Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beautifying my Abode

I love front doors that say "Welcome", don't you? On our walk yesterday, we passed a door that had beautiful flowers in cute pots on the steps. The window was open and you could see a pretty curtain with a lamp in the window. It was so homey and welcoming. Those little touches always say to me: "Someone lives here who cares about her place and her people".

Ah, to have a knack for such things! Making my home beautiful is not one of my strong points, in my opinion. Not that I can't do just doesn't come naturally to me.

So I've been inspired with the beautiful spring weather. If I only did ONE thing every week to make my home more beautiful - one, intentional project - what lovely things I could accomplish!

Most of the time, I simply don't think about it. What's on my mind from day-to-day is getting the meals ready, doing laundry, reading books, nursing, changing diapers, letting the dog know, things that are pressing and immediate.

I'd love to say that I'll try to blog about it every week, but that might set me up for a big fat failure ;) So I'm going to declare that it is my intention to work on this area. My general goal is to plan one project each week - some of them may overlap or take more than one week, but that's the idea. Here are my criteria:

Simple - bite-sized. If it's too involved, it just doesn't happen.

Inexpensive - we're on a tight budget, but that shouldn't mean I don't do
anything in this area!

Creative - giving me a place to develop my artistic talents

Ministering - if it's not going to minister to our family, it won't fit (for
example, a collection of roosters at this stage in life probably
isn't the best course of action)

There you have it, ladies! If you have any suggestions, stories, or empathy to share, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free stuff!

It doesn't get better than free, does it? I am so thankful for all the free stuff we got this weekend.

First, one of our neighbors was about to take this stroller to the Goodwill. Instead she gave it to us! It's barely used! We've used it 3 times already :) It's perfect for going to the mall or the library - I have a double jogging stroller, but it's not exactly portable, like this one is. (Graco DuoGlider - ours is gray/black)

Secondly, the Women of the Chapel hold something called "Families Helping Families" every spring/fall here on-base. It's like a consignment sale (people drop stuff off) - but it's all FREE! First-come, neighbor and I went at 7:30am Saturday morning, and here's what I came home with:

One pile is all maternity stuff - name-brand tops like Liz Lange, Motherhood, Pea in a Pod (again, no, not trying to tell you anything ;)

Second pile is clothes for now (minus the shirt I wore yesterday and one I'm wearing today :)

The rest is clothes for the boys! Pjs, shirts, a few bottoms, and a cute 6-9 mo. elephant outfit from Gymboree...all name brand stuff that is in good to great condition.

All in all, we came away from the weekend with probably around $500 worth (full-price) of stuff that we can use immediately. And it was FREE!!! What a blessing!

For more Gratituesday posts, visit Heavenly Homemakers.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Giveaway - Sidecar Sling

Laura is hosting a fabulous giveaway this week! A perfect excuse for me to host my first giveaway. Be sure to go enter some more great giveaways all week long, and post a link on your blog!

Babywearing is just wonderful, and I think every Mama of babies should own one sling, ringsling and a structured carrier - but that's just my opinion ;) My husband thinks we have a veritable "library" of carriers (two ring slings, a Beco Butterfly, two slings and a bit ago we had a wrap too) In my defense, I've bought all of these either used or on fabulous sales, or traded my knitting skills. See my post on babywearing if you're unfamiliar with the different types of carriers.

The sling I'm giving away is a Sidecar Sling (they recently closed shop to spend more time with their growing families) and I loved it while Graeme was about 6-16mos. I'm only parting with it because I have another sling (remember, our stash?) and I'd love to help someone who does not have one yet and would like to try one.

It is cotton on one side and a cute twill print on the other. There's a nice little zippered pocket to store keys or your debit card/drivers license so you can pop in and out of the store with your little one on your hip. Size is equivalent to a Hotsling 3 (see this chart). I am 5'5" and wear a med. size shirt...but this will fit a wide range of sizes. Even taller women may find they like a shorter pouch, as it keeps the baby closer to them.

You can find directions on how to use pouch slings here and here.

To enter:

1. Post a comment and tell me if you currently babywear, what you like, and what carrier(s) you have.

2. Follow me - become a follower for a second entry, or post a separate comment indicating that you already follow my blog.

