Tuesday, February 28, 2012

girlfriend date

We are so blessed to get to date trade with our friends and neighbors, the Towne's, each month!
Here is a glimpse into our night with Bailey this month :)

What a joy it is to have a girlfriend across the street the exact same age!
These girls have so much fun together and we have so much fun watching them grow!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

yummy in my tummy!

So I haven't had as many frequent posts about pinterest recipes...BUT I have still been making at least 1 per week!

The last week we had:

French Toast Casserole
- This is SOOO delicious and will now move to the top of our 'do again' breakfast list!
I made it for MomLife and scurried out the door while it was still hot - so I totally didn't get a picture of it :(
But what I love is that you make it the night before and it just soaks together all the goodness for 12 hours before you bake it and enjoy it covered in yummy syrup :)


Chicken Roll-Ups (and Roasted Parmesan Asparagus - adapted from a green bean recipe)
- Wow.  I couldn't believe how awesome these were - but again, with cheese in the sauce, in the filling, and on top, I'm pretty sure they were destined to be delicious!  We split that batch and baked half and froze half...not sure how long those will stay in the freezer before being torn out and popped in the oven and then in my mouth!


Sticky Buns
- So.  There is no picture of these because they took forever to bake and I had left before they were done...These tasted amazing! (A lot like my mom's overnight coffeecake...but then again, nothing is as good as that.) BUT they took like 3+ the amount of baking time it said...maybe I'm exaggerating...but I had to at least double it.  I have had this problem nearly every time I try to make sticky buns or monkey bread with biscuits from a can - am I doing something wrong?!?!

Cake Batter Cookies

- These were an impulse bake Friday night and another recipe that will move to the top of our do again list!
I split the batter and made half with chocolate chips and half with butterscotch (our favorite). YUMMY.
They were one of the easiest recipes ever to make - of course, not being able to top their cousin, pumpkin muffins (the absolute easiet baked goods recipe ever.)

Next up:
I'm wanting to make Buffalo Chicken Dip and Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake in the near future!

What's on your menu at home this week?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Valentine's recap

We began our day with 'love cakes'

And ended the day with a new flamingo toy for her Zoo

And some more yummy 'love cake'

Which she didn't like...

And then loved!!!

Then we put her to bed and enjoyed some delicious chocolate cake ourselves

And a fun game of Qwirkle while we watched Glee and New Girl (seriously the most hilarious show ever!)

What a fun, blessed day :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Parenting a toddler...

I love having a toddler
Part of me wishes that I would be blessed with a child in this stage for the rest of my life!
It is so joyful, unexpected, surprising, and funny!

It is a lot of hard things too:
Like constant (feels like it...) discipline
Deciphering of words/sentences/demands...
Taking away her pacifier and going through the crying it out to sleep again...(which, by the way, we started on Tuesday night and she has adjusted in 3 short days!!!!!!!!!! YAY!)
Teaching her everything...how to share, how to ask nicely, how to pray, when to be quiet, when to sit down...the list goes on!

We love the anticipation of seeing how her personality develops!
I am so anxious to watch how her heart will grow for the Lord, how she will make and treat her friends, what her desires and passions will become, and what she will be like as a big sister!

The best part of parenting a toddler right now?!
How she keeps us smiling, laughing, and mimicking her all day long with these awesome expressions and faces!

SERIOUSLY. She is the best thing EVER

What is your favorite stage to parent?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

confirmation and fervent prayer

Confirmation for prayer requests seems elusive to me.
I know now that I firmly believe in it...but when I don't know where to find it and I don't know what form it will come in...I am left wondering at when to step out in faith and when to wait longer for an answer or permission.

Some time in the last several months I was driving home from Marion listening to the conversation hour on WBCL (90.3 in the Ft. Wayne area)
I was deep in worry prayer over Joel's job situation because it was becoming increasingly stressful and I am not in favor of their move to Ft. Wayne within the next 2 years that will take him away from us 40ish minutes earlier each more, bring him home 40ish minutes later, and take away our lunch hour together every day
As I was committing this to the Lord and begging for a quick and easy solution (to me that would be some job change or ministry opportunity) I boldly asked that the Lord give me an answer to this prayer to clear that I would not question it!
Well nearly an entire 30 seconds later the program I was listening to reminded us that this author was speaking about their book on how to know God's will (I do not remember the name of the book or the day it was aired - sorry!).  The author used a random scenario of hearing God's voice/will in the area of our job.  Such as (the author's example), biding our time doing our job because we know this isn't the final place/true spot of ministry/dream job that we will have one day...so we are just doing this to get by until then.  The auther challenged us that this train of thought is NOT according to God's will!  What would be in God's will would be to perform our best, work as hard as we know how, and do our very best in the job that He has given us.  Opportunity will find the hard-worker.
Um, wow.
So thanks for showing up and showing off when I step out on a limb of faith to boldly ask for clear confirmation!
I went away from that knowing how I could encourage Joel in this situation - to remind him of the important work his job description has for him to do and also for the relationships he has built and is nurturing at Franklin.  He has a valuable spot with close friends at work to impact them for Jesus and to live for Him in a secular organization.

