Traditional Dinner In A Pumpkin

I love being a mama,  but being a mama is a job. I wish I was supermom and could do everything.
Plaid, floral and polka dots. I Think I kindof like it.
 Of course she gets the mixing of prints from her mama. ;)

 Anyone who is a mama would understand.  At the end of the day, after Sunny is bed, and we thank the Lord for our day, I lay there thinking of how much I love my lil stinker. I love my husband too, but the love a mother has for her child is a different type of love.
I love Sunny so much. As I lay there, I reflect on the day that is gone and will never be back.  "Was I a good mama today?" "Could I have been better?" I ask.  Somedays I wish I was better. I wish I had endless energy. I wish I was this....I wish I was that....  The good news is tomorrow is a new day. No mama is expected to be perfect. We are after all, human, and we all have our good days and our not so good days. That's normal.
Dinner In a pumpkin.  Ever had it? 
I think everyone wants a day off from cooking, not just tired mama's. 
 A couple weeks ago, I asked another family if they would like to do a dinner exchange with us. They agreed. We decide on a day and take turns cooking. We chose Wednesday and Friday.  Last Wednesday,  she cooked us some food.  Tonight was our turn. She said she would love to try dinner in a pumpkin, so that is what I made.
It's a tradition to make this every October.
It is basically a meaty rice casserole baked inside a cleaned out pumpkin. The inside of the pumpkin  is eaten with the casserole and serves as the veggie portion. It is mild and very much like cooked butternut squash in texture.

It is very tasty. Even if eating inside I a pumpkin grosses you out, I think y'all will like this. It looks complicated,  but its super easy actually.


1 medium pumkin, cleaned out and pulp and seeds removed.
1 1/2 c. Cooked white rice
1 onion, chopped
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 lb ground beef
1 6 oz can mushrooms
1 can water chestnuts (found in international isle next to soy sauce
2 T. Low sodium soy or tamari sauce
2 T. Brown sugar
1 packet Lipton onion soup packet

Preheat oven to 350. Have cleaned out pumpkin put aside.
1. Begin by sauteeing onions in oil.
2. Add beef and brown
3.  Combine cream of mushroom soup with Lipton onion soup mix and stir into cooked rice.
4. Stir together soy sauce and brown sugar in bowl.
5. Drain grease from beef and add soy sauce mixture to beef. Add canned mushrooms and chestnuts. Stir well and combine with rice mixture.
Scoop mixture into pumpkin. It should fill to top. Replace cut out pumpkin stem top and place on top. Place pumkin on cookie sheet for one hour, or until pumkin is soft and flesh is tender. Enjoy!


Cooler Weather & Oatmeal Fruit Bars (Cookies)

Sunny loves cookies. Just the mention of a cookie will get her running to her high chair, in which she gets in herself and buckles her own self in.
 Someone told me she reminds them of "Michelle" from Full House. Definately the hair style.
 I try to sneak in healthier ingredients when making cookies. This means reducing or substituting sugar for, adding more fiber such as flaxseed, Chia seed or crushed nuts.
 she made that bat and monster at her daycare "art class." She takes it everywhere.
These oatmeal bars have a cherry jam embedded between two layers of oatmeal crust. I get my jam at our local Red Barn and am sold on the cherry. Sunny ate these for breakfast and I didn't feel bad.
 She has grown. Getting out her warmer clothes, I see a big difference from last fall.
                  she loves her backpack.
 They are relatively healthy and she thought she was eating a cookie.  ;)
1 c. Oatmeal
1. C Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 c. Brown sugar
1/2 c. Butter softened
3/4 c. Jam of choice
Mix in 1 T. Flaxseed and/or Chi a seeds/nuts for more texture.
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl, add butter last and mix thoroughly.  Grease pan 9 x 13 inch rectangle pan. Layer half of mixture in pan and flatten down. Spread jam and then crumble down rest of mixture on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool and serve.

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Moments To Ponder

Tigger died peacefully around 4:30 pm yesterday. We knew it was coming, but in the back of my mind I was hoping for some small miracle. He hadn't pooped in four days and Rodney suggested I run to to the store to get him something to help. I picked him up an enema and we tried giving him one to see if he would go. He was outside basking in the sun and looked so bloated.  After the enema, we went inside and went about our day. When we went out to check on him later that day, he had already gone.

We buried him in our backyard wrapped in a pillow case.  We both cried.  Never did we imagine it would come to this.  We never saw him hit by a car, but it's the only possible explanation of what caused his internal injuries. He will be forever loved and never forgotten.

I decided to make some changes in my life. I have been so wrapped up in a strict routine. I hadn't taken Sunny to our local library for the longest time. I don't think I have read her a single book in awhile.  It was time to get back on track.

Our local library has storytime everyday of the week.  I usually take her on Tuesday, but I love going on Friday a bit better, because the new storytime lady is amazing with kids.

