Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Little Swimmers Who Could

We are very blessed to have awesome neighbors/friends who love us like family. (We love them like they're family, too!) :o) Since we moved here one year ago (wow!) it's been wonderful getting to know them.

There's also a little "side perk". They have a pool. Way cool.

Last summer, Danae was in the pool with them so much that she almost learned how to swim without needing a flotation device. I'm sure she'll get the hang of it again this summer.

And now Danae has a little brother following and copying her every move...he thinks he can just swim on his own, too. Here's the proof.

Yes, his favorite word is "no". Yes, he's still my little cutie. And, yes...he's the one who will cause me to go gray very, very soon! :o)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Oh, this is so simple! And it's an AWESOME way to get your husband and kids to eat spinach and artichokes!

*wink wink*

This recipe is somewhat of a mix of two that I've had in the past from friends and family. I've lightened it a bit and somewhat "hid" the existence of the artichokes. These puppies, while not appealing to look at or smell, are low in calories, virtually fat free, and loaded with fiber and other good-for-you vitamins. The spinach is also a low-calorie, fat-free, loaded-with-good-stuff veggie, too! I think this is what's for dinner tonight! :o)

Spinach Artichoke Dip

16 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
14 oz. jar or can marinated artichoke hearts, drained
5 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and garlic in a large bowl. Beat until creamy. Put drained artichokes in a blender or food process and process until they are broken down into small pieces. Add artichokes and spinach to cream cheese mixture and mix by hand until blended. Spread into greased pan. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and light brown on top. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with baked tortilla chips. Better yet, try to make your own tortilla chips and serve with them!

Photo courtesy of Food Network

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

To the hero and playtime buddy in our house...

...the naptime rocker and Bible reader...

...the creative brain and amazingly hard worker...

...the boo-boo healer and teary-eyed cleaner.

To the Daddy-O who sets a Godly example for his children...

Happy Father's Day.

Your love for our three babies is so evident, and what you are teaching Danae and Caedon now will resonate for years. It hasn't been all that easy, but their faces show that it's oh so worth it. Thank you for being an amazing Dad!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Garden of Hope

There is a garden nearby...

built and designed for family and friends...

to remember the babies we loved and lost.

The Garden of Hope

We were blessed with a gift: a memorial plaque, placed on the wall at the Garden.

This past Sunday, the Board members of the Garden read all of the names out loud and prayed for the families. We attended, just the kiddos and us. It was a short but beautiful time...just like my little boy's life.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Beach Bathroom

This just didn't feel "beachy" enough...


I threw aside my ginormous work pile and my home "to-do" list and spent two afternoons painting to produce this:

From peach walls and ceiling to while ceiling and Sea Wave walls. Ahhh...much better. :o)

Now I'm trying to decide if I want to keep the worn, weathered look on the wainscoting or if I want to paint it white and cover the visible knots in the wood. Any thoughts on that?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Baked Panko-Breaded Onion Rings

In our house, Sunday night dinners over the summer are typically light and fun. Ice cream and waffles, smoothies, maybe a little bit of get the idea.

This past weekend we enjoyed homemade onion rings with fruit shakes...yum! Panko (a Japanese style bread crumb) gives the onion rings a great crunch. And I love that they are baked and not fried...much healthier for you! I hope you get to try them out!

Baked Panko-Breaded Onion Rings

2 large Vidalia onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 cups milk
2 cups whole wheat flour (or white flour...wheat just adds more fiber)
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
4 large egg whites

Separate the onion slices into individual rings. Layer the rings in a single layer in a large baking pan. Pour the milk over them and allow them to soak for 10 minutes, turning them once.

Preheat oven to 425. Line two baking sheets with foil.

Put the flour in a shallow dish. Put the Panko in a small dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a wire whisk until very foamy.

Working in batches, remove the onion rings from the milk and dredge them in flour, shaking off any excess. Add the rings to the egg whites and toss to coat completely. Add the rings to the Panko and coat completely.

Spread the rings out on the baking sheets. Season generously with salt and pepper, then spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the Panko is golden brown and onions are tender.

See how easy it is? Now, to make a fruit shake, just throw some milk, fruit (frozen or fresh), ice, and a little bit of yogurt (any flavor, to go with your fruit) into a blender, blend on high, and you're all set! If you want, you can add a small scoop of all-natural vanilla ice cream and blend that in there, too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Oatmeal Bars

I've been a very bad, neglectful blogger lately.


Consistency was not the name of the game over the past two weeks, as life and work took over the reigns. But, things are slowing down and my workload is getting a bit lighter.

Let me assure you that it was definitely not for a lack of thoughts that I wasn't posting. A lot of thinking and reflection has been going just hasn't made it out of my head and onto paper or the computer screen. I need to do a better job at that.

For now, I will leave you with a Tasty Tuesday recipe, now that I'm realizing it's Tuesday and not Monday. Oh, those holiday weekends...

But soon, very soon, I'm hoping to share with you what has been going on internally...the change that God is doing within us. Stay tuned.

Oatmeal Bars

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (homemade is the best!)
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup flour (a blend of all-purpose and wheat works great)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, applesauce, oil, and syrup until well blended. In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and allspice. Gradually stir into the applesauce mixture until blended. Stir in raisins.

Spread batter into a greased 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until edges start to brown. Cool completely, then cut into bars.

This is a nice and quick recipe, easy to make for Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast! Now, feel free to play around with this one. Substitute some of the sugar with agave nectar, honey, or another sweetener. Add flax seed. Use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. Try things out and see what you like!