Friday, October 28, 2016

Aaron and Luke

My parents were in TN this week and Aaron couldn't really wrap his head around where they were.  He says to Luke, "Luke, do you know what TN is?  It's a mistake, that's what Andrew told me."
Took me a minute to figure out he meant state, not mistake!

Luke's been skipping his naps about half the time lately, or putting himself to bed around 4 and sleeping through dinner.  Lack of sleep makes Luke a crabby boy.  Today he was fighting with Aaron about a rake that we had just bought at Meijer.  The rake was green and since green is Luke's favorite color, anything green is his (Do not try to give him a blue or yellow plate.  He needs green!).  I told him he would have to take his nap as soon as we got home instead of raking leaves.  He says to me, "Why, am I cwabby?"  Yes, son, you are very "cwabby"!

Yesterday while I was baking, Luke asked me for a drink.  I was in the middle of something so I told him to be patient.  Like a typical 3 year old, he says, "You be patient!"  Yup, I get a lot of time to practice patience with him around!  He keeps us on our toes.  :-)

Friday, October 07, 2016

Artprize 2016

We went to Artpize with our friends, the Venlets, who also have 6 kids.  Have to admit, didn't really go for the art, we went for the food trucks at Rosa Parks Circle.  Had some phenomenal hand cut fresh fries with pulled pork and cheese sauce.  Our friend got a pulled pork sandwich off a truck with its own smoker on the back.  The kids had a great time walking around downtown with their friends, but it did make me feel a bit frazzled keeping track of 12 kids!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


(So BIG news, we moved a couple of weeks ago.  Will post pics soon.)

Noahism #1

Andrew:  Mom, do you have a headache?
Me:  A little one, but I took some medicine and it's going away.
Noah:  Well, I have diphtheria. 
Me:  :D  :D  :D

Noahism #2

In the car on the way to Artprize last night, Noah kept making Mabel say "Meow" over and over and louder and louder and I finally told him to stop.  He sighs, "Now I can't advertise her anymore."  I'm pretty sure he meant he couldn't amuse her anymore!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Weekday Lunches: Day 1

I make the kids lunches every week day.  Chris usually takes care of Saturday and our Sunday lunch is our main meal.  That means I make 30 lunches during the week, not including my own (Chris usually only eats an apple for lunch.).  Most of the time the kids have sandwiches for lunch, but that uses at least 10 slices of bread each day (Not to mention cheese, I should make my own!).  So my challenge this week is to make something other than sandwiches each day for lunch, preferably using leftovers or something from the freezer.  Today's lunch is a combo of both:

 Half a loaf of garlic bread left from last week, meatballs in spaghetti sauce left from last week, and leftover cauliflower.  

2 out of 3 liked it (the youngest 3 had sandwiches)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My girl

Here are some pics of my girl from the last few months! 

I'm super sad that she's outgrown the pick cowboy boots!

Loves her some spaghetti.

She's smart.  She knows she's not supposed to get out so she just hangs out on the top railing.

She loves her some icecream too.

And chocolate.  Definitely my daughter.

Yup, my daughter.  Hates celery.

She is a crazy child in the water.  So different than the boys.  She sits on the top step of the pool and plops in and then swims to the edge.  

Luke goes to the dentist

 Luke had his first dentist appointment today!  He did really great.  His hygenist was very nice and explained everything to him.  

 What a champ!  He picked bubble gum flavor but thought he got to eat it.

 Super clean teeth!  No plaque was found, but unfortunately I brought him in because he has a couple huge cavities right between his front two teeth.  We'll see how the filling appointment goes.  

All worth it to get a new toothbrush and a toy.  :-)
All my kids love going to the dentist.  Noah asked why he didn't get to go.

Take note, Luke is child #5 and he is the only child that got pictures taken at his first dentist appointment! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Some recipes~Island Pork and Pesto Stuffed Shells

So here's a couple things from the back of the stove this week:

Island Pork  (I've made this twice and its pretty yummy.  I'm going to try it on the grill.)
For spice rub:
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼ - 2 ½ lbs total) trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
For Glaze:
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco
Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork.  Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4-5 minutes total.  Remove from heat, but leave pork in skillet.
Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl.  Pat the mixture on top of the pork.  Place skillet in the oven at 350.  Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes.  Let pork stand in skillet, loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes.  
Pesto Stuffed Shells (These are the bomb.  I think its the pesto but they're awesome and a perfect company meal.) 
  • About 1/2 Crock-Pot Bolognese recipe 
    (I just use my own spaghetti sauce.  I usually have some in the freezer I can pull out.)
  • 12 pasta shells, cooked
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 cups low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup prepared pesto (I use the red pepper pesto from Aldi.  It's about $2 and I can use it in the recipe twice.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Extra cheeses for the top, if desired
  • parsley flakes, for garnish {optional}


  1. Make Crockpot Bolognese Sauce according to directions.
  2. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of sauce into the bottom of your crockpot to serve as a base and a no-crunchy-or-burned-noodle-barrier. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, stir all ingredients together until combined. Spoon filling into cooked shells, stuffing evenly. Place into bottom of crockpot, onto that sauce.
  4. Spoon more sauce over the top of each shell and sprinkle with extra cheese if you feel so inclined. Cover and cook 1 1/2 hours on high or 3 hours on low OR until hot all the way through. Sprinkle with parsley flakes and serve.
  5. **Non-crockpot directions: Place shells into 9x13 baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

What's Cookin'

It's spring break time around here.  We don't take a break, but I'm going to do keep meals simple so maybe we can do some fun stuff in the evenings.

