Monday, January 31, 2011

Menu Plan Monday – January 31st

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I have a recipe index, just for recipes that you can find on my blog. You can also get to it by going to the food tab above.

This week, we’re going for the low budget type meals because I go grocery shopping on Sunday, which was the very very end of the month and I technically had no more money left until February :)

Here's the plan for this week:
Mix-it up Monday (something new) ~  Dinner provided by step-mom (thanks Wendy!)
Taco Tuesday (Mexican or Oriental) ~Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne  (my new recipe for the week. Yes, I know it’s not mexican or oriental)
Wow Wednesday (Date night or something like restaurant food) ~ Burritos
Simple Thursday (Crockpot or less than 30 min prep)~ Chicken Couscous 
Favorite Friday (A family favorite) ~ Shepherd’s Pie 
Lazy Saturday (leftover buffet) ~ Birthday party for some cute 1-year-old twins 
Saucy Sunday (Italian) ~ Lentil Stew and Ham

Come visit me for Tasty Tuesday for some more deliciousness.
So, what are you having for dinner this week?
Link up at Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie or leave me a comment!
~S

Daily Photo – January 31st

We made finger paint today2011-01-31 Finger Painting (2)

~S

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Daily Photo – January 30th

Enjoying the lovely weather yesterday before it gets cold again. Daddy taught Kahlen how to pump on the swings so she can officially swing herself now!

2011-01-29 Blevins Park (7)~S

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daily Photo – January 29th

Kahlen’s getting really good on her bike

~S

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daily Photo – January 28th

Nate wanted to help make cookies too

2011-01-28 Baking Cookies (2) Now we know why :)2011-01-28 Baking Cookies (4)

~S

Thursday, January 27, 2011

{embrace the camera} / Daily Photo – January 27th

This is from Kahlen’s perspective :)

2010-12-20 Butter Cookies (7) 2010-12-20 Mommy and Nate (2) DSCN6596

~S

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review – Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer

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From the publisher:

Her genetic secret could change humanity forever.
Her DNA grants her the ultimate power. 
But all she wants is to disappear. 

Looming buildings rise into the sky of a near-future America, shadowing the desperate poverty of the soovie parks, death doctors, and fear bombs. In this world of walled cities, where status matters most, Caitlyn Brown is desperate to remain invisible, wrongly believing what she needs to hide is the deformity on her back. The powerful want her for so much more.
She’s forced to take flight again, relying on the help of Razor, a street-smart illusionist she can’t trust. Her only hope is to reach friends already tracked by government.
With a twisted bounty hunter in full pursuit, she and Razor begin to learn the unthinkable about her past and the unique gifts of her DNA. It leads Caitlyn to a choice between the two men who love her, and whether to keep her freedom or sacrifice herself to change human destiny.
In this lightning-fast chase through an all-too-plausible future, best-selling author Sigmund  Brouwer is at his best.  Flight of Shadows is a terrifying ride into the heart of compelling moral questions about science and society.
 

I love science fiction. When Christ found me over 10 years ago, I had a really hard time letting go of some of my old favorite books because they no longer fit with my world view. So, when I come across “Christian” science fiction, I do a little happy dance.

This book, Flight of Shadows, lived up to my expectations, mostly. I did not know going into it that it was the second in a series. I have the first one now checked out from the library and plan on starting in on it this week. Lucky for me, the way that this book is written, it doesn’t matter (much) that I haven’t read the first one. I think that the character development in the first part of the book would have been a lot easier to follow had I read Broken Angel first, but I was still able to get the plot and the characters without it.

The near-future world that Brouwer has created is fascinating. It makes you think about the state of the nation without being obnoxious about it. The explanations of the elements of the world are just that, explanations, without being preachy about what we’re doing wrong.

The characters in the book are well developed and consistent. The plot is a little challenging to get into at first, but it’s well worth it. The overall writing style is tight, staying within the correct perspective of each character and providing just enough detail. My only complaint is that I would have liked to see more where the character’s beliefs lie, but I think that may be more expressed in the first book. I give this book four stars and can’t wait to read more by Sigmund Brouwer. Thank you to WaterBrook Press for sending me this book for review.

