Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This last weeks meal plan went over well. The rice casserole didn't get cooked all the way. Thus we had sorta crunchy rice. But I thought it still tasted good and Ian devoured it. The quesadillas were also very nice. It was also good to pull out the grill for the first time this spring. Although Mark tried something different with the hamburgers and added barbecue sauce which tasted odd to me. And they ended up crumbling so much he had to finish them in a skillet on the stove. Oh well, trail and error makes perfect. :) There will be lots of chances to try again. This week looks like lots of rain days. It will be interesting to see how Ian adjusts after a week of constant outdoor play. Wish us luck.

Here is this weeks menu. Mark requested Groundnut stew and chicken pot pie which actually should fit perfectly with the rainy, cooler weather. Hopefully I can bake some bread as well.

Monday: Groundnut stew
Tuesday: East Indian Spinach and Lentils
Wednesday: Church meal
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Chicken pot pie
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Church Pot Luck (bring another chicken pot pie as the recipe makes enough fillings for two)

For more menu idea visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Confirmed Admissions and other exciting happenings

So it's official. I got my acceptance letter (or in this case letters) in the mail yesterday from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. For those confused, I have been planning on applying for seminary for more than a year now. But I knew I wanted to wait to start classes till Cai was about a year. Well yesterday I got a letter from the Director of Enrollment stating that the admissions committee had unanimously voted to grant my admission! I also got a letter from he president confirming this admissions and congratulating me. It's exciting news. But unfortunately it doesn't mean I will actually get to start classes on campus in the fall. Mark still has not found a job. Although he has now applied at Notre Dame in the IT department, and been told about a few other opening by family and friends in the Elkart area. I'll hear back about the full tuition scholarship I applied for in May. Depending on the financial package I receive from the school and government we may be able to head up this summer. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. I'm excited at the idea of attending seminary, while be saddened by the idea of leaving my friends, family, and community here. I'll update you more as we know more.

Other exciting things around here: I got a bike! I'm so excited about this. Last summer I picked up a kids bike trailer at my mother's church garage sale. We have it hooked up to my bike and this morning the boys and I rode around town to do our weekly shopping. It worked so very nicely. Well once I put a blanket under Cai to make him taller so the shoulder straps would hit in the right spot. :) The only thing is now I'm still exhausted and my legs are sore. But if I keep this up I'll be in shape before long. Plus the boys really seemed to enjoy themselves. Ian gets very excited about riding in the trailer. He and I took a short ride on Sunday after we hooked everything up. And Cai seemed to like it as well, just not as much as Ian.

Well I guess my list is actually short. The weather is gorgous around here. We have been spending lots of time outside, both in the morning and afternoon. Cai is pulling up onto any furniture he can and getting into everything. Ian is pretending more and more every day. Just last week he got upset because the lego person wouldn't fit into the digger and he was certain the digger needed a driver. Life is full around here. For those interested I posted Easter weekend pictures yesterday on Picasa web. Feel free to go check them out. The boys look very nice in their Easter outfits. Well guess that's it for now. Got to go help a crying baby.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

So last week's menu didn't get followed very well. Well actually I guess it did. The curry was really well. Mark and I both agreed alittle sweet. I'll need to cut back on the cinnamon and maybe add more turmeric next time. Tuesday, instead of pasta we had the egg breakfast dinner planned for Friday. Thursday it turned out nice that I had planned leftovers b/c I was sick and not up for cooking anyway. Then Friday we did popcorn, apples and cheese. Which again worked nicely as I was still drained by my cold. Here is this weeks meal plan. I'm feeling better, but the boys are dragging a bit. In fact Cai is more cranky than normal so I think he is fighting what I have been fighting. :( I'm hoping no major sicks day.

Monday: Cheezy Broccoli and Rice with turkey .
I saw this link on Little Home and thought it looked really good. The recipe calls for chicken, but I still have just alittle turkey left that should go nicely in it.

Tuesday: grilled hamburgers, maybe homemade baked fries (we'll see how my potatoes look)
Mark has been wanting to grill, and it is supposed to be so nice.

