Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday at the Cabin {A Day in Our Life}

Hi!  So, we've had a pretty long few weeks here.  Sickness, snow, rain, Eric putting in extra hours at work, stuck inside for days and days... We were getting "cabin fever," (Ha!) and needed some fresh air!  We'd had some storms this past week.  So, the kids decided we needed to take a very long and detailed hike around the property, to check for fallen branches, and for any pines that are leaning.  We've had several pines fall in the past.  A few years back, three trees fell on one of Eric's trucks.  Then, a year or two ago, a large pine leaned into one of our power lines and caught fire.  Sooooo, a pine tree that doesn't look strong enough to handle heavy storms is something we all keep an eye out for around here.

We worked together making a detailed map of all the main landmarks on the property, so we could mark the trees and branches we wanted to tell Eric might need attention.  I did the drawing.  The kids dictated where everything should go on the map.  I should mention that Eric is amazing at drawing.  Me, not so much ;).  So, when our map was complete, and I was putting on everyone's shoes and coats, Ely and Silas each drew their own maps.  It was unanimously decided that my original map should be left inside, and we would use Silas map to find our way along the trail, and Ely's map to mark trees.  A blue dot for a tree leaning too far, and a green dot for any fallen branches or trees.

We had so much fun!!!  We found so many big branches, over a dozen deer tracks, some wild dog (our dog Oatmeal's) tracks, three water falls, blooming flowers, a hole that the kids are convinced belongs to a big, hairy mouse, and a beautiful, big, blue sky!!!  We located the sun, and determined which direction north, south, east, and west are.  And we ran, and climbed, and got muddy, and breathed in all of the marvelous fresh air we've been missing so much!  I only received one complaint because I didn't bring cheese sticks along for a snack.

After 2 1/2 hours, we climbed the steps, and piled inside with muddy feet and a map we were all satisfied Daddy will love.

We decided that even though Jesus leads His sheep beside still waters (because the kids are learning Psalm 23 this month), He loves us so much that He restored our souls by the flowing little creek we love, too.

The older kids are sleeping soundly, as I type, and little Whits is cooing and singing me a sweet song.  Life is so beautiful, if we can take our eyes off of the things that are challenging us, and look to the blessings and benefits the Lord has placed all around us.  

What is your Saturday looking like?

Friday, February 26, 2016

3 Elegant {and Easy} Make at Home Dinners- Part 2

The other day, I shared our Date Night Dinner #1.  Chicken Mushroom Alfredo on a Bed of Buttered Spinach.  My daughter named that, by the way :).

Today, I'm going to share Baked Salmon Fillets with Brown Sugared Carrots and Sour Cream Noodles

You'll need:

2 large Salmon fillets
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp Dill
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil

1 lb. Baby Carrots
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 T Dill

1 lb bag Egg Noodles
16oz Sour Cream
salt and pepper
1 T green onion, chopped
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Ok!  This is so simple, but you need to give yourself enough bake time.  Place each Salmon fillet on a separate sheet of Aluminum Foil.  You want your foil to be large enough to fold over the fillets and seal.  Divide the rest of the ingredients, and put half each on top of your fillets.  Fold the sides of your foil up, and fold over to seal.  Place both fillets in a baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Next, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add carrots, and cover.  Simmer until carrots are tender.  Add brown sugar and dill, and continue simmering until brown sugar is dissolved in butter.

Boil noodles, until desired tenderness.  Drain.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.

That's it!  Super easy.  Super yummy.  And a cozy home atmosphere to go along with it.  Your homework is to tell us one thing you are planning to do for someone you care about this weekend.  It can be your husband or wife, one of your kids, a friend that needs a little encouragement, a stranger at the park, anybody.  I've been trying to intentionally love the people around me.  We can encourage each other!  Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page.  You can tell us what your planning, or you can post pics ;).  Either one!

Are We Helpful, or Harmful?

So, I've had a pile of thoughts running through my heart lately.  I'm about to spill some of them out on this post, and hopefully, you'll be able to make some sense of it ;).

