Monday, November 29, 2010

Grocery Bag

After a weekend of enjoying Thanksgiving and it's leftovers, it is time to return to the weekly meal plan. I have lots of favorites in store for us this week.  For us, it's the first week of Advent and my last week of work for the year, so there is lot's to celebrate!  

Day One
Curry Chicken Salad from Cooking Light Magazine
 with wheat crackers

Photo and recipe from
Even my southern-boy husband loves this curried version of chicken salad.  It's one of my favorites: full of fruit, and I add 1/2 cup minced celery to add extra crunch.  If you have left over turkey this week, try using it in place of chicken in this recipe.  You'll never know you are eating turkey!

Day Two
Nana's Shrimp Creole with brown rice

Another Johnson favorite, Nana's Shrimp Creole.

Time to share yet another Johnson Family favorite.  This recipe is from my mother-in-law, the quintessential southern hostess.  This recipe is hearty yet healthy, tangy with a hint of sweetness, and a true one pot wonder.  To entice the kids the eat the creole, I chop up the shrimp and mince the onion, green pepper and celery.  They usually ask for seconds.

Nana Johnson's Shrimp Creole

½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 garlic clove
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 16oz can tomatoes (or 2 cups)
1 8oz can seasoned tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
12 oz raw cleaned shrimp (chopped if desired)
½ cup finely chopped green pepper

Cook onion, celery and garlic in oil until tender but not brown.  Add tomatoes, sauce, and  seasonings.  Simmer uncovered for 35-45 minutes.  Mix cornstarch with 2 tsp water and stir into sauce.  Cook until mixture thickens, a few minutes more.  Add shrimp and green pepper.  Cover and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes more.  Serve with rice.


Day Three
Shepherd's Pie from Southern Living Magazine
with green beans and homemade bread

Photo and recipe from
I am excited to try this recipe this week for several reasons.  First, what better way to use left-over mashed potatoes then shepherd's pie?  Second, this version is packed with veggies.  I will probably add some chopped celery to the beef base.  Delish!

Day Four 
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna from Bon Appetit Magazine
with romaine salad 

Photo and recipe at
This recipe was gifted to me in honor of our first Thanksgiving after getting married.  
It is one of my go-to meals when we are entertaining friends, but it is easy enough to make ahead for a family weeknight meal.  Perfect paired with a salad and warm bread.

Day Five
Boeuf Bourguignon Soup from Martha Stewart Living Magazine
with cornbread
This recipe is in the December 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living.  It gets rave reviews.  I will post a link as soon as the recipe is posted online.  It takes 3 hours to simmer on the stove, so I am saving this recipe for Friday when I have a half-day for my last day of work!

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 2010

G-Bear was raring to go this morning at 7:16am:

"Is it Thanksgiving yet, Mommy?"

Yes, sweetie, it is Thanksgiving.

"Today?! Right now?!"

I am happy to report that it is indeed Thanksgiving, right now.  We also finished our Thanksgiving Turkey Feathers, and a fully-plumbed turkey is now taped to the window next to our breakfast table.  Here are the thanksgivings that decorate our turkey feathers, as shared this week by E-Bear and G-Bear:

G-Bear: I am thankful for....Pears and apples!
E-Bear: I am thankful for....Kisses!

G-Bear: I am thankful for....Trees and Mommy and Daddy!
E-Bear: I am thankful for....Cheese!
G-Bear: ...and G-Bear and E-Bear!

G-Bear: I am thankful for....balloons and gummies and fingers, knees and toes!
E-Bear: I am thankful for....cups and milk and poopy and lollypops!

Happy Thanksgiving from Happily Ever Johnson Land!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hard Days: The Choice

What do you do when someone you love falls on a string of bad days?

We can relate.  This seems to happen often in medical training.

What do you do when your husband hasn't slept more than 5 hours for the past 4 nights?
When he hasn't seen the kids in three days?
When co-workers ask in jest if his wife is jealous of them?
When he gets off work at 10:00pm, his car battery is dead in the 20 degree cold, and the car alarm won't stop alarming after AAA comes to jump the car?
When his alarm goes of at 4:05am the next morning and he still isn't home at midnight that night?

