Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I love fall cooking

Fall is here... not in the calendar sense (that was awhile ago), but in the curl up beneath a warm blanket with a warm beverage sense. I am so excited to break out my Crockpot and try some new recipes.

My Grandma Dee was in town this last week. I love my Gma Dee for many reasons, but one is that she is a great cook. She's the one who taught my mom and my momma taught me... and the tradition continues.

She brought a cooking magazine with her and I snagged it to copy some recipes and tried this one tonight:
Potato Kielbasa Skillet

1lb red potatoes, cubed
3Tbs water
3/4lb smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 c chopped onion
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
4 c fresh baby spinach
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Place potatoes and water in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender; drain.

In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender. Add potatoes; saute 3-5 minutes longer or until kielbasa and potatoes are lightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme and pepper; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add spinach and bacon; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

Jenni's notes: I'm dieting, so I used Turkey Sausage, only 90 calories/serving. This is a fast, all-in-one recipe. I loved that it used red potatoes and fresh spinach (lots of vitamins). I'm definitely adding this one to my fall recipe repertoire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another pumpkin patch

We visited Russell Farms with Daddy, Uncle Mikey and Leigh Leigh. It was a great time and this patch was perfect for the girls age. We'll definitely being going there again next year.

My cute hubby!

We just picked ONE pumpkin this time, which made our collection complete - we now have 5!

It's great to have a Sissy, when it comes to see-saws!

Lo liked the horse swing, made from an old tire.

Family picture

The girls love their Uncle Mikey and Aunt Leigh Leigh!

Bored with her view

Bored with her view from the swing, Baby C has decided she wants to look at the room from a different angle. With her increasing strength, she's now able to get sideways in her swing. Although not on purpose, it looks like she's turning to get a better view of the TV. Sweetest baby ever!

Puzzle Me

I've titled this video "Puzzle Me" because that's what Lo says to me, when she wants me to sit down with her and work a puzzle. It's one of the girls favorite activities right now and they are both so good at them.

I'm simply amazed by their little brains. This puzzle is labeled for ages 3+, but is no problem for Lo.

This video is a little long, but if you haven't seen the girls in a while, this will give you a good idea of what they've been up to lately - lots of talking, singing and puzzle working. And there's a little clip of Baby C at the end, too.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


My friend, Danielle, tagged me in a game of Random Facts.

My job is to post seven random facts about myself. So, here it goes...

1) The temperature in my car must always be set on an even number... odd numbers just don't feel right to me. Sometimes my husband will drive the van and set it at an odd number just to bug me.

2) I am not a morning person.

3) I like my fingernails to be really short. I absolutely HATE dirt under my fingernails.

4) I overanalyze.

5) I have convinced myself that Qdoba burritos are a healthy food, despite the 800+ calorie price tag.

6) I dream of someday having a garden in my backyard, where I can grow organic produce and herbs. The problem, I don't have a green thumb. I hope I get one in the next couple years, because I think this would be a fun project to do with the girls, too.

7) I always looked forward to chicken nugget day at school... the warm wheat rolls, cheesy potatoes, nuggets and honey for dipping. Yum.

Now, if I were truly dedicated to this game, I would post 7 people to tag... but it's getting late and I'm pretty tired, so here are 3 people... no, better make it 4 (it's even) people I tag to join the fun:

1) Nicole A.
2) Shannon
3) Jaime
4) Beth

Workout Workup

So here's the scoop on my quest to get my body back.

I'm still working out with Cindy. She's so great.

I really think accountability has been the key for me this time. I'm such a goody-good and I like to be the teacher's favorite. So I do my best to do EVERYTHING Cindy tells me to do.

Which means, I'm working out between 4 to 6 times a week. Watching my portions. Counting calories. Not eating after 6p.

The funny thing about not eating after 6p; I thought I would be starving, and for a few weeks I was awful hungry, but she told me it would get better and believe it or not, it has!

So here's the most exciting news...

For the first time since January (when I started to show with Baby C), I fit into REAL jeans. No more elastic maternity waste bands!

I pulled them from my closet, took a deep breathe, got them over my booty and started to zip. Those jeans went up and on with very little muffin top.

It's time to celebrate... maybe with M&Ms? Probably not. Don't want to get too cocky.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Last Friday, I took the girls to the pumpkin patch at Stoney Creek Farms. We met up with some friends, who invited their friends and we ended up filling an entire hay ride with our group.

The girls were semi-interested in picking out pumpkins. Lauren was more concerned with setting upright all the pumpkins that had fallen on their side. It was pretty cute.

They also had some fun playground sets that the girls enjoyed. Lots of swinging and sliding.

We're probably going to another patch this weekend so that daddy can get in on the fun, too. Happy Fall!


Here are some pics from my breakout session in OKC. Do I look like I know what I'm talking about? That was the goal.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Family photos

About a month ago we invested in new family photos. I truly think of it as an investment and if you look at these pictures you'll see why.

Our photographer did such a great job of capturing our family as we are. All the girls cute quirks and expressions. Their blossoming relationship with each other and our sweet Baby C's beautiful eyes.

It will be so hard to decide which of these photos we're going to actually purchase. I want all of them!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buff chick

Two pregnancies and two years later, it's time to get it in gear and lose some baby weight - and then some.

