Monday, January 31, 2011


I just might have to do this tomorrow...

in honor of recycle week here on Praiseworthy. 

Plus I need a good excuse to find cute heart pans for valentine's day this year.

What projects are you wanting to do that reuses something not so great and turns it into something better than ever?  I have a billion.  I just wish I would have gotten to one today.  Oh well....some days come and go without our control.  There's always tomorrow...or ten years from now when my kids are away at school. 

Here are a few fun ideas I have come across: 

Turning all of Daddy's old shirts into dresses for your little girl.
Reusable snack bags for your cute kiddies
Egg Carton Flowers for a special teacher for Valentine's Day
The cutest sweater pants for a special little one

There are thousands of ideas online.  Jump on and let me know what you find.  I love stuff like this.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Love Books

photo found here
I have this dream of someday living in a home where I have a room, or even just one long wall, that is floor-to-ceiling shelves, filled with good books. Not just any books, but really, truly, good books. Books that I have read. Books that my kids have read. Books that we love and have dog-eared our favorite pages and marked our favorite passages. Books that were gifts from best friends. Books from our travels around the world. Books about places we love and people we aspire to be like. Books filled with beautiful photographs. Books that take us places beyond the limits of our own consciousness. Books that make us laugh and books that make us cry. Books that make us think a little deeper and books that make us live a little better. Books about imaginary places and imaginary people. Books about history and space and science. I just LOVE good books.

photo found here

And that is why, I love the library. There it is--not just one room, but one whole building filled with books! So, until the day I get those shelves filled with my own books, I will continue to go to the library. There is just something wonderful about being surrounded by volumes and volumes of pages filled with words--words that together make up more knowledge and wisdom and information than I could ever dream to acquire on my own. It's like having the world at your fingertips. Maybe more.

So, what books are on my shelves right now? Well, I will tell you...there are a lot! I actually found out that you can check out up to 100 items from the library at one time (Cali mentioned this wonderful little fact too, I think). I thought it was fifty, and I was worried. But alas! The wonderful woman at the check-out counter must have been surprised to see my excitement last week when she informed me of this oh-so-precious information. I went home happy, and with a very heavy book bag that afternoon.

photo found here
Lately, my two-year-old and I have been enjoying daily story time reading "Where's Tumpty?" I found this book before Christmas at one of my favorite art & frame shops and immediately fell in love with it. Needless to say, we did not get it from the library--someday our copy will be on those big shelves filled with our well-worn favorites.

image found here
And if you are like me and love elephants (I haven't quite figured out why--but I think it started with Horton) you should also check out some Mo Willems books and get to know Elephant and Piggie...

image found here

Story time with my four-year-old is all about Pippy.  "Pippilotta Delicatessa Window-shade Mackrelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking, daughter of Captian Efraim Longstocking, former Terror of the Sea, now a cannibal king!" We've checked out just abut every book at the library, plus the audio CD and the movie... "Pippy Longstocking is coming into your world, a freckle-faced, red-haired girl, you aught to know..." Can you hear the song? We sing it, oh, probably fifty time a day! Yikes!

image of movie cove found here

image found here
(These two are just a few of the different versions out there...but they are all pretty great!)
So, now what have I been reading? Well, I've been reading nutrition books and health books and recipe books and all sorts of books for a class that I will be teaching at the end of February called "Cooking for a Healthier Lifestye" (any suggestions-- have you read anything that might help me prepare?), and reading for a book club, and reading to try and learn how to parent my children...the list goes on and on! But I love it! I had hoped to have two quilts finished by the end of this month, but my poor sewing machine has barely seen the light of day while I've been reading!
Here are some that I either have read or am reading and would recommend either checking out from the library or just getting your own copy. People talk about how important it is to read to your kids, but when was the last time anyone said how important is is to read to yourself?!?! 
From the book club (which I love!):
Nurture Shock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Everyone should read this book--it is enlightening and definitely doesn't fit the stereotypical "how to" parenting book. It is very much study based and I loved it. This is one I will read again.
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
I LOVED this book. The day after I finished reading it, I found myself missing the characters and wanting to read more. 

