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Friday, February 27, 2009

Foodie Friday - Cheese-crack.. er.. I mean cake

Old habits die hard. Have you noticed that? Especially when they are habits that we picked up from our family of origin.

One thing that my family is very good at is just not letting go of it when someone messes up. They hold it over your head for-ev-ver. For instance, even at my grandmother's funeral in 2007 we were still talking about the time 15 years ago that she tried to pass off frozen rolls as her own homemade ones at a family dinner. We just can't let anything go.

Not long after starting to take the Cook's Illustrated magazine 8 years ago, I came across a cheesecake recipe. I had never made cheesecake before, but this article and recipe seemed to demystify it a little for me. I made it at home a time or two with great success, so I decided to try to make it for a family gathering at my sister's house. I'm not sure why I didn't cook it at home, but I didn't. I cooked it there. And the result was a cheese-CRACK... at least according to my dad.

I'm not talking about some little bitty crack. No. I'm talking about a crack roughly the size of the Grand Canyon in the middle of my cheesecake. I think my sister's oven cooked a little hotter than mine at home or something because it was awful. I was mortified. It tasted fine, but looked terrible. And to this day, whenever I say that I am going to bring a cheesecake to a family gathering, my dad says, "Oh, a cheese-crack? Great!"

Over these years I have had many more successes and have come to find that cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts to make. Of course, I don't know that there is a dessert that I particularly dislike making other than maybe German Chocolate Cake - it has that whole nut issue. However, I've had some failures as well... like the time I tried to test a cheesecake's doneness by bouncing my finger on the top of it like a friend suggested that she does. The result? Cheese-CRACK.

I found out at some point along this journey that my mother in law was quite the cheesecake baker "back in the day" when she didn't have diabetes and still cooked quite a bit. In particular I have always heard about her Key Lime Cheesecake.

Now, since finding this New York style cheesecake recipe in Cook's Illustrated, I've been a bit of a purist when it comes to cheesecake. I'm not a Baskin Robins 51 flavors of cheesecake kind of gal. Except when it comes to the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Oh my... now that is heaven on a plate.

However, recently my mother in law handed over the official cheesecake reigns for their family. She, reluctantly it seemed, gave me this...

It is her old cheesecake cookbook. And inside written on a note card was none other but her own Key Lime Cheesecake recipe. I was surprised and honored.

I have also recently been working on making my own chocolate cheesecake. The ones I have made so far have been "not bad" but they still need more chocolate. I want it to taste more like the Cheesecake Factory version and I'm just not there yet.

So without further ado, it is with much trepidation that I have posted The Best New York Cheesecake over on my recipe blog. I fear that once I have empowered all of you with this recipe that you won't want me to bake it for you any more. And that would make me sad. So please, please, keep a baker happy and continue to let me make cheesecake for you.

The recipe was too long to completely duplicate here today like I normally would, so just pop on over there for a look. There is even video today. But here's a sneak peek of what it looks like when finished:

It is a divine confection of 2 1/2 pounds of cream cheese!

I took one to my office recently to share and a friend there said that it looked so perfect that he thought I may have just bought it at Costco. I was greatly offended. Because believe me... it tastes SO much better than anything you would buy at Costco. But now, in the spirit of my dad and our family, every time he walks past my little alcove in the office across from the kitchen, he just says, "Costco." *sigh and shaking head*

So, what about you? Do you have a favorite flavor of cheesecake? Or are you a purist like me? Or maybe you have a favorite cheesecake recipe or tip you'd like to share. The floor is yours.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lessons Learned

I had a difficult week last week... to say the least. I sliced a bit off my left ring finger last Saturday and then began to get sick with an upper respiratory infection… aka bronchitis. I’m not entirely convinced I didn’t have pneumonia, but that word was never actually used with my doctor, so I will refrain from self-diagnosing. Yeah, right.

So, here’s what I learned.