I am not a very helpful person.  I'm just not.  I WANT to be helpful!  I assume we all do!  But, executing helpful acts or words..... I'm just not good at that.  I want to change.  So, I'm going to tell you a little story about why I'm even thinking about this.....

Just in case you're new to the blog, or don't know me in real life, we have 5 beautiful kids.  Their ages are 5, 4, 2, 1, and 6 months.  Our family doesn't seem that large to us, but let me assure you, we get LOTS of attention when we go into public.  It can be humorous at times.  Sometimes, not so funny.

 A few weeks ago, I was running errands with the kids, and it was really cold outside.  I did what we always do, and parked near the shopping cart return, loaded a few kids into an empty cart, and had the other three pick a spot on the cart to hold onto.  They know, this is "their spot" until we return to the vehicle and I tell them to hop in and buckle up.  They do pretty well.  Sometimes, we need a reminder or two :).  Anyway, this particular trip, I was thinking how well we were making our way into the store, when another customer exiting the store noticed us.  She went into complete panic.  The poor woman ran to us, put her shopping bags into my cart (not noticing she'd laid them right on my baby, who was snuggled inside her car seat carrier), and tried to pick up our 2 year old, Mia, while yelling, loud enough to draw even more attention, "Oh, Honey!  Let me help you!!! You have your hands full, don't you!?!?!?!?"

You may remember my post a few weeks ago about Mia having a prolonged complex seizure.  Although, the Lord completely healed her body, her little heart is now very timid.  She can't take an overload of stimulation, too many people make her uncomfortable, and she definitely does NOT go to strangers.  And here was this lady, yelling about helping, and trying to grab her up before I could respond.  I protested in the kindest way possible, but when she insisted that she "would help me," I had to pick Mia up myself, and then try to maneuver the cart, which contained two kids, a diaper bag, and this lady's purchases, out of the parking lot so the waiting traffic could continue on their ways.  Not helpful.

The whole scene was awkward, got the older three kids upset, had us standing in the freezing, way longer than I wanted to, and I got a little irritated.  I was so frustrated the whole way through the store, still driving my cart one handed.  Especially, when three more people made the way too common, "Boy, you have your hands full!" comment.  Ugh!   Note: The lady and I were kind to each other.  I thanked her for trying to help, explained the kids aren't allowed to have anyone hold them, and hoped she'd have a great day.  Hopefully, she didn't notice my agitation.  I'm just sharing it with you guys, because I love y'all!  So, don't think we had a big fight in front of the Piggly Wiggly.  'Cause we didn't :).  

But, then, I tried to look at things from that woman's perspective.  Just because it isn't out of the ordinary for me to go somewhere with five young kids in tow, doesn't mean it's ordinary for that woman to see a little family like ours.  She saw a mom with five young kids and she wanted to be helpful.  She obviously had no idea that it would take Mia several hours to work past a stranger trying to pick her up in a parking lot.  She had no idea that we have our own little system of getting in and out of places that works just fine for us.  And part of the problem could have honestly been... well... me.  Accepting help is so, so, so difficult for me.

So, then, while driving back home and feeling bad for having to force a smile at that poor lady while we worked together to remove her bags from my baby's head, I tried to think about how I attempt to be helpful to other people, and if I truly am being helpful or unintentionally causing harm.  I thought of all the people who truly do offer help to me at just the right times, and wondered how they know when to step in and when to step back.  It's kind of been bothering me since that day in the parking lot.  I want to be helpful and encouraging to others when they are in need.  I just have no clue what to do sometimes.

