Monday, February 23, 2009

Amy Butler Pattern and Fabric Giveaway!

I just could stand not telling you about this giveaway! This collaboration between Fresh Squeezed Fabrics and The Fabric Shopper. The winner receives one Amy Butler Design Frenchy Bags pattern and a $25.00 gift certificate to spend at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics. Go over and take a look at the multiple ways to enter!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's Monday! Get Organized!

It’s is time for Menu Planning Monday! We are still running crazy around here with practices and meetings so our menu is simple and sweet.

Sunday: Fish Sandwiches and sautéed asparagus (I used grouper. They were breaded and pan fried.

Monday: Crust-less Quiche, Oven roasted broccoli. This I made this quiche last weekend and froze it. It really comes together more like a breakfast casserole – cubed bread, 6 eggs or so, a little milk, cheese and ham or sausage, cooked. The key to it tasting “not-frozen” is to freeze it unbaked. Thaw, then top with cheese and bake. You would never know it was prepared ahead of time.

Tuesday: French Dip Sandwiches and Green beans. These sandwiches are made from baked sirloin that was then sliced. Top with sautéed onions. Then I make brown gravy from a packet and add in Liptons, French onion soup mix. The sandwiches are supposed to be dipped into the sauce. My kids LOVE that, but my husband pours his on top.

Wednesday: Spaghetti and spinach salad

Thursday: Chicken and Dumplings and spinach salad. YUM! To make this quick, I roll out refrigerated biscuits for the dumplings.

Have a fabulous week!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It is about LOVING not being RIGHT - The Indian Talking Stick

The smell of residual smoke is in the air. It is tense. Angry voices can be heard. Far off drums are beating. The sound of stone scraping against stone is heard where the grown men huddle. Younger men are eager. Older men are solemn. The ground seems to vibrate under scurrying feet. It is humid and difficult to breathe. Older women pack dishes and clothing into messy piles and rush them into the tent. Wishing they could say something, but knowing, now is not the time. Older children push smaller children into dark tents. Babies are hushed.

Boundaries have been crossed. All could be gone. In 5 minutes? In and hour? Tomorrow? An entire people could be gone, forgotten.

Fate arrives. Angry voices are yelling, screeching. Boastful young men beat on their chest. Weapons are shaken in the air. You don’t have to understand the Cherokee language to know war is at hand.

An old man reaches from a large bag and slowly pulls out the Talking Stick. Everyone knows what this means. In an almost instant, bodies sit; yelling turns to hot glares and weapons sit on folded legs.

Everyone knows the rules and is willing to abide by them. The person with the Talking Stick gets to speak first. They get to speak as long as they wish until they feel their point has been made. No else may speak, only listen, until the talking stick is handed off to the next. Time passes. Some yell when they speak, some become frustrated, some are calm, but all get an opportunity. The yelling slowly fades and weapons sitting in laps become something to pick and twiddle instead of an object to injure.

It is over and anti-climatic at the least. Days of endless talking have resulted in tribes shuffling down a dusty path. Some young are disappointed; they wanted to show their new found strength. The wise, though, are solemn and relieved; they go hug their families. They understand that life is about love, not about who is right.

The disaster has been averted. This time it worked. It doesn’t always work, but this time it did.

I need to think about this. Does the Indian Talking Stick need a place in my family? Jesus understands love. He was willing not to just comprise, but to give it all up for love. Even for people who were determined to be right.

Here is a cute
craft tutorial that explains how to build an Indian Talking Stick.

Indians would make their own Taking Stick, decorating the talking stick to symbolize their life, accomplishments and strengths.
This site gives some great ideas for embellishing the Talking Stick. Have your kids reflect on their accomplishments and strengths as they decorate. Your family could even add decorations as conflicts are resolved.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Boutique Wild Child Giveaway!

Don't forget to check out Boutique Wild Child Blog! They are hosting their fisrt giveaway! Photoshop and Microsoft Digital Imaging guru, Stacy, has several digital frames for you to use for digital scrapbooking or any other digital photo projects you might have!

How do you win?? Just become a Boutique Wild Child Follower and post a comment and you are entered to win! A winner will be chosen on Friday March 6th. Deadline to enter is midnight eastern time on Thursday March 5th.

Good luck!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Frugal with the All-American Snack

My daughter is addicted to popcorn. She eats it almost everyday as a snack. I purchase a box of little microwaveable pocorn at the grocery store and *POOF* it's gone. Not to mention, those bags are not inexpensive!
A couple of weeks ago, the family was watching "Good Eats" during TV time and Alton Brown did a show about popcorn (we love this show, by the way). The episode included how to cook your own popcorn on the stovetop. Now I know what you are thinking as you begin smelling that all too familar burnt smell, but his trick actually worked. He proposed that the shape of the cooking pan/bowl plays a key role in how many kernels pop. Most store-bought stove-top popcorn is done in aflat aluminum pan. Alton says that a nice stainless steel bowl works much better because it always popped pieces to move upward and leave kernels at the bottom for more heat.
Long story short, my family tried his trick and it worked to perfection!

Pour about 2T of vegetable oil in your bowl and about 1/3 c popcorn. Cover with aluminum foil and poke wholes to let steam out. Using your tongs, gently, shake your bowl (constantly) on the stove eye.
It takes about 5 minutes total, about the same time to use the microwave, to get perfect popcorn! The frugal part?? Well, a box of microwave popcorn can cost almost $4 for 10 snack bags. A bag of just popcorn kernels costs about $1.50 and contains more servings.

Oh, one more hint. If you are still using the microwave bags, store the unpopped kernels in a plastic bag and when you have enough, cook them as mentioned above. Voila, an extra serving!

Happy Popping!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Well, we survived a viral attack on our family this past week. Both the kids were home a couple of days from school. This threw my schedule off a bit, but we are back in action for this week!

The past couple of weeks, I have devoted a little more time to menu planning than usual. Soccer season has started and we are all getting home later than usual so I am on the lookout for meals that can be made in 30 minutes or LESS but are also CHEAP! This is what I came up with this week!

Sunday: Pan fried pork chops, vegetable egg noodles, oven roasted veggies.

Monday: Crock pot ham and potatoes, salad

Tuesday: Sausage and Egg Hash, Almond orange apricot crescent rolls

Wednesday: Homemade Egg Rolls

Thursday: Homemade Pizza - Ok you caught me, it is frozen and I bought it from the store :)

1 package of egg noodles cooked according to directions
1 T. butter
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, slided
1/2 bag of spinach

Melt butter in skillet. Add onions and mushrooms and cook over medium low heat until onions are transluscent. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add to cooked egg noodles and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Macho Nachos!

This has turned into a family favorite! (shhhh, did I mention that it's healthy??)

Macho Nachos

1 pound ground chicken or turkey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 small can corn
1/2 can black beans
1 packet taco seasonings
Approx 1 cup chicken stock
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1 bag of corn chips or Doritos
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado chopped and sprinkled with lime juice
Shredded cheese

In a skillet, cook chicken/ turkey over medium high heat. Add next 6 ingredients and cook until vegetables are tender crisp and onions are translucent. Add packet of taco seasoning and stir. On packet of seasoning, the directions usually call for the addition of water. Add the amount instructed but add chicken stock instead. Add cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Place chips on plate and top with meat and veggies. Add additional toppings as you want. My entire family loves this meal! Have a great week!