Why Wait?

Sarah waited 25 years to see Promises fulfilled even when it looked like it would never happen. For goodness sake she was “old and well stricken with age, and it ceased to be with Sarah the manner of women” Gen 18:11.  Sarah wasn’t even able to physically get pregnant. She needed divine intervention to see the Promises spoken come to pass. Do you think Sarah had given up? We know that she tried to intervene and usher the Promise in with using Hagar her handmaid, (Gen. 16) but nothing good comes from us mere humans meddling in God’s handiwork.  Didn’t Sarah’s meddling caused not only jealously or even hate for Hagar “her mistress despised her in her eye…” Gen 16:4, but also sorrow. She wasn’t the only one affected by her rush to see God’s promises fulfilled; everyone suffered Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, and even the child Ishmael. Nothing good comes from Human intervention. We need to relinquish the control and sit back and watch God’s hand at work. Why do you think God made Sarah wait for her promise? Do you think she needed a lesson in patience or faith? There are so many lessons learned in waiting. Giving God Control, Waiting on God, Believing in God, having the Faith that his word and work will not return void, and just Resting in Him not worrying about making it happen. Because sometimes our promises need to show up in times where they don’t look possible in order to renew our faith in God and to be a testimony to the Goodness and Faithfulness of our Father.

9 Years Update!

Soul Shine Pizza Factory is absolutely delightful. It is nestled in the trendy Nashville area of Division Street. Entertainment, Patio, and Pizza you can not go wrong.

We had the pizza more specifically “The Kitchen Sink”, the name says it all it has everything. Although, all the black olives made it to my side of the pizza because the other half doesn’t care for them. I also had a small Greek salad which was enough for two. The pizza crust was not to thick and not to thin; the perfect combo of crunchy and chewy. The pizza was by no means greasy especially with all the delicious meat toppings of pepperoni and sausage. Soul Shine’s menu has everything from salads, pizza, calzones, Po Boys, and some typical southern Louisiana dishes like Red Beans and Rice.

Now that I’ve finished my Restaurant review. We can get on to the juicy Anniversary stuff. You know how I said on a previous post we don’t usually do Anniversary gifts well the husband did. Don’t you hate that when he gets you something, but you didn’t get him anything! Of course, my husband is just happy to sit, have dinner, and listen to live music. So, I guess you can say that was my gift. Anyways, he surprised me with a Pandora bracelet with the charm #9 for the 9 years of marriage and later as we were talking he surprised me with another charm, a star. Now this one has a special story……

When we were dating my husband then boyfriend bought a Star with one of those National Star Registries. It was a really sweet gift and he even named it “Arzalone”. Isn’t he romantic?

So, there you go a little glimpse into our Anniversary date. What is your favorite place to go on your Anniversary? Do you do the “lets not do gifts this year and still give a gift”?

9 Years!

9 years! Today is the day I have been married 9 years. Yes, it is April Fools, but this is no joke. We actually picked the date on purpose as a joke that if we decided to run we could tell everyone the wedding was April Fool’s joke. Well, we didn’t fool anyone and now 9 years later with 4 kids we are embarking on a new adventure. I’ll have to leave you in suspense for right now and I’ll save that for another blog post. My husband and I don’t really do anything special for our Anniversary we typically go out to eat. We don’t even do cards or gifts because we don’t really need anything and well I’d prefer a hand written note or poem than a card someone else wrote.

This year we are having a pizza date. I know you’re thinking pizza something you can get every day, but this isn’t just pizza it’s music as well. There is this pizza place I’ve never been, Soulshine Pizza Factory and they serve up pizza and entertainment. Oh, and I know its off the Trim Healthy Mama plan, but your allowed to splurge every once in a while plus, I’m maintaining and not actively trying to lose more weight. That is what is so great about eating the THM way you can restart your weight loss in 3 hours. I’ll update you later and let you know if Soulshine Pizza Factory is any good.

So, what better way to celebrate than with a pie and some tunes. What do you do for your Anniversary? Are you low-key or do you like to really like to do it up?

This blog post does contain affiliate link to Trim Healthy Mama.

Freezer Meals Group

I probably have mentioned earlier in a previous post that I have a freezer meal group. I wanted to do a series of post on how it works and give you some helpful hints and advice if any others are interested in starting their own. It  is an absolutely great way to get some easy meals that you don’t have to worry about during the week. Especially if you have kids in sports, dance, or any other extra curricular activity. It will definitely save you time and money. Of course it is a bit of work to bulk cook and you do have up front cost but that all comes out in the end because you’re not having to grocery shop for that meal throughout the month and it’s already prepared. Some of the meals all you have to do is dump in the crock pot to cook others are already cooked and just need to be heated up. Now  you may be saying I can just by one of the freezer meals at the grocery store. True you can but the cost savings in making it yourself, knowing what the ingredients are in yours, and controlling salt and preservative content is greatly beneficial to you and your wallet.

To start here is the letter I send out to all who want to join —- It explains how it works, the categories we cook in, and freezing tips with recipes.