What happens?

Are you resentful when the dinner you made is cold on the stove?
Do you grow weary of parenting as the night grows long?
Do you resent the work, the schedule, the people who keep your loved one away?
Do you let questions creep in and doubt that you're loved?
Do you pity 'why me' and forget how you're blessed?


Do you welcome your loved one and warm up a meal,
and make a safe haven for brief comfort and rest?

Do you speak to your children, when questions of absence arise, 
of daddy's great virtue,
 the great needs of others 
and how working late provides for both family and neighbors?

Do you remember how hard your loved one is working, 
and respect that Good Purpose can be found in the labor?

Do you banish all doubt and resolve to love deeply, 
past the depth of emotion, convenience, exhaustion?

Do you remember the suffering of others, far greater,
are you humbled by Sacrifice for your own failures?

Lord, help me, I will make the better choice.
Tonight, tomorrow,  
for him,  
for me,
  for us,
for them,
  for our witness.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Monday, November 22, 2010

Last day in a cast

Today, little E-Bear's cast comes off.  It is hard to believe that it has been a month since he broke his leg.  Whiles we have done far better than I imagined we would, I will sincerely empathize with parents in the future whose child needs a cast.  It is fitting that as we enter into Thanksgiving week, I give thanks for the healing that tomorrow's cast removal represents.  I have learned so much, here are some of my favorite lessons:

~Bathing: How do you bathe a 22-month old with a full leg cast?  This one stumped me for a while.  My trick was to fill the tub with 2 inches of water and lay E-Bear in it on his back, resting his leg on my arm straight in the air and using my other arm to scrub him down.  This works only if 2 conditions are met: 1) your unhappy toddler howls, but does not splash, in distain of the sponge bath, and 2) all necessary bathing supplies are within reach once you plop him in the tub; remember, only ONE free hand!

~Diaper changing: the lay-on-your-side-so-I-can-clean-your-bottom-without-getting-your-cast-dirty method of diaper changing is very effective.  I may look into patenting this new move.

~Resilience:  Family members are often more resilient than we give credit for.  E-Bear became quite content with playing in one spot with our toy bucket.  G-Bear became quite content with shuttling E-Bear toys that were out of reach.  I developed significant upper body tone from carrying E-Bear and his 5 lb cast everywhere we went.  And no, once weekly sponge baths do not mean that you smell by the end of the week :)

~The Walking Cast:  Really, it should be called a Running Cast.  Because when your child starts running in the cast, you know it is time for it to come off :)

The kids and I had the first appointment this morning with the cast room.  E-Bear was showing everyone his cast this weekend and then would announce: "Cast cut off.  Cast cut off."  I think he was ready.

Thanks to all our friends and family who helped us in large ways and small ways to weather the past four weeks!  Let's hope this first Johnson Family cast is the last one :)

Thanksgiving Week

We are ready for Thanksgiving Week around here!  We are planning several things to help share and prepare for the Thanksgiving celebration:

1.  Thanksgiving Feathers
The friendly turkey below is taped to the window next to our dinner table.  He looks very naked, as you can see.  His feathers are cut out in a pile on the book shelf.  Each day, the kids and I will talk about something they are thankful for.  Then we'll write down our thanksgivings on a feather and the kids will get to tape the feathers to the turkey to get him ready for Thanksgiving.  I am hoping for a full-plumbed bird this year :)  I also can't wait to hear what the kids come up with for their thanksgivings.

2.  Thanksgiving books
My kids love the library, and we are headed that way on Tuesday to check out some Thanksgiving books for the week.  They will love bringing the books to the family parties to have new stories to read with family members.

3.  Thanksgiving Toys
Last year, my aunt gave us the Fischer Price Little People Thanksgiving Celebration set, and my kids loved it.  I put it away just before Christmas time last year, in hopes of getting it out each year to help celebrate Thanksgiving.  The best part about seasonal toys is that the kids feel like they have gotten a brand new present.  Let thanksgiving playtime begin!

