Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spinach Egg Bake Recipe

We eat quite a few eggs at our house; about 2 dozen per week. And we pretty much eat them in every possible way they can be prepared - scrambled, boiled, poached, fried, in quiches, on sandwiches, in salads, and so on. So I wanted to post an easy and delicious way for the whole family to enjoy a yummy breakfast...or lunch or dinner. :)

Spinach Egg Bake


10 eggs
1/2 c. flour (we use Pamela's baking and pancake mix) - add 1 t. baking powder if using regular flour
1/2 t. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 of a 6 oz. bag of spinach, chopped coarsely
1 c. chopped red (or any color) pepper
1 c. chopped red onion
1/4 c. butter
2 c. shredded cheese
3/4 pound precooked and cubed ham


-Preheat oven to 400.
-Saute the onions, peppers and garlic in a pan with butter until tender.
-In a mixing bowl combine eggs, flour and salt; mix well.
-Add the onion mixture to the eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix well.
-Pour into a greased 13X9 inch baking dish.
-Bake uncovered at 400 for 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 350 and continue baking another 25-35 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
-Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

Lately I have found myself involved in quite a few discussions regarding lifestyle choices; whether or not they matter in the grand scheme of things, whether or not they matter to God, and whether there is a "best" way of doing things.

The lifestyle choices I'm referring to have been geared toward family and children and have included things like: what to eat (organic or not), how to feed your baby (breast or formula), how to save your money, how to birth your baby (naturally or allopathically), babywise versus attachment parenting, how to diaper your child, when to start solids, how many toys to have, to co-sleep or not and so on. I think you get the point.

When we find ourselves needing to make these decisions, we must always ask ourselves,

"How does this line up with what the Bible says?"

But, when the Bible does not give a black and white answer to the question, "Should I eat organic or not" or "Should I birth my baby in a hospital or at a birthing center?" then where do we go? How do we decide what is best? And, is it really important which decision we choose?

So, of course, we do the research, use Godly wisdom, and then go from there. That part doesn't seem too difficult for us to figure out. The next part is where problems usually arise: when we have made the decision, the "optimal" choice for our family. We made a choice and now we feel strongly about that decision because we weighed out the pros and cons and chose what seemed "best" in comparison to all the other possible choices. There's nothing wrong with that, right? Right. The problem then is what this can potentially lead to; where our heart can become deceived. 

The question we inevitably end up with in our discussions is: "Does it really matter to God?" Does He really care what we eat, how we feed, clothe, or birth our children? Is there a "best" way? After having some time to think about it and discuss more with others and reflect on what the Bible says on the matters, the question changed. When it comes right down to it the question shouldn't be "does it matter in the grand scheme of things?" or "does it matter to God?" No. The question to ask is,
"Where is my heart in the midst of this?"
Those who know me know that I have very strong feelings about some of the topics I mentioned above and I have no problem letting others know why we do some of the things we do and the reasoning behind it. There is nothing wrong with deciding what you want to do for your family and having a "best" for your family. There's nothing wrong with feeling very convicted to do things one way versus another; there's nothing wrong with having a passion for one way of doing things and letting others know about it. In fact, the choice you made might actually be the best based on research and scientific evidence!

The heart, the heart, the heart!

The problem is when we find ourselves in situations of pride regarding the decisions we've made, classifying a certain lifestyle choice as "God's preferred way," making the choice a consuming topic. This mentality can become an idol in our lives, encompassing a haughty demeanor, a judgmental attitude towards others who have made different decisions, or even cause us to act like a diva - just thinking too much of ourselves and our choices in general. If we find ourselves in one or more of these situations then we need to re-evaluate ourselves. It's way too easy to become self-centered, obsessive, and consumed with our decisions and lifestyle choices. 

We need to continually ask the question, "Have I kept my heart in check?" We can so easily become distracted by our own sinful nature that we let our heart become clouded and are unable to see the big picture. We should lay all of our lifestyle choices on an open hand before the Lord. We need to have hearts filled with humility, grace, patience, and faith. As Nancy Wilson said in her blog a few weeks ago regarding the decisions that come with childbirth, "Hold it loosely." Let us not cling so tightly to these things, these ways of doing things, and lifestyle choices, that we lose sight of the hope that is within us and the purpose of our lives as Christians.