3. Be sure to leave either a link to your blog, or a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

4. This is open to US or Canada addresses only.

P.S. I'll draw a random winner on Friday night :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Cole is blowing raspberries all the time these days. This isn't the greatest video, but hey, it's something :)

Graeme actually can count from 1-10 and sometimes 11 and 12...I just never have the camera around at "just the right time". I thought this one was funny because he's trying SO hard to make the numbers with his fingers. And for some reason, he really wanted to get to five! :)

Spring Giveaway Carnival

I've been looking for an excuse to host my first giveaway, and this will be it. I'll post something on Monday, so come visit :) Pop over to Laura's blog to participate! Read the details here.

True Religion is This

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Our elders have been preaching through James on Sunday mornings, and so I've been reading through it on my own as well. What a book. I think it's becoming one of my favorite books in the Bible!

I used to be rather confused and disturbed by this verse. "So, he's saying that true religion is looking after orphans and widows, and staying pure? Isn't that missing a few components?!"

However, I believe I'm beginning to understand the power in this verse. He is using a figure of speech that would be similar to my saying, "Really cleaning your house is dusting the cobwebs and flipping the mattresses." Now, am I actually saying that cleaning your house consists of dusting cobwebs and flipping mattresses? (Ah, I wish.) No!

I'm implying, by using those two examples, that if you get to the cobwebs and flipping the mattresses, the rest of your house must be in ship-shape. We all know that you must be quite organized and diligent if you do those two things, so we'd assume that your toilets are shiny and your laundry is done.

So I thought of Christ's summary of what it means to follow God.

The Greatest Commandment
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

Okay, we can see how James' first summary "look after orphans and widows" relates to the second of Jesus', "Love your neighbor". If I'm really loving my neighbor as myself, people (like orphans and widows) who are truly desperate or needing help will find my hand and heart open to them.

How does James' second 'bottom-line' relate to Christ's greatest commandmant, to Love the Lord our God with all...?

The NLT translates it like this: refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Here's what my mind went to upon reflecting on how these two relate.

A bride-to-be will tell you that she loves her fiance...she can probably go on and on about how wonderful he is, how fierce and passionate her love for him is. But if she went out and gave herself to another man, would you believe her? No! That would be the epitome of betrayal. She would be revealed as a counterfeit, and no matter how much she protested otherwise, all she said would be empty and meaningless.

This parallels how our relationship to this world reveals whether our faith is real - whether our "religion" is pure. To love God with everything we have will mean some radical changes. To embrace His way is to reject the seducing appeal of what the world has to offer. (By "the world", I'm referring to the elements of man's rebellion against His Creator, and ultimately, self and Satan's rule on this earth.)

You will not find a genuine Christian who can walk in both places. I would submit, in fact, that the real follower of Christ will become increasingly disenchanted with the cheap treasures this world has to offer, as his soul tastes of the intoxicating riches of Heaven.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Get-Outta-the-Rut Lunch Ideas

As promised, my list of ideas for my husband's lunches. I spent an hour or so Saturday thinking about it and looking online for good ideas. I truly appreciate it when people share what they do, because often I either forget about a good idea, or I've never thought about it!

* Veggie Sandwich (I always zero in on whether we have meat...well, a nourishing sandwich doesn't require meat!) Lettuce, sprouts, pickles, cucumber, tomato, cheese, even some beans, wrapped in bread, tortillas or pitas

* Homemade Meatballs - either in a bun or with some pasta. Easy to make in advance and freeze.

* Meal Salads - while these do require preparation, getting more vegetables in my husband's body is worth it! He needs those nutrients! Lettuce w/ or w/out meat (leftover chicken, salmon, tuna) cheese, eggs, nuts, dried fruit, and an assortment of veggies.

* Crackers w/ meat and cheese slices - I hadn't thought of this, but with a big fruit salad, this would be a satisfying lunch.

* Burritos - Beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa and lettuce. These are great b/c I can wrap them the night before and there ya go!

* Leftovers - I find that if I actively think about whether this leftover would work as a lunch helps. That way I can make extra, or go ahead and pack some in containers for the week, or whatever.

* Fruit - My husband won't eat a piece of fruit on its own except a banana, mainly due to time constraints, so I peel the orange for him and slice the apples (add some lemon juice) ahead of time.

What are your favorite lunches to send with your husbands or to pack for on-the-go?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

This carnival sounded like fun to participate in (especially since I actually have a book I'm reading up here by the computer - I'm so lazy!) Melonie regularly participates, and it's fun to get a glimpse into different books.

From The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm (highly recommended!)
Because it is ideal to get your nutrients from foods rather than relying on supplements, I am including a wide variety of food sources from which various nutrients are available. The best way to ensure that you are eating well is to include a wide variety of healthy, natural foods. Your best bets are foods that are as close to a natural state as possible.