4. Recipes
I won't be cooking for Thanksgiving this year, thanks to amazing family members who love to host the festivities.  But I have found no shortage of amazing, Thanksgiving-worthy recipes in my meal planning moments over the past few weeks.  Here are a few of my new favorites, which we have either already enjoyed or are looking forward to enjoying in the next few weeks:

Bon appetit!  

May your Thanksgiving table be filled with good food, many blessings and the love of many family and friends.  Have a great week!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Overheard in the house this week 8...

"Gooooooooo, Bama!"  ~E-Bear, a shaker in each hand, cheering the loudest of all of us for his dad's favorite team.  Enough to make a grown 'Tide fan cry.

Me: "G-Bear, next week is Thanksgiving.  We will get to eat lots of food as a family and tell Jesus what we are thankful for.  Do you have anything that you are thankful for?"
G-Bear:  "Um, I am fankful for taking the bus with mom to the Minnesota State Fair and going on the train and riding the horsies at the mall."
Me (realizing that G-Bear was describing our State Fair trips and Mall of America carousel rides):  "Gosh, G-Bear, what great things to be thankful for!  It would be fun to do some of those things again sometimes, uh?"
G-Bear: "Yeah, but we need daddy to come so that we can wave to his from the horsies.  Otherwise there is no one to wave to."

"Mommy, cooooome heeeeeeere!  I need you."  ~E-Bear, an oft-heard request these days.

"Mommy, do you know my true love?  It's my heart in my chest.  And sometimes it is sooooo tired!"
~G-Bear.  And, by the way, who is asking my daughter about her true love?!

"I ruuuuuuunnnnnnning!"  ~E-Bear, racing around the kitchen island, chasing his sister,  cast thumping on the floor with each step.  I think he is ready for his cast to come off :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Advent Planning

Thanksgiving is next week, and already I can't wait for the start of Advent.  I already find myself thinking about December constantly.  The surest way for me to become disappointed is to make expectations that go unmet, but I can't help it.  I love Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, the whole season.  Especially now in life with T and my bears, I want the next month to be special, meaningful, focused on Jesus and what His birth means for my family.

This got me can I do my best to make the most of the Advent weeks, without inviting the infamous holiday craze into our house?  Is it really possible?

I decided tonight that an essential part of making Advent meaningful for my family, sans craziness, is Advent planning.  What's that, you ask?  I don't know!  I've never tried it!  But, if menu planning can get us through weeks of dinners with greater ease, peace and enjoyment, I'll bet that Advent planning can produce similar results.

I was inspired today by another mother's efforts and advanced planning to help ensure that Advent is a special season in her house.  On her blog, Shower of Roses, Jessica has posted years of Advent ideas and planning.  What a great way to jump start ideas!

So, with about one week to go until Thanksgiving, I am setting out to making my own Advent calendar -- an Advent Plan for helping my family focus on Advent and the true meaning of Christmas.  I would love ideas, recommendations, tips and prayers as I do this.  Then, let the celebration begin!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grocery Bag

I am late, late for an important Grocery Bag date.  I can't believe this is the last week of meal planning before Thanksgiving week.  There are a few favorites and a few new recipes on my menu for dinner this week.  Hope you enjoy our ideas!  

Day One
Jennifer's White Chicken Chili
with cornbread
Our friend Jennifer first made this recipe for us way back when T was still in medical school.
I haven't made another chicken chili since.  This one is a staple in our house.

Jennifer's White Chicken Chili
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
4 cans Great Northern beans (I use cooked dried beans)
12 oz jar medium salsa
4 tsp ground cumin
3 C chicken broth (I use homemade stock or water leftover from poaching the chicken)
Ground pepper
8 oz block monterey jack cheese, grated

Heat everything except cheese at least 30-40 minutes. 
Add cheese, grated or in chunks, after turning off heat- do not boil.

Day Two
Happily Ever Johnson Tortilla Soup 
with mixed green salad
This can be made in the crockpot all day or in a pot in the evening. 
The crockpot version is thicker, more my style.

Day Three
Tuscan Beans on Toast from Cozy Kitchen
with Honey Mustard Green Beans from Real Simple
Two newbies for us.  I will likely serve the kids the beans with toast on the side.

