Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spinach and Chocolate (Yeah, maybe I am pregnant!)

This is the blog post in which I must make a confession or two. My first confession is that I never liked spinach unless it was fresh and in a salad. Cooked greens of any type just do not do it for me. Ever. Period. No matter how they're cooked, seasoned, dressed, flavored, I just can't do it. I mean, I can. I'm a big girl and can choke down a bite or two to be polite to the host but the whole time I have this "moo-ing" sound going on in my head feeling like I'm chewing silage (what cows eat).

My second confession would be that I finally gave in to some recipes that called for spinach and looked so good. I was super skeptical but for some reason every time I looked at the pictures and read the recipes it just seemed like they would be utterly delicious.

Ham, Spinach and Tomato Frittata

I had a bag of frozen, chopped spinach in the freezer and one Saturday morning while Daniel and the girls were eating their traditional Saturday morning breakfast of cold cereal I tried the first recipe. The recipe is for Ham, Spinach and Tomato Frittata. I started reading Aliesha's blog, Feather in Our Nest last month and it was one of those "can't put it down until you read the entire archives - in order" kind of blogs. Anyway, I made the frittata generally following her recipe and adding cheese on top. 'Cause I'm a cheese girl. :-) It was so good!  Since then I've been making it a lot. At least a few times a week a lot. Daniel and the girls like it, too (Susannah calls it "froo-tata!!"). I love the mixture of flavors and that I'm getting iron from a good source (spinach). This recipe was just the start of my slide down the slippery slope...

The second spinach recipe I wanted to try was one I had seen early this year and thought it looked good, but ew, cooked spinach?? However, I kept thinking about it and looking at it. After loving the Ham, Spinach and Tomato Frittata I decided I had to at least try this other recipe. The recipe is for Skillet-Poached Eggs with Spinach, Pea Tendrils and Leeks (from A few things going against my mind here were the "poached eggs" and the amount of spinach. I've never eaten/couldn't imagine eating poached eggs. I've seen too many runny-egg pictures of poached eggs to begin thinking of eating them. But, lo and behold, I still thought the recipe looked too good to not try at least once.

I didn't (and don't) have any pea tendrils or leeks, so I loosely follow the recipe. I use onion, frozen chopped spinach, bits of ham, the eggs (of course) and some pepper. (The ham I'm currently using is salty country ham so I don't need to add any salt.) After I saute the vegetables and meat I slide them to the sides and crack in the eggs. After seasoning with pepper I cover the skillet with a lid and let everything cook until the eggs are DONE. No runny egg for me, noooo thank you. The surprising thing? It is REALLY good. I do like to make sure my bites of spinach all have some egg with them, but even alone it's pretty good. SCORE for another great-tasting source for iron from spinach! I make this recipe about once a week, depending on how I feel like eating my eggs that day. :) I don't think I've made this for the girls but Daniel has tasted off my plate and said it was different but not bad. It is especially good served with a slice of buttered whole wheat toast. :)

Now on to the chocolate part. We ran out of milk on Tuesday. That meant Wednesday morning I had to miss my morning cup of Café con chocolate leche. (My fancy wording for mixing coffee with chocolate milk. ;-) ) I had hoped to pick up milk while I was in town Wednesday but the timing didn't work out. After church I mentioned to Daniel that we needed milk but I didn't want to unload-load the girls at the store just for milk (I needed to go grocery shopping sometime soon anyway). He had driven to church in his work van and Susannah was riding home with him. Sylvia and I got home before they did and they weren't right behind us like I thought they would be. After a while they got home. Lo and behold, not only did they have MILK, but Daniel had brought me a chocolate bar, too! And it wasn't just any old chocolate bar. It was Hershey's WITH ALMONDS.

He said that when they were getting ready to buy the milk he picked up the candy bar to buy also. Susannah asked what it was for and he told her "because it will make Mama happy." "Is Mama sad?" was her question. He told her no, I wasn't, but the chocolate would still make me happy. When I was giving him a hug and telling him thank-you for the chocolate - possibly grinning like a fool the whole time - he turned to Susannah and asked "What did I say the chocolate would do for Mama?" "Make her happy!!" was her answer.

Yes, it sure did make me happy. That morning I needed some chocolate medicine and broke into a plain Hershey bar because that was the best I could do. Needless to say, the next time I needed some chocolate medicine I went for the Hershey's with Almonds candy bar. It might not have lasted very long, either...

