I'm in the midst of finishing up Beth Moore's Daniel series at a local church. Today was on Chapter 11 of Daniel and Beth talked a lot about selfishness. Oh how selfishness hits home. A friend once told the Farmer and I that marriage teaches you that we are selfish beings. He then said, having a child teaches you that you are even more selfish than you thought. So true, so true. But we're even more selfish outside the home. We want to be first, we don't want to wait and we (think we) matter more than anyone else.

She centered on selfishness vs. sacrifice and told us that Satan tries to make us takers instead of givers and oh, how we take. and take. and take. Instead of give. and give. and give. We give when it's convenient, when there's overabundance, when we can eke out a few minutes in our busy schedule, but God calls us to be givers, to be living sacrifices. To give up what we have and follow him. To feed the hungry, cloth the poor, support those who are in despair, cry with friends, and what do we do? Well, we often wonder how it's going to benefit us. Or we worry about our problems, or why no one called to console us or see how we were doing and say we have our own financial problems or we don't have time. And do you hear that? It all comes back to me, me, me. Selfishness. And like Beth said, "It's not all about you." And it's not. In fact, NOTHING is about me. It's about Him. It's ALL about Him.

I pray that I choose sacrifice over selfishness, that I stop worrying about me and start caring about her or him and especially, Him. Because if I don't, who will?

Sweet P's Pizza Recipe

Have I mentioned how much I love pizza? I just looked through my archives, and I don't think I've ever told you how much I love, love, love pizza (more than I love hummus). In fact, if I only had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, pizza would be it. Hands down. That's why I never suggest where to eat if we eat out. The Farmer knows I'll always say pizza. But this isn't about me loving pizza, it's about me teaching Sweet P to love pizza (and she does, by the way), too. So here's a healthy recipe for a toddler pizza (or a personal pizza for you!).

The Recipe: Sweet P's Pizza

Pizza dough:
What you need:
1 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup (or more) water

Place yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl with 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes (the yeast feeds on the sugar and will start to foam). Add 1/2 cup of flour and stir (I use my hands). Add olive oil, remaining flour and water (more if you need it) and continue to form into a blob of dough. Flour the counter and remove dough from the bowl. Knead about 20 times, forming the dough into a ball. Place the dough back in the bowl, drizzle olive oil on the dough and then cover with a towel for about an hour.

Once the dough has doubled in size, pull off a piece the size of racquetball and roll out on a floured surface.

The toppings:
What you need:
Homemade or jarred organic tomato sauce
organic grated cheese
any other toppings you'd like

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spread tomato sauce onto the pizza, add mushrooms and spinach, then top with grated cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Slice with a pizza cutter to create 6 pieces.

The first time I made the pizza, I used just cheese to see if she'd even eat it. Oh, she ate it all right. Then I added mushrooms. And the last time I made it, I stuck some spinach in the mix. She gobbled it all up every time. Well, first she ate the toppings and cheese off and then went back for the bread. The dough makes around 3 small pizzas. Keep the unused dough refrigerated. It'll last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Basil Pesto Recipe

Pesto is, in a word, scrumptious. I love it. Love it on pasta, on pizza, on sangwiches (yep, with a g, just say it to yourself to get the full effect). So when we started growing basil, obviously, we knew we'd make pesto. After reading about storing it, I came up with a plan for freezing it. Here is the recipe, and the directions for freezing it.

The Recipe: Basil Pesto

What you need:
2 cups basil
1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts or black walnuts
1/2 cup shredded/grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh garlic cloves
pinch of salt

Combine basil and nuts in a food processor until chopped, use the pulse button. Add garlic and pulse a few more times. Pour in olive oil while the processor is on, using a spatula to scrape the sides every so often. Add the cheese until blended and resembles a pesto consistency. Throw in salt and pulse a few more times. Serve right away or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To store:
Line a mini muffin tin with 12 small dixie cups. Fill the cups 3/4 full with pesto. Put a strip of plastic wrap over the cups and place in the freezer overnight. In the morning, peel dixie cup away from frozen pesto. Place frozen pesto cubes (won't really resemble cubes) in a freezer baggy. Put them in freezer for a later date. While I don't have a picture of the finished product, we've use our frozen pesto on pasta and a pizza and it's fabulous.

I've made 2 batches of pesto, one with pine nuts, one with black walnuts. There's a slight difference in the taste, but not much. The basil is too powerful. You can also either use shredded parm or the kind that you sprinkle on pizza. There is not really a difference.

