Thursday, March 31, 2011

Urban Momma: 100 Posts and 1 Year Old!!!

I can't believe it's already been a year since I have joined the blogging world!! I have really enjoyed it, even though I don't always have time or energy enough to keep up with it how I would like!! Last March I did my first post, and since then have worked all the way up to 100 posts this month!! I hope I am inspiring stay at home moms out there (or working moms, want-to-be moms, home cooks, homemakers, etc.) to cook well, be a little more organized, to be intentional about their families and spiritual lives, and to seek to be better at what they do.
I can't help but notice lately at the gym, as the sweat is pouring off of me and I'm dying during my sprint, the sign (at the YMCA) that says,

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men;" Colossians 3:23

It really makes you think about doing things differently, not half-heartedly and dragging through the day, but really intentionally seeking to serve God through everything we do. I would like you to check out this blog post on if you get the chance:

How To Be a More Patient Mom in Just 24 Hours

It is a great, short blog post that gives great insight and tips for tired, stressed-out moms.

I hope to get back to my usual, more frequent blogging soon. I have been so busy working out, cleaning house, gardening (more on this later!!), and getting settled in our house that blogging has taken a backseat these days. But I have so much I have been wanting to share here, so hopefully it will be here soon!! I want to thank all my readers for your encouragement and for being a part of my life, especially through the move and everything!! Your comments and feedback mean a lot!!

If you would like, feel free to comment on what types of posts you have liked or would like to see more of on this blog!!

Happy 1 year Urban Momma!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Swirls

Sorry I have been MIA lately!! A few weeks back, I posted about being Homemaker MIA, and missing being in my own home and doing my own thing. Well now I'm a homemaker and I'm Blogger MIA!!! It turns out that it takes a lot of work to run a home, take care of 2 small kids, homeschool, cook dinner, clean your house, and get together with new friends. And workout. And bake. And story time at the library...Well, you get the picture. I will try to be more diligent!!

You have got to try these!!! I use this old church cookbook that my mom gave me, and I found this old recipe written by Betty Taylor (whoever remembers her!!). I was hoping it would turn out good!! It was amazing, as you can see from the pictures!! Ha! But really, you do need to make these and see for yourself!!

Peanut Butter Swirls
Leroy Community Chapel super old cookbook
Betty Taylor

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1/4 cup nuts (optional, I didn't use)

1. Beat peanut butter, butter, and the brown and white sugars until creamed. Add 2 eggs and the vanilla and beat until whipped.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and add to the creamed mix.
3. Spread in a 9 by 13 pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the dough.
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes and then run a knife to swirl through the dough to marbleize, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes more.

Head on over to to check out even more Chocolate delights!!
Trust me, you will be glad you did!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saving Time

As moms of little ones, we all know that our days easily slip away from us. I mean, let's face it. We might not get paid for our job, and we might not have an official title and job description, but our job takes a lot of work!! To get things done efficiently, we need to have a plan, have some order, and take advantage of the time we have!! Otherwise we will find ourselves exhausted, running in our own strength, and sitting in a messy, chaotic house. Always getting places late. Forgetting important things. Not getting important things done. Skipping breakfast. Behind on household chores.
So let me suggest, for me and for you, that we get a little organized. If we can take advantage of the time we have, we can get so much more accomplished and have more time for the things that really matter. When our kids are awake and needing our last drop of attention, we have to expect that and plan for that. To be able to spend time with them instead of constantly pawning them off to another show because "mommy has things to do."
So let's make the utmost effort to get the most done when they are sleeping. Or when they are actually playing nicely together by themselves. Those are the times that we get out our little to-do lists and do the most important things. That and some other time-saving tips:
  • Pick out outfits the night before. No scrounging for outfits the next day or fighting over which shoes go with what skirt, etc.
  • Pack the diaper bag the night before, complete with extra outfits, snacks, toys, and things to keep kids occupied in the grocery store, at church, or wherever you are going.
  • When making dinner, make extra and freeze it. If you are already prepping for one meal, you might as well make a little more and have an extra meal on hand.
  • Plan out the days meals the night before, week before, or even month before. This takes the guesswork and mental planning out of each day. You know what to thaw the night before, and when you need to start working on dinner.
  • Plan breakfasts/lunches the night before, week before, or even month before. I used to have a breakfast planner where each day of the week was assigned to cereal, oatmeal, eggs, pancakes, etc. so I didn't have to think about it and there was variety for our morning meal.
  • Do as much prep work Saturday nights before crazy church morning. We want to eliminate distractions, fights, and stress on Sunday morning where the devil tries to weasel his way in to distract us from focusing ourselves on worship. Go to great lengths to prep outfits, meals, set out bibles, pick out shoes, and bathe kids the night before so that Sunday mornings are a breeze.
  • At night when the kids go down, get to cleaning!! Don't sit down and veg for an hour! Get the dishes done, living room picked up, and bathroom wiped down. The kids are finally in bed and you can get that house cleaned without a little trail behind you of messy kids!! It makes for a great morning when I can wake up to a wonderfully clean house!!
  • I know I have shared about the Maximize Your Mornings a hundred times, but really this is an effective way to get your day started. I need to get back into them. I could get quality time with God, workout, and plan for school, dinner, and my daily chores all before my kids were up!! This was really a great way to start the day!!
Well, I could probably think of a hundred more things to write about, but that's a pretty good list for me to work on!! Sometimes we get so stuck in our routines that we don't even think of how we could improve them or make them more efficient!! I just know that the more productive I can be with my time, and the more I can get done with my small amounts of time to myself, the better off my whole family is!! I would love to hear about how you all save time and use the time you have wisely!! Please comment!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day with a Green Monster Smoothie