Parenting Books (I have read parts of these, but not all...hopefully I will finish them...)
Raising Happiness, by Christine Carter
Cook Books (because they are my new love):
Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair
If you are one who likes to adventure with new foods and now recipes, this is a GREAT one! And, if you have infants at home, each recipe has a modification at the end that tells you how to adapt the recipe to feed babies from six months and up. AWESOME! Not only that, but it is a great resource to learn about foods--what they are and how to use them. I am loving this book!
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon
This woman leaves nothing unsaid--you will now her opinion about food quick, and you will learn how to cook just about anything. There is so much to learn from this book!

Books that have impacted my life for the better:
Master Your Metabolism, by Jillian Michaels
This might seem odd to have what appears to be a diet book on my list of life-changing books, but this is not any dieting book. This book teaches you how your body works, how your environment affects you, and how to feed your body the correct nutrients to enable it to do what God intended it to do. Really, you should read this book. 
The Miracle of Forgiveness, by Spencer W. Kimball
For anyone who believes in and loves God, who follows Jesus Christ, this book is for you. I wish I had read it a long, long time ago. 

Okay, so my post about the library and story time got a little longer than I had intended, but can you tell that I'm passionate about books? Yeah, I'm not a scholar by any means. The list of books-I-haven't-read-but-should-have might appall you, but don't worry--I haven't reached my limit at the library yet! Oh, and have you heard about goodreads yet? You might like it....
What are you reading? Have you started building your own family library? What is in it? I would love to know!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Right Place to Start

photo found here

I have a new post over on Steady Mom today...let me know what you think! And don't worry, I will be posting later today about the library--oh for the love of books!--and story time. :) Bur for now, you can see what I've been thinking about lately, right here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Use it!

We went to the library for Pajamarama Storytime on Tuesday. While we were there a friend of mine ended up being there too. Her daughter was checking out tons of books. chapter books, that she will read by next week. And when I say tons it is probably like 15 or so, and the girl was only 10. Seriously! It was amazing. From her I learned that the cap on books you can check out at one time is 100. 100! Seriously! I am not utilizing the library properly! My other friend had a good stack of books and movies too!

I wish my family would have used the library more growing up. I probably would not have struggled with reading as much. Who knows. I hated it as a kid. I still have a hard time starting a book now. (I have had Hunger Games sitting in my kitchen since Thanksgiving I think. Sorry Jenni!) There is just a bad taste in my mouth for reading. I was in special classes, tried hooked on phonics, etc. It was not fun. It can be fun I just have to get into it. I have blogged about some of my favorite books before, (Shannon Hale=Awesome!) but I still have a hard time. That is why we are trying to use the library in our family on a regular basis so that some day my kids will be the one hitting the checkout cap at the library. Someday you will see me with my kids checking out 100 books. I hope so at least!

So you, even if you don't like reading, use the library. If all else fails, you can check out a movie.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...

Yesterday we went to story time at our little library, and until I saw Drew's puppet show, I'd forgotten how much I crack up at this story (is that morbid since she ends up dying?). Anyone in the Renton area, GO SEE DREW at the Highlands Library! It's been a long time since something was so riveting that it kept both my kids still in their seats. I didn't think ahead enough to video tape it, so you'll either have to trust me or go see for yourself. Or, enjoy this rendition, as sung by the one and only Cindy Lauper.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Real Reason We Go to Story Time

My own bookworm.

I grew up in libraries. Really. We moved around a lot when I was little, and I remember some of the libraries we've lived near better than some of the houses we've lived in. Wherever we'd be, when my parents went looking for a place to live they always tried to find a house close to the church, the school, and the library. I never felt really settled in a place until I had my library card.

And so it's one of my favorite places to take my kids. I want them to feel the sense of endless possibility that comes when you're surrounded by books.

I'll take them to the library anytime and in any weather. But I've found that the best time for my kids at the library is story time. Is it because the librarian always reads the best books and does the voices and everything? No; actually, we've been to amazing story times and we've suffered through the most monotonous readers. Is it because I never have time to read to them at home? Heavens no! Reading is a staple at our house. Like pasta.

The best reason I have for taking my kids to story time at the library is this: There are a bunch of other kids there, too, and so I am much less likely to get glared at for my kid's noise by the other - child-free - library patrons. We can blend right in, even a mild tantrum will go barely noticed when it's story time (but if it's any other time, and one of the kids makes even a peep, well, we might as well just hang our heads in shame and go home).