There you have it. My blog post about spinach and chocolate. I just need to make sure I eat more spinach than chocolate. ;-)

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Little of This and That

This past Sunday afternoon the sewing bug bit. I him-hawed a bit about starting a new project I really want to do or finishing one I started a couple years ago (isn't that embarrassing?!). I decided to be responsible and finish the already started project. I bought this fabric about 8 years ago from the remnant section at WalMart; it was very inexpensive. I bought it planning to make curtains for our then living room. I never got around to it and eventually decided I didn't want that fabric in the living room anyway.  Then we had our major move-the-kitchen/remodel project and I realized the fabric was perfect for in the kitchen. Fast forward to Sunday, and I discovered how very close to finished the two valances actually were. I just had to finish sewing the rod-pockets and they were ready to hang. I got my sewing therapy AND have a finished project. :-)  Daniel hung one of the valances for me last night; when I can find another curtain rod or go buy another one, we'll have them both hung up. It's been a long time coming and I really like them.

Over the summer, and more seriously this fall, Daniel has been working at splitting and stacking wood for this winter. He split plenty by hand, but a few weeks ago he borrowed a splitter and really went to town with it. The entire back row is filled, and the front row is almost filled now. With the weather turning cooler this week I'm really thankful for his dedication and hard work!  In fact, tonight - after running an after-hours call for work and getting home at 8:30 - he is working at cleaning out the chimney for the wood-stove so that we can start the stove. I'm not sure if we'll have our first fire tonight or later this week.

Susannah and Sylvia have been enjoying the out-of-doors this fall. One day after lunch we went out and after taking pictures of the different colors of leaves I took some of them. I like this one even though it's a little posed. :-)

I have been feeling great the past several days and last week made good progress on my purge and organize the kitchen project. I think that tomorrow I will tackle the food cupboards and maybe even the fridge if I get that far. So far I am doing it the lazy way and haven't done any specific cleaning. At some point, though, the cabinet fronts desperately need wiped off.

Somehow I am still in a major don't-want-to-cook rut. Eggs? I love eggs. I would eat them for every meal if I could. Almost all of my breakfasts these days are eggs in some form. The other night I even made eggs for my 4th meal. Lunch and dinner? I don't really have any desire or clue what to make.  I don't know if I need new recipes or what. Maybe I'll try a new soup recipe this week that I've always thought sounded good.

Daniel is on call this week and with the weather turning cold at the same time, I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for long, single-parenting days ahead. On that note, it is almost midnight and I should be heading to bed so I can be rested up for another day tomorrow.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ October 14

It has been a long time since I've done one of these and thought it would be fun to do again.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I am thinking ...about a young mother in our church who was recently diagnosed with cancer. They have 2 girls about the same age as our girls. The mother is just a bit younger than I am.  My life seems very uncomplicated and stress-free all of the sudden. My heart aches for this family as they are still finding out more information and treatment details.
   ... I also think that it's nice to see the sunshine again. :) All last week it was chilly, cloudy and rainy. The girls were inside almost all of the time. Today they went outside and played for a while.

I am thankful for... the opportunity to go on a very relaxing and refreshing retreat with couples from our Sunday School class this past weekend. One morning we spent time in the Word and in prayer for each other. It was a sweet time of deepening relationships beyond the quick small talk as we pass each other in church.

I painted my nails while we were on the retreat. Susannah and Sylvia both noticed
and Susannah asked this morning if I could paint their nails the same color.
(Their nails are a lot lighter than mine since I only give them one coat.)

From my kitchen... I don't have any food-making plans today; I made Taco Soup and Chicken and Dumplings late last week and we will be eating from those leftovers for supper. I did just recently get a set of Pyrex storage bowls. :-D I am in the process of purging, cleaning, re-arranging and organizing my cupboards to find the best place for them to fit and getting rid of some things that I don't use or love enough to merit keeping.

I am reading...

  What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Children's Allergies and Asthma: Simple Steps to Help Stop Attacks and Improve Your Child's Health
I don't think I'm quite half-way through and it has been enlightening. Allergies (food and environmental) and asthma are both things we have in our family and the information this book contains is not stuff you would learn from a typical trip to the doctor. I borrowed it from the library and it was timely as this fall I have had mild asthma attacks after almost 10 years of none.

