Wednesday, October 29, 2008


One day, I'd love to visit Tuscany. Pictures of the countryside beckon to me. Time spent on a patio, slowly savoring a glass of wine and good conversation. Sounds divine right now.

And Italian food. Real Italian food. (You know you're in an itty-bitty place when all but one of the "Italian" restaurants listed in the phone book is a chain pizza place. And did I mention the restaurant section is less than one page in a small yellow pages directory?)

Until then, I'll enjoy this's much more Italian-American style (think Olive Garden)...but it's really good and pretty easy. My whole family loved it. You could easily add in some chicken or shrimp as well.

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

20 oz. package of refrigerated four-cheese ravioli*
16 oz. jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 Tbsp. white wine
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped--plus more for garnish
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2.Meanwhile, pour sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightly, and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in tomatoes and basil; cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

3. Toss with pasta and top evenly with Parmesan. Garnish with additional strips of basil.

**I've also used frozen ravioli; it works just fine. But just imagine how good fresh homemade would be.

Monday, October 27, 2008


That's how I feel right now. A lot going on...even when it seems like not much is going on.

A full to do list of things I really need to get done. We've been home from vacation for two weeks now, but I still feel like I'm trying to get back into a routine. And that makes it harder to tackle that list.

A full and growing list of ideas to implement in our homeschool...thanks to some friends who share their wealth of knowledge and experience!

A full list of fun things I really want to do, places I want to go with our family, traditions I want to begin in our new-ish home.

A full head of projects that I'm excited about but I feel like I'm coming up empty with the time to do them.

A full and heavy heart. I found out last week that a good friend from college has Stage 4 cancer. The news has really affected me, even though I haven't seen or spoken to my friend in probably five years. My heart aches for her and her young family of five. This news overwhelmed me, so I can't even begin to imagine how it must have shocked her family. But my heart is also full of hope and encouraged by all the many friends that I have seen and heard of rallying to her through prayer to the One who is faithful. Encouraged by the faith that she has in our Lord. Full of joy to see that God is being glorified through this, through Kristi in the midst of this trial.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last but definitely not least.

Nathanael is three today! (And so ends our month full of birthdays!)

Here's my little man. He told me this morning, "I'm growin' up, Mommy! I am!"

He was thrilled to open his presents and find a new Thomas train, accompanied by Annie and Clarabel (Thomas' coaches). It's the little things, you know. He got to enjoy birthday cake #2 (a "punkin" cake), making paper airplanes with Daddy, and a trip to the pumpkin patch today. (And he was such a good sport about the trip to the grocery store!)

He has grown so tall and so articulate...but I can close my eyes and recall so clearly when he was so much smaller. Sigh.

What a blessing it is to have a little boy...he fills my days with such joy and laughter!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Our precious baby girl is one.

We had a fun day...beginning with brunch with an ocean view (pancakes and eggs for a very happy birthday girl!) followed by a birthday party with all of Mommy's side of the family! Very special to celebrate with uncles, grandparents, and an aunt! She enjoyed a giant cupcake cake covered in purple frosting and ate a whole piece of cake followed by a big sippy cup of milk!

It was so fun to watch her explore her gifts...especially her new "cell phone" and purse...and her little baby. "Ba-by" is one of her first words and she loves to hold Hadleigh's dolls and any stuffed animals and then call them "baby" and hug them, so she was thrilled to have a baby doll of her own. She of course LOVED the wrapping and tissue paper...she had lots of "helpful instruction" in opening her gifts :)

I still can't believe that today has already arrived. This precious little girl's first year has just passed so quickly...

I remember this moment so clearly, holding her only hours old and wondering what her little voice would sound like (so very sweet), how her personality would unfold (content, sweet, with a little bit of spunk and will mixed in), how she would interact with her sister and brother (she adores them and lights up whenever they are near her).
You continue to be such a gift to us. Happy First Birthday, my sweet Madeleine Elizabeth.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My little girl, growing up.

She's five today. Five years old. Five years since I first held her in my arms.Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday she was so I miss those moments.

And yet, I so enjoy the little lady she is becoming. Watching her learn and grow is such a privilege. There are so many moments each day when I just look at her in wonder. She is such a precious gift.
We have lots of fun things planned for our girl today :) And she is SO SO SO excited about turning five.
Happy Birthday, my little girl.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Comfort Food

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies with cold milk.
Grilled cheese sandwiches. With tomato soup.
Chips and salsa.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese.
Banana Bread with walnuts.
My Papa's Chili.
Hot Tea and Buttered Toast, the way Mom always made it when I was sick.
Biscuits and Gravy.
Fresh baked bread with butter and honey. (Did anyone else have a bread machine in their freshman dorm room? Stephanie and I did! We were pretty popular on those bread-making days!)

And I can't forget my Mom's recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.

Here's another chicken pot pie recipe...with a slightly more elegant twist--a phyllo dough crust topping. I think it would be perfect for a ladies lunch when there's a chill in the air! A great winter alternative to chicken salad. It really has a great fresh...and somewhat light taste to it for a potpie! It would also look elegant served in individual baking dishes!

Phyllo Dough Chicken Potpie

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups diced red potato (1 pound)
  • 2 cups onion
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (8 oz.)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped thyme
  • 2.5 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add oil. Add potatoes and next 6 ingredients and saute for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle flour over vegetables. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until thick. Add chicken, peas, salt, and pepper.

2. Spoon into a 2 quart baking dish. Place one phyllo sheet on a large cutting board; lightly spray the sheet with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining phyllo dough slices. Place phyllo laters loosely on top of mixture in dish. Place dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Serves 6.


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