Friday, December 9, 2016

What's for Dinner?- One Pan Chicken, Potatoes and Veggies

This is one my favorite go to meals for an easy nights dinner. And it's a family pleaser. Everyone eats it, without complaints and always asks for seconds. 

Even the three year old.

This recipe is surprisingly easy to make and can be adjusted according to taste without taking away from the delicious end result.

The ingredients are pretty basic:

Potatoes- typically one medium potato per person hat will be eating.

Frozen Veggies- Pick a bag of whatever pleases you. For this time I used a bag of spring mix veggies but I've also used broccoli or cauliflower and green beans and even zucchini. The Spring Mix Veggies were a combo of squashes.

Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken- We typically use either thighs or drumsticks as I can usually find these on sale at our local grocery store.

Salt and Pepper

Now to the cooking! Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with spray.

Wash and cut your potatoes into bite sized pieces. Skin is optional. I leave the skins on to make prep faster. After chopping place potatoes in pan. Lightly salt potatoes.

Layer desired veggies over potatoes and salt.

Right here is my secret ingredients: Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper. I use this to season my chicken.

Place chicken skin side up (I used thighs) on top of potatoes and veggies. Season with Garlic Salt and Lemon Pepper as desired. Put in oven and leave there to roast for about an hour or until skin begins to crisp and chicken is cooked through.

As the chicken cooks, its juices will cook the potatoes and veggies softening them up and adding flavor.

And what's left is a delicious meal that had minimal prep and is what I consider a dinner success.

Enjoy! If you try it and like it I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment letting me know how your dinner turned out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bible Journaling: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In a world full of negative everything to have a reminder to look for the good in life is a great thing. It's so easy to be caught up in where everything is wrong or unfair or awful. When we do this we miss out on all the good that is around.

To find at least one good thing every single day has been a goal that I've had for myself for 2016. I started on January 1st and every single morning I have reflected on the day before and picked out at least one good thing that happened the day before. I too easily will focus on anything that makes me unhappy or my life difficult  but to take a moment to find at least one good thing has helped change my perspective this year. That, even in moments of difficulty or frustration, there is something good in each and everyday. And that one thing is something to be thankful for.

Doing this has also enabled me to view life in a more positive way. And for me that's the best part, to be able to see things in a better light and realize it's not all so bad.

Which brings me to this verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The verse states: "Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for that is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

There will always be difficult times. There will always be reasons to be upset and angry. But more so, there are always things to be thankful for, to rejoice over. How wonderful is it to be able to pray to God and be thankful for something everyday instead of lamenting about what is not right! 

And now I'm grateful for my list. It has nearly 11 months of good things that I can look back on to remind me that there is good in everyday. It's exactly what I need.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Casting Crowns Concert

I know it's been a minute since I've been on the blog. Life just kind of happened and it got put on the back burner. I made the decision to go back to school after a decade long sabbatical. I've been extremely busy with life and when I added school on top of it I just found myself without energy to get on the blog. I want to get back into the habit of writing on here again. I know it's been pretty sporatic over the last couple of years but I'm trying to at least be on here a couple times a month, preferably once a week.

But that's not what I wanted to share today. In September Michael and I were able to see Casting Crowns in concert and it was amazing! We were gifted awesome seats by my mom and the concert happened to fall on the weekend of our sixteenth year anniversary. 16 years! That's crazy. We had a full weekend.

On Friday night we packed up the kids and made our way out of town to California so we could spend Saturday at the beach.

I didn't get too many pictures of the day, but I did get this one of Anya playing in the sand. I was too busy spending time to take pictures. The view was great and the waves were high. Sidda and MJ loves playing in the water. We had lunch on the beach and then it was time to make the drive back home.

Then Sunday night Michael and I headed to the Casting Crowns concert. We hadn't been to a concert in more than a year and it was a great night out. The opener was Matt Maher and I found a new favorite song from him. You can listen to it here. It's called Firelight. Make sure you take a few minutes to check it out.

