Saturday, May 28, 2011

My new summer salad

I didn't have an old go-to summer salad, but if I did, I'd be replacing it with this one!  I made this last night as a side with Salsa Verde Tacos (which were also awesome!) and it was so darn good.  I thought it would be great with Mexican food and it was, but it would also be a great bbq item because it isn't a strong flavor; it just tastes fresh and healthy!  My kids gobbled it up, too which isn't always the case with a salad.  
photo courtesy Food Network

Black Bean and Corn Salad 
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn, unthawed (I used Trader Joe's Roasted Corn and it was delish in it!)
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 tsp hot sauce
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbs canola oil
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Let sit for at least 20-30 minutes (and it's even better the next day!) for flavors to mix.  Corn will thaw as it sits and keep salad nice and cold!

Adapted from Rachael Ray

Make it this weekend for that cookout you know you're going to!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Favorites

It has been awhile since I've shared some of my favorite things.  I know you've been missing it (ha!), so I'm going to do my best to rectify that today.  Remember, I share because I care.  And because I seriously enjoy these products/items!

-Razors, a boring but necessary item. I've been using these Noxzema disposable razors for the last 4 years.  I tend to have sensitive skin and had tried lots of different razors in an effort to find one that didn't make my legs break out in a rash.  I found these one day and have never used anything else since.  The blades stay sharp forever and give you such a smooth, close shave.  They can be hard to find (I even considered buying off Amazon at an exorbitant price because I love them that much!), but I've had success at Walmart locally and they are under $3/4 pack.  Shaving my legs is still not a favorite task, but these razors at least give you great results that make it worth it.

-While we're down at the end of the body, let me talk about my feet.  I am a barefoot girl.  This time of year you will only see me with shoes on if I'm out and about.  Even in the dead of winter I'll be barefoot and them complain about having really cold feet.  Because of all the barefootedness, I'm pretty hard on my feet.  They get dry and callused and I can get cracked heels easily.  I've tried every foot lotion and potion available at your local drugstore with marginal success.  Last year, I decided to give Avon's Foot Works lotions a try.  I love them!  I've never had such good results with products before.  They have a huge line of products and I've tried a ton of them.  Not kidding- here's my stash!

 My current faves are the Hydrating Foot Serum and the Overnight Cream.  And for the first time ever, I have something that helps with the cracks I sometimes get.  Great prices on great products!  You can order online and there are always free shipping deals.  And no, I'm not an Avon representative, but maybe I should be!

-One more cheap beauty product for you...several weeks ago I ran out of moisturizer for my face.  I'm not brand loyal about that so went to Target to see what they had.  Well, Boots is what they have!  Who knew six bucks would find me such a great moisturizer.  I love that this goes on really light and I can use it during these warmer months.  It's an enormous bottle and will last me forever which is good since I love it!

-A year ago, a friend introduced me to the deliciousness of Greek Gods Yogurt.  The plain is great, but the Honey flavored yogurt is out of this world good.  It's my favorite breakfast, snack or dessert with some fresh berries and a sprinkle of granola if I'm feeling crazy.  I never knew I could be so passionate about yogurt, but I love this stuff!  I've only seen it at Kroger and it isn't cheap, but it is worth it.  It frequently goes on sale and when it does I stock up!

-We are always trying to figure out new systems or methods to get the kids involved around the house.  A month or so ago, I read about MyJobChart and it has been the best thing for our kids! It's a free program that you manage all online.  You assign jobs to each of your kids and can completely customize.  You can assign point values or dollar values to each job and it keeps track of all of it.  We are using points and points can then be redeemed for a trip for ice cream or computer time.  We will add more as we go, but for now that's working great for Haven.  (Mati's a bit sporadic in his job completion!)  I would highly recommend checking it out!

-I saw this project earlier this week and adored it: Butterfly art- Haven and I are so making this!

Found anything you've been enjoying lately? Happy long weekend, my friends!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Today, my little man turned three.  It was a fun day, filled with lots of things Mati loves like cake, church and ketchup.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner he replied, "Ketchup."  We made it happen for him!
 Super Mati!  You really are a super guy Mat-Mat.  You are the most polite child and are endless with your praise of others.  You are Haven's biggest cheerleader and always tell me how proud you are of me.  I pray that your gift of encouragement stays with you all your life.
 All smiles as he opened presents.  My happy boy!  You are the life of the party, full of jokes and dances and being crazy.  You love to make us laugh.  You love to talk..."Ya know what, Mama?" is something I hear ALL day long.  Followed closely by, "Dat cool?"  You wear my brain out some days with all the talking, but I love your sweet voice filling up this house.
 Its always sad to say farewell to your sweet little babyish habits.  For almost a year you knew your colors by 
the characters on Sesame Street.  Red=Elmo, Blue=Grover, Yellow=Big Bird, etc.  You are not doing it very often anymore and while I'm so glad you're growing and learning, I thought that was one of the cutest little things you did, especially since it's something you came up with on your own.  What will that mischievous little mind come up with next?
You are the sweetest boy, Mati.  I can't imagine life without you and I am amazed that God orchestrated you into our family.  I love to hear you say, "Our family Papa, Mommy, Haven, Mati!  Our family!"  You love each one us passionately and it is so easily returned.  Thank you for being one of the greatest gifts of my heart and for filling up a part of me I never knew was empty.

