout that I have had in YEARS. You work to tone and lengthen (so that you don't build bulk) muscles in places that are hard to work on - your thighs, seat, abs, even the back of your arms. It was hard, and I am extremely sore today, but I know I will get better at it as time goes on. It was an hour workout, and you are concentrating so hard on doing the exercises that you really don't think about the world outside for the duration of the class. My instructor was really sweet, she knew that it was my first class and helped me with my form when I needed help, which I really liked. I am so glad that I have a workout that I like that will target the areas that I want to work on most! If you want to read about the technique and the studio, check it out here.
I think this might help me along with those resolutions that I made ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Some of you have asked for recipes, so here they are! I have collected these from random places and use them over and over.

Apricot Chicken

Sour Cream Pork Chops
4-6 pork chops
8 oz sour cream
1 sliced onion
1 cup beef broth (I made mine with 2 cups boiling water and a boullion cube, but only used 1 cup of it)
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 t paprika
1 T prepared mustard
2 T parsley flakes
salt/pepper to taste

Brown outside of pork chops in skillet. Add all ingredients EXCEPT sour cream and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, covered. Add sour cream and simmer for 10 mins uncovered. Serve over rice.
         *Note - I changed this a little and browned the pork chops, then cooked everything in the crock pot for about 1 1/2  hours on high. Then I added the sour cream. The sauce was a little thin, so I added about a tablespoon of flour and cooked it for another 30 mins.

I got the Pineapple Cheese Casserole recipe here. ALERT: Not healthy, but oh so good!

Let me know if you want any more recipes!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Monday

This is my first time to do Menu Monday... trying to follow through with the resolutions!

Sunday- Sour cream pork chops, white rice, pineapple cheese casserole
Monday - Chicken Florentine, corn
Tuesday - Leftovers from Sunday or Monday
Wednesday - Apricot Chicken, brown rice, RF crescent rolls
Thursday - Leftovers from Wednesday
Friday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese
Saturday - Possibly a dinner out, possibly leftovers!

I have several busy nights this week, so leftovers are necessary. I'll let you guys know how well I stick to this menu!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Show us your life Friday: New Years Resolutions/Goals

I have never been big on New Years Resolutions. I feel like I make All year resolutions! However, I am making just A FEW this year. I have heard that goals are easier to achieve if they are specific. So here goes.
1. Lose 10 lbs by March 11th.
     -This one may be hard for me, especially since I hate to weigh myself and don't do it very often. However, I am going on a cruise for my good friend Corrie's bachelorette party, and I would really like to have 10lbs off by then AT LEAST. I am back into 1 pair of pre-pregnancy jeans, so if I don't lose 10 lbs, but I can fit into the rest of them, that would be good too.
2. I want to be a better wife to Hays. He is such a good husband, and I feel like when I come home from work I direct all of my attention towards Margaret Anne. However, she is asleep by 7:30, so I do have extra time to spend with Hays, and I want to take advantage of it.
3. This goes with #2, but I want to cook dinner more for our family! I need to pull out some old recipes and get the ingredients each week. I am going to follow along with some of you and plan out a menu over the weekend. I think this also will help with goal #1.

Those are my resolutions. I will keep you guys updated on my progress!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An ancient Japanese art...

KARAOKE!! For New Year's eve, we went over to spend some time with our very, very fun Trussville friends. Kimberly got a karaoke machine for Christmas, and it made its debut on New Year's eve. We let the babies all play for a while, bundled them up to watch a few fireworks, then put them to bed. And then it all began.

We were so good, it was SCARY.

Hays and I were getting into our duet. In case you were wondering, it was "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

Wade did a little dancin', while Hays did a little (a lot, who am I kidding) of singin'.

I mean, the Three Wolf Moon t shirt gave Hays some strange energy.

We had a fantastic time!

I can't wait to get together with these fun friends and do it again soon!
This was right after midnight. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

By request...

Several people have asked me to share how I made the hand ornaments from this post. Please don't think I am that creative, I got the instructions from my IRL friend Fran in her post here. The only thing that I did differently is paint mine white with an acrylic craft paint and then I used spray glaze like she did, but I think mine was a little different than hers. I did use a Sharpie to write and draw the holly, and I wrote her name on the back as well.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Thank you to my friend Laura over at Groovin with the Grizas for bestowing me with the Happy 101 Blog award!
The rules are: list 10 things that make you happy, and then 10 blogs that make you happy!

My 10 things:
1. God's love, which is the only way I have found true happiness. Even though it is hard to understand His plan sometimes, I have to trust and know that He is good!
2. My wonderful husband.
3. My precious, precious little girl.
4. My family. They are always there when I need them, period.
5. My job (sometimes)! I work with some great kids and some great adults too!
6. Daisy, my rat terrier. She has been with me through all of my hardest life experiences and my best ones too, loyal to the core!
7. My home. It may be small, but it sure is cozy!
8. Fantastic friends. My girlfriends are the best friends a girl could hope for. They are all in different areas and from different areas of my life, but they mean so much to me, whether they are old or new friends, they are very special!
9. My neighbors! I have the best next door neighbors. They are so fun and nice! Yay for Leigh and Jason!
10. Take out. Whether it is Chinese, Mexican, or pizza, it is all yummy (albeit bad for you) and even better is knowing that I didn't have to cook!

Now, the 10 blogs that make me happy...
1. Groovin with the Grizas
2. Life of Skipper
3. The Beck family
4. Sugar and Spice
5. The Maddox family
6. The Edwards Edition
7. Kelly's Korner
8. The Congleton Family
9. I hate green beans (bachelor recaps, y'all! starts tonight too!)
10. Hold it Up to the Light

Thanks again Laura!