We have a few basic things to go over:
First our meet up date will the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 7pm. This will never change. Unless some unforeseen circumstance. You will be notified in plenty of time if there is a change but it will still be held in that same week.
You are to make so many of the SAME meal depends on the number in the group. If you are unable for some reason to do it one month or decide it is not for you please give us advance notice so we can adjust our cooking numbers.
Lets try to keep our meals (and packaging) equal to about $10 per meal per family and make enough for 6 individuals per family. You don’t have to be exact on the price because over the course of the year some meals may be more expensive and others cheaper so it will even out. If you would like to provide a side or dessert definitely up to you but not required.
Keep in mind we do have some smaller families please try to portion these out in two half portions instead of the one full portion.
Lets also try to keep our meals clean from MSG and other preservatives … I have recipes for seasoning and cream of soup alternatives that will save you money and are simple to make.
Make sure you label your meals with recipe and cooking instructions.

I will also send out an email or FB message to let you know what category you will be doing for that month and we will rotate the next month. Again the categories are chicken no pasta, chicken with pasta, beef no pasta, beef with pasta, soup/stews/chili’s, and other (this will be anything that doesn’t fall into the previous categories).

Please go read through the links below: I want to make this as simple as possible so I have listed some links to read through if you have any questions on what is freezable, how to pack it to last, and some recipes.

What you can freeze and not freeze:
http://lifeasmom.com/2009/11/freezer-cooking-what-can-you-freeze.html
http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/dont_freeze_foods.html
http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/02/10/freezable-foods/

How to pack your freezer meal:
http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/freezer-cooking-storage-length-and-methods-of-packaging.html
http://lifeasmom.com/2010/05/foil-wrapped-freezer-meals-a-guest-post.html
http://allrecipes.com/howto/freezing-foods-a-real-time-saver/

Freezer Recipes:
http://joelens.blogspot.com/2007/01/freezer-friendlymake-ahead.html
http://chaosinthekitchen.com/2010/09/freezer-recipe-round-up-and-freezing-chicken-nuggets/

http://freezerfriendz.blogspot.com/

Can of Anything Soup recipe:
http://1orangegiraffe.blogspot.com/2011/07/anything-you-wanna-call-it-casserole.html?showComment=1310864846151#c3489139395376988271

Taco Seasoning Mix: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-i/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=taco%20seasoning&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

We will consider a freezer meal anything that can either be dumped in a crock pot raw (for example a marinated meat with veggies), casseroles, one pot/baking dish meals (for example burritos, stir fry, spaghetti, chili, soup, ect.). If your dish requires pasta, soft shell tacos, tortilla chips, buns, tomato sauce, cheese, ect please make sure you include that with the meal otherwise it is not a complete freezer meal. Basically anything that you will need to make it a complete meal has to be provided…..We are just trying to take the prep out of the meal. To clarify: We do not do sides. If someone brings a main course that requires buns, rice or pasta, you are expected to provide those items because they are a necessary part of the main course. When I say rice or pasta, that would be if the main course is supposed to be served over rice or pasta.

Some examples of freezer meals:

Chicken and Black bean Mexican casserole that you freeze without the tortilla chips and cheese those are added when it is time to bake. So I would provide the casserole along with the tortilla chips and cheese.
Fajitas you place your marinated meat (chicken or beef cut into strips raw) in Ziploc and then place your veggies in separate Ziploc(bell peppers, onions, ect) freeze bring with tortilla shells.
French Dip Sandwiches place your roast raw with marinade in Ziploc bag freeze and provide sandwich buns.
Casseroles or Bake Pasta Dishes: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole…cook your chicken and add other ingredients and freeze, for pasta like lasagna or stuffed shells cook shells add cooked meat and cheeses and freeze.
Spaghetti make your pasta sauce with cooked meat freeze in a disposable plastic container or Ziploc bag flat and bring with uncooked pasta still in box.
Meatloaf mix your ingredients, place in a tin foil lined pan and freeze. Lift meatloaf out of your pan, wrapped in foil and put into a Ziploc.

Please make sure you use either disposable aluminum foil baking pans, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil for your items as we do not want any confusion on whose baking dish it is that we have. Plus you will be able to use that baking dish for other things like brownies instead of it being in yours or someone else’s freezer. You can get a pack of 30 disposable baking dishes for around $7 or less at a Costco or Sam‘s Club or you can also get aluminum pans at the Dollar Tree.

Feel free to copy this and use for your freezer group. My next post will show you how I keep up with rotation on who cooks in what category plus a nice little piece of clip art you can use for your event set up on facebook or other social media.

Life

Sorry it’s been awhile. I’ve been one busy woman. This past month the twins turned one. So with planning the joint birthday party of the twins and my now 4-year-old, VBS, husband out-of-town for work, house cleaning, CSA pick ups, dr. appts,  pool time, gardening, and now consignment time my summer has been crazy.

