Week in Review: July 21st, 2006

Oriental Chicken Salad

Week in Review: July 21st, 2006. We have had yet another busy week full of blessings here at Tammy's Recipes! We were yet again blessed with a guest chef who provided a number of mouth watering recipes--thanks Lindsey!--and we added nearly a dozen new recipes to the recipe directory. In addition to our recipe of the week (Oriental Chicken Salad, picture above) we also put up a couple of new fun polls. So if you missed out on any of this weeks events here is your chance to quickly catch up with our handly list of quick links! (continue ...)

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Taco Salad, Salsa, Canning, and Birthdays!

I usually turn to Taco Salad in a pinch ;). At any rate, we had it this week and were again reminded of how well we like it! I took a picture of Yehoshua getting ready to eat his bowl of taco salad. He didn't want to look at the camera... he's been acting silly like that lately. :) I guess he gets tired of posing sometimes! Today Joshua was taking pictures of a pie he made, and Yehoshua said, "Dad, takes pictures! Food!" :D Yehoshua eating Taco Salad
 I figured while I was posting the recipe for Taco Salad, I should also share our homemade tomato salsa recipe.

And if I were going to share the salsa recipe, I may as well write up some instructions for canning your own homemade salsa! :) In another month or two, I'll (hopefully) be busy canning lots of it! Last year my mom and I did well over 100 pints of salsa. I still have probably 15 pints of my share left. We do a joint garden and work together on the processing and share the results.

Today is Joshua's birthday! He made two absolutely wonderful pies last night in honor of the occasion... but you'll have to wait for those recipes ;). We aren't really doing anything special for Joshua's birthday... just hanging out at home.

Right now Joshua and Yehoshua are at Wal-mart. They're picking up a prescription for some antibiotics for Yehoshua (he has an infection, we learned today, related to what I referenced in my former post) and just looking around, giving me a little break and some time to work on the site. Joshua sure does spoil me. ;)

I actually have my laundry caught up right now! My clotheslines are packed full (diapers are double-hung!) and there are even some socks and underwear in the dryer. It's nice to be caught up... there really was quite a mountain of dirty laundry. Eliyahu has decided he really likes the met tai. Today he fell asleep in it while I hung laundry. :)

Yehoshua and I had homemade tomato soup (photo coming... hopefully tonight if I have time) for lunch today. Yum! I taught him how to dip cheese in it. He liked that. :) Joshua had leftover spicy grilled steak stir fry for his lunch, since he doesn't like tomato soup.

Well, I need to get this finished up and get some work done with what time I have left. I plan to get to bed early tonight. :) Friday evening seems to be the ONE time I can actually get to sleep at a decent time, because I don't do any work that night. :) Hope everyone has a good weekend! :)

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has left comments. I fully intend to reply as I am able... but in the meantime, know that they are read and appreciated! :)

Trying out my new mei tai!

I have always thought it would be fun to "wear" my babies in slings, carriers, backpacks, etc... I tried two different carriers with Yehoshua, and neither was successful as far as long-term wear.

We had the most success with a homemade "ring sling". Yehohsua hated it when he was a newborn, but by the time he was old enough to sit up, he enjoyed being carried in it, upright, facing me, helping me do my grocery shopping. :) I got a lot of comments when I did my grocery shopping with him in the sling ;) It was nice not having my cart taken up with an infant car seat, too! :)

I used the sling when I needed to vacuum, or occasionally for very short walks. It wasn't extremely comfortable and I honestly couldn't seem to get it into a good position where I would have good use of my arms. Bending over while wearing it wasn't exactly convenient, either, and most of my activities involved bending over. Standing and doing dishes or cooking... well, it wasn't exactly easy with a chubby baby who was constantly grabbing for whatever was in my hand and trying to turn around to see what was going on. ;)

Eliyahu has been a very content, sweet little baby and I haven't really felt a need to try to have him in a carrier. However, when my friend Ruth offered me a mei tai carrier that she had made, I quickly accepted! :D

Carrying Eliyahu in the mei tai while hanging diapers

I haven't used my mei tai for very long yet, but it's definitely comfortable to wear. Eliyahu weighs about 20 pounds, but the wide, cushioned straps disperse the weight well, even better than the ultra-padded straps of some of the name-brand carriers.

