Tuesday, June 22, 2010

there's no place like home...

Larry the Cucumber ~ "I put an oven mitt on my head just because Veggie Beat magazine said it would make me cool. Even though I couldn't see. It, it didn't make me cool! It made me bump into a toaster and then fall into the sink! And now I can't get out, I'm gonna be stuck here forever and people are gonna set plates on my head! And I'm never gonna get to go to the circus, or run through the fresh cut grass, or feel the ocean breeze in my hair as I pilot my nimble schooner Felix off the coast of our family home in Kennebunkport!!! Oh Auntie Em! There's no place like home, there's no place like home! Click, click, click."

Jason came home on Thursday evening with the news he'd been offered a job. A good job that was looking to guarantee us 40 hours of work a week (even in the winter!) at a pay rate we couldn't argue with. Even a company car to use during business hours.

Where you ask?!?! Here. In Pagosa.

That's not the door I was expecting to open.

See, I was fully expecting God to move us away. I have been so open to it (Jason too.) Praying that we'd go where He wants us. Saying "no, I can't" (with peace) to all the various things that take up time. Thinking that God was preparing me to be able to leave. To not have any strings - other than the heart ones that would inevitably get tugged - to keep me tied down in Pagosa.

A scene from "Enchanted" comes to mind. Prince Edward of Andalusia is in New York looking for Giselle and he is trying to enter an apartment building. He wants to get inside. But he runs through a revolving door and instead of going halfway through, he goes all the way around and winds up back outside. Where he started. He eventually gets in after trying again.

We've been praying (knock, knock) that the Lord would open the door where He wished us to be. We've been wanting to walk through to the other side for 2 years. Turns out the door we've been knocking on is revolving.


There are days I just don't understand God's plans. I wish that He provided us all with roadmaps of our lives. So we can see when the road is going to be bumpy or have a lot of sharp turns. Or when it's going to be smooth. Or when we're going to get a u-turn. I'd love to know where the pit stops are. Where the road blocks are going to bring us to a halt. Where the car is going to completely break down. I'd love to know the purpose of the journey - where the road is leading. Because some days it just feels like I'm driving down the street and my cool mini-cooper is making no visual impact on the pedestrians.

I thought the road was leading to Washington (or Phoenix.) But as we've "driven" through those areas, it's been deserted. We've not heard a thing.

God has given us what we asked for here. So we're staying. For now, this is home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

once a month cooking

So I was told about this web site called Once A Month Mom (onceamonthmom.com) that gets you cooking just once a month for your family! You can get a menu, grocery list, recipes, labels for your food and a list of what to do when, all from this gal on her site and it's free! So fabulous!

You're "supposed" to do it with a partner and then you split all the food you make. It's "supposed" to take 8-12 hours for 2 people to do all the cooking. Well, I decided to split the recipes in half and just do it by myself. It took me a little longer than 12 hours, but I split the shopping and cooking over 2 days and took my time. (I have a big group of friends who got together and split into teams, but I missed this months team list.)

I did change it up a bit from what was posted, because some of the recipes aren't things we usually eat, but mostly stuck to what I was given. And then some of the items that I purchased weren't as "high quality" as I had hoped- example: I was going to make the stuffed buffalo chicken, but my chicken breasts weren't so great, so I chopped it up and made enchiladas instead. The cost wasn't too bad and if you average it out over all the meals I got from it (39 total) it comes out to around $7.70 a meal. I think that next month I could do it for even less! I had to buy some spices and other things that I didn't have on hand and now that I do, I can cut that cost.

I also think that next month I will take advantage of the labels that are provided. I was out of ink and couldn't get any (sometimes I wish Pagosa wasn't so far from Office Depot...) so I just wrote my own labels.

Each meal is supposed to feed 4 ADULTS and I'm pretty excited about that! As Jason eats enough for two we'll see if there's is enough in each meal for him or if he winds up raiding the kitchen late at night because he's still hungry! But I'm not too worried because Katie and I don't eat a whole lot and Liam and Evie combined only eat about one adult size portion.

All in all, it was a really fun experience and I am looking forward to doing it again next month!

Here's what $300 worth of groceries looks like in the back of my car...
2 days and 20 hours of cooking, one cut finger and 2 sore feet later, I have 26 lunches/dinners and 13 breakfasts in my deep freezer! Yay me!

I've got: lemon chicken, tangy marinated steak, tomato basil burgers,
Italian flank steak pinwheels, a bag of spaghetti sauce...
...chicken pesto wraps, buffalo chicken wraps, chicken enchiladas,
spicy beef taco filling, black bean chicken salad, summer harvest soup...
...homemade strawberry pop tarts, cinnamon rolls w/ icing,
french toast sticks and fruity breakfast wraps!!!