Recipe and photo from A Cozy Kitchen
Recipe and photo at

Day Four
with sweet peas and pears

Recipe and photo at

Day Five
Tuna Noodle Casserole from Cooking Light
I am looking for a fabulous Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe, because the dish reminds me of winter evenings growing up.  I am hoping this recipe will be my new favorite.

Recipe and Photo from

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Tribute to Brunch

Today, we celebrate.

We are together as a family.

T is done with his last In-Training Exam.
(Note: Despite having to take the exam TWICE yesterday.  Seriously, horror of horrors, the testing software crashed 10 questions before the end of the six hour exam.  He had to start the exam over, from the beginning, no answers saved.  Instead of persevering for six hours, he had to persevere for thirteen. Hours. )

It is Sunday.

Our wonderful Nana offered to treat us to a celebration meal this weekend to help us unwind and celebrate.  It is always a treat for us to get to eat out.  This time, however, we decided to forego a dinner out and chose to enjoy a Sunday Brunch instead.  This was a treat worth remembering.

For some reason, when I think of celebratory meals, dinner almost always come to mind.  What a shame, I have been missing out!  I have decided, after today, that brunch surpasses all for the celebratory occasion.  Especially on a Sunday.  Especially for a family with young children.  Here are my reasons:

Ah, Dinner out.  To preface, I do love a good dinner out.  But if it's Friday or Saturday, better get a reservation.  There are often long waits, the restaurants are packed.  With our crew, the timing never seems to be quite right.  No matter how good the naps, toddlers never seem to have an attention span to linger over dinner.  Mine become squirrelly before the bread basket arrives.  Their meal always comes before ours, and they are finished and tired of sitting by the time my meal comes.  I consider my children well-behaved enough to bring along to restaurants, but the meal rarely ends up being relaxing or carefree.  In the end, we are either racing home to bed time or keeping them up way too late.

Brunch today, on the other hand, was a completely different experience.  Is there something magical about Sunday Brunch?  Right after early morning church, the kids are hungry and in the prime of their day.  We called ahead to the restaurant, "no need for a reservation," was the reply.  Even at a nice restaurant with an elegant Sunday Brunch Buffet, we walked right in to lovely table.  Far better than menus and bread basket distractions, the buffet was out for us to peruse.  A set price for adults, another for children, and those under 3 are free.  

While the price certainly makes the meal a treat, the choices are amazing, many made to order, and it counted for two of our meals today (two less for me to prepare on a Sunday!) along with drinks and desserts, which were included.  My kids LOVED watching the omelet preparation, viewing the food tables, getting to sample little bites of their choices, and going back for their favorites.  

The combination of the late-morning timing, hungry tummies (my kids always eat better at breakfast and lunch), and pleasant atmosphere led to hours of lingering over the meal together: a rare blessing.  Cozy with stuffed bellies on our way home, precious eyelids were drooping in the back seats, perfect preparation for naptime.  

Our Sunday Brunch set the stage for a perfect, lazy afternoon at home.  A true celebration, and just what we needed.

Thanks to God for this feast day, Nana, Enjoy! Restaurant, and those who served us, making it all possible.  Next time, think brunch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy "In-Training Exam" Eve

Here I sit next to an exhausted T, who is taking a cat-nap between his late night review sessions for the departmental In-Training Exam tomorrow.  For the past several months he has come home from long, exhausting days of work only to pour over review questions, study books or review articles to prep for this exam.  For T, for all his fellow co-residents, and for all our families, I can't wait for tomorrow night when the test is over.  The test comes around at this time every year, and everyone seems to breathe a collective sigh of relief when it is over.

Did I mention he needs to round on his patients tomorrow morning before the exam starts?

Sheesh, man.  I need to go to bed just thinking about it.

If you think of him, say a prayer for sweet T as he takes his exam tomorrow.  It's his last In-Training exam before he takes his Boards next summer.  That, in and of itself, is exciting and anxiety-provoking at the same time.  Would someone please remind me why we signed up for the profession with never-ending testing?  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Overheard in the house this week 7...

Gotta love these sweet babes....