So, here we sit, typing this post.  How do you know when and how to help someone?  How do you know what to say when someone is hurting or when to stay quiet?  I know there are times when things are obvious.  But sometimes, we KNOW someone is going through a trial, but the answers aren't so easy to see.  Let's help each other learn how to be more encouraging to those around us.  If you have wisdom to share, or even how someone else has been helpful to you, leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page.  Wouldn't it be amazing, if we could be the answer to someone else's prayer for help?  What if we could ease someone's burden that they've been carrying far too long?  Don't we want to do that for each other?  Whether a stranger or a neighbor, all of us walk through storms and suffering.  We all need a little encouragement sometimes, don't we?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

3 Elegant {and easy} Make at Home Dinners

When Eric and I were dating, we had a standing Friday night date.  Almost every Friday for six years, we cooked suppers, went hiking, explored trails in his truck, read Bibles together, and prayed together.  Sooooooooo much fun!!!  Well, having a Friday night date every week, with five little ones, isn't so easy anymore.  Buuuuuuut, does it have to be like that?  We decided it doesn't.  We may not be able to jump in his truck, and take off, just the two of us, anytime we want to.  But, we can still spend time together and have fun, right?  So, a few weeks ago, we reinstated Eric and Iris Fridays.  I feed the kids and get them to bed early, and then make a "special" dinner for just us.  It's been fun!  I get to actually find out what's happening with him at work and during his days, without interruptions every few sentences ;).

So, since it's such a special time, I've tried to pick meals that are a little different than what I'd normally make for the family.  Something semi fancy ;).  But, also something I could tend to, even while doing bedtime routines, finding lambies and puppies, and kissing foreheads.  So, this week, I'm sharing the three meals we've done so far.  I'll post one every few days.  You might like to plan your own date night :).

Up first, Chicken Mushroom Alfredo on a Bed of Buttered Spinach.  I like to use chicken thighs, because they almost always turn out moist and tender, even if you've been distracted and let them bake a little longer than you should have.  Don't ask me how I know that.  You'll need:

3 lbs. Chicken Thighs
1/2 cup water
sea salt and black pepper
3 T Butter
1 T minced garlic
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Tarragon
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used Portabella)
2 16oz bags frozen spinach
3-4 T Butter
salt and pepper
Extra Parmesan cheese, Tarragon, and Sage to garnish.

Place chicken thighs and water in baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, 45 minutes, or until no longer pink in center.

During last half hour of baking, melt 3 T butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic, mushrooms, and heavy cream when butter is just melted and frothy looking.  Stir constantly, until steaming.  Remove from heat, and add Parmesan cheese and Tarragon.  Stir until melted and sauce is at desired thickness.

Place spinach and 3-4 T butter into a medium size stockpot over medium-high heat.  Cook until heated through.  Note: you may need to add a little water, a splash of heavy cream, or more butter, if spinach is looking dry.  Your finished product should be steaming, moist, buttery, and creamy.

In the center of your fanciest plate, place a nice size serving of buttered spinach.  Lay one chicken thigh on top of spinach, and season with sea salt and pepper.  Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken, and garnish by sprinkling some shredded Parmesan, a little sage, and a little tarragon over your meal.  It looks fancy, and it's creamy and yummy!  Eric ended up putting some shredded cheddar over his also, and that was good, too!  Just tailor it to your tastes :).

Tomorrow, we'll share Elegant Dinner #2.  While your waiting on that, be thinking of something special you can do for someone you love.  I'm learning to be intentional about showing love to my husband, and to my kids.  They're worth a little extra effort :)


Tuesday Truth Day

Heyya, Little Cabin Friends!!!!

It's Tuesday!  If you're new around here, or have yet to have the courage to tell a little truth about your self, this is how we do things on Tuesdays.  I tell you some things I *might* have done this past week.  And then, you leave a comment, telling a truth about YOUR week!  We always see each others' presentable selves on social media, and our brief interactions at church, or wherever.  But, really, come on.  We ALL know we have moments we'd rather not anyone else see.  So, here's your place to be the real you.  Tell us what you've been up to :).

I'll start.  This past week, I may have...

...almost started crying when Eric asked if I wanted anything to eat last night.  No idea why.  I'm generally not a crier.  He worked late on a project at work, and I guess I was just extremely tired?  That's the excuse I'll give anyway ;).