I love the library. I love the peace I feel there, and the mostly friendly helpful people. And while my kids are small, and until they really learn to whisper in the library ...

I {Heart} Story Time!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monday is MY day!

image found here

I actually really love Mondays. Monday is my day to kick things into gear and get the week going the way I want to. It's today--Friday--that is kind of bitter sweet for me; sometimes I love it because I've accomplished so much during the week and can really enjoy a little leisure on the weekend. Other times I hate it because I look back and think, Where did the time go and what did I do with it? I'm not ready for the weekend yet! But that is a topic for another time...

Let's talk MONDAY!

Monday is hopeful. It's full of possibilities and aspirations.
Monday is promising. It is sure to bring new opportunities.
Monday is fresh. It's a new start every seven days. You don't have to wait until a new year to begin again with goals and plans for improvement. And you really don't have to wait for a Monday either, but it is such a good place to start!

On Mondays I like to sit down with my calendar and "To-Do" list and make a master plan for myself--I get my head on straight so that I know where I'm headed that week.

On Mondays I can see the future.

On Mondays I can make a difference.

What do you like about Mondays?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monday, Monday

I cannot help but think of Monday with out this song popping into my head. And now it will be there the rest of the day.

What is your Monday song?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Monday gets a bad rap, don't you think? I've found I like them much more than I used to. When I was working, I very much disliked Mondays. After spending all weekend with my husband and kids, Monday was a snap back to reality. It was the first of three days during the week that I wouldn't see my kids all day, just a little bit in the morning and again after work. You'd think it would get easier the longer I did it, but the whole weekend-Monday cycle would come around, and the adjustment would throw me into the Monday blues all over again.

Now that I'm a SAHM, Mondays are a good day. Sunday at our house isn't usually the "day of rest" it's meant to be. With my husband spending much of his day at church in his current service assignment, I don't get to see him much, and I don't get much rest during the day either. So, when Monday comes around, that's my recovery day. On a typical Monday, here is what I do:

  • Exercise (which doesn't happen on Sundays, and usually only happens briefly on Saturdays).
  • Put stuff away that was dragged out or tossed aside over the weekend.
  • Making a new to-do list (I love lists!) of all that I need and want to get accomplished that week.
  • Enjoy the thought of eating leftovers from a delicious Sunday dinner and not cooking anything too involved.
  • Plan the night's Family Home Evening lesson and make treats with the kids.
  • Go through the mail and/or my "stack" of stuff in my little corner of the kitchen counter (Doesn't everyone have a stack? Please tell me yes.).
So it doesn't sound too exciting, but for someone like me who needs order, it starts my week off on the rightfoot! What do you do on a Monday?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"And she'll know."

Oh, I hate to be a bummer, especially after "Blue Monday" ... but there's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and especially yesterday. Because it was Martin Luther King Day seven years ago that I miscarried my first pregnancy. Recently, a dear friend experienced a similar loss. So it's been on my mind. And I've gone back and forth on whether to write about it, so I hope it's okay with you if I just go ahead and do it. I hope it makes sense, and I promise I'll try not to be a bummer.

"A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't. Most don't mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn't happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had.

But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she'll know."
- Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal Dreams

Everyone who comes to motherhood has her own unique experience; and every mother who has ever experienced the loss that comes with miscarriage has a different story to tell. In my particular story, it was weeks before anyone outside my immediate family knew what was happening. During that time, as I thought and thought and thought, it amazed me a little bit that miscarriage was so un-discussed for how common it actually is. I certainly wasn't prepared for the overwhelming amazement I felt after I began to tell friends, when suddenly so many other women seemed to come out of the woodwork with their own stories of loss. And I wanted to hear them all. I didn't want to hear "I know how you feel" - because grief is so unique to each of us - but I wanted, maybe I even needed, their stories. I thought a lot about what we learn in the scriptures, to "mourn with those that mourn" ... I always knew that verse was important, but now it's much more personal.

Again, everyone has her own experience. Although I don't think about my miscarriage very often anymore, it taught me a lot about compassion and motherhood and hope. If you or someone you love is going through a similar experience, might I suggest this website as an excellent resource (I was there almost every day for a few weeks seven years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it's actually still up and running. I admire the dedication of the women behind it to keep helping others through their knowledge and experience).