Here are some pictures I got at the concert.

I loved getting to be here and get to listen to so many songs that I've loved for years live. This is a group of amazingly talented performers and they did not disappoint. I'm hoping to get to see them again one day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bible Journaling: Deuteronomy 30:19

The choices we make in life do not just effect us. That seems to be something we don't always realize. Our choices stretch out beyond us and into our friends and family. It can even carry on as it expands out from person to person. So, how do we make good choices that can effect ourselves and others in positive ways? 

Looking at Deuteronomy 30, Moses has been talking for multiple chapters to the people of Israel. He is preparing for his death and knows that soon the people will be heading into the Promised Land. Living with these people for the 40 years he has seen how finicky people are. He is letting them know how important it is to be obedient to God. He wants them to see that their choices today can have an effect on generations to come. And throughout history there was a lot of emphasis on the next generation, on descendants and keeping bloodlines alive. 

Here in Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses is  keeping very simple. You can choose life or death for you and your family. It says. "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children will live." (emphasis mine)

Choosing life means choosing God. And when we make healthy choices we teach healthy choices to our children. It carries down. So if I choose God and am continually obedient to him, I'm showing that to my kids, my future generation, how to. And hopefully, they will see and make healthy choices for themselves. My hope is that they will choose God for themselves. And this love of God will carry down through my family, generation after generation.

So, I will choose life. I choose God. I choose life over death for me and my children. 

Deuteronomy 30:20 says "and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

God promises life when we choose Him.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Our Fancy Home Cooked Dinner

Michael and I have never really cooked together. Sure we've made some dinners together but it consisted of "Hey, wanna chop this for me, real quick?".

But a few weeks ago we had a weekend to ourselves and decided it would be fun to plan and cook a full meal together at home.

I got this cookbook from the library.

This has to be my new favorite cookbook. After I return it to library I'm going to have to buy myself an actual copy for home use. Gordon Ramsey is awesome!

We wanted dinner and dessert. Both witch we found in this book.

For dinner we had a roasted chicken with chorizo, bean and sundried tomato stuffing. (This was the most delicious stuffing I've ever had in my life. There was not enough of it. Thinking of it now makes me want to make this dinner all over again.) Along with a side of roasted asparagus.

We drank our fancy root beer out of bottles, because that's how we rock it!

Also, like the lantern? We went to IKEA that morning for the first time ever and found that lantern and loved it. It's awesome.

But check out this dessert!

Chocolate tarts topped with peanut brittle. We made peanut brittle. These were so rich and indulgent and awesome. And we have made them again for family since.

And what's a fancy dinner without getting a little dressed up?

It was one of my favorite weekends recently. I got to spend a ton of time with this man I love. I got to see some of his culinary skills and making dinner and dessert together was a fun time that I look forward to doing again in the future!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bible Journaling: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything. 

In Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 it says:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

And there are perfect moments for each of these things, they can not be rushed or avoided. And the truth is people rarely have perfect timing. But there is a time for everything. And we just have to let it happen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bible Journaling: 1 John 3:18

This is one of my favorite verses. 1 John 3:18 states: Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with action and in truth.

Saying you love something or someone is easy. Words are easy. They may not always seem that way because sometimes I feel myself without any words to say.

But words require no commitment to them. Words can be said and be gone like wind. But really it's action that shows love. It's in what you do and where time is spent and how it's spent. 

My goal is for the things that I do to show the love that I feel. That's words won't even be needed because I've put in time and effort to show love. 

And I want this in all things. I can show God love by doing the work he has asked me to do. I can show my family love by giving them my time and undivided attention. I can show others love by being kind. Always striving to be kind.

There are plenty of ways to let the world know who you love.

What ways do you show love without using words?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon Hunting in Henderson, Nevada with Pokemon Go

Today I have a guest post from my awesome husband Micahel about Pokemon Go.