Romm suggests keeping a diet diary to assist you in establishing healthful eating patterns. She shares 8 women's diaries, along with her assessment of them, which I found very helpful. I plan on doing this during my next pregnancy. I did not eat a good balance of proteins compared to carbohydrates and easily digested sugars with this last pregnancy, though I did avoid ice cream and high fructose corn syrup. Anyhow, I'm learning a lot from this book!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan 4/20-4/25

Here are my goals for the kitchen this week:

1. Use up pantry/freezer stuff. I've accumulated. Now it's time to use all the food I've gotten :)

2. Up our intake of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains. (I got two HUGE zucchinis in my last Quail Cove order, hence the zucchini recipes :)

3. Special focus on healthful snacks at home and healthful lunches for Mark, as he's in quarters this week with classes, so he needs a lunch every day.

I went to the grocery store this weekend, stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies, milk and eggs (and a few random purchases ;) and here's what's on the menu, using what we have in the freezer, leftovers, or pantry items:

Cheese Crackers
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Whole-grain bread in the breadmachine (still trying to find a perfect recipe)
Bagels - the recipe I tried last week was o.k., but not "it". We'll try this one this week :)

Spaghetti Zucchini Bake
Leftover Chicken Sante Fe Salad
Healthy Bean Soup with Kale Yes, I'm trying to sneak in one more soup before the warm weather hits for good. I can't figure out what else to do with a bunch of kale!
Everyday Italian Rice Salad with fresh bread & maybe an apple crisp for dessert - yum!
Hot dogs, baked beans & a pasta salad w/ fresh strawberries & whipped cream

Mark's lunches:
I'll outline the options I'm going to use in another post (hopefully this evening or tomorrow) I spent some time over the weekend looking through this carnival from NourishingGourmet. Some great ideas, and things I don't tend to think of!

For more menu plan ideas, visit Laura for Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Current Reading Stacks

Several blogs that I read share their bookstacks (Melonie, Teri hosts a carnival), and since I actually thought about it while I had my camera out and my books in one place, I thought I'd participate :)

Graeme's Library Stack:

Knick Knack Paddy Whack - Judging by the 50x we've listened to this since getting it from the library, I guess Graeme likes it. A fun, upbeat CD goes along with the classic "This Old Man" - each page features a new instrument, and each verse of the song in the CD features that instrument along with. I've loved almost every book I've seen from Barefoot Books (you can order from the link in my sidebar ;)

Snuggle Up, Sleep One - G. sat through this a few times, but it's a little "sleepy-time" for him during the day. I keep forgetting to take it up to read before bed. Beautiful illustrations and a soothing rhyme make this a nice (new to us) sleepy-time book.

All Aboard! - We both love this one! A fun story about Mr. Barnes, the bunny, who takes a trip on a train. Even though there is a substantial amount of text, Graeme sat through the entire thing the first reading, and subsequent readings are fun because of the recurring train chant. Interesting illustrations and descriptions of what one does on a train, woven together by a poetic story line.

The Racecar Alphabet - Anything with cars or trains or firetrucks will keep my son interested. This is an alphabet book, but it doesn't read like one. It's not "A is for...". Each page features one letter of the alphabet, but it's a race, so the words are descriptive and related to the cars. Another interesting feature is the book's timeline through the history of racing cars. This will go on our "would like to own" list.

Thank You, Bear - Simple story line and simple illustrations. Along the lines of a fable. Read about it on Amazon. I liked it, though I think the "moral" was a bit lost on a toddler.

Prayer for a Child - Another one that Graeme didn't really sit through during the day, but again, I need to try it during a quieter time. It's a classic, and an award-winner. Sweet prayer from a child's lips, I like that it demonstrates good things to thank God for. I'd enjoy owning a copy and reading it more frequently.

My current reading "stack" (though they're not in a stack, they're all over the place normally - the stack is only for the picture ;)

As you can see, I am a non-fiction reader. I can't recall the last time I sat down to read a work of fiction. I don't consider that a virtue, and would love any suggestions for a good piece of fiction...I just gravitate towards reading about the things that are interesting me at the moment, or things I want to learn more about.