G-Bear (on the way to school with MoMo): "MoMo, where is Mommy today?"
MoMo: "Oh, remember? She is helping the sick babies today, G-Bear.  Just like Daddy is fixing the kids with owies on their legs."
G-Bear: "But Daddy couldn't fix the owie on E-Bear's leg!"


Me: "E-Bear, come here please, I need to change your diaper."
E-Bear: "No, no, I fine."


A sign your toddlers have confidence in your home cooking:
G-Bear: "Mommy, do we have any more pineapple?"
Me: "No, G-Bear, this is the last of the pineapple."
G-Bear: "I have an idea.  We will just need to make some dough for more pineapple."


Me: "E-Bear, please come here, I need to change your diaper."
E-Bear: "No tank-you.  No tank-you, Mommy.  I fine."


T: "G-Bear, did you go poopy?"
G-Bear: "No, my tummy won't let go of my poopy right now."

E-Bear, our Halloween fiend: "Mommy, tootsie, peese?  TOOTSIE, PEESE!"
Me: "Ok, E-Bear, but not until after we change your diaper."
E-Bear: "Ok.  Diaper first, then tootsie."


E-Bear (sitting next to me): "Mommy, I need you."
Me: "I love you, E-Bear."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Unexpected

Yesterday proved there is nothing like the unexpected to keep you on your toes.

7am: G-Bear and I enjoy breakfast together before I head out to my outpatient orientation.  What an unexpected treat to get to start the day with my bright-eyed, "what-do-you-mean-Daylight-Savings-Time," three year old.  As I walk out the door, I remember that I accidently left my diaper backpack and wallet in the church pew on Sunday.  Bummer.  Mental note that I will need to get that back soon.

10:30am: Wow!  Orientation finishes shockingly early.  It's an amazing November day, and I will be back before lunch time.  Unexpectedly, I have the whole day to look forward to with my Bears! 

10:45am:  Arrive home.  The Amazing Miss R has some unfortunate news.  E-Bear threw up all over himself in bed this morning.  He was covered, the wall is covered, his bedding and blanket and teddy are covered, and worst of all, his new cast is covered in VOMIT!  

10:46am:  Take a deep breath.  Take another deep breath.  God gave you this short orientation for a reason today. 

10:47am: Find the phone number for the Children's Hospital.  The Casting Room can see E-Bear, but we may have to wait a long time because they are busy today.  And, we will need my wallet for check-in.  ARGH!  Now we MUST go get that backpack!

10:49am: The kids are still watching Sesame Street downstairs with Miss R.  I have exactly 10 minutes to pack all bags, throw all E-Bear's bedding, pillow and teddy in the wash, scrub the wall, pack 3 picnic lunches, make 3 phone calls to schedule doctor appointments for myself, and find the car keys.  

10:59am:  Praise the Lord.  The wash is in, appointments made, bags are packed, lunches made, wall scrubbed and Sesame Street is ending.  The kids are in a great mood.

11:15am: We pull out of the driveway.  Not to enjoy the activities I had daydreamed about on my way home, but we are together and ready for the adventure.

11:30am:  At the church.  Praise the Lord.  My backpack and wallet are safe and sound. We are off to the hospital.

12:30am:  Picnic peanut butter sandwiches and pears, anyone?  The kids and I enjoy our picnic lunch in the hospital waiting room.

1:00pm:  Hooray!  No new cast for E-Bear!  Just a brisk, metal brush scrubbing and a new layer of padding for under his toes.  We sit on the table together and watch "Elmo in Grouchland" while E-Bear gets his buff-and-shine treatment.  

1:45pm:  Trader Joe's anyone?  This calls for a quick grocery stop, some stickers at check-out, and a yogurt treat for everyone. 

2:15pm:  Realize as we drive by G-Bear's school that I haven't signed up for Teacher Conferences.  Quick detour!  There is ONE SPOT LEFT for Teacher Conferences.  Hallelujah!  Off the list.

3:00pm:  Arrive home, all are exhausted.  Story time and naps for everyone.   Except me, I have studying to do.