1. Slicing bits off of your finger is a painful way to get out of cooking for a week.

2. Chocolate Cherry Bread from Central Market while waiting for your Pei Wei order to be ready does a pretty good job of taking your mind off of your sliced off finger woes.

3. It never fails that when you feel your worst and make a doctor appointment with a non-quack-shack doctor for the next day, you immediately start feeling better.

4. Antibiotics really can be quite expensive. Expensive to the tune of $140 for 5 pills. Yes, you read that right. In case you can't fully appreciate this cost, that's like almost $30/pill. And they’re not even diamond encrusted! This is the supposed wonder drug:

And my insurance didn’t cover but like $20 of it. Thankfully my doctor gave me a coupon, saving me a whopping $25, bringing my cost down to a mere $95.

5. Cold air helps to open up your air passages to help you breathe better. Thanks 3girlsmom!

6. The best way to self administer said cold air in the 70 degree Texas weather in February is to lie down on your kitchen floor with your head at the base of your freezer with the freezer door ajar.

7. My kitchen floor is dirty.

8. Frozen Thin Mints may or may not help the opening of said air passages… I tend toward thinking they may not. But it’s an easy way to convince myself it’s okay to eat a few. And, as a bonus, they take your mind off the dirty kitchen floor.

9. There are some interesting things in my freezer that you can only see when lying on the floor with your head at the base of the freezer with the freezer door ajar.

10. If anything serious ever really happens to me, the fast food industry in our area will encounter a boom like it has never known before.

This post is part of the "What I Learned This Week" series at Musings of a Housewife. Go visit Jo-Lynne and read more of what others have learned this week.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Obedience Brings Blessings

I posted back in December about a word I got through my BSF lesson about my needing to give my passion and love for cooking to the Lord for His glory. At the time I sensed him saying to wait and that He would give me the opportunities, but to just wait. I did, and He is beginning to deliver.

And I’m also seeing a lesson that I’ve been learning recently in action… blessing comes from obedience. It’s what I’ve been seeing throughout the book of Leviticus that we’ve recently been studying in BSF.

I learned several weeks ago that our church’s youth choir was hosting a concert where they would serve dessert and hold a silent auction to raise money for their summer mission trip to Nashville. Of course, I knew I would make dessert, because you know, dessert is my middle name.

Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, it is.

And then the thought hit me: I have been to numerous charity auctions where a local chef has donated a meal for a dinner party prepared in the bidder’s home. And when I served a dinner party to some friends last fall, some of them said that I should donate a dinner party to our school’s auction. Now, I am certainly no trained chef, and the majority of the people at the auction don’t know me; which is why I put any thought of such a possibility out of my head. But I love to cook, right? So I wondered how it would go over with a group of people I know well if I donated something similar.

So, I called the person in charge of the auction to see if they wanted it. She finally got back to me and said that sure, we’d give it a shot and see how it went over.

Long story short, it went over well. During the auction it brought a decent amount. And I fixed the dinner for this couple on Friday evening (February 13th). I tell you, it was one of the biggest blessings I have ever encountered.

I cooked most of the meal at home and transported it to the home of this sweet, slightly older couple. I found that they are a couple who have been accustomed to gourmet type meals and yet with illness and age are unable to get out and enjoy those things any longer.

After all four courses had been served and I was packing up my things to leave, the hug that this sweet lady gave me was one of the most heart-felt hugs I have ever received. And on top of that she handed me some extra money, which I of course gave toward the youth choir trip, the reason for the auction in the first place. As I told my daughter, this was a way that I could give to missions.

The meal blessed them, and I was blessed as well in return.

I believe that this was part of my finding ways to use my cooking for ministry. He told me to wait, I waited on the Lord, and He is revealing His plan a little at a time. I was obedient to what I believe was his prompting to do this one thing and I was blessed immensely. I am working to be open to his leading and I believe that God is continuing to give me direction about other cooking ministry opportunities that I am exploring.

Blessings come from obedience, y’all. I experienced this principle from Leviticus in a very real way the other night. I hope that I can continue to experience such a principle and put it into action with my own children as well.