Cut to about 2-3 weeks ago when I was in the throws of my miserable cold(s).
I wasn't able to go to sleep and went downstairs for some late night quiet time
I prayed boldly again asking the Lord to give me comfort and wisdom to endure this illness and discern if and what medicines I should take to ease my pain but also keep my unborn child's health my #1 priority.  I had to be up in a few short hours to go to work and care for many other's burdens...I always need to be on top of my game for my job both emotionally and physically. 
I opened a newer devotional called, Progress of Another Pilgrim, by Frances J. Roberts.

As I flipped through the table of contents I was looking specifically for something that spoke to healing.  I came to a short passage entitled 'Thy Healing Touch'.  As I read through this I was encouraged that through my weaknesses God was shown to be what brought about any strength.  When we strive forth in our ministry and recognize where we are weak than it is obvious it is His accomplishment.
Again - Wow, God!
Thank you for reminding me that I am not in this alone and will not endure it alone.  You will fill in the gaps to continue your ministry through me!

My third (and final) confirmation story came just 2 days later.  I had just come from a MomLife leadership meeting where we had talked in length about next years leadership team.  We were not only planning how many spots were available, but what the responsibilities would be and whether any of us would return.  I knew that I wanted to return, but that it would be difficult with a newborn.  I knew that I needed to have Joel's approval and support (though now I know that God's ministry is bigger than my husband's agreeance...but I still wanted to have it!).  As we mulled over the job descriptions and which one I'd be interested in I told our leader for next year that I would take 1 of 2 positions - whichever one was left after another member decided which one they wanted.  I knew that this wasn't a very convicted response - but I didn't feel led to take a particular spot - but just that I wanted to be a part of it!
After more debate and suggestions ideas began to float around about prioritizing spiritual growth and fellowship in the overall MomLife group.  Ideas kept coming to me and our leader was so excited that by the end of the meeting she decided she'd add another position for spiritual direction.  I left that meeting knowing that I was to pray specifically about that position - that is where God was leading me in many areas in my life!  I came home, picked up that same devotional and opened to a passage labeled "Fellowship".  I won't quote the entire devotion, but it literally said 'MOVE' in capitol letters, encouraging the reader to go in faith and God will give you (or as I was reading, 'me') a rich ministry.
You may think that was enough to convince - but the scripture referenced at the end of this paragraph did it.  Colossians 3:12-17.  (Look it up to enjoy the richness of God's Word) Our verse.  The Draper passage.  Read at our wedding.  Yep, I am totally going to be on the leadership team and use God's strength in all of my weaknesses to provide fellowship opportunities and Bible studies to these women as we all grow in Him and His plan for us!

God - you never cease to amaze me. THANK YOU for answering prayers in a way that I can understand, believe, and move forward with. I love you!!!!!!!!

Please share a story of your own on God' confirmation to prayer or how you 'hear' Him best!!! Sharing these stories with one another can be so uplifting!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

24 weeks!

Since I haven't given too much of a detailed update since my post about our first trimester, I thought it was time to give a run down of Wee One!!!

I am about 24 weeks along - with due date projected to be anywhere from May 29th-June 5th

I am beginning to be able to enjoy Joel's t-shirts any chance I get, since mine are all too small for my enormous belly (seriously, it was NOT this big at 24 weeks with Little Miss!) and I don't want mine to stretch out from jamming my pregnant self in them!

I struggle to comfortably tie my shoes and also paint my toes (reminds me of when Joel and my mom had to take over last time I was nurturing someone in my womb!)

Carrying Mylin for any period of time can be exhausting and feel impossible - especially if she wants to be carried up the steps, which, by the way, she has not starting asking for until this week...the week that I've finally decided I can barely do it!

My appetite seems to be pretty consistant and predictable - unlike the moments of cravings in the 1st trimester that could bring me to tears!

My already extremely low blood pressure is now an even lower pregnancy blood pressure which means I start my days off being dizzy and having to sit down on the floor randomly while trying to dry my hair or change Mylin's diaper

I am beginning to plan for my maternity leave - anticipating a sweet 4 months off of work from the beginning of May until Labor Day! (prayer request that I can go back to work in September for 1 to 1 1/2 days a week instead of my 2 that I am doing now)

We have cleaned and purged and rearranged to move Mylin to a twin bed in a different bedroom.  She is already in love with the Hello Kitty themed bed and we are preparing to remove pacifiers from the crib this week in preparation to get her ready to go to the 'big girl' room in a few weeks!

