November in pictures

This is a picture of my Puffed Apple Pancake, created for brunch in honor of Ryan's parents visit to Augusta in early November. Taken from one of my Junior League of Savannah cookbooks, this recipe was DELICIOUS! (Jill - very WASPy, I know). Ignore the ugly blue salt shaker the the nasty dog toy under the table. :)

Janelle and her new husband, amid a sea of bubbles!

Fast-forward to Thanksgiving - Rachel, Megan and I ran the Turkey Day Ten Can run in Savannah. It was only a 5k but it helped me accomplish half of one of my '05 New Year's Resolutions!

Charlie with Aunt Caroline (my 15-yr old sister) and my cousin Grace

Charlie with his great-grandfather, my Papa.

Isn't his bib cute? :)

OK, you don't have to eat more Turkey!

And finally, a few shots of our half-decorated home. The rest of the decorating will be done this week-end, including the purchase and set up of the tree (at which time the presents will be removed from the hearth and put in their proper place).



"Oh Thou who has given us so much,
mercifully grant us one thing more: a thankful heart."
- George Herbert

My thanksgiving post is coming a little late this year and that is due to the fact that I have been feeling very overwhelmed...overwhelmed by all the blessings in my life and yet ashamed that I, to some extent, do take them for granted. I have also been challenged and convicted about my utter disdain for and fear of suffering. So I have spent the last several months, and the last several weeks in particular, wishing with all my heart that I could arrive at the point where I am perfectly grateful for all the joys that life has presented to me thus far and be at peace (thankful even!) about the current hardships we are experiencing now and will undoubtedly experience in the future. The challenge for me now though is that I know in my head that this state of being is ultimately unattainable…I will never be as thankful as I could be or as willing to suffer as I must be while living on this side of eternity. So I’ve been struggling with feelings of restlessness and fear, not knowing how to live with the reality that I am not what I want to be, yet being hopeful that one day this part of me will also be redeemed (and is being redeemed right now even). So with George Herbert I’ve been praying, “Lord, make me thankful.” And these are just some of the things for which I want to be truly thankful this year:

1. Ryan – need I say more? I couldn’t ask for a better friend or husband.
2. Charlie – what a blessing it has been to become a mother – words cannot even describe it. Yet suffering with and for Charlie as he struggles with developmental delays and other health concerns has been so raw and painful for us. Charlie’s health has definitely been a source of suffering for which I’m trying to be thankful…I’m thankful that his health issues are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things AND for the opportunity to enter into suffering and rejoice in it, as Paul did.

3. Our families – we both have parents who are still married to each other, who love and support us. And my plethora of siblings is such a blessing – built in friends!

4. Friends – I honestly have some of the best friends anyone could ask for, sniff, sniff. So thanks to you all…and I miss those of you who I don’t get to see often (which is actually like, 99.9% of my dearest friends, unfortunately!)

5. My job – what a blessing to be able to work from home, contribute financially to this family and use the skills God has given me while still having the opportunity to be Charlie’s primary caregiver. An amazing blessing. Yet another source of suffering in many ways…how can I do it all and do it all well? This will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable tasks of 2006! :)

6. Health – We are healthy and have no physical limitations. My sister beat the odds this year and did not have cancer (even though preliminary tests indicated otherwise), our immediate families are all healthy...how often do we all take that for granted? Hhhhmmm…

And of course, I'm ultimately and most thankful for a Savior who saved me once and continues to save me daily. And man, do I need saving!

So Happy (late) Thanksgiving everyone and may the Lord grant us all thankful hearts!


Need I say more?

I'm DYING for one of these babies!


By popular demand

Here is the recipe for the Szechuan Green Beans and Pork...

1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon peanut oil
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups hot cooked white rice (I used whole grain brown rice)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture, beans, and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until pork loses its pink color, stirring to crumble.

Combine hoisin and next 3 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add hoisin mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve over rice.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup pork mixture and 1/2 cup rice)

I can't take credit...this is from Cooking Light.

Stay tuned for a cheesy, mushy thanksgiving post.



