Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Faith Like a Child

What is it like to really have faith like a child? I have thought about this so many times over the course of this year. And I think about it most often when I am with my children. They inspire me to be faithful.

Carson and I pray every morning on the way to preschool. On the rare occasion that my mind is wandering and I forget, he is eager to remind me that when we make the turn off Lawyers Road onto the road his school is on, it is time to turn off the music and pray. We have been praying in the car since Carson and Jonah started preschool when we first moved to Charlotte. For a long time, I was the only one who prayed. Then I started asking the boys to pray for us. There are no sweeter or more sincere prayers than the prayers of a child.

Last week Carson told me he wanted to pray. He started out by thanking God for the trees and flowers, and for his family. Then he asked God to help him be a good listener at school. He was praying quietly and I had to listen hard to hear him over the sound of the cars going by, but I was hanging on to his every word. I imagine that is how our heavenly Father listens to us when we pray, seeking out our voices in the midst of all the other distractions and chaos of our lives. And just as my eyes welled up with tears to hear my five year-old thanking his God for nature and asking for help throughout his day, I know God smiles upon me when I thank Him for the simple things around me, and trust in Him to guide my steps.

One day, as I was dropping Carson off at preschool, he asked, "Mommy, do you pray when you're on your way home?" Why don't I?, I thought. I had to be honest with him. No, I don't Carson. But I am going to start today.

Thank you, Jonah and Carson. You have taught me to have faith. Faith like a child.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dinner Tip

I am so excited that I have dinner planned for tonight! Unfortunately I do not have many pictures, but we are so excited we have a new Panini and Sandwich Press, so I will include pics of it and the ingredients for a delicious panini sandwich we made last night.

Justin has been wanting a panini maker for a long time, so he asked for one for Christmas. His mom found a cute little sandwich press, by Cuisinart, that we have already used several times. It came with a handy little recipe guide. Last night, we had Cuban sandwiches, and they were SO yummy.

It was actually by accident that we came up with two meals. A Cuban sandwich has ham and pork, and the deli sells sliced ham, but not sliced pork. So, since I had two pork tenderloins in the freezer, we thawed and cooked them both. Then we sliced one of them and used it in our sandwiches. We put the other one in the fridge for tonight's dinner. Tonight we are going to have pork tenderloin, potatoes, and salad. So, two healthy dinners, with meal prep only on the first night. This would be a great idea for a weekend. Now that I am back at work, I definitely need some menu help.

Here is the recipe for the Cuban Sandwiches:

Cubano Sandwiches

The GriddlerTM Panini & Sandwich Press lifts high enough to hold even a well-stuffed Cuban Sandwich.

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 Cuban, French, Italian or Portuguese rolls, about 21⁄2 to 3 ounces each

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon lowfat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon brown deli mustard or Dijon-style mustard

3 ounces thinly sliced ham
3 ounces thinly sliced roast pork
2 ounces light Swiss cheese
4 long sandwich-style slices dill pickle

Preheat the Cuisinart® GriddlerTM Panini & Sand- wich Press while assembling Cubano sand- wiches.

Cut roll horizontally for sandwiches; place on work surface cut sides up. Spread each cut side lightly with butter. Place mayonnaise and mus- tard in a small bowl, stir to blend. Evenly spread mayonnaise/mustard mixture on the cut side of all 4 roll halves. Divide the ham, pork, and Swiss cheese evenly, and use to build sandwiches in that order. Top with pickle slices, then top half of roll.

Arrange the sandwiches evenly spaced on the bottom grill plate. Close applying medium pres- sure and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until bread is lightly browned and toasty, filling is warmed and cheese is melted. Serve hot

Here is the recipe for the pork:
preheat oven to 425
sprinkle 1/4 tsp garlic salt on pork tenderloin
cook 20 minutes
while cooking, mix 2 Tbsp Italian dressing (I like Good Seasons) and 1 Tbsp honey
remove tenderloin from oven and brush with dressing and honey
cook an additional 15-20 minutes or until done

The potatoes are a new recipe, so I will have to let you know how they are after we eat them. I wanted to try making a dill dressing for our salad tonight, so I decided to make a potato dish with dill. We'll see! :)

Garlic Dill Potatoes

I am looking for more ideas for meals where there is prep one night to allow for two meals. I don't mind making large meals and having leftovers, but it is a lot more fun to prepare one meat and use it in two different ways. Justin is especially appreciative when I can find recipes like these because he is not a huge fan of leftovers!

Must Read Monday

Listen Buddy was always one of my favorite books to read to my first graders. I read it the first day of school, as a reminder of what can happen to little bunny rabbits who don't listen to their teachers. It was effective. When I left the classroom after Carson was born, I couldn't find my copy of Listen Buddy. I looked everywhere. I was so sad until I realized a child was probably really enjoying that book at home. I knew eventually I'd either come across my copy, or find another one. Then, while Carson and I were volunteering at The Commonplace, we came across Listen Buddy as we were sorting books. I was SO excited. We bought it and read it as soon as we got home.

