Thursday, March 31, 2011

~ TASTY THURSDAY ~ Easy Peasy Taco Soup

It's not really soup season anymore, but I still wanted to share this easy and delicious recipe. I got it from one of the ladies I worked with at Banner Bank, back in the old days (2 years ago), and it quickly became one of my favorite meals to make!


Here's what you need:
  • One pound of ground beef, browned
  • A can of corn
  • A can of pinto beans
  • A can of kidney beans
  • A jar of tomato sauce (sometimes I use a jar of spaghetti sauce if I don't have tomato sauce... I know it's Italian rather than taco-ish, but I can't tell the difference once it's mixed in.)
  • A packet of ranch seasoning
  • A packet of taco seasoning
  • Some water to thin out the liquid - about two cans worth unless you want it to be thinner.
  • A small can of sliced or chopped olives - if you like them
  • Half an onion - if you like them
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
Now, pay close attention - it is very important that you follow these directions very carefully!

Put all of the ingredients into your crock pot and mix with a spoon until all of the dry ingredients are no longer dry.

Then, turn on your crock pot.

Go watch four episodes of Bones back-to-back - you won't regret it! Make sure you also go get a Dairy Queen Reeses/cookie dough blizzard to eat while you contemplate whether Booth and "Tempy" (as I like to call her) will ever end up together.


Then, come back to your soup and scoop some into your bowl. Plop some sour cream on top, with a generous sprinkling of cheddar cheese, and enjoy!

Seriously, this is the easiest soup I've ever made that doesn't come out of a can - and the only soup I've ever made that doesn't come out of a can... But really, it's easy!

Smile For The Camera!

This little baby is turning into quite a ham! Every time I have the camera, or my cell phone out, he's smiling away and laughing into the lens. Such a sweet, fun little guy!

We're at school this morning (like all mornings), and he's playing with some toys in his play pen, chattering away. At times like this I'm so thankful to God that He blessed us with this sweet-natured, happy baby boy. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for this little guy - even when I'm getting up in the middle of the night to feed him, again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Want To Be A Sheep

Isn't this one of cutest things you've seen all day? I love how soft and fluffy sheep are, how little lambs are the adorable indicators of Spring's arrival. (My goal here isn't to tell you that I want to be as cute as this little lamb...)

Yesterday, driving home from Everson, David and I listened to a podcast of a sermon given by Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church. It was all about the parable of the lost coin and of the lost sheep. We've been teaching parables to our kids' Sunday School class, so it seemed fitting to hear this message.

Quick side note - if you haven't listened to Driscoll, you really should! He's really funny and easy to listen to, and he always gives me a lot to think about. I always have to do some mulling over what he said afterward. Check out his newest sermon series: (You can watch the video, or just listen to it)

Anyway, he talked about sheep. How they wander off and get distracted by the things around them. How they forget to follow their shepherd, and how then the shepherd has to come looking for them. That sounds a lot like me - just now, as I was searching for the image right up there I got distracted by a story about Reese Witherspoon (she got married), and then took five minutes getting back on track. I'm easily distracted.

Jesus tells us in Luke 15 that the shepherd goes after the sheep (Christians, his followers), leaving behind the others to search out the one that is missing. He does this because he loves us, and he wants us to stay with him. My point isn't about the wandering off, but that as a sheep, I'm supposed to be following Jesus. My goal should be to stick close to Him and to go where ever he's leading me. I know from experience in my life that when I'm sticking close to Christ, things are better!

So, this afternoon I made a stop at Starbucks. Mmmm. Yummy, Cinnamon Dolce Latte. As I was sitting there, talking to my baby who was buckled in his car seat, I noticed a man walking down the sidewalk. He had a on hood and a heavy coat with two backpacks. I assumed that he was homeless, especially as I watched him dig through the garbage can maybe twenty feet ahead of me.

As I sat there in line, I knew I had some extra money. I could give him some. But my pride gets the best of me. I sat there thinking how uncomfortable it would be to go to a stranger and offer him money. What if he wasn't actually homeless? What if he was offended?  What would he use the money for if I gave it to him?

And then I remembered where Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-40:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right [the sheep], 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
I want to be a sheep. I want to follow Jesus and do the things he wants me to, even when it's uncomfortable.

Baaa, Baaa!

"I'm coming, Jesus!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

~ CRAFTS ~ A Dress For Anna

We found out on Tuesday evening that we're going to have a niece! Little Anna is coming in June (which we already knew, we just didn't know she was an Anna), and we couldn't be more excited for our little boy to have a girl cousin. I'm looking forward to them growing up and playing together, and hopefully being the best of friends!

I took a bit of a risk on Monday, and made a little dress for Anna without knowing if she was actually a girl. I figured that if the baby ended up being a boy I'd keep the dress for my own little girl someday.

