Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whole Wheat vs. Wheat Clarification

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Since people have become more aware of the importance of eating whole grains, companies have become sneaky in marketing their products and making them seen healthier than they are.

100% Whole Wheat/Grain--This means that the product only contains Whole Wheat/Grains

Made with whole grain--This basically means that the company can put very little whole grain percentage wise in the product, but consumers will think it is healthy.--Look at the fiber content. It there is not 3+ grams of fiber, its probably doesn't have much in the way of whole grains.

Wheat--Again, no specific amount of whole grains--can just be added caramel coloring. This is a great one for crackers. I was in a hurry and grabbed the wheat saltine crackers, thinking I was choosing the healthier product. They had the same amount of fiber--less than one gram as the other saltines!

Bottom line--read the fiber content! This is a good indication of how "whole grain" the product is. I now read fiber content more than calorie.

For more great kitchen tips, visit: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/3293

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Duke versus the vacuum

Duke--the attack dog!

Duke and his new bed. (Material picked out by "T".)

"K" thought he needed a blanket.

I'll try not to keep boring with stuff about our new dog, he's just so doggone cute... :o)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Adventures in the land of Duke

Our new dog is a sweetie and we have all fallen in love with him. He has added a little more adventure to our lives and even took a couple years off of mine! He is wonderful with the kids and likes to play.

On Wednesday afternoon, the kids had taken him out to meet the neighbor kids, who he also loved and brought him back in the house. "T" then decided to go back out and Duke bolted out the door. I was on the phone about to leave a message when the kids came running up to me crying and telling me that Duke was gone. I did not have on any shoes, but I ran out the door to try to call him. Duke was having the time of his life running all over exploring at top speed. He thought that this was one of the best games EVER! All these humans trying to get him and he could get so close and they couldn't catch him! Did I mention this was just the time school was getting out, so there were cars everywhere. There is nothing like sobbing kids, trying to catch a run away dog you've had less than 24 hours and then watching said dog almost get hit by a bus and a car to stop the heart! Oh yeah, then there was the police officer that stopped to ask me if I was going to be able to get my dog back. He was very nice and willing to help, especially after he saw "T" sobbing. I was praying the whole time and God must have worked in the little beast's heart because I told "T" to go get some treats and he ran back to the house and Duke followed him in!!! This lasted about 10 minutes and we took several trips around the block, but seemed to be much longer!! The kids were upset at Duke, but really, in his world we are just people he is staying with for awhile and aren't really his home yet! We have rules in place now for both kids and dog to hopefully keep this from happening again.

We had a two year old over yesterday. He was great with her. He even let her lead him all over with the leash, so I don't think we'll be calling him "Killer." :o)
Today, we all had to be gone, so I decided to leave him upstairs with the door between the upstairs and kitchen closed. We had already tried gating him upstairs, but the gate ended up at the first landing. We gave him his toys and a huge rawhide bone, closed the door and got ready to leave. I carried stuff out to the van, came back for another load and there at the door was a very happy Duke. He even looked a little proud of himself. The latch is a lever type, so he used his paw to open the door. I couldn't help but laugh. He got to spend the day in the bathroom upstairs which he did not escape from.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Think on These Things Thursday...

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
On Thursdays, I want to start posting something for us to think on in our Christian walk. Trust me, these will be things that I need to think about and work on also!!!
It is so easy to get busy in life and to think about everything, BUT those things listed in the verse. It is easy to think about what is happening in our country, what is going to happen in the world, etc. It is also easy to think about things at work or our personal life or finances. Lately, I have found my mind consumed with our country and even worrying about it. I think that we should stay informed, but have decided that since I find myself thinking about it A LOT, I'm going to let my hubby, who is not a worrier let me know if there is something I should know about or write a congressman about. I am going on a news fast!
With it so easy to think on the things listed above, we need to purposefully think on the Bible and the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report. I have found the following to be helpful:
  • Read your Bible, pick a verse or two to meditate on throughout the day. (If I am reading a passage that I don't find a verse to meditate on, I read through a chapter in Psalms or Proverbs until I find one.)
  • Memorize verses. I work on memorizing a passage every morning. (It is in a zip lock bag on my shower wall. :0)
  • Pray about situations.
  • Read godly literature on topics that interest you or that you want to work on.
  • Talk with a friend or have them hold you accountable.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our new family member!