Listen Buddy, by Helen Lester, is a story about a bunny rabbit named Buddy who has big, beautiful ears. He lives with his father, who is a super sniffer (due to his big, beautiful nose) and his mother who is a terrific chomper (due to her big, beautiful teeth). Since Buddy is equipped with larger than normal ears, his parents assume he will be a better than normal listener. But he is not. He brings his father a hen when he asks for a pen and his mother a slice of bed when she asks for a slice of bread. They keep yelling, "Listen Buddy!"

The story reaches its peak when Buddy is given permission to go on a long hop. His parents remind him to take the path to the left, in order to avoid the Scruffy Varmint (who happens to like bunny rabbit soup). Buddy, having quite developed ears, but not so mature listening skills, hops along the path and goes to the right, having remembered giving an affirmative "right" to his parents when they were discussing directions. He promptly runs into the Scruffy Varmint, who is getting ready to make some soup.

You'll have to read the rest to learn if Buddy the bunny rabbit gets out of his predicament. It is a great read for little ones--they'll laugh out loud, especially if you really ham it up when the Scruffy Varmint is speaking. I was thinking this would be a great story to make into a play. It teaches a great lesson about listening, and will open the door for you to read more of Helen Lester's books. She is a hilarious author. She also wrote the Tacky books. We LOVE Tacky.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Catching Up

I love my job. I really do. While I am at school, I know I am making a difference in many children's lives. The children I work with need an extra push to become more confident readers and writers. I have known since I was six years old, assigning my three year-old sister worksheets and grading her work--strictly I am sure--that I would teach. But I miss my old life.

The one where I dropped Carson off and did my grocery shopping so I did not have to drag him to the store at 1:00 after preschool. The life where I could meet a friend at Panera and catch up over coffee. The life where I could hop on the treadmill and listen to worship music while I drowned out the rest of the world. The life where I could meet one of my best friends (and personal shrink--not officially) for a run/walk while our kids were at preschool. I miss the life where I found time to blog.

So, I am going to make more of an effort to do those things I miss. Yes, it will be a challenge. But those things are a part of me. They are what make me me. Maybe I will have to start getting up at 5 am and going to bed with my kids. Maybe I will have to make those things I miss happen on the weekends when my husband is at home. Right now, I am sneaking time to blog while my sweet husband (who recognized after a particularly stressful day yesterday) that I needed a break, took Carson to school for me. I'll probably finish this and have 10 minutes to get ready for school, but who cares. I will have taken a few minutes for me.

(Just need to make a side note here that my iphone just reminded me to "smile," something that happens at 9 am every morning. Another gesture made by my very sweet and thoughtful husband.)

So, I am on to Instagram now. I LOVE instagram because it allows me to view our week in pictures and has introduced me to some new blogs. Check it out.

life rearranged

The boys had fun picking out Justin's cast color. Blue was the final decision, after Justin talked me out of orange and blue stripes.
My Jonah. Can you see his tongue just barely sticking out? He is reading the final pages of Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire. We told him he can read just one more, and then we will take a break until he is a little older. This child loves to read. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Griffin!!!

Happy Birthday to my favorite nephew!!! We love you so much, Griffin!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012


life rearranged
InstaFriday time again! I'm linking up with Jeannett, and this time I'm following her rules of commenting on two other instagrammers' photos. Check out her page if you want. :)
We went skiing in Boone last weekend. It was fun to be on my old stomping grounds. I taught skiing here at Appalachian Mountain when I was a senior in college. I'm so glad skiing is kind of like riding a bike. Once you learn, you always remember how to pick it back up. When we took Jonah skiing for the first time, I worked with him most of the day on the bunny slope. I had a hard time letting him go, afraid he'd hurt himself or someone else. So, this time we signed the boys up for a semi-private lesson. They learned the basics, and Justin and I had some time to do a few runs on our own.

Flat Stanley is enjoying Europe! Jonah's class did their Flat Stanley project just in time for Aunt Lauren and Uncle Smoak to take him with them to Europe. Here he is checking out the Berlin Wall. Uncle Smoak sent some history on the Berlin Wall so Jonah could learn about it. We're so lucky to have family who love helping us educate our little guys. Flat Stanley's twin will be traveling to Anchorage with Justin next month.
Ahoy, Matey! Jake, Drew, and Carson enjoyed playing pirates on one of our unseasonably warm afternoons this week. They are a hoot, I tell you.

And, as for the "Carson-ism" of the week...sometimes I actually say things that crack my children up. And lately, when I do Carson says, "That's a good one, Mommy." Music to my ears.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


This is Tim. Carson gave Tim to Justin this morning before we got in the car to go to preschool. Notice that Tim has some light sabers, I mean crutches, to help him on his way. Since Justin had surgery on Monday and has been hobbling around on crutches, I think Tim might be empathizing a little...

Tim has been with us for some time now. He has been rescued from parking lots, dryers, and vacuum cleaners. He's had body parts amputated more times than I can remember. But he still lives on. Tim wears pjs and suits. He has many different occupations, from firefighter, to doctor, to professional soccer player. Tim even made it into Carson's ABC book. Let's just say whatever is going on in our lives, Tim is along for the ride.
Thanks for getting us through the day, little Tim. You rock.