Monday, January 30, 2012

Adventures in Cooking: "White" Chicken Chili

You know I love the Crock Pot. And you know I love easy, hearty meals, especially on a cold day. This is one I threw together this morning and it turned out SO WELL. If I do say so myself. (even both boys ate it all!)  It's quick, easy and straightforward.

I did have to laugh today when talking to a friend and discussing *why*, exactly, it was "white" chili as opposed to green or another color. I guess you'll just have to taste it.

White Chicken Chili

(8 servings, each serving 4 points on WW)

3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
32 ounces reduced-sodium, fat free chicken stock
1 large white onion, diced
1 jar (20 ounces) salsa verde
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) Great Northern beans, drained
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T cumin
1 T thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with extra hot sauce if desired.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scenes from Sunday

Legos in the morning!


 Working on the 'fort' in the garage - yes that's a pool flotation device. Luke's got some mad creativity.

Some serious multi-tasking.

At the ROC for a little exercise and fresh air.

There's water in the pond again! 

The boys each ran 2 miles, Luke almost getting to half his 26.2 miles before March 1 goal. 

Gretel had a good time, too.

We couldn't leave without hitting the playground.

Playing WAR with Luke.

Luke's new "Weekend Wall." He added star sticky notes to list all the things we did over the weekend.

And winding down...what a great day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Birthday Chair

I'm not really sure when the tradition of the birthday chair came about.

I think it was when Curt was 2 years old, and his little brother Luke was about ready to start using the high chair Curt had enthroned himself in for the first years of life. Curt moved to a big boy chair that could be decorated. I *think* I got the idea of the decorated chair from a friend on a forum for new moms, but I can't be sure of that and I apologize to whomever I'm not giving credit to.

Either way, the Birthday Chair was born. And every year since, the boys have woken up on their birthday to The Chair.

Curt's 10th birthday chair...ewww...gross floor. I decided I wasn't mopping before 5 boys invaded my kitchen for pizza and cookie cake. And let me tell ya, that was the right call.

Usually it's a crepe paper and balloon confection. One year it was yellow Batman crepe paper with black balloons for Luke's birthday. Another year it was all red, Curt's favorite color. I know one year it involved confetti. That was a one-time-only occurrence. I wish I had more pictures, but that would involve hooking up the external hard drive...*sigh...

Curt's 8th Birthday

Most years, the Birthday Chair doesn't change all that much. Primary colored crepe paper and bright balloons. But this year, Curt told me that he LOVED the birthday chair and wanted one his WHOLE. ENTIRE. LIFE.

And that is priceless.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Idea copied borrowed from Lemonade Makin' Mama. Loved it!

Currently loving...the boys' current interests and fascinations, as well as watching their developing personalities and characters.
Currently reading... Cutting For Stone... I can't put it down. Until I fall asleep with my Nook in my hands at night.

Currently waiting for... a package to come in the  mail! :-)
Currently excited about... our second GIRL POWER MENTORING event on Wednesday and what the Girl Power Mentoring program will hold for next year. *And* something I can't talk about yet...
Currently missing... my family. As always.
Currently grow more of a backbone. And to study more Scripture.
Currently working at...growing that backbone with grace and diplomacy. 
Currently enjoying...home decorating and craft projects!
Currently snacking on... air-popped popcorn.
Currently using...acetone to remove paint...don't ask...

Currently uniform! Black yoga pants and an oversized UT sweatshirt.
 Currently planning...a Pinterest party and my family vacation in August.
Currently singing...that new Avril Lavigne song... Wish You Were Here, or something to that effect.
Currently needing... to go to's been a busy day!

Currently learning... to let God be in control.
Currently listening to...silence...ahhhhhh
Currently wishing... that Facebook and Pinterest weren't quite so addictive.

Currently doing... winding down for the evening. Got my to-do list accomplished plus an now trying to let it all go.
Currently praying for... my kids. My family. Those in my life who are sick,  hurting or otherwise injured. And always His guidance and grace.
Currently dreaming of... a white sand beach in Belize!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Decade Ago Today

Curt was born...

And my life has never been the same.

You have blessed me beyond belief, Curt Thure. I love you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Faith and Facebook

I love opening up Facebook in the morning. And I love having so many Christian friends on Facebook. So many post inspirational messages in the morning (and throughout the day, but I have the most time in the morning and in the late evening to get online) that really help me through the day. Here's a sampling of posts from my friends this morning.