Welcome, Michael.

Pokemon Go. We got it.

 I've played Pokemon since it's initial US release in 1998. Before you go making assumption about just how cool that makes me, keep this in mind: I'm only down with the original 150. So yeah.

I didn't know this game was coming, I just happened to read about it's success in Australia then before I knew it, it was in the US as well. So I got it and I downloaded it on Jess's phone too.

As follows is our first official Pokehunt. Our mission was to find a rich area for Pokestops and Pokemon. Here is how it went.

This is us just starting out. Rumors of a nearby Jigglypuff had us pumped!

103 degrees means nothing, let's catch em all.

Water Street in Downtown Henderson, NV has plenty of stops and gyms for a brisk walk. 

It's very very cool that the places it takes you are monuments or statues as well as churches and parks.

Here is Jess's trainer. She's doing pretty good.

These Pokemon kept climbing all over my family. I saved them, fear not.

It was very hot, and we kept getting this:

But it was fun for the whole family. Even Anya liked catching a Ratatta with us, We got to see some cool things downtown that I didn't even know about and I got to spend time with my family playing one of the greater games of our time, Pokemon.

Thanks, Michael!

It was an awesome time to hang out and let the kids catch Pokemon. I can't wait for the next time that we'll do it again.

There was some moments of the app not working because the servers were having issues. This is going to happen since it became a booming success overnight. It's fun and worth the wait to get through the occasional hiccup.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Having a Dream

I want to write beautiful words.

That is what I've wanted to do my entire life. For as long as I can remember I wanted to write stories and books and thoughts and poems.

But somewhere along the line I just stopped writing.

I let life get in the way of my dream. And instead of hustling with it I let it disappear. I spent years thinking about writing, dreaming about having others read my words and making it something that I could be successful at. I would just dream though. I never put any action into it.

There are many times that I feel like I've lost the skill needed to write. I feel like I'm out of ideas, out of thoughts; like my creativity just drowned in the years of doing nothing.

And the big thing standing in my way of even trying is fear.

I am so scared that I will fail. That this talent that I believed I had was just a fantasy and that I was completely fooling myself. So I don't try. Because I can't fail if I don't even give it a shot.

But, I sit here, wishing to try. Wanting to write. But so scared of what words will form together.

I don't even know what I want to write, I just want to. I want my words to flow together to make something that others will enjoy.

So, here is where I begin. By sharing that I have a dream, that I still have it, that I want to do something with it.

And my promise to myself to write. To spend a little time writing every day. Whatever is on my mind, ideas poems, stories, blogs. Because if I just don't do it then my dream will never have a chance of being real. And if I begin to write again I will find my creativity, I will find my muse and I will develop determination. And above all I will get back the joy that it used to bring me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Have I Been Reading Lately

Every year I make goals for myself. And those goals always include reading. Because I love to read. But over the last few years I have lost some concentration when it comes to reading.

I can't read like I used to before. Books that I used to be able to read in a day take me much longer. And I have a harder time picking it back up and getting back into stories when I've taken a break.

But this year I'm making more of an effort.

I've made two sets of goals:
1. Read one book a month or 12 books for the year
2. Read two books a month or 24 books for the year

And so far this year I have read 12 books. So I am well on my way to reading 24.

I know it doesn't seem like much, especially since I used to read closer to 50-70 books a year, but I am well on my way.

And I also find myself really enjoying reading again. And I love it! And if I am reading it encourages my kids to also read. And Michael too. Reading books and visiting the library has become a family adventure!

So, on to what I've been reading so far this year.

I received The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series for my birthday but I didn't start reading it until the start of the new year. This book follows Cassie through what happens to her and her family after aliens begin to terrorize the world. I really enjoyed this book. It had moments of great adventure. I liked it so much I had Michael read it and then we passed it along to his dad to read as well.

