Sunday, April 24, 2011


I just wanted to take a moment to tell y'all 'Happy Easter'!  :)  Every Easter I always think of my pastor from the church I grew up in, because he likes to say, "Happy Resurrection Day!"  :)  I still say Easter, but I think I understand why he likes to say that instead.  I love the Easter Bunny (although the one at the mall really kinda freaks me out) and Egg Hunts--all that is super fun!  I can't wait to do that with my child(ren).  However, Easter is a special day for us to remember that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  He died for ALL of our sins--each and every one, regardless of how 'small' it may seem.  We should be guilty of our own sins, right?  Well, because of Jesus, He took our sins on Himself, even though He was perfect and blameless.  How would you feel today if you committed a great crime and were going to be put to death for it?  How would you feel if someone who was completely innocent came and took your place, allowing you to go free??  That's what Jesus did for us, only in a much bigger way.  Not only that, but He arose and is alive today!  :)

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

When you believe in Him and accept Him as your Lord and Savior, your life changes in a BIG way.  You're never alone.  You're never without hope.  You always have a friend who understands everything you're feeling, even when you don't understand it yourself.  He'll never let you down.  

If this is something you want to know more about, PLEASE don't hesitate to contact us!  We'd love to tell you more.  We won't harass you with extra emails, but we'll help you the best way we can.  

So, Happy Resurrection Day!  :)

On a side note, I love this song, and it's very Easter-ish.  :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: Spaghetti

Whenever my daughter was old enough to begin eating solids, I decided I wanted to make her food myself.  It's not that I'm anti-jar food, but I wanted to save money and liked the idea of knowing what is in her food.

Before I go any further, let me say one thing.  Sometimes when I'm reading other blogs I wonder how people can be SO organized and get SO much done while being a mom.  Well, let me assure you that my house is NOT always clean (it's rarely ALL clean at the same time--I do certain chores each day of the week) and I only have ONE child right now, plus I'm home most of the time.  I make time to do things like this, even though the house needs more attention.  So, PLEASE don't think that taking time to make her food means I have it all together... if you could only see the items scattered all over the floor at this very moment.  ;)  (Extra note:  I got VERY little done today because M wasn't feeling very well, so seriously... making this was one of the FEW things I accomplished today!)

Anyway, I made a trip to the store yesterday and purchased the items below.  This includes chicken tenderloins, four sweet potatoes, two avocados, six kiwis, grapes, nine-ish (?) bananas, and tomato paste.  I realize the tomato paste seems a little out of place here, but I decided to go that route instead of fresh tomatoes this time... maybe next time we'll have some fresh ones from our garden.  ;)

When I first started out making my daughter's baby food, it seemed intimidating, like it would be a lot of work, but it really isn't!  Yes, it is more difficult than opening a jar, but by taking some time, you can prepare a lot of food to last a while.  So, I thought I would do a 'series' of sorts on how I make baby food.  I'm NOT an expert, and I'm NOT saying that my way is the best way.  This is just how I'm choosing to do things.  I get some of my info off of THIS site.  So, if you want to journey along with me, pull up a chair.  Today we're making spaghetti with chicken.  :)  I realize it would probably taste better with beef, but chicken was cheaper yesterday, so there ya go.

My daughter's pediatrician said a basic jar sauce would be fine since she's almost a year old, but I decided to try and make my own, with a little help from tomato paste to get me started.  ;)  

Here are the ingredients I used:
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4ish tsp garlic powder
First I combined the tomato paste with the water.  I added the water slowly, which made it a little easier to mix with the paste.

I put the burner on a low to medium low heat and kept stirring until it combined smoothly.

Then I added the basil and garlic powder.

I want to know why blogger hates me and makes some of my pictures turn like this.  Anybody know why??
Once the seasonings were incorporated (I feel like I'm on a cooking show), I turned up the heat just a little to make sure everything was heated through.  Again, I don't know if this was actually necessary since I wasn't going to serve it to my daughter hot, but I chose to do it this way.

During this time I was cooking my spaghetti noodles, but I imagine we don't need a lot of explanation for that step.  I didn't measure out a certain amount of noodles, so just cook however many you desire.  I actually ended up making two batches because I had enough sauce.  (I'm TERRIBLE at guessing how much pasta to make.  I always seem to make too much or too little!) Once they were cooked, I drained and rinsed them off to let them cool before placing them in my food processor.

Yes, I'm a Fightin' Texas Aggie.  WHOOP! :)
Now, obviously, I pureed the noodles.  I pureed until I couldn't puree any more.  Sadly, I forgot to take an 'after' shot, but just use your imagination.  Then, I poured in half of my sauce.  It's tasted pretty good that way, and my daughter seemed to like it, so that's what I decided to do!  :)

Yum?  Okay, I know it doesn't look great, but remember, this is baby food.  It actually tasted pretty good though!  

