the time is now

i’m not getting any younger.
my kids are not growing any slower.
the space between the here & hereafter isn’t getting any further away.
i’m not being morbid or melancholy.
sometimes reality smacks you in the face & you realize the time is now.

the time to love my husband & enjoy our youth together while we have it is now.

stop yelling at him for where he leaves his dirty socks.
praise him in private & in public.
tell him at least once a day that he rocks as a father/husband.
smile at him. laugh with him.
hug him ’til he has to pull away to go do something dumb in the garage.
pray with & for him. he needs it as much as you do.
love him.

the time to enjoy & give my all to my children is now.

stop rushing.
bend down, look into their eyes & tell them you love them…you adore them…they are special…they are wonderful…praise them ALWAYS.
get silly, wacky even. who cares? you’re building their memories more than your own.
how do you want them to remember you?
“mom had it all together, all the time.” OR “mom was the best. she laughed & hugged & kissed me ALL THE TIME.”
i know which one i’d choose. the dishes can wait…read them a story.

the time to grow in the Lord, live completely Kingdom-minded is now.

i have 3 titles. that’s it.
i have only 3 things to do exceedingly well in my lifetime…
be a faithful, respectful, loyal, loving wife to my husband…
be a loving, nurturing, protective mother & role model to my children…
be a genuine daughter of the Most High God.

now is the time to get to it.

i don’t want to live as “a liar”

from my “daily blessing” e-mail today…

i need not add a thing…

are you harboring unforgiveness in your life?

Love Your Enemies

When I was younger I was confused by the statement I would hear in church, “Love your Enemies.” I distinctively remember thinking, “Who are my enemies, and why am I supposed to love them?” I will never forget the day that this command proved to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. That would be the day I learned what an enemy was. I remember thinking there is no possible way I can love him; he caused way too much pain and heartache in my life. This was a man whose desire was to bring me down, use me, abuse me, put me in danger, confuse me and pull me far away from TRUTH and LOVE and bring me into a life full of EVIL and LIES. Surely God had no expectations for me to love this person?

Take a moment to think about who your enemies are. There are times where we feel so hurt by someone that we feel completely defeated with the idea of loving them. We feel as though the pain is greater than the love that we can give them. We may even think it is impossible to forgive and love someone who did such awful things to us.

Well, time to flush out the lies; nothing is impossible with God. We have God’s love as a perfect example of how we are supposed to love our enemies. Our love is not perfect love like God’s love for us, but the more we grow in our relationship with God, the easier it is to gain God-like qualities.

You might doubt that loving your enemy is something God really wants us or expects us to do. 1 John 4:19-21 says, “We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hated his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” God doesn’t want us destroyed by the cancer of hatred.

I can confidently say that, with the Lord’s help, I have learned how to love and pray for the man who still attempts to destroy me. I can even more confidently say that my God will never let that happen. It wasn’t until I started loving my enemy by praying for him that I realized he has no power over me. 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This reminds us there is nothing greater than God’s love. And He will empower us to love even those who hurt us.

a mother’s love letter…

dear isla rae,

let me tell you a story.

once upon a time, there was a mommy and a daddy. they had broken hearts. a baby the mommy had inside her belly was taken to heaven, and it made them very sad. the mommy cried and cried. the daddy held her tightly and told her everything would be okay. that was late august of 2010.

months passed and skies were gray for the mommy. in october, for the mommy’s birthday, God gave her a miracle. on her birthday, her 29th birthday, the mommy found out that God had given her and the daddy another baby. this healed their broken hearts.

the mommy was very careful and watched over this new baby for a long time. it took 41 weeks for this beautiful baby to grow inside of her belly. she ate lots of healthy foods. she especially loved blueberries, which were very good for the baby too.

on wednesday, july 6th, 2011, at 11:12am, the mommy gave birth to her little miracle. the miracle’s name is isla rae.

she was perfect and healthy, just like her beautiful sister, ava lee. her name means “bright and shining one,” and it couldn’t be more fitting, because her sweet eyes sparkle like sunshine.

the mommy and daddy took isla rae home. she made their lives more complete.

the mommy and daddy still love their “heaven baby” and will hold him/her someday when they go to heaven, but they are so very, very thankful that God turned something sad into something beautiful. He took the mommy and daddy’s hurt away and gave them sweet Isla to have and love for all the days of their lives.

we love you forever, isla rae. we thank God for you, sweet baby.