I began reading The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, No. 1) to the kids in the car when we had long waits. They really enjoyed this story about a family secret and the contest to find out what it is. Me, not so much. I was slightly disappointed with Rick Riordan because I have really enjoyed his other series. But Sidda enjoyed it enough that she has continued reading the series.

The Infinite Sea: The Second Book of the 5th Wave is a great sequel. It started pretty slow but picked up. I don't want to give too much away but I really enjoyed the story and I'm looking forward to picking up the next book soon.

Ready Player One: A Novel  This was a book that surprised me at how much I enjoyed it. Michael had received a recommendation and read it and when he finished he passed it on to me. The world has basically fallen apart, but people don't really worry about it because they are all connected to a virtual world OASIS all the time. When the creator of OASIS dies a contest begins to find his secret to be able to collect his fortune. Read it. It's good.

The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay I realized that I hadn't read The Hunger Games Trilogy in about 5 years and decided to pick it up again. I had forgotten how much I really liked them. Most people have read them. If it's been awhile, read the again. It's worth it.

I started reading the Divergent Trilogy (3 Book Series) because Michael started reading it. I never had a big interest in it, but after finishing The Hunger Games I needed something new to read. And we had the books, so I picked them up. I had seen the first two movies, so I had a general idea of what the story was but I was mistaken. The movies barely match the books. I did enjoy the first two books but the third was terrible. I had to force myself to read it because I want to finish the story. It felt like there wasn't a solid plan in mind in it and it's almost a repeat of the same problems in the first two books. But they are worth a shot to read.

I am fully aware that Good Eats: Volume 1, The Early Years is a cookbook. But it's not just a cookbook. It has background about the show that it's based off of and lot's of information about the history of food that it talks about. This is more than a cookbook and I read it from cover to cover. I loved it. And I plan on trying out a few of the recipes found in it.

My Perfect Pantry: 150 Easy Recipes from 50 Essential Ingredients by Iron Chef Geoffrrey Zakarian was a fun read. Another cookbook that is more than a cookbook. Also, another one that I read cover to cover. It's full of recipes and information on food and tips and tricks. It was worth the read and has many recipes that I plan on trying out.

And that's it. Those are what I have been reading lately. I seem to be in a dystopian type of mood for my preferred fiction reading so far this year. But that's ok. It has gotten me reading again and that makes me happy.

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Picture source

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bible Journaling: Gensis 1:1-2:3

This was one of the more fun Bible Journaling pages that I have done.

I liked the idea of of going through and working on each day of creation. Now, since I can't really draw things besides tress and words I had to look up how to draw animals in the most simple form possible. But I love how they turned out. Looks pretty cool to me. Because I have never in my life been able to draw an animal that actually resembles an animal.

It's amazing all the things that God created. That he thought them into existence. And he planned it all. Every single grain of sand, every leaf, every star, fish, elephant. He planned every single one. And then to top it all off, he created man. He created us, to love us and for us to love him and each other.

God really is just absolutely and completely awesome!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Grilled Cheese Egg Sandwich

 You really can't go wrong with an egg sandwich in the mornings before you start your day. And this grilled cheese egg sandwich is Michael's favorite and the most requested.

Lucky for me, it's fairly easy to make.


Butter or margarine
2 slices of bread (whatever kind of bread you like or have on hand)
2 eggs
1-2 sliced of cheese (I used American but have used sliced of cheddar or mozzarella)
sliced ham
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a pan over medium high heat and melt some butter. While the butter is melting beat eggs with salt and pepper and butter one side of each slice of bread.

Once the butter melted add eggs to the pan and cook using a rubber spatula to fold eggs while cooking.

When eggs are nearly cooked add one slice of bread, butter side down to the pan.

Add cheese and meat on top of the bread. When the cheese begins to melt move eggs to bread slice.

Add second slice of bread to pan, butter side down.

Put the sides together and continue to grill until golden brown.

Move to a plate, slice in half and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite breakfast?