Mon~Pizza, cold veggies
Tues~Hot dogs, fries, cold veggies
Wed~French Dip sandwiches
Thurs~Dad and Mom E's anniversary potluck-I'm bringing deviled eggs and veggies and dip.
Fri~Barbecue chicken, potato wedges, roasted carrots
Sat~Pancakes, sausage, fruit

Friday, April 01, 2016

Fitness funny

Funny one! Glad it wasn't true this week. I did real squats, and now I'm a bit sore!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Helping at Grandpa's

Almost every Saturday morning, Chris takes all the kids to his dad's to do some chores.  Last week it was wood hauling and even Mabel went along.  Uncle Nate snapped this pic:

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Furnish thyself with arguments from the promises to enforce thy pravers, and make them prevalent with God. The promises are the ground of faith, and faith, when strengthened, will make thee fervent, and such fervency ever speeds and returns with victory out of the field of prayer…. The mightier any is in the Word, the more mighty he will be in prayer. —William Gurnall

Other Puritan thoughts on prayer here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

What's Cookin' and some fitness

Most weeks it is pretty easy for me to come up with a menu, but I've really struggled this week.  I've been trying to eat from the pantry/freezer so maybe that's the problem, but really, they are still pretty full.  At any rate, I do have the next few days figured out:

Thurs~Pizza, cold veggies
Fri~Mac n cheese or grilled cheese for the kids and making some snacks for when friends come over in the evening.  Will probably do a bean/cheese dip, fruit, and cold veggies.
Sat~Dinner with our pastor's family and they told us not to bring anything!
Sun~Dutch beef and veggie soup, butterhorns (from the freezer)
Mon~Sausage gravy casserole, fruit and applesauce
Tues~Sheet pan chicken fajitas, brown rice, cold veggies
Wed~Prayer day-Spaghetti with marinara sauce, broccoli, garlic bread
Thurs~Chicken and gravy, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and corn
Fri~Pizza, cold veggies

I am now on week 5 of exercising and am still doing well with the fitness videos I have found on youtube.  I have done this workout 3x this week and I like how it keeps moving and isn't repetitive.  Makes the 30 minutes go very fast!  Once it gets a little warmer, I'll probably add in some running.  I would love to be able to make it all the way around the block again.

I'm also doing a plank challenge with some friends on facebook.  Join us!

30 Day Plank Challenge:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fitness, Week 4

I am keeping up with my exercise!  4 whole weeks!  I think I'm eating marginally better than before, but could probably still cut some carbs and sugar out.  I'm participating in an accountability group and my goals are to exercise at least 20 minutes 4x a week and no more than 3 sweet treats per week.  I did great on my exercise last week but not so great on sweets.  I'm doing much better this week, but the real test will be when I make cupcakes for Luke's birthday tomorrow.  :-)

Today I did about 20 minutes of this workout until she had us doing stuff in plank position again and I quit.  Don't have much strength in my arms and my core definitely needs work.  I wanted to do some ab stuff too so I did this workout.  It was much harder for me than it looked.  I'm not kidding myself into thinking I can get back up to 55-60 sit-ups/minute like in high school, but maybe 20??  We'll see.

Anyone have some great online workout suggestions?  Send me the link in the comments!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

What's Cookin'

Mon~Baked ziti, garlic bread, green beans, roasted carrots (my new favorite roasted veggie!)
Tues~Pea soup, rolls
Wed~Chicken alfredo with broccoli, applesauce
Thurs~Luke's birthday!  I think we'll have pancakes for breakfast and have his birthday dinner on Fri.   Barbecue chicken and baked potatoes, cold veggies
Fri~Pizza, cold veggies
Sat~Reubens on sourdough or rye or grilled cheese, chips, fruit
Sun~Chicken noodle soup, bread

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lukie Theodore

This is Luke.
Luke says it's too hard to eat his eggs (the eggs that he requested).
Don't be like Luke.

This is also Luke.
Luke lacks impulse control when it comes to tp.
Luke's cute so you can be like Luke.  :-)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Day Something

Not sure what day of exercise it is, but I've exercised at least 4x each week for 2 weeks.  Today I tried Popsugar Fitness on youtube.  I really liked this workout because it was only 20 min and it was not boring.  Lots of different exercises, mostly ab workouts.  I do like a little more cardio.  And warning, I saw a few workout titles that were not appropriate.

