Friday, March 30, 2007

Tuscan Tomato Soup

Scott is quite a fan of Tomato Basil Soup, but all the cream doesn't agree with healthy eating habits. So, I found this recipe in "The Sonoma Diet Cookbook". It goes over well with the entire family!

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cored an coarsely chopped, or three 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained
12 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp. minced)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 c. chopped zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, shaved

In a 4-qt. Dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon live oil over medium heat. Reserve 1 cup of the chopped fresh tomatoes or, if using canned tomatoes, reserve 1 can tomatoes. Add remaining fresh tomatoes or undrained canned tomatoes, the garlic, and crushed red pepper to hot oil in Dutch oven. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool slightly.

Transfer half of the tomato and broth mixture to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with remaining half of the mixture. Return all to Dutch oven. If using canned tomatoes, drain the reserved can. Add reserved fresh or canned tomatoes, the cooked zucchini, the oregano, and parsley to pureed mixture. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Heat through. Garnish with cheese.

*I use the canned tomatoes and usually substitute basil for the oregano.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

PEACE and quiet...

I'm constantly looking for peace and quiet in my home. It's not about who's right or who's wrong or what's's about the solution that causes the least noise in the end! I even tell my son that sometimes. I want peace and quiet, and if I can reasonably get to the peace and quiet, then that's the path that I'm going to take.

Really, moments of peace and quiet in the house are few and far between. But, for me, true peace comes from God. In the midst of my circumstances--whether it be crying kids or whatever--I can still have peace. I can even have quiet--not outwardly, but inwardly. In the end, it becomes my choice to choose the peace and quiet that's so readily available!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sometimes I Amaze Myself!

Well, I wouldn't really say "amaze myself," but I am pretty excited about how cute this little box is. It's an "exploding" box. Exploding meaning that when you take off the lid, the side fall down into pages of a mini album.

I had lots of fun doing this, and I could see myself making more in the future. I was thinking of making a smaller one with Bible verses for the members of my Mom's group. It could be a box exploding with blessings!

I'm kinda sad that I have to let this one go. I made it for an auction. The auction begins tomorrow and is taking place at The Scrapbook Chalet . It's to benefit a family that has a child that has needed several surgeries. I may have to clean off my desk and then take a picture of it on my desk, so I can remember it after it's gone! I know that's crazy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

10 Things That Make Me Happy...

In no particular order:

My children - Who would think so much joy and so much pain could be rolled up into one? Parenting is definitely the toughest job I'll ever love!

My husband - Yes, he deserves his own mention. He loves me, supports me, takes care of me, and puts up with me. I don't know what I would be or where I would be without him.

Nighttime in the desert - The air always seems so crisp and clear. I guess it's the absence of humidity, but it is one of my favorite things about living here.

Music - Whether I'm just listening, or singing along, or even playing an instrument, music puts a spring in my step!

My faith in God - There's a lot to be said for eternal security!

Bubble baths - I don't take them much anymore since we no longer have a jacuzzi tub, but it sure is nice to soak your cares away!

Fresh flowers - I wish Scott would understand this one!

Road trips - I like exploring the countryside and seeing new places! Now most of our road trips consist of going back to Texas, but even that is a good trip!

Letters and packages in the mail - Someone loves me! (Even if it is only because I ordered something from them ;-))

Friends - I cherish all my friends--the support, laughs, and ideas that they give me are priceless!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

There are never enough hours!

Whenever we have family or friends in town, it seems like there are never enough hours in the day to do everything that we want to do. Today we wanted to have 99 cent breakfast, get the girls faces painted at Circus Circus, visit M&M World, ride the roller coaster at New York New York, have a bowling party, and eat at Sweet Tomatoes. OK, so maybe the problem is that we want to do too MUCH while friends and family are here. It wouldn't have been too bad if the face painting place had been open when we got there. We had to wait about an hour. But, the girls are too small to ride the roller coasters, so we needed to do something for them. (I'll have to upload photos later because my keys and camera are locked in the van and dh is gone right now.)

We get to New York New York, and ds is 1 inch too short to ride. I felt bad for him. His aunt thought that maybe he was relieved because she thought he might be getting nervous about riding it. So, maybe in a few months I can take him back to ride it. I thought it was strange, but they made him take off his shoes to measure him. They don't make you take off your shoes to ride it! But, better safe than sorry!

The roller coaster was lots of fun. As we were going up the first incline we were looking right at the sun. (We were in the first car.) But, once you reached the top, you could see a lot of the valley. My sister-in-law screamed about half the time, and I laughed the whole time. We also found out why they had restraints just above your shoulders--that would be the simulated jet fighter's barrel roll. Makes you wonder how they stay in their seat in the jet fighters! It was such a fun ride--I wonder if I'll ever be able to get dh to go with me!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


It's so fun to watch Allison with her friends. I like hearing her talk about them and make plans concerning them. Today she went to her friend's birthday party. We left, and she was saying that she's going to invite her friend to her party next year. Actually, she named off a whole list of friends. I guess I just enjoy how innocent she is and how innocent her ideas are. Who knows if she'll have the same circle of friends next year. They could go to different school or move away or some other circumstance. But, I'll enjoy the moment where life is perfect and good!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Love is a many splendored thing....

...but a much overused word in our vocabularies. We love shoes, colors, cars, coffee, layouts, just about anything that makes our lives easier or catches our eye. I certainly think the word love is overused and misused. When we were kids, if you said that you loved something your friends would always say, "Well, why don't you marry it?" I think that question points to the fact that really, we should be using a word other than love. I have tried (but have not yet succeeded) to use the word love less. I want my children to know that when I say I love them, they are not in the same category as "things" in my life. I want my children to know that they are unique and special and worthy of being loved. I want them to know that love is special and something to be cherished, and is nothing like appreciation, adoration, delight, or fondness. I want them to know that when I say that I love them, it is a special comment used for special people!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Here's my layout for week 3 of the Survivor contest at The Scrapbook Chalet. The challenge (for me) was to do a scraplift from HardCoreScrapper. We were paired up this week, so she is lifting one of my layouts. It was definitely a fun challenge. I'm glad I got to scrap this photo of the girls because I think it's so cute--their hair and their expressions. It's going to be a tough vote this week. There are only 8 of us left, but 5 will be leaving the contest this week. There have been some amazing creations throughout the contest, and I'm sure this week will be no exception!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Let them eat cake!

Even if it looks a little freaky. Alli and I were searching the internet for a cake. I was prepared to put out the effort for an Ariel cake, but she saw the photo of this cake and wanted it. I think it looks weird because she doesn't have any arms. I think her face looks weird too, but I didn't really know what else to do with it. It was a big hit. She loved it--in fact, everyone at her party loved it. Well, except for her Mom!
The party was lots of fun and not a lot of work--loved that part for sure! Alli wouldn't stand next to Chuck E. Cheese or cooperate for a photo with Mom or Dad, but I know she had a great time! We came home with lots of Barbies and Polly Pockets, a pink fuzzy phone, and lots of other stuff that I'll have to find a place to put! The thing that bugs me the most is that the best photo of her was taken by the machine that draws your photo!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My Baby is 4!

Alli's birthday was on Monday. Someone asked if I was having a difficult time with her being 4. I really don't have a problem, but I think next year will be a whole different story. Five is the beginning of school and the end of spending the day at home with Mom. But, I'll worry about that next year.
Her party is Saturday. I went the easy route--Chuck E. Cheese. All we have to do is show up with a cake. It's going to be a mermaid, and she's already picked out the one she wants me to make. We should have lots of fun doing that tomorrow!