Living Loving Learning

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Mommy Break

In Moms on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:06 am

Last week Erin’s Mother-In-Law kept her two boys (ages 5 & 3) for two hours so she could have a Mommy break.

Guess what she did?

She worked out at the gym . . .

For two hours!

What would you do with a two hour Mommy break?


Seedlings, Blooms, Plants

In Gardening on Friday, April 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

The recent cold snap was brutal to a lot of plants.  Our azaleas, which normally have heavy pink blooms are looking pretty measly this year. A few hostas received some damage, as did the potatoes and lettuce, and a few asparagus spears. 


I fully expect these plants will make a comeback.    I’ll let you know.

Have you planted any tomato seeds or do you have plants ready for the garden?  It looks like we’ll be able to get those planted out soon.

If you have seedlings coming up in milk jugs or small containers, repot them to something larger.  Those roots need room to grow!  Be sure to protect them from all the wind we’ve been having.


What’s blooming in your yard?  I still have some tulips blooming and the creeping phlox is popping out. And one of my favorites…Star of Bethlehem which is sprinkled


It’s still not too late to start some lettuce, or other greens.   Are you trying it this year?  It’s really easy.

And we’ll be at church on Saturday night.  Why not attend a less populated church service than your normal one this weekend and leave your seat for someone who only comes at Easter?

What are your Easter plans?  We have family coming over Sunday afternoon and will have an egg hunt with all 6 grands. (may be indoors if it rains!) (a pic of the grands from last year) 


May my heart be filled with the overwhelming Love of a Father who would sacrifice his only son….for me.



Beans, Glorious Beans!

In Lifestyle, Recipes on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm

White Bean Hummus


1 pkg cooked  (or can) white beans

2 cloves garlic

one sprig fresh rosemary (about 1 T.)

2 t. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

a few shakes hot sauce


Place all ingredients into food processor and whirl until smooth. Add a couple teaspoons water, if necessary, to make smooth.


Serve with vegetable stick or pita chips (pita bread quartered and baked in oven until crisp)


Mexican Black Bean Dip


1 pkg cooked and thawed (or 1 can) black beans, rinsed
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup cilantro leaves ( or more, I love cilantro)
1 Tbs. lime juice
l clove garlic

Drain and rinse the black beans. Combine the black beans, salsa, cilantro leaves, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth.


Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable sticks.


Bean Flautas (1 pkg beans makes about 5-6 flautas)


1-2 pkgs cooked and thawed (or 1-2 cans) pinto beans

2 t. chili powder (or to taste)

1 t. cumin (or to taste)

salt, hot sauce to taste


non-stick spray


Place beans in skillet and mash with potato masher until mostly blended.  Heat through.


Place 2-3 Tbs. beans on softened corn or flour tortillas.  Roll tortilla.  Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Spray flauta with non-stick spray.


Bake at 350 degrees until flautas are lightly browned and crisp


Serve with salsa (or salsa mixed with Ranch dressing, as my boys do).  This is one of my teen sons’ favorite lunches. 


Find a few other favorite beans recipes here.


Hope you enjoy trying these good-for-you, low-fat, high fiber recipes.




If You Don’t Know Beans About Beans

In Lifestyle, Recipes on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Beans get a bad rap.  But did you know they are a great source of protein, are high in fiber, and low in calories. 482200_dry_beans


If you cook your own from dried, they will cost you about ½ as much as the canned varieties!  (and have you ever checked out the sodium content in those cans??!! Whew!)


It’s easy to do.


Purchase a pound package of dried beans (on the same aisle as the rice and pasta in most grocery stores).  Choose from white, red, pinto, black and many other varieties. 


Rinse in a colander and place in a large pot.  Completely cover with water.  Leave over night to soak.  The next morning, bring the temperature of the water to almost boiling, and turn down to a low simmer.  Now, cook for 4-6 hours, or until soft.  (1 lb. dried = approx. 10 cups cooked.)


That’s it! 


You can even soak them overnight in the crockpot and cook all the next day. Season them now, or later. 



At this point they are ready to be used in recipes or stored in the freezer. 



I usually place 2 cups in a zip-lock freezer bag, seal, and lay flat in the freezer.


Currently, my freezer has red beans, white beans, black beans and a new supply of pintos.  To use them, I lay the frozen bag into the microwave and heat until thawed. Then, use as you would for canned beans.


Tomorrow, I’ll share a few recipes:


White Bean Hummus

Mexican Black Bean Dip

Bean Flautas


C’mon…use your bean and start eating more beans!



Do you like beans?  Do you use them in any recipes?  Do share!




An Aisle, an Altar, and a Hymn

In Marriage on Monday, April 6, 2009 at 9:30 pm

It’s wedding time.  Here you are, in all your glorious beauty, ready to walk down the aisle to your knight…the man who chose you, the man of your dreams.

You walk down the aisle, meet your man at the altar, and then everyone sings a hymn.

And that man of your dreams…..he’s just perfect!  Well, he’s ALMOST perfect.  Except for the back hair, and those goofy jokes, and those silly looking jeans he loves, his sometimes gruff manner, and his lack of Bible reading,  and the_________, and the___________. 

And it begins.  The aisle, altar and hymn, turn into….. “I’ll alter him”!  And we work and work at it, sometimes for years!

