Daily Rebecca - dishing up a little bit of everything.

Pre-Influence Conference Rush

September 24th, 2014

Tomorrow morning I head off to Indianapolis for the annual Influence Conference and I’m so excited!

I went last year and had an amazing time.  I roomed with Diana then and this will be the first conference in FOREVER that we haven’t been roomies :(  I will certainly miss her and all of our binge eating, but she’s got very exciting travel coming up so I’m very excited for her!

Plus, this year I’ll get to know a few new ladies…

Kristi from And Babies Don’t Keep

Courtney from Bowdenisms

Allie from Shop Allie Mac

I’ve been getting to know them online, and I’m looking forward to spending face time with them all weekend long!  When you sleep in the same bed as someone you hardly know, you get familiar pretty quick. Lol

I was beyond blessed last year by all of the speakers, but Annie Downs and Jessica Thompson in particular just blew me away.  Check out their books…you’ll be so glad you did!

Before leaving town for a few days, there are always so many loose ends to tie up and this trip is no exception!  I’ve been running at full steam since Monday morning and I cannot wait to get into the car and have a 5 hour ride of peace and quiet to recuperate.  I can’t even believe that this former road-trip-wussie is excited about a long car ride, but I am!

Maybe I’ll even drive past a Chick-fil-A around lunchtime.  A girl can dream anyway :)

I’ve got half a list formulated of what I want to bring with me to the conference, but my laundry isn’t finished and I’m not prepared to make cookies to attach to my blog cards and I still have lots of running around to do.

I’m tired just thinking of it.

Sometimes going away, even for something wonderful like a topnotch conference or sunny vacation, can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.  The logistics of everything, especially for mothers of little ones, can be positively overwhelming.

I’m trying really hard not to succumb to that defeatist attitude this time around!  I wasn’t doing too well this morning when I was wrangling the girls, doing algebraic equations to figure out what time to eat my low-carb breakfast and drink my glucose beverage and what time to leave the house to be at the midwife office at the right time for my blood draw.

I also wasn’t doing too well when both girls were getting ornery after having to wait at the office for over an hour.

My blood pressure has stabilized in the past couple of years, but it’s very sensitive to any stress I experience, so I was really worried that my hectic morning was going to result in a disastrous reading.  It didn’t (hallelujah!) and we made it out of the office relatively unscathed.

After that, it was rushing home for lunch, signing a myriad of forms for preschool, switching a load of laundry over, rushing to drop Grace at school, a quick grocery run, home to get Avery down for half a chance of a good nap, mailing cards out for Bible Study, putting groceries away, and now plucking out this blog post before I drop off the radar for a loongg weekend.

Phew!

I’m tired just thinking about it.

Maybe I should stop thinking about it :)

This evening should be plenty of time to finish everything up and I’ll have to get over the fact that I’m not bringing cookies with my blog cards this year :(

I’ll also have to trust that everything will be just fine while I’m away.  I’ve got a wonderful hubby who is more than capable of handling things here and my brother is helping me out tomorrow while Andy is working.

You’ll be sure to get a recap post after I get home, so stay tuned!


Lemon Cranberry Zucchini Bread

September 17th, 2014

As you may have gathered, I’ve been working my way through some garden veggies I was recently given by my Aunt Becky.  So far they’ve inspired two dinners (found HERE and HERE) and now this yummy treat!

Lemon Cranberry Zucchini Bread Closeup

I wanted to use up the zucchini in some savory and sweet ways, so this bread recipe caught my attention immediately!

At Christmastime I traditionally make a couple loaves of Cranberry Poppyseed bread that is similar to this, but that recipe may get the boot now that I’ve made this one!  This bread is so much lighter and cakier. Cakey-er?

You get what I mean.

I think the zucchini is what takes this bread over the top and makes it so wonderfully moist.  The cranberries and lemon zest give a tart punch to offset the sweetness.  It’s just delicious.  Trust me :)

If you have any zucchini haters in your house, I suggest peeling the zucchini before you grate it…they won’t see the green flecks throughout (which I think are so beautiful!) and will be none the wiser about your sneaky veggie ways.

I found the original recipe on Pinterest and modified it a little to use what I had on hand (cranberries in place of raspberries and coconut oil in place of vegetable oil).