Wednesday: Church meal

Thursday:leftovers (so we can head downtown for the Art and Music Festival earlier rather than later)

Friday: Black bean, zucchini and tomato quesadillas

Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: youth meal at church

Dessert: I have strawberries in my fridge that hopefully I can turn into a cobbler or something. Last week I saw a great recipe for fruit cobbler that I'm excited to try out.

For more menu plans visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well last weeks dinners went really well. I ended up making bread with the chowder rather than muffins. Which turned out great. I made two loaves and froze one to bring to Easter dinner. Which everyone seemed to enjoy there too. The asparagus pasta was really good. I made a strawberry spinach salad to go with it. This week I'll be trying to include the ham and turkey Easter dinner leftovers my mom sent home with me.

Monday: Turkey curry
Tuesday: pasta and tomato sauce (leftovers send home from the weekend)
Wednesday: Church meal
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: ham eggs breakfast dinner
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: leftovers

For more great menu ideas check out Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dying Easter Eggs

Dying Easter eggs was a big hit with Ian. I decided to set up our card table outside b/c it such a beautiful day. I wanted to be outside. Using food coloring worked great once I added a little vinegar to each cup. Don't know why I didn't think to just do that from the beginning. :) When we got done coloring the one dozen I had boiled, Ian wanted to do more. He even put a few back into the dye just because he wanted to do more. I wish now I had boiled more. But I don't have any more eggs. And I just don't see when we would do it now. Tomorrow is completely full. And Friday the plan is to head into Wichita and spend the weekend there. So here a few of the pics. The rest you can see on our Picasa site.

A beutiful Holy Wednesday

I have to admit, I like Holy Week. Especially when it is filled with spring beauty. For me the beauty of spring is the perfect symbol of Holy Week. It's the reminder that rebirth and resurrection are possible. That life can and does come out of death. Death will never win. God's strength and power always bring about new life. Now I also have to admit, like many progressive Christians I find myself questioning the facts of the resurrection. But what I love about Holy Week is that the facts don't matter. It's the truth that at the heart of the resurrection story. And facts and truth, believe it or not, don't have to go hand in hand. Stories can be true even if all the facts are not. The truth of Holy Week is the power of God, the power of light, the power of LIFE! The boys and I were outside this morning hanging up laundry. Well Ian was running around the back yard and Cai was happily swinging in his swing. The songs of the birds was crisp and sweet. The smell of fresh grass strong. And the warmth of the sun made me smile. Even the yappy neighbor dog was a pleasant sound. I just had a wonderful feeling that Spring is here. And the darkness of winter finally gone. Rebirth is happening before my eyes. Easter is happening before my eyes. It was a wonderful feeling.

Speaking of Easter happiness. Ian and I boiled eggs this morning. This afternoon when he wakes up from his nap we will dye them for this weekend. I boiled 16 eggs. Unfortunately only about 12 will be dyed b/c the rest cracked. So we ate them for lunch! Yum! I love hard boiled eggs. I currently read several blogs written by moms who are crafty, thrifty and working on being environmentally friendly. Several of these blogs have been talking about alternative methods for dying eggs using fruit, spices, and vegetables. I would love to do this, but I just don't have the energy this year. I'm hoping in the future though. Instead I'm going to use food coloring rather than go buy a dying kit. One I have food coloring on hand thus I don't have to buy anything new. And two, the more I think about it, the more I realize I have no idea what is in those dying tablets you buy at the store :). So we'll see how it goes. I'll update you, hopefully with pics, when I get a chance. Have a great Holy Week everyone.

