Monday, August 30, 2010

This morning's harvest

This morning I've put 4 loads of laundry on the line, picked what needed to be picked in the garden and gave the garden a good soak (it's supposed to be HOT here this week.)
A few big tomatoes, a couple of yellow peppers, a red pepper, a handful of banana peppers, yellow pear and grape tomatoes.

And this week's menu is:

Monday: Vegetable and chicken quesadillas and salad (using many items in the picture above)
Tuesday: Chicken pasta primavera and fresh bread (using the rest of the items picutred above)
Wednesday: Tuna casserole and salad
Thursday: grilled shrimp, marinated vegetables in the grill basket, yellow rice
Friday: Community dinner at our pastor's house
Saturday: Spaghetti (I froze some of the sauce that I canned last week because it wasn't enough for another quart), salad and fresh bread

I have some broccoli I need to plant sometime in the next couple of days. Since I had to replant the yellow squash and zucchini those are still growing strong. I hope we can get them to fruit before fall really hits. I think they should be fine.

I love having a garden!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh my goodness this was good!

Tonight I made Marrakesh vegetable curry (I actually did put some chicken in it because I had it thawed out and needed to cook it.), couscous and naan bread.
This was one of the best things I've ever cooked.
It's a Morrocan (north African) curry. The flavors are AWESOME. (An amazing blend of sweet and spicy). The house smelled SO good while this was cooking. The naan bread turned out great and was so good with it. The naan was actually more involved than making the curry.
Anyway...this is a super healthy dish with lots of vegetables and amazing flavor. So for anyone who likes curry, try this one out!
and here's how to make Naan bread:

Choices, choices....

Working with children and being a mom, I feel like I spend a good part of the week explaining to young people what their choices are and breaking down the good or the bad consequences that may (or will in fact) take place if one choice is made over another. I want Katelyn to understand that she has choices to make everyday. All that said...I would NEVER expect a three year old to choose steamed broccoli over a piece of candy if given the option.
The other night Katelyn ate her dinner and she did a good job eating so she could have a treat. She chose a sucker. Then Michael and I sat down at the table and started eating our dinner. We were having baked potatoes with steamed broccoli and a salad. Katelyn's eyes got real wide and she said, "What's that." (She knew exactly what it was...broccoli is her favorite vegetable...hands down.) So she asked for some. Of course we gave it to her. (Who doesn't give their kid broccoli when they're asking for it?)
So she had broccoli in one hand and the sucker in the other and she one by one ate a whole pile of broccoli. And then she wanted some of the soy nuts in my we gave her those too.
By that point we had finished dinner and decided that we'd all go for a walk around the neighborhood together. I asked her if she wanted to take her sucker on our walk and she said, "No, I'm all done now."
I'm really thankful for Michael because he loves the fact that I cut coupons, can get a good deal on just about anything, want to live simply, eat well and live within our means. Not only does he love it, but he shares the same values which make day to day lifestyle choices pretty easy.

So over the past couple of weeks I've started putting together a menu each week so that 1) we don't have the daily question, "So what do you want for dinner tonight?" 2) I can look at the ads for the week and what's ready in the garden and plan a menu around what's on sale or ready to harvest 3) we sit down and eat a healthy meal together at our table most nights of the week and 4) we rarely spend money eating out and my favorite part 5) I get to try lots of new recipes!

So last week our dinner menu was:
Monday - chicken with curry dill sauce, raita (cucumbers and tomatoes in plain yogurt), couscous with vegetables
Tuesday - slow cooker pork chops and rice, salad, homemade honey oat bread (loving my breadmaker!)
Wednesday - homemade vegetable pizza (with whole wheat crust) and salad
Thursday - Stuffed red peppers, raita, homemade egg bread
Friday - community dinner at our pastor's house
Saturday - Pork fried rice and salad
Sunday - Chili, cornbread and salad

And this week:
Monday - Dinner at the church
Tuesday - Baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad
Wednesday - chicken enchiladas and salad
Thursday - Marrakesh vegetable curry, couscous, naan bread
Friday - Community dinner at our pastor's house (we're making tacos!)
Saturday and Sunday I reserve for leftovers or something new made from leftovers.

I've been packing everyone's lunch each day (sandwiches or leftovers). (Katelyn got leftover steamed broccoli in her lunch the other day and ate it...might be a preschool first!) Fast food pretty much never sounds good to us anymore. (Except Katelyn who loves her broccoli but would eat McDonalds everyday if we'd let her.) So we're eating healthy and spending next to nothing eating out. There are fresh vegetables EVERYWHERE right now. I LOVE cooking in the summer!! And Michael is sweet and good and likes pretty much everything I put in front of him whether it has meat in it or not. What a guy!!!

The clothesline is up and I've hung six loads of clothes, sheets and towels out there to dry this week already. Our dryer hasn't been turned on once.