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~S

It would be a great help to me if you would please rate my review. I get the chance to review more books based on my rating, and there are cool contests and such. Thanks!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review – Hatteras Girl by Alice J Wisler

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From the publisher:

Fall in love with Alice J. Wisler's charming characters in this delightful story set in the beach communities of North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Jackie Donovan prays for two things: an honest, wonderful man to marry and to own a bed-and-breakfast on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the meantime, she works for Lighthouse Views, writing articles about local business owners, and intrepidly goes on the blind dates set up by her well-meaning but oh-so-clueless relatives.
There's one specific property Jackie dreams of purchasing: The Bailey House, a fabulous old home located right next to the ocean, a place where Jackie spent many happy childhood afternoons. But the Bailey House has strange stories and secrets surrounding it—not to mention its outrageous price tag.
When Jackie meets handsome Davis Erickson, who holds the key to the Bailey property, she believes God has answered both her prayers. But as Jackie learns some disturbing details about Davis's past, she begins to wonder if her heart has lead her astray. Will she risk her long-held dreams to find out the truth?

Going into this book, I knew that it was a light read, which is a nice change every so often. While I definitely enjoyed this book, there were a few things that I did not particularly enjoy.

The things that I liked were that the story was written in first person, a nice perspective, and the characters valued their friendships, family relationships, and followed their dreams.

The things I didn’t like were that it’s classified as Christian fiction, but in this case, it just meant that they went to church on Sundays, and occasionally thought about God and that He might have a plan for their lives. It would have been nice to see some spiritual growth come out of the events that took place. Also, the end was a bit over-the-top cheesy, but if you really enjoy romantic fiction, this would have been a great ending. To me, it was extremely predictable and not realistic.

I found the characters hard to connect with, which I feel like came from a lack of depth. What were they really feeling? What were they really interested in?

Overall, I give this book 3 stars. Would I read it again? Probably not. Do I have a negative impression of it? Not at all! If you like light and fluffy romance novels, this would be a good read for you. Thank you to Bethany House for sending me this book for review.

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~S

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wordless Wednesday / Daily Photo – January 26th

2011-01-25 Valentine Specimin Art (2)

I’ve updated my wall hangings to include this great specimen art idea. That’s probably about all the decorating I’ll get done for Valentine’s day this year (unless you count 4-year-old art hung on every available surface), but that’s just fine with me :)

~S

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tasty Tuesday – Mac and Cheese Soup

Tasty Tuesday

Welcome to another week of Tasty Tuesday here at The Young'ns!
There’s a recipe index under the food tab above if you’re ever looking for a recipe I’ve already blogged.
Every Monday, I plan on trying a new recipe. If it goes well, that’s what I’ll be posting on Tasty Tuesday. If not, I’ll post a tried and true (i.e. something I don’t have to think about too hard) ;)

I was planning on making this recipe last night, but hubby vetoed it. He said it didn’t sound good because it had no meat, but didn’t stop to think that I might be modifying the recipe to suit our tastes better. SO, after a nice long *ahem* discussion, I made it tonight. Basically, I told him that if he doesn’t like a new recipe that I make, he is welcome to make himself something else (without commenting in a negative manner, of course). Anyhoodle, here’s my version of this Food Network recipe:

Mac and Cheese Soup

Based on this recipe from Food Network Magazine

{Ingredients}

  • Salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
  • Cooking Spray
  • 3 Shallots
  • 2 Carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 4 tsp chicken bullion I use Better than Bullion reduced sodium
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cups cubed turkey ham or other protein of your choice (liked cubed cooked chicken)

{Directions}

  • Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook as the label directs; drain.
  • Mince the shallots, carrots, and celery in a food processor. Mist a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the hot water and bullion. Bring to a boil. Cook stirring, until thickened, 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat. Add the milk, cheeses, macaroni, and meat and stir until the cheeses melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

~S

Linking up at

TastyTuesday200pix Welcome to my new home   Tasty Tuesday

Daily Photo – January 25th

Last time we were at the Butterfly Pavilion, Nate was in my tummy still2009-05-27 Buttefly Pavillion (13)

2011-01-24 Butterfly Pavilion (30)

~S

Monday, January 24, 2011

And I’m a nerd…but I’m okay with that

Y’all know by now that organizing things makes me happy, right? And if I can make it cute in the process, all the better! Here’s my new solution for toy organization:

2011-01-24 Toy Bins (1)

I had all these bins left over from our previous attempt to organize our downstairs closet. Now that I have an Elfa, I don’t need them down there anymore. Enter toy storage/organization. 2011-01-24 Toy Bins (2) The kids weren’t playing with all their toys, they couldn’t see them all, AND they were constantly getting dumped out in the middle of the floor and left there.