Well, hello readers!! I am happy to say that I finally jumped on the bandwagon and made my first Green Monster smoothie. I was pleasantly surprised!! Not being a huge spinach fan, I was hoping I would still be able to stand the flavor. I am, however, a HUGE smoothie fan, and the spinach actually added great flavor!! Not to mention antioxidants and vitamins!! I feel like I always sound like such a car salesman on my blog. Oh well. Runs in the family:)
So, apparently there's this thing called the Green Monster Movement. You can read about it if you like!! On this particular website, there are different recipes for Green Monster Smoothies, and different powders and ingredients you can add to make different flavors. For my first one, I made the blueberry banana smoothie. I bought enough ingredients that I had 3 smoothies, actually Tad and I split 3 smoothies. Here are the ingredients:


1 banana
1/2 cup blueberries
2-3 cups organic spinach
1-1 1/4 cup milk (any kind)

You just blend it right up in your little blender, adding more milk if necessary, and ice cubes to your liking!!

Fresh Spinach
Dirty blender with random things in the background
It might look gross but I loved it, and Judah (1 yr old) kept coming back for more!!
And enough to make for 2! Or you could drink it all yourself!! Make it for breakfast, a snack, or even a healthy dessert!! And try the endless variations! But be careful, you might get hooked!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Try New Adventures Thursday: Midday Dinner and Spicy Beef Pitzas

So, for this week's Try New Adventures Thursday, I want to share a new thing we are doing in our house. I have always loved meal planning, and getting to cook about 4 to 5 times per week, or less depending on our schedules. Now that we have moved and Tad is working a new job, he has a regular schedule with regular hours, which we have been looking forward to for awhile!! Everyday he leaves around noon, and gets back late, so I have switched our big, homecooked meal to lunch time. I have found many positives:

  • Done with cooking for the day after lunch.

  • Have the rest of the day to scrub pots, load dishwasher, and clean up.

  • Better for your figure, so they say, to eat heavier at lunch and lighter at dinner.

  • We can eat leftovers for dinner, or an easy meal since it's just me and the kiddos.

  • I can cook in the morning while Tad is home and can watch the kids while I get dinner ready.

  • Tad's siblings often come over for their lunch break and eat with us.

  • We get to enjoy a nice dinner with Tad even though he isn't here at night!

So, overall, it has been a good switch!! It is different having to prepare a big meal in the morning, but like I said, it all works out because Tad can watch the kids, and then I can get things cleaned up before naptime. I didn't like having to scrub pots, clean a dirty kitchen, and have tons of dirty dishes to do after I put the kids to bed. It was exhausting and took me about an hour and a half to get everything done. Now, I have minimal cleanup at night because we eat leftovers or an easy-prep meal (quesadillas, butter noodles, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, etc.) so I am pretty much just throwing the last few dishes in the dishwasher for the night.

And with that, another recipe!! This has been one of our favorites!! I found this recipe for Spicy Beef Pitzas in a Rachael Ray Magazine in the "good deal" section. Supposedly this meal only costs $7.79 to make for a family, they estimate $1.95 per person!! After I made it once, Tad said he wanted me to make it frequently!! I even made it once and brought it to an outdoor concert!! After the recipe, I will give details on that!

