Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Homemade Recipe Book

This past week I was busy working on a lot of craft projects. I sewed a shirt and skirt for our niece's 6th birthday, embroidered a jacket for a friend to wear on her honeymoon and made two wedding gifts. One of the gifts was a recipe book because every time we hang out with this couple, the guy asks me for recipes to help his fiance out in the kitchen. I hadn't actually ever given them anything, so I thought they'd appreciate this idea.

I bought the photo album from Walmart and the Retro Aprons recipe cards from Christian Book Distributors. The cards are actually double-sided, so there's plenty of room for lengthy recipes. I cut out the frames around each section label "appetizers", "desserts", "main courses", etc using my Cricut and found a cut out for the tab dividers, too. I forgot that they make laminated tabs, which would hold up a lot longer than the ones I cut out of card stock. I hope that some of our favorite family recipes become the happy couple's favorites, too.

Now that I've finished these projects, I have to start on some burp cloths for a baby shower. I'd like to get around to making some for Natalie, too! Add that to my ever-growing to-do least one items is going to get checked off the list later this week though, because our crib came in!!! We're going to pick it up on Thursday after our 30-week doctor appointment. I can't wait! I'm also going to have to add another little project to my list, because I thought this was too cute:

The bride bought this on Etsy and they put their cards in it on the gift table. Our current mailbox is the shape of a barn and is looking a little sun-baked. it's time for a modern makeover.

Well, Alex has started a movie for us to watch, so I'll leave you with a picture of us from the wedding today:

Monday, October 10, 2011

3rd Anniversary

Alex and I will have been married for 3 years tomorrow! I don't know where the time has gone because it really does just seem like yesterday. Neither one of us ever wanted to lose that "newlywed-ness" and I think most days I can honestly say that the we've been successful at keeping it alive. I truly cannot imagine sharing my life with anyone else. It's been so exciting preparing for the birth of our first child, a blessing from God to be sure. I can't wait to see Alex as a father.

We didn't make any elaborate plans to celebrate this last anniversary sans kids, but we did schedule in some quality time throughout the weekend. Yesterday we saw Courageous at the movie theater. I highly recommend it to everyone. The message was clear and strong: men, stand up and be bold enough to be the spiritual leader of your family. Teach your children the ways of the Lord and set an example for them. Encourage them to be who God made them to be. Don't wait for someone else to be an influence in your child's life. It's YOUR job as a father. I think that Alex really liked the movie. The whole topic was one that we've discussed numerous times, but I didn't think he fully understood the importance of. I hope that hearing that message in a different way helped it make sense to him and planted seeds on fertile soil.

Today is a banking holiday (thank you, Christopher Columbus!), but Alex took the day off, too, so that we could spend time together for our anniversary. We're going to lunch at Red Lobster and doing some shopping for the nursery. I don't need fancy gifts or an elaborate getaway (although those are nice, too!). I just want some quality time with my man and that's what we're gonna do! I've got my coupons to Hobby Lobby and Petsmart ready to go (shopping for dog food is soooo romantic, don't you think? LOL). Now I need to go get ready because somehow I don't think that Alex would want to be seen in public with a pajama-clad wife ;)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Two New Recipes and a Prayer Request

My mom had knee surgery on Wednesday, so I took off work Thursday and Friday to help her out around the house. She had this exact surgery four years ago on her other knee and ended up with a staph infection, lots of pain, limited mobility and two more surgeries. This time around, we hoped for the best, but braced for the worst considering her history. Thankfully, God answered our prayers and she came through wonderfully. She could even take a few steps without crutches the day after surgery. Because of her speedy recovery, our time together was spent napping on the couch (pain meds did the trick for her, pregnancy did the trick for me! LOL), baking new recipes, shopping online and just hanging out. It was much better than being at work for those two days, although I almost felt guilty that I was actually having fun and not really having to do much to help my mom other than fetch the occasional ice pack or crutch that was left in another room.

On Friday, we made stuffed banana peppers for lunch and pull-apart cinnamon sugar pumpkin bread just for the heck of it. Here's the link to the bread recipe. It calls for rum to make a glaze to go on top, but we used vanilla extract instead because I don't care for the taste of rum. It seemed like it took all day to make the bread because it had to rise twice, but the actual effort to mix the ingredients and all that was minimal.

Here's the recipe for the stuffed banana peppers. Ladies at work made these for breakfast one morning and we couldn't get enough (they're not really a breakfast food, but these girls eat Ramen noodles and Chef Boyardee at 9 a.m., too!). I was in pregnancy craving heaven!

Stuffed Banana Peppers

15 banana peppers, sliced long ways with seeds removed (can be hot or mild variety)
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded monterey jack (we used a mix of colby and monterey jack)
1/2 cup real bacon bits (we cooked real bacon and made our own "bits")
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder (you could add more if you like a lot of kick)
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients and spoon onto the banana peppers. Bake at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes and enjoy! Another great variation would be to just use the mixture as a cheese ball and eat with crackers. We had a little left over in the mixing bowl and ate it with garlic flavored pita chips from Aldi. It was awesome!

I wish I could take four-day weekends every week. Last week I was off Thursday and Friday because of my sinuses, so I'm kind of getting spoiled to the whole shorter work week thing. Speaking of shorter work weeks, the time is approaching for me to tell my boss my plans for after Natalie is born. She asked me to give her plenty of heads up on whether or not I'll be returning to work, so I've been planning to talk with her in the middle of October. I know in my heart what I want to do, and I also know what financial position we would be in, so I'm scared. I don't want to be, but I still am a little deep down. There are a lot of things to consider and I don't want to jump into anything without knowing all the ins and outs.

I'm speaking the Word over our family, our marriage, our finances, our health, and speaking life instead of death and curses over our future even though I'm afraid. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). It's funny, but that scripture always came to mind when I started praying for Natalie after I found out that I was pregnant. I imagined that it was due to the fact that mental illnesses run in Alex's family and we wanted our family to be of a sound mind, literally, but now that I think of it, that scripture applies to this situation, too. I want God to be in control of my decision-making process, not my fear. I don't want to make God small in my eyes because He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). I like the New Living Translation of that verse: "And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." Whether God provides all our needs by me working full-time, part-time or working at home as a full-time stay-at-home mom, the truth is that He will provide. If you think of it, please pray for us as we seek God's will in this situation. I want to have peace about the decision, whatever it may be, and know without a doubt that we are following His will and not our own desires.