Thursday, April 18, 2013

Organizing the Fridge 2.0

Last Sunday night Matt realized that our fridge wasn't cooling well, by morning everything was close to room temperature. We called in a repair guy, but I knew in my mind it wasn't going to be good. (We have had horrible luck with this fridge since we got it.)  He gave us a quote of nearly a thousand dollars to repair everything... at that price I would rather go buy a new one!!! Thankfully God had provided the funds for us before we even needed them. We were able to get a good deal at Lowe's and picked up this beauty...

Before I started loading it up I knew I wanted to get a plan first. I hit up Pinterest for organizing ideas in french door refrigerators, but there weren't many. So I just pulled all of my supplies from last time and set to work.

I knew I wanted to start with the drawer in the middle. I wanted the kids to be able to easily reach their snacks. We loaded it up with fruits, veggies, yogurt and cheese sticks. After almost two weeks, I have replenished this drawer 3 times, and our jar of crackers and granola bars has stayed full!

 Next, I juggled around the shelves until I found the set up that would work best for us.

On the right side I took out one of the door shelves to make room for two rows of gallon jugs. The top shelf is for left overs, so we can't miss them. Below that is my small Lazy Susan for jar items. I kept the sandwich making bins on the next shelf. It really has proven helpful to just be able to pull the bins out when it is time to make lunches. The bottom is open all the way across for thawing meats.

The left side is a little more narrow to allow for the ice maker. I put the eggs on the top shelf, kool-aid and tea pitchers in the middle and I use the drawer for tortillas, bagels and english muffins. I am going to try to use the condiments and dressings we have on hand so we don't get overloaded again.

The only area I was worried about when I made this purchase was the freezer. It looked pretty small in the store, but after a trip to Sam's for bulk meat buying, I can happily say that it has enough room for our family of 5 (and a half :])! Poultry on one side and meat on the other. The top has more than enough room for bread, cookie dough and ice cream, you know... the essentials.

So far this system has worked pretty well. The little ones love having a "kid drawer" and love being able to see and reach everything with ease. Now, as long as I don't have to call anyone out to repair it every 8 months I will be a happy girl!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Love Lost

Today is my father-in-laws birthday. Instead of celebrating today, we are mourning.

I said earlier, we have had a hard beginning to our 2013, on March 1st, Mike went to be with the Lord. It was very unexpected. Earlier that week he had been suffering from a stomach bug, Matt's mom finally decided to take him to the ER thinking he was severely dehydrated. That night between the ER and ICU, he lost consciousness and never woke up. Apparently, he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped and despite great efforts from the medical staff, God was ready for him to come home. We sat in disbelief for hours, no days. I still don't think it has fully sunk in. But as a gift to Mike, I would like to take a second and celebrate his life and the impact he had for the Lord.

I met Mike for the first time when I was in the 1st grade. The Ham family started attending our church and right off the bat I knew there was something different about this man. He was one of the most outgoing eccentric people I had ever seen. He always sat on the right side of the aisle, in the second row, red socks peeking out under his black slacks. I can see him with both hands lifted high during worship. I had never seen anyone worship the way he did. I will admit, in my young age, I thought it was weird... he would yell "Amen" and "Praise God". Was this normal? Often times I would get distracted and start counting the number of rubber bands around his wrist... there were always several. But as I got older, and as my relationship with the Lord began to grow, I began to have that urge to raise my hands and voice as to high to the heavens as I could. I finally understood what was going on inside that "old guys" head. Without knowing it, he had introduced me to a heart of worship.

Many years later, our paths crossed again when I began dating Matthew. From the first minute, he was always so supportive of Matt and I. He was so proud of us and could see that we loved each other and God, and that was the makings of a great couple. When there were so many people saying we were way too young to be getting married, he cheered us on. When we got pregnant 6 months into the marriage, on a single income, he said "Praise God! Children are such a blessing!" And with each child that we added, he was only more joyful. He knew that we were in God's hands, and I know without a doubt, that he was praying fervently for us each and every day. He bragged everyday to customers about his police officer son, his "adopted" daughter and their 3 (almost 4) beautiful children. Brooke, Maddux and Ellie (along with his other grandchildren) were the light of his life. We would go over to their house every other weekend and the kids would sit on his king sized bed talking with him, asking about all the wonders of the world. Grandpa seemed to have all the answers, and if he didn't, he made them up :). We were very blessed by him.

Every birthday, for everyone in this house, he has called to sing us Happy Birthday... he never forgot a single one! And because we can not do that for him this year, I want to say Happy Birthday Dad! We love you so much more than we have ever been able to express. Thank you for loving the Lord and our family, the way you did. We can wait to see you again in heaven, singing and dancing!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken Toastadas

As usual, it's been a while... things have been so crazy lately. We have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows in the last 6 weeks. I hope to sit down and blog more about it later but for now, I am just going to share a recipe my mom requested earlier this week.

