Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pinterest Finds: New Recipes

A couple new recipes that we devoured recently that I thought I'd share. Pinterest is my friend in the kitchen/recipe department, for real. In all other departments, it's hit or miss. I pin stuff and rarely get back to them it seems. Maybe the summer and a more open schedule will allow time to delve into those pins and decide what's worth a try.

Ok, so how do you do lunch? I usually fly by the seat of my pants which means it gets to 11:00 and I've got no plan. I am pinning a few new things on Pinterest and hope to get an actual lunch menu created over the summer that works for us.

A new lunchtime favorite are Ham And Cheese Pockets. Huge hit with the kids! How have I not thought of this before?!

Simply take Grands biscuits (or store brand knock off), flatten two of them. Lay a couple slices of thin sliced ham and one slice American cheese on one flattened biscuit. Put the other biscuit on top, trying to pinch the edges to hold it all together (as you see in the above photo, clearly I didn't do a very good job). Egg wash over the top and pop in the oven following the biscuit baking temp and directions on the  tube.

Now doesn't that look like a great lunch?

Why not add a simple cookie for dessert? 

Do you have some bananas to use up? This recipe has you covered.

It has three of my favorite things: chocolate chips, peanut butter and bananas. 

Again, how could I go wrong?

2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used regular all purpose flour)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I used regular semisweet chips)

**I highly suggest doubling the recipe as it only makes about 20 cookies for a single recipe.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine the bananas, peanut butter, and sugars. Then mix in the egg.
Mix in the baking powder and salt.
Stir in flour.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Use a cookie scoop and drop onto a greased cookie sheet. Flatten the top of each cookie with your fingers or a spoon.
Bake for 9-11 minutes.

These recipes will keep your bellies full and the kids asking for more, 

I guarantee it!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Update & A Thank You

Thank you to all of you who sent prayers and your love over the last few days after last week's prayer request.

I'm happy to report that Reed's dad finally returned home yesterday evening. One of the first things he did was go out for a walk in the woods (with company, of course). While his vision is the main concern and area affected, he is otherwise doing well. He is lacking eyesight in both eyes and unable to zero in on objects completely. Occasionally I think there is still some memory that is impacted too, but for the most part he is doing well. He has returned home with all of his sass minus his clear vision. lol. The biggest adjustment will be keeping an otherwise quite active man full of shenanigans a little bit more low key for a while. And of course, getting used to seeing him in the passenger seat. I cannot tell you how many times I've thought I heard the John Deere tractor or his mule he drives, going down the driveway. Only to be rudely jolted to the reality that he's not there doing that. We continue to remain hopeful and prayerful that his eyesight will return or at least become more clear so that he will be able to function even better. We are so grateful for the prayers that clearly aided in his recovery. Keep 'em coming!

As for my MIL, she is doing much better and up and around as normal. I'm sure the coming weeks will be an adjustment for her, but hopefully the help of family will be a support to her.

Lastly, my papa. He is still hospitalized and he has good days and then others that he's a little confused or things are a bit more difficult. The fluid on the lungs is better, but his blood pressure is low and they found his heart rate to be too. The doctor reports are mixed and one day they suggest a pacemaker and the next they say he's not a candidate. I presume that the family will be meeting with doctors more this week to decide on a course of action for him. Who knows where it will lead The Resurrection Man. Yesterday he was up sitting in the chair watching the Twins game and the day before he was telling grandkids his good-byes. Prayers for direction for my dad's family and the care of my grandpa are most appreciated as well.

Thank you again for being a strong faith-filled community that I was able to turn to for support. You have always been a blessed presence in my life, although most of us have never met. Thank You!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

God's Curve Ball And Prayer Request

This week has been tiring, emotionally and physically.

In case you've questioned my absence, I thought I would catch you up to speed.

Even taking the time to check in and send out a prayer request here was time consuming, so I opted not to.


My FIL suffered a stroke earlier in the week. There are so many details to what happened, but I just can't find the time or energy to replay the scene. Thank God, he is doing remarkably well. He is up and around and each passing day he looks just a little bit better. The main thing affected is his eye sight in one eye that has gotten a little better, but I am unsure that it will completely heal.

He does still have blood on his brain that has not decreased and they also told us yesterday that they found a tear in an artery that goes up the back of the neck to the brain. This tear will need to be addressed in coming months. For now, he will be in the hospital over the weekend for sure to keep monitoring him and get him on blood pressure medication before going home.

