Friday, February 28, 2014

Project 365: #8

It was a good week!  Here are some happy little bits :)

Day 52:

We went to our coffee shop where one of our friends was playing his guitar and singing.  You can see just how much fun Maggie and Gracie were having!  I love everything about this picture!  I love that Maggie is doing a pointing dance that Gracie's braid is in motion, because she was jumping up and down.  Maggie was even twirling Gracie like a little swing dancer :)  I love the freedom they have in their happy fun times!

Day 53:

I love ending (and beginning and spending) my day with this guy!  

Day 54:

It's a tripler!  We love it when food is stuck together and this is THREE pretzels stuck together!

Day 55:

Gracie and I were enjoying a lovely lunchtime picnic!

Day 56:

Hey look!  There's a cursive L in the vacuum cord!

Day 57:

The good thing about it being life-suckingly cold (and I'm a person who genuinely likes winter) is that you get lots of frost on the window...perfect for scratching off and drawing pictures!

Day 58:

Happy bananas are ready to head into the freezer for morning smoothies!

Have a great weekend!  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mommy Subway

You know how sometimes you just get something in your head and can't think of it any other way?

That's the case with me and Jimmy John's day old bread.  The only way I've ever used it is for garlic bread.

I cannot think of it any other way...

Until my brilliant friend, Jen, posted on facebook that they make their own subs on the Jimmy John's bread.

It was like a gigantic light bulb illuminated above my head while I simultaneously smacked my forehead exclaiming, "Duh!"

So, yeah, not only does Jen have one of the best laughs around and amazing decorating skills, she's a revered genius around here!

I added on to her idea a bit and created...

Can I just say that this required very little work?  The only extra work was putting the ingredients on a plate as opposed to using them from the jar, deli bag, or cutting board.

I am also aware that having Subway on Jimmy John's bread is probably some sort of licensing problem, but oh well :)

For our Subway, we started out with fun baskets from the Target Dollar Spot last summer:

Then we had the ingredients:

1.  The bread (obviously)
2.  Meat and Cheese (I got these thinly sliced from the deli.  I feel like having it thinly sliced made it more authentic, but whatever you like is best)
3.  Veggies (pickles, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced bell peppers, and cucumbers.  Use what your family likes!)
4.  Mommy's veggies (I'm the only fancy lettuce and tomato eater)
5.  Condiments (we did mayo, salt and pepper, and parmesan)

A note about mayo:  Make it fun!  Stir in some dijon, horseradish, pesto, fresh herbs...whatever gives it a little pizzazz!  

We had simple sides of chips and strawberries...

with monster cookies for dessert!

I started out making Aaron's sub to show the girls how they could each be a Subway worker.  Leah was so excited she was literally bouncing up and down :)

Aaron did ask me out on a date while I was making his sub, which the girls thought was quite silly :)

Note:  we didn't meet at Subway; we met at camp.

Anyway, Gracie and Maggie opted to make their own subs 

and Leah was super excited to make mine!

You can see how pleased they were with themselves!

And if college doesn't work out, being a sandwich artist is a plan B...or Plan C ;)

Just how much did they love this?

They loved this so much that when we were praying before bed, Leah passionately thanked Jesus for pinterest so that I could find this idea.

I didn't have the heart to interrupt her and tell her that I got the idea from Jen :)

We'll probably be doing this once a month.  I think it would make a really fun way to have supper with friends, too!

See, it's pretty easy to be the Fun Mom sometimes :)

Oh, and topped with some hard boiled egg,  the leftovers make a great chef salad for lunch the next day!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Buckling Down

Friends, I have to buckle down this week and get some stuff done!

I have a list, and the tasks range from easy to hard to will-probably-take-less-time-than-I-think-if-I-would-just-get-started-already-sheesh!

Here it is:

Family Pictures  Brandon said that I should let him know what pictures we are going to print and then he would resize them so that when we print the pictures someone's head isn't chopped off.  Let's not discuss how long it's been since our moms told us what pictures they wanted (Maggie's birthday in December), but I still have to choose the ones I want for the wall.

Switch Clothes  Seriously the bane of every mom's existence, switching a child's wardrobe for a size up or a season.  I'm grateful we have more than we need in the clothing department, but it just takes doing.

Resistance Band Exercises  Oh, look!  This one is crossed off already!  

Yeah, I have no shame seeing as I posted a picture of myself first thing in the morning on the internet.

First, I did this exercise video hosted by a tatted up British chap who told us these were great exercises to do while "on holiday" and "backstage at a wrestling show."  At one point, I did think the resistance band was going to pop off the top of the door and smack me in the face, but it didn't.  That's victory in my book!

Then, I did this video which I will probably do again.  It's by popsugar fitness.  The exercise leader lady was a little too perky for me and she referred to us as "girlfriends!!!!" which is too much for me, but I managed to get over it.  Popsugar fitness has a bunch of 10 minute exercise videos, and I think I'll choose 2 to do each morning to kind of mix things up!

