Friday, January 28, 2011

2010 Reflections on Cooking, Labor and Babies

Reflections on Cooking
What a year! So many changes.... I thoroughly enjoyed trying all my new recipes, although I have to confess - my favorites are all the dishes I grew up on in the good old red and white Mennonite cookbooks. Pioneer Woman comes in a strong second though. Her step by step instructions taught me how to make fried chicken, gravy and a pot roast!
Over the past year, a few things have grabbed my heart, and I now claim them as my favorites/can't live without them:

Not in any specific order:
1. My wooden cutting board and fruit/anything basket

2. Catch all dish - home for my wedding rings (currently guarded by two adorable snowmen)

3. Tongs - one of my favorite utensils!

4. Dutch Oven in Cranberry - Love this!! It is perfect for roasts, deep frying, soup and much more!

5. BUTTER - need I say more....

6. French Fried Onions - You can put these on everything :)

7. Mini Casserole Dishes - what's not to love about these

8. Bath and Body Works Fresh Lime Basil hand foam wash

Reflections on Labor
1 word - epidural!
I couldn't stop complimenting the doctor who administered this drug. I'm guessing he gets that a lot :) I faced my biggest fear this year, and it wasn't worth all the worry and stress I gave it. My labor was made much easier with drugs. I have no shame in admitting that I am a pure wimp when it comes to pain, needles and blood! And when I go in to deliver my next child, I will once again ask (plead) for drugs :)

Reflections on babies
While everyone puts the fear of God in you about labor, no one ever told me about the emotions of bringing your new bundle home. "A child will change your life" - understatement of the year! No one could have prepared me for those first few weeks. I am so grateful for the support system I had (hubby/mom/mother-in-law). At almost 4 months, I am just now getting back into a somewhat normal routine. Although every day, I find myself changing my mindset that this is the new normal for us. And when i'm having a bad day, all it takes is a smile from Oliver and somehow all those frustrations just melt away.
My favorite sounds - the coo's of my son and the garage door opening at 5:00 p.m.
My favorite time of day - early morning snuggle times with Oliver and sitting down to dinner with Ryan
A few of my favorite baby things:
1. Oliver's new P.J.'s (thanks to his Aunt Jo)

2. Oliver's new lamb (thanks to Grandma K.)

3. Baby boy socks

Effective January 3rd, I am making the transition from full time to two days a week. Ryan and I both felt an unrest about me returning to work full time. So with much prayer, we trusted Gods leading for me to quit my job. When I went in to resign, I was offered two days a week, which was exactly what I was looking for! What an awesome answer to prayer. (Next time I doubt that God will come through - just slap me).

New sacrifices will need to be made now that our income has been decreased. I won't be able to eat at my favorite restaurants as often as I like, buy that adorable sweater at GAP or even have my sons pictures taken at my favorite photographer, but I find the sacrifices worth it! If it means I can stay home with my son, see his first steps, wipe all his tears and instill in him the values that are so important - I give them up gladly!

So with a diaper rag on my shoulder and a snotty, congested child on my lap, I am embracing my new life - a mother in need of Gods grace....every hour!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Muffin is Sick

Muffin is sick. This is my first experience taking care of a sick child, and I am amazed… shocked… at the range of emotions involved in taking care of a sick baby. My first reaction was sympathy, then confusion of knowing what is wrong when they can’t tell you, then exhaustion, followed by frustration, then guilt for feeling frustration, and finally ending again with empathy. Yet somehow, the emotions follow a vicious cycle that can all be experienced within a 60-second time frame. And in the midst of it, I think often of my other friends who have several children, all sick, and who are sick themselves. What right do I have to feel exhausted and frustrated with my one sick child when they have many? Ugh….. I’m tired!

I’m reminded of Isaiah 40:11 – “He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Oliver hasn’t slept since 11:50 and it is now 4:36. (My bad, he slept from 4:15-4:35). Is that normal?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hurry!! Muffin is sleeping....

When Muffin finally falls asleep, my mind races with what to do first. The first two thoughts that ALWAYS come to mind are washing my dishes and cleaning my toilets. The first I can understand but the second keeps me guessing. Am I secretly feeling frantic that someone will need to use my "unclean" toilet and immediately perceive me as a horrible housewife because my toilets are dirty? If my toilets are dirty, then everything else must be falling through the cracks too.... (ha - no pun intended)
Well anyway, I did first clean my toilet and now I'm blogging. I feel better.

What is on my menu this week?

Chicken Spaghetti (The Pioneer Woman)
Deer Tenderloin - just popping it in the crock pot with some Onion Soup Mix and Cream of Mushroom Soup
Enchiladas (The Pioneer Woman) - minus the green chillies and black olives
Garlic Cheese Bread (The Pioneer Woman) - am SUPER excited about this!
And for the most exciting - Spaghetti Cupcakes for my nephew Brandon. I can't wait to post pictures :)

It is in my Hello Cupcake book (Thanks Jo! My favorite cookbook). I just yahoo-ed it (is that a word?) and found out that they have published a new one. And it just so happens that I have a B&N gift card!!!! Did I mention that I LOVE making pretty cupcakes?!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Butter, Babies and Books

Let's start with books. Here is what is currently on my end table.

First, let me apologize for my lack of photography talent. New Years resolution - learn how to take better pictures. More on that later....

Good old Grisham. I always considered myself a romance, boy/girl dance hand in hand into a wheat field stringing daisy crowns for each other, couple kissing in the rain under a yellow umbrella, girl looses cat to cancer kind of reader. Surprisingly, I found myself completely intrigued with Grisham's plots and was completely sucked in. The Confession is a must read. I was hooked by page 20.
The Book - my in-laws encouraged their children to read through the Bible this year and gave us this easy-to-understand version with their challenge. What a great idea!
I just love Patsy! Kaleidoscope journeys through proverbs and gives applicable insight to a few key verses. Her humorous spin makes these insights easy to understand and apply to my daily life.
Walking with God - my Sunday School book and workbook. I love Eldredge's honesty and his heart. So far, he has encouraged us to ask God simple questions as a start to hearing his voice. I'm learning to rest in his presence and to listen to his quiet voice.
Pretend that Baby Wise is on the top of this stack too. It will make its appearance this week.

It is reading season! What are you reading?

I am The Harvest Wife

Welp - Here it goes! I've been thinking of starting a blog for some time, and I finally made the time for the first post.
I am The Harvest Wife. I love my God. I love my husband. And I love my little muffin. We all live here on the picturesque Harvest Lane. Picturesque if you consider wheat and pasture eye-catching and glorious! I certainly love our homeplace. I just had a thought. Is it wrong to refer to our homeplace as a plantation? Feels like one. Makes it sound southern and welcoming. Plus we always have sweet tea in the fridge. Ok, that settles it. I love our plantation. Now I have to plant cherry blossoms up and down our wheat and pasture lane.... And I suddenly have a hankering for peach cobbler....

I love cooking! Last year, I made a resolution to make 50 new recipes in 2010. I made it to 20 and got pregnant. After loosing my appetite for a few weeks, I lost the ambition to finish. After I had my little muffin, the ambition returned, and I finished the year with 30 new recipes under my belt.

Most of my posts will probably revolve around butter, babies and books. I hope to share with you some of my favorite things - in the kitchen, nursery and on my bookshelf. So have a seat, grab some sweet tea and enjoy the simple things of life with me.