I am hoping ...Hmm, what am I hoping. I am hoping to make great progress in the kitchen project this afternoon/week. I am hoping to get a few things photographed and advertised today to sell and that they sell! I am hoping that Daniel will have time to get some things down from the attic so I can do some fall decorating. I am also hoping he can make a trip to the {other} attic to put away a bunch of things that I have been collecting for storage. I am hoping and praying that my allergy and asthma problems will be put to rest with the new medications my doctor put me on. Prior to this, (this fall) if I was outside for very long at all I had a sore throat the remainder of the day (and eventually asthma cropped up). I am hoping that my cough (from a sinus infection or the asthma? not sure) will clear up soon; it is much better but still coughing.

I am creating... I have lots of ideas in my head. I have a partial idea of what I want to do with this wall. Now I just need to figure out how to create/buy/find what I'm looking for.  This project has been the reason I am slightly, possibly, maybe, might start looking at Pinterest. I have avoided it so far...

I am hearing... the dryer just finished (no line drying these days as much as I'd love to save the electricity). Now it is just me and silence. :-)

"Washing dishes" one day.

Around the house... We have two, yes, TWO, broken toilet seats. The first to break was a super-cheap seat that came with the toilet when we put it in. One of the plastic "bolts" that hold it to the commode snapped. The other seat simply cracked in the actual seat ring and now pinches whomever sits upon it! Nice. I'm sure you wanted to know all about our busted jon seats...  On a better topic, I have been burning a candle or two lately. It adds a nice touch on an otherwise dreary or same-ole, same-ole day.

A few plans for the week... Nothing big or honky-dory. Sometime we want to get some pumpkins and mums for our front steps. That might happen. Otherwise my main "plans" are to do the daily regulars and work on the kitchen project. If by some chance I would finish that and still have some week left, I do have a list of things around the house I want to do this fall. A sort of fall cleaning if you will.

*The pictures in this post are just snapshots from our daily lives lately. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Going to the Fair ~ Part 2

After looking at animals and Susannah enjoying some of the rides, we decided it was a good time to figure out our supper. We had planned to eat "fair food", choosing to splurge with our entertainment fund. :)  Susannah and Sylvia had their first ever corn-dog (they split a foot-long one), Daniel and I each had a foot-long corn-dog and we all shared a "curly fry". Their "curly fries" are one enormous potato spiral cut and french-fried. It was a massive bowl full! Oddly enough, the corn-dog tasted good to me. I don't know why but it did!! We did take along plenty of water so we wouldn't have to spend money on drinks.

There were no utensils for our food so we used Daniel's pocketknife to cut Sylvia's corn-dog into pennies, and used napkins for "plates".  They had little picnic tents set up around the food area which made it very nice to sit down for a while.

Susannah is a snuggler. :)

I asked Daniel to take a picture of Sylvia and me, and she reached up and shared some of her corn-dog when I leaned down toward her!

After our high-cholesterol meal, we meandered our way to the "big wheel" so we could all ride the Ferris Wheel. I did not ask Susannah to smile for either of these next two pictures. She was having so much fun so much of the time.

The Ferris Wheel was the longest "line" we had to wait in, maybe for all of 5 minutes. It was also the ride we got our most money's worth from as we went around more times than we thought we would!  By this time Sylvia was getting tired and snuggled with me much of the ride, but Susannah really enjoyed it.

After the Ferris Wheel we decided to start working our way towards the car. Susannah wanted to look at the rabbits again, so we did that. Then we found the tent with a giraffe, some kangaroos and some other animals (a miniature yak maybe?) but surprisingly none of them really interested Susannah.

What did pique her interest, though, was the equipment displays at the front of the fair entrance. We made a slight detour so she and Sylvia could climb on the various tractors, gators, lawn-mowers, etc. This revived both of them and they had a lot of fun!


After we were finished looking at the equipment (and Daniel and I gathered our jaws up off the ground; they kept falling there when we would see the price-tags!) we looked at a combine and the pen where the fair-cows were spending the night. Susannah got to pet one of the cows, Sylvia wasn't too sure about them as many were lowing and it was a bit loud.

There was a Virginia Tech booth right there that was selling bar-b-que and for some reason I really wanted some (I was hungry and it smelled SO GOOD). We had taken some cash along figuring some of the booths would be cash-only, and it happened that the bar-b-que booth was one and we were $1 short! *sigh* My taste-buds were disappointed but I knew I would live just fine.

