Monday, March 05, 2012

Menu Plan Monday & Celebrating FAMILY

Happy Monday!! I hope you had a fabulous weekend! The highlight of ours was our niece's 6th birthday party yesterday. We have a large extended family, and it is always so fun to get together and celebrate each other. That's exactly how it feels, too! Everyone stops what they are doing, comes home from activities early or misses something else, because
you are important enough to prioritize and celebrate. Everyone needs to know what that feels like, I think. In some tiny (or not-so-tiny) way, dinner is like that for me. I am celebrating my family. It's worth stopping what we are doing, leaving an activity immediately afterward, or even missing something else altogether, to get home for dinner. Our family is worth celebrating. Another day living in the same house is worth celebrating (for those days are fleeting, more than we realize!).

This is one of those weeks when we have something every evening. AND my husband will be traveling. AND at the end of it, two kids leave for a week and one comes home. Lots going on in our home! But if I prioritize and plan, one of those things going on is...dinner. :)

Here's what's cooking this week: fast and easy favorites!

Monday: Gingered Chicken Stir Fry
Tuesday: Panini's and Pasta (one of our favorite paninis is here.)
Wednesday: YOYO (you're on your own)
Thursday: Y'assa Wet (Ethiopian fish...quick and SO good)
Friday: Bar-B-Cups (A "send-off" favorite for my middle son, who leaves the next morning for a week of mission work in New Orleans. :)

To read more menus or to share yours, visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. Have a yummy week!

Monday, February 27, 2012

What's For Dinner? (And...What's Left Over?)

Happy Monday! I hope you had a refreshing weekend. I know I did! All my chicks were in the nest, so I had 5 place settings at my little kitchen table, and I didn't know where my cell phone was all weekend. No, it wasn't lost, it just wasn't right beside me like it always is when one of my family members is away. It was such a vacation for my mind! We enjoyed Ethiopian food on Friday night, butterscotch chip brownies, biscuits and gravy on Sunday morning...yum. The house smelled like home and felt like family.

You may notice that my menu board (pictured) looks backwards. That's because it is! The side I wrote on last week is turned around (and now says "Last" where the "This" used to be) and this week's menu is facing forward. It's handy! Because when we have lunches or YO YO nights and people are looking for leftovers, there's a handy list posted of what's left in the fridge, and if there's any question as to its age, we have something to go on! I like keeping my menu posted this way! Next week, I'll flip it around, erase the now-2-week-old menu and start over. Voila. I picked this one up at a cute boutique-y place a few years ago, but I just found this at Container Store which could work the same way with fun printed-out sheets of paper, or a pretty backdrop of scrapbook paper and dry-erase markers. Fun!

So, here's what we've got cookin' this week...

Tuesday: Meatball subs & pasta salad
Wednesday: Ethiopian food night: Tibs, lentils, yebesele dinich (potatoes with cabbage)
Thursday: YOYO (you're on your own)
Friday: Crock Pot French Onion Soup, Caesar salad

For my friends who love Ethiopian cooking, I'll post the Tibs recipe with pics after I make it. :)

For more menus visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. I hope you have a yummy week in your kitchen with the people you love!

