Here’s a fun and yummy recipe for a Monday! I made this lemon garlic chicken and potatoes last night, and it was a hit.
4-6 skinless boneless chicken breats 3 c diced potatoes (I used Russett)
Juice and zest from 1-2 lemons 1 Tbsp oregano or Italian seasoning
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1/4 c olive oil + 1 Tbsp
3/4 c water salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to350°. Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Sear chicken in skillet, transfer to baking dish. Add potatoes to skillet, season, cook about 10 minutes, coating with olive oil. Transfer potatoes to baking dish with chicken. Combine lemon juice, zest, oregano, 1/4 c olive oil, water, garlic, salt, and pepper in bowl. Pour over chicken and potatoes. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes.
I paired this with something I call a country salad. It’s fresh greens from our garden mixed with a chopped hard boiled egg, cooked corn kernels, and shredded carrots. This recipe goes beautifully with any salad or veggie side dish.
Well, Kaitlyn finally got her coveted “potty prize!” We promised her that if she went a week with a dry diaper/training pants (excluding nighttime), then she could have her Princess Sofia toys. She stayed dry all week, even most nights, went one day out grocery shopping in big girl pants, and made it through Sunday School and church yesterday completely dry! God really knew that I needed this little potty training victory. So proud of this little girl! She was absolutely thrilled to finally get her Sofia dolls! Now Colton is working on his Thomas the Train fun magnet book…he’s making a lot of progress, so hopefully soon…
Here are the other crafts we did from last week…
We broke out the paints for some zoo animal portraits and birdfeeders. The kids each chose their favorite animal from the zoo trip to paint. Colton chose a zebra and Kailtyn picked a giraffe. They had fun, and I was really impressed by their final pictures !
The bird feeders/houses were a lot of fun for the kids. I picked these cute little houses up at Michaels for $1 a piece. Kaitlyn chose to go all brown for hers. Colton, on the other hand, wanted to try every color. I love how they both turned out. We also did a short lesson on feather pens, using some feathers and paint to try writing. The feathers I had weren’t great for the project, but I think it got the point across.
And now for the really fun part…blah - This is the year of the cicada in our area. These ugly insects come out in force every 17 years, and this is the lucky year for it. I vividly remember the last time the little buggers made an appearance…it was so much cooler when I was a kid. I think the cicada wings I collected 17 years ago are probably still stored somewhere in my parents’ basement…how sad is that? But now that I’m an adult, I am seriously dreading the onslaught of cicadas. When they are out in full force, they are loud, obnoxious, and EVERYWHERE…and did I mention, ugly! This is the only one I have seen so far. Happily, it was already dead and hanging out in our driveway, so I took a quick photo without having to fear a cicada attack. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they won’t be as bad as they were before…
Have a blessed week!
This week for homeschooling, the lessons were about zoo animals, seasons, and spatial relationships. So of course, we had a ton of crafts. This post has the ones we’ve done so far. Tonight will include some painting fun…something both of my kids absolutely love! The first thing we did was make this cute four seasons poster using printouts from the ABCJesusLovesMe curriculum. It’s a fun way for the kids to visualize the seasons and learn how to spell them.
In honor of zoo week, we made cute paper plate and construction paper lion masks. Both kids drew the faces on…Colton’s on the left, Kaitlyn’s on the right. I love them! As far as kid friendliness of the craft, I would say it’s pretty good. They enjoyed drawing the face and curling and gluing a little bit of the mane, but they lost interest in the mane pretty quickly. Once the masks were done, they had a blast roaring at each other though! We also printed up some animal pictures from our recent trip to the zoo and made a collage. That was a fun lesson in identifying animals and learning to spell their names.
This weather chart is one we put together several months ago using printouts from the Nick Jr. website. Since we did the seasons this week, I figured I would throw this in, too. It’s been an awesome tool for the kids to learn about weather and days of the week. I’m thinking a laminator would be a good investment, though, since it’s showing some wear and tear.
The other craft we did this week was making a frog and butterfly out of little wood shapes (they sell these in a large bag at Michaels). The original idea called for painting these, but we are doing a lot of painting this week, so I opted for just having the kids use markers. I helped fill in the color a little bit. Then we just used Alene’s tacky glue to put them together. You can also add a magnet to the back. I was going to do that, but the kids are enjoying carrying them around and playing with them too much.
Other miscellaneous stuff-
There are few things that make me happier than a super clean and organized house. My biggest problem is finding the time to get my house as clean and organized as I would like it to be. So anytime I come across an idea that makes keeping the house clean easier, I am thrilled. I used a hanging organizer to store hats, gloves and scarves in the coat closet after seeing the idea on another blog. When one of my friends saw it, she mentioned using a hanging organizer for craft supplies…why on earth didn’t I think of that earlier!!!! So I bought another one off Amazon, and it has made craft organization so much easier! I’m loving it!
