Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some of my New Favorite "Lifestyle Change" Foods

I'm going through "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst with some of my coworkers at church. Its a great book, and although I'm not 100% diving in, I am making small changes in my lifestyle. I've realized that by making a lifestyle change to live healthier, it works much better for me than being on a diet. If I'm just living a healthier lifestyle, then when I splurge, its just a splurge, not failing at a diet. So I've been eating lots more fresh vegetables, walking more regularly, and eating healthier snacks instead of sugar. So here are a few of my new favorite "Lifestyle Change" foods.

Campbell is not a Baby Anymore

I was in Rome on Aug. 9, so I missed my baby's third birthday. He didn't know the difference, but I did. I had extra gellato in his honor. And so I didn't get to blog about how wonderful he is. Better late than never.
Campbell is very funny. Its not really one liners that I can post on facebook, but just his expressions, responses to things and the way he interacts with his brothers. He just makes me laugh. His new things is "squeeze hugs" which I have shortened to "squgs". We moved him into a twin bed last week, and he was so excited. I was afraid he would be sad about giving up his crib/toddler bed, but he wanted to give it to his cousin Luke in Virginia. So sweet.
He is bossy, not unlike my other two at this age. He wants things done the right way, and will tell me and his brothers where we are supposed to be and what we need to be doing. He's usually right. He loves to carry his lunch box and "puppy" with him to school. He's still a great napper, but we have to wait until he gets home from school, so he sleeps from 2:30 until we wake him up for dinner at 5. Then we put him back down at 8:30. He usually lays there in bed and talks to himself for an hour, but I don't care. He's quiet. His favorite song right now is "Big House". I heard him singing it in the bath the other night, but he just kept singing "Big, big table with lots and lots of food" over and over. That's my boy.
We are still potty training. He did number 1 on the potty the week he turned two and I thought this would be a breeze, but here we are a year later, still working on it. At his two year check up the doctor was a little concerned because he wasn't talking much. NOT an issue. That same week he finally said "ma ma" and hasn't stopped talking since. He is very polite, says "excuse me" when he burps at the table and then laughs at himself. Ha.
He loves to play tackle football with his brothers. He also does fairly well tagging along with me to watch football and baseball games. So I can't wait to see how good of a football and baseball player he will be in four years after all of this practice and observation.  He is very opinionated about what he wears, unlike my other two. Takes a little longer in the morning to get him dressed. He still loves Blues Clues and Wiggles, but will watch other things sometimes. On the days he's home with me, its hard to get anything done because he has to follow me all over the house. If Cade is home, he'll follow him instead. So he is in preschool 4 days a week and loves every minute of it. His two best friends are girls and no one else can be friends with them. He's very loyal. He will eat all day long if I let him. He's a grazer. Here are some pics of my angel. I am so thankful for him!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bacon Ranch Chicken Recipe

I love this new blog, www.crockpotgirls.com.
I tried this recipe tonight and everyone loved it!

Bacon Ranch Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp real bacon bits
1tsp minced garlic
1pkg ranch dressing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
egg noodles

Combine bacon, garlic, ranch dressing mix, soup, and sour cream; mix well. Pour over chicken in the crock pot. Cook on high 3-4 hours. Shred the chicken and put back in the pot and add the egg noodles; mix together.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Most of the cathedrals we saw in Rome had amazing, beautiful doors. And one was always more beautiful than the rest. "The Holy Door" is only opened during the "Holy Year", the Jubilee year, every 25 years. It's bricked up on the inside.
From: 'St. Peter's - Guide to Basilica and Square'
The last door on the right is the "Holy Door". This door is bricked up on the inside. On the first day of the Holy Year the Pope strikes the brick wall with a hammer, and so opens the door to let in the pilgrims who come to make the most of the indulgence. It will be closed by the Pope himself at the end of the Holy Year. The Holy Door represents Jesus, the Good Shepherd and the gate of the sheep pen: "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me, will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture" (Jn 10:9).

They have carvings telling the stories in the Bible. I could have stared at them all day. Here are a few.

Psalm 24:7 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

That's the verse that would pop in my head every time I saw one of those doors. I can't imagine the entrance that Christ will make when he returns. Won't need a door!

My Feet

If you are one of those people that will read this and say "I can't believe she was on a wonderful trip to Europe and is complaining!," then just don't read this one. Towards the end of our time in Belgrade my little toe on one foot began to hurt and I realized I was getting a blister. No problem. Put on a Serbian band aide and kept going. Then we hit Rome. Mostly Rome has cobblestone streets. Someone on our trip said that when you see cobblestone streets, you know there is something cool up ahead. Very true. However, most cobblestone streets I have walked on have big cobblestones, rounded off at the edges. But Roman cobblestones are little squares, and are pointed on every corner. By day three I felt like I was walking on nails. Both of my little toes had huge blisters, and at one point I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in the arch of my right foot. I only had two pair of shoes with me, so I traded out the shoes so different parts of my feet would hurt, and wore two pair of socks, but by the end of the day, I couldn't take another step! I asked on facebook one night if anyone could tell me how to watch American shows on our laptap, and more than one person commented that I shouldn't be watching tv when I could be out on the town taking in Rome every minute, and I totally agree, but I'm telling you people, I could not walk! I had promised myself before we left that I would not complain on our trip, so I tried really hard. But eventually J would notice I was limping. I apparently have messed up feet. He said his feet never hurt.