Joel said I looked like a giant chicken with a bright red face while I was doing the sumo squats.  Haha!

Monday, February 08, 2016

What's Cookin'

Mon-Chili, cornbread
Tues~Garbage casserole (from freezer), carrots.  We're going skiing today!
Wed~Spaghetti, broccoli, garlic bread
Thurs~Homemade pizza, cold veggies and dip
Fri~Church potluck, I think I'll bring barbecue chicken and buns and some kind of chips and dip.
Sat~Friends are coming so we'll do a chicken taco bar with all the fixings, chips and salsa, and cold veggies and dip.
Sun~Veggie beef soup (I use leftover beef, Knorr vegetable soup mix, and whatever leftover veggies I have.), and bread

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Day 4 (barely)

Thought I was up for a challenge.  Did this one.  Kicked my butt.  Baby steps.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Day 3

Woohoo, made it to day 3!

Here's what I did today:

 I attempted a workout that was just strength but it was kind of boring.  Could've been because I only had 3 lb weights.  This one was better.  We'll see how sore I am tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Werk it, y'all!

The time has definitely come.  In fact, I'm way behind the ball.  Need. to. work. out.

It's way easier to type that than to actually do it.

But...I'm on day 2 (Hey, baby steps.  Don't knock it.)

You know, I sweat so much and get so red in the face while I'm exercising, you'd really think all that exertion is really worth at least 500 calories.

Nope, not at all.  I think I burned about 150 calories.  Certainly not equal to the calories in the oatmeal fudge bar I ate.  So yeah, watching what I eat should come into play too.  But, baby steps.

 Anyway, Chris showed me this website and so far, I'm pretty impressed.  There are TONS of free exercise videos.  I just did this warm -up video:

Then, since that one is just a warm -up, I did this one:

I was keeping up pretty well until they got to exercise 6 or 7 (out of 8).  You would think that since each exercise is only 45 seconds, you could do anything for 45 seconds.  No, no you cannot do anything for 45 seconds if you are as out of shape and flabby as I am.  But, baby steps.

So what I liked about this video was:

1.  It's short.  8 minutes long, if you include a warm-up, about 15 minutes long.  If you can't fit 15 minutes into your day, it's time to think about what you're doing all day long (speaking to myself also).

2.  The woman does modified exercises while the man does a little bit harder exercises.  They do it side by side so you can see the difference.  Also, on the side there is a running counter of how many calories you are burning.

3.  It's free!  And you don't need fancy equipment.  And it's free!

My only complaints are that it hurts me (haha!) and I'm kind of a klutz so it takes me a bit to get my legs and arms in the right order.  But otherwise, it's great!  I'm hoping I can work up to a bit longer workouts!

Note:  You can see all the videos on, but for some reason, you can only see them fullscreen if you are on youtube.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

My take on Mexican chicken lasagna

I've been trying to use up some things I have lurking in my freezer and this week I pulled out some southwest flavored chicken and the hugest tortillas I've ever seen.  And since I'm all about easy meals, here's what I did to make some pretty yummy Mexican Lasagna.

Mexican Lasagna


1 lb of taco/southwestern seasoned chicken
8 oz tomato sauce
3 big tortillas (burrito size)  or just overlap smaller tortillas
about 2 cups of cheddar/colby jack cheese
1 can black beans
1/2 cup of green enchilada sauce

Cook the chicken and shred it.  I dumped 8 oz of tomato sauce on it while it was cooking.  I used the crockpot with a liner to make it super simple.
Using a square pan, place a tortilla in the bottom and then layer half the chicken, half the beans, and a sprinkling of cheese.   Repeat 1 more time and then put a tortilla on top, spread the enchilada sauce on top of the tortilla, and sprinkle with a bit more cheese.
Bake for about 35 minutes at 350.  I let it cool for a few minutes before we ate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What's Cookin'

Wed~Veg beef soup (bubbling in the crockpot right now), wheat bread (rising right now)
Thurs~Chicken/bean/tortilla something, cold veggies
Fri~Pizza, cold veggies
Sat~Pork tenderloin, baked potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, rolls (we have company)
Sun~Chicken noodle soup, the third loaf of wheat bread I maded on Wed (from the freezer)
Mon~Meatball subs, salad
Tues~Chicken pot pie, applesauce

My goal:  To have a blog post besides a menu plan by next week.  :-)

Monday, January 04, 2016

What's Cookin'

Mon~Pork tenderloin done 2 ways, baked potatoes, mixed veggies
Tues~Bean and ham bone soup, bread
Wed~Roast beef, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, green beans
Thurs~Chili, cornbread
Fri~Meatball subs, cold veg
Sat~some kind of Mexican chicken/beans/cheese tortilla stack, cold veggies
Sun~Beef and tomato macaroni soup, bread