"For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." 
2 Corinthians 2:15

One more thing.

God gave us a brain; he gave us the ability to make these decisions and we should do the research and make all necessary preparations for childbirth, deciding what and how to eat, how to care for our babies, etc. Of course it would be foolish not to; to just "eenie-meenie-minie-mo" our way through these decisions for our families would be unwise with what God has entrusted to us.

So let us first get down on our knees and thank God that we even have the privilege to make these kinds of decisions! Second, let us remain ever aware of the bigger picture and give our hearts a good checking on a moment by moment basis.

Check the heart!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Declan at Three Months

Our little chubby man is 3 months old! And oh what a chunker he is!

Pretty sure he's surpassed the size of the lion
I'm not certain of his weight right now but I would guess that he's somewhere around 15-16 pounds. I'm pretty sure he grows new rolls daily! Declan's growing out of some of his 3-6 month clothes and I've had to buy him a few 9 month pj sets and summer rompers the other day. Dustin was quite the chubby baby too so I'll have to pull out some of his baby pictures and compare daddy and son.

Serious face
That's definitely an "enough with the pictures, mom" face.
Declan's demeanor has changed in the past month from a little on the fussy side (like his sister) to more mellow and chill. Of course, he still has those crabbier days, especially if he stays up too late or we're out and about all day and he doesn't get enough sleep. But in general he's very content just hanging out,   in our arms or out, moving or just sitting still. This is very different for us, since we are used to constant motion and always holding Em when she was a baby to keep her content.

Conspiring a plan with the lion to take away the camera

He loves sitting up (supported of course) and will pull himself up to a sitting position if we have him reclined in our arms. We've put him in the bumbo chair for shorts periods of time and he really enjoys being able to sit up and look around.
We recently took out the exersaucer and let him try it too. He does his best to grab at the toys and occasionally even gets one in his hand and into his mouth. In the past week he has been grabbing our fingers and random toys that we give him and he immediately puts them in his mouth. Of course, I'm afraid this is the beginning of months and months of teething.

Oh, have I mentioned his crazy hair yet? He has the worst cowlick ever. A tuft of hair at the crown of his head refuses to stay put. It sticks straight up despite the number of times we pat it down with water, brush it in different directions, wash it, oil it, etc. It's pretty silly but adorable at the same time.

Crazy hair
Declan is very ticklish like his big sister. When we tickle him he gets a big smile on his face, tenses up, squirms, and lets out the cutest little squeal you've ever heard! Just a couple days ago he gave daddy his first real laugh too! He still has his little dimples when he smiles, which is often these days. When you talk to him he'll smile and talk back in his own little language. He'll almost always flash us a smile when we catch his eye and smile at him.

Declan will sleep anywhere from 4-6 hours straight at night then be up every couple hours after that until 6:30-7am. He even did an 8 hour long stretch one night. We're still hoping that happens again and stays that way soon. Naps are on somewhat of a loose schedule. Some days he sticks to a schedule, and others not so much...which mean some days he naps well and other days he barely naps at all. We'll keep working on it. He just loves being awake and alert when we're around other people or in new surroundings, so sometimes he'll refuse to sleep or will only take 20-30 minute naps just so he doesn't miss anything. Just like his sister!

We're having fun watching Emery and Declan interact a little more this month too. I can't begin to count just how many kisses Declan gets from his sister everyday. It's a lot. Sometimes too many and Declan will let her know! When you have to tell Em to "stop sucking on Declan's toes, just kisses, Em," you know she loves her little brother. Emery will come running to Declan's side to hold his hand if he begins crying in his crib, the carseat, or wherever he may be.

Two Sweeties
My favorite is listening to her one-ended conversations she has with her brother as well...while always pausing to give him time to answer her questions of course. While getting really close to his face she'll say, "Declan, do you want to read this book (holding the book to his face)?" "Declan, do you want to eat some milk?" "Do you want to play with this toy?" "Declan, do you like puzzles too?" and so on. 
Emery loves talking to us about all the things she will teach her brother when he gets bigger as well. She lights up when she talks of teaching him to go potty on the big toilet, teaching him to eat real food, to play with all of the toys, to talk, sing songs, etc. 

My favorite