Wednesday, September 30

Chicken Parmesan with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

This ranks right up there on my top 10 favorite recipes of all time. It is so good and so easy. It's really, really fast and simple to make. Sadly though, I cannot claim the rights to this recipe. It comes from a cookbook that is a collection of recipes from some cooking classes that my mom and her best friend took together for several years. There are some pretty amazing recipes in it. I would link up to it, however it is not sold in stores. :( I do modify it just slightly, as I think it calls for too much salt.

Parmesan Chicken

1 cut up fryer or chicken pieces of choice (I usually use boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c minced parsley
2 tsp salt (I usually use less than 1 tsp)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 cubes butter, melted
4 cloves of garlic, pressed (I usually mince mine)

Blend bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Combine melted butter and garlic. Dip chicken into butter, then into breading mixture, coating thoroughly. Arrange chicken in single layer in shallow baking dish. Drizzle any remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for about 1 hour or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds of red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper

Place potatoes and garlic in stove pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain off water, add butter and mash potatoes, adding milk for desired consistency. We prefer ours pretty creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a vegetable and enjoy. Our green beans were from the garden this year! Thanks, Dad!

Monday, September 28

Menu Plan Monday

Better late than never right? Last week went really well. So without further ado, for this week we will be having:

Monday-French Onion Soup, rosemary bread, green salad

Tuesday-Chicken Parmesan, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans

Wednesday-Baked Potato Bar with chili, broccoli, grated cheese, sour cream, and real bacon bits


Friday-Homemade Pizza with homemade sauce and crust, green salad

For other great menu inspiration, visit the Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, September 27

In Place

It was quick weekend, but we got a lot accomplished. I can now say that we have renters for our house and we now have a new home to move into in Smalltown! Our renters came and signed a lease with us. Then bright and early Saturday morning we drove to Smalltown and finalized the details of the new place we will call home.

Phew! I am so glad that neither of those are still up in the air. Here are a few pictures of the place we will call home for the next few years:

This is the view...of the place we stayed last night. Not our new home...but what a view, huh?

Our new front door...

and living room (don't mind my purse)

the little breakfast nook (don't mind my arm)....

the nook again...

the new teensy kitchen--but notice the big pantry....

the half bath....

the master bedroom...

from the other side....

and the Peanut will have an area to play outside (fully supervised of course).

So that is it in a nutshell. A new place to call home. Just about the time it is actually starting to feel like home, will probably be when we will be leaving. But I hope it doesn't take that long. To feel like home. Or to come home. :)

Just two months ago we thought this was only a remote possibility. Then it became a reality and I was so overwhelmed of all that had to be accomplished. Finding renters, packing our belongings, finding a new home...I am in complete awe of how it is all falling in place. There is simply only One explanation. God simply has perfect timing. And I would really like Him to work on Jackie-Time, but let's all be thankful He doesn't work that way. His way is much better. And I know that. But I need His reminders. A lot. Thank goodness He is so patient.

And there is still much more to be done--like actually moving and saying goodbye. I still have some apprehension, but I am learning to trust. And it's a good lesson.

Thursday, September 24

Getting ready.....

My days for the last several weeks have been filled with packing, packing, and more packing. As such, this is what our home looks like in almost every nook and cranny....


boxes (these are strategically placed so the Peanut can't mess with the stereo),

and, yep, you guessed it--more boxes.

I am also removing all the wall decor, filling holes and touching up the walls.

How the heck do you pack lamps?

I have never moved this far before. This was aside from the time I worked as an intern for the state legislature for 3 months in college. Even then, 85% of what I packed was clothes. I didn't even come close to moving a whole household!

I have only ever moved across the county, and things like lamps and pictures got thrown (not THROWN, but you know what I mean) in the back of someones car for the ten+ trips being made back and forth between old home and new home. When you move 300 miles away, you pretty much have one shot and you better pack it good, otherwise you are either replacing it or doing without. I prefer not to do either.