Welcome Duke!

The search is over. God led us to a wonderfully sweet boxer. His name is Duke. On Monday, I was really discouraged with the whole dog hunt. The kids wrote "dog" or "puppy" on my grocery list 5 times on Saturday and even hubby seemed to be getting a little impatient! I hadn't received an e-mail back from the MN Boxer Rescue and had even e-mailed someone in North Branch who offered to meet us half way to meet their dog, then never e-mailed me back. (I got an e-mail today--he went to another home--he was older and they were unsure of his history before they got him 4 months ago.)
I was showing Mike a dog at the local pound and then happened to remember a boxer mix at a rescue to show him, so I went back to Craigs List and their was an add for a "Purebred Boxer, great with kids." There weren't any pictures, the ad said he was "rust colored" with black and white markings, so we were expecting a brindle which is kind of tiger striped, not our preference, but the couple were grandparents, had had him since he was a puppy and assured us that he was well mannered and LOVED people. We decided to drive to Cambridge (about 2 hours away) tonight. (I was going to wait until Saturday, but hubby volunteered that we could go tonight.) We walked in the door and immediately fell in love. He didn't bark or growl, just seemed excited to see us and gave the kids lots of kisses.
The gentleman we got him from said they got 26 phone calls for him! We were the first call. :o)
It was a little sad to take their dog. They are moving and can't take him with. I assured him he would have a loving home.

We are thankful God led us to the right dog. He also worked it out so the kids and Mike and I (in shifts) can be home with Duke tomorrow. We have some training to do. He is 1 1/2 years old. The pictures really don't do him justice!

Substitutes for Cracker Crumbs

Kitchen Tip Tuesday
I generally try not to use a lot of cracker crumbs because they aren't very healthy, so I've experimented with healthier alternatives. These are also good if you are usually use crackers and run out. :o)

Some things that have worked well are:
  • Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (Gluten free, too!)
  • Whole wheat bread crumbs (the staler the better); you can also toast the bread, then make into crumbs
  • Wheat germ or Wheat bran (works well, but give the casserole a "wheaty taste")
  • Ground Flax Seed--doesn't absorb as much liquid, though. It works okay.

My hubby's favorite is the Rolled Oats.

For more great kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes at: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/3277

Monday, March 23, 2009

Random Brain Cell Firings

The boys had their pinewood derby on Friday. They were quite proud of their cars. They didn't place in the races, but seemed happy overall. I'll try to post pictures of their cars maybe tomorrow.

Today we are having a rain storm. True to Minnesota weather, however, it is just warm enough to rain, but still cold enough to have ice on the sidewalks and roads. The true adventure, however is where is the slippery spot and where is the road fine????? Oh, the joys of Spring. I was excited about the rain because it is a sign of spring and wasn't SNOW...but then I put my foot on the sidewalk and it didn't stay put! Such fun, all you who live in the South are missing out on a lot of adventure!

"E" is continuing to do well and is able to bend her arm a bit more. We decorated the ace wrap that goes around her splint with red flower and heart stamps, so it is "pretty." :o) I think I might have an idea for a new career!

Hubby and I were able to shampoo our rugs and got rid of a lot of the pug hair on Saturday! My rug looks green again instead of tan! The kids helped a lot, too. :o)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who is in Charge?

As you know, we've been looking for a new dog. It may not seem like a big deal, but you are making a commitment to live with this creature for many years, so we have been praying about finding the right dog and trying to be wise in our choice. A naughty dog is like having a naughty kid with sharp teeth!!! I had my eye on a handsome dog (Tazer) and had been e-mailing the foster mom back and forth and it seemed that we would be going to meet him on Saturday, but then she e-mailed me to basically say that she had two other people that she wanted to meet him first. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed and quite frankly want to be done with the dog search. I don't really want to think about it anymore, I just want to go home to happy kids and a happy, decently behaved dog! (I did try to talk the kids out of a dog, but they shot down that idea rather quickly and they honestly earned a dog in their care of the pugs we watched for 5 months and the messes they cleaned up!)

Anyway, sorry about the long story, but I was telling my friend about the dog situation and I said that if we were meant to get Tazer, he would still be available, otherwise, there was a better dog out there for us. She said that I am ever the optimist because she thinks that sometimes things that are meant to be don't really happen. This made me stop to think, because I don't really think of myself as an optimist. Really, I think that if Tazer is the right dog for us that God can make that happen.