After storytime, they do a little art project. Sunny has hyper-activity and doesn't sit during storytime. She runs around and causes distraction most of the time. She loves singing and dancing, but not sitting. This particular day was packed. I had never seen it so crowded before.

After her art project, we checked out several books. She is taking more interest in books now. I decided to check out a few dvd's. There dvd collection is great. I saw one of my favorite movies. It's called Waitress.  I have seen this movie so many times, but I could watch it over and over.  This movie touches me so deeply. The last time I watched this movie, I had no children. Watching this movie after having Sunny, had given me a whole different perspective.

This movie is about a woman (Kerri Russell) who plays a waitress. She creates a new pie everyday. Every pie she bakes has an emotion she is feeling associated with it. She finds out she is pregnant with her first child and is very upset about it. She doesn't want the baby, and ends up falling in love with her own ob/gyn doctor.  This is the best movie and I was thrilled to find it at the library of all places.

This scene is at the end of the movie, I never cried when I watched this scene before, but after becoming a mother, this scene just brought me to tears.

This is the most beautifully written movie. It goes to show how beautiful motherhood is.


Tigger's Final Hours

Since last Thursday, our family pet's life has changed. One day, he was this 6 month old kitten, full of life, running, chasing butterflies, and climbing trees.

Then, over night, everything changed. That is how precious life is. This experience brought me to that realization. You can't take life or the ones you love for granted.

I wish I could go back to Wednesday night.  I remember I glanced over at Tigger, sitting on the recliner chair next to me.  He should of been on my lap, I should of been snuggling or petting him, but I wasn't.  If only I could of expressed how much I loved him that night. He would of never been put outside that morning. He loved daily increments of going outside. My heart aches, the guilt is consuming me, I should of protected him better, supervised him outside, etc....but I can't change the past. I pictured Tigger as our family pet for years to come. 

We can't heal if we do the could've,  should've, would've replays in our minds. All we can do, is give him all the love we can in his final hours.

Three days ago, I rejected the idea of putting him down. I thought he would get better, but his injuries are worse then I thought.  His internal bleeding has gotten so bad, that this morning he turned white and his body was hard and stiff. I had high hopes.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Trying to help Sunny understand and watching her act out her emotions is hard. Her hyperactivity is at an all time high.

We love you, Tigger. Even though you are still here, everything tells me you are so close to the end. We did what we could to save you, but sometimes all the meds and treatments are not enough. Everything is in God's hands. He's in charge. I know we'll see Tigger again as we will the other pets we've lost throughout our lives.  Until we meet again.


Where's Sunny? (And A Tigger Update)

Today started out great.  I walked for over an hour today then got home and went to yoga with Sunny. I dropped her off at daycare at the gym. I admit I was scared to leave her there when I first started going to gym there, but over time, I got to know the fun ladies there and had trust.
Except today, I went to pick up Sunny as usual. There were only a few kids inside and they seemed confused as to why i was there. Sunny was not there. I started to panic inside. One of the ladies started panicking too. She was checking in the bathroom, etc. Another lady said, "check outside." I opened the gate and followed her outside. Sunny was outside alone and they didn't know it.
 As I left, both daycare attendees looked ashamed, and said preschool kids were out there. They somehow forgot about Sunny and left her out alone.  How long she was out there, unsure?? They didn't know what to say to me.

I didn't say anything. I was just disappointed. I know it was an accident on their part. I am not angry, but my trust has decreased as a result. Just look at that little face.
My poor mom had her share of worries. I was the kid who always wondered off. As a kid,  I was picked up by the police more then once. I am preparing myself. Parenting is worry. But I will prepare myself in faith, not fear.

I am reading articles on parenting. One thing I read that stood out was this:

Happy and healthy mom's make a better parent.

So true. That is why I strive to go to gym, to have "me" time once in awhile,  to eat right. I need this to help me be patient and successfully parent. Since Sunny was born, i have sang alot more. More then half our days at home are listening to music or singing. Singing is happiness.  Sunny needs this and so do I.

Also, I think sunny is officially potty trained. Maybe. I cant get my hopes up. She has gone peep in the potty a few times and gets the concept. I have seen success with singing songs associated with training her.  We will sing the "stinky song" for when she needs number 2, and she loves it. It's a song i made up, but it works.

Anyway, we had a mega thunderstorm last night. I loved it. Sunny and Rodney loved it too. Tigger probably didn't care for it. He is still re-cooperating from his accident.

Last Thursday,  he was hit by a car and has broken spine.  He is an indoor cat, but lately he has been asking to be outside. He was unlucky that day. We rushed him to emergency and he had xrays. The vet said he has a 20 percent chance of recovery.  Not good, but I didnt want him to be put down. I am a firm beleiver in giving anyone/anything a chance. He is on steroids and antibiotics for 6 weeks. He has no nerve function now and doesn't have control of his bladder. He is in a cage for now. He goes outside for sun and is held throughout day. Poor thing. Updates to follow.


Mango Salsa (see January archive on right for recipe)