No, I'm not trying to tell you anything with The Natural Pregnancy Book! I ordered it from PaperBackSwap a few months ago and have been waiting for the opportunity to delve into it. I just read a bit today and can't wait to read more. It will be invaluable for my next pregnancy. It has herbal remedies and nutritional guidelines and is from the perspective that I value highly - midwifery :)

After reading about the FIAR books, I was excited to order Before Five in a Row off Ebay. I do a lot of integration already when we read (numbers, shapes, alphabet, question/answer), so I'm interested to glean from the author's ideas for preschool learning through literature. I'll post more on this in a separate post.

Living the Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney contains life-changing thoughts on gospel-centered living. It was an easy read, and a wonderful reminder that only by "preaching the gospel to myself" daily can I find the peace that comes through knowing that Christ satisfies God's wrath for me, enabling me to live for Him.

That's all I have time for at the moment! What are you reading, anything to recommend?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Wise Woman

A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 14:1(NLT)

Last night, I perused our copy of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon's Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness by Steven Scott while brushing my teeth (talk about multi-tasking!).

This verse stood out to me - as it always does. I mean, what a verse! Honestly, I don't recall what Scott was saying about the verse (I was brushing my teeth, after all), but I meditated on it for awhile before falling asleep.

1. What a powerful influence a woman has on her home! In fact, to use the word "influence" is probably not sufficient. This verse says that a woman will either build her home or destroy it. That's more than influence...I can't even think of a word for it. Destiny? The very destiny of our homes. A sovereign God, in Whose hands is every scheme of man, yet writes that it is possible for the foolishness of a woman to actually tear down her home. Yikes!

2. I'm reminded of the purposeful, intent focus I must have. A wise woman is continually in the process of building her home. The word "build" involves time, materials, planning, counsel, more time, effort, sweat, sacrifice, money, more time.

I am thankful for the progress God's helped me make in my homemaking over the past few months - but I have such a long way to go! As I thought on what I need to do to continue to build my home, I saw so many weak areas. Things I've been lazy about, neglectful, or wasteful. Commitments I'd made that I've let slide again. Areas I've needed to change, yet because I didn't follow through by writing them down or focused some mental energy on them, they are still shoddy.

I realize that no one will be perfect until we are glorified with Christ; I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty :) When you meditate on verses like this, though, it is impossible not to look in the mirror and take a serious look at how you're using your energy and time.

On our way to drop my husband off at 4:30 this morning (so that we could have the car today), the radio station had a special report on the dilemma the military is facing with the children of deployed troops, specifically female troops. 10% of deployed troops are women, and many of them are single mothers or are married to servicemen, leaving their children with family members or friends when deployed. The military's problem, the reporter shared, is how to help these parents once they return home, as they are dealing with parenting along with post-traumatic stress, injuries, and a host of other issues.

Now, I'm not going to say this to bash our female troops - I really feel for them, and am only beginning to appreciate the sacrifices our troops make for us. And I realize some of my readers may not agree with my following assessment, but it is not intended to argue for or against woman in the military.

But I thought of this verse, and had to wonder - if more of our woman 1)were pursuing wisdom (A wise woman builds her home), and 2) were spending most of their time caring for their homes, not in the workplace or overseas (A wise woman builds her home, not her career or world peace or whatever)..would our homes be in better shape? I believe they would.

While this particular verse doesn't necessarily make the case for woman staying at home vs. working full time, it sure makes the point that it is a wise woman who puts her valuable talents and energy into building her home.

Simple, Delicious Syrup Alternative

The Nourishing Gourmet is one of my favorite sources for nourishing recipes and cooking tips. I've recently started soaking grains, not all the time but when I remember, and hope to begin including other healthful practices, such as making my own sourdough bread and including more alternative grains in our diet. I'll do a post sometime soon on the benefits of those things, in case you're not familiar with them (I know I wasn't until a few weeks ago).

To participate in her Breakfast Carnival, I'd like to share a recipe I make often as an alternative to maple syrup. Even though we are able to purchase organic maple syrup at the commissary for a great price, it's still quite expensive (plus, it's sugar, even though it is healthier for you than white sugar) recently I decided to cut back on how often I give it to Graeme.

But we still need something to go with pancakes :)

Here's my solution:
Fruity Pancake Topping
Serves 2 (double or triple...or quadruple as necessary ;)
Combine your choice of fruits for a delicious variety - raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and peaches are our favorites. Fresh or frozen! I'm sure you could experiment with different oils, but I like the flavor of butter.