i journal for my babies.
one day, i won’t be here, but i can still share with them a bedtime story…
try it. i promise, you won’t regret it.

you are my sunshine, my little sunshine.
you make me happy when skies are gray.
i hope you know dear how much i love you.
you’re my sweet, little isla rae…

dinner disaster diverted…

so operation “desperate dinner” was a success!

it was actually really good. unfortunately, no pics & no measurements… i could never compose a cookbook, b/c i don’t measure when i cook. i eyeball everything, pulling from past experiences & measurements & tips i’ve read or tried in the past…

for example, once i heard on one of the cooking shows that vinegar helps tenderize meat & will break down/help emulsify whatever elements you’re working with, so i use vinegar almost all of the time. never distilled…either red/white wine or balsamic…

so anyway, i need to go to the grocery store desperately. i almost picked up the phone to ask hubby to order pizza tonight, but decided instead to take a chance & throw everything we had left on hand into the roaster.

first up, the only meat in the house…3 chicken breasts

next, i remembered the frozen stock cubes & carrots i had in the freezer…at this point i’m leaning toward chicken soup type meal over rice (i have like a 10 lb. bag of long grain rice in the pantry, so we’ll never starve…)

but then i spot the potatoes (yukon gold) & think of the few garlic cloves in the frig & rosemary i have in the pantry…

finally, it’s coming together…

i topped the chicken w/the shredded carrots, a chopped onion & garlic & 3 large potatoes, sliced. then, i threw in 2 cubes of frozen stock (prob a c.)

to each breast, i gave a generous sprinkle of salt, pepper, rosemary & oregano. with spices, i just put an even sprinkle on each piece & enough to “season” the underside as well. i figure this way, there’s enough flavor to go around…literally. the only spice i purposely underuse is celery seed, that stuff looks innocent enough, but it is potent. i didn’t use it in this recipe though, just to be clear.

last, but not least, especially b/c i think it does most of the work, i poured in about a half a cup of red wine & 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.

voila.

left it in the roaster @250/300* for a couple of hours.

i made my favorite bread recipe in the meantime. (recipe found here) mostly in case the meal was an epic fail…at least we’d have great bread.

here’s a pic of those fantastic rolls from obb…i didn’t take any pics, but they look a lot like this, only in 3 round pans…

thankfully, it was all delicious. the potatoes were my favorite part. vinegar really does something great to potatoes…

if you decide to try it…good luck & enjoy!!!

my new best friend…

yep. meet my new best friend…the roaster. i like him. it’s a male, b/c it cooks “manly” meals. my crock pot is a “her,” & if you think i’m crazy, tell me something i don’t know. i also name my cars…

anyway, today has been a loooong day & the babes have finally settled in for a nap for the 1st time in the last 24 hrs…this chick’s beat. ever wish you could teleport your sleeping children from the car to their cribs? today was one of those days…

i have no ambition today, no energy & zero desire to cook something for dinner. enter…my new best friend. sometimes i come up w/meals based solely on what little i have left in the frig & pantry…sometimes it’s a combo of that & what i’m craving…tonight is one of the latter. i’m trying something new. i’m taking my favorite sandwich & turning it into a roaster meal & eventually a wrap…

picture this…a fresh hoagie roll loaded up w/turkey, bacon, cheese, pickles, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinaigrette & just the slightest hint of mayo. yep. that’s my favorite sandwich in the whole world…

my roaster version…3 full-sized boneless chicken breasts salted, peppered & covered w/a smoky bacon blanket (that’s a metaphor btw ppl for i placed a layer of bacon on each breast…), 4 tbsp olive oil butter, fresh, uncut chives, dill (pickle-inspired), oregano, a hefty drizzle of red wine vinegar & about 1/2 c. of water so it simmers & doesn’t burn…oh yeah!

my hope is that it will slow cook for the next 2 hrs or so, i’ll take a nap, & when i wake up, i’ll make obb’s easy flour tortilla’s, load ’em up w/my roaster yumminess, fresh deli cheese & a smidge of mayo…it’s telling me “smidge” isn’t a word, but it is; it’s a smidge!

i’m excited! the best part of all…if these kiddos stay snoozing, i may get to sleep while it’s happening! cross your fingers for me!

also – here’s another meal i made not too long ago that was a hit & fed us for 3 days & was the reason i decided the roaster i’ve had in the basement for the last 3 years should be my new best friend…

1 pre-marinated pork loin from sam’s club (peppercorn, portobello, sundried tomato flavored) combined w/onions i sauteed in red cooking wine & roasted mushrooms

so, so, so, SO good!