These are the problems and dilemmas I have been facing lately...but the biggest is we are going to the "new" hometown this weekend to finalize the details of our new home and I won't get to see this face

(Daddy and Grandpa LOVE Fantasy Football and have taught me "Touchdown")

for more than 24 hours! I am going to miss that little Peanut SO stinkin' much. But she is a busy little girl and she L.O.V.E.S. her Grandma and Grandpa so I am glad that she won't even know we are gone. It will be good for her to be a big girl and spend the night and it will be good for us too, to have some time to ourselves. But good grief...does it ever get easier?

Wednesday, September 23

Is it over already?

I have never claimed for summer to be my favorite season...most of you know this. My friend and I used to talk about how she loved summer and had tons of tank tops and summer clothes and I LOVED fall and winter and I had tons of cozy sweaters and warm clothes. Our closets seem to be full of clothes for our favorite season. She was saying the other day how she is ready for fall, and I am too, however, as I get older I am learning to appreciate all the seasons. In addition, I am realizing that each season goes by way. too. fast. (Just like each month of the Peanut's life...but that's a whole other post!)

I won't miss the record breaking temps this summer (no central AC), but I will miss swimming and spending time at my parents, taking the Peanut for walks in the morning, being able to cook outside without the ever present rain, and getting fresh produce from my parent's garden. Of course this is even more bittersweet as this will be our last summer with family close least for a while. God willing, we will come back--and hopefully sooner rather than later! But as I was cooking dinner tonight, all my thoughts were swirling around this and all our changes that are coming. It made me sad to think that this was one of our last days of summer menu dinners (even though I lack creativity when planning them) so I thought I would take a picture, as you know they last longer. ;)

Peanut enjoyed hers too, but will wonder someday why Mommy
is taking a picture with macaroni salad all over my face?

As I write this, it also reminded me of this post from Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. She is SO much more eloquent at phrasing her thoughts than I am! Head on over there and read it! I'll wait... I am almost always crying by the end of her posts! Of course, that doesn't mix too well with a sap like me. :) Anyway, although our lives are different, the theme is still the same.

~Summer, you will be missed~

Sunday, September 20

Menu Plan Monday

I am starting to get antsy because after this week, we move in just THREE weeks! Oh Mylanta! (That's for you, C!) I cannot even believe it's getting that close....with that we have a gift card we need to use before we move to Smalltown, so I am incorporating that in along with our "new" leftover night.

Wednesday- Grilled Hot Dogs, Macaroni Salad (I omit the bacon)

Thursday- Leftovers

Friday-Homemade Pizza with homemade sauce and crust, green salad with "Olive Garden Dressing"

For other great menu ideas, visit the Organizing Junkie!

Tuesday, September 15

Easy Peasy

I love brownies. Ooey, gooey, fudgie brownies. They are my go to, quick and easy dessert when I haven't planned too well. Not that I ever do that. Ahem.

I don't know about you but when it comes time to cut those ooey, gooey, fudgie brownies, they always gunk up on the knife and they don't cut too well. A friend from work told me this tip forever ago and it really works. Simply cut up your brownies with a plastic knife! That's it. Too simple. Brownies don't gunk up on the plastic for some strange reason--but that definitely works for me!

This post is linked to We are THAT Family.

Sunday, September 13

Menu Plan Monday

Gosh, I've been so bad lately. I truly have been menu planning, however time is just getting away from me and I haven't had a chance to get it up on the blog. I noticed without the DH having to bring lunch to work any longer, I need to incorporate a leftover night in order to make sure we are eating everything in the fridge. So that will be nice on the budget!

Monday-Chicken pot pie, green salad

Tuesday-Enchiladas with homemade red sauce, green salad


Thursday-Baked Potatoes with chili, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and broccoli

Friday-Homemade Pizza with homemade sauce, crust and green salad

This post is linked to the Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, September 10

She's Pretty Special

Have I ever mentioned that my Mom is amazing? She is an outstanding cook, a superb seamstress, a savvy small business owner (that allowed me to graduate from college student loan free), a ferocious mama bear, AND she somehow fits like 30 hours in a day. And I am not saying all of this just because she is one of my (maybe of just handful?) loyal blog followers. Not only was she SuperMom while I was growing up, but now she has morphed into Glorious Grandma as well.