We love posting our recipes on our blogs because then we can just refer back to each others blog instead of calling each other several times for one recipe.

This is one of our family favorites (I know, we have a lot... but we are foodies)! And it is SOOO insanely easy! I adapted it from a recipe in a Martha Stewart cook book, but of course tweaked it to our families liking.

Here's what you need:

3-4 chicken breasts, boiled
1 small jar of salsa verde, or tomatillo salsa
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 lime
flour tortillas
shredded Monterrey jack cheese or Spanish blend white cheese

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. After chicken breast are boiled and drained, shred (I put mine in the Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment... super easy!). Once shredded, add the jar of salsa, cumin and juice from 1/2 lime. Stir until blended.

Place tortillas on a cookie sheet 2 or 3 at a time so that they are not overlapping, top with a thin layer of cheese and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Then top a heaping spoonful of chicken mixture and another layer of cheese. Bake for an added 7 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and enjoy!

You can top these with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream or chopped cilantro... but they are yummy on their own too!

Yields: 8 toastadas (enough for the 4 of us, plus leftovers for Matt's lunch :])

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday!!!

To my little Super Hero
Lover of all things Star Wars
Keeper of the blankie
the Energizer Bunny with a heart of gold

Happy 4th Birthday to the coolest little boy I know,
You make my world complete!

 I Love You, Maddux Cade!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm still here!

I know that I have been mum lately, I honestly couldn't believe how long it had been since my last post. It's horrible to admit it but I have not sat down to my blog because God had placed something on my heart and I was avoiding it, scared of it. Once I gave in I was worried that if I posted about it then I would take 10 giant steps backward (it always happens that way!)

So what was this big thing I was running from?

Being a better steward of the things God has blessed me with.

If you would have asked me if I thought I was a good steward three months ago, I would have told you it was one of my strengths. I am always willing to give money or items to those who are in need... but then I looked at stewardship closer.

Steward: one employed in a large household or estate to manage domestic concerns

Stewardship: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care

I had gone my whole life not knowing what stewardship REALLY was, and more importantly not living it out. I grew up hearing parables from the Bible of good stewardship, but something got lost in translation to my brain and heart. I have spent the last month taking a good hard look at the gifts God has given me and how irresponsible I am with them.

God has given me amazing children, but how am shepherding them?

We live in a beautiful home, but how will am I caring for and using it?

I have been blessed to not have a bunch of obligations competing for my time, so why am I wasting so much of it?

I have been striving to be more purposeful with the things and relationships God has given me. I still have a lot to work on, but with God's guidance and Matt's support, I am taking steps towards progress.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Black Bean and Corn Salad

I have been on a bit of a salad kick lately, but I am not a plain-old-lettuce-tomato-cucumber kind of girl. The other night I was having one of my cravings, so I raided my fridge and pantry to see what I could come up with. This was the end result.

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 head of lettuce- roughly chopped
1 can black beans- rinsed
1 can sweet summer corn (i used the vaccum sealed kind)
2-3 chicken breast
Cherry tomatoes halved
mixed cheese
tortilla strips
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika

Lightly season chicken breasts and brown in a skillet over medium heat (5 to 10 minutes depending on thickness). Remove chicken; add beans, corn, cumin and paprika and heat for 5 minutes. Layer salad together and top with desired dressing, I like ranch.

This is a very hearty salad which made enough for the 4 of us to have dinner, plus 2 lunch portions for Matt and I. It was quick, easy and filling, just the way I like it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

January 1 of every year, I go through a list of things I want to accomplish or work on through out the year. I lose sight of things within the first 4 or 5 months and just wait for the beginning of the next year when I get my "fresh start". In reality, God gives me a fresh start every single day. Each day I wake and have to make a choice. I am not saying that having goals are a bad thing, but maybe the way I go about setting these goals needs to be adjusted. This year I have chosen a verse to memorize and start each day putting it to practice.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

You see this is something that I struggle deeply with... I make decisions without seeking my heavenly father first. I worry about what others may say or think about my choices and I try to stay in my own comfort zone at all costs. I need to begin committing EVERY SITUATION to God, only then will I experience the peace of God. Only then will my heart and mind be guarded in Christ Jesus. Not only do I long to gain that peace that comes from knowing I am in God's will, I also want to show my children what it means to fully rely on God.

Right now there are a few things our family has on our2013 prayer list:
- The gym: Matt and I are still working on our personal training courses and seeking God's next step for us.
- Adoption: We have felt the call to adopt since before we had our own children, we are praying about God's timing and will. We are also praying about the funds needed to do this.
- Homeschooling: This is one that I debate day in and day out, part of me can't wait for the break that I will get when the kids start school, but another part of me feels like the best thing for my children would be to homeschooling. This is where I let others opinions weigh too heavily on my mind.

I believe in the power of prayer, is there anything I can be praying for you about?