As all of this unfolded on Tuesday, it was wearing on everyone as you can imagine. That night, while my MIL stayed overnight at the hospital she ended up in ER with memory loss and confusion. They diagnosed her with Transient Global Amnesia. Essentially, she could remember up through Monday, but none of the events from Tuesday. She was admitted to the hospital, treated that day, tests ran and was discharged late Wednesday evening. She seems to be doing well, besides being tired from all the time spent visiting my FIL.

Lastly, to end our week, my 93 year old grandpa was admitted to the same hospital. He is being treated for fluid on his lungs and congestive heart failure. Yesterday when I visited him he was eating like usual and in chipper spirits, a big change from when I visited him at home last weekend. I was recently updated and found that he has gotten much quieter, his blood pressure is erratic and low and he had a rough night. Reed has dubbed him The Resurrection Man because he's always bounced back in the past. Many times we have thought he was in his last and he always came back. We will see what God's plan is for this wonderful, sweet man this time around.

At least for today, we are all home together. This week has kept Reed at the hospital, an hour away, every day and me holding down the fort. I've been to the hospital a couple times and yesterday was the first day we took all the kids. I think it did the Papa's well to see the kids and lift their spirits a bit.

Any prayers you can send are most appreciated. We know the healing power of prayer and trust that God will protect and watch over our loved ones who need His powerful touch.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Never Again...

 ....will I chuckle at someone running on the side of the road as I drive by.

Or how someone runs and looks kinda, sorta weird as they do so.

Because now that the weather is nicer and I've become THAT person running by on the road, 
I'm always kinda, sorta hoping those passing by aren't laughing at me.

Payback, don't ya think?

I mean for serious, it's more like a light(ish) jog(ish) sort of run. 

Let's be real, people, that's what it is.

Even if I'm (barely) pushing the 10:30/mile mark. On a good run. With the wind at my back.

Which leads me to think of Colleen. She's my personal trainer from like eight states away. 
She's talented like that.

One day we're gonna go on a run together IRL. Promise.

Please, dear readers, if you are ever near small town Minnesota and perhaps see me running, just smile and wave.

Keep the honking and laughing to yourself until you are at least on the other side of town, which will take you about 5 seconds. 

Do you think you can hold it in that long?

At least I'm staying active, that's what I keep telling myself. 
You know, because that makes me feel better.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, May 17, 2013

If Only Rome Were Closer To Home

One day I want to travel to Rome with my husband. One day.

There are many days that I wish Rome were just a little bit closer. I suppose I wouldn't think it as big a deal though if I just hopped on a bus and went to St. Peter's Square or participated in a Wednesday audience with the Pope just any old day.

Well, I suppose with this little Pope Francis admirer I have, we'd eventually get banned from popping up everywhere he is.

She's still rather enamored with her beloved 'Fransa', you know.

And then she saw this picture last week:

She laughed and pointed at Pope and baby. I then pointed out what the Pope was doing, putting the paci back in the baby's mouth. She paid special attention and giggled.

To think that two of her favorite things, Pope and paci, were in the same photo. To think that THAT baby got to be close to HER Pope and he gave the baby his paci. I could see the wheels turning. If ever there was baby envy, she had it at that moment.

"What a rip off! That baby gets the Pope AND the paci?! I am SO hopping on a plane right now!"

Yup, that's exactly what I read in her expression, you know I did.

You see, Gianna just had her paci taken away two weeks ago. Well, technically, she threw it away on her own. It was old, she had finally chewed a hole in it and she had been warned that this paci was her last and when it was time, she would not be getting another one.

Then the fateful day came. Following my instructions, she walked to the garbage, threw away her beloved paci and with a brave face said "Gianna big girl. Gianna not need paci."

She had some moments that day asking for " 'nother one paci" whenever she needed consoling.

If only her Pope could've been here to help her, she thought. I bet HE'd let me keep my paci.

If only Rome were just a little bit closer and the Pope was just a neighbor down the street.

I guess then we'd probably be the crazy neighbor who never left him alone. Or at the very least, Gianna would be the wandering around child of the neighborhood who was always stopping by to visit.

Especially if he was handing out paci's.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Five Favorites

Hopping in with Hallie for Five Favorites. It's my first time! I always enjoy a link up and reading everyone post their favorites each week, I finally couldn't resist.