you could probably easily make the marinade yourself too by throwing a jar of sundried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes in the food processor or blender w/a smidge of olive oil. smidge IS a word! then, keep it in the frig overnight. i roast my mushrooms on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes in a 400* oven after coating them generously w/salt, pepper & olive oil. then, i just toss them in whatever i’m cooking at the last minute. i like to soften onions & have them pick up a little extra flavor before adding them to anything – including the crock pot, so i sauteed them in a little olive oil first w/salt & pepper. then once they’d browned some, i added about a 1/2 c. red cooking wine. then, i dumped the whole shebang into the roaster along w/3 cloves of fresh garlic i minced. btw – that’s cheaper than buying those handy little jars & tastes better too! plus, your fingers get to smell like pepperoni for about 3 days…hmmm…

anyway – the 1st go around, we had it w/homemade mashed potatoes (i threw in a few of the chopped chives i already had out) & the 2nd night, we had it over steamed rice…it was delicious! sorry i didn’t take any pictures…i will next time…

ok – this is cutting into my nap time…see ya!

yes, i dress like my children…

yep…when you have 2 girlies, it’s hard not to get all matchy matchy. c’mon…i’ve seen you do it too…you wear the purple shoes, b/c your tot’s got a big ol’ yellow flower on her head & everybody knows that yellow & purple are complimentary colors, so you just have to wear your purple shoes…

or your little man just looks sooo darling in his little gap-ad outfit, complete w/fedora, so you bust out your best j crew ensemble…you know you do it!

well…this is so not like that!

this…my friends…is worse…haha

i found this cute dress on clearance at target before our vacation. it was my size…totally “nursing friendly” & best of all…like 7 bucks…so i got this crazy idea after trying it on…(oh i have a dressing room story for you)…that since it was like 3 feet too long (i’m short & it was clearly designed for heidi klum)…i thought i could easily cut the bottom off, hem it up & make 2 matching dresses for my girls! genius!

did i mention this was like a week before taking a 20 month old & a 4 week old to the beach??? you have to pack your entire house to do that & so the dress sat waiting patiently in the kitchen for me to do some refashion magic… finally, i chopped off the bottom in a hurry one day, but back in the corner it went…

my mom…my talented, lovely mother, who actually went to school for fashion & made her own clothes often…graciously came by while we were on vacation & like the shoemaker’s elves finished the dresses for me! oh yeah…i forgot that part…they never made it on vacation…actually, i was frantically trying to hem my dress about 15 minutes before we were supposed to pack up the car & go, but the bobbin ran out of thread w/4 stinkin’ inches to go & it takes me like 20 mins to figure out how to rethread the bobbin (b/c i have to call my mom for another mini-lesson over the phone) & my husband pulled in the driveway & i was sweating & rushing & he’s like a “time nazi” & it was stressful, so i threw it back in the corner & said forget it! ahhh! just talking about it got me all crazy again…seriously, my pulse just sky-rocketed…that was a very stressful day…

but anyway, where was i? so, she finished my hem & made the little dresses & here they are…

my mom did such a great job…ava’s has little flower details & isla’s has little buttons…now…if i only had the guts to go out in them… 🙂

oh yeah…the dressing room story…i almost forgot…but now i’m too tired to do it justice…basically, i had to take isla w/me b/c she was strictly on the you know what & it was like a grab-n-go kind of trip, so i leave the diaper bag in the car…rush through the clearance…grab some stuff that’s vacation-appropriate…take her into the fitting room…try on the dress & a bathing suit…she starts screaming…so i decide to nurse real quick…yeah right…she finishes eating 20 minutes later & whoa! warm goo oozes out of her diaper ALL OVER MY JEANS…no diapers, no wipes, nada. yep. nada. i use her bum to kind of clean up the mess down my leg b/c she’s already a mess & that part of her will be dirtying the car seat now anyway…stick her back in her seat & roll our stinky butts through the store…checkout & go..our stinky tails wagging behind us…it was a lovely outing… 🙂

pretty lil’ projects…

so i have been meaning to post these for months now…basically since before isla was born, but you know how it is…life’s just a blur these days…

anyway, so i’m stubborn…kinda…ok…really, really, really stubborn. it’s a real pain in the butt sometimes, b/c once i see something i like or get an idea in my head, it’s like all over. i have to do it, get it, figure it out, whatever…