...had to change a last minute diaper on the way out the door to church Sunday.  Didn't have time to wash my hands.  (I normally wash after every diaper.  Promise lol.)  Held Eric's coffee for him on the way.  Pulled in the parking lot and noticed a curiously yellow stain all over my hand.  Yep.  Poop,  Sorry, Eric.  Hope your coffee was yummy!!  Note: I'm not completely disgusting.  I only shook a few people's hands before making my way to the nursery to wash.  Just kidding!! I went straight to the soap ;))

...gotten a few numbers confused when texting a hurting friend and accidentally told a complete stranger I loved them.  No worries.  They said they loved me, too!  Some people are so friendly!!

...decided to let Ely spice our hot chocolate concoction any way she wanted tonight, and it was AMAZING!!  I am so serious.  Like, Christmas in a mug!  So good.  I'll definitely share her recipe.  And Eric's secret DIY whipped cream.  But, first, I need to finish my.... um..... 4th cup of this delicious hot chocolate.  Who knew a 5 year old could be so amazing!!!  I love kids.  They keep life so fun!!!

Ok, ladies and gents.  It is your turn.  Tell us what you've done this week.  Don't be shy.  You know you wanna!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tuesday Truth Day {Late}


So, I guess you already know the first thing I might have done this past week?  I posted Tuesday Truth day on Thursday night..... At 11 pm.  Ahem... Well, after a few weeks of sickie kiddos, sleepless nights, and piles of laundry, we've just been in survival mode......

Speaking of laundry, this week, I might have...

...thrown ALL of our dirty laundry down the stairs to the main floor, and left it sitting at the bottom of the stairs for an entire week.  Yes, I might have actually done that.  We've just been climbing over it.  True story.

...failed to mention in my previous admission, that half of that pile is still sitting there....  (I should probably explain, our laundry room is in the basement.  So, I have actually been working at it one load at a time.  I'm just goin' kinda' slooooooooow.  And we keep adding to it ;).  But, tonight's the night it gets done!!!)

...been so exhausted, and just ready to get said laundry DONE already, that I washed Silas' belt in his pants, still buckled up.  And dried it.  Never noticed, until the metal latch burnt me upon removal from the dryer.

...eaten waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too many biscuits.  But, they were so, so yummy.

...also consumed entirely too much coffee.  Did I mention we've not had much sleep lately?

...failed to clean the ashes out of the fireplace one morning, and caused the fireplace to smoke up the house a little.

...then, become so enthralled, while standing outside with those smokey ashes, at all of the beauty God has created and laid at my doorstep, that I failed to consider I'd left the furnace door wide open and smoked the house even more.  There was a pile of clean laundry sitting right beside the fireplace.  We aren't chain smokers.  Our clothes just smell like it now ;).

...fallen even more in love with my amazing husband.

And I might RIGHT NOW be having the very first few minutes of complete quiet to myself in WEEEEEEEEKS.  What am I doing?  Writing this post, drinking hot coffee, and feeling completely ecstatic about my cast iron skillets re-seasoning in the oven.  I can't wait to finally cook with them!!!  Yay!

So, tell me, what have you been doing this week?  You'll feel so much better if you just let it out!  I promise :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Truth Day

Oh yes!!!  It's Tuesday, again.  The day we lay aside our perfect, social media, selfie selves, and bring out the real us.  I'll start again this week ;).

I was relatively behaved this past week.  However, I still may have...

...been laughing so hard at the kids determined to climb a 1 1/2 inch diameter tree, with absolutely NO limbs, that I dumped an entire wheel barrow full of fire wood.

...also dumped another full wheel barrow of fire wood, the very next day.  No excuse.  Just clumsy.

...been completely unashamed of myself, when I "cleaned" the bath tub by actually only wiping it down with a cleaning wipe.

...had to REALLY clean the bath tub when a certain child poopied in said tub less than 5 minutes later.

...allowed one child to wear two completely different shoes in public because I really didn't have time to go fish the match of one shoe from behind the toilet, or the other from the trash can.