I decided to add some chicken for some protein, so I just baked a few pieces of chicken tenders at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I didn't use all of the chicken below for the spaghetti.  Some of it is to add to other things.

They were actually a little overcooked, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm really paranoid about chicken being done, especially if my baby girl is going to eat it!  ;)  Anyway, after it was done, I cut each piece in half and threw it in the food processor.  I wanted TINY pieces, as you can see.  ;)

Afterwards, I simply mixed some of the chicken with the spaghetti.  It got a little thicker once I added the chicken, but I decided to just wait and add a little water to individual servings as needed later on.

Once the chicken and spaghetti were combined, it was time to freeze!  This can be done in different ways.  Sometimes I use ice cube trays, but since I'm a little lazy about cleaning the trays, I've been using a different method.  I just take a cookie sheet, put some wax paper on top of it, then put on some clumps of food.  After I'm done, I cover it with some cling wrap and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours or more.  

Once each 'clump' (for lack of a better word) is completely frozen, I remove them and place them in a labeled freezer bag.  You want to make sure they aren't soft when you place them in the bag, otherwise they'll get stuck together when you place them in the freezer again.  (Can you tell I've learned that the hard way?)  ;)

Now I have several meals for baby girl!  (I have more than is shown above)  :)  This cost less than $3 to make, by the math I just did in my head!  Just take it out the day before and let it thaw in the fridge.  I'm bad about taking it out early, but I'm guessing that's the best way to thaw it!  ;)

Next up: Sweet Potatoes!  (which is MUCH less complicated) :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Idea for Mother's Day!

Ok, so it probably seems I've gone AWOL, huh?  Well, I'm here, but between working some, having an extremely active child, and a blank mind, I haven't been able to blog much.  And this isn't much of a blog either but I just wanted to share it with everyone because it would be such a wonderful Mother's Day gift for all your wonderful mothers/mother-in-laws. 

It's a "buy one, get two photo books free" deal from Snapfish.  Here is what you have to do:
  • Head to Snapfish.
  • Choose either an 8″ x 11″ Custom Cover or an 8″ x 11″ Classic Photo Book
  • Make a 20-page book, extra pages are charged regular rates
  • Place all 3 books in your cart for checkout and use code MOMMYBOOKS by Monday, April 18*

So, hurry hurry by next Monday! 

~ Shawna

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I would love to have a little boy one day, and when I was pregnant I knew that we were blessed regardless of the gender of our baby.  I have to admit though, when I found out we were having a girl, I was SO excited to dress her in all sorts of girly, frilly things and put TONS of bows on her precious at a time, of course.  ;)

I did NOT want to pay for bows though.  I figured it would be cheaper to make them, and more fun too.  So, my mom helped me make several before she was born, and they were super cute.  Unfortunately, she loves to pull off her headbands now, so we had to go a different route if I wanted her to wear bows with her outfits these days.  Thankfully she has some hair so I decided to make some small bows to clip onto her hair.  :)

These are all around 2 1/2 inches wide, so they don't look too big on her head.  ;)  

This one MIGHT be my favorite, maybe just because I like brown and pink together.

They aren't perfect, but they were fun and easy to do!  :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

*Work in Progress*

I'm working on making our blog prettier, but my daughter is not allowing me to finish right now, so I apologize for the craziness!  ;)  Hopefully it'll be back to it's glorious magnificence later today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ritz Chicken Recipe

I love chicken, and I love Ritz crackers.  If you do too, then I have a fabulous (not to mention super easy and cheap!) recipe for you.  :)

I use skinless chicken breasts and just cut them into smaller pieces--somewhere between a nugget size and tender size.  ;)  I cook 8 pieces for me and my hubby, so you'll obviously have to increase or decrease the amount of ingredients and cooking time depending on how much (or little) you're cooking.  
You'll need:
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (although I'm sure any kind of chicken will do!) ;)
  • Ritz crackers (store brand is fine)
  • Butter (3-4 tablespoons)
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  

First, you want to take your lovely package of crackers.  For 8 pieces of chicken, I usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of a package of crackers.  Keep in mind this is when they're in the long row packages.  The crackers I bought this time were all scattered in the box!  ;)

Now you need to smoosh 'em!  I use a very professional technique using paper towels and a rolling pin.  I just take a couple of paper towels, place the crackers in the middle, then fold the paper towel back over them.  (I had already crushed up a few in the picture below)

Then I take my rolling pin and roll it over the crackers to make them into a nice, fine, crumbly cracker collection.  The finer the crumbs, the easier it is later.

