Monday, May 16, 2011

Springtime...and other matters

It's finally springtime here, and we have been spending a lot of time working outside. Not that you can tell....Living here has certainly made me question whether I want a big yard of my own someday. Of course, there are always so many projects going on here it's hard to feel like you ever make a dent in the overall, so maybe if I could have a big yard, but make everything very simple, (or have enough money to pay someone else to do the work :)) then I could feel like it's manageable, right??

Anyway, I figure that I'll just do as much as I can and make it a priority to be outside working every day, and that will have to be enough. Today I spent a couple of hours just pulling out all the grass that had grown up in the flowerbed under the Russian Olive tree in the back yard. Who knew that grass could be so stinking stubborn! Good thing I'm stubborner.

And...enough rambling. On to the pictures.

Chris has been working super hard on the chicken coop, and it is now completed enough to have the chickens out there. YAY! The boys absolutely loved being able to hang out with their Daddy while he worked on the coop. You can definitely tell they are boys. They both wanted to use the REAL tools. None of those toys for them!

William, drilling a hole in the dirt
Issac, being handy with some pliers

Chris and William doing some work on the big front yard project.
And of course, Isaac has to run around and play in the dirt as well. It wouldn't do for him to be any less dirty than William by the time the day is over. I have a feeling I am going to be doing A LOT of laundry this summer.

Other matters:

I hardly ever (read never) blog about Chris's fishing trips, probably because I usually have several blog posts in mind about stuff I am doing or the kids, and since I hardly ever get to those, Chris's fishing trips never get commented on. However, I saw this picture as I was looking through pictures today and I thought I would share. Isn't it a great picture? The fish looks pretty good too! :)
In case you didn't know, Chris is an AWESOME fisherman. I wish I got to go fishing with him more than I do, but I guess that's just one of the sacrifices you make when you have kids. Hopefully we will all get to go do some fun fishing this summer! Chris has a fishing blog he recently started, so if you are interested you should check it out.

In other randomness, I thought since I asked for non-fiction book recommendations earlier, I should share a non-fiction book that I recommend to everyone.

Probably most of you have heard of Dave Ramsey, but if you haven't you should! Chris and I read this book together a while ago, and recently got to take a Financial Peace University course, and it has really made us change the way we think about money. Although we have always been pretty responsible with our money (and also very blessed) we never had goals that we sat down and decided on together, or really made a plan for our money. Now we decide what we are going to do with our money before we get it, and we are more united on money matters than we have ever been. So read this book! Take the course if there is one offered near you. As Dave would say, it'll rock your world!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Experiment in Food

Lately I have been very tired of food. Literally just tired of all the meals I normally cook, and a lot of the foods we eat. It must be something about springtime, but all I've wanted are fresh fruits and vegetables. It has gotten to the point that I can't plan menus because everything I can think of sounds disgusting. So I decided that something has to change, and I thought about this:

Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
D&C 89:12-13

I have known these verses all of my life, but for some reason have always just ignored them. And now I have found myself in a place where every meal seems to revolve around meat. My first question when trying to think of something to make for dinner is always, "What kind of meat do I have?".

Don't get me wrong, we eat a fair amount of fruits, vegetables, grains etc., but for some reason meat has become the centerpiece, and everything else is just garnish.

But not any more! Don't get me wrong, I'm not really planning to become a vegetarian, but I decided that this spring, and summer I am going to drastically reduce our meat consumption. I'm sure we'll generally still eat meat on Sunday, and I plan to eat the fish that Chris catches, but the rest of the time, we will get our protein in other ways.

I think the challenge of coming up with yummy, well-balanced, no-meat dishes will really help me decide that I like food again, and encourage me to find good ways to feed my family. We plan on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, beans, eggs, and whole grains. And since we already eat quite a bit of that stuff (not as many beans as I would like, but we'll be eating more!) I will hopefully end up saving on groceries, since I am going to continue buying everything else, and not buying meat.

I really believe that the Lord will bless us for trying to do what He asks, and He promises amazing things to those who follow His Word of Wisdom. I truly expect that by trying to be more in line with what the Lord has asked, we will receive health in our navel and marrow in our bones, will find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, will run and not be weary, and walk and not faint, and that the destroying angel will pass us by! (D&C 89: 18-21)

Those are some blessings worth having! So here goes my experiment upon the word :)

If anyone has any really great ideas of yummy food that I should cook, please feel free to share them! I'm going to need some help changing my habits! And, just because it was yummy, I'll share what we had for dinner tonight.

Rice and Beans

1 1/2 c brown rice
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can stewed tomatoes (mine were in halves, so I chopped them up into smaller pieces)
1 onion, chopped
some oregano (I'm not very good at measuring, probably around a tsp.)
minced garlic (see comment on oregano)

I sort of made this up as I went, so you might have a better way of doing it, but I started the rice cooking, then sauteed the onion in a little bit of olive oil. To the onion, I then added the other ingredients and let it all come to a boil. By that time most of the water was cooked out of the rice, but it wasn't cooked all the way, so I just dumped the bean mixture into the rice pot, covered it and let it simmer till the rice was cooked (20-30 min?). I was worried about there being too much moisture, but it actually was mostly absorbed and it didn't end up being runny at all.

We ate the rice and beans on corn tortillas that I warmed up in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, and topped it with a little bit of cheese, some salsa, and lettuce. It was yummy! I ate way to much! The only thing I think it was lacking was some fresh lime squeezed on the top, but I didn't have any. Next time though!

We also had watermelon for desert.

Anyway...there's my dinner experiment. Please feel free to share anything you have with me!

As an added bonus to this whole thing, Chris decided that he wants to try going without sugar just to prove to himself that he can, so we are going to go the whole month of May without eating sugar. I did it in January and it felt really really good, but I have since slipped back into my old ways. It will be really nice to have Chris doing it with me this time, as he provided much of my temptation last time :).