I'm sure it's not about miscarriage, but I seem to also love this quote today, and it seems to fit my thoughts of late:

"Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws."
- (also, coincidentally) Barbara Kingsolver

Be good to yourself out there, okay?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Feeling Down?

Today has been named the most miserable day of the year. This morning as I was trying to get in some exercise I saw that on the news they were talking about today being called Blue Monday? "According to psychologists, a combination of filthy weather, financial strains and shattered new year's resolutions has conspired to make today the most depressing day of the year." Do you believe this to be true?

At first I did my Jenni thing and just thought to myself..."Well, it's on the news. It must be true, right?" Then I got to thinking...

It makes sense that it could be considered the most depressing day of the year because of post Christmas financial issues and icky weather. Some of my new year's resolutions are just plain unreasonable now that I'm in the trenches of them but who decides these things? Does the media get to determine how I feel today? I'm actually feeling really great today and I think that it was my choice this morning. I did however do some research to see what the facts where and well, it bored me. I came up with nothing more then something about Europe and London being where it originated and companies where using it to get people to buy things....blah blah blah. I don't want to bore you and I was getting depressed just reading about it so I stopped and decided to make a list of things to do to keep myself out of this sort of rut. I know I'm not in "it" right now but I live in a pretty dreary winter state and I have had my days where I am down and I have no reason to be that way. Mine will hit this year and it will hit hard I'm sure so here is what I have come up with to keep me from having a "Blue Monday (or any other day for that matter).
  • Exercise
  • Be outside everyday for 20 minutes or more even if it's yucky out.
  • Sit in the sunshine (like right now when the sun peaked through the gray for a grand total of 4 seconds
  • Play happy music
  • Help others. That always makes me happy
  • Get dressed and put makeup on even if I'm not planning on going anywhere. (dress up counts)
  • Sing in the shower
  • Use a bright springtime umbrella when it's really coming down
  • Eat healthy
  • Make a new reasonable goal.
  • Organize a darker part of my house
  • Paint something to make it brighter
  • Hang out with friends
  • Clean up my yard
  • Make plans for spring planting
  • Go out on real dates with my cute husband
  • List my daily accomplishments (no matter how simple or ordinary)
  • Buy fresh flowers
  • Get cozy with favorites (food, blanket, hubby, movie)
  • Open the blinds to my windows first thing in the morning
  • Dance when I feel like it
  • Find new recipes to try and fall in love with cooking again
  • Bake Fresh Bread
  • Go exploring in the city on a rainy day
  • Try something new
  • Teach somebody else something I'm good at
  • Revamp my family's budget
  • Count my blessings
There are so many more so I'm curious what you do when life starts to get you down?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How do you Hang?

photo found here

When I hang a frame on the wall, I just kind of eye-ball it. Is it centered? Does that look about right? Yeah, sure! Pound in that nail! Done.

When my husband hangs a frame on the wall, first there is the stud-finding tool, with the red and green blinking lights and the beeping sounds. Then there is the measuring tape and the pencil. Finally there is the hammer and the nail, or maybe the screw driver and the screw, or it could be that special plastic screw-looking thing that you have to use when you don't have a stud and you're sending the nail (or screw) into just the sheet rock. And last but not least, there is the level. Thank heavens for the level!

Who knew a simple frame could bring out such differences?
I love how much we can learn from each other. :)


Thursday, January 13, 2011


(Imagine A picture of my family here.
I can't find one at the moment of just my siblings. Darn it!)

I grew up with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. There was bound to be fighting and breakage going on in the house. I mean, wait, we were the perfect children. We all sat down for dinner and loved every bite, we did our chores immediately when asked, we never talked back, seriously, we were perfect. Well, I was. I mean come on, little Cali, Number 5 of the 6. She could never do anything wrong. And I never did. I was always framed for it. Alright, I was not, and am not perfect, and I framed my siblings as well. It was never anything too bad, just the usual sibling stuff.

There was the one time where I called my mom a bad name because my brothers and sisters told me to do it and it was supposedly a nice word. Yeah, I had to wash my mouth out with soap for that one. That was the last time I trusted them. Well not really, I still trust them, but I can read and know how to use the dictionary now, so it is better.