I've been trying to increase my water consumption over the past several months. Sometimes just plain water is tough for me to chug, so water enhancers are my new alternative. I've tried the MIO ones, but found that the Walmart Great Value brand are just as good and cheaper too.

My new favorite is the Lemonade and also the Southern Sweet Tea.

No calories and no sugar. 


After a recent trip to the dermatologist, I was given the diagnosis of rosacea (*sigh*). Upon going to the local store to pick up my prescription he recommended, they told me it was going to cost $250!! Say what now??! I still haven't gotten around to consulting a different pharmacy or checking back with the dermatologist. 
Instead, I found Eucerin Redness Relief cleanser and night time moisturizer that are already helping improve the areas that were a concern. 
What a relief!


I like to keep my toenails polished, especially in the warmer months when flip flops are a must. While I normally go for magenta/pinks, I gave the PURE ICE polish in an orange a try. 

Love it- perfect for spring!

It's called 'Twinkle'.


In search of a new favorite body spray, I stopped in at Bath & Body Works the other day. When my sniffer was all sniffed out, I landed Venice Dolce Berry. 
It's described as a collection of plumberry, magnolia, sandalwood sugar and a hint of vanilla biscotti.

I call it YUM-berry-biscotti. Love it!

 How weird is it to spray yourself with biscotti?

Hubby finds it yum-licious too. Never mind that pre-teen girl says it smells like old lady. 


Almost two weeks ago we bought a new (to us) 2012 van. Another Dodge Caravan, but an upgrade and lower miles than our 2005. It has many of the same features as our old one, but also has some interior changes that I like as well. Lots more cubbies for my junk stuff up front, the seat upholstery is a bit more durable and with this design it sure seems like the inside is more spacious. It handles the same driving for the most part, but I do notice a difference a little with it feeling 'bigger'. My kids say it's SO MUCH bigger on the outside than our other one, but I think it's the new design that gives that illusion.

Doesn't matter, it's one of my new favorite things that makes me want to just go sit in it to take a nap. Or maybe just listen to the radio.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Motherhood Isn't Wrapped Up In A Day

How was your Mother's Day?

Am I the only person that finds it a bit difficult to honor and be honored all in one day?

I mean, it's great to have our special day but it's also a fair amount of work too. Making everyone happy, trying to be with the Mom's you love while they may also have to be with their Mom too. And then you're the mom, so someone is trying to make you feel special as well.

Phew. It's hard work and clearly cannot be bottled in one day! It's another reminder to love your mama and always appreciate her every single day.

In the end, it's a good day. Always is, no matter how much or how little we plan, do or celebrate.

This year we kept it relatively low key, but it still was very nice.

After Mass we had my MIL and FIL over for breakfast. A fine meal was prepared by Reed (and the kids a little bit) of bacon, fresh fruit and Cream Cheese Stuffed Blueberry French Toast (You can find the recipe here. Thanks Patty!). The In Laws also brought caramel and cinnamon rolls. 
A very good start to our day (Mass and the meal).

After kitchen clean up, I demanded strongly suggested pictures with my kids. Which the kids were ever so eager to participate in. (That was sarcasm. Even my kids aren't complete angels on Mother's Day)

The Kids and I & The Boy and I:

A family walk was in order to burn off those sweet calories from earlier.

My Boy and My Baby.....*sigh*......

The Four: Little Girl Sandwich between The Big Kids

My new favorite picture of Gianna. A sweet toddler giddy with giddiness while enjoying a shoulder ride on daddy. I know,  

Afterward, I managed to fit in a little run on the treadmill using my new earbuds and heart monitor/timer/stopwatch I received for Mother's Day (that's my shout-out to hubby and his shopping skills--go daddy!)

I finished up just in time to go pack in a few more calories at the DQ where we met up with my parents. Nothing says celebration quite like a DQ Blizzard.

A semi-quiet evening at home and soon off to bed.

Another Mother's Day done, another day of being a mom and loving the vocation of motherhood. It's days like today that takes all the other days, wraps them in a bow and reminds us how blessed we are to be called MOM. 

Even if tomorrow is Monday and all of this will be forgotten. 
We know we are loved and we are a very big part of the big picture of God's story.