4:45pm:  Everybody up!  T will be late tonight.  We have just enough time before bedtime to ride bikes, make dinner, eat dinner, take baths (sponge bath for E-Bear) and enjoy a Halloween treat.  

8:00pm: Bedtime.  Collapse in bed and wait for T.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Grocery Bag

We are looking forward to another wonderful week here in Happily Ever Johnson Land.  This is T's last week of studying before his annual departmental exam, and my first week of outpatient pediatrics.  Here are our ideas to get us through the week.

Day One
with apples and carrot sticks
I prep the dough in the morning and let it rise all day. 
My recipe uses my bread maker, but you could make it with a mixer as well. 
In the evening, fill your dough with your favorite fillings 
and cook them at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  
We will use cooked broccoli, hamburger, cheese, & jar sauce. 

Pizza/Calzone Dough
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp rapid rise yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp regular yeast)
Mix together in a standing mixer or add to bread maker on the "dough" setting.

Day Two
Slow Cooker Chicken and 
Honey roasted vegetables from Cooking Light Magazine
I put my whole chicken in the slow cooker in the morning with lots of herbs 
(sage, thyme and rosemary this week).  10 hours later, the bird is perfect.  
Don't forget to make chicken stock with your leftovers!
Photo and recipe at

Day Three
Slow cooker Split Pea Soup 
with Harvest Vegetable Salad
Save your left over Honey roasted vegetables to make tonight's salad. 
It's one of my favorites.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
from "Slow Cooker Recipes"
3 (14oz) cans chicken broth 
(or use the broth you made the night before with your chicken!)
16oz package dried split peas
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 slices cooked, crumbled bacon

Place broth, peas, onion, carrots, pepper, thyme, bay leaf and half of crumbled bacon in slow cooker.  Cook on low 6-8 hours covered.  Remove bay leaf and season as desired.  
In batches, puree 1/2 of soup in a blender and return to slow cooker.  Garnish with remaining bacon.

Happily Ever Johnson Harvest Salad
8 oz spring mix greens
2 cups honey roasted vegetables
1/4 cup parmesan
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Serve immediately.

Day Four
Fettuccini Alfredo with bacon from Cooking Light magazine
with pear, feta and mixed green salad
This recipe gets awesome reviews.  I can't wait to try it.
Photo and recipe at 
Yet another one of my favorite salads.
I use balsamic vinaigrette for the dressing.

Day Five
Tamale Pie from Better Homes and Gardens
with steamed green beans
This original BHG recipe was printed in 1946, so you know it is good if it has stood the test of time
The meat is easily prepped the night before for maximum efficiency in the evening.  
Or, you can make this ahead and freeze it.

Blessings on your kitchen this week! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Surgery for the Soul

The past three weeks on my dermatology rotation, I performed dozens of skin checks screening patients for skin cancer.  When skin cancer is detected, often the best course of action is expeditious surgical removal of the cancerous tissue, or it could spread and destroy other areas of the body.  Even though many patients have a scar in the place where their cancer was removed, they consider it very little compared to the relief of having the cancer gone.

I reflected this week on how these same principles apply to my life, to my soul.  I need to do a thorough job of examining my life for "cancerous" habits, behaviors, thoughts or wants that are leading me away from God.  If not, such bad habits might spread, perhaps even hurt other areas of my life, cause damage and become even more entrenched.  If I do reflect on myself and find such "dark spots," am I willing to "cut" them out, give them up, turn my back, change my ways?  Am I willing to turn the dark spots of my soul over to God for renewal and redemption?  Or am I too resentful at the idea of a scar being left behind that I cling the cancers in my life?  

Friday, November 5, 2010

On the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo

Both T and I found ourselves in situations this week that challenged us to choose between inconvenient but respectful neighborliness and personally convenient inaction.  As we talked about our respective situations, I was reminded of how I often find it difficult to live out virtues I consider most important: selfless love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control.  I managed to find some encouragement tonight from today's feast day saint, St. Charles Borromeo.  I guess people struggled with this in the sixteenth century too. 