By Faith
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 11:1-3
I am leading you along the high road, but there are descents as well as ascents. In the distance you see snow-covered peaks glistening in brilliant sunlight. Your longing to reach those peaks is good, but you must not take shortcuts. Your assignment is to follow Me, allowing Me to direct your path. Let the heights beckon you onward, but stay close to Me.

Learn to trust Me when things go “wrong.” Disruptions to your routine highlight your dependence on Me. Trusting acceptance of trials brings blessings that far outweigh them all. Walk hand in hand with Me through this day. I have lovingly planned every inch of the way. Trust does not falter when the path becomes rocky and steep. Breathe deep draughts of My Presence, and hold tightly to My hand. Together we can make it!

Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
—John 21:19

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
—2 Corinthians 4:17

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matt 5:14-16 Think about the 1st verse in this passage...YOU are the light of the world -When we accept Christ, He turns on His light in us; not to shine for our benefit, but for His glory. People all around you may be walking in darkness & you may be the only light they can see. Let His light shine brightly through you today for His glory.

1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart...
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

(Galatians 6:1 ESV)
Guess I never really thought about this before... There is no record of Jesus ever healing anyone until He returned from the 40 days of fasting that launched His earthly ministry. I'm glad to see more true disciples of Christ are implementing fasting and prayer as a regular discipline. This truly will release God's power in these last days!
The King is enthralled by your beauty. Psalms 45:11

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

~*~ Home Sweet Home ~*~

"Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord GOD, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

- 2 Samuel 7:29

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Fact" versus "Opinion"

In the car on the way home tonight,  Curt was explaining to Luke the difference between 'fact' and 'opinion.'

"A fact," Curt says, quite seriously, "Is something that is true.

"For example, 'The earth is round' is a fact."

Luke listened intently.

"An opinion is something someone thinks," Curt continues. "An example of that is 'You're the most beautiful boys in the world' like Mom always says."

Luke thinks about the distinction for just a moment.

"No," he replies, "that's pretty much fact."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It Isn't the Worst

I remember a bleak afternoon in January 2004, calling my mom after Curt's 2-year well check at the pediatrician's office, where  he confirmed what I already knew in my heart: that there were clinical findings to support an autism diagnosis for my sparkling, brown-eyed boy.

I cried into the phone, lamenting the unknown and the fact that we wouldn't receive an actual diagnosis until we traveled to the Bluebird Neurology Clinic at Texas Children's Hospital some six months in the future.

My mom said to me on the phone, "Amy,what's the worst it could be?"

"Autism," I told her.

But autism isn't the worst. Not by a long shot.

Today, at two weeks shy of his 10th birthday, Curt continues to sparkle, excel in math, shoot video and edit movies on the computer, analyze elevators, play basketball, chess and soda can baseball, and drive us  nuts with his RC helicopter. 

I know now that autism isn't the worst.

I get to kiss him goodnight, send him off to school, buy him new clothes, watch his face on Christmas morning, remind him to do his  homework and smell the scent of his clean hair after a shower.

And not all parents get to do that.

Autism is not the worst. Not by a long shot.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Haven's Miracle

Late yesterday afternoon, a three-year-old little girl who captured the hearts of East Texans (and beyond) went to be with Jesus.

Haven Grace Davis was born with a bum heart and later diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. She battled non-compaction cardiomyopathy and other complications for the past three years.

Last August, Haven was selected for a heart transplant, which seemed to go well at first. She was staying with her grandmother a week later when she started showing signs of problems. Haven’s body had been showing signs she was rejecting the new heart, and doctors at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas struggled for several months with how to help.

Yesterday, according to relatives on Facebook, Haven Grace slipped from the arms of her family into the arms of Jesus.

I didn't know this little girl, and neither did most of the almost 6,000 people who "liked" her Facebook page, Praying for Haven Grace. In fact, I watched this week as little Haven began to lose her battle, people began to rally around her and her family. Just two days ago, her page had a little over 2,000 "likes." Right now, there are 5,734. To me, that is amazing.

That's the power of prayer. And social media. The fact that almost 6,000 people were praying for this child and her family is almost a miracle in and of itself. A few people praying inspired thousands to pray. God took Haven for a reason (easy for me to say as I was blessed enough to  kiss my two boys as they left for school this morning). Maybe, just maybe (and far be it from me to decide what God's reason was), it encouraged people to pray. And share those prayers publicly. Which encouraged more people to pray. And share. If there is any comfort the Davis family can take right now, perhaps it's that their pint-sized daughter caused a huge ripple in the prayer ocean. Haven's own miracle.

I'm still praying for you,  Haven Grace.