We're finding our groove as a family and it's been pretty great. I'm one happy girl!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summertime bliss

What a lovely weekend! It was slow-paced, family-centered and altogether enjoyable. It was a little rainy on Saturday morning, so we stayed in our jammies a little longer and cooked a big breakfast. Then we went over to one of our favorite bookstores that was having a family event with a cake tasting, a little inflatable, crafts and a great stack of discounted books for kids. Perfect!
I have been wanting a clothesline since I moved into this house, but since it's a newer subdivision there are no mature trees to connect it to. But, I found a collapsable umbrella clothesline on craigslist (oh how I love craigslist) for $25 in perfect condition so we drove out to Nicholasville to pick it up on Saturday night. I am REALLY excited about my clothesline.
Last night our friends came over for dinner. They are a great family and they live just up the street in a neighboring subdivision two minutes from us. We all go to church together. Michael and John get along great. Cindy and I get along great. They have two kids. Their son is almost five and their daughter is three weeks older than Katelyn. The kids play together really basically time with this family is really lovely.

We ate watermelon in the backyard. (A true picture of summer.)

The kids were filthy and happy and enjoyed running around in circles chasing each other.

Michael and John were awesome and kept the kids entertained. (I think it's because they're big kids themselves.)

I'm really thankful for a husband who's goofy and fun. When he's home he's 100% present and involved. We laugh and play a lot. Household projects are a team effort. He always seems to have enough energy to chase Katelyn around the yard. We are really blessed.

Finally everyone winds down. I should have taken a picture of John and Michael sitting in chairs on the back patio looking like they'd been run over by a train. :)

What a great weekend! And when everyone left I took our dry sheets and towels off the clothesline. When we crawled into bed last night, I laid my head on a pillow that smelled like a fresh summer breeze. It was pretty awesome!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First day of SCHOOL!

The big day finally arrived. The first day of preschool. We've been talking about it all week. I went in to wake Katelyn up this morning and I said, "Wake up is your first day of school." Her eyes flew open. She threw off the covers and she said, "My first day of school. Do you have my special backpack ready? I need to bring my lunch box." She was super excited to say the least! During breakfast she said, "I'm eating a good breakfast so I can go to school."
She wanted a turkey and cheese sandwich, applesauce, "mama snacks" (mini rice cakes), apple juice and a treat (so of course there are 5 M&Ms in a little container).

She's in the 3 year old class at First United Methodist Church. She's going to school on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am-2pm. There are 12 kids in her class, one of them being her best friend, Sarah, from our church.

Katelyn was a little hesitant as she walked in the door of her classroom and that lasted 30 seconds. She didn't look twice at Michael and I after that point. There were so many new things to play with.

I can't wait to pick her up and hear how it went.

I really can't believe my baby is old enough to go to school. She's so ready to learn and have that social time with other kids though. I know that she will do great!
And for the one cried...not even me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summertime in Kentucky!

My excuse for not blogging more....I'm married now. Life's been a little busy. We've been getting organized, unpacked, transitioned. But now we're feeling more situated and so I'll go ahead and catch you up on our summer activities!
Katelyn has learned to pedal her tricycle. She's very proud of herself. Unfortunately, it's been SO HOT here that many days are just too warm to spend too long outside before we're all miserable.
We like to take walks around the neighborhood and Michael taught Katelyn how to roll down the neighbor's hill. She thought that was really funny.

We went to our county fair last month. Katelyn and I went last year and this year Michael was a welcomed new addition to the outing. I can't believe how much has changed in just one year. I can't believe how much Katelyn has grown in the last year. Sigh...she's getting so big.

She remembered from the year earlier that she got popcorn when we went to the fair and she asked for it again. This child misses NOTHING!

Katelyn was finally brave enough to ride her first ride...all by herself. She was really excited to get on...and then when it actually started moving she wasn't so sure. But she hung in there and did great. It's a good night when it costs only one ride and some popcorn to keep a kid entertained. I have a feeling that it will be the last year we get out of there for a few bucks.

We bought a deep freezer with some of our wedding money (what did I do before the freezer in the garage?) and Michael made Katelyn a box house with the box. She LOVES this box. It started with one little door and window and now the thing has a sky light, many windows and has been decorated. Michael's been trying to talk Katelyn into Kleenex curtains but she won't have it. (Both Katelyn and I believe that Michael should build and fix things but he's not allowed to decorate them.) I love this picture below. She looks like a hungry child that someone should send support money for. Good grief. (Although we do take donations.)

Grammy celebrated her birthday with us and in true Katelyn fashion, Grammy did not get to blow out her own candles.

The garden has been doing really well. We planted things late and then the yellow squash and zucchini got some kind of root rot so we had to start over. So we have had TONS of cucumbers, a few eggplant, the tomatoes and peppers are just coming in and the new squash plants are growing strong. I love being able to go out to the garden and pick vegetables to use for that night's dinner and salad. I know that we will always have a garden, no matter where we live.

Katelyn was gone this past Saturday for the day and Michael and I went out to Shaker Village. It was the first day in forever that the weather was perfect...not too hot or humid with a nice breeze. We had a lovely day together. They have a huge garden out there....I had garden envy. I'd love to live on a piece of property one day where we can really grow a lot and can and freeze for the whole year. One day....

I love being married. Michael and I get along really well. We enjoy spending time together. I love getting to come home to him at the end of the day. Family is so important to him and Katelyn and I are always a priority. We all laugh and play a lot. I can't believe it's been almost six weeks since the wedding.
It's a good, good life.
It's pretty easy to count my blessings.

That's been our summer....consider yourselves caught up!