Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gratituesday: Cats!

I have to admit that I love cats. I grew up with a dog and dearly loved my Grover, but when I was a single teacher living alone in my apartment I decided to adopt a cat. So for my birthday I went to the shelter and found this beautiful cat, Katya. She was perfect for me. She and I instantly bonded and it was so wonderful that my future husband loved cats because there was no way I was going to give up my precious Katya. In fact, I think Katya loved Jeremy more than me at times. We had her for 7 years before we said a very heart wrenching goodbye in our living room on a Tuesday morning in November 2007. I really grieved a long time for this cat. But it made it a little easier because we had....

We actually got Abby 6 months before Katya died. We met her when we stayed at a friend's house for the weekend. We fell in love with this sweet, loveable bundle. We really wanted to take this kitty home. So, it was an answered prayer when our friends offered for us to adopt Abby. We were thrilled! She has been such a blessing to us. Abby helped us through the loss of Katya. However, we really liked cats, so in January 2008 we rescued....

Chloe and Abby DID NOT get along well for several months. One lived upstairs and one lived downstairs. It was pretty bad. But when Abby and Chloe finally decided to tolerate each other we found out that Chloe had kidney disease. So in October 2008 we layed Chloe to rest next to Katya in our backyard. It was very hard to bury another cat in less than a year, but actually it worked out OK because we had our baby in November 2008 and having one cat was enough for me.

Here's a picture of Jeremy with Chloe and Abby.
I will always love cats and I definitely don't want to say goodbye to Abby anytime soon. Each one of these cats was a blessing from God for times in our lives. I really thank God for animals, especially cats!!

Do you have a precious animal that you want to tell me about? :)

Head on over to Heavenly Homemakers for more Gratituesday!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Freezer Cooking this week

I am loving cooking for the freezer. This week I will be filling up the freezer again. Here are my recipe plans:

*Zesty Italian Chicken- crockpot (2-3 lb chicken, 16 oz bottle Italian dressing, 1/4 c. parm cheese- place everything in crockpot, cook low 6-8 hours until tender, serve with mashed potatoes or rice- Alison's Perfect Brown Rice)
*Baked Salmon with mustard crumb crust- 30 day freezer gourmet
*Parsley Parmesan Chicken- 30 day freezer gourmet
*Lentil Soup
*Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
*Garlic Lime Chicken
*Ginger Peanut Chicken
*Coffee Shop Corn Muffins - to go with the Lentil Soup

And for Shrade:
*Apple Muffins- Finding Joy in My Kitchen
*Sweet Potato waffles- Finding Joy in My Kitchen

*Almond Joy Granola cookies
OK, let's see if I can do this!

What are you cooking this month? Go to Life As Mom to find more great recipes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Giveaway by Heavenly Homemakers!

I love giveaways. This one is for a $25 gift certificate to FBS books. You can find them online and facebook. Head on over to Heavenly Homemakers to enter.

Friday, March 26, 2010

God's Nuggets: Old and New Testaments- One story!

Last week I just finished my Beth Moore study of A Woman's Heart. What an amazing Bible study. If you have ever been confused about all the things in the Old Testament concerning the tabernacle and ark of the covenant and wonder how in the world it would ever relate to you...this is the study for you!

Here is just a brief glimpse of how the Old and New Testaments are intertwined:

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Tabernacle-
*Door (John 10:9)
*Bread of Presence (John 6:35)
*Altar of incense (Hebrews 7:25)
*Mercy seat (Romans 3:25-26)
*Basin (John 13:8b)
*Lampstand (John 8:12)
*Veil (Hebrews 10:20)
*Tabernacle (John 1:14)

I hope this gives you a thirst to study this more in depth.

What God Nuggets do you have to share?

Blessings, Shonda

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Wheat Oatmeal Quick Bread

I was trying to find a quick and easy bread to make. Well, check out this Wheat Oatmeal Quick Bread from SnoWhite at Finding Joy in My Kitchen. This tastes so good toasted with a little bit of butter. Eat with any soup for a full meal. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great websites for teaching little ones

Here are some great websites that I mentioned I was going to post last week for toddlers and preschoolers:

*Pocketful of Posies- letter of the week with arts and crafts

*Totally Tots- Bible verses, books, giveaways

*Tot School- tot tray ideas and tons of other things

*ABC and 123- so many ideas!