"Be sure that you first preach by the way you live. If you do not, people will notice that you say one thing, but live otherwise, and your words will bring only cynical laughter and a derisive shake of the head. We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: “I will pray, and then I will understand.” This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work. In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in other men."
- Saint Charles Borromeo

Math for the Week

Tonight, numbers seem to be the perfect way to sum up our news, describe our week and report what's up next.  Here goes.  Don't worry, no long division, derivatives or graphing calculators required.

17 -- The number of weeks I am pregnant today!  Hooray!  I could feel the baby kick from the outside for the first time this week.  For me, the first kicks are what make me start to feel like I really am pregnant.  There is nothing like it.  We love this kid already.

13 -- The number that E-Bear counted to all by himself last night in the car. "E-Bear, how high can you count?" asked T as we drove out to dinner together.  Everyone was impressed.  G-Bear was so impressed she asked him to do it again.

10 -- PM, the time T expects to get home tonight from surgery.  He has had a long week.  Who needs a call night to keep you at the hospital, when the operating room stays open that late?

7 --  The number of weeks until Christmas.  I am already excited for the holidays. Now, don't panic.  I used to hate the way that stores decorate for Christmas right after Halloween.  But I have changed my ways.  Now I start to get excited even before Halloween arrives.  I can't wait for Thanksgiving.

4 -- The number of weeks I have left to work before I get a nice long holiday break with the kids.  Up next is my month of outpatient pediatrics.  What fun!  My white coat pocket will be filled with stickers, which E-Bear and G-Bear will love when I get home.

3 -- The number of weeks of dermatology that I finished today.  As much as I loved the rotation, it is always satisfying to check off another elective.  I'm one step closer to graduation.

2 + 2 -- The number of weeks E-Bear was in a full-leg cast plus the number of weeks he has left.  Thankfully, his full-leg cast came off today!!  But, the x-ray finally showed that he did in fact break his lower leg, so back to the cast room we went for a short-leg cast.  He'll be in this one for another two weeks.  Whew.

1 -- A tired momma, ready for bed.  Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Day

...with two pajama-clad kids in tow,
  Who were crawling around the floor behind me as I filled out my ballot,
 Playing a back and forth game of pass-the-princess-and-truck,
An impressive distraction.
We changed pj's when we got home,
And everyone received a treat.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Grocery Bag

Goodness!  It seems so many weeks lately I am in survival mode.  With an exam this week and T studying hard for his In-Training exam, this week is another "survivor week" for me in the kitchen.  This afternoon I was hard at work in the kitchen, prepping for the week.  I made SnoWhite's Granola, my favorite Irish Oat Soda Bread (do the oats version, it's amazing!), and amazing Sour Cream Scones from Cooking Light, all for this week's breakfasts and lunch snacks.  As for dinner, here is my plan.  As I look at my menu again, it resembles my favorite take-out menu!  I must have study food on my mind!  Thanks to some dear friends who recently blessed us with a gift certificate, we are shamelessly eating out on Thursday, after I finish my exam.

Day One
Pesto with Cheese Tortellini 
This pesto recipe is a take off of one of the first pesto recipes ever published in the United States (in Sunset Magazine).  I made this several weeks ago and froze the batch for a week like this.  Super easy with the help of a blender or food processor.  Then, just toss the cooked tortellini with the pesto for an easy, authentic pasta dish.  We'll have ours with homemade bread.  The kids will be in heaven.

Day Two
from Cooking Light Magazine
photo at
Oh my, this is a long-time favorite in our house.  Quick and easy, a real winner.  
Feels like we are eating out, while eating in.  

Day Three
from Cooking Light Magazine
Photo at
This is a new dish for us. A fun change of pace.

Day Four
Eat Out!  Happy Post Exam!
from Southern Living
Photo at
This recipe is almost too good to pass up, even for a dinner night out.  
I'll make it for the weekend for sure if we eat out this week.

Day Five
Peking Pork Ribs with basmati rice
from "Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes"
6 Pork ribs
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Trim excess fat off ribs and place in slow cooker.
Combine remaining ingredients and pour over meat. 
Cover, cook on low 4-6 hours or until pork is tender.
Season with salt & pepper and serve with rice.

Blessings on your kitchen this week!