Just as my Heavenly Father has done with me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oh, the humanity!

Since it had been an entire 36 hours since I had seen them last, I just had to go back and talk to my friends at the Care Now clinic on Monday morning.

I'd had a little bit of a cough for a few days, but I woke up on Monday morning with my throat on fire. Not wanting to expose anyone at work to who-knows-what, I went on into the clinic and got checked out.

Their assesment was what I had suspected... drainage and an upper respiratory infection. I got antibiotics and a decongestant.

I don't know what the deal is, but the antibiotics aren't working.

I'm exhausted. I'm coughing more. I'm exhausted.

In fact, I'm going to go lie down. I'll be in touch with y'all again once I emerge from this.

Seriously hoping I didn't catch the flu while I was at the clinic like I did a few years ago.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Bloody Valentine (aka How my man scored a new toy this Valentine’s Day)

**This post is G-rated. I had requests to not post pictures, so there is nothing graphic in the body of this post. Any graphic pictures are posted as links.**

My Valentine’s Day started GREAT.

For one thing, I got to sleep late. I know 8:00 am doesn’t sound late to some of you, but when you normally get up at 5:30 am, well, that’s almost like sleeping until noon.

I have this personal little tradition to make a special breakfast on certain holidays. I’ll usually do something special on everyone’s birthday and definitely on Valentine’s Day. During the week I had planned and had every intention of making these Black Forest Buns that I heard about on Twitter last week. However, that just wasn’t going to happen, time wise. So after the fog cleared a little and the rest of the house began to stir and children began appearing out of their bedrooms, I decided to make chocolate waffles.

Good decision. They were yummy.

The day was busy and I got a lot accomplished. I did the Wii Fit for a while and got a good workout. I took a nap and put some heat on my shoulder that was hurting. You know… really pressing stuff.

Finally, after such a tiring afternoon, I decided it was time to start putting dinner together. We rarely go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. It’s just too crowded and hard to find a babysitter. So, I had planned to make dinner here. I had wanted to do something kind of gourmet and special, but my man requested Stuffed Pork Chops. So, that’s what I planned to make. I even invited some other people over for dinner and we were just going to go ahead and have a little dinner gathering.

And then, tragedy struck.

I was chopping some Shiitake mushrooms to add to the stuffing and I felt it happen. I didn’t see it… I didn’t want to. But I had cut my finger. I yelled at my man for help as I stood fiercely gripping it over the sink. I didn’t hurt yet which, I knew had to be a bad sign. As he went to get a band-aid, I grabbed a paper towel and saw some blood as I opened my hand to hold the paper towel on it.

Then I began to get woozy.

I sat down and as we kind of talked about it and I expressed my inability to let go of it, I really began to feel woozy. I couldn’t hold my head up and I couldn’t hear anything. If you’ve never experienced the feeling of being ready to pass out… you don’t want to. It’s really bizarre.

He helped me into the bed amidst my crying and the finger finally began to hurt.

He kept talking to me and asking me questions to which all I could manage to sob was, “I don’t know.” He told me my face looked grey, to which I replied, “Because there’s no blood in my brain!” It was as if all the blood in my head had heard that there was an escape route and it all made a b-line out of my head to toward my finger. I couldn’t think, I could hardly speak. I was in a state.

After a quick peek at it and a look around the house, he surmised that we did not have the proper dressings for such a wound. Off we went to Urgent Care (what I normally call “The Quack Shack”). Thankfully, my mother in law had just arrived for dinner and was able to take the kids so that they didn’t have to witness the carnage that was yet to come.

God bless the Care Now clinic because we got there and they took me straight back. If we had gone on to the hospital, I’d have had to sit in the waiting room and might still be waiting even now.

