Cheesy Macaroni Bake

I'm back with another delicious recipe!

My husband and I (and our daughter, actually) loooooove Spam. I know a lot of people think Spam is gross, and that's okay. Stop reading now if that's you. ( :  I don't think about what might be in a can of Spam. I just know it tastes delicious and its super easy to cook and eat. It used to be "poor man's food," but its actually kind of expensive these days. So we don't eat Spam very often. Growing up, I always had Spam and eggs sandwiches - and yum!! That's still a favorite of mine. But I looked a while back on the Spam website and learned there's a ton of other things you can do with that meaty goodness.

I tried a Spam and potatoes casserole a while back and it was a big hit at my house. I think I may have blogged about it, but right now I'm too lazy to look. Sorry.

Last night I decided to try another Spam recipe I had bookmarked: Cheesy Macaroni Bake (with Spam)!

It. was. delicious. Seriously. Actually, DH said it was good but not that good, but we all know I get a little overenthusiastic about my food. ( :  It was super-easy to make, and it only took about 30 minutes of prep before baking for 25 minutes.

You can find the real recipe here. But I'll type it up for ya, too, just in case you're lazy like me.


  • I just grated a 1/2 pound of cheddar.

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2-quart casserole. I forgot to grease my dish but nothing stuck.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  3. In casserole, stir together SPAM® Classic and macaroni.
  4. In medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Blend in flour, salt, mustard, black pepper and cayenne until smooth. I also added the paprika here because I read the directions wrong. Stir in milk; cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and boils. Add cheese; cook, stirring, until cheese is melted. Pour over SPAM® mixture; mix well.
  5. In microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter; stir in breadcrumbs and paprika. I did add more paprika in this step. We didn't think it was too much at all. In fact, I think DH would have liked more! Sprinkle over macaroni. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
See? Easy-peasy! I made this dish while tripping over all the toys my daughter thought would be fun to bring into the kitchen...and I didn't mess anything up, so it must be pretty fool-proof! I forgot to take a picture of how it looks out of the casserole dish - whoops. I did have leftovers for lunch today, and it was just as good as it was last night.

I've been a little off of my meal-planning game lately. But I guess that's understandable since we've been under a lot of stress. Which means that tonight we'll likely have sandwiches or bacon and eggs. Can't be super-cooking-mom all the time, right? ( :  Maybe I'll be blessed to have my husband decide to whip up something tonight....oh that reminds me! Sunday for lunch he made some crab cakes that were absolutely divine! I'd love to share the recipe but DH doesn't even tell ME how he cooks things, haha. My man can cook, he's just secretive about his methods. ( :

I also haven't forgotten that I said I'd do a hair bow tutorial this week. I did make another bow over the weekend, but I wasn't happy with the way it turned out. Here's a tip: don't buy satin ribbon for hair bows. It just doesn't look at nice. I'll be making another bow either tonight or tomorrow night, though, because C needs it for her Easter pictures Saturday morning (she'll be posing with a live bunny and I am so excited). So look for pictures and a tutorial soon. And yes, I'll share the bow I wasn't happy with, too. ( :



What a week! We have been insanely busy at work (which is a good thing), and there's been a lot going on in my family, as well. Some good, some bad. My husband's grandma has been moved to a rehab facility, which is good because it means she's improving. She'll get therapy twice a day and hopefully will be coming home in 4-6 weeks. She's got a long road ahead of her, though, so she still needs prayers.

My uncle was diagnosed with cancer last year and has been very sick ever since. He started to get better, and actually got a positive report from his doctor just a couple of weeks ago, but he wound up back in the hospital last weekend, and he's gone downhill very fast. I think the doctors said today there's nothing else they can do. Its pretty sad. :(

On a happier note, my cousins had their baby boy yesterday! I went to meet him today and he is gorgeous. The only bad thing about that is it doesn't help the baby fever I already have....hahaha!

I have so many posts floating around in my mind, but no time to sit down and type them up! I'm not even gonna tell myself it'll happen this weekend, because I know the next 2 days will be crazy. Well, tonight, too. Tonight, C and I are going to a party. This one is Initials, Inc. I've never heard of this company, but from what I can see its a lot like Thirty-One. It'll be hard to sway me from Thirty-One! We always have a great time at my friend's parties, though, so I'm looking forward to it. Tomorrow, DH and I are going to a wedding - sans child! He said it'll be our date night. Not quite what I had in mind, but I'll take it. The wedding is at 4 and the reception is at a country club, so it should be nice. I've got a hot little number I'm wearin and I can't wait! (I love to dress up, haha.) And then Sunday we'll be at a baby shower. DH's cousin is due in a few months. I'm looking forward to that, but once again, all those teeny tiny baby things will be terrible for my baby fever! ( ;

One last thing: today I learned how to make a hair bow! Well, almost. This is somethin I've been wanting to do for a while, but never took the time to learn or even get the materials. I'm slightly obsessed with hair bows (for C, not me!), and they can be expensive. I found a great tutorial online the other night and it was so simple. I can't wait to perfect my technique and make a ton of more bows!
Not bad for my first try, huh? I was pretty pleased with it! Its not quite finished, though. Right now its just the bow, no hair clip. My friend is giving me some alligator clips tonight at the party (she used to make hair bows but doesn't anymore), so I'll have to finish this little project later.