*365 days of TV free toddler activities- a mom of 9 who has 3 toddler age sons (2 are twins)

*First School activities- You can build your whole preschool from here, printable pages too

I am in the process of starting to form my at home preschool curriculum with these websites and others as well as many books I have collected during my teaching. I'm so excited! Let me tell you, there are so many great resources my head is swimming, but I will pick and choose what is right for me and my child. Have fun looking!

PS. I'm so excited! I just started another blog totally dedicated to teaching- Milk N' Honey Learn and Grow!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A giveaway: Preschool Curriculum

If you are interested in a winning a preschool curriculum, just head on over to ABC and 123 for this giveaway!

God's Nuggets: Making good decisions

Last week, one of my friends asked me to do something for them that I felt totally obligated to do based on my emotions, but not based on everything that I already have on my plate. It was so tough for me to say no. I cried and prayed about what I needed to do. I really wanted to do what she asked, but I just couldn't. I felt that I was being selfish for not sacrificing 1-3 days a week to care for my friend's need. I felt the most peace when I asked God if saying NO is ok. Well, I was really nervous when I talked to my friend, but she had a great heart. I love her very much and felt totally honored that she asked me to do this favor. My heart was broken to say no to her, but I know God will honor both of us in this decision.

Do you have tough decisions? How does God help you have peace?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Maple Teriyaki Salmon

I received this recipe from my friend Melissa at MOPS.

We ate this salmon so fast I didn't even get a chance to take a picture. It was REALLY good!

1/3 c. apple juice
3 T. soy sauce
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 c. maple syrup
2 T finely chopped onion (optional)
4 salmon fillets (2 lbs) (I have several fillets in the freezer for when Jeremy caught them in the Fall)

Combine first 5 ingredients. Remove 1/2 c for basting. Cover and refrigerate. Pour the rest into a large Ziploc bag, add salmon and refrigerate 1-3 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Broil salmon about 5 min. Baste. Broil 10 min longer until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting frequently.

Enjoy with rice and steamed veggies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tot school- ideas for moms and tots

I was a teacher for 12 years and I just can't give up my "teacher-ness." I have ebbed and flowed in my teaching of my son. Basically, I read to him and sang a lot of songs with him. Now that he is almost 15 months I want to step it up a little in a fun way. Again, I've been scouring the internet for ideas. I found some great websites that I will share later, but mostly I found a plan that I can follow. I don't want to be rigid, but I do want to teach my son as I look forward to homeschooling some day. So here's my plan:

*Read at least 3x a day
-before nap time
-before bed time
*Song time- throughout the day
*Memorizing Bible verse- 1 a week, I use the Bible verse from Totally Tots
*Tot school- play with one toy together

*Gross motor activities
-outside- our yard, the park
-hide and seek

*Fine motor
-play dough
-using spoons and forks

Outside activities:
-Parent/Child class for 8 weeks through Bates Technical college
-Library story time once a week
-Children's Museum
-Play dates with friends

That's about what I'm doing. How about you?

Next time, I will share a few more websites that will be helpful for teaching tots in FUN ways!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Non-Mayhem: Pampering!!!

You heard it: pampering!! One way to reduce mayhem is to find time for pampering. There are so many ways to do this, but here is just one way I do.

I LOVE homemade soap! One year for Teacher Appreciation Week (when I was teaching) I received a cute little sample of soap from one of the parents who had a business called Rose Petal Betty. Isn't that cute? Well, I fell in love with her soaps and never went back to store bought again. However, I was so sad when she decided to discontinue her business. Lo and behold, just a few months after that my husband took me on a romantic getaway to Vashon Island, WA. We visited the local farmer's market and there I found Rainy Day Garden. Oh, the scents are heavenly and the soaps are beautiful. So I ordered my first set of soaps from Sherri when I got back home. Her soaps are so unique and she creates many different kinds. Here is my latest order: Mandarin Sunrise, Pink, Country Lilac, Ume Blossom, Magnolia Blossom, Apple Ambrosia and Cascade Morning. Even the names are fun! I always look forward to my bath or shower time! Can you smell them? :)
So, here's another pampering moment for me: Tomorrow I get to go to a spa and get the royal treatment. My husband is taking the day off from work and taking care of our son and said I could book a spa day. I am going to get a 1 hour massage, a facial, a manicure and foot soak! I am so excited.