Here’s how some of the conversation went while we were there as they asked the necessary questions:

Nurse: “How did this happen?”
Me: “While chopping some mushrooms to go in the stuffing. Which I shouldn’t have done because he doesn’t like mushrooms. I’m starting to believe in Karma.”
Nurse: “Why were you cooking on Valentine’s day? Shouldn’t you,” directed at my man, “have been cooking?”
Me: “Well, I didn’t want chili.”
Nurse laughs. My man looks shocked. Doctor give him a nod and says, “Yeah, chili!” They butt fists. *sigh* MEN.
Nurse: “When was your last Tetanus shot?”
Me: I hang my head as I realize, then answer, “February 14th, 3 years ago.”
Mike says that this is when I garnered sympathy from anyone standing nearby.

Then things got nasty. What we discovered after the doctor was able to pry my right hand away from my left was that there was nothing to stitch. I had completely sliced off a portion of the pad of my left ring finger. The doctor said they would clean it up and cauterize it to stop the bleeding. CAUTERIZE?!?

First I had to soak the finger in an antiseptic solution for 5 or so minutes. I’ll be honest. I cried like a baby and Mike had to hold my hand down in the antiseptic. It HURT.

Then came the shots. Oh the shots. Hang on… I’m getting a little light headed again just thinking about it.

*lays down, props up feet & takes a drink of water*

Okay, I’m back.

Yes, that was plural… shot-S. Things were finally starting to feel better once we got past the initial pain and stinging of the shot and I had told him that yes, it was feeling better. Mike said I was finally starting to relax. And then he STUCK me AGAIN, to which I responded, “BUT THAT DOESN’T!!!” Mike said he had to hold back the laughter at that.

Then came the cauterization. Mike is sitting there watching all of this like he’s giddy at the thought of burning flesh. He’s asking questions like a curious little boy and finds out that this tool is a one time use thing for them. The doctor tells him, “You bought it, you can take it with you if you want.” Then they began discussing all the uses they might be able to come up with for this cauterization tool at home. I had to interrupt finally and say, “UM, hellOOO. I’m laying right here. You know… the one you are currently burning!”

So, if you’re interested and not queasy, click here to see a picture of the end product. (It's actually not that bad looking, in my opinion.)

After all was said and done, I got a nice big sympathy inducing bandage.

And I have been forbidden to go near any sharp knives for 1 – 2 weeks.

We ended up getting Pei Wei for dinner and I self medicated on Red Velvet and Amaretto Truffle Cakes that my man brought home for Valentine's Day from my favorite bakery. I honestly didn't care if I gained back the entire 1.8 pounds that I lost last week.

And as I looked around the kitchen later on that evening, there I saw, lying among the Shiitake mushrooms that I was chopping, a little sliver of my finger. (Click here to see a picture.)

And Mike, he came home with a new fun little toy. He can burn stuff now. He’s giddy.

Me? I’m just having a hard time typing and washing my hair.

And that was My Bloody Valentine. How was yours?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fitness Friday

I know I haven't been around the blog much this week. I'm not really sure of one particular reason, either. I've been busy, I've been tired, I've been busy... you know how it goes.

The same could be said for my exercising this week as well. I've been been getting up and on the elliptical in the mornings, but the evenings have been a different story. We didn't have exercise class this week, so it all just kind of fell apart.I did the Wii Fit on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then time got away from me on Thursday.

What I did try to focus on this week was some healthier habits. I read this early in the week and made the decision to work on cutting out the diet sodas. I am working hard at drinking more water and I am trying to choose healthier snack options. I ate Craisins instead of M&M's yesterday. Did you catch that? Y'all I passed up chocolate. Suffice it to say, it's been a little difficult.

As far as progress on Wii Fit games... I have accepted the challenge to try to get to 2000 spins on the 6 minute hula hoop. I don't know if I can do it. My highest is like 1967. Are you better at one direction that the other? I find that usually I'm better at the left rotation than the right.

Oh, and just as a side note, I have instituted a 10 minute Wii Fit rule in the house. Anyone who wants to play a Wii game must first do at least 10 minutes on the Wii Fit. I just want to make sure that we're moving and active. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a mother/daughter thang

I don’t know your background. So, tell me: Are you a Christian? If so, did you grow up in church?

