Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Re-cap and Meal Plan Monday

Hey y'all! I hope you had a great weekend. Ours was busy, busy! Ben was out of town Thursday-Saturday, which makes things seem crazy no matter what. I had choir rehearsal Thursday night for our Palm Sunday/ Easter Cantata which we presented yesterday (Sunday) morning in both services. Friday morning, we had the PEP Moms spring luncheon, which was super-fun! Our speaker was a master gardener, and she helped us make some one-pot herb gardens. She even gave us some recipes to use our fresh herbs in! It was lots of fun, and the food was great too.

I tried to do my 20-mile training run on Saturday morning, but my start time kept getting delayed! I finally started a little after 11:30, and it was brutal! The high temperature was somewhere in the low 80's, and I am not used to that! I basically walked the last 5 miles, but at least I covered the distance. :( The marathon is only 19 days away!!! I also got just a little sunburn...

We had a huge family cook-out at my mom and dad's on Saturday evening, and it was lots of fun. My kids love playing at my parents' house; they have lots of property and lots of toys. I enjoy it too because I can let them have lots of freedom compared to being in our subdivision. Rush also got to go with my dad and my grandfather ("Papaw") to their garden while I was running. He helped them plant yellow squash and zucchini, and he rode the tractor and played in the dirt. It makes me so happy when my kids get to experience things like that with their grandparents. I hope that Rush has a love for home-grown foods like my dad and papaw. It would be awesome if one day he was running the garden!

Ben got home around midnight on Saturday, and I had to get up for early service on Sunday morning. I was almost late to church, which would have been a disaster since my solo was the opening song! But I made it just in time. Whew! The service was so sweet and spirit-filled. [The link will not be up on the church website yet, but if you're interested in watching it, check in about a week.] It was a great Sunday all around! We even got to take dinner over to my sister's house before the evening service! If you like salmon, you MUST try this recipe. It was the perfect spring meal: strawberry feta salmon wraps!

On to last week's meal plan. Like I said, it was an odd week, so the plan probably would not fill a four-person family's normal weekly meal plan. But life is life. You've gotta roll with it. 

Shrimp tacos with Mexican fried brown rice and hominy (recipe for the rice coming soon)

Southwest stuffed sweet potatoes with shredded slow-cooker salsa chicken

We even had take-out one night. Very rare for a week night. It was a nice break from the norm, and I was so excited to eat it that I did not take a picture. I had crab cakes with snap peas and mashed potatoes, and Ben had petite pork chops with spinach maria. 

I also made morning glory muffins. The recipe made 6 regular sized muffins and 24 mini muffins. I sent the regular-sized ones with Ben on his trip. 

This week should be a bit more normal. I am so excited to celebrate my Savior this Sunday! Happy a happy holy week!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Favorites and Why I Love April

It's officially spring, y'all! The signs are everywhere.
A momma bird laid her eggs this week in our Nicaraguan lantern. (This is the best photo I could get because of the location of the lantern. Can you see the eggs?)

Daffodils are everywhere!

We're playing outside and sweating! We even have some tan lines. :)

I am craving salads! {A true scientific sign of spring; don't ya know!}

An even truer sign of spring is the fact that the weather has been sunny with temps in the high 70's all week, and today it is stormy. I'm not complaining, though. I feel so blessed to live in a place where I get to experience four seasons. East Tennessee is such a great place!

You know, I always love the changing of seasons, and fall is definitely my favorite. But spring is a close second. My name is closely related to spring. April's meaning is "new life." Wow! Such power in those two words; only something supernatural can bring forth new life. I am filled with awe when I think about all the things that happen in nature during this time of year. But I am utterly overwhelmed when I think about the new life that I was given by Jesus when he died for me. He paid the price for my sins, and that price was death {but He didn't stay dead!} - I deserve death. But my Savior bore all the pain and suffering for me, so that I can have NEW LIFE. Not only does that mean spiritual freedom here on earth, but forever freedom and joy in heaven when this life is over! Wahoo! How awesome is that?! You can have a new life, too; and I would be thrilled to help you understand more about it. You can comment here at the bottom of this post. Or you can go to this website and find answers to lots of spiritual questions. 

It's very appropriate that we celebrate Jesus's death and resurrection (aka Easter) in springtime. Everything points to freshness, beauty, new life. 

I feel like I have quoted this song a lot, but it's one of my favorites, and it says perfectly what I feel about the spring season and Easter:
And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced Teaching us to breathe What was frozen through is newly purposed Turning all things green So it is with You And how You make me new With every season’s change And so it will be As You are re-creating me Summer, autumn, winter, spring ---Nicole Nordeman, "Every Season"

I'm so glad that I have new life in Christ Jesus, and that his work in my heart is ongoing, like the changing seasons. 

Happy spring, and happy weekend!

What's your favorite season?
What do you like about spring?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Loving Lately {Munchkin Meals}

It's Munchkin Meals time! I am excited to read all the other kiddie-food ideas in the link-up on A Healthy Slice of Life. 
munchkin meals

I have felt at a loss this month as to what I should share about my four and two- year-olds' meals. So, I've settled on telling you some of our current favorites. Some are repeats, so I'm sorry if they're redundant. But I figure, hey, if a toddler likes something that much, it must be worth mentioning again. ;)

Favorite breakfast lately:
Anything paired with peanut butter and/or turkey bacon

Favorite snack lately:
Orange cream yogurt raisins, banana chips, and Strawberry Crunchies

Favorite lunch lately:
Any kind of wrap. Whole wheat tortilla smeared with hummus, topped with desired veggies (chopped to toddler-friendly size), roasted pulled chicken, deli meat, or vegetarian, and sprinkled with cheese of choice (if desired). 

Favorite dinner lately:
Quiche (no surprise around here). My kids would eat it every other night!
Edy's Outshine fruit bars

The weather has been summer-like over the last three days, so cold treats are a must! These use real fruit juice and the rest of the ingredients aren't too shabby. I definitely prefer making our own Greek yogurt bars, but right now I'm not making much time for homemade "extras" because we are still trying to sell our house. My "extra" time that I normally would use to bake or make fun treats is currently being used to de-clutter and deep-clean for potential showings. Not my favorite way to use my time, but it will hopefully pay off soon. We have a showing today at 5:00. :)

What's your favorite summer-time treat to give your munchkins?

Super-Easy Tortellini Marinara with Broccoli

My kids gobbled this up like it was cake! I hope yours like it too!

Here's what you need:
1 package refrigerated tortellini

1 small bunch of broccoli, florets chopped into toddler-sized pieces

1- 1 1/2 cups marinara of choice

grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, if desired, for serving

Cook tortellini according to directions. Throw broccoli in the pot with the pasta the last four minutes of cooking. (For this TJ's pasta, 4 minutes is the cook-time, so the broccoli went in right away.)

Drain the pasta-broccoli combo gently to avoid tearing any tortellini. 

Toss gently with the marinara; put into your munchkin's bowl; cut it up if necessary; top with grated cheese and serve. 

So easy and so yummy! I enjoyed this meal too! Hope your family enjoys it!