 You are my best guy!  Happy birthday, Mati!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Field Trip: Tim Horton's

My lovely friend, J, has got some connections.  And she's a good enough friend to not keep them to herself, but share the goodness with me.  Yesterday she invited us to join her kids on a field trip to a Tim Horton's store where she's friends with the owner.  The kids loved it!

The learned how to make Iced Capps (a very valuable skill!).
Got put in the freezer with the baker.
Frosted some donuts or perhaps dunked them would be more appropriate.
Want some doughnut with your sprinkles?
Sprinkles, sprinkles and more sprinkles!
A box full of doughnuts that she proudly decorated, ready to go home.
And not to be left out, he needed his own box for his doughnuts!

Thanks, J, for including us in your field trip today!  We'll go with you guys anywhere!  Who else do you know?!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Family Rules

New artwork at our house, The Family Rules.  Proudly displayed in a 16x20 frame in the kitchen where we can always see it.  We even used it this week for a class where we needed something to express our family's culture. I think this captures what's important to us as well as anything could.  Thanks again to Cale for his graphic design.  (He's for hire!) Now a picture where you can actually read what it says...

Let me know if you're interested in a copy of this print.  We can also customize one for you.  

Friday, May 13, 2011


Our house has been emptier this week and feeling more like just a house then home.  It's never the same when he's not here to fill in the empty spaces, balance me out and lay beside me at night.  But he's back and we all laid in a jumbled pile this morning as if he'd been gone for weeks, not just 4 days.  A moment to savor, all of us together; my house feels like home again when we're all together.

I just finished reading what is certainly the best book I've read in 2011 (and I've read some good ones like this and this.)  Somewhere More Holy by Tony Woodlief has made me rethink what home is and how it is created and the sacredness of it.  I cried and I laughed and I re-read sentences that were too powerful to absorb in just one take.  Room by room, the author tells his story and his family's journey and how he has come to see the holiness all around us, if only we would open our eyes to see.  Beauty and pain, hope and despair, peace and angst...all of life lived out inside these four walls, and He is in the midst of every moment.

"This book is the story of how we reclaim the things that are lost. It's also the story of a how a home can become sacred, and how in the process it can sanctify us as well...Home is more than a place where we eat and sleep; it is where we learn grace, where we glimpse heaven.  Is is where we find or lose God, or perhaps where He finds us if we will only be still long enough to listen for Him."

It is not an easy read (have a kleenex nearby), but one that will challenge how you think about your home. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mom's day

This greeted me upon waking this morning.  A card, lovingly worked on and illustrated by my sweet girl.  One look and I am reminded that it's all worth it.  The lack of sleep, dirty diapers, back talk, messy house, piles of laundry, meals to cook, boo-boos to kiss, baths to give, books to read, heart to train, floors to clean, mouths to wipe, toys stepped on, prayers prayed...every minute is worth it.

I'm so glad they're mine.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Try it, you'll like it.

I'm guessing that you're like me and if you're fixing chicken for dinner it's your basic boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Well, that needs to change.  Enter the under appreciated boneless skinless chicken thigh.  I know, I know... dark meat.  I thought I wouldn't be a fan, but I've been converted.  We started grilling them a few summers ago using this recipe (which is a family favorite and something we serve to company quite often in the summer).  I've used them occasionally in other recipes, but nothing that really stood out...until last night.

I totally didn't take this picture, but swiped it from here which is also where I got the delicious recipe. It's a great site!

I made Oven Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs and we all loved them!  You make your own teriyaki sauce and it is perfectly sweet and salty.  Pour the sauce over the chicken, bake, turn them over, bake some more, done.  Easy, peasy.  I made a side of fried rice to go with it and it was just a simple, quick meal that we all enjoyed.  We will be having this again in the very near future.  So come on, give the (cheaper, quick cooking, easy) thigh a chance!

Oven Baked Teriyaki Thighs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • black pepper to taste
  • 9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth and no lumps. Then, whisk in the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce it and simmer until thickens.  You will end up with about 1 cup of sauce.
  3. Trim off any pieces of fat from each chicken thigh using kitchen shears. Place chicken pieces in a 9×13 inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 half of the sauce over the chicken, brushing each piece so it is coated.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn pieces over and drizzle remaining sauce on top.   Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes more until inner temperature reaches 165 degrees or juices run clear.