Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Photo Book May 31 2011

Click here to view this photo book larger


A friend's teenage son, Jonathan, was in a serious bike accident last Thursday and is in critical condition with multiple facial and skull fractures. He has had to have surgery to remove parts of his skull due to brain swelling, and now- after making so much progress in such a short amount of time- he is in isolation fighting a staph infection. This amazing family's recent trials have put my relatively minor troubles into perspective.

TROUBLE- Just as we were starting to make a dent in our debt, we had to replace a car, pay to repair both the new and the old car, replace our washing machine that died suddenly, and I found out I no longer qualify for subsidized student loans.
PERSPECTIVE- We now have two functioning vehicles plus one that is almost ready to sell, the new washer is awesome and more efficient, and I can still get unsubsidized loans so I can continue to go to school.

TROUBLE- My kids are driving me crazy!
PERSPECTIVE- I have three amazing, smart, funny, determined, healthy, strong children. I am blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and watch them learn and grow.

TROUBLE- My house is cluttered, leaking, and we are outgrowing it.
PERSPECTIVE- We home that shelters us with sufficient room for my family and our abundance of belongings. We live in a safe neighborhood with caring, quiet neighbors.

TROUBLE- The pile of laundry is never-ending.
PERSPECTIVE- We have clothes! They fit, look nice, we have enough to not have to wear the same thing every day, and I don't have to wash them by hand.

TROUBLE- School. I miss out on evening events when I'm in class, and I don't get to socialize or do the fun things I want to do because I have to do homework. School just takes up too much of my time.
PERSPECTIVE- I get to go to school! I am gaining a valuable education that will allow me to adequately support my family if need be, and I get to meet new people and feel good about myself in the process! I have been incredibly blessed with a supportive family and friends that make it possible for me to go to class and complete my assignments, and the ability to learn and maintain a 4.0.

TROUBLE- My husband works long hours and his schedule is unpredictable. He comes home tired and I don't get the help I want around the house.
PERSPECTIVE- My husband works hard and has a fantastic job at a company that values him and wants him to succeed. He is good at what he does, works hard to constantly increase his knowledge and skill, and makes enough money to ensure all our needs are met and we can live comfortably without worrying about how to pay the bills or feed our children. And even though he is tired in the evening, he still helps get the boys to bed and helps fold the perpetual mountain of clean laundry while we watch movies together.

TROUBLE- I am not as thin, fit, or pretty as I would like to be.
PERSPECTIVE- I have all my limbs, my body is strong, and I am able to take care of my family. If I continue to take care of myself, eat healthy foods and exercise on a regular basis, my hard work will eventually pay off.

TROUBLE- My two youngest boys have asthma and require tubes in their ears due to chronic ear infections.
PERSPECTIVE- The asthma is totally manageable and not triggered by exercise. We have access to excellent medical care and life-saving (literally and metaphorically) medication.

I could go on and on and on, as I continue to realize how very blessed I am. I am grateful for my family, our opportunities, and the knowledge that the gospel of Jesus Christs affords us. I know that I can pray to a loving Heavenly Father and get help and comfort. I know that there is a healing power that can make the impossible happen. I hope that you will all join me in praying for Jonathan and his family, and realize the blessings in your life as well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love, love, love hummus! It's so yummy and healthy and versatile! I usually stick with my favorite tried and true basic recipe mentioned here, but I tried roasted red pepper hummus from Trader Joe's the other day and found a new love. I knew it had to be easy to recreate, so I went in search of a recipe and found this. So simple, so delicious.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained (I actually reserved 1/4 cups of the juice and added that to the mix)
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar roasted red peppers ( I got mine at Trader Joe's but you can probably find them at any grocery store by the olives and stuff)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (This is sesame seed paste. It can be tricky to find and a bit spendy, but it so totally worth it. It is usually with the Indian or Greek foods, but can sometimes be found by the peanut butter or olives. Weird, I know.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I didn't have any, so I used 1/4 t. black pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley ( I skipped this)

Blend everything up in an electric blender or food processor until super smooth. Hummus can be refrigerated for 3 days, or frozen for a month. It is best served at room temperature, but I eat mine straight out of the fridge all the time. This would be great as a dip for crackers, pita chips, veggies, or as a spread on pita bread or a sandwich or wrap. I put mine on focaccia bread and made that my lunch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Super Easy Blueberry Muffins

My 4-year-old requested blueberry muffins for breakfast. I'm not a fan of berries, so I've never made blueberry muffins before, but blueberries just happened to be on sale at the grocery store so I figured I'd better try. I rifled through my recipe folder to see if there was something usable and found this recipe. You've got to love anything that uses a cake mix, right? I changed it a bit, made it a little more healthy, and came up with these:

They look super yummy to me and I don't even like blueberries!

Here's the recipe---
Preheat oven to 350*.
Mix until most of the lumps are gone:
  • 1 box cake mix (I used Classic White)
  • 1 egg (I used 1/3 cup Egg Beaters)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I substituted 1/2 cup applesauce)
  • 1/4 cup water
Stir in 1 pint fresh blueberries (frozen should work, too).
I used a mini muffin pan and baked for 13-15 minutes. You could also follow the original recipe and bake the batter in a 9x13 inch pan for 20-25 minutes.

The possibilities are endless with this recipe! You could use any flavor cake mix and a variety of stir-ins: other berries, raisins, Craisins, nuts, chocolate/white chocolate/mint/butterscotch chips, etc. Enjoy!

One happy boy!
There are only 2 muffins left out of the nearly 4 dozen we started with last night. I think they were a hit. =)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I've been bitten by the sewing bug

I'm itching to get some sewing done!
I have a million ideas and all this fabulous fabric...

...but this is what my tiny sewing nook looks like after months of neglect.


I have some serious work cut out for me before I can get to the fun part, but my mom is coming for a few days so the motivation to get it (the organizing and sewing) done is there. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jewelry sets

I LOVE making jewelry. It's very cathartic for me, but it requires uninterrupted time, so I haven't done much lately. Time to start again! Here are two of my latest sets. If anyone is interested, they will be for sale in my Etsy shop for $10/set.

Blue glass beads with white glass pearls on a silver chain.
The earring hooks are nickel-free.
Pink and gray glass pearls on a silver chain.
The earring hooks are nickel-free.

I hope you all had a wonderful, beautiful, pampered Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A needlepoint for "one of those days"

My hilarious sister-in-law made this beauty for her sister.
Don't we all have those days sometimes?
This totally made my day. =)
Thanks, Abby!

(This design is based on a comic she found online years ago.)