Once I attach the bow to the clip, I'll post more pictures and a tutorial (along with the link for the one I followed). I'm so excited! (And how sad is it that hair bows excite me?!)


On Being A Mother

Today I read a blog post by a friend of mine in which she talked about how she had no desire for children before she actually had one. It was so timely because all weekend I've been planning my next blog post in my head, and that was basically the topic! Great minds... ( :

I used to babysit a lot when I was younger. I have three younger cousins (who are now almost grown up - one is even married!) that I used to keep every day after school until my aunt and uncle got home from work. For a few summers, I kept them all day as well. The "job" first began out of necessity and I of course hated having to watch my little cousins all the time. But eventually I came to love it, and we all had the best time together (I remember once cooking them tacos for lunch, and one of them told me I was the best babysitter ever...haha). I babysat other kids in the neighborhood, as well, and when I went to college I sat a few times here and there.

At one point during college I worked at a daycare. On the days I didn't have class, I had the three-year-olds all day, but most of the time I had those precious ones and then all the after-schoolers (who were complete hellions, I might add!). That experience kind of turned me off from kids. I think I had way too many in my class (around 19), and I had such a big range in ages (from 3 to 12), plus I had several special-needs kids (one 5 year old was still in diapers and was basically a baby). I was in no way prepared to handle any of that. I wasn't going to school to work with children, and I certainly had no idea how to handle the special-needs ones. It was extremely stressful every day at work. The point is, after dealing with all those rowdy youngins at the daycare, I had no desire to ever have my own.

I figured eventually I'd have a child or two, because that's just what you do when you're married (right?), but no way would it be before I was in my 30s. DH wanted kids but he was in no hurry, either. After we got married people immediately began asking us when we were gonna have a baby (don't you hate that? Maybe its just a southern thing, where everyone feels they have a right to know all your personal business!). We talked about it and decided we definitely weren't ready.

And then one day, baby fever struck me.

I don't even know what triggered it. I can't remember a specific event. Just one day, I wasn't ready for a child, and then the next, I was. Simple as that. I told DH, who was pretty nonchalant about it - he'd be happy either way. So in December, we threw caution to the wind and said if I got pregnant, so be it. But both of us firmly believed it would take a while. (That's all you hear about, people who take forever to get pregnant, especially people like me who had been on birth control for years and years.) In my mind, we'd be pregnant in about a year.

God had other plans for us! I was pregnant by March, and discovered it in April. Woah! Suddenly it all got real. We were both shocked (and looking back, how stupid was that?? I mean, what did we expect to happen? haha). I honestly believed it would take a while to get pregnant, and I kind of had a feeling I wouldn't be able to conceive. Thankfully, we were both thrilled, too. We didn't waste much time telling everyone we knew about the baby on the way. I documented my whole pregnancy - I made a scrapbook with weekly baby bump pictures. (I am so glad I did that, too! I love looking back and seeing how huge I was.) DH thought it was kinda weird that I did that, but I told him that one day our baby would look at that book and think, wow, my mama was so excited to be carrying me, and so looking forward to meeting me!! 

38 weeks and HUGE! lol

There was a lot I didn't know before C was born (and yes, I'm aware that there's still a lot I don't know now!), but I played it by ear (like I do everything in life), and learned as I went. I used to be scared of newborns - they look so fragile. But the first time I held C in my arms, I knew exactly what to do. Once the nurse showed me how to hold her to my breast and she latched on, it felt like we'd been breastfeeding forever. Everything just felt so natural.
moments after birth ( :
 Oh, sure, we had our moments! C had to spend an extra few days in the hospital due to jaundice, and that first night home was rough. DH and I had no idea what to do when she screamed all night, which she did. We got absolutely no sleep. And the next morning, we fumbled through her first bath by us. And just a few days later, when C's eye got really gunked up, I had to call over my mother-in-law to show me how to take her temperature rectally because I was terrified I'd puncture her bowel. So please don't think that I'm saying I haven't had any challenges as a mother, because that is far from the case!! (I won't even talk about the fact that when she reached 2 or 3 weeks of age, C screamed her head off every night for 3-4 hours for about 3 weeks straight. Nothing we did would calm her.)