Let me back up...she kindly and generously offered to help with the Peanut's birthday party. It was at my parent's home, because they have more room and let's face it, our house is a disaster right now with the big move coming up. Prior to the party, she told me more than once, "Just let me know what you want me to do." So I did. With just a handful of days before the party, I called her and gave her a laundry list of things I needed her to help with, including three different things I wanted her to make for the menu. This was in addition of course to the list of their own things they wanted to do such as cleaning their house, getting the normal upkeep of yard work done, and setting up a big outdoors tent to accommodate everyone outside. This is because God has a sense of humor and we had had like 67 days straight of sun prior to the party (very abnormal here for summertime) but on the day OF the party, we had rain showers--AND it was cold. Did I mention my Mom also works full time? All that to say, my Mom (and Dad) were a great deal of help for the party.

Stay with me here, there is a point to this. So as I was "helping" the Peanut open her gifts at the party, my mom got me. When I say "got me" I mean, she got one past me, yet AGAIN. I guess when you are talking about me, that's not saying much. It's pretty easy to pull the wool over my eyes. Between work and helping me with my details of the party, she also made this amazing and wonderful fabric ABC book for the little Peanut:

(Insert the Peanut's name at the top--it's been removed to protect the innocent.) Sorry for the lack of focus-- still trying to figure out the manual settings on the camera after a YEAR.

Indeed, it was.

Of course I would love to show each of the pages, but I tried to narrow it down to some of my favorites...although each page/letter is special in and of itself.

This is Peanut's favorite page--Grandma's too. Coincidence? I think not--the Peanut gets hiccups like Grandma too.

With little beads for the spots.

I just thought the purple octopus was cute, even with only 5 legs--are they called legs?
I love that pumpkin, not just because that is one of the many nicknames for Peanut, but it reminds me of Cinderella, my favorite fairy tale.

You know that Pink and Brown is the new black and white. :)
So, so sweet.

How cute are those giraffes?

So of course, when I opened this for the Peanut, I started crying. Not only because of all the time and love that went into this book for the Peanut, but you see, this book was sort of an addition to a book my Mom made for me when I was a little girl. The book she made for me was used much when I was little, but I saved it (rather, my mom saved it for me) and now it has been washed and the Peanut will soon appreciate it as well:
It was a fabric book too, but with a different purpose. (Yes, I realize I am dating myself.) Not teaching the alphabet, but teaching little ones fine motor skills or "life skills. "

Buttons, that open up...

There's the hippo's tongue!

Ribbons to tie on the giraffes neck...

A zipper to zip...

...there's his tongue too!

In my book there is also a braid to braid, snaps to snap, a buckle, laces to lace and tie, and eyelets hooks to hook and unhook. It is so special...I am so glad I still have it and that Peanut has her new alphabet book. But most of all, I am grateful that we both have my mom. She's pretty special.

Aqua Negra Marinade

This recipe comes from the Chevy's Restaurant Cookbook. It is so easy and tastes really good on both chicken and beef. I am sure it would good with pork as well. Just haven't tried that yet. We had a Mexican theme for the Peanut's birthday party and this was one of the recipes I used. Sorry, no picture...but let me assure you, it is always a hit.

Aqua Negra Marinade

1 cup soy sauce
2 cups pineapple juice (frugal tip: save your juice from your tidbits and rings and freeze until needed)
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Mix ingredients and marinate your cut of meat for several hours to overnight. Grill meat as desired. Enjoy!

This recipe is linked to:

Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap

Sunday, September 6

First Celebration

The Peanut's first birthday party came and went already...just like so many of her other firsts. Her first time in the car, her first time rolling over, her first bite of real food, and now her first birthday celebration has come and gone too. :( Let me tell you, I have been an emotional basket case this week! You'd think I was still postpartum by the way I have been crying lately! No, that was done a while ago...unfortunately I have no excuse for the big weeping mess I have been this week!