Next, I place the cracker crumbs in a bowl, and then melt some butter in another bowl.  In this case, I just used some tupperware, so if you do this, melt your butter first!  ;)  (Note:  I'm guessing you could replace the butter with egg whites or something--would that be healthier?  I don't know.  I'm not an expert on healthy things like that, but I'm sticking with butter for now.)  ;)

Now, take your chicken.  (Helpful hint: Whenever I buy chicken, I try to buy a big package, and then I cut it all up at once and split it into piles.  Then I place certain amounts in different bags with labels, so all I have to do is take out a certain bag for supper at night.  If I want to make Ritz chicken, I have a bag with just the right amount so it's easy to thaw and prepare.  If I want Fried chicken, it has a different amount and different sizes. It takes a bit of work to cut and sort at the beginning, but then it's super easy when you're preparing supper!  I'll try to do a post on that another day.)

Salt and pepper your chicken to your heart's content.  :)  (I'm not sure that you actually NEED to salt the chicken, considering that there is salt on the crackers.  I may need to try skipping this step one day to see what difference it makes)

Now dip each piece of chicken in the cracker crumbs, then the butter, and cracker crumbs again.  Place them on a greased cookie sheet and cook them for 20ish minutes.  *Remember that you may need to cook them more or less depending on their size and amount!*

I'm paranoid about my chicken being done in the middle, so I always check afterwards.  ;)  

See??  Simple and easy.  I'm sure you could add other flavors to this as well.  I've actually crushed some French's Fried Onions and added them to the cracker crumbs, which was good.  I've also added some parmesan cheese, but I didn't care for that flavor as much.  Be creative, and eat up!  :)

Linking up to Not Just a Housewife

Monday, April 4, 2011

Paperback Swap!


Are you a reader?? I REALLY love reading. It's my favorite hobby, and I look forward to it every day.  I usually do my reading in the evening after the little one is in bed, and it's a FABULOUS way to unwind!  :)  It's actually kinda funny how much I read now.  I loved reading when I was young, but I'll be honest and tell you that I rarely finished reading my required books during high school or college.  I was NOT a fan of some of the 'classics' or my textbooks.  Cliffs Notes and Spark Notes were my best friends.  It's truly a miracle that I did so well in my literature classes.   I remember in one class we would discuss the chapters we were supposed (ahem..) to have read, and I would be frantically scribbling down notes of what everybody was saying during class to make sure I knew what was going on in the book.  I think I ended up with a 'B' in that class or something... I'm telling ya...miracle.


After I married my fabulous hubby, I picked up reading again and fell in love!  My favorites are historical romances, but they're usually Christian based, simply to avoid all the extra stuff that I don't need to be reading.  ;)  I'm fairly picky though--I don't like unrealistic Christian novels.  For example, there was one book I read a few months ago, and it was unbelievably cheesy.  "Son, have I told you lately how much I love you?" (this from a father to his 30 year old son).  NO. NO. NO.  I finished the book, but I haven't been able to read another book by that author yet, out of fear.  ;)  So, if you're avoiding Christian based novels because of the fear of them being cheesy, let me assure you, that there are some EXCELLENT books out there.  :)

I will also confess that yes, I am a 'Twilight' fan.  A pretty big one, in fact.  There are a couple of things about the series I don't agree with, but overall, I'm a fan.

Let me get to the main reason for this post.  I want books available to me at all times, and sometimes the library doesn't have the selection that I want.  So, I went in search of a book club.  The problem?  I didn't want to pay a yearly fee or anything like that.  Somehow I came across this site called Paperback Swap.  It's a website with literally millions of books available to order.  It's not your typical bookstore though.  This is a place for you to trade (or swap) your books with other people all around the country.  Basically, you take your old books that you don't want anymore and enter their ISBN number into the system, and then post them online for others to 'order'.  Keep in mind that although the books don't need to be perfect, they do need to be in acceptable shape, without water damage or underlining.  The rules for posting are listed here.  Each book is worth one credit, regardless of whether it is hardback or paperback.  Anyway, once someone orders one of your books, you just ship the book to them, (so you have to pay $2-3 for media mail shipping) and once they receive it, you receive one credit per book.  In turn, you can take this credit, look for a book YOU want, and order it.  To order your book, all you do is click on the book you want, confirm your address, and your book is mailed within a few days.  All you pay for on this site is shipping your books to other members!!

Some books are in higher demand than others of course, so depending on that, people may order your books immediately, or you may have to wait a while.  On the flip side, if you're wanting to order a popular book, you may be put on a waiting list to order that book.  But seriously--books can be expensive, so you can end up paying around $3 (based on the book you shipped to receive your credit) for a book that's usually priced at $15 or even more!  Awesome.  Plus, as a new member, when you post your first 10 books, you earn TWO free credits, just like that.  Even more awesome.  :)

I signed up in '07 or '08, and since then, I have ordered 85 books and mailed 88!  :)  I LOVE this website!  So don't be afraid that it's too good to be true, I assure you, it's a great site!  :)

I'll leave you with a fabulous book to order--Thorn in my Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs.  :)  You won't regret it!  (I was going to suggest Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, but you'll be put on a waiting list for that one!)  ;)

If you have any questions, go here or feel free to ask me!

Happy reading!!  :)