There was the time my sister Tiffany fell down the stairs and broke her heal and she told my mom that my other sister Kacie pushed her. Kacie said her that she did not push Tiffany. So I guess Kacie was framed. (I am pretty sure Kacie has admitted the truth 15 years or so later. I am not sure though. She did push me and cause my wrist to be broken, so who knows. I do love her though. Really. We did not get along for a long time, and now we talk all the time. I love my sisters.)

We always cheated at card games. We always tried to frame each other for that as well. My Grandpa was the best at that though.

There were a few holes in the walls, I am sure there were broken dishes, candy stolen from moms secret stash that we were always trying to pin on each other, or the notorious empty Diet Coke Cans. Come on mom, don't you remember drinking that can? I bet it was Kacie! She is always drinking your Coke!

Seriously, we have all been framed at one point or another. Weather it be family, friends, your crazy neighbor, etc. It happens. I am just glad I can laugh about them.

What is the craziest, best, silliest, or aggravating thing you have been framed for? I would love to hear!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I *Heart* Redwork

In recent months, I have fallen in love again with hand embroidery. Oh, we were never "on the outs" with each other, but I got busy with other hobbies to try, responsibilities to attend to, books to read, momentary random talents to attempt. But hand embroidery was the first type of sewing I learned to do before I even touched a sewing machine, and I've been reminded of how much I enjoy it. I once embroidered two sets of pillowcases - you know, for my trousseau :-) - then I handed them over to my grandma who crocheted an intricate border around the bottom. Kind of old-fashioned, huh? Well, I'm so glad I have those treasures now.

Anyway, how many of you have heard of redwork? Basically, it's a form of hand embroidery that traces simple illustrations using two strands of red embroidery floss. Simple, right? Of course, you can use other colors, but they would be called *name of color*work. When redwork came to America from Europe, it was called Turkeywork since turkey red was one of the few colorfast colors at the time. A little stitching history...use it to impress your friends.

(I can think of so many people I'd love to make this family tree for, and one of those people may or may not be myself)

I love the look of redwork. The use of one color of thread kind of makes the picture speak for itself, and the simplicity is charming. I started this project just after Thanksgiving and was going to make it into a stocking but later decided to frame it. It's kind of Christmas-y but not necessarily, and I just may find a place to hang it year round. Someday when my daughter has her own room, maybe I'll design it around this picture.

When I frame embroidery projects, I like to use Martha's tip for ironing linens with embroidery to make it nice and smooth and also make the design really pop. This frame didn't come with a cardboard insert, so I wrapped the fabric (with a layer of thin quilt batting underneath) around the glass that did come with it. I'm not sure if I like it yet since the frame is kind of modern, so I'm thinking of taking it apart and sewing on a scrappy pieced fabric border and get a larger frame. What do you think?

Well, I'm off to cozy up on the couch for a little stitchin' time.

Frames All Around

I thought for this week, I'd take you around my house a little, and show you some of the ways our family is using frames these days. With apologies for the CFL quality of the light ... anyone know of a good way to filter that? I'd love to hear it!

Our stairway has these big blank walls, and I wanted someplace to to display my kids' art that wasn't "in-your-face" but also not just confined to their bedrooms. These walls are perfect! If you stay in the main part of our house you don't see them much, but they're there to greet all the members of our family as we walk downstairs from our bedrooms every morning. As you can see, it's not finished yet ... I still have frames in the garage to paint, and plenty of wall space to fill (I'd love to just cover these walls, like a gallery). This little red guy is one of my favorites. My daughter made it when she was probably 3-ish, after reading "Frederick" by Leo Lionni.

This hangs in our living room right now. It's hard to see, but it's one of my favorite things ever. When my mom made my wedding dress, she added some beautiful white-on-white hand embroidery and beading. On the train of the dress, she put this butterfly. But she wasn't satisfied with it, so she took the entire panel of the dress out and did it again. I think it's perfect. I had it framed to remind me of how much my mama loves me, and that most of the time we are the only ones who see our imperfections.

These are our family rules, hand embroidered and framed by one of my dearest friends. I love that we have them right there where we can see them every day, and the way they're presented is so friendly and warm.

In the kids' bathroom. This is the front of an old t-shirt my daughter grew out of years ago. But I loved the little bird, so I bought a thrift store frame, stretched the shirt over the wooden back, and trimmed it. Easy!