The walk back to our car felt like miles and miles and by this time my feet, legs and hips were aching. The girls were tired and one rode the stroller and Daniel carried the other on his shoulders. We made it to the car and back home for a late bed-time.

I can't say that this trip to the fair was something that really excited me, personally, and I don't know if I would go just to go, but it was so much fun taking the girls and enjoying it through their eyes. That made it everything we wanted it to be and then some. :)  I doubt we'll make this an annual tradition but we'll probably do it again sometime and I know Susannah will remember this trip for a very long time.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Going to the Fair ~ Part 1

This spring and summer I was hoping and tentatively planning to make a trip back home so we could attend the county fair near my parents. We talked about it and kept the plans on the back burner for when the time got closer. The time did get closer and it was smack in the middle of the worst weeks of my morning sickness. There was no way I was going to spend hours among a crowd, rides, keeping track of 2 girls and fighting nausea the whole time. Much to my and Susannah's disappointment we new the best thing was to stay home.

Then I remembered the State Fair. Wheels started turning again. I knew it would be a bigger event and likely more people, but also much closer to us. I looked up the dates of the fair and we put it on the back burner as something we wanted to do if we could.  From time to time Susannah would talk about it, how she wanted to ride the rides and see the animals. She had seen pictures of her cousins at the county fair (the one we had to miss) and that only heightened her eagerness to go to "the fair". 

For some reason I thought the fair was mid-October and when I saw friends posting about the fair on Facebook a the BEGINNING of October I started to scramble! Daniel and I talked about it and decided we wanted to try and make it work. As the fair had sneaked up on us, we weren't sure if his work schedule would allow him an early day, but he asked on Monday. It was tentatively set for him to take a half-day on Thursday. We did not mention anything to the girls, not wanting to disappoint Susannah again if going to the fair didn't work out.

Thursday came and both girls woke up earlier than usual. That was nice, because I fixed their lunch early and they started their naps early. Daniel got home mid-afternoon and I started gathering things together. Sylvia woke up first and then we woke Susannah up. Once we told her we were going to the State Fair, she beamed for the rest of the day! She talked about the rides she was going to ride (mostly "the banana ride") and the animals she was going to see (alligators and crocodiles were on her list, I told her I didn't think they would be at the fair). We took our water bottles (it was a warm day) and the stroller. When we got there I mentally geared myself up for hours of walking and hoped the girls (especially Susannah) had enough adrenaline to not notice how far we had to walk!

The State Fair is divided into two sections, a main section and then a kids section. We spent the entire evening in the kids section which was plenty big enough for me! We found the Young MacDonald's Farm tents and Susannah wasn't a big fan of the chickens and roosters. When we got to the bunny rabbits, oh my, she loved looking at the rabbits!

She really wanted to pet the rabbits, but there were signs everywhere saying "Do Not Touch" the rabbits. As much as I wanted her to be able to pet a bunny (because she wanted to so badly), we had to keep reminding her that she couldn't.

There were a few larger ducks in that tent and that was the first time Sylvia sat up and really looked.

Then we moved to a different tent where there were lots of miniature and smaller farm animals. Susannah was happy because she could touch these as long as they were close enough to the rails of the pens. The only animal she specifically did not want to touch were the sheep. I helped her feel one's wooly back, then she did not want to touch any more. Later she said "the rest of them had teeth to bite me!"

I was pleasantly surprised at how un-crowded the place was, even though there were still plenty of people. At the alpaca pen the lady asked Susannah if she wanted to feed the alpacas. She (the lady) got one of the alpacas interested in the feed then poured a small handful into Susannah's hands and I helped her hold them. The alpaca took a few nibbles before she pulled her hands back. :-) I think she liked and didn't like it at the same time.

Sylvia looking at the mama pig and her piglets.

There was a small pen of young piglets and she loved petting a little red piglet with brown spots that was very social. In another pen there was a huge mother sow there with no fewer than ten piglets, nine of which were trying their hardest to eat their supper. That was fascinating to Susannah. :-) (I thought I had taken more pictures of Susannah and the animals, but undoubtedly not. :-/ )

After this we did a potty break (where I'll put out there that I was un-impressed at the lack of baby-changing stations in the bathrooms!! There wasn't a single one in the bathrooms on our side of the fair.) and then made our way to the rides. You could feel Susannah's excitement and anticipation building!! It was so nice that the day Daniel was able to get off was also the $1-ride day!