Becoming a mother has changed me - for the better. I know everyone says that. But I honestly feel like a better person now. I have more patience (not perfect patience, by any stretch of the imagination, but I am much better than I used to be!). I am more tender and loving. I am less of a cynic (though that part of me does remain). I have learned to rely on myself less and on God more - and yes, I know other people learn that without having a baby, but it took a baby to teach me that one. I eat healthier (pregnancy and breastfeeding makes you think about someone other than yourself!). I am greener/crunchier. Everything is just better. And I have my daughter to thank (well, God, really, but you know what I mean!).

C makes me stop my busy-ness and just enjoy the simple things in life. I love seeing things through her eyes. I love watching her experiencing new things, because it makes them new to me again, too. Just the other day, we saw a ladybug and C said it was beautiful. Well, yes it is. I'd just never thought about it.

The most amazing thing to me is how I finally, finally feel like I've found my place in this world - as a mother. If you had told me that just 5 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. But its true.

In high school, most of my friends knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life - nurse, dental hygienist, mechanic, etc. Not me. I didn't even want to go to college, but my parents insisted. I had no clue what I wanted to do or be. As a result, I fumbled through 5 years of college before completing a degree - in Animal Science, of all things. After graduation, I still had no idea what to do with my degree. My first job was working at a hog farm, and that lasted about 2 weeks. Then I got a job at a pathology laboratory at a big turkey company. I hated it (though I was blessed to make some awesome friends there), but I stayed there for 3 years, until the company downsized and I was laid off. I eventually went back to school and got a Master's degree in Business Administration (mainly to please my dad - he's so proud to have a daughter with an advanced degree!). I've been at my current job for 3 years now, and I really like it. I have the best boss ever, and I really do like my work. And I'm good at my job. But I have always felt just a little off, like I'm not quite not where I need to be - in every job I've ever had. (The closest I felt to right was back in college when I managed a horse farm and worked at 2 others - I still miss that!)
 It hit me this weekend that being a mother is the job for me. I long to do it full-time, and maybe some day I will (God-willing). Even if I don't ever get to be a full-time mama, I will always revel in the moments I get to be with my child(ren). I really feel like I'm in my element then. I don't feel like I have it all under control as a mama, and I don't feel like I don't ever need any help. I do feel like I'm doing a good job and I'm doing what God's called me to do. I feel like I'm finally in my element. So thank you, God, for this blessing of being a mama. I wish I was more eloquent with my words. Hopefully I've conveyed some of my feelings adequately enough here! ( :


Bathroom: Organized!

One of the great things about blogging to me is being able to use this thing for accountability. If I say I'm gonna do something on the blog, I feel like I really have to git 'er done (sorry for you non-Southerners, haha!). Friday I posted about a wife's role of being a help meet for her husband - since then its been on my mind even more than usual, and though this weekend was a challenge (due to my current sickness and medication reaction - ugh), I was still able to try really hard to be what God's called me to be. (Did I succeed? Probably not, but the point is I'm trying all the time. God doesn't demand perfection, thankfully!!)

I'm also happy to report that C and I successfully got the master bathroom organized. I said on Friday that would be my project for the weekend. I wondered if I'd actually get it done, given how I've been feeling physically for the past week, but we did it! I intended to tackle this project Saturday morning, but when C and I got home Friday afternoon, I told her I had a fun project for us to do that weekend. She asked what it was (that kid loves projects, and loves to help her mama!), and I told her we were gonna organize the bathroom. She said "ooh! I want to or-gize!" and got really excited. It was precious. She immediately went to the bathroom and opened up the cabinets - don't tell me my child hasn't witnessed a few organizational projects!

So I figured why not start right then? No time like the present, right?

Here's a wide shot of our bathroom. In my post last year on this room's makeover, I didn't include any wide angles. So here ya go, our master bath in all its glory. Haha.

 And here's a few shots of what lies beneath the counters.... (or what did lie beneath!)

This is my side of the cabinets.
 I completely forgot I had purchased baskets a few years ago. Even though I see this one daily, I don't actually see it.

This next shot is the middle of the cabinets.

 And this is DH's side. 
 No organization whatsoever! I had no idea what all was in there, and if we needed something we don't use on a daily basis, sometimes it took forever to find it.

So the first step was to take everything out. C loved this part:

I purged a grocery store bag full of stuff. I was amazed at how much I was holding on to that I will never use!

Then I separated everything into piles that made sense to me, grouping like things together. After that, putting everything back in the cabinets was simple! Well, maybe not simple, since C decided she much preferred to keep taking things back out...!

My side:

It still looks like a lot of junk, but now its organized and I know exactly what's in there and where it is. Behind the two wooden baskets sits one of the dollar store white baskets I bought Friday - it holds all my lotions and potions that I don't use every day. Most of it is Mary Kay. I think I have tried every single Mary Kay moisturizer!

I have always used one of the wood baskets to house my styling tools - hair dryer, curling iron, flat iron, etc, and that didn't change. Now I use the other one to hold my styling products and brushes. I love having everything right there in one place.