Romans 8:28--And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. This doesn't mean that everything that happens to us is good, but that God is powerful enough to make good come out of even bad situations. We don't have to live our lives as optimists or pessimists, but as those who know that God is in control and working good in our lives. We just have to leave HIM in charge and put our trust in HIM. There will be times when we are disappointed, when tough times come, but we can look to Him for comfort and ask Him for wisdom and know that He has something good in store for us. I do realize that there may be times that sin (ours or others') "messes" up God's perfect plan for us, but we can go back to Him and He will help us to pick up the pieces and make the best of a bad situation. We can always learn and grow! We will grow much more beautiful if we leave Him in charge! Let Him be your Gardner, to help you grow into the beautiful Christian He wants you to be. Don't forget to let Him pull the weeds out, too! (Couldn't resist a garden reference since it is the first day of Spring) :o)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update on E--Goodbye pink cast

Today we went to see the Nurse Practitioner. It was a bit of a stressful time for "E'. First they sawed off her cast. This is a little unnerving! Then they took X-rays, which is pretty scary for her without the cast because she is afraid her arm will start hurting again or break again. I don't blame her at all. I think that more than anything she is afraid of feeling the pain again that she felt when she broke it!

The X-rays show great bone healing (thanks to all who have prayed for her)! This meant that she could get her pins taken out. This was really a scary thought! My stomach hurt and I wasn't even the one getting pins out! The nurse practitioner assured us that it really wasn't "inhumane" to take them out without sedation, which made "E" feel much better. (eyeroll) She cried a few tears before in anticipation, but none during or after. :o) The thought of having them out truly was much worse than actually having them out. Thanks to all who prayed today! Here is a picture of her arm with the pins in case you were curious. Don't look too close if you are squeamish!
"E" now has a splint that can be removed at quiet times. The splint is fiberglass underneath with a ace wrap over it. We are planning on decorating the ace wrap with some stamps and permanent marker. Her arm is very stiff and hard to bend. She can't touch her nose with that arm because she can't bend it that much, so it is good that she is out of the cast! Please keep praying for a full recovery.

Cheating at Blogging...

I discovered tonight that you can make a post and give it a previous date, so I just posted about our St. Patrick's Day, but it looks like I posted it on Tuesday. ;o) This way, it won't always look like I forgot to post on the actual day. I'll leave this post for a few days so those of you who would like to hear about our St. Patty's Day can go back and read it, otherwise it might be missed in my previously dated posting.

"E's" Big Day

Today is the day that "E" gets her cast off and her pins out. Her appointment is at 2:45 this afternoon, so please pray all goes well and that she is not too scared.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Congratulations to my friend for reaching 30 weeks...

My friend, Rebekah who is pregnant with quads reached her goal of 30 weeks and of making it to St. Patrick's Day. :o) Please continue to pray for her and the babies and that the delivery will be without complication and the babies will be healthy. She could have the babies at any time. Her blog is listed on my blog list if anyone would like to learn more.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day "Fun"

Today when I got up and picked out my clothes, I didn't even think about it being St. Patrick's Day. "T" saw me in the hall and reminded me "to wear green." I let the kids know that Daddy didn't have on green (a little unkind since he was still in bed, but it WAS true :o). The kids descended upon him to pinch him. A little later I saw "Z" who was dressed in red white and blue--so everyone would chase him to try to pinch him. He was most distressed, though when caught and pinched because he only wanted people to CHASE him, NOT pinch him!!! "E" thought it was very unfair that I had told the kids that Daddy did not have on green since he hadn't had a chance to get dressed yet, to which I pointed out I hadn't told them to pinch him, that was THEIR choice! Isn't it great to have holidays that can be such a bonding time for the family! :o)

How to revive limp celery

If you have celery that has become limp you can:

1. Cut the bottom 1/4 inch off of the stalks and put them in really cold water standing upright. The water should come about 1/3 of the way up on the stalk.
2. You can chop it up and put in baggies and put it in the freezer to use in soups, casseroles, etc. that call for celery.
For more great tips, visit:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Update on "E"

I hadn't posted yet about how God has been watching our for "E" during this time.