Daniel went with Susannah on her first ride. Would you say she was beaming?? :-)

Before the ride started, Sylvia was watching like this:

After she saw Daniel and Susannah go past the first time...

...she started crying and crying, saying "Dah! Dah!" I dug out her blankie and she sadly watched them the rest of the ride like this:

The next ride we decided on was the carousel. Susannah wasn't to thrilled about it but we thought she would like it and Sylvia could ride as long as there was an adult. We had 3 ride tickets at that point so Daniel went with the girls and I took pictures. It's hard to get carousel pictures. :-)  Susannah did enjoy it and Sylvia did, too, until about the 3rd time around when she saw me and started crying.

THEN it was time for the much anticipated banana ride!!! Susannah was tall enough she did not need an adult and we opted to let her go solo. She walked in, walked to an empty banana and climbed right in as pretty as you please! The attendant got her buckled in and she waited for the ride to start. I wasn't sure how she would do by herself, but once it started she was beaming brighter than all the bright lights there.

Waiting for the ride to start.

She loved this ride so very much!!

 After this we went for another bathroom break and then in search of some supper. I will blog about the rest of our evening in another post. It was just as much fun!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Surprise

Yes, Baby #3 is on his or her way. :)  This is the picture we sent to our families back in July. (It was right at bedtime when I got this idea so we were all a little worn-out from our day!)

To answer everyone's first question - or at least I am sure I hear them asking it in their heads even if they don't verbalize it - having all our babies born in March (Lord willing) has been God's doing. :) If this baby does come in March (likely late March), we will have 4 birthdays and our anniversary in March!

I had several weeks of almost-all-day queasiness and yuck. Faithfully eating something every 1 1/2 to 2 hours helped, but it was still no picnic. If I didn't HAVE to be moving, I was parked on the couch holding still.

Thankfully the sickness has passed and I am feeling good again. We are planning to wait until the baby is born to find out if the Lord is giving us a son our daughter. Susannah says she wants a brother and I ask if she will still love the baby if God gives her another baby sister. Her answer is always "yes". :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Frogs, Ladybugs and Well Check-ups

Yesterday before naptime for the girls I managed to wash (before lunch) remake their beds (after lunch) and give both girls baths (also after lunch). Since we had church in the evening I went ahead and dressed them in the clothes they would wear for church. As it turned out - unplanned - they not only color coordinated but both were wearing some special clothes.

Auntie Juls (my sister) gave Susannah this ladybug skirt this spring knowing that Susannah loves anything and everything that has to do with ladybugs. :)  It was a little big this spring and summer so I'm really glad for the warm weather we're having right now so she can wear it! She is pretty excited about it. :-)

Sylvia's jumper, which is pink, green and white stripes with little green frogs in the stripes, is one that my mother-in-law made for our niece when she was little. Since it has been out-grown in that family, it has been passed on to ours. I am glad that Sylvia is able to wear it!

On a slightly different note, both girls had well-check-ups on Tuesday.  Susannah doesn't weigh much more than Sylvia, who weighs a hefty 27 pounds. Susannah is in the 75th percentile for her height and weight; Sylvia is in the 90th for height and weight and her head is in the 99th. Sylvia's love for food shows on the scale (I think she has lead in her bones!) and obviously she puts her big head to good use with being as smart as she is. ;-)  The Dr. was not concerned with her head size as her proportions have remained steady all of her 19 months of life. :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

What could possibly be any more beautiful than your happy, care-free daughter wearing her ruffled bathing suit, riding her tricycle after the rain, and catching her smiles while the sunlight turns her wild curls into a golden halo??

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Decorating Inspiration Needed!

See that big, blank wall up there? The one split in two by the stove pipe? That is one wall that I am stumped about decorating in this living room. The walls are all mostly bare and I'm ready to change that. Affordably, mind you. :)  I've thought about plates... or scroll-work something... do I do the same or similar on each side of the pipe, do I keep it different or what? I've thought about a wreath, but that is just one item, what else would I put up there to make it look "right"?

I like simple, not too fru-fru or cluttery. I like the simple beach-house or cottage type look. I'm not into the current chevron craze (though some people can really pull it off!). I like country but elegant. The wall color is a very pale cream (Benjamin Moore's White Linen, I think). To the left of this wall is the foyer, to the right is the doorway to the office with just a small section of wall to the right of the doorway (where there is currently a bookshelf).

I'm open to any ideas! Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. Links to pictures or ideas would be fun.