I can't seem to get Eliyahu into the mei tai on my back without assistance, but I can put him facing me in front. (There are a variety of different carries one can do with a mei tai, but I have not tried most of them yet!) He seemed to like riding in it. :) I'm anxious to try more activities and positions with this carrier!

One thing I really love is how it folds up nice and small. It's just soft fabric, unlike the commercial carriers that are full of snaps, buckles, straps, etc., so it's easily washed, stored, or tucked into the diaper bag.

But truth be known, what I really REALLY love about this carrier is that it's homemade, and was a gift from a very sweet friend. There are some people who are such great examples of Godliness, and so encouraging towards holiness, and they quietly seek to bless and minister to others. I'm blessed to have a friend like that in Ruth!

Whether we're talking about being content, cloth diapering, our little boys, loving others, home birthing, or what God's been doing in our lives, Ruth's virtues shine through.

 Diapers... they just never end around here! :D

As you can see from the pictures, Yehoshua loves to help. He also loves to run off, and make me chase him down... but some days he really does cooperate! :)

Using the mei tai to carry baby while hanging laundry :)

An Update in Photos!

Yehoshua on his tricycle

Here is Yehoshua, scooting along on his tricycle. We got him this tricycle last year during the feast of Tabernacles, and he still can't properly ride it. He has a lot of fun with it anyway!

This morning we made a trip to the pediatrician's office. Details could be a little sensitive, but Yehoshua will most likely be having a minor surgery in the next couple weeks. We'll know more after an appointment on Tuesday. If you think of us, please keep him in prayer! We really appreciate everyone's prayer support :).

Yehoshua at 27 months 

 Yehoshua had just had a bath in this photo, and was being so cooperative as I sat him on my desk for a few pictures! I was asking him to touch his cheek for this shot. :) He did all sorts of things for me, touching his belly, putting his hands on his head, etc... So sweet. I love having the little guy for my buddy!

One cute thing Yehoshua likes to do, is pretending he's Eliyahu. He asks to be put in the swing, or in Eliyahu's car seat, or climbs into Eliyahu's walker, and then sticks one of Eliyahu's toys in his mouth ;). One day he was in the swing, and I told him I would "pretend to be Yehoshua". I ran up to him and gave him a smothering hug and kiss. Then I snatched his toy away and ran off. ;)

Yehoshua talks more and more these days... today when we offered him a second piece of pepperjack cheese he said, "It's too hot!" It's so interesting to me to finally be able to understand more of what he's saying.

Eliyahu, 6 months

Eliyahu, at 6 months, is turning into quite the little mischief-maker! He can get around in his walker, and manages to make his way towards the trashcan or telephone cord without fail! He rolls over and wiggles and tries to scoot around... he's such a little sweetheart and we love him so much! It's neat how a person can love each of their children so much. I don't understand how it's works, but two children just multiplies our love for them rather than dividing it. :)

Eliyahu, 6 months

And to end, here is a photo my sister Bonnie took of our brother Phillip (21) holding Eliyahu. They were matching in orange shirts that day. ;) Phillip is good at calming Eliyahu while I am finishing up a music lesson or garden work, and now when Eliyahu fusses, we call out, "Phillip! Eliyahu needs you!" even when I'm planning to stop and feed or change Eliyahu ;)

Phillip and Eliyahu

Before I retire...

Waffles with strawberries
I think I have mentioned in the past that Joshua specializes in grilling meat and making desserts. He has so many tempting desserts he can make, and he knows I like chocolate, so occasionally he'll get busy being creative and come up with a new one for me. A while back he created a frozen chocolate pie of sorts, and ever since, I have begged him to make them for me. ;) Yesterday he made a really big and really delicious one, and we posted the recipe for Triple Chocolate Cream Pie! If you like chocolate, be sure to check it out! :)

 

Yesterday my friend Sheri came, and we had a Spicy Grilled Steak Stir Fry for lunch, served with applesauce, garlic bread, and a salad. I made the garlic bread with fresh minced garlic and salt, instead of garlic salt, and it was so much better! Yum! I love gralic! Last night I got an email from Sheri asking for the stir-fry recipe ;)

Lunch today was leftover stir fry, and dinner was homemade waffles with strawberry syrup and fresh strawberries. In the afternoon, Yehoshua and I made granola, trying out a new recipe that will be featured soon from a guest chef. Exciting! :) I'm also very excited about tomorrow's guest chef. You people are such great cooks and I love getting to see and eat everyone's foods! :)

Now I must go retire... to bed. :) Have a blessed day!