Spicy Beef Pitzas

Everyday with Rachael Ray

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I used nonfat)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped habanero chile (I used jalapeno)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 lb. ground beef

4 pitas

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and two-thirds of the garlic; season with salt and pepper.

2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, the habanero chile and cumin; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

3. On a baking sheet, top each pita with a quarter of the beef mixture and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Serve with the garlic yogurt.

This meal is so tasty, and can easily be prepared ahead of time, which makes for a happy mommy!! You can brown the meat up ahead of time with the veggies, which I did a day in advance. You can make the yogurt dip ahead of time (but be aware, the longer the yogurt dip sits with the garlic, it will taste more and more garlicky!!). And for an easy to-go meal, make the pitas, wrap them individually with aluminum foil, and pack them all in a sealed container to keep warm (they taste fine at room temp as well). Bring the yogurt dip in a little cooler or packed with cold things. And you will have one yummy, homemade meal on the go!!

Couldn't resist some recent pics of the kids:

We have had several 70 plus degree days here, the kids have enjoyed playing at the park!! Judah can sit in the sand and play all day!! And when sissy isn't looking, he fills her boots/shoes with sand!! And he is a little walker now!! Once we moved into our own place and he wasn't being held all the time, he just started walking all over the place!! So fun!

Maddy was in a posing mood on this particular day. Not to mention she is adorable!!! Not biased or anything!!

Also, be sure to check out our new Facebook Fan Page: Urban Momma Gone Country!!! There are pictures from the blog, and you can post your comments about the blog there too!! Come check it out here!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs

I have made several recipes for spaghetti sauce, and haven't been very impressed with what I've tried. Finally, I found my favorite recipe, and from none other than a bachelor!! Tad's good friend, Jason, from Chicago, had us over for a spaghetti and meatballs dinner before him and Tad ran the marathon together last October. He lives with several other guys in a house, and set up the table all nice, and even made homemade peach cobbler!! It was so sweet, I assure you!! Anyways, when he moved out of his parent's house, his mom hand-wrote a whole recipe book for him of recipes that she always cooked. And in that dear cookbook was this recipe. I had to get that recipe from him!! It was so good!!
Since then I have made this recipe a bunch of times, and I love to make extra and freeze it! Before I had Judah, I made sure to have some of this in the freezer for those times when I didn't feel like cooking but wanted a homemade meal!! And the good thing about this is that you just throw it all in the crockpot (or pot on the stove) and let it cook for hours. Makes the house smell so good!! So give it a try!!
Here's the recipe:

Spaghetti and Meatballs
via Jason Smith, via his mom :)

1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbs. parsley
garlic salt
1 onion, minced

1 lg. can tomatoes 32. oz (I use diced)
1 can tomato sauce 15 oz.
1 can tomato paste 12 oz.
3 Tbs. grated cheese
2 beef bouillon cubes
Dash of sugar, salt, pepper

Oregano, Basil can be added too if desired

Drop meatballs raw into sauce, simmer several hours.

This is the basic recipe. Obviously you can play around with it, add different spices as needed, double the recipe, and cook it in a crockpot or large pot. I usually make it in a crockpot, but mine isn't that big, so this last time when I doubled the recipe, I had to use a large pot, and it cooked just fine. I simmered it for about 3 or 4 hours. You know it's done when the meatballs are cooked all the way through.


What is your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe??

Friday, March 4, 2011

Getting Settled

Finally, we have internet!! For anyone who missed what is going on with us, we just got our own little house (to rent) and moved out of Tad's parent's house after 2 months. We feel like official Oklahoma residents now!! It is so nice to be in our own place, to have our own space again, and to get into our own routines. It has been great to spend more time with the kids, explore our new neighborhood, and to get into my new kitchen (which I love, by the way!!) and get cooking again!! I have so many recipes to share with you in the coming weeks, including some freezer cooking!!

As soon as I get things a little bit more settled, I'll also post pictures of our new place, room by room, so you can get a feel for our little home!! I'm so glad to be back to blogging, checking up on your blogs, and sharing my favorite recipes with you all!!

Just in case you were wondering, here are some new blogs I love that you can check out if you have some time:

I should be back to normal blogging as soon as possible!! I miss it, and hope to hear from you all soon!! Goodnight!!