For those interested in using produce and spices for egg dying here is the link to the article as well as a link to the blog I found it on. Enjoy!
Natural dyes for eggs
Big Green Purse

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dishwasher turned whiteboard

Sometime early last month I figured out that I could use the front of my dishwasher as a whiteboard. I was trying to figure out how to indicate whether the dishes where dirty or clean. I was hoping to limit the amount of work I had to do. Mark has a tendency to leave them on the top of the washer even if it is empty. :) So my thought was if I could clearly indicate whether it was dirty or clean, maybe we would both load it more. So it tried my dry erase marker and It Worked!! Not only can we not write dirty or clean on the dishwasher, it has provided a space for Ian to draw. He loves drawing on the washer. And after lots of reminders, he understands that he can only draw with the black marker on the blue sticky tack and only of the front of the washer. It doesn't wipe off as well with only a dry towel. I tend to have to get a wet wash cloth. But hey I think it is worth it. And apparently people who stop by and see it are amazed at the idea. It makes me feel very resourceful. Or something :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

For those unaware, I have been participating in Menu Plan Monday since February. I just always posted on Earthmama's Adventures in Green Living. The longer I create a menu plan for the week, the more I love doing it. I find I am more energize to cook when I know what I'm cooking and that I have everything I need. Cooking no longer feel like a big chore. Of course planning the menu for the week sometimes does. But it's worth it in the end. Here is the dinner menu for this week. I've stopped writing out my breakfast and lunch plans. Lunch is always leftovers or FFY. Breakfast is usually cold cereal or oatmeal, unless I feel energetic and very hungry for something more. :)

Monday- Garden Chowder and muffins (blackberry maybe?)
Tuesday- Asparagus Lemon Pasta
Wednesday- leftovers
Thursday- Maundy Thursday soup supper and foot washing service at church
Friday- pizza night
Saturday-Leftovers if at home
Sunday- Easter meal at Mom's

For more menu ideas visit Organizing Junkie.

Combining blogs

I've currently had two blogs going on. This one, which I have used as a way to vent frustrations, express pride and joy in my family, and update loved ones. My other blog Earthmama's Adventures in Green Living, I wrote about my attempts to live a more environmentally conscious life. After months of trying to separate these two parts of my life out, I've found I do not have the energy to keep both up. But I still want to write about all aspects of my life. So I have decided to combine my blogs into just this one. My original reason for starting this blog was to provide a space for me to write about what I was doing; to share ideas, questions, etc. I started the second blog because I was feeling that my family was becoming an intimidating audience. While this has not changed, I feel that I can suck it up and stop caring so much what they think about what I write. I'm only writing one blog. I have no energy to keep my life separated into boxes (or in this case different blogs).

If you would like to see previous posts on Earthmama's Adventures in Green Living feel free to visit. I'll leave it up for awhile. Just won't be posting.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Updates on Life

The past month has been very crazy around here. Early March I came down with a sinus infection. Of course I just thought it was a cold. So not wanting to go to the doctor for a cold I went around being miserable for a week. Mark even had to stay home a few days so I could sleep b/c I could hardly function. Finally after losing my voice, I went to the doctor and got meds. Just as I started to feel better I had to switch into gear to get ready for Pennsylvania. I think by the time I was feeling better I had about a week to prepare for our trip. Just this past weekend we flew to PA to celebrate Mark's grandfather's 90th Birthday. I'm very glad we all decided to go. At first Mark was going to fly up himself. But as we checked out prices we realized that while it would hurt our savings alittle, it would be worth it for all of us to go. And really we got tickets for a decent price considering the prices of flying lately. I think it was somewhere around $650 for three tickets. Cai is free! It was a good weekend. Full of family. Unfortunately our fight up there was not so fun. Our flight from Wichita to Atlanta was suppose to leave at 12:50pm. But do to weather in Atlanta the flight was canceled and we were re-booked for a 5:20pm flight. We decided to just stay in the airport b/c everything was already in. I had packed lunch. There is a very nice display of furniture called Stressless right there at the check in. So we hung out there for several hours before going through security and to our gate. Oh the 5:20 flight got delayed until 6:20pm. So we still ended up hanging out at the gate for several hours as well. Luckily, Ian thought watching the airplanes taxi in and out was very cool. So really the kids did great. We got into Atlanta at about 9:20pm and our flight to Philly was at 10 something. But that flight was delayed so I think we left Atlanta alittle after 11pm and got into Philly around 1am. Both kids slept on that flight. And Ian didn't wake up until we walked out to the parking lot. We got to the guest house we were staying at near Mark's grandfather's around 2am. It was a long day. But like I said the kids were great. So Friday and Saturday we were with my father-in-law's family celebrating. Then Saturday we drove to Bethlehem, PA to see my mother-in-law's mother. Her siblings came down from Maine to visit during our time there (Sun-Tues). So we saw alot of family. It was nice. Mark doesn't get to see his expanded family much since they all live on the east coast. And I really haven't gotten to spend much time with them. So it was nice to see everyone and get to know people alittle more. It was stress. I won't lie. I'm so introverted that 6 days of constant people is very tiring. But I am glad we went. Ian loved playing with his cousin. And it was good to see Mark's folks and siblings. I really do love his family.