6-19-10 Special Note:
Thank you Tricia for posting my blog under Saturday Stumbles on your web site! WOW! I feel honored! To those of you who have posted comments asking where I got the recipes, etc. ~ everything is from onceamonthmom.com under the Summer 2010 OAMM Menu. There is a list of what's on that menu posted below with notes as to what I did differently.
Blessings, Brynn

Fruity Breakfast Burritos (LOVE these!)
Harvest Cinnamon Rolls (WOW!)
Frozen Fruit Cups (I didn't make these. I added French Toast Sticks and Pop Tarts- both recipes from OAMM!)

Summer Harvest Soup
Grilled Chicken Pesto Wraps
Black Bean & Mango Chicken Salad (Jason doesn't do mango well, makes his mouth go numb, so I subbed in peaches.)
Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Stuffed Buffalo Chicken (Lousy chicken breasts, so I chopped it up and made enchiladas (my own recipe.))
Lemon Chicken
Beef Potato Wraps (Didn't do these. Got a taquito recipe from OAMM, but then I had issues w/ my tortillas, so I bagged the meat and will use it for tacos.)
Sun Dried Tomato & Capers Pasta Sauce (Didn't do this either, I have another pasta sauce recipe I like, so since some sauce was required for the soup- I made a pot, used what I needed then froze the rest.)
Tangy Steak Marinade
Italian Flank Steak Pinwheels
Bacon and Blue Burgers (Didn't make these, I don't eat much red meat, so I just opted to not make them.)
Tomato Basil Hamburgers

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1st haircut- by a professional

Well just the other day I attempted to give Liam a hair cut and it didn't go so well. I've been cutting his hair for 2 years, but this time around he wouldn't sit still and screamed the entire time. Needless to say, his hair came out looking pretty lopsided, so I asked a friend if she'd buzz his head for me (she does her own son's hair) but she suggested that I take him down to the barber and just have him trim it for me! So Jason and Liam had a guys morning, they went to the barber downtown and both of them got haircuts! I do miss Liam's "bowl cut" it made him look more like a "baby" - I get so sad when my babies turn into big kids. But it's a super cute cut and Jason said that he handled getting it done like a man! Only crying right at the very end when the barber asked him to put his head down so he could see his neck. Here's some pics from the monumental occasion of no longer having to sit through me cutting his hair. The girls wish they could be so lucky...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


S'mores. What more can I say? They're not my favorite (I've played "chubby bunny" one too many times to enjoy marshmallows anymore) but the kids LOVE them. We had my mom over to BBQ on Saturday night, Memorial Day Weekend, and as a treat for the kids- decided to make s'mores. It was windy and the smoke kept blowing in everyone's eyes. And the kids still haven't caught on that they need to hold their marshmallows down by the heat- they hold them about 2 feet above the flames -but a good time was had by all. Even by Liam, who declared that the cooked ones were "yucky" and would only eat everything separately.

"I have to what?"

"You have to hold it over the heat."


How Liam eats s'mores...

"Mom, what are you doing?"

"Your 'killing' my marshmallow!"

Burn baby, burn...

Death to the marshmallow. (I like watching them explode...)

jason's 31st

Jason's birthday has rolled around again! This year was a much smaller affair than last year. Instead inviting practically everyone we know over, we just had Jason's parents and my parents and brother over for spaghetti and meatballs!

I'm amazed we got as many around the table as we did!

Grouchy and Crazy... otherwise known as Evie and Katie

Time for presents (and fuzzy pictures.)
Jason loves food, so the kids and I got him a
big bag of veggie chips, granola, coffee,
coconut dates & mixed nuts from the natural foods store!

Ahh, coffee!

Somethings funny.

New clothes!

alligator farm

In May we went to the Alligator Farm in Alamosa, CO for a field trip at the end of the school year with Katie's entire little school. Lots of bugs, snakes, big fish, fish tanks and tons of alligators!!! And it was incredibly windy! But the kids still seemed to have a good time! Liam was especially taken with the alligators. As they were laying still in the sun, he thought they were sleeping and kept trying to wake them up. Here are some pics from the day.

Jack & Liam looking at some sort of creepy crawly.

Evie & Katie

All the kids taking turns touching an alligator

"Look Momma! Cats!" Umm, not really son.

BIG fish

One of many


See...really windy!

Mrs. McCabe and all of her students (plus a couple of extras that got in there)