Here's a shot of the middle cabinet now:
Those little drawers proved to be perfect for storing extra razors, toothpaste samples, bandaids, etc! If I was really crafty I'd make little labels to go on the drawers, but that's not really me. Plus we all know how much I appreciate a quick project!

On to DH's side:

I realized after I started that I really need one more of the white baskets for his side. I plan to pick one up today. Just so there's not anything randomly laying around in there like you see in the shot above. Oh, and I realize that there is still a lot of stuff crammed into Ziploc bags here. That's DH's system and I have learned not to mess with his system! So while its not my style and doesn't help me at all, that's the way he likes it, and that's the way it will stay. Somehow, he knows exactly what is in those bags.

So that's it! Not a glamorous makeover by any means, but it sure does make this mama happy! I may have opened the cabinet doors several times this weekend just to bask in the new-found order...Its the little things. Don't you love how doing something so simple and quick can make such a huge impact? ( :

I'm linking up with Jen over at IHeart Organizing for her March organizational challenge of Linens and the Loo! 


Weekend Project: Bathroom Organization

One of my favorite blogs (don't I say that an awful lot?? haha), IHeart Organizing, is hosting monthly challenges this year to get people motivated to organize their house. Each month, she focuses on a different room or area of the house. Last month she did the kitchen, and I sort of got on board with that challenge with my Quick Kitchen Project - the hanging organizer, though I did it this month - and then that one weekend last month where DH and I organized some in the kitchen and our office. Its good to be motivated and I'm grateful that the woman behind IHeart is issuing these monthly challenges to get our juices flowing.

This month IHeart's challenge room is the bathroom and the linen closet. I did a makeover on our spare bathroom last fall, but there's nothing in there to organize since we don't really use it much. Not long after we got married, I made over our master bathroom, but I never tackled the mess under the sinks. This weekend, that changes!!
source: IHeart Organizing

Our master bathroom is a fairly decent size, I think. We have a shower, a garden tub, a pretty big closet (linen closet, I guess you'd say), the toilet of course, and a double sink with a good amount of counter space between the sinks. There are no drawers, but lots of cabinet area under the sinks. Right now, everything is just kind of thrown into that space. I'll take "before" pictures this weekend so you can see the mess, but beware! The space has the potential to be very functional, so that's my goal this weekend.

My plan is to take everything out of the cabinets, organize it, purge what we don't use, and put everything back in a way that makes sense and hopefully looks prettier than it does now. I'm kinda scared to tackle this project, because to be honest I don't even know exactly what is hiding in those cabinets! I figure C can help me take everything out - she's great at that already, haha.

Today I went to the Family Dollar and bought some supplies to help me get organized. For $13, I think I got some good stuff:

Those stacking drawers were the most expensive, at $5.50 each. But I think they'll really come in handy in my deep cabinets. If not, I'll return them! I got two of the big white baskets and two of the small red ones. Red doesn't go with anything in that bathroom, but I figure it'll be under the cabinet so who cares?

I can't wait to get started on my new project! I'll be back either tomorrow or some time this weekend with hopefully the finished project! ( :

Being A Help Meet For Your Husband: Initial Thoughts

In January I was introduced to a book that turned out to be life-changing for me. I've mentioned it several times since then, but haven't felt quite ready to really talk about it yet. I plan to read the book again, but haven't made the time to do it yet, though I think about it almost daily - that's how much of an impact its made on me!

The book is called Created To Be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious by Debi Pearl. I bought it for my Kindle, but you can get it in paper form, as well. One of the many blogs I follow, Baby Chaser, posted at the beginning of this year about how she enjoys mentoring other couples in their marriages. In her post, she talked about how she mentored a friend and gave her this book to read. This blogger is always going on about her "Beloved" (her husband) and how she's always bending over backwards (it seems to me) to please him. I really enjoy her blog and have always thought she had some great ideas. But all this "Beloved" talk was so strange to me. Even though I thought her ideas towards marriage were old-fashioned/impractical/what-have-you, something about that one post called to me. I firmly believe that God speaks to us in all sorts of manners, and I do believe that He uses technology these days! My point is, I felt like God was pointing me to that particular post, which talked about this particular book. Like He was telling me to read this book.

I'll admit, I was very skeptical at first. I'm human; I'm hesitant to really open myself up to Him and let Him in. Sometimes He has to almost hit me over the head with something and make me listen. I downloaded a free sample to my Kindle and didn't touch it for several days. Okay, God, its on my Kindle, I'll get to it eventually. See? I did it. But that wasn't good enough for Him. He kept putting his on my heart and on my mind, so finally I gave in and started reading. I was hooked from the Table of Contents. Seriously. I could tell just by glancing at chapter titles that this was a book HE wanted me to read, and read NOW.