so while i was planning isla’s nursery, i found this fabric i fell in love with immediately. it was actually a shower curtain from target! i loved it, had to have it. then once i had it i had to do something w/it. that’s when i decided to make her crib skirt & pillow covering w/it. i probably showed you those pics already, but if not here they are again…

oops – no, that’s the giant, chocolate, mocha, bigger-than-your-head whoopie pie i made a few weeks ago…sooo good…made the icing w/powdered sugar, a little vanilla, caramel espresso & a smidge of crisco…aaaahhhh…the angels are singing & smackin’ their lips too…good stuff…

i’m too lazy to delete that picture…besides…it’s a really yummy picture…here are the right ones though…

it certainly didn’t start out pretty…mostly b/c i can’t sew like my mother…i have no formal training, so it’s kind of like this…

yep…exactly like that…i love that movie…i love those silly little fairies…merryweather…she’s too cute…

anyway…i pieced together a few remnants my mom had given me for the body & then divided up pieces of the shower curtain for the skirt…like this…

yikes!

yep…that’s what i said too!

oh & this is what ava was doing while i worked…

double yikes!!

yep…that’s what i said too! i thought she was bleeding…no…just stuck the magenta marker up her nose…she smells things…yep, it’s weird…but true. we’d spend 5 hours in yankee candle or bath & body if i ‘d let her…it takes 20 mins just to walk past the candle section in hallmark for crying out loud!

oh & these were baking…i was multi-tasking…

that’s p dub’s recipe…it was incredible. (the recipe) i highly recommend it. she’s awesome. whatever you do though…don’t completely melt your butter! just go with like a spread, so your filling’s like a paste. otherwise, your cinnamon loveliness ooozes all over the place, drips onto the floor & your kid’s sticking markers up her nose while you’re frantically trying to save what little you can. they were still good though…they freeze beautifully too…just wrap ’em up tight & pop it in the freezer…sit them out late friday night & then warm ’em up a tad saturday morning…brew some coffee & voila! yummo in the tummo!

the icing was the best part…

believe me…you’ll lick it out of the pan…

anyway…this was my little workstation…classy, huh?

the pillowcase was so much fun & “sew” easy…haha…i had to…yes, i’m fully aware…i’m a dork…

the laptop is up b/c i was following this tutorial. i LOVE this blog site. she’s “sew” talented! haha i did it again! ok…i’m done…i got it out of my system.

seriously though, it was a super easy project & i think the pillow looks great! the insert’s one i had from ikea…very cushy…garnet hill has good ones too…

i have another idea hatching to make use of the leftover fabric from the curtain. i’ll let you know as soon as i get it started…i think it’s going to be pretty wonderful…i’m “sew” excited! haha…ok…totally done now…whew! 🙂

the S is SILENT

what does this remind you of?

how about this one?

if you said the “beach,” close…if you said “an island,” even better! now think of the word “island.” how did you say it? now, drop the n & d. yep, just drop them…throw them out the window. drop ’em. now say what’s left…”isla.” hey! what do you know…that’s my daughter’s name! “isla” say it w/me “eye-la,” “eye-la,” “eye-la.” yay! good job! now spread the word! haha i know it’s my fault, but i get “iz-la” at least once a week.

funny story…we’re sitting around the dinner table w/my in-laws (who sweetly brought dinner)…she’s like 4 days old & my father-in-law is holding her, lovingly staring into her eyes & says, “ice-la.” yep, he thought her name was “ice-la.” granted, we didn’t talk about her name much, nor did we frequently address her as isla until after her arrival…but even our own family didn’t say her name right. the doctor’s office butchers it monthly. i fear it will never end. sorry, sweetheart. guess i should have named you “apple.” 🙂

no…isla fits you perfectly. in greek it means “bright/shining one” & this sweet baby surely does sparkle. her eyes light up my day. she has the countenance of an angel. i love her & i love her beautiful name. so i just wanted to share her beautiful name once again w/you, so maybe you can call around, throw it into random conversations you know at like the post office, school, grocery store, hair salon, gas station. like…”hey, yeah, i really like the shade of your car. it reminds me of the ocean. you know what else reminds me of the ocean? my friend’s baby’s name isla. it’s spelled w/an ‘s’ you know, but it’s silent, like in ‘island.'” they’ll probably look at you like you’re nuttier than a fruitcake…but you never know…that person just may encounter an “isla” in their lifetime & you may have spared them from calling her “iz-la.” better yet, it may be my little isla, or isla fisher, that you bump into at the grocery store b/c she’s in town filming “wedding crashers 2” or “confessions of a reformed shopaholic,” & you ask her for her autograph & you say it right & she’s like, “wow! no one says my name right!” & she gives you – i don’t know – i’m not witty enough to think of something fabulous, but she does & it’s all b/c you read this crazy blog…so worth it.