So how do YOU pamper yourself? And guys, how can you pamper your women? :)

PS. I also put these soaps in some of my dresser drawers to make my clothes smell good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Make-ahead Chimichangas

This is for 16 servings.

2.5 c cooked ground beef (I used ground turkey)
16 oz salsa (I used Jeremy's homemade!)
16 oz refried beans (made these too)
1 taco seasoning envelope
16 8" flour tortillas
4 c shredded cheddar

In pan combine cooked meat, salsa, beans and taco seasoning. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium low and spray with cooking spray. One at a time put the tortillas in the skillet, heating for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from pan. Put 1/2 c meat mixture and top with cheese. Fold in the sides and roll it up.

I put each chimchanga in a sandwich bag and then placed all the bags in a big freezer bag.

Serving Directions:
Remove the needed amount of chimichangas from the freezer. Remove plastic wrap. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min. Serve with sour cream if desired.

This is so easy and quick and saves so much time before dinner. Love these!

Be sure to visit the 30 Day Freezer Gourmet for more freezer meals. Browse through the past newsletters. There are TONS of great recipes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Spring "Green" Cleaning Part 1

 As many of you know, I am married to "Mr. Environmentalist" and I love him! He has taught me so much about being "green." Ha, not like Kermit used to sing about!!! Anyway, there are many areas in my life that I have changed as a result of my husband's influence.

Here are a few ways that we try to preserve the environment:
*Recycling- paper, plastic, bags, etc.
*Using cloth diapers for our son
*We go on walks and pick up aluminum cans and trade them in for money!
*We have several of the re-usable grocery bags.
*We grow and can much of our food.
*We buy a lot of products that don't have packaging, but if we do buy a product with packaging, we make sure we can recycle it.
*I use Charlie's Soap for laundry detergent.

But one area where I am going to start being more environmentally sound is with my cleaning products. Someone commented on my blog and I always check out theirs too and on hers I found a company with some great products that are good for the environment and also smell great in my house: Green Clean Chic. I ordered the Green cleaning kit and started using the products on Monday. WOW! Wish you could smell my house.

I started with my bathrooms- toilets and sink. Then I worked on the kitchen- countertops, sink and floor. I also added a few drops of essential oil to my laundry!

Next week I will include some recipes and more tips as I discover them.

Do you have any "green" cleaning ideas?

PS. Thanks MommyofFatith19! I love your blog!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gratituesday: My morning time

This year I have made a conscious effort to meet with God every weekday morning. He has made is possible for me to do this due to my husband's and baby's schedule. I know I can have a half hour every morning to pray the read through the Bible. I love it! If you can get that time in with God first thing I recommend it. I have sometimes "slept in" and thought, "Oh, I'll meet with God later in the day." But it never happens. I feel so blessed to have this special time with God every morning.

For more of my musings check out my God's Nuggets.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Marriage Monday!

A few weekends ago I attended a marriage simulcast with my husband. Many different speakers shared some very good things for our marriages. I want to post a monthly Marriage Monday to give and receive ideas about marriage.

Here's a few things I learned from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott (from Seattle!):

There is a triangle theory of love with 3 sides-
*Passion (hot)- biological, gets the romance going
*Intimacy (warm)- emotional, sharing, our journey together
*Commitment (cold)- willful, in spite of....I still love you

So ask your honey- "How's your love life?" Give a scale of 1-10 in these categories maybe once a week and just discuss. Small steps make a big difference. It also raises your level of awareness of your loved one.

How do you cultivate these 3 ingredients?
*Passion- tender touches
*Intimacy- shared activity, talking
*Commitment- attending marriage seminars!

Check out these 2 books by the Parrotts: The Love List and L.O.V.E.

So how's your love life? Please share any ideas you have for cultivating these 3 ingredients in your marriage.

PS. In June I will share how Jeremy and I met. You won't want to miss! Until next month...