So there ya have it! Pesto for the winter!

Home Sweet Home

We're back from our girls' trip and what a great time we had! Full of days on the beach, Gammie and the Aunties, bikes, boats and swimming pools. Sweet P did awesome on the flights (gotta love direct flights), she ended up sleeping for most of both of them.

We got back late on Sunday and I don't know about you, but it always takes me a few days before I'm back in the swing of things. The Farmer started teaching today and the weather is going to be in the high 70's (love that after "feels like 101" humidity in SC and here!). So we'll be venturing outside to enjoy what's left of the summer.

So we're here, just readjusting to "real life."

And don't think I forgot about the Fitness Challenge. I'll get there.

Concert Goers

The Farmer and I went on a date last night. Date night doesn't happen as often as it should in the Farmer household, but when they do, we cherish our alone time.

Last night we went to the MercyMe and Newsboys concert at the Iowa State Fair. And oh my, the concert did not disappoint. (and no, I don't have picture because the website recommended NOT bringing a camera and I obeyed.)

We went to the fair a little early to enjoy some of the ridiculously unhealthy fair food. We had cheese on stick (so reminded me of Corn Dog 7 and Auntie K), curly fries (huge serving, so good), a peanut butter rice crispie treat on a stick, lemonade, 2 bottles of water and a bucket of popcorn. Did I mention the "feels like" temperature was like 109 degrees? (So glad we didn't bring Sweet P out in that heat.)

So after filling our tummies (and feeling sick in the process), we found our seats (not the best in the world, but not the nosebleed section either!). Right before the Newsboys started, I was saddened by the fact that the Grandstand wasn't overflowing with people, but then I looked around at all the people there praising our dear sweet Lord and couldn't help but cry. And when the Newsboys started singing "Something Beautiful" tears streamed down my face! I couldn't believe I was crying at a concert! And it wasn't because I was overwhelmed by the presence of the celebrity of the Newsboys, I was overwhelmed by the presence of God in everyone at that concert. And by the lyrics of "Something Beautiful," especially these:
"It's the child on her wedding day. It's the daddy who gives her away. Something beautiful"
I just thought about my awesome husband and our precious little girl. Gah! I'm crying now. Sheesh.

I cried AGAIN during MercyMe's last song, "I Can Only Imagine." Have you ever listened to those lyrics? Oh man, they get me every.single.time. So there I was bawling my eyes out, singing with 10,000 other people. And you know what, it was AWESOME.

And you know what else? If you'd told me 5 years ago that 5 years from then, I'd be at a Christian concert in Iowa with my husband while my baby girl slept at home, I would have laughed. THAT is the power of our God.

Blog Award

My blog recently received the One Lovely Blog Award from Jessica at Adventures With Three Girls!

According the rules of accepting this award, I'm supposed to tell you 7 facts that you don't already know about me. So here we go:

1) I was a cheerleader for 10 years, including 3 years in college. Go Lobos!
2) I grew up in Roswell, NM. Yep, the one the show Roswell was based on. And nope, I never saw nor am I an alien.
3) I never ever ever ever ever ever (in a million years) thought I'd have a child with blue eyes when I married a man with brown (seeing as how I also have brown). But I did. And I still can't believe it. And despite what everyone said, they didn't change.
4) The Farmer and I were dear friends for over a year and a half before we began dating.
5) I tend to walk around with my glass half full. I believe in hope and optimism.
6) My wedding was the most fun day of my life.
7) Delivering my daughter was the hardest and most rewarding day of my life.

Thank you, Jessica! I'm passing this award along to a different Jessica at Our Family for His Glory, Julie at The Peanut Gallery, and Gap Girl of If Only Everyone Thought This Way.

Simple Sticker Page

I've wanted to get Sweet P a sticker book for awhile now, but after searching high and low for something that didn't cost much (read: cheap) I decided to take matters into my own hands. Literally. On my way home from looking for sticker books one day, I racked my brain for materials that would be sticker proof. I thought good and hard about wax paper and my idea took shape. So here's how to create a simple reusable sticker page for just about nothing. I had all these materials at home.

Simple Sticker Page

What you need:

wax paper
1 piece of cardstock or construction paper (cardstock is better)
double stick tape or tape runner
stickers galore!

Use a tape runner or apply double stick tape to the front of your cardstock. Pull a piece of wax paper from the roll large enough to fit the cardstock.

Carefully place the wax paper on top of the cardstock and gently press down on the taped areas. Once you have the paper in place, cut around the wax paper to make it fit the cardstock.