So the other thing that has been stressful this month has been applying to Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. I send in my application early in the month. But then I had the scholarship application to fill out. I'm applying for a full tuition scholarship. And the application included a 5 to 10 page essay on "The Church." And that was my only direction. It took me awhile to get started. Such a big topic, I wasn't sure what to say. But once I started I found it quite easy to complete. I focused on why I stay within the church despite my frustrations with her. I talked about the community I find there, the love and support the church has give me. I've been reading Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution with some friends from my church. Claiborne says this, "We are the church. If she were perfect, we'd mess her up as soon as we joined. So may we have some grace, even with those Christians and pastors who make us nauseated and put us to sleep. After all, they have given us enough of the story that we have been able to stumble into God and community." This sorta became the thesis of my paper. So other than just the overwhelming task of writing an essay for such a big scholarship, the essay and financial app were due yesterday. I had wanted to have them sent off Last Thurs before we left. However, trying to get everything done something had to get dropped. So I took everything along to finish on the road. Friday when I pull the computer out to do what I was hoping would be my final read over and editing, I found that I had forgotten the usb drive I had saved it to in the computer at home :( Luckily for me I had writing the first draft on google docs and thus had it online. But I had lost two pages of additional content and all the editing I had done. So I spent Friday and Sunday working on it. Monday Mark and I filled out the financial app, which took time because it asks you to estimate your budget for the year so they better determine your financial need. I'm so grateful to my mother-in-law who took it to AMBS. She is the librarian there and had a meeting yesterday she needed to be at anyway. When I got home Tues I had an email in my box from the Admissions office letting me know they had received all the paper work from my entrance application (they had been waiting on references). At the bottom there was an extra note encouraging me write the scholarship essay based on my references. I'm hoping this means I have a better shot at the scholarship than I originally thought :) There was also a note saying I could e-mail everything. If only I had know that days prior to all this. So I emailed my paperwork just to be safe. Everything is in. So now I just have to wait till May to see if I get awarded the scholarship. Job prospects for Mark are still pretty slim. Unemployment in Elkart Co is really, really high. The economy there is in very bad shape. But if I were to get a full tuition scholarship we might be able to live off Federal grants and loans till Mark gets a job. We'll have to talk more about that once we know more. For those that don't know, if Mark doesn't get a job before the fall semester the plan has been to stay in Newton. AMBS has an extension site in town where I could take some evening classes. Then once he gets a job we'll move to the Goshen/ Elkart area. So we're still in the wait and see part. Of the joys of living in limbo.

The boys are doing well. I'm only going to give a short update b/c this post is getting long. Cai is crawling now. Mostly he does an army type crawl with just his arms and toes. But he wants so much to crawl on his hands and knees. And he is, he just isn't very fast yet and this frustrates him. Ian is becoming more assertive in places he is comfortable in. I think he is sorta introverted because he can be very shy and sorta hold back and watch when he doesn't feel completely comfortable somewhere. It is nice to see him be more assertive even if only in certain settings. He loves to sing and will randomly break out into song, even singing to Cai when Cai is upset. It is very cute. And today he started improvising the words to a song. Cai pulled down his hat over his eyes and Ian started to sing about that. I am constantly amazed at the inter workings of that boys mind. Ok enough for now. I'll try to be better about posting more often so I can avoid such long winded posts. :)