Her party, however, went well. MUCH to the help of my parents and husband. They all prop me up and make me look good. :) I think everybody got enough to eat (the Mexican theme seemed to be a hit) and the cake and ice cream was really good too.

Here are just a few of the highlights....

The Peanut helping open her usual the wrapping was MUCH more fascinating.

The cupcakes, or "pupcakes" as my niece calls them, turned out fabulous! I baked both chocolate and banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and DH's talented aunt made flower toppers at my request. I thought they turned out sooo pretty!

My mom purchased some exquisite bouquets at a local farmers market....lovely!

I didn't get a picture of the yummy food, but I did get one of my handsome grill master!

The Peanut finally had some ice cream today, but only after months of begging by my mom. Our little girl can really turn on the charm! Where do they learn that??!?!!

We had a lot of fun, but it was a L.O.N.G. day! We are very blessed to have such a wonderful family that loves and cares for our little Peanut.

The Day the Peanut Was Born

As The Peanut's first birthday is nearly upon us and we are having her birthday party today, I wanted to share our little story (as I remember it) of the day she was born....

Sunday, September 7, 2008—9:00 am

I woke up that morning and thought that perhaps my water had broken. I wasn’t sure and I certainly wasn’t having any contractions, so I got in the shower and got ready for the day. My mom and I were going to go shopping. I had about two weeks until The Peanut's due date (September 19) and there were some things I wanted to get finished before she arrived. There were some picture shelves at Ikea I wanted to purchase, so I could fill them with pictures of The Peanut that were sure to come. I also wanted to get to the grocery store because I had some casseroles I wanted to prepare and put in the freezer to make dinner time easier once we were home from the hospital. Meanwhile, DH and my Dad were going to finish up some jobs for my uncle at his rental and then that afternoon, we were going to barbecue and swim at my parents, as it was going to be hot.

12:00 pm

I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, my water had broken. However this was my first baby and how could I be sure? So I called our birthing instructor. She told me to call my doctor and they would have me come in for a pH test. As it was Sunday, I called the doctor’s office and they paged the doctor on call to call me back. After talking with him, he told me to come in to the hospital and they would test me to be sure.

2:30 pm

So off to the hospital we went. We got checked in and I told the nurse about my morning and she asked if I needed any pillows or some juice, as if I was going to be there for awhile. DH and I had heard all sorts of stories of moms and dads being sent home from the hospital because they went too early in the labor process. So we went to the hospital thinking they would send us home as I was not in any sort of active labor. Not so. Apparently once your water breaks, they keep you at the hospital to help “prevent infection.” We had my bags packed, however we didn’t think to bring them, as we didn’t think we would be staying.

We called my Mom and Dad and they went to our house to get my bags and camera and all the essentials we would need. Oh and did I mention DH and I had not eaten lunch? My Mom heard that and said they would take care of it. And so they did. They got to the hospital around 3:30 that afternoon and they had stopped by Albertson’s to get the provisions. This included the fried chicken meal from Albertson’s (chicken, slaw, and rolls) and in addition, but not limited to: beef jerky, grapes, yogurt, chips, Jujyfruits, cookies and the ever essential, Diet Coke with Lime. I also mentioned I wanted a burger, so my Dad went up to Burgerville (too long of a wait) and then Burger King down the street to get me a Whopper. Everybody tried to dissuade me from eating it, telling me I would get sick during labor, but I persisted and ate almost the entire thing. (Note: I did not get sick from eating the Whopper; however the onions did do a number on my heightened senses during the contractions. I could smell them on myself with all my labored breathing and it was di.scus.ting!)

4:00 pm

Dr. C wanted to put me on Petocin right away; however DH and I decided that we would like to wait a while before jumping into that. Dr. C was very kind and respected our decision. During that time, I tried rotating on an exercise ball in an attempt to get The Peanut to turn around, as she was posterior. Little did we know that our little girl already had made up her mind and was not moving. Later, I tried to rest as we knew we had a long night ahead of us.