Try it out with a sticker. Then give it to your little ones to enjoy over and over again!

What I learned: This was SO easy. It seriously took 3 minutes. It took me longer to find a piece of cardstock then it did to make this! And I didn't have to buy an expensive book!

What else I learned: Our house will revisit this project a bit down the road. Sweet P has a hard time with stickers. She likes them, like to stick them to herself and the paper, but also likes to, ahem, eat them. So, we'll be trying again later.

Happy sticking!

Wordless Wednesday

Smelling sunflowers


We have jalapenos out the wazoo in our garden and if you've ever had a fresh jalapeno you know they aren't a snack food. So with all those jalapenos, I knew I needed to learn how to pickle them. And can them. So I did. And it's not hard. So here we go:

Pickled Jalapenos

What you need:
mason jar or other container
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4-5 medium jalapenos (sliced)

Wash your mason jar(s) thoroughly with hot water and soap. Allow to dry. Pack the mason jar with jalapenos (I used about 5 jalapenos). Place the vinegars, water, salt and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Allow to cool. Pour mixture on top of jalapenos.
Screw lid onto jar. Use a canner or large sauce pan to complete the canning process (I used a sauce pan and let it boil for 5 minutes).
Remove the jar with tongs and allow to cool completely.

We let ours sit for 4 days and when we opened them I was shocked at how soft they were. I later realized that I didn't let the mixture cool, I just poured it while it was hot and I'm pretty sure I boiled those jalapenos. So next time, I'll definitely be waiting. Don't get me wrong, they're still yummy, just not what I'm used to!
You can experiment by adding bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, onions, carrots or other items to your jalapenos. We stuck with just simple jalapenos for our first batch, but we'll definitely be making these again judging by how many jalapenos we still have.

Have you made pickled jalapenos? If so, please feel free to share your tips.


The Farmer and I have been battling a strange bug lately, so posting has been sparse as we recover. This bug has not only been a damper on our physical life, but our mental as well! We hope to be back up and running (literally) in the next few days. For now, just enjoy this pic of my sweet girl, who was trying so hard to eat that yogurt with a spoon.

One more week

In just 9 more days, Sweet P and I will be headed to South Carolina to spend 9 days with the aunties and Gammie!!! Can you tell I'm excited?

It will be Sweet P's first trip to the beach and our first girls' trip...EVER! We can't wait to go and can't wait to show pictures of our time at the beach!

I will admit that I am a wee bit nervous about flying with Sweet P at this age. She's a bit, well, active and not too keen about sitting on my lap for 3 hours at a time, but hopefully since we have a 5am (yes, 5am) flight she'll be too pooped to party and take a nice long nap. (One can dream, right?)

World Breastfeeding Week

Yesterday, I learned from my friend Holly that it's World Breastfeeding Week!

Celebrate yourself and your baby this week! And get out and help educate new moms (and old ones) about the benefits and wonders of breastfeeding. So many times women turn to formula because of complications and problems because they are unaware of the resources out there.

It's ignorant of us to say "They should just know breast is best." I've known several women who didn't breastfeed because a loved one encouraged them not to! As breastfeeding mamas, I think it's important that we help educate those who may not be supported by others when choosing how to feed their child. Support those mamas and encourage them to breastfeed (or keep at it!). Tell them about lactation consultants, La Leche League meetings, hospital classes and other resources in your area that can help them learn about and stick with breastfeeding for at least the first year.

Let me be honest here and tell you that breastfeeding was very easy for Sweet P and me. Our biggest problem was overproduction and I don't think many people would consider that a problem. But it may not always be that way. Continually educating myself on things to do should problems arise helps prepare me for breastfeeding my future children. I met a mother of 3 who said the first 2 times were a breeze, her 3rd was having a VERY hard time. But she didn't give up.

Share your successes/trials with other moms to let them know they are NOT alone! Sometimes knowing they have support or someone to turn to is all a mama needs to keep trying. And remember that educating doesn't mean scolding. Letting a mama know the benefits of breastfeeding doesn't mean telling her she's a terrible mother if she chooses not to.

Do you have a story to share? Please post it in the comment section to share your success/trial story with other mamas. Do you have questions about breastfeeding? Please post them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them or find someone who can!

Daddy Time

Yesterday, as I scrapbooked at my friend's house, the Farmer and Sweet P had a date out at the farm. He was so excited to show me the pictures when I got home and the evidence of their fun was all over Sweet P's shirt. Here is their day, in pictures:
The positioning of her hat still has me laughing.