Our last night in Rome, we were walking down a different street, only a few blocks from our hotel, and came across a museum. The museum was at the top of a hill, and water was coming from somewhere up there, and ran down this trough down to a fountain. All around the fountain was another trough of running water. People were taking off their shoes and soaking their feet in the water. I almost danced with glee! That water felt so magical! I was almost praying it was Italian holy water that would somehow heal my feet. It didn't happen, but those 10 minutes we sat there was amazing. After a traveling day to London and another day of church and resting, I was ok to go back to site seeing. I'm not sure what I could do differently if we go back to Rome again. But here is the picture of the magical Italian water trough. If you go to Rome, I can give you directions to it.

The Color Blue

I was flipping channels today and passed PBS doing a whirlwind tour of Europe. They talked about Rome for 5 minutes and it got me inspired to go through my pictures. I dumped three camera cards full onto my hard drive, 1,410 pictures, 770 just of Rome. It may take me awhile to go through them, organize and then give you just the best. But it inspired me to try to do a blog entry or two. Life has been so busy that my free time at night has been spent curled up in bed. So here is my attempt to catch up a little.

My favorite color in the world is blue. Maybe that's why God gave me three boys, I can't stand pink. I have blue and white china all over my house, a blue couch, and blue comforter on my bed. And at our house in Plano, I picked out blue carpet. I loved it. It didn't go over well when we went to sell, but I enjoyed it the 6 years we lived with it. But my favorite shade of blue is the color of the sky on those beautiful spring days when you just want to sit outside all day. My European adventure brought me lots of shades of blue that I wanted to share with you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The world wide language of McDonalds and Coffee

It seemed wherever we were in Europe there were two common things, coffee and McDonald's. J is not a coffee drinker, but I cannot go without at least one cup a day, usually more than that. I drank way too much coffee our one day in London trying to stay awake. Then in Hungary and Serbia, sharing a conversation with our friends over a cup of coffee was wonderful. Right outside the lobby of Trey and Randi's apartment was a coffee shop where I had the best mocha ever. I would definitely be an addict if I had that right downstairs from me. In Rome I had wonderful cappuccinos, a little stronger than I am used to, but still great. And in Greece I indulged in Greek frappe's, a cold coffee drink with foam. I had to buy a can of it to bring back and had to look up the directions online the other day since I couldn't translate the Greek on the can. And back in London, after church on Sunday, everyone gathered in the lobby for a cup of coffee or tea. I noticed there were two reasons people were drinking coffee, no matter what country we were in. Either they really needed some caffeine or they needed a conversation. One morning we were at a coffee shop in Rome and noticed more than one person coming in and drinking a shot glass of espresso and heading out the door. They really just needed their caffeine fix I guess. But mostly we noticed people making a connection with someone over a cup of coffee.

Back at home, we try to avoid McDonald's if at all possible, but not on our trip. We experienced first hand what our friends living in foreign countries have told us, some days eating at McDonald's is just the best thing ever. Some days we were so tired and stressed from trying to follow a map or understand a foreign language that seeing those golden arches just made us smile. Some days we were so overwhelmed with how much food cost that ordering a cheeseburger, fries and drinks for two for under $10 felt like such a relief. And some days, eating there made us think of our kids, and feel a connection to them. We noticed in Rome that they would post signs with arrows and an estimate of how long it would take you to walk to the closest McDonald's. Their estimates were sorely underestimated, but once we had that in our heads, we were willing to walk miles to find a McDonald's. My favorite McDonald's memory was at the airport in Athens maybe? (They have all blurred together) I just had the sweetest moment of connection with my husband over a cheeseburger. And at the table next to us was a father and daughter. He had gotten her a happy meal and just sat watching her eat with such joy. They were speaking another language (not Greek) but even though I couldn't understand them, I could understand that he loved her, he was proud of her and she was loving her chicken nuggets and fries. I also loved that at many of the McDonald's we visited, they had a McCafe, but not like ours in the states. These were full blown coffee shops with pastries and so many different kinds of coffees in real mugs, not paper cups. It was the best of these two universal languages put together. Thank you God for coffee and McDonald's.

"One Call Away" Book Review

One Call Away by Brenda Warner is a touching story of God's faithfulness, even when it feels like He isn't. Warner's life is full of one struggle after another, which leads her to being a single mom of two on food stamps. But even in the midst of her trials, she knows she can somehow depend on the Lord to take care of her. Then a handsome college quarterback enters her life, and begins the long journey of becoming the supportive wife of NFL Superbowl Champion Kurt Warner.
I was blown away by the strength, determination and courage of Brenda as she dealt with so many tragedies in her life. I loved reading about her blossoming relationship with Kurt, and how the Lord used her to reach his heart for God. There were times when their family wasn't living the squeaky clean life we expect, but in that the Lord was still moving, teaching them about his grace.
I loved this book, and would recommend it to men and women, believers and nonbelievers, sports fans or not. I will wait until my children are older before letting them read it because of some choices that the Warner's made early on before letting God lead them, but I know at some point my boys will learn great lessons from this family.
I received this book for free from Booksneeze in exchange for an objective review.