Exercise Ideas

It is so hot outside today! I guess I am spoiled, being in an air-conditioned house during most of the hottest hours of the day. I am so thankful for a cool house! It's so much easier to think about doing dishes or cleaning when the house is a comfortable temperature. :)

Today we were blessed with a visit from my friend Sheri and her two boys, ages 6 and 2. Sheri is a dear "older sister" friend to me. Several of the recipes on this website are ones she passed down to me, like her cream cheese brownies, baked beans, and even this week's recipe of the week, Oriental Chicken Salad. I owe a number of our favorites to her. ;)

We had a good visit, as always, and perhaps there will be some good photos to share when time permits.

Anyway, Sheri and I were talking about exercise, and it reminded me that I wanted to post about exercise on here sometime, and hadn't done it yet. :)

So, here are some thoughts and ideas for those of you who either want to exercise more, or already do and enjoy reading about exercising. :)

Yehoshua and Eliyahu, waiting for our walk

Here are Yehoshua and Eliyahu, waiting in the stroller for our morning walk. We've been walking at 7 am every day for several months now, and it's really the only way I could bear to take walks all summer long! I'm not sure what we'll do when winter comes... but maybe by then Eliyahu will be big enough that I can bundle him up and we can still walk. :)

My exercise routine is (if at all possible) done every day. I found that when I took "a day off" for whatever reason, that day turned into several days or even a whole week. Making sure I get out every day (even if it's only for 5 or 10 minutes!) helps me keep going.

Right now my exercise is walking. I walk at least 2 miles every morning, but usually 2.5-3 miles. This takes about 40-60 minutes, depending on how quickly I walk.

This is, admittedly, a large chunk of precious morning time. It is, however, the only way I can "make time" for exercising. Later in the day, it's hotter, or I have ten things going on all at once...

It's actually never "convenient" for me to exercise; I'm always sacrificing sleep or work-time. I have found it to be worth it, though. Besides the benefits from exercising, I enjoy getting out in the mornings (even though sometimes I feel half-asleep while I'm pushing the stroller!) and thinking about the day ahead of me. It's a quiet and relaxing start to the day. I plan what needs to be done when I get home, and talk with Yehoshua and Eliyahu. (I have even repeated simple addition and subtraction problems to Yehoshua on our walks, hoping to help him memorize them.)

I always had the mentality that exercising was one of those "extra" things, like computer-time, talking on the phone, letter-writing, that sort of thing. I couldn't pull myself away from the housework, meal preparation, and hustle of the household to go for a walk. There were (and are) constantly dishes to be done, laundry to be hung or folded, or meals to be made. I finally realised that the work would never be caught up to my satisfaction, and that it was all right to leave the kitchen a mess and get out for a walk and clean up later.

There was also the "weather" excuse. Too hot. Too cold. And with children, I can't just go walking when it's raining outside, now can I? ;) When I made a commitment to walking, I realised that I was using the weather as an excuse far too often. There have been days when it rained off and on all day, but I managed to get out during a 20-minute dry spell. We've gotten poured on a couple times, but we arrived home and dried off. :) I was amazed at how good it felt to know that I had gotten out 10 days in a row, and then 20...

I originally started exercising for the first time in my life when we had been married about a year. I had gained over 20 pounds in that year, and my clothes were getting tight. I successfully lost all 20 pounds by doing a lot of walking and not eating too much.

Then, I got pregnant and had Yehoshua. I walked a lot during pregnancy, but after having Yehoshua, had difficulty getting back to walking. I had Eliyahu and pretty much didn't exercise at all during my pregnancy with him. :|

I determined that after I had Eliyahu I would start walking again. Joshua's mom gave us a double stroller (seen in photo above) which helped a LOT. :) So, with 20 pounds to lose again, I started walking this spring.

