Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just So Ya Know

Are you about to buy a refrigerator? If you are, I am about to tell you something that I wish someone would have told me (or maybe I should have researched a little more). Do not buy an LG. It stopped working yesterday. The good news is we have a refrigerator in our garage that I was able to move everything to. The bad news is I have to walk to the garage every time I need to get something out and then back to put it up.

Today the repair guy came and said there is a fuse that is messed up/blown (not familiar with these terms at all). Apparently in the LG it is connected to the computer board. And you can't simply replace the fuse (which is only about 5 or 6 dollars). Because of the way it is made, if a fuse is blown, you must replace the entire computer. Wanna know how much? 437. As in dollars. And 16 cents. We have had it a year and a half.

There is some hope. He (the repair guy) said he is going to do some research and see if there is any way we could just replace the fuse and not the entire computer board. If he can't do that-his advice? Get what we can for the fridge and buy another brand (he suggested Whirlpool). He apparently feels very strongly about the LG brand.

So...I thought I would share this little piece of info with you all. Just in case there is someone who might benefit from it.

I will let you know the outcome of our refrigerator saga.

In the meantime, we are...

1. Anxiously anticipating the arrival of my nephew, baby John.

2. Wondering if he might be born on either mine(Feb.1) or Andrew's(Feb.2) birthday.

3. Anxiously anticipating the season premiere of LOST. (Actually, it's just me. Steven kind of shakes his head when I talk about it with giddiness) It is also on Feb. 2. It's a big day, considering it is also the day I will complete my first sewing project!! All the while...

4. Fighting off another round of colds. I think we keep passing them back and forth. Goodness gracious, will they ever end?

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Tea Party and Black Bean Chili

I used to kind of dread an entire day at home. Like not that long ago. But somewhere in the not-so-long-ago past, things have taken a turn and I really enjoy just being here for the day. I'm pretty positive it's because Ellie and Luke love to play together for hours. Maybe we're just going through a good phase or maybe it's because they are getting older and hopefully this will be more the norm and not the exception.

Today was one of those enjoyable days at home. I called mom and asked to borrow her camera. She came over and was here for awhile and most of that time we didn't even hear Ellie and Luke. They came down for a cookie break and when mom was leaving, Ellie said "Let's go have a tea party, Luke". He immediately hopped off the couch (after I wiped off his chocolate covered face and hands) and said, "yeah, let's go have a tea party". I grabbed the camera and Andrew and followed them.

Look at Luke's eyes in the last picture. He has been sick with another cold/cough. He was just sitting there in a daze listening to Ellie give instructions to her dolls. He came alive a little bit when Andrew came after Buzz. Then I told him it was time for a nap and he didn't argue at all.

Ellie, Andrew, and I headed downstairs while Luke napped. I spent way too much time looking at sewing blogs and etsy. (There are A LOT of creative people out there) Then I decided I should probably get up and start dinner. I am happy to report we had another healthy hit. Spicy Black Bean Chili (except ours wasn't that spicy). And I also added some ground turkey. I was afraid Steven would look at it and ask where the meat was.

I chopped a green bell pepper, half an onion, and 2 garlic cloves. I cooked these with 1 lb. ground turkey and some olive oil. It said to use cumin seeds. But I had ground cumin, so I used this instead. Probably about a teaspoon.

Then I stirred in 2 cans of rinsed and drained black beans, one can undrained diced tomatoes, 2 cups of water, 1 tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. paprika, a dash of red pepper (more if you like), 1/2 tsp. oregano, salt and pepper. Taste and see if you need to add anything. My measurements are not exact. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes.

The recipe says you can top with green onions and cilantro. I served mine over rice and with a dab of sour cream mixed in.

Here's my little, um...helper? in the kitchen.

Remember the temper I was telling you about?

So, I'm thinking it's time for some locks on a few of the cabinets. Don't you think? I turned my back for a second and he was playing in the Comet (with bleach). And being the responsible mom that I am, I grabbed the camera to snap some pictures before taking it away. (Please don't call social services, I made sure he did not put his hands near his mouth.)

And finally, the reason I had mom bring the camera over.

My sewing classes! Did you forget? Here is the pattern. Well, I guess this is the package that holds the pattern. I'm pretty sure it has a name, but I got slightly overwhelmed with all the sewing terms. We are making a basic pair of elastic pants.