Hmmm, interesting.

Well, I am and I did. Baptist, in fact, both then and now. And it does my heart good these days to see my children involved in many of the same activities that I was growing up. And it is also interesting to see how many of these organizations have both changed and stayed the same over the last 30 or so years.

Take, for instance, Vacation Bible School. Oh MY how it has changed since I was a kid. We’ve come a long way with themes and musicals to go along with it from my day when it was just a week of Sunday School with snow cones. And yet, the purpose of telling children about Christ is unchanged.

Another example is something that I will only experience with my daughter. GA which stands for Girls in Action. If you are not or did not grow up Baptist, you likely have no idea what this is. GA and RA (Royal Ambassadors) are children’s mission organizations. In our church, our GAs: 1) learn about missions, 2) pray for missions, 3) give to missions, and 4) go and do missions. These things have not changed. I know this because I even still remember our GA song from when I was a girl:

Girls in Action, Girls in Action;
Mission study and mission action.
Praying, giving money so
The world may know of Jesus love.
Girls in Action, Girls in Action,
We will know and grow in Christ.
Girls in Action,
Girls in Action now!

One thing that is different from when I was a GA is the missionaries on which the GAs focus. Instead of just learning about a missionary from someplace in the world that we had never heard of before, the girls are learning about specific mission projects and groups that our church is involved with, and missionaries that we partner with from West Africa to Russia to North Dakota.

So this past weekend, we went to GA camp. Yes, camp. Just overnight, but people, the word “camp” is involved here.

Now, I’m not talking in a tent. It was at a local Baptist camp/retreat center with cabins and all. However, camp does mean bunk beds and community bathrooms. And I knew this going in because I’ve done camp and actually grew up going to several days of GA camp at this particular Baptist camp in the summers when I was growing up.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really want to go. I would have much preferred to stay home and veg after a long week of work and craziness. Sarah has been to week long camp 2 hours away from us, I felt certain that she could survive overnight. However, they mentioned that moms could go, so she jumped on that bandwagon and wanted me to go. How could I say no? I couldn't.

Why go to camp for GAs? I’m still not real clear on that one. However, it was a concentrated time of some mission oriented projects and we heard from one of our church members who had been on a trip to West Africa to minister to the people there. And it gave these girls just some fun girl time together – and that, I totally get.

The whole camp experience was enhanced greatly by my experiencing a migraine Friday evening. I rather enjoyed that part of it. I spent a good part of the evening lying down with a pillow over my head trying to block out just a little bit of the screaming and giggling. Yeah, I know you’re envious.

Then, the lady that came with us to coordinate all of the food related and cooking efforts went home sick in the middle of the night. So, you know me, I semi took charge in the kitchen for breakfast and we cranked out about 75 pancakes for a bunch of 1st-6th grade girls amidst popping breakers and limited kitchen utensils.

I hate cooking outside of my own kitchen. I was about to have an anxiety attack when I witnessed one lady just pouring the pancake mix into a bowl without measuring. And then, to realize that I had no whisk... it was almost more than I could bear.

In the end, despite my best efforts, I had a good time, and I know for a fact Sarah did. As we quizzed her later, I found that she really had been listening during the talk by our missionary to West Africa. She recounted several details and we, along with her dad, had a very interesting discussion of the treatment of Christians and women in other parts of the world.

Yes, I had a good time. For one thing, I think the Lord my have spoken some things into my heart this weekend. I’m still mulling it over and I’ll get back to you on that. And, if nothing else, I realized that this is something that I will ever only experience with Sarah. And it does my heart good to pass down things like GAs from mother to daughter.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fitness Friday (with some food thrown in -- I just can't help it)

I'm frustrated.

It's been a month and I feel like I've been working my rear-end off... but the truth is that I haven't exactly been working my rear-end off. It's still there in all it's "venti" sized glory.