I have a really super cheap sewing machine we bought years ago. It’s been serving the purpose, but it has become increasingly frustrating. So I found this awesome Singer selling at less than half price on the JoAnns website. My mom and hubby combined forces to order this beauty for me for Mother’s Day, and it arrived yesterday. I am so beyond excited to start using this. It has 70 stitches and 3 one-step buttonhole functions!!!! Big smile on my face!
And now, since I have been loving on the lilacs so much lately, I am going to show some love to the gorgeous roses that are blooming in our front garden. Really loving Spring right now! Have a blessed Friday!
The radishes were ready to harvest this week! I am so incredibly excited to start eating the veggies from our garden. Nothing can come close to topping the feeling of having and raising kids, but my second favorite thing is watching a garden grow into happy, healthy vegetables without pesticides. So I figured, in honor of the first harvest, I would post a couple of my favorite quick and easy summer recipes. Hope you enjoy!
I used the radishes and some of the lettuce and spinach from our garden for one of my favorite salad recipes, Cranberry Spinach Salad. The original recipe is:
1 lb. spinach or mixed greens 1/2 c white sugar
3/4 c sliced almonds 2 tsp minced onion
1 c dried cranberries 1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds 1/4 c rice vinegar
1/2 c vegetable oil 1/4 c cider vinegar
Toast almonds in oven at 350˚ for about 8 minutes.
Combine spinach/mixed greens with almonds and cranberries.
Whisk together sesame seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, vinegars, and oil.
Toss with spinach mixture just before serving.
In this particular salad, I added radish and substituted raisins and pecans for the cranberries and toasted almonds. It was still good, but I far prefer the cranberries and almonds.
Bacon Wrapped BBQ Pork Chops
Love, love, love this recipe. It’s so very quick and easy, so it’s perfect for making when I get home from work. Hubby and the kids love it, too. Start by seasoning the pork chops with salt and pepper.
Then wrap in bacon (I’ve used turkey bacon for this, too, and it’s wonderful). And sear in a skillet, about 3-4 minutes per side or until bacon starts getting crispy.
Place in baking dish and lightly cover with BBQ sauce. (I usually use Jack Daniel’s original BBQ). Bake at 350˚ for 20-30 minutes. That’s it! Easy and delicious!
I can hardly believe May is already half over! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Homeschooling is still going really well, for which I am truly grateful. It’s a nice break in the madness to just sit down with my kids and read, do worksheets, make crafts, etc. So things from the past week…hmmm.
I found this scene on my daughter’s windowsill. Not sure what they’re all looking at, but I’m thinking we may have caught on to the neighborhood gossips!
Yep, that’s a picture of my kids’ froggy potty. I really am putting that in a post in commemoration of a much needed awesome potty week! Both kids have been dry for the better part of the last four days. With Colton, this has been a three year adventure in trying to find something that would motivate him to go in the potty. He finally just decided he enjoys going standing up…and not to have a TMI moment, but he has better aim than most grown men…not a single mess to clean up so far!
I had to include some garden progress shots because these growing veggies make me so very happy. I’m so excited for harvest time! The top picture is the spinach and romaine lettuce and the bottom is the corn and potatoes. Praying God will continue blessing our little garden venture.
For crafts this week, we did a foam house family portrait. It’s just foam tacky glued to poster board with family pictures. The kids had fun with this one and it looks cute. Then we did curlicue signs for my mom, sister, and grandma. These are cardstock backings with decorative paper on top. The “writing” is strips of construction paper rolled up. Those little curlicues took forever to make. So this ended up being a mostly me project since the kids lost interest pretty quickly. Both of these ideas came from a craft idea magazine my parents found. We also made Mother’s Day cards. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of those. But they were inspired by a craft from Oriental Trading. We cut out the kids’ handprints and a folded flower pot shape from cardstock. We glued one handprint on the inside of the front flap of the flower pot and the other handprint on the inside of the back flap. Then we decorated the fingertips with foam flower stickers. It turned out pretty cute…wish I had remembered to get a picture….
And then there was Mother’s Day, of course! Here’s a picture of four generations of us girls…and my son got in there, too! And then the beautiful flowers my awesome hubby got me. I love being spoiled once in a while !
And now I will leave you with some pictures from my dad’s amazing garden… I will never get tired of taking pictures in his back yard…he definitely has the green thumb!
1. Encourage Others
I didn’t have time this past week to write a piece for the weekly Faithwriters challenge, so instead of eagerly anticipating the comments other writers leave for me, I am wholeheartedly dedicating myself to reading all of the other entries and leaving encouraging feedback for this awesome community of Christian writers. It is way too easy to become selfish and self centered, but it is so much more rewarding to encourage others!