Anyway, I was perrrrrrky and cheerful this morning after doing my exercises.  I've gone in streaks of doing really well getting up early to exercise, and I'd like to start another one!

Gracie's Closet Shelf  We are going to switch Leah and Gracie around in the bedrooms, and the closet shelf in Gracie's room is ridiculous.  I don't even know what is up there which means that a vast majority of it will be donated or thrown away.  

Books Downstairs  We are so blessed to have an insane amount of books for the much that we can only have a portion of them upstairs at a time.  Our little library downstairs it out.of.control. and needs to be reined in.

Whew!  I've got a nice little list :)  I'll report back next Monday to let you know how successful I've been.

What do you need to buckle down and get done?  Let's encourage each other!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Project 365: #6 and #7

It's catch up on pictures time!

Day 38:

Sweet sleeping girl.  She was so sick and fevered.  Our doctor's office was booked solid, so I had to take her to the ER for a strep test.  It was negative, but she was still one sick girl.

Day 39:

Gracie requests to be call Super Star when she wears this shirt.  We are happy to comply...when we remember.  You'd never guess by this picture that she was up in a steamy bathroom with croup every hour and half or so the night before.

Day 40:

Oh, this is just me organizing my shopping list in the order of the store, because I'm edgy like that.  It's kind of obnoxious, but it does save me a ton of time!

Day 41:

We are just watching some Olympics!  The girls go to bed too early to watch much on TV.  I believe we were watch the luge practice.  

Day 42:

Hey, uh, there's something on your legs.

Day 43:

Leah looks like she's outside, but she's actually inside, holding a sheet while I take pictures for a recipe.  Such a trooper!

Day 44:

Gracie got a little bit of ice cream in the morning, because she didn't call out after I put her to bed the night before.  If you've ever been at our house at bedtime, you know what a huge deal that is...hence the ice cream :)

Day 45:

This is the most ridiculous of the outtakes of our valentines!  

Day 46:

Leah with her cake on her birthday celebration day!  The grandparents were all on their way!

Day 47:

The inside of the couch is probably the cleanest place in the house ;)

Day 48:

Happy Birthday, Leah!

Day 49:

Reading before bed with Bri!

Day 50:

My parents got me this little white board for the fridge, and sometimes Leah leaves me notes.  The part you can't see has the menu for the week on it which is why she was asking about The Sandwich :)

Day 51:

Although the picture is grainy, it is certainly precious!  Maggie fell out of bed (and shockingly didn't cry), and Aaron ran in to the rescue <3

Have an awesome weekend!  I'm looking forward to the Women's Day Seminar at church tomorrow!  My talk is coming together really well, and I'm so thankful!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The (Muffuletta) Sandwich

You may have noticed that I have "The Sandwich" listed on my monthly menu sometimes.  

You may have wondered what the difference is between "a" sandwich and "the" sandwich.

Or you never noticed :)

The Sandwich is one of Aaron's favorites!  

There used to be this business called Dinners by Design in my hometown.  You would go in and prepare a whole bunch of meals, take them home and pop them in the freezer to defrost whenever you wanted to eat them.  

My mom would take me and it was super fun (you kind of felt like you were on a cooking show because all of the prep work was done for you) and very convenient.  

We learned about The Sandwich at Dinners by Design.

This is my version!

The Sandwich is basically a midwestern mom's version of a muffuletta sandwich.

The Muffuletta Sandwich

I'm not claiming that this is authentic, but I am claiming that it is delicious!

To start out, make your marinated olive salad.

In a bowl combine...

This is probably the biggest departure from an authentic muffuletta.  The olive salad would additionally have giardiniera, which is pickled vegetables.  

Anyway, I just used cheap, little green olives and medium black olives, but you can use the big guys, too, if you want.

Next, add some olive oil.

Stir to combine and then put into a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

I use ciabatta rolls for The Sandwich.  Authentic muffuletta uses a big, round, disc-like loaf, but I like to use individual sized rolls instead.

I just get these at Walmart, actually.

Place your opened roll on a cookie sheet.  On 1 side, pile ham and salami and place a slice of provolone cheese. 

I do 4 slices of ham and 3 slices of salami, but you can really pile it on if you feel like it.

Bake it in the oven at 375 degrees until you can smell the cheese and then give it another few minutes until the sides of the salami curl up and start getting crispy and the cheese is lightly browned.

That comes out to be between 10 and 15 minutes.

Top the meat side with about 1/4 cup olive salad 

and close The Sandwich up with the cheese side and serve!

I don't up the olive salad on Aaron's.  For him, I put on a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette and some lettuce.

Oh, and feel free to eat the rest of the olive salad, because it is so delicious!

Enjoy Aaron's favorite!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What Real Kids' Lunches are Like

We had lunch with Leah at school yesterday for her birthday celebration which reminded me of when we had lunch with her at the end of January when she presented her chinchilla report (more about that later).

But, I digress.