I know, I know. I cut out a piece of fabric. Big deal, right? Yes. It is a big deal. I have high hopes for this sewing thing.

Ellie does too...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday Night Meal

Our Sunday night meal was not as new, exciting, or healthy as our Monday night meal last week. Mac 'n' cheese out of a box. Luke could eat it every meal. Andrew is a fan also.

Do you see what Luke is wearing? Steven came home from church with this Buzz Lightyear costume from some friends who had outgrown it. Talk about Luke's lucky day. That was on Sunday. He has not taken it off except to go to sleep and take a bath-and that was only because we made him. It is so over with Lightning McQueen. Buzz is it now. Yesterday during the middle of lunch (with his costume on) he looked at me and said in this deep, serious voice he uses when he is either pretending or feeling really grown-up, "Mom, I need to get down and fly a little bit" Except he can't pronounce his l's so it sounded like "fwy a widda bit" So I said he could go fly for awhile.

Our trip to Laura Beth's was good. We did some major work on her bedroom. Lord-willing, next time I am there they will be a family of four. Can't wait!!

Are you watching all the Haiti stuff? It's hard to wrap my brain around all of it-that much suffering and grief. I'm thankful that I know the God who is sovereign over all of Haiti. He allowed it to happen. I don't understand it but we can trust that He is good and He is faithful. I pray He will be glorified in the chaos and He will bring people to a saving knowledge of Himself.

Have you seen video and pictures of the babies and children in the orphanges? It absolutely kills me. I would take every one of them. I have thanked the Lord so many times for providing us daily with every basic need we could possibly have and so much more.

So in light of all that-it doesn't feel very important at all to tell you this, but I am very excited about it. I am taking sewing classes! I start tomorrow night. There are three classes-an hour and a half for the next three Tuesdays. I will (hopefully) have a pair of pants that I, myself have made. You will definitely be hearing more about this, so stay tuned...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Night Mealtime

There will be no pictures in this post. Our camera is broken. Again. We do have a warranty, though. That's the good news. The camera isn't all that is broken around here. Our vacuum is and so are our cars. I've read on blogs where people write about stuff they need or want and then someone sends it to them. You never know. If you feel led to send us a car, we will not be picky. A Volkswagen Routan will do just fine.

Yes, my dream car is a mini-van. Call me a dork. I don't care. I am so way past caring about the cool factor.

So, on to Monday night mealtime. For the past several months, our Mondays (family days) have consisted of lunch out, then to the grocery store, and dinner at home. There are lots of different things thrown in here and there, but those three are pretty much consistent.

I'm usually up on Sunday night trying to come up with meals for the week. Since Steven and I are both not happy with the way our clothes are fitting these days, I decided to look for some healthy dinner recipes. When I was at mom's house yesterday, I was checking out the Sonoma Diet cookbook. Not going to actually do the diet-don't like diets-way too much time and effort. Excercise, and healthy eating, right? But this book has great recipes. Seriously, they all looked really good! I decided on the Chicken and Asparagus Saute for tonight. (Except I switched to broccoli, because we're big broccoli fans.)

12 oz. fresh asparagus spears (or broccoli-I used frozen because it was a lot cheaper)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 to 3 tsp. herbes de Provence or Cajun seasoning (I had Cajun on hand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 med. red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 c. dry white wine or chicken broth
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tbs. lemon juice

1. Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. Bias-slice asparagus into 1-in. pieces. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning of your choice, garlic, salt, and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet cook chicken in hot oil over med-high heat for 3 minutes.
3. Turn chicken; add asparagus (or broccoli) bell pepper strips, and wine. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 8 min. or until chicken is done. Stir occasionally. At the very end I added the parsley and lemon juice.

*Also, my chicken took about 15 min. to get done throughout. When I make this again, I will either pound the chicken or wait to add the veggies, because they were a little more cooked than I would have liked.*

I made some brown rice to go with it. We were doing white for awhile, because, well, I like it. But it's back to brown for the Barbers. It's just so much better for you.