I’m seriously hoping that this works. I just got it all set up tonight. I’ve informed Kahlen that it will be this way, so we’ll see what she thinks tomorrow.

There’s one small bin with toys that will stay out and a bin of stuffed animals that will live in her room. Also staying out are the small kitchen and cash register that I got them for Christmas, but they’ll probably make their way upstairs as well.

You can’t really tell in the picture, but I laminated all the daily signs. I stuck one to the top of each bin and one to the front with velcro. I decided to put the number and the word so that maybe Kahlen will be able to tell easier which one is for today. Hey, maybe she’ll be able to sight read the days of the week soon because of this too!

Nerdiness complete for the night :-)

~S

Menu Plan Monday – January 24th

  
I have a recipe index, just for recipes that you can find on my blog. You can also get to it by going to the food tab above.

Here's the plan for this week:
Mix-it up Monday (something new) ~ Mac’n’Cheese Soup (Will post recipe if it’s any good)
Taco Tuesday (Mexican or Oriental) ~ Mexican Lasagna  (Didn’t get to it last week)
Wow Wednesday (Date night or something like restaurant food) ~ Southwest Chicken Burritos
Simple Thursday (Crockpot or less than 30 min prep)~ Out on a date with my man
Favorite Friday (A family favorite) ~Cheater Chicken Pot Pie  (Yea, still didn’t make this)
Lazy Saturday (leftover buffet) ~ Leftovers 
Saucy Sunday (Italian) ~ Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Come visit me for Tasty Tuesday for some more deliciousness.
So, what are you having for dinner this week?
Link up at Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie or leave me a comment!
~S

Daily Photo – January 24th

2011-01-24 Butterfly Pavilion (40)

~S

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Daily Photo – January 23rd

Kahlen’s self portraits. I’ve been letting her play with my old compact camera. Of course, she’s still being a super-punk when *I* try to take her picture.DSCN6595 DSCN6644 DSCN6649 DSCN6651 DSCN6652

~S

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daily Photo – January 21st

Nate trying to give Tilly back her paci. Problem is, he’s inverted the nipple, silly boy!DSCN6622

(We got it figured out in the end ;))

~S

CSN Review – What, oh what, shall I pick?

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from a swing set to kettlebells to office supplies to educational toys. They are once again graciously allowing me to pick something to review, now I have to pick something! Should I go with something for the kids? the house? me? Oooo, too many choices!

~S

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daily Photo – January 20th

My new coat closet, courtesy of Elfa from The Container Store

2011-01-19 Coat Closet (3) 2011-01-19 Coat Closet (4)

(and thanks to hubby for letting me get it AND installing it!)

2011-01-19 Coat Closet (2)  ~S

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday / Daily Photo – January 19th

I said “Let’s go for a walk”. By the time the kids were all dressed, it was turning into a blizzard! So it was a short walk ;-) (Only in Colorado can it go from sunny to blizzard to calm again all within an hour)

2011-01-19 Snow Storm (01) 

2011-01-19 Snow Storm (3)

~S

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday – Things that are long

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth 
There was no official theme for Muffin Tin Monday this week, so I went with things that are long (why? because that’s what I had at home!)

2011-01-17 MTM Long ThingsGreen beans, fish sticks, bananas cut lengthwise, and ramen noodles

Join us next week for Big and Little, Short and Tall theme at Muffin Tin Mom!

~S

Daily Photo – January 18th

A little walk down memory lane (and a comparison) 2008-05-16 Kids at Park 002 Kahlen and Freddy at the park when K was 18 months

2010-12-28 At the ParkNathanael and Kahlen in the same spot when N was 18 months. 

~S

Monday, January 17, 2011

Daily Photo – January 17th

Ah, my lefty girl. “Kahlen, your name looks good except that it’s completely backwards” “I know, mom, I like it like that” Right.

2011-01-17 Kahlen chalking (2)

Menu Plan Monday – January 17th

  
I have a recipe index, just for recipes that you can find on my blog. You can also get to it by going to the food tab above.

