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Month: April 2015

Roast Your Own Peppers

Roast Your Own Peppers

I recognize that this post will be irrelevant to most readers because you can just walk into Publix and find all of the ingredients you need. However, for my overseas peeps, this may help.

It never fails….

I get my heart (and stomach) set on a particular dish only to to learn, after three trips to three different stores, that the ingredients I need to make said dish can’t be found where we live. Bummer.

I’ve been craving chicken enchiladas from my favorite little Southern tea room but most recipes I find for Mexican food list “diced green chiles” as an ingredient, which I can’t usually find here. After a little experimentation and internet research, I learned that I can easily make my own but, I wanted to try it before I hailed it as a success.

Lucky me, it worked great.

I bought a few green chile peppers and laid them directly on the open flame of my stove.

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Rotate the peppers every few minutes in order to make sure all sides are charred. Don’t worry, you want them to turn black.

After you’ve charred the peppers all around, put them inside a paper bag to rest for fifteen to twenty minutes. This step is not mandatory if you are pressed for time but it does make removing the skins a bit easier.

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Cut the tops off the peppers and put them under running water as you slide your fingers up and down the peppers (pinching them slightly) and the skin will begin to peel off.

You’ll be left with something resembling this. Now chop them up and add them to your recipe in place of diced green chiles.

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I’ve used the same method to roast red peppers to make pimento cheese and it worked great. Turns out I can still keep in touch with my Southern roots, no matter where we live.

Boy Moms: The Other Side of the Story

Boy Moms: The Other Side of the Story

I’m keenly aware of the reality that people often think my house full of boys was an attempt at something else. I know this because well, quite frankly- they tell me. Often.

“What did you do wrong in your life to deserve all those boys?”

“Where you trying for a girl?”

“Wow! Five boys, I’m sorry.”

“I guess you won’t have anybody to take care of you in your old age.”

Yep, people actually say those things. Rude. Fortunately, these comments don’t really phase me these days.

While I can’t deny the fact that I’d love to have a girl, the honest truth is that I’m over the top thrilled about being an all boy mom. I’ve read a thing or two about gender remorse and can say with 100% certainty, I’ve never had it.
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Every other time I’ve gotten pregnant it’s been unplanned.  Either we were totally blindsided, we were okay with the idea of our family growing or we were purposefully trying to have another baby. Contrary to popular belief it never was out of a desire to “get that girl” as many in the peanut gallery have stated.

I love- I mean big, pink, puffy heart love- being an all boy mom. In my humble opinion, I think boys get a bad rap. Every time I read an article about being a mom to all boys it has to mention the subjects of passing gas, pee on the floor or “male part” obsession. And while I will neither confirm nor deny the afore mentioned subjects, I must say, there is so much more to raising boys.

Here are just a few of my favorite things about being a mom to all boys.

1) Getting dressed & out of the house is fairly simple: No hair braiding or curling, no makeup, no accessories or tights. I can’t speak for all boys but most days mine could care less what they wear. Jeans, a t-shirt, some flip flops and we’re out the door. It doesn’t get much more simple than that. And when you’ve got seven people to get out the door- simple is a good thing.

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2) I’m the princess in the house: being the only female in the house means you are afforded many special privileges. It’s not unusual for me to get 2 or 3 hand picked flowers every time we walk out the door. Our neighbors who work so diligently in their flower beds don’t really like it, but I think it’s pretty sweet.

And it’s an unwritten rule among my boys that anything pink goes to mama. I automatically inherit all the pink Sweet Tarts, Starbursts, Skittles or anything else that happens to be pink.  Who wouldn’t love that?

3) I have many opportunities to change up the decor in my house: Little decorative nicknacks get broken on a regular basis. Some may see this as a problem but I see it as an opportunity to create something new and change our surroundings often. Just last week I walked into the area of the house where we do school and was greeted by this lovely sight. When I asked what happened to the curtains the boys told me they were using the curtains to make an obstacle course. Makes perfect sense, right?

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4) What girl doesn’t love being treated like a lady?: It doesn’t matter if we are walking out our front door or piling into the elevator in our building you’ll hear a loud chorus of, “Ladies First!!!!” which of course, is sometimes followed by a minor scuffle as the boys try to prevent one another from getting in front of me. They argue over whose turn it is to open the door for mom, accompany her to the grocery store for “protection” or hold her hand as we walk down the street. I never grow tired of feeling so special.

5) There’s never a shortage of cuddles and snuggles: Many men would say physical touch is their primary love language and that is often times evident from a fairly early age. Not in a gross kind of way, but my boys always want to sit in my lap, stroke my hair, hold my hand or have me scratch their back. I know the day is coming when each of my sons will want to hold another lucky lady’s hand, so I’m going to soak in every moment.

So, while I’m sure girls really are sugar and spice and everything nice. I think it’s worth noting that there is so much more to raising boys than snakes and snails and puppy dog tails.

Redefining Resilience: Two Years in the M.E.

Redefining Resilience: Two Years in the M.E.

The word resilient is defined as “able to become strong, healthy or successful again after something difficult or bad has happened.”

It’s not often that I allow myself to sit alone quietly and reflect back over the transition that has been our life for the past two years.  Who am I kidding? It has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t allow myself, it’s more that I never have a moment alone. Last week the principal the Hubby gave me the day off and I found myself sitting alone in a coffee shop recalling the numerous intricate details that curve, twist, bend, distort and turn {but somehow come together} to form the beautiful symphony of our lives.

My flesh wants to tell the world it’s been easy. My sinful nature whispers in my ear that if I tell you about the dark days you’ll think I’m weak. And my desire to please wants to present to you a woman that has it all together and gladly accepts the journey God has her on. The problem is- that just hasn’t always been the case.

Last week we celebrated our two year anniversary of living in the Middle East. I’m certain there isn’t enough space in the world wide web to chronicle all the Lord has taught me on this journey, but the overarching theme can be summed up with Isaiah 9:10 “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”

The journey has been fierce and more days than not, I wanted to give up. The things I believed defined my life and the person I was seem like a distant memory. I was fragile, wounded and my life had been shattered…or so I thought.

But, just like you would never tear down a beautiful home-

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-just to build a rickety shack in it’s place.109500888_efc3b0271b

The Lord was choosing to tear down the woman I was, so He could create something new.

I was under the impression that a “new me” wasn’t needed- but I was wrong. This journey has led me to see that I can, in fact, depend on myself- rather than Him. And I can and have found satisfaction in this world- instead of Him. And the temptation is always there to root my identity in what I can do- instead of what He has done for me.

These were brutal lessons to learn, but they were necessary. I find my grip on this world a lot looser than it used to be. And I believe the Lord has been gracious in allowing me to see how much I really do need Him each day.

I’ve aged a few years in the process- but I’m confident that He has prepared me for tomorrow and even more important, He has allowed me a brief glimpse of His face. I long to hear His voice, because I know what it’s like to be without it. I see His glory in the smallest of things, because something as simple as a gentle breeze to dry our laundry is evidence of His grace. And I rejoice in His goodness, because I’ve learned that I can’t make it a day without Him.