The meal was enjoyed by all. Ellie really is a great eater. She kept asking for more "tomatoes". They're bell peppers, I would tell her. But she kept forgetting. Luke is not such a great eater and he was not a bell pepper fan. Lately, Luke has been asking me, "Why do you eat like this?" And then he does an imitation of me eating. I wasn't aware that I was a particularly
funny-looking chewer, but apparently Luke seems to thinks so.

Andrew especially liked the chicken and brown rice. He ate until he was full. How do I know? Well, I would like to tell you it is because he signed "all done" to me. But he hasn't quite gotten it yet. Instead, I know he's finished because he starts dropping the food onto the ground instead of putting it in his mouth. And he usually leans over his highchair to see where it has landed. Or even better he takes the food out of his mouth and then drops it. We're also working on "more" and "please", but it's more like banging on the table and screaming. His temper is starting to show itself quite a bit these days. It's pretty bad sometimes.

And last, but certainly not least, (because he usually eats almost 50% of the meal) Steven really loved it! Ding-ding-ding-ding. We have a winner! It's the constant challenge: finding a meal that is healthy, affordable, and one that everyone likes.

It seems like there was more I wanted to tell about our dinner tonight or just our night in general. But I guess that was all. Tomorrow night I'm going to try Turkey Sausage-Garbanzo Bean Soup with Pasta. Soups are so great in the winter. And usually they can be very healthy without sacrificing flavor.

And that will be all the meals for this week because Ellie, Luke, and I will be headed to see the Moore's on Wednesday. We're hoping Ada, Luke, and Ellie will play and play and I can help Laura Beth cross off some final things on the "before John gets here to-do list". Andrew will be hanging out with Steven and mom. :( I'll miss him, but not the sleep that is still sometimes not-so-great with him. Sorry and thanks to Steven and mom!

Do you have any recipes that meet all the Barber meal criteria? Do share.

And also check out the fun Kate had with Luke, Ellie, and even Steven HERE.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not the Rest of the Christmas Pictures

I said I would be back with Christmas Highlights part 2. I finally realized it wasn't going to happen. Mainly because I really didn't have many pictures to share. If you're super duper disappointed, you can go to my mom or sister's blogs to see more. They did a better job with the Christmas blogging than I did.

Not a whole lot has been happening around here. We've just spending a lot of time at home recovering from Christmas. It's really been great, actually. Ellie and Luke have been playing and pretending their little hearts out. They pretend mom and dad a lot. Luke is always yelling, "mom!" and of course, I answer to it. And he says "no, my other mom." Then I hear Ellie say, "yes, sweetie?" Ellie pretty much stays in dress up clothes most of the day and the rest of us are in pj's. I'm slowly but surely putting away all the Christmas decorations. It just doesn't leave too much to blog about.

Our house was spotless for about half a day around New Year's. I had a few people over and got it perfect. I didn't take any pictures because I was too busy getting everything ready. I enjoyed my house so much that one night. But then it's like it turned back into a pumpkin. It took about two seconds for my children to make it look "normal" again. In a weird way, it kind of feels more comfortable messy. I almost don't know what to do when it's completely clean.

We've been trying really hard to stay warm. And it hasn't been very easy. It's cold. Really cold. Thank goodness for warm footed pajamas for babies. Steven and I are wishing we had some. My fingers and lips are so dry and cracked. And our hair is so full of static. We're using lots and lots of these things...

And drinking lots of this...

And probably doing a little too much movie watching...

Do you see Buzz? Luke and Buzz are inseparable.

Andrew hasn't been as lazy as the rest of us. He is on the move.

And busy banging on the toilet while Ellie and Luke get a bath.

(Yes, Luke needs a haircut.)

I got Andrew some shoes today (his first pair-awww) because his socks aren't staying on too well. And he slides around too much in his socks when he tries to pull up on our hardwood floors.

See why I haven't been blogging? I took some pictures of conditioner, coffee, and lotion to blog about. Exciting, huh?

Next month should be a little bit more exciting. I turn 29. AHHHH! Andrew turns one!! We will (Lord-willing) welcome baby John (my very first nephew) into the world. Praying I get to see him make his grand entrance. There is absolutely nothing in this world more miraculous than that.

And on a much more shallow note: The final season of LOST is starting-on Andrew's birthday, actually. Woohoo!! We will have to postpone the birthday celebration. Just kidding (maybe) :)

Hope you are staying warm!