7:30 pm

At this time, it had been nearly twelve hours since the presumed time that my water had broken and still no contractions, so Dr. C kindly persuaded us to start the Petocin. We agreed and that was all The Peanut needed. Once the drip had started I started to progress at a good rate. My Dad had brought his laptop to connect to the WiFi at the hospital in order to track his and DH's fantasy football. His laptop had his iTunes on it and he had Christmas music in his library, so he started up the Christmas music to help relax me during the first stages of labor. I know, but that’s me.

11:00 pm

The Peanut and I were both progressing really well and I was well past the point of uncomfortable. I wanted NEEDED an epidural. Weeks before, DH and I had discussed this. We decided it was best to not have pain medication, as we wanted to give The Peanut as best a start possible. (Note: The reason for this is that I learned in my birthing classes that the medication given for the epidural passes through the placenta in just 45 seconds. I know medical professionals say it is safe, however I figure if the epidural numbs a grown woman that way, what effect does it have on a newborn? Further Note: I am not trying to demean any woman who has had an epidural, this is purely my own belief. Further Further Note: This was by far the hardest thing I ever have had to do.) I had told DH that I would probably come to a point where an epidural would be demanded and his job, as a loving husband and father, was to talk me out of it. That time came and it was about 11:45 pm. The nurse checked me and I was at 8 cm. I “hit the wall” and panicked. The thoughts going through my head were “It hurts this bad right now….I’m not even at 10 cm yet….I haven’t even started to push yet…oh my gosh…I CAN NOT do this without an epidural….I haven’t even started to push yet….I HAVE to have some drugs….anything…it hurts so bad and I haven’t even started to push yet.” My labor and delivery nurse was wonderful, however she was concerned for me and why DH was so adamant about not having an epidural. It was her job to make sure I was comfortable and she knew I was extremely uncomfortable.

Monday morning, September 8, 2008—1:00 am

DH followed my wishes and talked me out of an epidural. We settled on me having a shot of Fentinel through my IV to take the edge off through the pushing. And it was just enough to get me through. I started pushing just after one in the morning. I was so glad it was almost over. Or so I thought…

4:00 am

I was still pushing three hours later. I was extremely tired…exhausted actually. DH and my Mom were such troopers. They were with me every step of the way and such an encouragement, as were my nurse and Dr. C. I couldn’t have made it without them. Little Peanut finally joined us at 4:09 am weighing in at seven pounds and nine ounces and just as beautiful as we had imagined. She was finally here. We love her so, so much and she was and is still such blessing.


For any of you who have not had the pleasure of having children or are TERRIFIED of the labor process as I was: I never believed any of those mom's that said, "Oh you don't remember the's so worth it....don't forget all of that stuff...etc, etc, etc." Ladies, it is so true. It is a means to an end. I was the biggest skeptic and I can attest, you don't remember. Now, I do remember that it was difficult and that is was painful, but I couldn't describe to you WHAT it felt like. And your body recovers so quickly, it can only be a God thing.

Little Peanut,
As we celebrate your first birthday, we are amazed at what a pure joy you are in our lives. We are so blessed that Jesus chose us to be your parents. We love watching you grow and explore the world around you. May your love for life never change. We know how much we love you and it is beyond what either of us could explain. It reminds us of God's love for each of us and how that is a deeper and purer love than we could ever give you.
We love you so much,
Mommy & Daddy

Wednesday, September 2

It's Been a Little Hectic

Between having company from out of town, packing for the big move, getting acclimated to the DH's new work schedule, and planning the Peanut's 1st birthday, blogging has been last on the priority list. Isn't that sad? I am so sure that my two (maybe three?) loyal readers have missed me! :) I just wanted to let you know I am still breathing and hope to be back sometime next week. Hope you all are enjoying this last week of summer...blessings as the new school year gets underway!


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