Friday, March 5, 2010

God's Nuggets: Transformed Moms

I just discovered this fantastic and uplifting blog by Patti who regularly posts on Laura's Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesdays (that's where I found her!) . I perused her pretty pink blog a bit more and found a wonderful way to memorize scripture.

I actually have been lacking some direction in my Bible memorization. I followed Beth Moore's Siesta Bible Memory program through part of 2009 and really liked it, but I didn't keep up with in in 2010. It was then that God led me to Transformed Moms! (I'm addicted in a very good way)

Patti chooses a Bible passage for the entire month for us to memorize. Then she breaks it down day by day in different ways like visual pictures, real life examples, songs, stories, poems and videos. I love her day by day focus: Sunday in the Son, Meditation Monday, Gratituesday, Women in the Word Wednesday, Transforming Thursday, Family Fellowship Friday and Ketchup and Mustard Saturday. She makes memorizing fun, interesting and transforming!

Get connected to Transformed Moms and watch how God will transform your life. I cannot wait to hear how God is transforming your life and mine.

Blessings, Shonda

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ultimate Recipe Swap: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I received this recipe from a teacher friend (thanks, Debi) a few years ago at my bridal shower at school. This is so healthy!

*1/2 cup butter, melted
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1 3/4 cup sugar (or 1 cup applesauce and 3/4 c. sugar)
*2 eggs
*1 tsp. vanilla
*1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 cup milk plus 1 tsp. lemon juice)
*2 cups flour (I use Flour Blend, see below, from The Sneaky Chef)
*4 Tb. cocoa
*1/2 tsp. baking powder
*1 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. ground cloves
*2 cups zucchini, shredded (I actually pureed mine a little bit)
*1/4-1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, oil and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and milk, beat until fluffy. (To the wet ingredients I added a teaspoon of flax seed oil blend). Mix dry ingredients together and slowly add to creamed mixture. (To the dry ingredients I added 2 T of flax seed meal). Beat well. Add zucchini stirring with a wooden spoon. Pour into a lightly greased and floured cake pan. Sprinkle top with choc. chips. Bake at 325 for 40-45 min. Enjoy!

Flour Blend:
Makes 3 cups of flour blend

- 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached white flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup wheat germ, unsweetened

> Combine the flours and wheat germ in a large bowl.

> This blend can be stored in a sealed, labeled plastic bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Find more great recipes with flour on Life As Mom!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scripture Adventures Giveaway: An Easter Adventure

Hi everyone- I just wanted to let you know about this great giveaway from Scripture Adventures. It's a book for Easter called An Easter Adventure. More than 100 pages of stories, memory verses, recipes, crafts, hands-on projects, and activities that just may help you create new Easter traditions for your family.

There are several ways to win this book: 1)Become a Facebook fan, 2)Sign up for their newsletter on Scripture Adventures, 3)Post a link on your blog. Five winners will be chosen on Monday, March 8.

If I don't win it, I'm going to buy it anyway. It's only $8.99. What a way to introduce your children to the glory of Easter.

Blessings in Christ, Shonda

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Instant Oatmeal packets

I love oatmeal and I was so excited to see a way to make making oatmeal quick and easy. I found this great website: The Benhase Home. There are so many good recipes on there, but this one is for those on the go.

So I made 2 different kinds: Banana Pecan and Brown Sugar & Cinnamon. Emily has many more ideas. Just click here for the complete recipe. I only made 6 instead of 12 because I used 2 T of powdered oats instead of just one.

Here is my meal!
It was SOOOO good and quick (healthy too)!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Booking It 2010 (March)

In February I read:
*Honor's Pledge by Kristen Heitzmann
*Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (couldn't put this book down)

In March I will be reading:
*Reading through the Bible- now in Deuteronomy (ongoing for the year)
*A Woman's Heart- Bible study (finishing this month)
*Loving Your Spouse Through Prayer (will try to finish this month)
*True Colors by Kristin Hannah
*On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah
*Honor's Price by Kristen Heitzmann
*Honor's Quest by Kristen Heitzmann
*So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore (also doing the study through her blog)

OK, I think that should keep me busy. Do you have any great books to recommend?

PS. Be sure to stay tuned to my Marriage Mondays posts coming up. I just went to a great marriage simulcast this last weekend and want to share with you what I learned.