And this is in my son's room. My little sister made it after he was born. She took a thick, smooth frame and Mod-Podge'd paper squares all around. Then she added ribbon and a C for his first name, then she replaced the glass with a sheet of metal and added some cute little magnets. It's great for switching out art, or sticking photos and important reminders, like the one above. :)

This is in our hallway, exactly across from the kids' rooms and right next to their bathroom, as a daily reminder. It's another thrift store frame, with the glass removed and the backing painted with chalkboard paint. Again, super easy. I used to have our family calendar written in chalk there, and it hung in our kitchen. So there's another idea.

This is in my daughter's room. Yet again, I removed the glass, covered the backing with cute paper, then used a glue gun to attach ribbons to the backside. You could also put hooks on the bottom for necklaces and headbands, etc.

Also in my daughter's room. These cuties are actually stationery that she received as a birthday gift from one of her best friends. Most of these ones have "I love you Mom" written on the back. Which still makes me smile when I see them, even though I can't see the words anymore. I just thought they were so cute and so her that they should have a special place on her wall.

This one's yet another glass-removal project. Actually, I think on this one the glass broke somehow. In any case, I covered the backing with some of my favorite fabric, then screwed some of my favorite knobs through. This one hangs in my bathroom right next to my mirror.

And this is our "we don't have a bed frame, let alone a headboard" solution. The colors of my bed linens change so often, and right now they're so bright and colorful, that I wanted something simple on the walls. Simple black and white and silver frames, with just black and white family photos all around, suits me just fine.

And finally, this is my plea for advice. This is a piece of embroidery that my mom started years and years ago, and I'm too intimidated to finish. She meant to make it into a piano bench cushion, but I've been thinking of framing it. But! Should I? Or should I do something else with it (maybe a pillow cover? or ... ???) And if I frame it, should I leave it as-is, with all the pencil marks showing (I sort of like it unfinished, it's somehow symbolic to me in a way), or should I try and work up the courage to finish it first?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frame It

For our topic of "frame it" this week I had high hopes to have ready an entire wall of newly framed pieces and instead of getting to work on that today I finally caved and put away my Christmas decorations.  Although daunting and sort of depressing it got me thinking of our recent holiday and reminded me of a fun gift/project I did with my son Payton for his grandparents. 

I had him draw them a special picture and after he was pleased with his work I transferred it onto a white piece of fabric where I then embroidered it and put it in a special frame.  Now it will last forever and they will see again and again how much he loves them.  He told me that it was his favorite gift to give and was definietly my favorite to make.  I wish I had a picture of his Grandma and Grandpa's finished product but you get the idea from his portrayal of his Gammie and Potts.    

Children's art should get to last forever and that's sometimes hard when you have to store or stash hundreds of papers in who knows how many places because you just can't get yourself to throw them away. This was a fun way to create something special and have it be displayed and preserved for as long as possible.

Do you have any fun ideas for displaying or saving your child's art?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Time for... Thyme?

"Ingredients for life..."

Do you recognize that slogan? It's from Safeway and I think it's one of the most clever grocery store slogans out there. As a girl who enjoys cooking and, well, eating food, I have spent a lot of time searching the isles for the right ingredients, and many more hours in the kitchen measuring out those ingredients to make the perfect meal or tasty treat for the people I love.

I still remember learning to cook for my sweet, new husband during our first year of marriage. The first time I made something with thyme in it, I didn't know what that spice was, much less how to say it. But Mmmm, the creamy goodness of that Chicken Alfredo still lingers in my memory with the love of that first year. Since then I have learned how to pronounce thyme (taɪm), and I have learned that I pretty much love any recipe with thyme in it.

But did you know that love is actually spelled T-I-M-E ?

Time is such a valuable ingredient for life.  I can't forget how Dieter F. Uchtdorf explained:
"We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home."

So much of my time is spent doing things for my family--cooking, cleaning, sewing, shopping. But somehow in the hustle and bustle of all that I do every day, I often forget the purpose of what I am doing. And so I have come to love this single phrase: "The purpose of the task is to strengthen the relationship."