I made a similar statement to my man the other night and he said it made him think of this commercial that he saw during the Superbowl last Sunday:

Don't I wish it was that easy. Just to laugh it off.


So, I'm frustrated.

I could handle the weight numbers not going down if things were fitting better and I had a sense that I was gaining muscle, but that hasn't happened yet either.

I may have to take some drastic measures and actually put down my box of Girl Scout cookies every now and then.

By the way, have you noticed how those mysteriously come out around the first of the year right when people are making weight loss a priority? When I mentioned this on Twitter recently, someone suggested that it was a conspiracy. I tend to agree.

I have been trying to take additional eating measures over the last week. I am taking baggies of Craisins to work with me to snack on so that I don't feel as tempted to eat sweets. I am bringing my lunch to work and I am working on not snacking when I get home.

A friend at work told me about an app for my iPhone that tracks calories called "Lose It." I didn't ask him why he chose to tell me about that specific app, but I did go ahead an download it. It's pretty decent and works much like Fit Day that I have used before. You put in what exercises you do and what foods you eat and it give you an idea of how you are doing on calories taken in versus burned.

Not from personal experience or anything, but did you know that an entire sleeve of 14 Thin Mints is less calories than a single twisty donut? And much more satisfying... I would think. Like I said, not that I would know... I'm just sayin'.

Thanks to all of you who commented last week about my Wii Fit Rhythm Boxing game issue. I'm getting better at the dodge move, but it's just taking some practice to get it the way the game wants it to have the points register.

And because you are all so wonderful, here's a tip for you in exchange... if you're like me and want to maximize your points, make sure you bounce a little when you bring both feet back together on the balance board for the "Block." It gives you an extra point I think, but the extra movement helps to get your heart rate going a little more.

So now, I have to ask the question... What's your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Oh, and how are you doing with your fitness goals? Hopefully better than I am.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Asking for a little prayer

Would y'all please pray for my parents? Specifically my mom, right now.

If you didn't know, they are missionaries in South Asia. They are about half-way through a two year commitment with our denomonation's international mission organization.

My mom has been having some back pain which happens from time to time. Only this time, it was really bad. They admitted her to the hospital on Wednesday morning and put her in traction.

The latest emails from my dad say that she is getting some relief and they have done a little therapy. He said that it's a prolapsed disc.

I don't know much at all about back issues, but my prayer is that she continues to gain relief from the pain, is healed, and that they can get back to the work of what they are called to do. I am praying that she can make it through this without having to have any kind of surgery while out of the country. I am also praying that they meet someone while they are in the hospital that they can minister to.

So, if you think about it, please pray for my mom. (My kids call her Mimi.)

Thanks y'all. You are all the GREATEST!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: The Baby Years - Homemade Baby Food

I’ve already shared with you about our experience with schedules/routines and cloth diapers. Today, I’m going to briefly share with y’all our experience with making our own baby food for our kids when they were babies.

This was another one of those things where when it came up and I told someone that I made my baby’s baby food, they looked at me like I had three heads and said, “You WHAT?”

This really kind of fits right in with my blog title and tag line… Why should I buy special jars of food for my baby when it’s something that I can easily make at home and be assured it has no preservatives in it? Real food with real texture and real taste. I’m just sayin’.

And really, folks… it’s not that hard.

You cook the food, put it in the food processor, turn it on, and maybe add some water. That’s it.

A general rule of thumb that I use is to cook longer and/or make thinner for the younger babies new at eating solids. The older the baby, you may cook it less and allow more texture by adding less water when in the food processor.

Here’s a run-down of some of the things that worked for me.

First Foods:

Sweet potatoes – The best cooking method is to bake them. Once they are done, the skin peels right off. You will need to add some water to thin them while in the food processor to an easily spoon able texture.

Carrots – Steam them until soft then on into the food processor with some water.

Bananas – Just mash those bad boys up fresh at lunch time. You may add a little formula, breast milk, or water to thin them down at first, but you won’t need to for long.