Here's a sample of chapter titles: "So He Isn't Mr. Right;" "The Queen of His Heart;" "Make Love Fun;" "God's Blueprint for Marriage;" "Practice Makes 'Awful' Perfectly Awful;" "Three Kinds of Men;" "God Made Them That Way;" "Marriage Made in Heaven;" "Eve Has Many Sisters;" "How To Be A Good Wife Today;" "I'm About To Have A Nervous Breakdown;" "Raising Cows or Kids;" "The Wife Does Make a Difference;" "Is There Hope Yet?" Get the idea? This book covers a lot of topics and issues. As I was reading, I kept coming up with questions, and Mrs. Pearl answered all my questions before the book was over.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I have been praying for a really long time for God to work in my marriage. I love my dear husband with all my heart, but I knew our marriage was not where it needed to be. I prayed and prayed for God to change it, to change me. I didn't know exactly what I was praying for, I just knew things needed to be different. I knew that somehow, God wanted more for us. (My marriage is still not there yet, and I know that it will be a constant work-in-progress, just like anything worth having in life. But it is better by leaps and bounds, I will tell you!)

I will also say that my husband is a good man. He does not abuse me, he would never cheat on me, he does not watch pornography or do anything else that is morally wrong. He loves me and he loves our daughter, and I know he'd lay down his life for either of us. He's a good man, plain and simple. So its not like I started reading this book hoping for help with dealing with an abusive mate or needing to know how to love him even though he loves porn. I feel for women out there who are dealing with situations like that. My marriage is just a typical marriage, we have typical, normal problems, but nothing that is a "deal breaker."

We love each other, but for a few years now I've felt like I wasn't doing quite enough in my role as wife. There was something out there that was just beyond my reach. I didn't even know what it was, I just knew it was out there. I know now that was God talking to me. He has been (and still is) patiently guiding me to where I need to be. (I'm sure now He's like whew! Finally! She's on the right track! haha)

Before DH and I got married, we were required to attend some premarital counseling with both our preachers (they both married us). I remember we went to those sessions thinking what a waste of time it was. Obviously, we knew each other pretty well, or we wouldn't be getting married! We each knew where the other stood on the important issues, and even most of the unimportant ones. I wish now we had really taken that opportunity to learn more about what it really means to be married. Our counseling sessions didn't turn up anything that was alarming to either of us. The preachers did try to make sure we knew what we were getting into, but we just nodded and smiled and thought that nothing would ever happen to us, we loved each other and that was enough. I'm sure lots of couples go into marriage thinking that.
Photo from our wedding day. EL Photography
 But marriage is hard. If you want to be successful at it, you have to work at it every single day. Its easy to be stubborn and selfish and unloving, and do things your way and pay no regard to your spouse's feelings. That's human nature. Its my nature, at least. I was always told to guard my heart, make sure my spouse loved me more than I loved him because you just never know what can happen. But that is wrong. That's not what God wants for us in marriage at all. Marriage is a constant give and take, and in a marriage both spouses should be equals. And ultimately (and this was the life-changing part for me, because I had never thought about it this way), marriages should glorify God.

So let's get back to the book. Mrs. Pearl reminds us of what the Bible says in Genesis 2:18, 21-22:

"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him... And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam... and he took one of his ribs... And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." 

Right there, God tells us women that we are to be help meets for our husbands. Exactly what that phrase means is the question, and we'll get to that. I love how God tells us that he made woman from Adam's rib - a part of his body that is at his side. Woman wasn't made from something on Adam's back, so she would stand behind him, or something from his front, so she would stand ahead of him. Woman was created to walk by man's side, to be his equal. God didn't want Adam to be alone, he wanted him to have a partner to walk this earth with, someone to help him. Proverbs 18:22 says, "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord." 

All these great verses in scripture have been right there for me my whole life, but no one has ever put them all together and explained them to me in a way that it clicked with me.

"For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (1 Corinthians 11:8-9) God wants a wife to be a helper for her husband, plain and simple. Not the other way around. I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing: so I'm supposed to bow down to my husband and let him reign over me??! Nope, we'll get to that in a minute. God also made sure to tell husbands how they should treat their wives. And while we're talking about our husbands, I bet you're also thinking "does my husband deserve for me to treat him like a King?! No, he probably doesn't. Christ died for our sins; did any of us deserve for him to do that for us??! NO! We don't deserve anything He has given to us, not a thing. My husband is a sinner, just like me. It doesn't matter that he doesn't deserve for me to treat him with respect or be submissive to him, because its my calling to do so. This is what I was created for: to be my husband's helper (just as he was created to be a helper for the Lord).

I don't know about you, but to me this was pretty mind-blowing.

As my preacher says, but let's look further! ( :

God has given us a blueprint for marriage, as Mrs. Pearl says in the book. Check out these verses:

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24). 

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." (Colossians 3:18)

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3)

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church. ...each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 25, 28, 29, 33)

So yes, we as wives are called to submit to our husbands, but husbands are also to love their wives just as Christ loves the church. That's a pretty amazing love. Think of what Christ did for His church. He gave us everything. Husbands are supposed to love their wives with that kind of love. Not because we deserve to be loved like that (because we don't), but because that's what God meant for husbands to do. Just like he meant for us wives to submit to our husbands. See what I mean about marriage being a give and take? You can't just expect your husband to "give himself up for you" if you're not also submitting to him. Its a two-way street.