1. We originally went to the ER in the small town we live in, but the Orthopedic Surgeon here said she needed a Pediatric Ortho, so we went to a larger hospital. I'm thankful he didn't attempt the surgery and then say "Oops!"
2. The surgeon on call did a wonderful job fixing her arm. It looks "textbook". Recent friends who have had surgery and had complications make me even more thankful for this!
3. The doctor who did her surgery went on a Mission's trip to Africa, so we went to see a Pediatric Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner. (The doctor who actually did E's surgery is an adult hand specialist, but does pediatrics when she is on call.) The NP told us that they only leave kids in long arm casts for 3-3 1/2 weeks because they have found that kids can lose range of motion in their elbow if left in longer. The doctor who did the surgery had planned to leave "E" in the cast for 6 weeks. It was a bit of a painful process, dealing with doctor's office politics (including an e-mail to Africa, consultation with another doctor), but we finally got an appointment on Thursday to have the pins out and then she will be in a splint which she can take off at "quiet" times to start bending her elbow.

I am so thankful God saw fit to schedule a Mission's trip to Africa at the precise time "E" would need to see a pediatric ortho provider so her arm could be taken care of properly. I don't want to be negative about the doctor who did her surgery, she did a wonderful job, but kids and adults are totally different in the way they heal. :o)

So far, "E's" arm repair has cost more than a new car--do you think she'll be happy when I hand her her pink cast when she is 16 and tell her to take it for a drive? :o) (God has provided good insurance and a tax return that will cover, thankfully!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Be thankful for God's blessings...

It is easy to think that your life is rough, however there is usually always someone nearby who would love to have your difficulties and give you theirs. We need to remember that God is always with us and be thankful for all He does for us. We often forget to be thankful for: our job, health, a family that loves us, a church family that loves us, good friends, cars that run, a nice place to live, all the "house slaves" we are blessed with these days (I wasn't talking about the kids, but the fridge, stove, etc!), children, God who loves us, is always with us and gave us the Bible, and the list could go on and on.

The kids and I went to Wendy's yesterday. After picking up "K" from piano lessons, I realized there was no way I could have supper on the table before about 7:15pm, which then makes getting the kids ready for bed and homework a little difficult by 8pm. I also had a pretty good idea that I would be taking a meal to a friend tonight, so I needed to get stuff ready for that. Anyway, we went to Wendy's--ate all 5 of us for less that $10 :o) and while I was standing at the check out, there was a little container there to donate money to the family of one of their workers who:
1. Lost their 5 month old in December to SIDS
2. On Valentine's Day, the husband and two boys were in a car accident. The dad is still at St. Mary's on life support, expected to be there for months, one of the little boys suffered a broken leg and traumatic brain injury and is still in the hospital, and the other little boy was injured and still recovering, but is expected to be okay.
3. The mom obviously can no longer work.

Please pray for the Johnson family. I am praying about if there is more we as a family should do also.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Handsome Boxer

Here is a picture of Tazer, a new dog at the MN Boxer Rescue. Isn't he handsome? They don't have a lot of information on him yet. He is bigger than a lot of boxers, but I think that if one of the kids was walking him or he was in the back yard with them that we could be pretty assured that no one would bother them. :o) The biggest problem would be the competition for who was the most handsome guy in the house. :o) And last, but not least, who couldn't use a tazer when you have four kids???? :o)

We will contine to be in prayer about God's leading in finding a dog. I just think he is a great looking dog and hadn't posted anything about our search for a dog for awhile.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quick, Easy, Nutritious Meal

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

On Sunday, on the way home from church, I realized I hadn't planned anything for lunch. Growing up, we almost always had pot roast for lunch on Sunday, but then they grew in our pasture. Somehow I think my neighbors might complain if I tried that in my yard. :o) We usually have left overs from the week, but I didn't have enough to feed everyone. My husband suggested pudding and popcorn, which is REALLY healthy. (eye roll)

I had decided to just fix macaroni and tomato juice with garlic. (another favorite from childhood that my hubby doesn't appreciate--so he could have left over pizza) In looking in the fridge, though, I discovered I had a smidge of chili left over so... Here's my easy chili mac recipe that fed the kids (4 of them) and I for two lunches!!!

Easy Chili Mac

16 ounces whole wheat pasta
2 cans (15oz) chili beans--Joan of Arc brand does not have added sugar!
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta, drain.
2. Add rest of ingredients, cook over medium heat until hot.
3. Enjoy!