Every month flylady challenges her audience with a new habit. One recent month it was "a load a day keeps the chaos away!" which challenged us to do one load of laundry per day. I have implemented this habit and it has indeed made my life much easier. This month's habit is meal planning which not only results in a happy, well-fed family - it helps keep the grocery bill under control. So I took her up on the challenge and created a menu template. This menu template includes breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon - Thurs as well as a slot for week-ends, special occasions and snacks. In my new found Domestic Goddess state, I have tons of recipes just waiting to be made so menu planning will facilitate my culinary creativity while saving money.

On this week's dinner menu:
- Monday - Szechuan pork and green beans (DELICIOUS!)
- Tuesday - Pumpkin Black Bean soup (Ryan is a little "iffy" on this one so last night's leftovers are the back-up plan)
- Wednesday - Lime chicken and roasted potatoes
- Thursday - leftovers

Snacks for this week include blue corn chips with queso fresco and spinach dip with reduced-fat wheat thins.

I also decided to host a Southern Living at Home party in a couple of weeks and have begun menu planning for it as well. I need to create a new menu template for parties. Perhaps I'll do that during my 4pm conference call, which will undoubtedly bring this post to a close. I know for sure that I'll be serving Paula Dean's gingerbread trifle. I'm salivating already.

One more tidbit before I go...today I got my hair COLORED FOR THE FIRST TIME. And not because I wanted to but because my gray hair has finally gotten out of control. And I've developed a bald spot from plucking out too much hair. :( So I found myself at a very redneck but cheap establishment and proceeded to explain to the very dyed beautician that I wanted "subtle coverage." Amazingly she understood and my coverage is indeed very subtle...so subtle in fact that my grays are STILL visible. *sigh* I guess it's back to the drawing board...I will be calling her tomorrow for a "touch-up."




How he slept through this, I'm not sure. But he did. As Ryan Moody always says, "Never underestimate the power of a Moody to sleep. " :) And he managed to somehow free himself - when he woke up an hour later, he was no longer stuck in the crib.

We are about to leave for a quick trip to Savannah. This week-end Christmas Made in the South, a big regional craft fair, is in Savannah and I always try to go with my mom and sisters. I'm so excited...but too bad it is going to be 80 degrees...so much for beginning to feel like Christmas!


Things I really don't like

Perhaps it's the weather (dreary, cool) or my hormones or, most likely, the election results, but regardless of the reason why, I'm feeling very grumpy and negative today. So here is a list of things that I really don't like:

1 - Democrats

2 - My job (today anyway)

3 - Spending about 6 hours a week on Charlie's therapy (and that's just the clinical part - what we do at home isn't even factored in!)

4 - Daylight Savings - I am so tired ALL THE TIME now

5 - Nancy Pelosi

6 - All the strip malls in Augusta

7 - Ryan's pager. He's back in the ICU this month which means every other night, he gets paged all evening and all night long.
8 - Democrats finding out about a scandal that could put children at risk and then sitting on it for MONTHS so that they could break the story a few weeks before the mid-term elections. Dirty dogs!
9 - The disgusting republican who sent provacative emails to children.

And just to not be too negative...here is something I do like.

Good thing our troops still have a sense of humor. And I also REALLY LIKE the fact that John Kerry is not our president!


It's a bird, it's a plane

Our first halloween with a kid was a lot of fun! We went trick-or-treating in our neighboorhood with a friend from church (who also happens to be a neighbor) and then went to another friend's house to eat chili. Charlie looked adorable in his Superman costume, chosen by his father, of course. I would have picked something cutesy, like a pea or a frog but I appreciated my son's cuteness in the costume of his father's choosing. :)

I decided to dress up at the last minute, at the request of my friend Leslee. I was Ryan Moody and she was a cowgirl...with a Strawberry (her daughter Lexi).

On a different note...I made a carrot cake (including icing) from scratch yesterday for the chili party and I was very proud of myself. Here is a picture of my masterpiece. The recipe was from one of my Junior League of Savannah cookbooks and I even decorated it myself, with help from my favorite magazine Real Simple. I cannot stress enough how much I love this magazine. It makes me want to become a domestic diva or a stay-at-home WASP (for a definition of WASP, see my friend Jill's blog). So if you're bored, you really must peruse realsimple.com. I also can't recommend enough Martha Stewart's holiday magazine with instructions for homemade gifts - I'm definitely in the mood for crafting now. :)