I started a week ago working out with my new personal trainer, Cindy Sams. She is so great! A spunky, little package of abs and biceps that is totally kicking my butt.

I met Cindy on the Discipleship Walk last year... ironically, we worked in the snack room together. She is funny, honest and has a great story of her own (weight loss, major injury). I instantly liked her.

For my birthday this year, my husband surprised me with a training package with Cindy (I had requested this by the way, my husband wasn't trying to drop any hints).

So, all this month, I work out with Cindy three times a week and do cardio on my own another three times a week. I'm watching my portions, no eating after 6p, etc.

I'm not going to tell you my starting weight. But, my goal is to lose 35lbs. I'm not supposed to get on the scale. "It's all about inches and your clothes fitting better," Cindy says. But, I'm not sure I'll be able to not at least peak every once in a while to see my numbers going down, down, down.

This is the first time I've ever worked with a trainer and I love her ability to push me, keep me focused and accountable.

So far so good. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

My big girls turned 2!

Last weekend, we celebrated Lo and J's 2nd birthday at the park. We did a triple celebration with our sweet niece Em, who turned 1!

It was great to combine my efforts with my sis-in-law, because September was just downright nutty at my house.

The weather was beautiful and everyone had a great time. The cupcakes were adorable (I made them!) and the decor was perfect. I don't think it could have gone any better.

Cute pom-pom decorations I found a Wal-Mart (can you believe it!?)

Sweet niece, Em! She looked so cute in her birthday dress!
Either Jason needs to go nigh-night or Amos was REALLY boring to talk to...

This is a great picture, but it made me laugh because if you look closely, Grammy Deb has a huge bug on her shoulder.

Sweetest face on earth!

Cupcake time!
Em sharing her cupcake with her daddy (my brother, Ryan)

I think Lo liked her dessert!

Menu Monday Revived!

Oh bloggy, how I have missed you. I'm working so hard right now to get back into a good blog habit and what better way than to revive Menu Monday?

I recently got the fall issue of Kraft Food's food&family magazine and became SO inspired to cook. I usually get this magazine and can't wait for the girls to go to bed so I can read it cover to cover. The recipes are easy, fast and usually pretty healthy.

So here's one I tried the other night:

Ham and Cheese Calzones

What I love about this recipe is that you could put ANYTHING inside this crust and bake it. This recipe called for you to mix your shredded cheese with ranch dressing (different), but it added some flavor and was pretty good.

We're not big ham fans around here, so next time I might try some of these other combinations I came up with:

Turkey, provolone, tomato, mayo
Peanut butter and jelly
Tomato, basil, mozzarella (with the crust brushed with olive oil)(my mouth is watering!)
Chicken, feta, olives, greek dressing
Scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, salt/pepper

See, what I mean? Endless possibilities.

In fact, the first night we tried them, I made some with tomatoes and some without.

Fold the edges and seal with a fork and wa-lah! Oven ready!

Another note: These made great leftovers for the girls. I just reheat them in the micro and it's a no-fuss lunch!

So, here's the recipe... let me know what yummy combos you come up with :)

1 can (13.8oz) refrigerated pizza crust
16 slices shaved honey ham
1c shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
1/4c ranch dressing
1 tomato, cut into 8 thin slices

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll pizza dough on lightly floured surface. Pat out dough to form 16x12-inch rectangle. Cut into quarters.

Top dough with ham to within 1/2 inch of sides. Mix cheese and dressing; spread on ham. Top with toatoes. Fold each rectangle in half; seal edges with fork. Put on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 16 to 18 min. or until golden brown.

Make ahead tip: Prepare clazones up to 8 hours in advance. Wrap bking sheet with palstic wrap and store in fridge. When ready to eat, unwrap and bake one or more as directed.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Momma went to OKC!

I had the awesome priveledge of going to a great conference called MinistryCOM in Oklahoma City, where I also had the awesome priveledge of presenting a breakout session at the conference.

The breakouts went well. I had a lot of positive feedback and even a positive online review.

I met a lot of great people. My team had a super productive brainstorming session. We got to know each other a lot better. I got to see some of my family I never see. I got to sleep in a BIG bed, all by myself, ALL NIGHT LONG!

I really missed my babies and I was ready to come home. But, it was a great trip for lots of reasons.

I got to hear some great speakers. Scott Hodge and Jon Acuff were by far, my favorites. Scott is from The Orchard church in Aurora, Ill. And the completely hilarious Jon Acuff is author of the popular blog, stuffchristianslike.net. This blog is not only hilarious and insightful, but so well-written. If you're a fan of his blog already, then you'll be totally jealous to hear that I caught some Skittles during his talk.

I thought it a bit immature to ask him for my picture with him and my Skittles, so I just got this "jr. high-esque" photo of me and my Skittles, with Jon in the background.

Yes. A much more mature choice. I agree.

The bonus for going to OKC was that I got to stay with my aunt and uncle, the Wileys. And I got to see my awesome cousins, Kara and Kyle, and now I have a new cousin-in-law, Crystal!

We all went to dinner on Friday night to a fun place called Pops! It's a new fixture on historic Route 66. It's a gas station, but also a diner, and they carry every kind of bottled soda imaginable. I think I had some kind of pomegranate flavor. Out front is this fancy soda bottle that measures 66ft tall. Clever, huh?

Yummy, pomegranate soda! I was thirsty!

And then I got REALLY thirsty!