It was also my first time using a silicone loaf pan and I’m sold!  Once the bread was cool, I just twisted the pan a little and the loaf popped right out.  Easy peasy.

Bye bye metal loaf pans and all your headaches!

But I digress…

Here’s the recipe the way I made it.  I hope you try it and love it as much as we did!

Lemon Cranberry Zucchini  Bread

Lemon Cranberry Zucchini Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted or at least soft)
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (this is one medium to small zucchini)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I stock up on a few bags in December and freeze them for use later in year)
  • GLAZE
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (leftover from the lemon you used from the bread)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 ⁰F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan, set aside.
  2. In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer/medium-sized bowl, beat 2 eggs well. Then add oil and sugar, and beat on low until well combined. Add the milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest; blend everything well.
  4. Gently mix in the zucchini until just evenly distributed in mixture.
  5. Add dry ingredients and fold everything together, but don’t over mix.
  6. Fold in the cranberries.
  7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes (it took 50 minutes in my oven) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
  8. While the loaf is cooling, in small bowl, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Spoon the glaze over the cooled loaf. Let the glaze set prior to slicing and serving.

 


Preschool – The Great Debate

September 15th, 2014

Last week my little Boo Bear started preschool.

first day of preschool with chalkboard

 

As a gal who was homeschooled from 3rd grade through graduation, it was kind of a big deal to decide to send Grace to preschool this year.

Let me also say, I was a gal who was homeschooled almost all the way and I enjoyed it.

Sure I had moments of feeling left out, but for the most part I loved the flexible schedule, working at my own pace and graduating early.

I was involved in an incredible church youth group, so I had a solid group of friends and lacked nothing in the socialization department.  I’m so grateful for all the fond memories with those dear pals.  Because of them I went to dances, football games, homecomings and proms.

No missing out there.

But…the Senior Class All Nighter that I couldn’t be a part of was quite devastating for me.  I remember that evening well…I drove around in my 1980’s Light Blue Chevrolet Celebrity, listening to emo 90’s music and eating the biggest Dairy Queen Blizzard I could buy. (Chocolate ice cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, if you were wondering)

The next day my friends told me the party was super lame and I felt a little better :)

The senior party aside, homeschooling was a very positive experience for me, and one I was convinced I’d replicate with my own children.

I worked as a teacher from 2000-2001 and besides the fact that I had extremely difficult students (at risk boys – 8th grade) and no formal curriculum (I created it as the year progressed), I loved teaching.

I still love teaching and find great joy in whatever capacity I’m currently able to teach.  Sometimes it’s as simple as showing someone how to use their iPhone, or set up a blog, or make a recipe.

I think God created me to enjoy teaching, and I really think I’ll have more opportunities to do it as the years go on.  Perhaps even in homeschooling my children.

But this year, after much prayer and consideration, we decided to send Grace to a local Christian Preschool (Christ the King).

SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVES IT.

Like head-over-heels, over-the-moon, cried-on-Friday, LOVES it.

She’s in a four year old class that runs part days Monday – Thursday, so Friday was a real bummer when she realized she wasn’t going to school.

Fortunately Andy was off that day and my mom was coming the following day so she had a really fun weekend to take her mind off it :)

Buying school supplies, choosing a Frozen backpack, brainstorming snack ideas and picking out her first day outfit, all made her so excited for her new venture.

The first day I dropped her off, she happily skipped into the classroom, found a My Little Pony playset and a new friend named Kate.  She never looked back and is all smiles every day when I drop her off.

This was the right choice for her this year, and I’m so glad I was open-minded enough to consider it.

Homeschooling is such a passion for the families who believe in it.  In fact, I used to find myself thinking it was the best way to educate a child.  The older I get though, the more comfortable I become with shades of gray.

There isn’t usually a best way.  Often times there are many best ways and they’re different from person to person.

Crazy, I know! ;)

I’m not sure what next year will hold for us.  We don’t live in school district that I feel comfortable utilizing, especially at her young age.  Many of the local private schools are VERY expensive.  So maybe we’ll homeschool for Kindergarten or maybe we’ll find a school that works for us.

Either way, I’m open.

I want school to be a very positive experience for each of my children, so I’m willing to do different things based on each child’s personality and needs.  That may mean a combination of methods, which is kind of overwhelming but for now I’ll take one year at a time :)

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