You know how when you're on pinterest and you see these lunch box ideas for kids and there are pictures of 

  • sandwiches that look like cats
  • cheese that looks like angry birds
  • fruit arranged to look like flowers
  • a cucumber cut out like a snowflake
  • a birdhouse constructed out of pretzels and a sandwich

I didn't make any of those up!  I searched "lunch box ideas for kids" and those pictures came up!

I've read things, too, where people say things like, "I just pop some gazpacho into a thermos and little Johnny loves having his soup at school."

I think to myself:  who is this Johnny?  Clearly he is not my child.

And I say, if you are the mom making cat sandwiches and gazpacho with a side of sushi and chicken and rice muffins, more power to you!  Seriously!  I'm glad you have the time and creativity for that.  

And, honestly, I'm jealous that your kid eats soup.

But, let's not kid ourselves here.  Every now and then, when I'm feeling fancy, I roll sandwich bread out flat, top it with pb&j, roll it up jellyroll style and slice it into wheels.  

That is as fancy and creative as I get.

I wouldn't say that I've felt bad about the lunches I make the girls, and I feel like they are pretty well balanced.

Sometimes you wonder, though, is everyone fancy but me?

Friends, the answer to that is a resounding NO!

When we were at lunch with Leah, a little girl at our table had Ritz Bits cheese filled crackers, pudding, a mini Milky Way, and some cookies.

She was dipping her candy bar in the pudding.

I thought it was kind of funny and didn't judge the mom at all.

Because, you know what?  The girl brought a lunch to school and she seemed happy.  

I know what mornings are like.  Sometimes you're just lucky to get everyone out the door with all of their stuff!

So, whether you send your kid to school with a Thanksgiving themed Bento Box or 4 Oreos and a bologna sandwich or a sandwich, fruit, greek yogurt tube, and a little treat (my go-to lunch), I'm here to give you a gold star.

Yep!  You are!

What you do is good and it is enough.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

For Leah on Her Birthday

Things have been awfully busy around these parts!  The girls are finally feeling better and we're all getting more sleep...huge bonus!  Now I'm working on my talk for the Women's Day Seminar at church on Saturday.  It's coming together really well, but it means less time for blogging.  Such is the ebb and flow of life, and it's all good.

I'll recap Leah's birthday festivities later, but for now, here's a little letter...a day late :)

Leah enjoying her birthday meal of hot dogs, cheetos, strawberries and cherry limeade
while wearing her new aqua fleece with thumb holes!

Dear Leah, 

You are 8!  Halfway to driving...yikes!

You were born during the winter Olympics, which is kind of cool seeing as they're on right now.  We had a lot of fun joking about Bob Costas when you were born and how we should have photoshopped him into our family pictures from those first few days!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my hope/prayer for you for the upcoming year.

You've come a really long way in terms of being flexible with life which is awesome to see!  But, you are still the firstborn daughter of a firstborn daughter, and I feel like it's fair to say the we both reeeeeeally like knowing what to expect and are less than thrilled when life throws us a curve ball.  Neither of us really love to try something new unless we are fairly certain we'll be good at it.

Risk takers we are not.

My prayer for you this year is that you would be brave and courageous and not afraid of the future.

print we are getting for her room

I want you to walk into the future with confidence and be brave even when you face the little uncertainties in life.

You have plenty to be confident in when it comes to who God made you to be!  You are so incredibly friendly and bright and cheerful and giving and resilient and happy.

But, more importantly than that, I want you to be confident because of Jesus.  

...because you trust Him so much that you know that you know that you know that He will never let you fall.

...because you know that Jesus walked through uncertainty and pain so that He would know what it is like for you to have a hard time.  He is the perfect intercessor and comforter for you.

...because you safely rest in His unconditional love for you even when things don't turn out the way you expect.

...because you are deeply convinced that Jesus' opinion is the only one that truly matters so you don't even worry if you make choices that your friends might not understand.

It's okay to make mistakes, and it's okay to not be perfect.  Those times are just reminders to us of how very much we need Jesus.  You can always go to Him and He will always meet you.

I know that 8 will be great!

Please know, too, sweet girl, that being your mom is one of the most precious gifts God has given me.  I'm insanely humbled by the opportunity to have a front row seat to witness the person you are becoming.  

Let's always be friends and love each other and remember to laugh and point each other to Jesus.



I love you La-Lee-La!


Leah's letter from last year with lots of pictures.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's the best picture I could get of my 3 littlest valentines!

I really have no idea what is going on with Maggie or why Leah and Gracie look so stoic.

They really were quite excited about heart shaped donuts and hershey's kisses and the personalized stamp they each got!

They got to drink out of the fancy glasses with their donuts.

Gracie needed a washcloth for sticky donuts...and because she's obsessed with having a washcloth any time she's eating.

Leah was excited for all of the valentines fun at school...

which includes handing out these cute heart cookies I made!

And then...these two <3

Have a love filled weekend :)