We have an image in our minds of what we want our husbands to be like…that perfect man that looks and thinks like we think he should look and think. 

Those preconceived ideas can make it really hard on our man.  After all, he’s not really supposed to be made in OUR image, nor does he want to be.  (Do we really want him to be like us??)

He was created in God’s image, yet still incomplete. God made him to be a man and he is still human. 

Maybe we should start adapting to him and loving him the way he is….not as we want him to be.  And the changes?  I’ve found that God does a lot better job than I do! 

May all my veiled “suggestions” and “encouragements” be silenced into quiet, uplifting prayers for my knight, the man who chose me, the man of  my dreams.




A Check-Up for Wives

In Marriage on Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 7:04 pm

*Does my husband see me smile more often than not?

*Is my home a happy home?

*Am I someone even I would want to come home to?

*Do I enjoy life?  Do I know how to have fun or am I often too intense or dramatic?

*Am I husband-focused, or am I kid-focused, object-focused or even me-focused?

*Am I positive and encouraging?

*Do I allow him to dream without pointing out all the reasons why “that won’t work”?

*Do I allow the Holy Spirit to be his conscience?

*What do my children hear from my mouth concerning my husband?

*Am I still someone, today, that my husband would pursue and fall in love with?

*Am I really a submissive wife who shows respect to her husband?

*Do I often show my disapproval of my husband’s actions by giving the “silent treatment”?

*Do I pray for my husband?

After almost 35 years of marriage, these are questions I still need to ask myself.  A check-up is good to keep our marriages healthy.  Still working on it here!






In Gardening on Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 9:32 pm


If you’ve never enjoyed a hummingbird feeder, go purchase one! Now is the time to get one up.   You will so enjoy the flitting and buzzing of those itty-bitty birds. They are FUN to watch!   Buy a feeder that has a large enough container that you won’t have to refill it every few days.  Use 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.  The red fool coloring really isn’t necessary. 


Go ahead and purchase those tomatoes and peppers, but don’t set them out until after April 15.  Repot them into larger containers so their roots will have plenty of room. “Harden” them off by putting them outdoors on warm days, starting in filtered sun, and protected from the wind, a couple of hours a day.  Extend the time until they are able to stay in full sun all day.  Think of it as “sunbathing” for vegetable plants J


Plant green beans, squash, cucumbers and other tender vegetable seeds when it’s warmer….close to April 15, or later if we still have this cold spell. 


Still not too late to apply weed-n-feed to mature grass.


Still not too late to sow shade grass. 


Feed your rose bushes, and cut away anything dead.


Clean out your flowerbeds to have ready for new flowers. 


Prune your flowering shrubs soon AFTER they bloom.


When your daffodils and tulips finish blooming, leave the foliage until it dies back.  Then you can cut it off.  The green leaves give the bulbs their nutrients for next year’s blooms.  You can also bend the foliage over and tie in a bundle with twine or one of the bulb’s own leaves.   


It’s still not too late to plant some lettuce, spinach or swiss chard….even in your flower bed or a pot.


If you planted asparagus recently, don’t be discouraged if you haven’t seen any baby spears.  We just need warmer weather here in OK!


Have you ever had a hummingbird feeder?


What’s going on this weekend?  We’ll be cheering on Ali, Anna, Cody Light, Abbi, and  others who are running the 10K (6.1 miles)  Sunday at the Redbud Classic.




Double-Dog Dare: 30 Meals in 30 Days

In Lifestyle, Recipes on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 9:26 pm

picky-girlLast year I had a free subscription to Cookie magazine. It’s technically for parents, but the articles are really cool and artsy, so I read it. One story in particular spoke to me, especially since Andrew’s daughters have become increasingly interested in cooking and “weird” foods. The article opens like this:

“I started making a list on the train home from work one night last fall. I was sitting there, racking my brain, in a mild panic, trying to decide what to cook for dinner that night. Here’s what came to mind: nothing.

So I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down all the meals I could make for my husband and two kids that didn’t involve the toaster oven, or customizing plate after plate, or Gitmo-style negotiations before every microscopic bite (“If you don’t try that pork/pea/basmati grain, no dessert! Okay. I’m counting to three…!”). The exercise didn’t take very long. I stared in disbelief at the sad, sorry lot that was my culinary repertoire:

The sad, sorry lot:
Breaded chicken cutlets
Sautéed shrimp

Four meals. How was this possible? How had my mammoth archive of prekid dinners devolved into this grim little lineup?”

After making her list, the author made a pact with herself to get more creative in the kitchen and expose her kids to new things. I know this is an issue many parents can relate to. It seems that so many of us (especially us self-proclaimed BUSY folks) struggle to break out of culinary ruts sometimes…or we don’t know how our families will respond if we attempt to do so.

For those of you with picky eaters in your house (whether it’s your kids or your spouse!), I encourage you…no, I DARE YOU, to do a similar experiment in your household, maybe even making it a game if you must.

Read the full article here (make sure you see all of it…it’s a few pages, including tips and suggested menus) and get 30-days’ worth of recipes here.

Bon Appétit!

Are there picky eaters in your household? What’s your favorite “weird” food? Are you going to accept my dare? 🙂

abbi1 ABBI