Here’s a picture of my garden if you were wondering: (that’s my oldest watering it)

Back to Birthday parties ….. They are a lot of work. I kick myself every time I throw one because I don’t really get to enjoy it. I tell myself every year home parties with just family from now on. Unless we have it someplace else where someone else cleans up the mess. So totally worth the money you spend if you can sit back relax and let someone else deal with the entertainment and mess. But that’s not really what it’s about right. I guess that’s why I like to throw them a party because I can add the special mommy touch that makes them feel special. A mass market place cannot do that the way I can. I love my children and hope that when they get older they truly appreciate all the work (blood, sweat, and tears) I put into planning their birthday parties. We don’t go overboard and spend tons on money on parties. I’m a keep it simple person. No big decorations. Just us and a cake, some food, and a craft. I don’t even do party favors. That’s just crazy to me giving gifts to party goers. Who started that trend because they need to be hog tied and hung from a tree. That’s like the everybody gets a trophy in sports for “participation”. What are we teaching our children that everyone is a winner….everyone should get the same opportunity whether they work for it or not. I know I don’t want to teach my child that new age junk. Sorry I got off on a rant. Really!!!!

This is the craft I did for my son’s birthday party. He asked for a dinosaur theme so we did a sock puppet t rex craft  (click link to get to page) from allkidsnetwork.com website and I also had a dino shooting range my idea. This was just some plastic dinos on a table and a couple of the nerf dart guns. The boys loved it and of course they were shooting other things as well. The party was a great success and I felt accomplished on giving my kids the best 1st and 4th birthday I could have given them. Next year though I’m thinking someplace not near my home!

So that’s all I got for today….I’ll probably post some more this month if I can find some time. I’m thinking on doing a series on freezer cooking. Let me know what you think.

CSA or Community Supported Agriculture

I mentioned earlier in a previous article that I joined a CSA. You may be asking what is a CSA?  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a movement that has revolutionized the local farm and farmer. The idea is that you, the customer, will purchase a “share” or “membership” of our farm in the beginning of Spring. By doing this, you are pledging your support to the farm and we are pledging a portion of the farm’s harvest to you.

This relationship between customer and farmer is what makes CSA’s so intriguing and rewarding. Each week, you will receive a box of fresh produce which will vary in variety as the seasons change. Spring, Summer, and Fall all introduce new varieties of crops allowing you to eat in coordination with the season.

The share are picked up at specific locations that are convenient for the customer and pre-planned at the beginning of the season. CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

You may be asking how much does something like this cost? Every farm varies in price. The farm CSA I am involved with offers two shares full and half. A full share is 1/2 bushel enough to feed 3-5 adults and a 1/2 share is 1/4 bushel enough to feed 2 adults. A full share is offered for $720 and a half-share is offered for $350 a share. This share is good for the growing season of 24 weeks.

You can’t get a better deal at the grocery store for something that has been grown using sustainable farming methods, which means that most of their products will be as natural and pesticide free as nature intended them to be.

There are also other farms out there that offer meat, produce, eggs, and pet milk share. All you have to do to find your local CSA offerings is google your city with CSA behind it and something should come up. If you have trouble just comment and I will help you the best I can in finding a local CSA for you if your interested.

You must also know that you are purchasing a share of the farm produce so you are also purchasing some of the risk in the season. If something happens like drought or plague of bugs that eat all the crops. You lose as well as the farms loses. If your willing to join with a farm and be apart of its risk it will greatly benefit you and your local farm. You not only get to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t buy but you get to be apart of your local farming community.

I absolutely love it and plan on doing it again next year when the season reopens!

In picture: swiss chard, kale, spinach, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, turnips, turnip greens, radishes, and strawberries.

Hello There!

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I have been super busy working on some recipes, DIY project for Father’s Day, In laws in town, joined a CSA (which I will write about next) and the kids are now out of school for the summer. Yay!

While I was away we registered our little girl for kindergarten, she graduated from preschool, I turned another year older, and now am preparing for the twins 1st birthday and my older sons birthday next month. It has been a momentous time around here both sad and happy! You notice I put sad first right! I hate that the days and years fly by so fast when you’re a parent. It seems to me that when your single with no responsibility the years just seem to drag by but when you have kids they just go by too fast. I wish we had a slow button in life so we could slow everything down let our kids be little for a little longer and age a little bit slower. I don’t know about you but I hate birthdays and have told my husband I will have no more I will be forever 27!

On another topic the twins are now standing with assistance and talking a lot. I love seeing them play together. There is something different when you have two babies vs one. They occupy each other and you get to watch the relationship bloom as they grow older and notice one another. They have their own special play and language. They also take toys away from one another and make the other cry already. It is really something sometimes I feel like Jane Goodall observing monkey relationships. They crawl over top of each other, pull ears, and bite one another but they also look at each other and giggle. It is one of the cutest things. I thank God every day that he gave me the blessing of Twins. To be able to learn from them and watch a special relationship blossom as they grow. I’m really excited to see how the next stage will be when they start walking. I’m a little afraid as well especially when it comes to going out and how that will be handled. Will they go in two separate directions or stay close to one another like they do now? I’m hoping they stay close to one another and not be the ones that go their own ways. Both figuratively and literally. I hope they are each others best friends and never let anything or anyone come between them.
I’m gonna put a couple of questions out there if any of you have twins…..How did you handle going out with twins especially when they started walking? Besides using a stroller. What is your favorite twin moment?