I haven't lost much weight (yet; maybe I won't, I don't know) but I feel so much better. My clothes fits me again, even though the scales says -2 lbs for the whole past 3 months of exercise. I feel healthy, my arms actually have some muscle (that stroller is heavy to push!), and I can walk 2 miles briskly without getting out of breath.

So, a quick overview of what has helped me:

Get out every day, even if only for 5 minutes. Skipping days makes me lose my resolve.

Don't wait for "everything" to be done before you exercise.

Have a support system: someone (a spouse or friend), or some people who know you're trying to exercise consistently, who can help you monitor your progress, give encouragement, etc.

If possible, have an exercise partner. This is really motivating to me when the alarm goes at 6:30 am and I feel like rolling back over and going to sleep. ;)

Don't over-use the scales. Weighing (or measuring, if you're doing that) once a week is plenty. And don't put too much emphasis on what the scales says. If you're exercising and eating fairly well, it's okay if you don't lose 5 pounds all in one week, or even one month. Exercise isn't a quick-ticket to weightloss, but a consistent exercise routine will improve your overall health!

And for some fun, map out your walking (or running!) path using this free online pedometer! :)

Tea Review: Choice Organic Green Tea with Essence of Peach

 

Choice Organic Green Tea with Essence of Peach

 

I have had a couple of flavors of tea from this brand, Choice. This green tea, like their other flavors, is very high quality. I did think it had a rather strong and bitter "green tea flavor", even though I brewed it as I normally would (and my green tea brews are usually delicious!). The peach essence was present, but not overly aromatic, like some other green teas with peach I have tasted.

Maybe it's the lack of artificial flavors, I just wouldn't classify this as a favorite. Good, especially if you love green tea, but not wonderful.

Here is an interesting article from the Seattle Times about the Choice Tea company.

Did you know that teas, unless they are organically grown, are laden with pesticides? (The same goes for coffee.) Good reason to support organic tea companies, especially the ones who sell their products at very reasonable prices! :)

Raspberries, reading, and really good recipes

Eliyahu and Yehoshua read "Little Bitty Baby Learns Greek" by Johannah Bluedorn

Here are Eliyahu (6 months) and Yehoshua (26 months) reading Little Bitty Baby Learns Greek by Johannah Bluedorn. This book arrived in the mail on Friday. I'm excited about it! It's a board book, so Yehoshua can actually participate (turn pages) without me worrying about him harming the lovely book. It's beautifully illustrated, and it makes me excited about learning the Greek alphabet! We were so thrilled to discover Little Bitty Baby Learns Hebrew, thanks to Biblical Womanhood, and I'm sure we'll enjoy this Greek one just as much!

On Wednesday, I picked some red raspberries, and Thursday evening Joshua made a delicious Vanilla Raspberry Cheesecake! That was a fun experiment. I promised my walking partner a couple pieces, which I'll give her tomorrow when we go walking. :)

Today we has Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic bread for dinner. Lunch today was a variety of leftovers. Sure is nice to clean out the fridge and get all the little bits used up :).

I'm also excited to be sharing our "Recipe of the week" for this week: Oriental Chicken Salad. I love this salad. We made it last Sunday, and I had to patiently wait all week to post the recipe because we wanted it to be the "recipe of the week" and I wanted it to be "new" to everyone. :) Our "Oriental chicken salad" is long gone, but I still have some extra dressing in the fridge... yum! :)

It's getting late, so I'll have to end here. Tomorrow we're planning to make Nicole's chili-- I can't wait to try it!

Week in Review: July 14th, 2006

Pizza

Week in Review: July 14th, 2006. This week we were yet again blessed with two guest chefs, Bonnie Faber and Nicole Seitler, and nearly a dozen new recipes added. Inside you will find handy links to all this weeks new content including our recipe of the week -- Stuffed Shells and Italian Garlic Bread. You can also read about Emily's visit where we made, and ate, the above pizza.

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Guest Chef Nicole Seitler shares her family's favorite meal

I have been patiently waiting to share this recipe from Nicole Seitler: White Chili! Doesn't it look delicious?! Read more for details about this family favorite that Nicole created! 

 White Chili
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