The pattern that I used was really simple, and came with step-by-step instructions. I bought it on Etsy from here, and she emailed me the PDF file. I definitely recommend using patterns like these if you're a sewer. (If you're not and you want to learn, let me know. I'll help you - it really wasn't very difficult!)

So, here's Anna's little dress. I can't wait to see her and see her wear it!

This floral fabric is from a Quilt Shop Hop that I worked at when I was a senior in high school. I've been waiting to use it until I had the perfect project, and I think this is a pretty good use!

I have the pieces cut out for one more dress (size 6-12 months) in these fabrics. If you're interested, email me or go to my Etsy shop, here, to purchase it. If you're local to Hermiston I'll reimburse you the shipping charges through PayPal. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Someday, A Staircase

I've been doing a little bit of daydreaming lately about the house I would build if only I could. It's beautiful, but for the time being it's only in my mind. As I think about it a little more, there are a few details I'd like to share with you. Tonight, it's the staircase.

I don't know why, but I picture us living in a two-story house. Maybe because I think that staircases can be so beautiful.

If we do ever have a set of stairs, I definitely don't want them to be carpeted. I have a little fear of carpeted stairs... hmmm.... has anything ever happened to cause that fear? We'll get into that another day!


I do want a nice-looking, wooden staircase. Maybe something like this:

I would probably go for the painted patterns on the fronts to be in blue or gray, instead of yellow, but I love how each step has a different design. So pretty!

This is definitely the favorite of the staircases I found when perusing online this evening. I love the blue down the center, how it looks like a runner rug but it's actually just paint. Plus, I like the dinosaur. Makes it feel homey!

I love this staircase too. It's so pretty, but simple and nice looking. I love the space that staircases provide for special family photos and framed treasures. I'd love to have some more prominent space in our house for pictures.

I also really appreciate the usefulness and practicality that these stairs provide. I don't know who thought of this, but they're pretty darn smart! Think of all the extra storage provided in this space!

Or, maybe if we think Micah needs some more exercise, we'll go for something like this:

(This looks like the perfect way to fall to your death!)

Who knows if we'll even end up with a staircase someday, but if we do, I know I'll have a hard time deciding what I want them to look like!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Seven Months (And Three Days) Ago

We were here:

I can't even believe that it's been seven months since Micah was born! It feels like forever that we've had him, but it also seems like just a few days. Our lives have totally changed to fit him into our schedules and to adjust to his needs.

At seven months old, Micah is:

* Sitting up like a champ!

* Playing with toys all the time. He loves to see what noises he can get each different toy to make, and he has a few favorites that he really loves.

* Putting everything in his mouth. He's drooling like crazy and I think he's teething again, hopefully this time it'll be effective and he'll actually get some teeth in. I'll miss his little smiles full of gums when he has his teeth though!

* Eating solids a lot more. I've been going slowly on introducing him to new solids, but he likes a lot of different foods. We've recently tried green beans, squash and sweet potatos - he really loved the squash!

* Trying to talk a lot. He just recently said "da-da-da-da," which makes David pretty happy! Maybe soon he'll actually know what he's saying.

* He loves people. At church on Sundays he's always watching the people sitting around us and watching the kids in the nursery. It's like he's studying them to learn how to say the words they're saying.

* Went to his first birthday party this weekend, and he had a lot of fun watching all the people and kids who were there.

Micah is changing so much every day, getting to be more and more fun. I'm loving his slobbery little kisses and his hugs when I pick him up. Only five more months until he's a year old, time sure is flying by!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baby Play Time

Micah has had a friend, Kai, over to play both yesterday and today. They've been having a great time playing together! Unfortunately I couldn't get both boys to look at the camera and smile at the same time...


Micah is really enjoying eating food... well, he really looks like he enjoys it, anyway. I swear he's the slowest eater I've ever seen, like he's savoring every single bite. It makes feeding him take a very long time! He got to have green beans today, which you can see all around his mouth. He's also becoming quite the little ham!

I hope you're having a great Thursday! We have Spring Break next week, and we're really looking forward to a few days at home with this little cutie, as well as a few days with my parents.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting Myself Organized: Household Binder

One of the biggest pet peeves I have about myself is my lack of organization. I want to be organized. I really do. I just can't seem to do it. I'm constantly searching through our house for my keys or my cell phone - I have no idea where it is right now...

In our house, everything kind of has a home (I know where I'd like it to be), but not everything is in its home. I'm definitely not very good about putting things back where they belong, and it's something that really annoys me about myself. I'm not about to post a picture of what our house looks like on a daily basis, because you don't need to see that. But, just know it's not really dirty - I do clean. It's just messy and a little disorganized.