And maybe time is like other ingredients--it can be used fresh, dried, chopped, minced, crushed--there are many different ways to season with it, and in its different forms it has different strengths. So time spent cooking a family meal might be different than the time you spend eating it together. And time spent scrubbing a stain out of a shirt is totally different than time spent in the pleasure of a hug and a kiss when your husband walks in the door. But each of those uses of time is a ingredient for love, and each of those forms of time adds to the savory sweetness of life--the recipe, if you will, for love at home.

While working on this post at my kitchen table, I pulled out that cookbook from my first year of marriage, eager to relive a tasty memory and make a little Chicken Alfredo, when I came across another recipe (which is much easier to prepare when hungry children are waiting) and it includes one key ingredient: thyme. (ah, sigh, just makes my mouth water!) So I thought I would share it with all of you.


Herb Chicken (from this cookbook)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Rinse chicken breasts and pat with paper towels to remove moisture. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir together until well blended. Place each chicken breast in herb mixture and coat on both sides. Place on greased baking sheet and cook at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

When I made it, I had to make a few substitutions and the recipe looked more like this:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced in half
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
1/4 heaping teaspoon dried thyme

Follow all the same cooking instructions, but be sure to use a baking pan with sides so that you don't start a grease fire with all that melted butter running off! I don't really think it's necessary to grease the pan either, again because of all the butter already on the chicken. And, thanks to the butter and thyme (how could you go wrong with those two things in abundance?) it sure turned out wonderful--the seasoning was perfect, the chicken was juicy and tender,  and it made really good leftovers!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


It seems like I am always rushing. I am late to a lot of things. My daughter has been late to preschool both days this week, but hey, at least I picked her up on time. I rushed through the mall yesterday so my kids would not have to shop too long. I have rushed through Walmart so I could pick up my daughter from preschool on time. Rush here and there to get somewhere. But why do I do this to myself! Why is it so hard to do something slowly and right the first time so I don't have to return things I did not mean to buy, or so my kids can be on time to school/church/play dates on time! It just is hard though.

It is a hard habit to break!

It seams like by Christmas break I was getting a handle on the schedule of school and things, then we had a two week break and now I am starting back at square one! Seriously why is it so hard to wake up early when you don't have to be somewhere for a few weeks. Why is it so hard to get out of the house when you don't have anything planned. Seriously. It has thrown me off. Now I am at a new normal as well. I have new church responsibilities that have thrown my brain and focus on the fritz. Why do I do this to myself. I will never get more time, I just have to make something of the time I have. I have to set a new routine and stick to it!

Here is to getting back on track with the new year! Here is to new routines and time management! Good luck on your quest as it is surly a quest for me!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It is time.

The Lion King is in my top 3 Disney movies, and this at the end is a big reason. The most important part of this clip is when Simba embraces Rafiki, and his baboon friend simply says, "It is time." Then Simba takes his rightful place as King and Pride Rock returns to its former glory.

Lately I've been thinking "it is time" for me to take a more active role in my life.

Sometimes I feel like an observer of life rather than a participant. It is time to wake up!

I tend to overachieve in some areas and neglect others, so it is time to find balance.

It is time to follow through. So many times I find myself saying to myself, "Someday I'd like to ..." or "I wish I could make ______ happen." What am I waiting for?

I don't think it's overly prideful to say I think I'm destined for great things. We should all think that. It is time to be a DOER.

The fact that I've been thinking this for months reassures me that this isn't a fleeting resolution whose fire will diminish to a weak flicker in a matter of weeks. It will take small steps, no doubt. But what I know is that IT IS TIME for my ambition to catch up with my dreams.

What is it time for you to do?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's About Time

Did you ever think about all the time you either save or waste in a day? And if you're saving it ... where, exactly, do you store it? That's the basic plot-launcher of Michale Ende's novel Momo, wherein the Men in Grey, cloaking themselves as representatives of the Timesavings Bank will happily store up that extra time you've been saving, for future use. Except that of course they're actually just stealing it for their own nefarious purposes. Enter Momo! A little girl of uncertain origin, who has this remarkable ability to just ... listen ...

It's been years since I read this book, but I love it. I love the premise ... I mean, really, saving time? What a ridiculous idea! This book was an awesome reminder that time is meant to be used - to the fullest! It was an eye-opener to the fact that despite modern "time-saving" methods and devices, we don't really have the power to actually save time - we only have the power to choose how we will spend it.

And I do believe I'll be spending some time soon reading this book again.