Mrs. Pearl does a much better job of explaining all this in her book, so I would encourage everyone to go buy it and read it. I am not affiliated with her ministry in any way, and I get nothing if you purchase her book. But it has had such an impact on me that I can't help but tell others about it.

Here's another point that Mrs. Pearl made that really impacted me: when we honor our husbands and submit to them (and basically just be the woman and wife that God made us to be), we are honoring God as well. I have never thought about it like that. Conversely, if we are not honoring our husbands and not being submissive, we are dishonoring God. Woah. That is not what I want at all! I want to honor God in all that I do.

So for me, even though it goes against everything I've heard my entire life, even if its incredibly hard for me to be submissive and respectful, I will strive to be that woman, just so I can honor God. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman (see Proverbs 31:10-31). And I know that I may not ever be rewarded for my efforts in this life. That's okay, because I know God will reward me in Heaven, and that's all that matters. I was put on this life for a purpose, and my purpose is to bring honor to my God (that's everyone's purpose!). Being my husband's help meet brings honor to God, so I have to strive to be that.

I have tons more to say on this topic, but I am going to close this post now so that it doesn't get too long. I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this topic of being a help meet to your husband! Is your initial reaction just like mine was? Is this idea nothing new to you? Are you going to read the book, and if you have read it, was it as life-changing for you as it was for me? I think I'll turn this into a series of sort on my blog, since it is something I could go on and on about. So stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll get more into exactly what being a help meet means. This is gonna turn into a full-fledged study of Mrs. Pearl's book! ( :


Homemade Mac 'N Cheese - Strike 2

I still can't figure out why I've been so motivated to cook this week! Normally when I'm this sick I don't want to do anything except sit on the couch and hope that my husband takes care of me, haha. Since I've got a toddler to keep up with, though, that's not really an option anymore. She keeps me on my toes, and doesn't seem to care that mama can't breathe! It amazes me how different being sick is when you're a mama versus before. You don't really get sick days, unless you're on your death bed. But its great because it shows me just how strong I can really be! ( :

Last night I planned to cook some of our ham (from the hogs that my husband's family slaughters every January). I really wanted some mac n' cheese to go with it, but alas, we were out of our beloved blue boxes (that's Kraft if you don't know). So I decided to try my hand again at homemade mac n' cheese.

I tried a recipe last year and it didn't turn out so great. I don't even remember where the recipe came from. I didn't hang on to it since we weren't impressed at all. Last night I went back to trusty ol' Google and searched for a new recipe. This one sounded pretty simple to make and it looked good.

C had a good time helping me make the sauce!
Here's the recipe in case you don't want to click the link:

Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound pasta, any shape - I used half a box because a pound of noodles sounded like a TON, and a 1/2 pound still made a LOT of pasta.
1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk - We have farm-fresh milk, whole. Maybe that made a difference for me??
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard


1. Boil the Pasta: Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Warm the Milk: When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.
3. Make the Cheese Sauce: Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.
4. Combine the Pasta and Cheese Sauce: In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.
5. Serving and Storing Leftovers: Serve the mac and cheese immediately while still warm. Leftovers will keep for up to a week and can be reheated in the microwave. If the sauce is a little dry after re-heating, mix in a splash of milk to make it creamy again.

I followed the recipe exactly. I mean to a T. And it turned out okay, but not knock-your-socks-off-good. The sauce had kind of a grainy texture. DH says that happens when your milk gets too hot or something, but I cooked it on a very low temp and stirred that sucker the entire time. So I'm not sure what happened. Strike 2 for homemade mac n' cheese. Maybe I'm just not meant to make this dish??

Actually, I had leftovers for lunch today at work and it tasted much better. And it wasn't bad tasting last night, not at all. I guess DH and I are just so used to Kraft (or Food Lion brand, which I prefer) that anything else just tastes weird.

I may try this recipe again in the future, just to see if it turns out different. But I'm also gonna be on the search for a better one. If anyone has one, please let me know! I'd love to be able to make this dish better. I mean, the blue box is so simple, but it can't be good for you, right? (Not that homemade mac n' cheese is "good" for you, but at least it doesn't have preservatives and who-knows-what-else in it.) 

In other news, DH's grandma has been opening her eyes more and more the past few days. This is a good sign! She's still not 100% "awake" but this is progress. If you are praying for her, please keep doing so. She has a long road to recovery ahead of her. Thank you!! ( :


Tex-Mex Hamburger Cassrole

In my kitchen, we're still doing a very lose meal-planning system every night. I have an idea every night of what I want to cook, but that idea is subject to change based on my mood or anything that pops up (like all the impromptu hospital runs DH and I have made over the past 2 weeks to see his grandma, who is still in ICU and needs prayers, by the way!). Last night, I had a pound of hamburger thawed out and planned to just cook Hamburger Helper. We keep several boxes of that stuff on hand for quick meals. Since I have a killer sinus infection right now, I figured I wouldn't want to cook anything involved last night.