Here's the plan for this week:
Mix-it up Monday (something new) ~ Linguini with Italian Turkey Meatballs 
Taco Tuesday (Mexican or Oriental) ~ Mexican Lasagna 
Wow Wednesday (Date night or something like restaurant food) ~ Cheesy Hamburger Soup 
Simple Thursday (Crockpot or less than 30 min prep)~ Basic Casserole 
Favorite Friday (A family favorite) ~Cheater Chicken Pot Pie 
Lazy Saturday (leftover buffet) ~ Leftovers 
Saucy Sunday (Italian) ~ Hamburger Helper

I also would like to get better about cooking interesting things for the kids, especially for lunch. I get a little tired of preparing the same 4 meals, and I would guess they get tired of eating them. Kahlen is pretty picky, though, and Nate is impatient, so it’s a little tough. What do your littles like to eat?

Come visit me for Tasty Tuesday for some more deliciousness.
So, what are you having for dinner this week?
Link up at Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie or leave me a comment!
~S

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Daily Photo – January 15th

Kahlen and her patterns…this time it was a *big* pattern with four colors :)2011-01-14 Piggy Paint

~S

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

{embrace} the camera / Daily Photo – January 13th

Mmm, beer…2011-01-13 Odells 2011-01-13 New Belgium

~S

(I realize it’s supposed to be with my kids, but this is the first one, and no planning was involved. Better luck next week!)

Book Review – Seeds of Turmoil by Bryant Wright

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From the Publisher:

A clear, in-depth biblical explanation of the origin, history, and significance of the Middle East conflict.

The current conflict in the Middle East began long before the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. It originated when Abraham sinned, distorting God's promise that he and his heirs would make a great nation and inherit the land now called The Holy Land.

A historical and political account, Seeds of Turmoil clearly explains the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar and the ensuing sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau, whose choices formed the world's three most influential religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

This fascinating insight into the beginnings of the conflict also explains what about the land is so important today. In addition, Wright sheds light on the conflicting Jewish, Christian, and Islamic perspectives and answers the question, Does God play favorites?

I was really looking forward to reading this book when I received it before Christmas. I think the historical roots of the conflict in the middle east are very important to understand what’s going on today, but I don’t have any great knowledge of it, or so I thought. I started reading this book, and got to thinking maybe I know more about it than I thought. I read through the first half or so of the book, waiting to learn something new. Didn’t happen. Kept reading; still nothing that I hadn’t already heard.

What I did find was a lot of conjecture about how this person or that person would have been feeling or thinking, but it a sarcastic kind of way. I have to say, I did not appreciate the author’s dry sense of humor. I felt that it didn’t fit the story and didn’t do justice to the characters that he was discussing. The book went through the biblical stories in the book of Genesis, but did not provide any depth or insight that I had not heard other places.

Conclusion: Read this book if you really truly know nothing about the biblical history of the conflict in the middle east (i.e. the story of Ishmael and Isaac). Otherwise, don’t waste your time.

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~S

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday – Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup with Orzo

Tasty Tuesday

Welcome to another week of Tasty Tuesday here at The Young'ns!
There’s a recipe index under the food tab above if you’re ever looking for a recipe I’ve already blogged.
Every Monday, I plan on trying a new recipe. If it goes well, that’s what I’ll be posting on Tasty Tuesday. If not, I’ll post a tried and true (i.e. something I don’t have to think about too hard) ;)

I’ve been making this recipe for years! It’s a nice, easy, and very tasty soup. The title is long, so usually I refer to it as “chicken orzo soup” or something equally short. It’s amusing when my mom, my sister, and I bring up this recipe, because we all pick different words out of the looong name to describe it :)

Greek Chicken and Lemon Soup with Orzo

{Ingredients}

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup orzo small noodles usually found on the top shelf :)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice about 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp parsley I generally forget about this ingredient, oops
  • salt and pepper, to taste

{Directions}

  • Spray a large soup pot with non-stick spray. Cook chicken in the pot over medium until cooked through.
  • Add broth and bring to a boil. Add orzo. Cook for 20 minutes, or until noodles are tender.
  • Crack eggs into a mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs while pouring the lemon juice into the bowl. Add zest.
  • Whisking soup continuously, slowly pour in the egg mixture. The soup should thicken slightly.
  • Add parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

~S

Linking up at

TastyTuesday200pix Welcome to my new home   Tasty Tuesday

Wordless Wednesday / Daily Photo – January 12th

Aunt Robin and Kahlen reading (and reading and reading and reading…)2011-01-11 Kahlen and Robin Reading

~S

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily Photo – January 11th

Nate really likes jello2011-01-07 Mmm, Jello (1)~S

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