For more kitchen tips, visit:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gotta Love Northern Minnesota

*This post is to be read with a smile on your face, it was written with a smile.

Well, today the high was nearly 40, we've had several days of above freezing weather, we've been wearing lighter coats, had lots of snow melt, seen the grass in quite a few places and you could almost, almost feel spring in the air... Ah the hope of spring in March...

Ha, Ha, silly Minnesotan, everyone knows that Spring is not for March!!! You are going to have a Blizzard tomorrow with 9-13 inches of snow and single digit temperatures by Wednesday.


P.S. I think it is unkind for bloggers from other parts of the country to talk about how they planted their garden already--don't you know you are causing those of us in Minnesota to covet? :o) We get to plant our gardens in June! (Seriously, this is not an exageration, any sooner and you might get frost!) Oh, well, less time to worry about weeds! :o)

Seriously, I do love living in Minnesota except for March and April. I think we have four seasons up here--Summer, Fall, Winter, and ICK!!!!! or you can say Winter and Road Construction :o) Summer, Fall, and Winter are beautiful and fun, they more than make up for ICK!!!
How to Survive ICK!!!
  1. DO NOT for ANY REASON travel more than 30 minutes South. You might realize that the rest of world actually has Spring in March or April.
  2. Start singing MAY showers bring JUNE flowers--this will help to alleviate the disappointment of snow in April and no flowers in May.
  3. DO NOT look at the weather in southern parts of the country, again, you will not realize that the rest of the world has 70 degree weather when you are expecting a blizzard. (Thanks, mom :o))
  4. When friends or family who live South of you start to talk to you about their weather, start singing LA, LA, LA very loudly so you don't have to hear that others have better weather. :o)
  5. Be a little crazy.
  6. Be thankful for where God has put you. Bloom where you are planted. There are much worse places to live! They don't get to do all the fun things we get to do in winter, like snow tubing, skiing, polar bear plunges, ice skating outside, etc.

Fun with Friends

On Saturday, we had a get together planned with some friends from church, but was unable to find someone to watch the kids. I offered to stay home, but hubby said I should go because he knew how much I had been looking forward to stamping with the ladies. :o) Isn't he sweet! We had a nice time stamping, eating, and chatting. I made a couple of thank you cards, but mainly stamped pages of stamps to use in cards at a later time using my friend's stamps. :o) I have a hard time making cards unless I have an actual person in mind. It's so great to have godly friends to share time with!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Update on "E"

"E" finally got her hot pink cast today! Her arm and the insertion points of her pins look great, no signs of infection, the Nurse Practitioner (NP) said that "they don't look any better than that". :o) (Though I have to admit that seeing what appears to be small Allen wrenches poking out of your child's arm is a little disconcerting.) "E" was creaped out by "how skinny" her arm is and by the pins. You can see the bone already starting to heal on the X-ray. The NP says that that it is a sign of "a healthy inner well-being". I think it has to do with all the prayers. :)

"E" may only have the cast for one more week and go to a splint that she can take off at "quiet times" so she can start moving her elbow. Six weeks in the cast could cause her to lose range of motion in her elbow (possibly permanently) due to it being immobilized for so long.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

God's Leading

We have been praying about getting a dog. We had our eye on one, but she had reportedly been aggressive to other dogs, but was great with kids. Not being an expert in dog behavior, I didn't know if this was something that could be handled successfully or not. The foster mom of the dog sent me an e-mail that didn't sound hopeless to me, so I forwarded it to my sister who took it to her dog trainer who said that she didn't think that her aggression could be fixed easily. Basically, it would probably always be a concern. I'm just so thankful that we got a clear answer and have no doubts about what we should do. Isn't it great that God even cares about what dog we get?

I'm so glad that God cares and answers even the smallest prayers!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Easy way to get rid of the fat in broth

After you cook chicken or beef and have left over broth (or make your own stock) and put it in the refrigerator to allow the fat to come to the top and harden, you can pour the broth through a strainer to catch the pieces of fat. This is MUCH easier than using a spoon to try to skim it off!!!

For more great kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes at: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/3211

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prayer Request

Please pray for my friend, Rebekah. She is pregnant with quads and is about 28 weeks. She was admitted to the hospital due to contractions. You can read her story in her blog: http://www.tuitequads.blogspot.com/
Please pray that she will be able to carry the little ones several more weeks and that she and the quads will be safe and healthy.