So, in order to combat my disorganization, I'm giving myself a little challenge. Through a friend's blog today I clicked onto iHeart Organizing - which is kind of funny, because I never would have gone to this blog if it weren't recommended and spoken highly of. And I'm so glad I did!

Jen at iHeart Organizing has a challenge going on for the month of March - to get a household binder organized. It can include checklists, important papers, instructions, coupons and more. I'm going to do it! I need to get my papers organized.

Here's a picture of Jen's binder:

Pretty nice and organized looking, right? I doubt mine will be anything close, but I'm excited to make an effort at organization in our not-so-organized house.

Do you have a household binder? How do you keep all of your paperwork organized?

I'll give you an update in the next couple of days on how the start of this binder goes!

(If you check out Jen's site and her explanation of the process of putting together her binder, make sure to also check out her free printables! I just was able to download a free coversheet, movie inventory, blog ideas list template and an auto maintenance checklist template. Not something that you need, but it's nice to have it and they look cute too!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tweetin' It Up, and Etsy-fying

I did it. I joined Twitter. And I have now tweeted.

Check out my accoun, tcalled WattenburgerFam here. I feel like I should buy a bird or something.

It's pretty exciting.

In an effort to expand myself internetly, I'm adding links to my Etsy and my Twitter in my right sidebar.

PLUS, for you, my wonderful unnamed readers, I'm giving a 30 % discount to my Etsy store, for the next two days. If there's something that you like there, but it's not exactly what you're looking for, let me know and I can do customizations! I'd love to do that for you.

I also have more project ideas in the works, so check back in a couple of days to see what I add! Here are a couple of my newest projects, (which you can see in my shop by clicking here):

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Night Thoughts (Maybe Ramblings...)

Today was a very stressful day.

I won't go into all the details, but it started with me falling down the stairs on our front porch, and just went down-hill from there. It was just a hard day and this evening when I was helping David start dinner, I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I just couldn't handle it all. I still feel a little stressed and just really tired.

And so, right now, I choose joy! I'm making the decision to be joyful even though this hasn't been a good day. To remember the good in this day rather than the bad and the frustrating. (There really has been a lot of good things today too, but it's easy for those good things to be overshadowed by frustration).

I actually got some things done today - I made and listed four new sets of coasters. Then, feeling gutsy, I asked to have some of my items listed on a handmade sale, and I sold three sets of my coasters! They were a hit.

I've been realizing lately that when I want to do something I need to take the steps to do it. It seems like I always want to take those steps, but then I get intimidated or worried that someone is going to think I'm a big dork (which I am, so I guess I worry that they'll know I'm a dork), and I don't do it. Tonight I just decided to go for it, and I sent an email kind of on a whim. It really paid off for me, and I'm glad that I did.

I want to get out of this comfortable place I'm in. Not this couch, that's not what I mean. I don't want to just be comfortable in my life, but instead I want to take chances and some risks. That's when I have the most payoff, when I actually try to do something. It makes sense... nothing can be accomplished if I don't try to do it. I want to be intentional about taking chances, putting myself out there, and being less concerned over who's going to think I'm dumb.

I've been praying a lot lately for guidance, that I will know what plan God has for me. I don't know what it is yet - that's why I'm praying about it I guess. I really don't know what's going to come in the next year, what my work situation will be like, what Micah will do, what I'll be doing in my spare time - but I do know that God is in control. He has a plan.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." He's in control anyway, I can feel free to step out and take risks, not worrying when things don't go exactly like I plan, or even like I want.

When I have a difficult day, when I feel worried and anxious, I know I can rely on Him. In doing so, I can have true joy no matter what the circumstances. So tonight, as I sit here on our very comfortable couch, I let go of my stress and I choose joy.

Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

~ TASTY TUESDAY ~ Pillow Cookies

It's not Thursday. I didn't get a Tasty Thursday up last week, and here I go posting a recipe on a Tuesday. I'm breaking the rules.. Oh yeah, I made those rules, I guess I could break them!

I've decided that since I'm not disciplined enough to do a Tasty Thursday every week, I'm going to do a Tasty Whatever Day I Feel Like, and today is that day! Our church has a ladies' Bible Study that meets every couple of weeks, and tonight I was asked to bring some kind of dessert. So, feeling a little bit ambitious, I decided to try a recipe I've never used before. You can find it here, and Bakerella sure makes it look delicious!

Doesn't this look delicious? found here

Now, I read this recipe a couple weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since. I even went to make it on a whim a week or so ago, and found out that I didn't have any brownie mix, so I waited until today.

I should have remembered when I started making this recipe that chocolate chip cookies hate me! I can never get them to turn out right. Never.

I also should have looked at the recipe again.

That might have been a good idea, wouldn't it?

Well, I thought I remembered what to do, so I went to it. Boy is cookie dough sticky when you forget about putting it in the refrigerator for an hour.