For some reason, when I got home I was motivated to try a new recipe. I felt terrible, but I had a strong urge to feed my little family somethin better than a from-a-box meal! I am SO not creative when it comes to food, so I did a quick google search for hamburger casserole and whipped up the first result that sounded good: Quick and Easy Tex-Mex Beef and Rice Bake. What a mouthful, huh?

Yeah, that doesn't look very appetizing, does it? I swear it was! Even my uber-picky DH liked it! I think I had too much rice, but I'm not so great at measuring rice for some reason. The rice absorbed a lot of the sauce, so I should have either had less rice or more sauce. Live and learn!

I even whipped up some yummy corn muffins to go with it, though I didn't get a picture of them. Ya'll know what they look like. Yellow muffins. :P  And for the record, C went crazy over those babies!

So here's the recipe just in case you don't feel like clickin on the link above. I made a few changes, noted below.


  • 2 cups cooked rice - Not sure exactly how much I ended up with, but I started with a cup of uncooked rice. Too much!
  • 1/2 to 1 pound ground beef, chuck or round - I had a little over a pound cause that's how our beef comes to us from the guy who slaughters our cows for us.
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion - My onion was tiny and I couldn't taste it at all, might add more next time.
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or red bell pepper - DH loved the peppers!!
  • 1 can (15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed - I didn't have black beans, so I substituted kidney beans. DH and I are not fans of kidney beans, so we weren't in love with how that turned out. Next time, if I don't have black beans I'll try pinto beans, as DH says they're not as dry.
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce - Really shoulda used a little more.
  • 1 cup corn kernels (use canned, drained or frozen, thawed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Dash garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin - Why don't I ever have cumin??! I used ground curry and it was delicious!
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro - Yeah, fresh herbs do not happen at my house. Dried cilantro worked just fine. We don't know the difference in taste since we've never cooked with fresh herbs!
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese or Mexican blend of cheeses, for topping  - I used both!


Cook rice and set aside. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole. Heat oven to 350°. Cook the beef and onion until beef is no longer pink; add bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese. Stir in cooked rice. Spoon the mixture into a casserole. Bake for 25 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.
Serves 4 to 6.

I'll definitely be cooking this dish again! This recipe makes a pretty big batch and we had a lot leftover. I froze two big containers full last night, so we'll see how it tastes after its been frozen. I plan on finding out late next week probably. ( :


A Quick Kitchen Project

For a while now I've been looking for a good solution to a problem we have in our kitchen - how to corral all the loose papers, mail, magazines, and newspapers. Since we got married and moved into our house 4 years ago, we've just dumped all the mail on a corner of the island, like this:

I actually took this picture on a day when we didn't have many papers stacked up. This stack is usually several inches high - no lie. DH is good about taking the bills to his desk in the office,  but everything else has always just camped out in this spot for weeks or months. Every once in a while, DH and I would go through all the papers and end up throwing most of it away. Coupons end up in that pile, and by the time we find them again, the coupons are expired. One of us will print off a recipe at work and bring it home, where it will go into the island pile and be lost for a while. I don't know why this spot has been so hard for us to keep organized.

I asked DH a few weeks ago if I could get a mail organizer to hang on the side of the island. He said no, because he didn't want to drill holes into the island. I understand that. The island is an antique and DH worked very hard to add that bead board to the sides! (I should have told him we could use Command strips but for some reason I didn't think about that at the time.) DH likes to keep some mail in the kitchen because he likes to look through it and read a magazine or a newspaper while he eats breakfast every morning (he has to get up much earlier than I do). So I knew we wouldn't be able to just say no more mail in the kitchen. I needed a solution.

Enter the Thirty-One Hang Up Family Organizer!! At a Thirty-One party a while back, these were on special. If you spent so much money ($31 I believe), you could get one for 1/2 off. So for $12.50, I figured why not? If I didn't like it in the kitchen, I figured I could find another use for it somewhere in the house. It finally came in last week, and Friday I bought some Command hooks to hang it on (didn't want to be puttin any holes in the walls just in case!).

Ain't it precious? ( :  I kinda wish I had gotten it monogrammed at the top, but oh well. I hung it in an out of the way spot in the kitchen. This little space is kind of a hallway that leads to the laundry room. You can see it from the table, but you can't see it when you walk into the kitchen. (DH is not crazy about it being "so far away" from the island, but I figure he'll learn to live with it eventually!) I thought about hanging it on the pantry door, but wasn't sure I'd enjoy seeing something so office-like in the middle of my kitchen. Though it may end up there, who knows.