1. Melt 2T butter in a small saucepan.
2. Add your choice of fruit, about 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup
3. Add about 1T lemon juice and 2-3T of a sweetener, to taste (honey, maple syrup, or sugar in pinch)
4. Simmer until mixture thickens a bit and the fruit softens to create more of a syrup-y texture.
5. Adjust ingredients to taste - you may desire a bit more sweetener, depends on the sweetness of your fruits.
6. Serve on top of your favorite pancakes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Homemade Refried Beans

Finally, I found a homemade refried bean recipe that works for me.
I've tried a few and they were either tasteless, or ended up a mashed, burnt mess.

I plan on freezing in 1-2cup portions for quick lunches and dinners. They would be wonderful as a dip - maybe mix in a jar of salsa and melt a bunch of cheese on top - YUM!

(Recipe from All Recipes, Refried Beans Without the Refry)
*I did soak the beans overnight, though the recipe doesn't mention it.*

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
(I simply sliced into 2 quarters and left them whole)

2 tablespoons minced garlic
5 teaspoons salt (I added toward the last hour of cooking, as I've read that adding them before that can create tough beans)
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
9 cups water (I used 2 cups chicken broth, and may experiment with 3-4 cups next definitely added to the flavor)

1. Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

2. Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayer: how God changes my mind

God answered a prayer for me this weekend! It was a small, personal request that God had laid on my heart to pray about. In the process of praying for this - indeed, in order for God to work - I had to lay aside "my way" and submit to His.

When He answered my prayer, I found myself reflecting on what exactly the purpose of prayer is.

Prayer is more than a "honey-do list" for God...more than a mere submission of everything I want to happen. While Scripture does teach that God delights, as a Father, to answer our requests and give us good things, prayer is also more than that. It goes beyond a "wish-list".

It is an opportunity for our thoughts line up with God's.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
Even as we submit our requests, we are seeking to have our thoughts changed.

When we take the time to talk to God, the Spirit has an opportunity to work in us. Have you ever prayed when you're angry? You either have to repent of the anger, or you choose to hold on to the anger, and in the process, reject the work of the Spirit of God (a dangerous choice!). As the song says, there are just two choices on the shelf: pleasing God, or pleasing self...prayer doesn't allow us to hang on to our desires - we have to surrender them!

Prayer is a chance for the Spirit to mold our desires into His own. Perhaps we begin by praying that God would remove our sickness. As we continue to beseech Him, going to His Word, praying with our Bibles open...He actually begins to change our desires. We see that sometimes God allows sickness because that IS our "good thing".
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
And maybe our prayer changes from "God, please heal me" to "God, please show me how this is your good thing for me."

So this weekend, when God answered my prayer, I sat and smiled at the irony. Had I chosen my way in that moment, He could not have answered the very prayer I'd prayed for several weeks. But when I, by the Holy Spirit's work in my heart, followed His way...He worked.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My kids are super cute.

Family News:

Cole is over 4 months old! Sitting in the Bumbo now for a good stretch of time, he enjoys watching his big brother, blowing bubbles with his lips, giggling (we found tickles last week!), sitting in Momma's sling, and he's enjoying his exersaucer now, too. Busy boy the past few weeks!

Speaking of busy boys, Graeme's language is TAKING OFF!!!! It's absolutely amazing. He's trying pretty much any word I say that he hasn't said yet...AND, he's forming phrases and short sentences. "Basketball hoop", "silly mama", "poco potty?", and my favorite, "Daddy, Mama, Graeme, baby, poco"...he'll often chant that, as though he enjoys that he can recite our entire family :)

He can count, too - 1 to 10, he not only recognizes the numbers (he has for a few months now) but just this last week, he recites all of them! When we go check the mailbox (they are numbered from 1-20) he likes to stop and recite 1-10.

Mark is busy blowing up things and writing orders. Sorry this video is sideways, but we can't figure out how to get it upright. We had a wonderful long-weekend with him home (with no orders to write), which was just delightful.

I am busy cooking, learning, cleaning the house, lovin' on the boys, and researching some things I want to work on over the next few weeks (sourdough starter, soaking grains, handmade gifts for Mother's Day, more real-food-based recipes). I don't know if it's the warm weather or what, but I've been feeling so motivated to be productive. I believe part of it is due to the process I've experienced over the past few months of embracing my calling to be the keeper of my home...I've had a huge shift in mindset and focus. The not-having-a-car for 4 weeks only fueled that fire, and caused me to learn to be content by staying busy caring for my home and family in a way I haven't focused on for awhile.