Applesauce – Peel & core the apples and cook them in your steamer if you have one.

Green Beans – These are a little tricky because sometimes they can have a strong taste and texture that a baby might balk at. We usually steam our green beans, so I had to learn to let them cook longer and adding some formula to them as a thinning agent helped mellow out the flavor a little.


At first I did the typical freeze the food in ice cube trays then store the food cubes in large freezer zipper bags. But after not too long, once the baby was eating more solids, I found this method a little cumbersome. I began to use other freezing containers like the little ones you can get from The First Years.

Then I found these Freezer Canning Jars by Ball. They were great because they hold several meals worth of food, but not so much that you won’t use it within a day or so of pulling it out of the freezer. Love these things. Even still today.

Self Feeding:

Later on, as they began getting more teeth and self feeding, I would simply cut up ripe peaches, bananas and other fresh fruit. (As an aside, to this day my children are not crazy about canned fruit. They’d much rather have fresh.)

Another thing that also worked well was meatballs. Make them and freeze them in a big freezer bag and you can pull them out a couple at a time. And, the great thing about making these yourself is that you can tailor them to your family’s specific needs. For instance, my son was having some constipation issues as we started solid foods. (He is going to read that 20 years from now and roll his eyes and turn red.) I was able to make meat balls using ground up Triscuts instead of regular bread crumbs to give him a bit more fiber in his diet to, um, help things along, as it were.

Then, it wasn't too long before our kids were just eating what we had at the dinner table, or some appropriate variation of it. Even from this early age, I stood fairly firm on not being a short-order cook and had the mantra of, "You can eat what's on the table or you can wait until the next meal. Granted, my kids are early teethers and had a mouthful of molars by the time they were a year old. I'm no help to those of you with late teethers. Sorry.

So, making my own babyfood really worked well for me. Maybe it will work for you as well.

For more Works for Me posts, visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Just in case you didn't know

The ostrich:
- can grow to be up to 9 feet tall.
- can run at about 40 – 45 mph.
- has the largest eyes of any land animal on earth.
- lives in the African savanna (or savannah).
- can kill a lion with a single kick.
- has a claw at the end of each wing for defense.
- eats leaves, lizards and bugs.

Do you know how I know all of that off the top of my head? It’s because we’ve been doing the ostrich project from hades in our house here recently. Complete with research, maps to color, bibliography, and an art project.

We started out on a fantastic note when we went to the library to get some books. I was off work on MLK day and took the kids to the park and then to our city public library to start our research. We got there only to find that all the ostrich books had been checked out. So, mom and dad, who have jobs and can’t get to the library on the very first day that we get the assignment, get punished and have to look at other libraries in neighboring cities.

And for our art project, we couldn’t just do a collage or something simple that was offered as a choice. No. We had to choose to do a clay model of at least 10 inches. Which involved a lot more than just clay, and a lot of cleaning up after we were done.

The whole thing has been driving me crazy.

But it is done and turned in today. Praise Jesus, it is done and turned in today.

Any teachers out there? Don’t you realize that all of this is way more stressful on the parent that the child? Do you think our time materializes out of NOWHERE? Because you know, it’s all about me, here. Don’t give me any of that “teaching them about research” junk. I don’t have time for this.

OK. I’m glad to have that out of my system. I’m better now.

And by the way, her best friend (whose mom is one of my best friends) is the one who checked out all the ostrich books from our city library. I told her to start using her own city’s library, thankyouverymuch.

Overall, it was probably a good experience for her and she learned a lot at the ostrich.

And so did I, just in case you didn’t know.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

1st & 15th Scripture Memory

"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."

Deuteronomy 33:12

Not long after I posted this about struggling with insecurity, I came across this verse. Actually, I read that it was Ocean Mommy's life verse and realized that this was a promise that I needed to claim as I seek security in Him. It also happens to be the verse she's meditating on over the next two weeks also.