Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Balsamic Chicken with Caprese Cous Cous

Yum. This was the new recipe I tried week. It was a different taste, but delicious. I changed the recipe slightly by making extra dressing and not adding much to the cous cous other than mozzarella pearls and fresh basil. The sauce had a yummy flavor and the chicken turned out great. Aaron really liked it. He liked it as much as the Hawaiian chicken recipe. He gave it an 8/10.  I didn't like it quite that much, but did like how easy it was to make. It only really took about 25 minutes to make, start to finish. Next time, I would add would add a LOT more fresh basil. I wish I would have had more! Anyone notice what all my recipes have in common? Yeah, chicken breast. I can't help it. It's a staple at my house. Anyone have any good chicken breast recipes for me to try?!

Monday, September 26, 2011

the weight of the world

The last few weeks I have felt burdened. Burdened for friends that are dealing with hurt, divorce, illness, and loss. I've felt burdened to pray for them, pray with them, and help share their load. Some days though? It's hard. It's hard on my soul. It's hard to see others that you love deal with so much in life. Today it got me to thinking- how does God do it? How does he bear the burdens of the world. Does he ever feel like I do today- just overwhelmed by all that he has to carry? So, I searched the scripture and found this:

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Straight from the lips of Jesus. That was a promise I needed to hear today and maybe you did to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

how's that for honest

The most frequent question I'm getting these days is- do you like being a stay at home mom? The answer is always yes- mainly because that's true and (if I'm being honest) partly because that's what people want to hear. I had spent so long wanting this, praying for it, and talking about it that I know most of the time that's the only answer I can give. The thing is though, it's been a transition and some days have been harder than others.

It was hard letting go of my teaching career. I worked really hard to get to the place that I was at, my whole life really... 13 years of school, 4 years of college, 5 years of teaching and grad school mixed in there. That's a lot of time, energy, and effort. And after a while you find some of your identity involved in it. "What do you do Kristen? - well I'm a teacher". And, the thing is, I really loved it. I loved teaching and I loved telling people that's what I did. So, that was hard. I felt like I lost a little piece of me.

The other struggle came with not being able to pick up where I left off. When I started back to work Everett was a tiny, calm 6 month old. My days of stay at home mom-dom were filled with laying around with him, playing on his playmat, and naps. lots of naps. I knew he had grown up and changed a lot since then, but I never thought of it in the context of my role at home. When June rolled around, I had a wild maniac of a son running as soon as I put him down. He is in constant motion unless belted down in his high chair or car seat. And, I guess I wasn't quite ready for it. I had spent the last 10 months able to go to the bathroom when I needed it, showering, getting dressed up daily, enjoying adult conversation, and doing something that had a clear start and end time.

I guess I assumed when I started my new career (read Everett) that it would be rainbows and butterflies and everything I'd ever dreamed. And in some ways it is. HE is. I love being Everett's mom. I love being with him all day everyday. I miss him when I leave, even when it's only a few hours; however, I found that it took me some time to transition.

It took me some time to realize that some days would be spent just chasing Everett around for hours on end, saying no sweetheart again and again and being okay with it. It took me some time to realize that some days I would go shower-less, make-up less, and without adult conversation until 6 pm when Aaron gets home. It took me some time to realize that being a mom never ends and that I'm on call 24/7. It took me a while to realize that just because I've been blessed to be home doesn't mean that everyday will be perfect. It took me a while to realize that some days will just be harder than others. And, in the end, it took me a while to realize that this is indeed exactly what God has intended for me in this season and I'm incredibly thankful for it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

recipe of the week

If you're like me, I'm a sucker for crockpot meals. There's just something about making dinner early and not stressing about it the rest of the day. I came across this recipe for Crockpot BBQ Chicken and knew I had to try it. It took literally less than 5 minutes of prep time which I loved. I threw the chicken breast in frozen. I paired it with these green beans and Alexia all natural waffle fries. It fell apart and was yummy; however, a little dry. I guess it's something about slow cooking chicken that just does that. Bummer. The green bean recipe was kind of a bust too. They were tossed in equal parts lemon juice/olive oil. It was different tasting, but nothing we really loved. On the Everett scale, he only ate about 5 bites and they were forced. On the husband scale, it was a 6/10. 1 being he hated it and 10 being he liked it so much he wants me to make it again tomorrow night for dinner. So there you have it, recipe of the week. Anyone have any good crockpot meals I should be trying?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