I hope you had a very special Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Theme Thursday: Mom

 How could I not join in for Theme Thursday when it features of my favorite people, mom?

I contemplated posting a photo of me with my kid(s), but those are sometimes tough to find. Instead, I thought I'd feature my own mom and I managed to find a couple shots with her and my little girls from last fall.

My mom is a beautiful example of compassion, love, commitment, generosity and faith. I cannot begin to tell you how much of a blessing she is to our family and how she inspires me. My mom is an only child and has lived the last twenty years without her father who passed away from cancer. She left her Lutheran faith to become a Catholic convert when she married my dad. As a devout Catholic she has become a pillar of faith to those around her and as a hard worker in the medical field she is a testament of kindness to so many people. 

I've always appreciated and treasured my mom, but now as an adult and mom myself I do even more. Thank you, Mom, for life, love and for all the ways you serve those around you.

I love you, Mom!

Find lots of other beautiful MOM's over at Cari's today and get your 
pre-Mother's Day dose of amazing women we honor this weekend.

Monday, May 6, 2013

First Communion Day

 As promised, a brief look at our day yesterday, Jonah's First Communion Day.

I have so many pictures, but just tried to to pull some of them to share with you all here. The weather wasn't perfect, but at least nice enough that the big kids could play outside with their older cousins. Besides, the day wasn't really about the weather, was it?

Mass turned out beautifully and Jonah was so excited for his big day. He was a bit nervous trying to remember what he was suppose to do and when, but everything went perfectly. Thankfully, he was also surrounded by family who loved him and helped him celebrate his very special day.

Mr. Studly walking into Mass and trying to pretend everyone isn't staring at him. He does not like direct attention on him by numerous people.

Toward the end of Mass, we had May Crowning of Mary. It's been the first time in quite a while that our parish did this and First Communion Sunday is a great day to have the children crown Mary.

Again, Jonah was just a little bit nervous.

But he did a great job! We had practiced and he wanted to be sure to get the crown on Mary just right. He did just that, he nailed it! He even was sure to slide the ribbons around Mary's shoulder and down her back. It was precious.

Beaming after Mass.

Many family members joined us at Mass and then later on at our house for lunch. Here's Jonah with his Godparents and both sets of Grandparents.

And his buddy, aka our priest, Fr. Michael. Jonah has been eagerly awaiting celebrating his First Communion day with him since he was assigned here last summer. He didn't disappoint. A beautiful Mass filled with memorable moments to make it very special for Jonah and the other 
First Communicants.

Another great family photo, even if the little girls aren't smiling. Gianna is a tough one to crack for photos taken by anyone but mom and Miss Margaret was tired already.

My sweet peas, my babies, growing up so fast. Special days like these make me realize how very fast time is flying right before my very eyes.

Of course, there was cake! (Thank you, Walmart bakery)

Another significant and precious sacrament celebrated in our household. I'll say it again, we just can't get enough of them. So many graces, so much joy and so many still frames, moments in time,  instilled within the recesses of my motherly heart.

Congratulations Jonah! May you always be drawn closer to Jesus in the Eucharist and desire to receive Him as often as possible.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sacramental Mushiness

See these smiles?

These are pre-Sacrament smiles getting ready for Jonah's big day on Sunday, his First Holy Communion. How we love our faith and how we love us some sacraments at our house!

Since we can't ever get enough of them, we celebrate their beauty and the anniversaries of those special days.

Just this week we remembered Jonah's Baptismal Day (May 1st) eight years ago and Lily's First Communion Day (also May 1st), just two years ago.

Our parish is even doing May Crowning at Mass this Sunday. While it's been done in the past here, it hasn't been in the eleven years I've been a member. My kids have never had the opportunity to be a part of a May Crowning, but this year the First Communicants will be.

Since our small parish just has one boy (aka Jonah) and two girls receiving their First Holy Communion, they will be the ones bringing flowers to Mary. 

Any guesses who's bring up the crown and crowning her?

(homemade crown made by yours truly, not professional, but it's an act of love if nothing else)

Cue handsome boy of mine who's just a wee-bit nervous about being extra cautious as to not topple over dear Mother Mary.

Our house will be a flurry of activity and celebration this weekend and I'll be sure to post photos next week. You know you want 'em, don't ya?

Could you do me a favor and send Mr. Jonah a prayer or two on his special day? He would appreciate your prayers from near and far.

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