2. Get out from behind this desk and move a little.
I really believe there are few things more physically draining than sitting behind a desk all day long staring at a computer. I’m not generally one who enjoys walking aimlessly through the corridors of an office building, especially during tourist season when we have flocks of school children clogging up the passageways (it’s nice to see the kids learning about our military, but it can feel like you’re swimming upstream). But my body is telling me that 7 years of sitting just isn’t cutting it. I so miss being active all the time. So it is time to do what so many of the older women do here, slap on some tennis shoes with my work clothes and start walking laps .
3. Count blessings.
I was going through some old pictures in my files and came across the photos from my days as a Navy Journalist onboard an aircraft carrier. I had some amazing experiences in the Navy, most involved watching the fighter jets take off and land – and watching a jet break the sound barrier over the Atlantic Ocean. I wouldn’t trade those experiences. But what these photos remind me of most is how thankful I am to not be there anymore. Having endured a bad marriage makes me so grateful for the wonderful marriage I have today. Having lived on a steel gray ship with anywhere from 5,000-6,000 other people makes me really appreciate the house I live in now. And having worked on a ship in the yards, wearing hard hats to get to my office and listening to loud buzzing and jackhammering while trying to write really makes me thankful for my current job in a quiet office with a spectacular window view of a brick wall . It’s all about perspective. Glad I found these photos to remind me how happy I am to be where I am in life.
4. “You thought you were going to be made into a decent cottage: but He is building a palace.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I read this line of Mere Christianity while on the bus to work this morning. I love how poetically insightful C.S. Lewis’ writing is. The point behind this section of the book is that many Christians are surprised when bad things happen to them after they have accepted Christ and given their lives to God. But adversity in our lives is God’s way of making us the best that we can be. We are happy just to be made better than we were, but God has much bigger plans for us. All of the challenges He puts in our lives are tailor made by His loving hand to help us grow for His purposes. Loving that thought today.
5. Wisdom, Humility and Peace
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” ~ James 3:13
The verse that stood out to me today. Not really sure why, but it just resonated with me. As growing Christians, I think we all strive for the wisdom that brings humility, and a humility that brings peace. At least that’s how I see it in my mind. I can only see myself being at peace when I no longer put on myself so much stress to be perfect. God can only make us perfect in Him if we get our own egos out of the way. Still something I am seriously struggling with. And with that, I will leave you with verses from a song that has been stuck in my head the past few days, “Hold Me Jesus.”
“Well, sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small
So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf.
You have been king of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace”
Have a very blessed week!
I just want to wish all of the mothers out there a happy Mother’s Day! I am blessed to know so many amazing mothers who are inspirations to me on a daily basis. And I owe my own mother an enormous debt of gratitude. I know that the blessings I enjoy in life today are due in large part to her faithful prayers throughout my years of back sliding in my faith. Prayers are the most important thing a mother can do for her child, and I am so grateful for every prayer my mom sends up on my behalf.
Today was a beautiful day. Driving up to my parents’ house on a sunny 70 degree day with the wind blowing through my hair and Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” playing on the radio…blissful. It’s small moments like that when God breaks through the noise of our lives and reminds us what an amazing gift life is. Thank you to all of you mother’s out there raising your kids with faith and morals. God bless!
My lilacs are really starting to bloom! I can smell them from my kitchen window…happy day!! Just thought I would share some pictures of this gorgeous gift from God!
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post, but these pictures are from the trip we took with my parents to the Baltimore Zoo last weekend. The kids had a blast, and it’s a good thing because a lot of our family and friends want to take them to the zoo at some point this summer ! The first picture is one of the penguins right before feeding time.
Colton, Kaitlyn, and their cousin Julia on the lion at the zoo entrance… They all enjoyed roaring when we were coming in and leaving.
Some of the fun animals… It was the perfect day to go to the zoo. The weather was gorgeous and the animals were all out and active.
Riding the carousel… Even Colton got on this time and really enjoyed it!
Kaitlyn and I even got to ride a camel!
Love this picture of hubby and Kaitlyn!
Overall, just a wonderful day at the zoo. Kaitlyn ended up with zoo binoculars from the gift store and Colton got one of those little stuffed monkey balls. I’m definitely looking forward to making a few more trips to the Baltimore and Washington Zoos this summer!! And so are the kids, I’m pretty sure !
We did what is quite possibly my favorite craft ever today…a glittery Jesus fish mobile. I found the idea here. Now if you’re like me, the thought of setting your kids loose with glitter will make your stomach turn. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not a bad clean up at all. The kids absolutely loved painting glue and sprinkling glitter. And Colton adores the Jesus fish anyway, so this craft was right up his alley.
And the finished product… We wrote I Heart Jesus on the cardstock. Colton did a great job writing his own!
The other craft we did this week was a paper plate bird. They’re cute, but they weren’t nearly as big a hit as the Jesus fish mobiles.
Have a blessed weekend!