Just a slightly different angle. Here you can see my meal planning area, too. Its just a simple dry-erase sticker-thingy. I never use the blank one on the bottom, so I really need to just take it down. (And I'm not 100% thrilled with this method of meal planning, but until I figure out a method I love, this'll have to do.) I was pretty excited when the hang up organizer fit perfectly on that wall. Its like it was meant to be. ( :

And there she is all filled up! We didn't have any bills on Friday, just some magazines and newspapers. I plan on using one of the top pockets for bills, though it might just be easier to go ahead and walk those to DH's desk in the office... I did end up putting some pens and notepads in the very top pocket, for grocery lists and stuff.

This is where those pen and notepads used to live (along with a bunch of other mess):

Woah. I forgot to take an "after" picture, but the microwave looks much better now, trust me.

The only thing I'm not crazy about with the organizer is that the pockets are super deep. This is perfect for storing magazines and newspapers, but smaller things get lost in there. I have to come up with a solution for that if we end up storing smaller papers in it. For now, I am just tickled that we got the corner of our island back! (Again, I forgot to take an "after" picture, but its really not that exciting - just a bare countertop.)

Who knows if this new system will work for us. I may decide next week that its not working and try something else. Thankfully, I've learned to not be stubborn about my ideas when they don't work. And I already have an idea for using the organizer in C's closet if it doesn't stay in the kitchen...!

I like quick projects. I'm not really a DIYer cause let's face it, most of those DIY projects take forever to finish. If I can't do it in less than 30 minutes, I'm probably not gonna do it. I like fast results. I don't like to prime something, wait half a day, paint it, wait another day, paint it again....you get the idea. I've done plenty of big projects (hello, both bathrooms in my house), but I have to really discipline myself to get through it. This little project took me about 5 minutes after work Friday. That's my kinda project!!

Looking at the microwave reminds me of the next project I want to tackle: creating a recipe binder. If you look closely in the picture above, you can see a manila folder stuffed full of papers. Those are all recipes that DH and I have collected over the years. No organization whatsoever. Some of them we've tried and some of them we haven't. Whenever we need a recipe that we know is in there, it takes forever to sort through that huge stack to find it. So I want to organize them all in a binder, separated by category (like desserts, main dishes, etc.), and even maybe have a section for recipes we haven't tried yet. This will be a super simple project to complete, I just have to make myself take the time to do it!


New Design (Again) + Update

Okay, I'm really in love with this design. Green is my favorite color, and I love the background image of the sunlight through the tree. Maybe this one will stick around for a while! ( :

One thing I can't figure out with blogger: how on earth do I change the description up there?? I mean the font of it. I haven't been able to find any options that let me change the font and size. If anyone has any tips, I'd sure appreciate it!!

I also added a new tab up top, one on NFP. It doesn't contain much yet, but hopefully that will change over time. (That reminds me, I need to update the Cloth Diapers tab, too....)

DH's grandma is still in ICU. Yesterday, they took the drain tubes out of her head and she had 2 seizures. DH rushed to the hospital, but I had to stay home with C. I absolutely hated not being able to go with him and support him, but it turned out okay. The doctors preformed another CT scan which showed that everything was fine, so they're not worried about the seizures. Thankfully.

I was dealing with my own battle last night. C did NOT want to stay in her crib. Our dog, Roscoe, heard some coyotes soon after I laid C down and he started barking. Of course, that woke C up and she started screaming. I tried to ignore her, but she was really pitiful after a few minutes. I was determined not to pick her up and rock her again, though. I would really love for her to be able to go to sleep on her own - right now she has to be rocked for at least an hour every night. That is exhausting, though I try to remember that she won't be like this forever and I need to savor it while she still wants to be held.

I was proud of myself - I never did actually pick her up. She was on her knees hugging me for a while (still in the crib), and then I told her she had to lay down and go to sleep. I rubbed her back for a long time, which seemed to be calming for her. Then she asked for a story. We've never done bedtime stories, but I just went with it. I told her a story of a little girl who's mama asked her to go to sleep and she did! That did the trick. After I stopped rubbing her back she picked her head up a few times to make sure I was still there. Finally, I made my way out of her room. About 20 minutes later DH and I were in bed, and C whined a few times, but she didn't actually cry so we left her alone. Thankfully, that was the end of it!

So I'm not sure if last night was a breakthrough or not, but I guess we'll see tonight. I've love to just be able to rock C for a little while (long enough for her to get her nighttime milk, which is basically the only time she asks for it these days), and then lay her down in the crib half asleep. But I'm not willing to do anything drastic to get to that point (like the Cry-It-Out Method). (And yes, I know I said I tried to ignore her last night, but I really thought that after a few minutes she'd calm down, but it went against every fiber of my being!! I think the approach I ended up taking last night is better for us.)

Anyone else have toddlers that are extremely difficult to get to sleep??