I have had a lot of thoughts going through my mind the last few weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas season and I was trying to figure out yesterday what the difference was. Last night my extended family gathered for our traditional Christmas Eve program/evening. My mom gave the Christmas message. She told several stories and talked about different messages of Christmas and how they can vary each year. As I contemplated on this I realized my personal message of Christmas this year has been peace. As soon as I write that I automatically think of the countless moments and days that were not peaceful in my house leading up to Christmas and I'm sure will continue in the future. I am a mother of two young boys with a little girl on the way. That is life and so much craziness comes with that, at least in our household!
I have tried to be really organized and not stressed out. (Being pregnant has caused me to, perhaps, over plan things.) I have tried to focus more on the Savior and not on all the projects and things I need to do. I started a tradition in our family last year that each day for family scripture study we read a story about Jesus starting with his birth and Christmas Eve is His resurrection. I tried to not pack our days but do several meaningful things. Was this really the difference? Honestly I am not sure. My visiting teacher came to visit last week and the message she shared was the Savior being the Prince of Peace. This part specifically touched me:
"'The Savior is the source of true peace,' said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 'Even with the trials of life, because of the Savior's Atonement and His grace, righteous living will be rewarded with personal peace.'"
As she shared that with me I immediately reflected on my day. The Smart One was working late, again, the boys were at that moment being crazy/loud and running, and I was tired. There was no peace surrounding me and yet I felt it through the spirit.
I am grateful for this wonderful Christmas Season to learn about and celebrate the Savior. He truly is the way to find joy and peace in our lives. Merry Christmas!
I won't forget where I was and what I was doing that day. I also will never forget the way I looked at the community around me. For several weeks afterward you could drive through any neighborhood and American flags would be lining the streets. It was amazing to me, someone who was not quite an adult, to see people come together in that way. I didn't know anyone who lost loved ones but it didn't matter, they were Americans and so were we. People came together as Americans despite many differences and I look to that time as one I hope we can return to as a nation. "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
This morning I told my husband I was conflicted as to which flag to hang up. BYU plays tonight and I usually hang the Y flag for game day. But as I walked with my oldest to school I had the thought that I'm an American first, no matter what else. I also saw a creative option and followed suit when I got home.
1. Play dates with great friends. I have a great friend from high school who has kids close to my boys' ages and we often get together and while the kiddos play we chat. I look forward to those days.
2. Dancing and singing to "Roar" by Katy Perry with my boys while cleaning up the kitchen. Yep, one of their favorites. :)
3. Anyone that knows me well knows that I clean the laundry but don't often get it folded in a timely manner. Tonight I folded a lot while listening to General Conference talks and it feels great to have it done.
1. I love summer because of the warmth. Yesterday it rained and cooled everything off quite a bit but I rather enjoyed it because it was cool enough for the boys to play with the kids in the neighborhood outside for a couple of hours. It was lovely.
2. The flowers on my front porch are just beautiful right now with the rain we've been having. Just simple petunias and snapdragons.
3. School starts in one week for the Silly One. We are pretty excited about it and got to meet his teacher Monday night at Back To School Night.
Positives for day 2:
1. We started the day bright and early going to the Ogden Temple open house, it was amazingly beautiful! I love going to then temple and behind reminded of my covenants and hope that there is.
2. Getting a pedicure. Sometimes as a mom it is nice to have someone else take care of you. While I was doing that my husband was home preparing for a surprise dinner.
3. Tonight we did a surprise birthday dinner for my mother-in-law. It was great to be together as family and fun to do a fancy dinner. We also used my china, first time in 8 years doing a dinner with it!
This was the guys last night at the gardens. Google+ has a #PaintUSA to paint your face for the world cup, just in time for the 4th of July as well in my opinion.
|Back view, glued and ready to hang.|
|The stairs are the only interest in the space|
|Ready to be painted, the tape is the green.|
|Painted and deciding if we should paint the doors or not.|
|Still needs some interest so the idea to pant the bench comes in.|
|All painted, including the doors|
|I moved some things around and made the pattern on either side of the picture. The idea came from here. And as I was taking a couple pictures today I realized the pattern from the mirror is repeated with that little toilet paper art. I should have seen that before, ha!|
|Complete with hooks and painted bench. I love how the bench turned out.|
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
4 green onions sliced (really however many you want)
1 small package of slivered almonds
Hawaiian Coconut Rice with Red Beans (aka Rumbi Rice)
2 cup long grain white rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
Combine all ingredients in a rice cooker. Gently stir it all together so the beans are mixed in. Place the lid on and start the rice cooker. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.
If you don't have a rice cooker: combine water, coconut milk, and sugar in a saucepan. Stir in rice and beans. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18-20 minutes until rice is cooked.
I used a lite coconut milk and think the regular would have more flavor. We'll be having this again.
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 chicken breasts
grated Parmesan cheese
Mix marinade ingredients and add chicken. Let sit for a few hours and they are ready to grill. Cook chicken until juice run clear. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and let it melt. Enjoy!
I've done this and other marinade meals as freezer meals. You just mix the marinade, add the chicken, label the bag and freeze!
"People who love to eat are always the best people." - Julia Child.
Anyway, back to the recipes. I've tried some great ones that we have had numerous times and this is one of them.
Ginger Pork Tenderloin
2 to 2 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin (cut into slices if not already sliced)
1/2 cup Wildtree Asian Ginger Plum Dressing and Marinade
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon pepper
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Mix marinade ingredients together and add meat. This can be marinated for several hours and grill. Or frozen and used at a later date, just thaw and grill. I love freezer meals! Couple of notes, I got the recipe when I bought a bottle of the marinade mix from Wildtree, it is fantastic. But if you don't want to go that route I did find a Newman's Own dressing - Sesame Ginger Dressing that also works, I bought it at Walmart. The dressing does have soy sauce in it so I actually just add two tablespoons to the dressing amount and don't add more soy sauce. I have made this with a pork tenderloin roast and cut the slices myself. The pictures show a pork sirloin chop which was good as well. My kids even like this. :)
|Near the end of the game.|
|Here we are cheering on the boys in blue!|
|The house sits on a corner which makes the shape and orientation so perfect. The front door is on the right.|
|Cool brick work for the chimney and interesting balcony railing.|
One of my goals this year is to be more positive but I'll blog about that later. So part of that I am going to try to take a picture each day the month and January and hopefully that will help me not hate the next 30 days. And I am not going to get frustrated or down on myself if I skip a day (ahem, like yesterday, you know, January 1st.) I am using the photo list from the Idea Room. Most days probably won't have this long of an explanation. I guess I just had to write down my reasoning to justify myself?
Today is Organize: