Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good to be Alive

love the lyrics of this song...and the song, too...
i need the remainder...
'cause it's so easy to get caught up in the unimportant things that bombard our daily lives...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

fajitas in the crock pot

had a little change in the meal plan on Sunday and had to come up with something else on hand...  i had noted a recipe on pinterest, i had the ingredients, and so, i decided to try it.... :)
(this recipe and photo comes from Stacy Makes Cents)

this was SUPER easy, moms and hard working people....  it would probably only take about 5 to 10 minutes of prep work for you...unless you're like me and had to microwave the chicken to get the annoying styrifoam and the little "pad" off of the frozen chicken... :)  that's what took me the longest... :) and, for the little time you spend throwing it in the crockpot, you sure are given an awesome meal once it is done! :)  what a treat! :)

here are the steps... :)

-chop up some green/red/yellow (all, some, only one color - you pick :)) into strips... 3 peppers is a good amount...  throw it in the bottom of your crockpot...
-sliced up an onion or two (i like a lot of onion and used sweet onions) and put it in with the peppers...
-use about 1 to 1.5 lbs. of chicken breast (i used tenderloins b/c that's what i had on hand), whole, and put that on top of your veggies...
-pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chicken broth over your veggies and chicken...
-mix together 1 1/2 T. of chili powder, 2 T. cumin, and 1/2 t. salt (i didn't add this) and sprinkle over the chicken/veggies...  (i also added some cajun seasoning and several shakes of garlic powder to my spices...)
-squirt some lime juice over the veggies/chicken (i did this at the end a few minutes before i served it)
-set your crockpot to low for 8 hours (or high for 4-6 hours) will make your house smell so good! :)
-after cooking, use two forks and shread your chicken into pieces and mix all together in the crockpot...let it sit for a few more minutes...

spoon the mixture (use a slotted spoon if there's a lot of liquid) into some tortillas and top with your favorite fajita toppings...we did salsa and cheese :) 


these were so good...and so flavorful...  :)  can't wait for leftovers because i would imagine that, with a day or so of rest, the flavor will be even better! :)

to make this even easier, grab yourself two or so bags of the already chopped fajita veggies - peppers and onions - in the frozen veggie section of your store... :)  then, it will take you about 2 minutes to throw together :) 

Monday, September 24, 2012

meals for the week 9.23.12 through 9.30

hope that you all have a wonderful week... 
heard a great sermon at church on Sunday...and while i try to be pretty conscious of this anyway, i am going to work extra hard to give praise about how much i have to be thankful for this week... 
like having the ability to buy food to make dinner...
like having the ability to get up in the morning...
like having two little girls to keep me busy all the time.....
like having seemingly endless loads of laundry to do for my family...and a washing machine and a dryer to do it in... and a clothes line, too!! :)

we really are blessed in ways that we don't even realize, often... 
so that's my goal for the week...
find the blessings and give praise for them...

here are the fares for the week at chez Rakow :) 

Sunday: chicken fajitas (crockpot recipe...will post tomorrow :))
Monday: slow beef over egg noodles and a veggie
Tuesday:  pizza with the Angottis - celebrating Lil G's 9th birthday
Wednesday: out to eat with the Davis family - then off to the Fresh Beat Band concert!!! :)
Thursday: leftovers

Friday: stuffed shells
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: creamy chicken enchilladas

enjoy your week, Friends :)  and i hope your blessings abound  :)


Miss Sass makes life exciting... 
sometimes the excitement is funny...or even makes a momma like me feel proud...
sometimes it's humbling...or embarrassing.....

i was reading a blog a few weeks ago and the writer noted (and not in a bad way) how she was seeing the sinful nature of her kids...and how it was a great time to teach her lil ones about Christ and forgiveness...  well, i see the sinful nature of myself, a lot....and i also see it in my kids...  and we're working on improving our behaviors, as well as using the moments to teach...

after church today (of all places *sigh*), i went to pick Sassy up from her Sunday School classroom.  the two teachers who were working this week are always so sweet...  K was excited to show me a picture of Tangled (Rapunzel)...  they informed me that they heard all about "Tangled" during their time together...  yes, i assured them that her unyielding love for Rapunzel was ever apparent in our lives, too... :)  and i may have said that with a little eye roll :)   

then one of the teachers mentioned that K shared her little sister's nickname today...  i kept my smile on my face and told them that, yes, we did have a nickname for Hannah...Bugs.  i'm not 100% how she came into that name...but we've called her Bugs since she was a totally endearing way, of course... :)  i reiterated this story to the teachers...  but the one who started the nick name conversation says, "oh...well, she told us that you call her little sister "Little Booger."" 
i was kind of taken back for a few seconds... 
first, we don't even use the word "Booger" in our house...  i have used the word "Boogie," but we don't say booger...  and it's really not a BAD word, but it doesn't paint a very nice picture in my mind...we've never used it... :)  and, i'm not even sure where she picked up the word, "Booger," quite frankly...let alone how she was able to use it in a very entertaining(?) yet untrue story about nick names and her little sister...  (and yes, i'm sure that in 10 years, at the height of teenager-ness, i will be glad if a nice word like "booger" is used in name exchanges between the two of them (as compared to what could be used, i suppose) :o) )

so we talked about this, of course...albeit a pretty short conversation (this time).  I asked K if she even knew what a booger was...and she said, "No, but it's funny...."  and she concluded that this is why she said it...because "booger" is a funny word, or so she declared...  and then she went skipping away to see her daddy... 

looks like i know what we'll be working on this week...  :)  fibs.........

Friday, September 21, 2012

dancing after the rain

on a hot summer Sunday, in their church clothes, Bugs and Miss Sassy Pants enjoyed a nice rain puddle... :)  i loved the look on Bugs's face as she watched Big Sassy Sister show her what to do in the puddle :) 
nothing but pure joy...  :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

silver linings

one of the ladies (i had to change this from "girls"...she's a baby!  she may be in her late 20s...) i used to teach with, along with her family, suffered a tragedy last week...her house burned and their belongings were destroyed, as well...  they're a young family...and they have 2 small children - a 6 year old and a 3 year old... 
i can't imagine having to rebuild a house...
and i can't imagine having to purchase all new belongings...
neccessitites...and toys...
i can't imagine helping my kids deal with this...
she's an incredibly talented cake decorator, too (and it probably helps that she's an art teacher :)), and she even lost her cake and decorating supplies...

they're believers...and i know that has to give them some comfort...
and, it's probably hard to see any silver lining in these events...
but, amazingly, she has found glaring examples...
she's shared 2 very powerful examples of "amazing" from the past several days...

her son, who is 3, was at school on Friday.  another child commented on the color of the leaves...that they were like the color of fire.  her son replies, "my house got fired and all my toys are gone." Then he got really quiet for a few moments and said, "but God is great and God is good."
he's 3....  wow....

and, today, Katie shared a beautiful "poem" that was written on a card she received....
"When my bed has been floating
On the flood of my tears
Seems as though my joy has disappeared
Still I will not put my hope
In what i feel or see
I will cling to You
and trust You're holding me
Lord I don't know where I'm walking
But I'll take it day by day
And I'll hold Your hand
And You will lead the Way."

silver linings... :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

weekly musings and meals for the week 9.17.12 to 9.23.12

it hit me that this is the last "week" of summer, at least as far as the calendar/earth's revolution says...  that's really hard for me to believe....  i can't say that i'm sad, though...i LOVE the fall...the crisp air, the colors, pumpkins,'s a wonderful time of year... :) 

Bugs helping with some mum planting :)

of course, fall means that our meals change a little, too...  i could live off of soup, i think :)  and fall means lots of soups for us... :) 
i'm a little sad, however, to say goodbye to our summer...  that little princess pool leaning against our maple tree in the front yard needs to be cleaned a bit and then put away for the cooler weather...and the princess swimmy rings....  the water table...  my kids have really enjoyed playing with water (well, Bugs has taken a little longer to appreciate the wet stuff)....  summer will be here before we know it i will be thankful for the change of seasons :)
 Lil Sis listening to "The Shy Kitten" :) Big Sis is totally
ad-libbing the whole story, which was sprinkled with LOTS of
princess movie innuendo :)

our meals will be a bit simple this week... :)  and, as the "head cook," i'm fine with that :)  and i'm liking the "fallish" touch, too... :) 

Monday: lots of a little bit of leftovers - meatballs, salad, mac n cheese, etc. (basically, empty the fridge of leftovers!)
Tuesday: open face pork tenderloin sandwiches, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggie
Wednesday:  church supper :)  (pork BBQ and the fixins)
Thursday:  Outback potato soup (new recipe :))
Friday: raviolis
Saturday: grill out
Sunday: tacos

hope you a FABULOUS week! :)  enjoy yourselves and cherish moments...especially the little ones :) 

Love the sister love :) makes my heart smile...a lot

Monday, September 17, 2012

banana bread brownies

i'm an admitted pintereset surfer...  and i love it.  while it can be addicting, i find so many neat and creative ideas that i can use with my kids, decorating, crafts, and yes, cooking :) 

we tend to have a few overripe bananas left each week...  for some reason, the girls will not eat "squishy" and very ripe bananas...and well, they're not my absolute favorite either... 
i saw this recipe on pinterest a few weeks ago...and i dreamed of making it...  i don't even know why they're called "brownies" because there is nothing "brownie-ish" about them...except that they're in a brownie-like pan...  but, basically, this is a hearty banana bread with an AMAZING icing...
and honestly, it's not the most "healthy" recipe... 2 sticks of butter... :)  but it's worth it... :) 
they're "heavy," too (haha, no pun)...very filling in small amounts.  while i could have eaten a lot more than i did, it's a great little treat to share with a neighbor or a friend.... :)  it will brighten their day...just like it will brighten yours :) 
(recipe and photo are from Life's Simple Measures and i notice she calls them "bars" on her site, not brownies, but on Pinterest, they're brownies :))


Banana Bread Bars:
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream (i used light)
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk


1. Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. Stir in walnuts.
2. Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. (watch this happens quickly!)
4. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).
Yield: 2 dozen large bars

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

meals for the week 9.10.12 through 9.16.12

here's what we're enjoying (or enjoyed :)) for meals this week :)

monday: leftover macaroni soup and grilled cheese
tuesday: dinner out with the Davis family - mexican :)
wednesday: hot dogs, mac n cheese, veggie
thursday: spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and italian bread
friday: homemade pizza
saturday: meatball sandwiches
sunday: crockpot something or other - maybe potato soup... :)

here are some shots from when we were still having warm, summer days...  we're still having summer, but the temperatures have cooled a bit, and we're not spending time playing in the pool or sprinkler right now :)  but, we haven't put the water stuff away....i have a feeling we're not finished with warmish weather yet :)

Hannah is not a water baby (yet), especially compared to Katherine...  she did come a long way from standing at the sprinkler with a leaf, just reaching in enough for the leaf to get wet.  that was early this summer...  :)  she is more mechanical and likes trying to take the sprinkler apart, spraying something with the hose or something like that.... :)  here, she probably sees a car coming...the town watch, without a doubt :)

 Katherine, of course, would probably try to become one with the water if she could...  she would play in a pool for hours... :)  while this picture looks a little pixelated, the joy on her face here says it all... :)  and, her sweet ears... :)  i love them :)

it's time...

father's day??? 
it's time for me to get back into the blogging saddle...
i don't really have a good excuse...
life is just busy...and it was too easy to put this off
my girls keep me busy from waking till their eyes close at bedtime...
and summer happened...
and summer translates to lots of traveling for this much traveling that we long for school to start again so we can go home and not leave again for awhile... :)
and my "to do" list of the summer never seemed to come to an end...and it's still full!
and i haven't even downloaded pictures off of the camera in months.......
and i don't know how to get the pictures of my silly cell phone without emailing every single one (argh)...

but i still need to keep this up...  i enjoy it too much, and well, it helps me put down the things that i will forget if i don't write them down and document...

so, it's time....  it's time to get back into the swing of blogging... :)  and for the few of you who read and care (?), thanks for being patient... :) 

a rare moment of sister love these days :)
they are actually sitting on a rocking chair that belonged to my
grandma when she was a little girl :)