I am having some very vivid pregnancy dreams!  I dreamt about being in cave the other night...which I'm sure is full of symbolism...and I have had many dreams where I am breastfeeding the new baby - which is usually a dark-haired little girl!!! (Any comments on a good source for dream interpretation?!)

My feet will swell and ache if I do too much...thanks Body, for letting me know, but once I do realize I've overdone it and sit down to rest could you just please take the swelling and aching away?!?!

I have Braxton-Hicks contractions!  They are triggered by some various things, but what I remember from my first pregnancy, once they start happening, they will continue to be triggered until baby comes!

I am continuing to be surprised and overjoyed at God's goodness to grow our family - I cannot believe what He is trusting to us and am baffled at how it will change our family dynamics and what our new 'family' will become!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Warm soups for a cold day

Broccoli cheddar from pinterest

Corn, potato, and cheese chowder
- This has been a favorite of my family's growing up - I rarely eat potatoes, so when I have to buy some I end up making a huge pot of this to eat and freeze for later!

3 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 c. water
2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon granules
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
dash of black pepper
3 c. milk
1 10 oz pkg. frozen corn
2 Tbsp. flour
6 oz. cheddar cheese shredded (we ALWAYS use Velveeta instead!)
1 Tbsp. parsley

1. Combine potatoes, water, bouillon, and pepper spices in a large saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
2. Stir in 2 1/2 c. milk and corn
3. In a small bowl combine remaining milk and flour; once mixed pour into potato mixture
4. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbley
5. Add cheese stir until melted
6. Add parsely garnish on top of soup in bowls!

What are your favorite soup recipes?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

baked goods

Hubby's had a very stressful and difficult week at work :(
Not just him, but the entire group of engineer's he works with
So, since I can't go in and solve their problems for them (though I've really been racking my brain how to....), what do I do for them instead?!
Thursday I made Honey Beer Bread

and Cream Cheese Banana Bread (pinterest recipes!) for him to take to an afternoon meeting

Friday I had him take in Cake Batter Cookies

and Cream Cheese Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Yeah - I know - YUM.

None of my creations turned out like the pinterest pictures except these chocolate chip cookies...I think it's because I only bake with whole wheat flour...
What are your comments/thoughts/suggestions on baking with whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose?!

Thankfully I had a co-baker during the oven marathon!

Yes, I realize she looks stoned. She technically wasn't - but also has been battling colds in the month of January, so this is her 'cold' face.  And technically she didn't help either.  BUT if it wasn't for this sweet soul I wouldn't have so much joy in my life to energize into baking!!!

We also were in charge of breakfast at church on Sunday so I made some favorite dishes of ours to have ready EARLY Sunday morning:
PBJ and Banana pie (again) with a new family favorite: Hawaiian Egg Sandwiches

Baking has been where I've invested my energy this week after feeling so sick and sad for the last several weeks :(

What have you been baking lately?
I'm on a roll and would love some more new ideas!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

salads and head colds

My pinterest recipes of the week:
Apple Pear Gargonzola Salad
- My personalization: blue cheese instead of gargonzola...added avocado, didn't use nuts.  And did a bit of the cidar dressing and some blue cheese dressing too.   Great for a party!!!
(and since it was made at and consumed at a party - I did not get a picture!)

Chicken Salad sandwiches
- I didn't have grapes or celery and don't like nuts...but we did add garlic and some extra spices and of course parmesan! (makes any cold 'salad' sandwich better!).  Next time I will totally make sure I have red grapes - I love what they bring to a good chicken salad sandwich.

In other news I have been battling some form of cold for over 3 weeks.
This is getting old and exhausting
Thank you to all my facebook friends for your encouragement and home remedies!
While I am still definitely not back to normal - my energy is returning!
Evidenced by finally sitting down to do another blog :)
And also by going through emails, cleaning and organizing at home again, and leisure reading!
Can you believe I was feeling so sick I couldn't read?!
It just seemed too taxing...

However, I must give praise to the amazing husband God has given me

He was such a loving, selfless servant over the last few weeks and ESPECIALLY the last few days
He even battled being sick a few days in there too!!!
I am so humbled by the man God has given me as a husband - I do not deserve God's favor or Joel's loving-kindness
What a moment of gracious understand at how wonderful and good our God really is!
He deserves our praise and glory
Thank you so much for Your provision and ordination in our lives!

What did you battle with in January?!