Aluminum foil might over the cookies might have been a good idea too.

In the end, my cookies look weird. I have a pile of too brown (oops, I forgot to set a timer...) blobs and a few that were a little undercooked and fell apart... Hmm.

But, after feeling like a big dork for still not being able to make good chocolate chip cookies, I took a bite of one of the soft ones.

Mmmm, Heaven in my mouth!

It may not look like much, but it sure tastes good.

(I'm taking the rest of my brownies to Bible Study, since there are only about three cookies that turned out looking edible.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Someday, A Front Door

David and I are renting right now. The house we're in is small, about 800 square feet. It's been just the right size for the three of us, but it's going to get small in the next couple of years. (Not yet, we're not adding a fourth member yet). So, we have a plan... at least a tenative plan to buy a house in the next couple of years.

I am always looking at what's for sale, what prices are, what neighborhood we should live in. I know we can't buy right now, but I'm going to be informed going into the process when we can. Ideally, we would like to have a house built, and because I can't stop my brain from working, I've been thinking about what I'd like in this imaginary house.

So, I'll start with the front door:

This isn't too much to ask for, right?

I really love the Arts and Crafts style, so this front door is really what I'd love to have:


This is a beautiful front door, with the planters and the pretty red wreath. I love it! I love the lights too. Someday we'll have a front door all our own, and hopefully it'll be as beautiful as this one. Or it'll come with a pet giraffe... either way would be great!

Friday, March 4, 2011

~ FOR YOU ~ A Winner

Congrats to...


the winner of the coaster set. I hope you enjoy the set! You should have an email soon with details.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! It was fun to see some people who are reading this blog. Hopefully I'll do another giveaway sometime in the next month or so.

If you didn't win, and you really, really wanted a set of coasters, you can always check out my Etsy shop, here, to purchase them. (wink, wink)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Day in the Life of A Baby at School

I've gotten lots of questions from people wondering how it's going with Micah coming to school with us. Well, we love it! I think he does too. I thought I would do a picture-filled post showing what an average day at school is like for Micah:

He's a pretty consistent little guy, waking up at about 7:00 every morning. Due to a way too late bed-time, and multiple feedings at night (I wish he would just sleep through the night consistently), I'm usually still in bed when he wakes up. I am so thankful for David, who gets Micah up and gets him dressed most mornings. I get up, take a shower, get myself half-way ready, and then curl up on the couch with my smiley little morning baby for a feeding. I then finish getting ready while he sits on the floor next to me, or usually, sits in his bouncy chair playing with toys.

Then, Micah gets in his car seat and we head off to school. By the time we get there he usually looks like this:

He's almost always wide awake by the time we get in to the classroom, though:

We then get organized, get Micah comfortable either in his bouncy chair or with his Daddy.

He sometimes will eat when we get to school, but otherwise he has just over an hour until we have our first break. He plays with his many toys, sits on the floor, plays with his toys in his playpen, or sits with the older kids. The older girls like to hold him, and he occasionally spends time with them while they do class work.

Right before recess (and sometimes sooner because he's made a mess), we do a quick diaper change in the bathroom. We've left a changing pad there, along with some wipes so we have a little changing station on the counter. It worked really well when we first started taking him to school, but lately it's getting to be a little small. I've started just putting a blanket on the floor in David's office and changing him there because I know he can't fall off the floor.... (He's never fallen off the counter, and I hold him tight, but as you can see it's a little risky).

We always make sure to get a quick visit with "Other Boy" while we're in the bathroom...

At recess (10:00) Micah and I go into David's office, where he usually falls asleep while he's eating. He then takes a nap for a while, any amount of time between 10 minutes to an hour and a half.

If he wakes up before 11:30, we do the same thing as the first hour of school or I take him and hold him for a little bit. If sleeps until 11:30, I'll load him into his carseat and we go over to lunch. On the day I took these pictures it was extremely windy, so David went and got our lunch and we ate on the floor in the class while Micah ate his yummy snack of elephant foot.

Don't know if you can tell, but the wind was blowing so hard the bark was flying out of the flower beds.

This chicken salad was DELICIOUS!

I don't have any pictures, but usually Micah sits either on my lap or in his carseat during lunch.

After lunch, every day is different. I usually feed him again after lunch, and then some days we'll go home after just a little while. Other days we'll stay and hang out at school for a while so I can help David with work in the class.

It's such a blessing that we can bring him to work with us! Not only do I get to spend most of the day with him, but so does David, which would definitely not happen if David was working in a public school. We love this little man, and it sure is a great time having him with us.

*One day at recess we got to go out to one of the out-buildings and see the baby "chickies" (ducklings) that had just been purchased. Micah was pretty interested in watching them swarm around the room.

Like every kid at school with a copier....