reduce, reuse, repurpose

That's been my motto for my "redo my entire first floor because now I look at it 24 hours a day and don't like it anymore" changes. SO anyway, I'm a sucker for before and afters. I don't have too many yet, because everything still feels like it's not quite finished; BUT- I changed some stuff up in the kitchen: removed old curtains and hardware, added my $7 rug from Lowe's, and changed the accent color from red to green and blue. I tried to re-purpose as many things as possible. Example- Instead of getting new jars for my flour, sugar, and tea, I spray painted them (shocker). I did buy a few new things like these little crocs from Ross ($2.99 each) and some dish towels. It's still a work in progress, but at least now it flows better with the rest of my first floor. So, here's the kitchen today. It's not done, but it's different.

Side note: nice weather = a whole lot of spray painting action. Pictures to come.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

a pinterest project or eight

via pinterest
So, you know I love me some pinterest. It turned me into a DIY junkie and made my to-do list sky high. I've got about 5 different projects ongoing; however, all this rain is putting a damper on them. I've been spray painting like it's my job this summer (ask my neighbors) and have been halted by the "there's so much rain in the 10 day that kids have off school" forecast. Blah. Well anyway, one of my few projects that didn't require spray paint is done. Remember way back in April when I got around to showing you our DIY update? Well, basically, one of the things we wanted to do in 2011 was mount our tv above the fireplace. That, however, left us with little room for any decor on the mantle. (Insert homemade topiaries here). Fast forward 5 months and they just weren't doing it for me anymore. They seemed a little out of place with the new couches and fabric, but I couldn't figure out how to change it up without completely scrapping them. (Insert pinterest). I found this little tutorial about modge podge-ing planters and was sold. It was pretty easy and only took maybe 45 minutes start to finish. I used leftover fabric from the pillows to tie the topiaries to our new design and it only cost me the $4 for the gigantic bottle of modge podge that may take me years to finish. So here you go--- pinterest project number 1 of 18 million.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

coconut = love

I love coconut. Anything coconut. Seriously. I know it's not everyones cup of tea, but it's definitely mine. I ran across this recipe for Hawaiian grilled chicken and coconut rice via pinterest and decided that this rainy Tuesday was the perfect day to try it. I made the marinade when Everett when down for his nap. I couldn't find the coconut rice at the store, so I just made my own. The rice was a little time consuming, but Aaron got stuck in traffic, so it was done just in time. It was delicious! Aaron loved it and so did I; however, Everett seemed to love it the most. Everett doesn't really like to eat much meat other than chick fila chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Boo. The Hawaiian grilled chicken though? He loved it. He ate half of a chicken breast and a bunch of rice. We were amazed.  I'd give it a 5/5, thumbs up, gold star.  It was really that good! I've decided to try out one new recipe each week. We'll see how it goes. Just call me Martha.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

18 months, really?

It's hard to believe that my little boy is already a year and a half old?! He is growing like crazy. Doing new things, saying new words, and looking and acting more and more like a toddler. Everett is becoming quite attached to his mama. I guess that was bound to happen when I'm with him all day long. Let's be honest- I don't mind. He's always happy to see me and wants me to be around, so I'm going to milk that for all it's worth. Everett likes to dance. We have dance parties at least twice a day. Aaron and I laugh out loud at his goofy little dance. I need to video it so you can laugh with us. As of today, Everett still takes two naps, but it looks like he'll be transitioning to one here soon. Bummer, but I guess it's time. Everett loves animals. The dogs are his best buddies. He loves horses and makes clicking noises every time he sees them because that's what he does to get the horses to come see him at Grammy's.  Everett has been quite the water bug this summer. He LOVES anything to do with water... the beach, swimming pool, sprinklers, even washing his hands.  We also have a new found love of parks and playgrounds. Swings and slides = entertainment for hours.  Everett is fearless. When he's about to do something he yells "GO!" and takes off. At least he gives me some warning. He jumps off the steps, the diving board, off the side of the pool. He goes down slides, floats by himself and doesn't want us to touch him while he's "swimming." He even laid his head down on one of the horses foreheads while out at the farm. He's my wild child, full of energy. This summer was so much fun. We've had so many adventures together and I'm loving being at home with him. My little Everett man, you are pure joy. I am so thankful for the last 18 months and look forward to plenty of adventures to come.