Monday, June 23, 2008

Strong to the Finich

As the price of groceries in on the rise and our lovely town council has decided to add a city sales tax, I've been looking for a way to reduce our grocery cost by cutting down on the amount of meat we buy. I have a vegetarian cookbook but most of the recipes are not appealing to my family's taste buds.

This recipe is one I never would have tried by my own choice; I'm not a fan of cooked spinach. But when a friend served these to me and my kids last week they were a hit all around the table. I've got a batch in the oven as I type and put one in the freezer for another day.

Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 container (16 oz) fat free cottage cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg white
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix (like Good Seasons)
20 jumbo macaroni shells, cooked and drained
1 jar spaghetti sauce

Mix spinach, cottage cheese, 1/.2 cup Mozzarella, egg white, red pepper and salad dressing mix in a large bowl until well blended. Fill each shell with 1 heaping tablespoon cheese mix.

Spoon 1/2 of the sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Arrange shells in dish and spoon remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella. Cover with foil.

Bake covered at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. If you freeze it, let it thaw completely before baking.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

No habla ingles

"If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?"
~Dani, JT's Cuban translator, regarding our native tongue

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Who says things slow down in the summer? While we aren't officially schooling, we've been going like gangbusters. We're working on some memory work, reading a historical novel, studying a little (un poco) Spanish over lunch, swimming on warm afternoons, and heading out to tennis lessons bright and early every morning. We've even gotten in quite a bit of fishing when the weather is friendly and Daddy is home. Yet somehow this is all very relaxing and is giving me plenty of time to think.

I've had a lot of personal revelations recently that have induced a quest for peaceful dependence on God alone for satisfaction and approval. I woke up one day and realized I'd morphed into a fearful woman who was painfully dependent on keeping other people's standards in order to feel that I was pleasing the Lord and faithfully discharging the duties He'd given me. My life had become a rodeo ride of trying to make sure everyone approved of me which bucked me from feelings of total moronic inadequacy one day to perfectionism and pride the next. No matter what I did, I fell off the bronco. Even when I wasn't sure I agreed with a person's stance or required action I was plagued by a little voice saying, "What if they're right?" and was afraid that if I didn't comply I would possibly screw up my life or the life of my family.

A few articles that have started me thinking about what my relationships with Christ and other people are based on are Religion and the Gospel and All of Life is Repentance, by Tim Keller, and Solving the Homeschool Crisis, by Reb Bradley. They've focused my attention back on the basics of Christ's teachings and reminded me that God is in control, not me. He is gracious and loving and I have no reason to fear.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tips from the dentist's office

I had my routine cleaning the other day and the hygienist was quite chatty. She told me a few things that make me glad we spend boo-coo bucks to take the fam sans insurance to the dentist twice a year:

1. The health of our teeth and the health of our bodies are directly related. Untreated dental problems can lead to all sorts of other ailments--something about blood and oxygen circulation.

2. The bacteria found under the gums of someone with gingivitis is the same bacteria found in the brain of Alzheimer's patients when autopsied.

3. People who floss daily live 7 years longer than those who don't.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

~From the Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

Thanks to Kristy for the free association inspiration and thanks those of you who love me albeit I'm droopy, loose in the joints, and shabby.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In Udder News...

Has anyone else noticed that Aldi is now carrying organic milk? I saw it yesterday. It's $2.99 a half gallon. That's still more expensive than a whole gallon of regular milk at their store but less than the price of organic at other stores. According to their website they're stocking other organic items in their Australia stores. Maybe we'll be next. Organic Aldi; who knew?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

He's home!

Thank you all for praying for our family while my husband was in Cuba. We picked up a very tired but smiling man at the airport today, thankful to be home, and thankful to be an American.