Monday, February 20, 2012


I was so excited to attend the "Empowered to Connect" conference last weekend, sponsored by Show Hope and featuring Dr. Karyn Purvis. Amazing, amazing stuff! I want to "unpack" so many of these thoughts in future posts, but for now, here is what I "live tweeted" as I sat and tried to "drink from the fire hydrant" for two days!
  • Some parents are trying so hard to save our kids, we're drowning ourselves.
  • Recreate the developmental environment/process they missed.
  • Give teenagers the same thing you would give a just looks different.
  • Are any of us adopting/fostering a child that came from a "warm & fuzzy" beginning? (Uh. No.)
  • 12+ years old, "diagnosis du jour"= bipolar disorder
  • There are answers. Great answers. And it doesn't take a PHD to know them. -Dr. Karyn Purvis
  • The essence of connection is "I hear your voice, I feel your need, and when it's in my power I will say yes." Dr. Karyn Purvis
  • Nothing we do with our kids will matter if we don't FEEL where they have come from.
  • Don't ask him what he did wrong. Ask what he needs
  • Honored to be in a room with hundreds of parents who are on the front lines.
  • Next session: Understanding a Child's History &Its Impacts" Oh, my child's history absolutely breaks my heart. But I am willing to go there.
  • Capacity of the brain is based on early nurture.
  • You CAN redo infancy with older kids with respect.
  • Don't ever give up on your child. There's a "real boy or girl" in there. God's got a plan for them. Jer29:11 (words from an adoptee)
  • I can relate!! I am on the "journey of the wounded healer." God can heal and restore parents AND children.
  • It's not an easy journey. But it's a grace journey.
  • When we keep them close, the stories come out, healing occurs.
  • "When going back makes sense, you are going ahead." -W. Berry (I've got to deal with MY stuff.)
  • I have to ask myself "WHY does this bother me so much??" when my buttons get pushed.
  • Am I letting my past be an unwelcome guest in my parenting moments? Quit letting it intrude. Go back and make sense of it.
  • If I don't guide and lead the way in attachment, I'm putting a lot on a wounded child's shoulders.
  • There is no healing without "being with." Being THERE is not being WITH.
  • It's a rectangle conspiracy!! Rectangles are getting between the members of our families: iPods, TV's, phones, iPads...
  • My goal as a parent: "And they lived faithfully ever after."
  • "I didn't like who I had become." I SO appreciate Terri's transparency. Authenticity is KEY.
  • My life is a big puzzle, and God gives me pieces at different times. -Terri Coley
  • Teaching self-regulation using Nerf guns? My guys will totally go for this.
  • LOVING seeing all of the grandparents who are here. I want to be that Nana someday!
  • Hear it...hear it. Yes, that's me! I need spaced repetition of all this stuff! There is grace.
  • What will I DO with what I know? Jesus, help me implement what You're telling me.
  • James 1:27 calls us to enter into their lives. What a privilege!
  • Grieve the ideal child in your mind, and love the amazing child right in front of you.
  • A huge part of being a lifelong learner is UNlearning. My child is unique! Some of what I've been taught does not apply to him.
  • I always want to buy everything on the conference tables at these things. But my kids need food. Sigh.
  • If you adopt a child from an orphanage, you've got a survivor.
  • My authority is enhanced, not undermined, by sharing power with my child. When I share power I show it is mine to share
  • Our kids have come to us with a boatload of broken promises and a broken heart that goes with it.
  • Don't expect them to give you words twice if they figure out you're not listening.
  • I don't need an elephant gun for every infraction! Try not to break stride.
  • Up the levels of structure and nurture if the child is out of control. What if *I* feel out of control? Same approach, I am thinking.
  • Answering yes=nurture, no=structure Do we need both? Absolutely!
  • When does my God *ever* leave me alone to "cry it out" so I can "self soothe?" Never. Some parenting books get it WRONG.
  • FIRST "What do you need?" NOT "What did you do?" Misbehavior is goal-driven.
  • You may be prepared for a child from a hard place, but is your church's childcare? Churches need to be in it for the long haul.
  • "It's really hard work to bring a child the rest of the way home." Dr. Karyn Purvis
  • "It's ok to make a mistake. Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue."- Dr. Karyn Purvis.

Menu Plan Monday & Coming HOME!

For years, I set four places at our table. Then, I began setting five after our adoption three years ago. Our family felt "complete." Our relatively small kitchen table was full. This year, my daughter headed off to college and we've been back to four and I don't like it. I'm still not used to it. Well, this Friday, for the first time this semester, I get to set five places again and BOY is this momma ever looking forward to it!

I asked my sweet daughter what she wanted and she said "Ethiopian food!" For some reason, university cafeterias aren't serving much Ethiopian food...not sure why! It is so yummy! At our house ET food is on Wednesday nights and Friday nights are soup night, so I've gladly switched it this week! Friday night will be 5 place settings and no flatware. :) The rest of the week is filled old faithful favorites, so there will be a fridge full of "familiar" in case she goes digging for leftovers while she's home. The weekend will go quickly. But I hope it feels slow...

So here is our week in food:

Monday: crock pot roast, potatoes, roasted carrots
Tuesday: Fish Fillets Italiano, pasta, spinach salad (<--a lower fat version)
Wednesday: Taco Soup
Thursday: YO YO ("you're on your own")
Friday: crock pot Doro Wat, chickpeas, fosoleay

For more recipe ideas and weekly menus or to share yours, visit

I hope you have a blessed week, filled with things that fuel your passion and keep you in touch with those you love!