...laughed while cleaning one child's throw up off of the couch, and another child started gagging when she smelled it and threw up on the chair across the room, and two more ran into the kitchen gagging and holding their noses.  This was not actually a funny situation, but somehow, in that moment, I thought it was hilarious.

...seen the kids' Sunday School teacher walking out of a store, as I was pulling in with the kids, jumped out as fast as I could, told her to watch my vehicle because the kids were inside it, and ran inside to run my errand before she could respond.  Have you ever buckled and unbuckled 5 car seats, only to be in the store for 3 minutes?  Then, you totally understand! :).  Thanks, Mrs. Brittney! :)

...drank an entire root beer, that was supposed to be saved for special root beer floats with the family.

Aaaaaaand, that's about the extent of my Tuesday Truths.  Or at least the ones I can remember!  Now, it's YOUR turn!!!!  What "might" you have done since last Tuesday?  I promise we'll still be friends!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

TuesdayTruth Day

Soooo, we've been learning about honesty here at the Cabin the past few weeks.  I thought it might be fun if us "grown ups" started being a little more honest with each other, too.  After all, we aren't always our super poised, social media perfect selfie person, are we?  So, here's your chance to be the real you :).  If we have enough fun, and it helps get to know each other better, we might just do it every Tuesday!!!

I'll start.

Since last Tuesday, I might have.....

...planned an amazingly fun "camp night" for the family.  Spent hours thinking about it, planning it, and being excited about how much fun we'd have.  Put our camp food in the oven during nap, to be sure it was ready.  Then, was so distracted by life, I completely forgot it was camp day, did nothing to set up the living room and nothing resembled camping AT ALL. Except the food.  It was a failed mom moment.  And I'm sure everyone was wondering why we were eating potatoes, onions, hot dogs, and cheese from a giant aluminum foil pouch.  But, no one complained ;).

...attempted to change a diaper, while laying baby on a chair, and attempting to balance myself on the edge of that chair, with my body turned backward.  This was not a good idea.  I'll just leave it at that.

...been super on top of things to get a letter in the mail to my Mamaw, only to discover I hadn't put the little red flag up on the mail box (you know the one that tells your sweet mail person, it's ok to take the mail out. Since, she may be confused when you haven't removed the mail you've actually received...for days :/).  And I may have discovered this little red flag failure, um, two more times, before I actually put it up to help said mail lady out.

...been so selfish and exhausted that I hid my coffee in the microwave, and snuck into the kitchen repeatedly pretending to "do the dishes," so I could sip it in peace.

...noticed how well that worked, and snuck back into the kitchen pretending to decide what to make for snack, and hid behind the refrigerator door to sneak large, satisfying gulps of chocolate milk.  Yes, it was worth all the sneaking.  And yes, I have seen the quote floating around that, "if you have to sneak, you probably shouldn't be doing it."  But in this case, I didn't care ;).

...been running so late for church, that when I ran into the kitchen to grab a snack for Eric (who hadn't eaten all day), I noticed I'd left eggs boiling.  So, I may have turned them off and saved the house from burning down....and forgot his snack.  Sorry, Bub :/.

...told this same husband that I'd put a dirty diaper in his pillow case, if he didn't take a huge, hairy spider outside that he was trying to show me.  And I would have really done it.

...been so excited to get the kids fed and to bed early one night, so Eric and I could have a date, I poured the mac n cheese noodles in the trash and threw the box into the boiling water.

...and maybe when I realized what I'd done, I might have scooped those noodles right back out, washed them, and made them for the kids! (don't worry, I'd just changed the trash minutes before. There were things in there. But no dirty diapers or anything equally unsanitary ;))

...typed almost every single thing you've seen from me on here or social media, with only one hand.  Because, I'm awesome and I like to hold my babies while I play on the computer :).

Ok!!!  Now, it's your turn!!  Let's hear it!  Leave a comment, telling us what you "might have done" since last Tuesday.  We'll all still be friends after.  I promise :)