Oh, and we have one car now! We actually decided to fix the Acura - meaning, we replaced the engine ($3500 - there went that tax refund.) - but it's driving like a young car again (the engine only had 67,000 miles on it). The Volvo is still in the shop. Mark's motorcycle is now running again, but he can't take it every day, depending on weather and timing...we get the car tomorrow. It's amazing how thrilling such a simple thing can be :-D

Friday, April 3, 2009

Easy-Peasy Mac 'N Cheesy

You really can make homemade macaroni 'n cheese for an every-day lunch! You don't have to settle for the boxed stuff. Wanting to participate in the Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday, I thought I'd share this real food recipe classic, in a way that shows you how easy it can be to put a bowl of real mac 'n cheese on the table!

The recipe ingredients below yield about 4 servings (depending on how big you make those servings ;) Recipe adapted from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

1. Put your pot of water to boil - add macaroni when ready and cook according to package directions.

2. Prepare the Bechamel Sauce: Put 1T. olive oil in a large saucepan. Add 1T. flour and cook, stirring, until it resembles a thick paste, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the milk and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add milk (1/2cup), any desired vegetable purees (I used butternut squash, 1/2cup), and your cheeses (a soft cheese, like cream cheese -4oz-, and a nice hard cheese/combo of cheeses, about 1 1/2cups worth, or to taste - I like white or yellow sharp, colby jack, parmesan...whatever I have on hand!)

4. Season (this recipe called for 1/2tsp salt, 1/8 tsp. each of paprika and pepper). I like a dash of tabasco sauce.

Voila! See, it's not hard!

In fact, it's very versatile - you can use pretty much ANY combination of cheeses. You could probably even use some sour cream or yogurt with milk; if you have a random can of evaporated milk, you could use that can add bread crumbs for a special pizazz and broil it briefly in the oven to give it more of a "baked" taste.

Mac 'n Cheese is also a great base for adding vegetables and meats. My toddler will eat broccoli if it is with something like mac 'n cheese. My husband likes to take a container of this to work, sometimes along with a sandwich, sometimes on its own with some fresh veggies.

For more real-food recipes, and to join in the campaign to help America get back to wholesome, whole foods, head over to the Food Renegade.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why I don't use The Pill

Birth Control Pill Causes Abortions

I didn't know this until several months after we were married...I actually started doing a bit of research after experiencing several negative side effects of the Pill. I read this little book by Sam and Bethany Torode. (To note, there are some controversial aspects they bring up in their book, but it's worth reading, regardless of whether you end up necessarily agreeing with everything or not). That was the beginning of a long journey (yes, and two children later LOL ;) that the Lord has been taking us on towards embracing His will regarding our conception.

"Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?"

Here's what 11 physicians and medical professionals are saying about the book Randy Alcorn published in 1998:

1. "From medical textbooks and pharmacy references, to statements from the Pill-manufacturers themselves, this book proves, beyond any doubt, the abortion-causing action of birth control pills. This book should be read by everyone interested in knowing the truth."

~ Paul L. Hayes, M.D., Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists

2. "Does the birth control pill cause abortions? Using research results from medical literature, Randy Alcorn has convincingly shown that the answer is `yes.' He has, with care and compassion, given us the truth. The question for us as Christians is how we will respond now that we know."

~ Linda Martin, M.D., Pediatrician

4. "In this challenging book Randy Alcorn has the honesty to face a tough and uncomfortable question. This compelling evidence will make you rethink the question of birth control pills."

~ John Brose, M.D., Surgeon

5. "In this impeccably researched book, Randy Alcorn takes an unblinking look at what medical experts know about how birth control pills work. I painfully agree that birth control pills do in fact cause abortions. Our individual and collective Christian response to this heretofore varnished-over information will have profound consequences for time and eternity. This is a disturbing must-read for all who profess to be prolife."

~ Beverly A. McMillan, M.D., Ob/Gyn

7. "No prolife physician can rightly prescribe BCPs [birth control pills] after reviewing this data. I have started circulating this information."

~ Randall Martin, M.D., Chairman, Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia Willamette Valley Medical Center

8. "Scientific papers suggest that escape ovulation occurs 4-15% of all cycles in patients taking birth control pills. Thus, as this booklet points out, early chemical abortions are a real and significant concern."

~ Paddy Jim Baggot, M.D., Ob/Gyn, Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics

I can elaborate on what we believe, etc, in another post, but I wanted to put this information out there, in my own "little corner" of the blogging sphere...I was so thankful to become informed on this. The Body of Christ is surprisingly silent on this issue, at least the churches and groups that I've been a part of. We are extremely vocal about abortion. Why not about The Pill?