is it annoying that i took something that could have been stated in one sentence – “the ‘s’ is silent” – & turned into a whole diatribe…no not really a diatribe, b/c i’m not bitter about it, but it is a crazy ranting of sorts…anyway, i’ll make it up to you by showing you some more great photos from our honeymoon…you’ll like them…

like this one…isn’t it pretty? the church, not the mcdonald’s people…are you craving french fries now? sorry…

i like this one. i really like that man standing next to me. 😉 i like that outfit. i can’t find it. i think it’s hiding in the closet i have to share w/ava…i think i stashed it in a bag of “i WILL wear this & look good in it again someday” clothes. i should try to find it…i should really be exercising…

oh & this one…

haha – sorry i had to…funny, though, huh? this was actually a popular look down there in mexico…i tried to talk my hubs into wearing one, but he was too bashful…good thing i guess…someone as cruel as me may have posted him on the internet! gosh i hope my mystery speedo man doesn’t come across this & scold me…or worse sue me! geesh…the things i’ll do to make you laugh! haha

ok, ava’s up from her nap…TWO hours early…there’s a downside to potty training…no longer will your child sleep peacefully in a semi-wet diaper…

isla’s been chatting w/me while i write this, which inspired me in the first place. we decided her nickname will be “izzie.” totally her idea… 😉

a GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. ~proverbs 22:1

me want cookies…

ok – so bear w/me…again! this time, it’s the new blog features. not used to them, so…not sure how this will turn out. i’m old, ok?!! 🙂 anyway…made some more oatmeal cookies today – that’s like the 6th batch this week. i told you they were that good… probably why i’ve gained about 5 lbs back. but they have flax seeds, so they’re healthy! bottom line.

so, pw just rocks. she’s the best. i use her oatmeal crispies recipe as a base. they are delicious! you know me though, i can’t leave well-enough alone. just can’t. so…what did i do this time, you ask…and if you’re my husband, you’re also rolling your eyes… well…i did a few things. again, i love pw, but she loves butter & stuff, so i alter things for healthy reasons sometimes, and sometimes it’s just my defiant nature. just sometimes though.

for all of the batches i added: 2 tsp. cinnamon, a splash of oj (yes oj), chocolate chips, 1/2 c. toasted coconut, and 2 tbsp. of flax seeds. i don’t toast the flax – they toast up in the oven & kinda give a toasty cheerio-like flavor. good stuff. i do toast the coconut & once i put it through the food processor, but it’s not necessary. one batch i bulked up w/chopped walnuts. yummo & good for you!

another i made more ava-friendly by adding in an extra cup of baby oatmeal. the added benefits are a plus. the recipe calls for a c. of crisco, so i may play w/that a little in the future by using half applesauce or bananas. chopped prunes may be good if you’re needing extra fiber. they’re so close to raisins. dried cranberries, blueberries, etc… basically, this is just a great cookie base to use as a jumping off point.

here’s your springboard…“P Dub” in da house…

these lovies are headed to my freezer…

oh sweet onions!

ok…pw & i are going to be neighbors in Heaven…just sayin’…i feel it ok? well, for now anyway, her recipes are Heaven in my kitchen. tonight…pollo asado. i married her recipe with the genius of the our best bites gals…also my Heaven-sisters…by making their homemade tortillas. let me tell you…there is something fabulous about the tangy sweetness of the grilled onions bathed in citrus juices. i just had the leftovers for lunch, hence the title…the onions just pop! yum!

as i already alluded to…i marinated the chicken breasts in a bowl & then hubby grilled them…so good.

i made the tortillas all by myself! it was as easy as flapjacks. there’s something so pride-invoking about creating these little wonders…why on earth have i been paying over 5 bucks a pop on a bag of organic preservatives when i have whole wheat flour & flax right in the pantry. sometimes desperation & limited groceries births a new way of living! 🙂

anyway…back to babies…enjoy this…i know we did! ava loved her “pancakes” & chicken too! the links are below, you awesome & gorgeous mama you. i needed that, so i’m thinking you may have too… 🙂 toodles…

PW’s Pollo Asado

Our Best Bites Tortillas