Monday, January 31, 2011

Unscrambled Prayers

Do you ever have so many people/situations weighing on your heart...that everthing seems like a mumbo-jumbo of words that you can't sort out, and you wonder how in the world He will ever make sense of it all, if you can't?

I sit in church and listen to Darrell and Mark pray for people during prayer time.

Lord, I thank you for (fill in the name)
Lord, they are going through (fill in the situation).
Lord, I praise you for all the good you do,
and I just ask that you (fill in request)

Now, their prayers are actually much more eloquent than that.
They seem to just flow from their mouths like they don't even have to think about what they are saying.

I sit there wondering how in the world He unscrambles the thoughts in my head.
How does He know all of the people in my life that I wish I had hours to spend praying for, but sometimes only have a few minutes to discuss with Him?

Is there really a 'right' way to talk to Him?
It's almost as if in my conversations, I imagine Him to be someone sitting in a chair in the same room as me.
Much like a psychiatrist.

The only difference is, with Him...
 it doesn't matter if I'm a blubbering mess of emotion and can't make it through a complete sentence without crying, or randomly go from one subject to the next.
He knows my thoughts, and He makes sense of them all.

The only thing that matters is that I'm taking my problems and worries to Him.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This definitely isn't the best of pictures.
I'm a little scared to even post it here. lol
But my camera battery is dead...
and I'm too lazy to look for the charger in our disaster attic,
so you're getting a blurry camera picture.

No my cabinet DOES NOT slop case you were wondering.  I took the pic sideways. lol

Cheeseburger Sliders, chicken wontons, and Honey BBQ chicken bites. 
I know I listed Buffalo bites on my previous post
but hey, this mom was trying to speed shop with three kids.
Totally grabbed the wrong ones, but Ava didn't seem to mind (and they were for her), so all is good! hehe

The wontons turned out so good.
I don't have a step by step picture, since my camera battery is dead, and I didn't figure you'd all want to see a bunch of blurry pictures.

But here's the recipe.

-1 bag of slaw mix (without dressing)
-1 package chicken fajita meat
-fresh cilantro
-Asian vinaigrette
-soy sauce
-stir fry sauce (I used Kikkoman)
-wonton wrappers
-olive oil

put wonton wrappers in muffin pan and coat (very thinly) with a layer of olive oil.
bake on 350 for about 5-7 minutes.  until edges slightly brown.

dice chicken in small chunks.
sautee with about 3 Tbsp of vinaigrette and stir fry sauce, and a few drops of soy sauce.

chop cilantro and add to cole slaw mix.  add about 1/4 cup of vinaigrette.   mix well.

put chicken in bottom of each wrapper and top with slaw mix.

These turned out so good.  Not exactly like the one's from Applebee's that I so adore, but still very good!

Meal Planning Tuesday

Meal Planning Tuesdays

Edited with pricing.

I've had several friends ask me about meal planning for such a large family.
I've posted my grocery list on here before, but I thought it'd be fun to start a weekly meal planning/grocery list meme.

I asked Vanessa to make me a button for you all to grab, if you want to participate.
Because she made my header and I absolutely LOVE it!!!
So, I'm sure the blog button will be equally as lovely.

Tuesday or Wednesday are usually my grocery shopping days.
If I go Tuesday, I go at night after the kids are in bed, because between homework and stringed instrument lessons, and a few other things the day is a little busy.
If I go Wednesday, it's generally after I pick up Ava from morning Kindergarten.

On menu for the week is as follows:

B- cereal
L-fast food after I pick up Ava so we can be at her violin lessons in 45 minutes.
S- Chicken Alfredo (switching this to Sunday @ request of kids)

B- cereal and/or oatmeal
L- Sandwiches
S- Beef Drip and Fried Potatoes

B- Toast/Bacon
L- Mozzarella Sticks and Spinach Bites
S- Italian Breaded Chicken w/yummy cream sauce, Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes, and Corn

S-Baked Spaghetti

B-Pancakes, Bacon, Hash browns
L-left-over spaghetti
S-Chicken Enchiladas

L-Family lunch date
S-Chicken Wontons, Buffalo Chicken Bites, and Mini Cheeseburgers

B-toaster strudel's
L-Chicken Viola
S-Meatloaf, Fried Potatoes, and Mac N Cheese

My Grocery List:
-cereal $4.00
-cereal bars (for Chris) $4.50
-oatmeal $2.88
-Shaved Turkey $6.10
-Lettuce $1.50
-Potatoes $3.47
-Asparagus $2.70
-Asian Vinaigrette $2.00
-Slaw mix $1.68
-Wonton wrappers $2.78
-Red Onions $.56
-Cilantro $.88
-Stir Fry Sauce $1.97
-Green Peppers $2.94
-Hoagie Buns $2.50
-Silver Dollar Buns$2.50
-Hash Browns $3.28
-Chicken $5.00
-Sour Cream $1.98
-Whipping Cream $3.38
-Hamburger $5.98
-Ketchup $3.44
-Milk $5.86 (gal of white, 1/2 gal of chocolate)
-Bread 1.78
-Bananas $1.35
-Bacon $6.00
-Paper Towels $1.64
-Buffalo Chicken Bites $6.98
-Olive Oil $4.38
-Fruit Bread Loaf $6.00
GRAND TOTAL:  About $100.
I'll report back after I go to the store and let you all know how much I spent.  I try to stay around $600 for the month and that includes our fast food day.  A few of the items on our meal plan I already have, so it'll be a cheaper grocery trip today.

If you would like to join in, Vanessa will have the blog button done later, and I will add it.
I think writing it all down is a good way to hold myself accountable for what I spend,
and it really helps me stay on budget.

Monday, January 24, 2011

You're a Firework

YES!!!...I'm a HUGE fan of Katy Perry.  This is one of my favorite songs she has ever recorded.

Sweet Naomi sent me a lovely message after she wrote this blog post.

I love her heart, and strong conviction and love for the Lord.

She's also a diabetic.

And a beautiful writer.

So, if you need a pick-me-up today, or just feel like being 'inspired'...jump on over and pay her blog a visit.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Chores Do You Make Your Kids Do?

I read a blog the other day where the person said she makes her two older (they are probably around 10-12 yr old range) kids do ALL their own laundry, along with quite a few other chores.  Basically these kids are doing the bulk of the household cleaning because this lady (a SAHM) has such a busy day of getting kids off to school, running 'errands', picking said kids up from their extra curricular activities, going to exercise class, doing her, her husband, and younger two children's laundry, etc.   As I was reading this, all I kept thinking was WOW, I'd really dislike being her child!

I get that you want to teach your kids responsibility and hold them accountable for themselves, but at what age is it too young?

Sure my kids help out around the 8 years olds like to put the detergent in the washing machine and 'push the buttons' when I am starting a load of laundry.  They will actually go in the laundry room after a load has stopped and pre-load the soap and/our softener for the next load.  I'm not quite sure why, but they think this is fun.

They also have to carry their folded laundry upstairs, and put it away.  My five year old isn't so good about this, so I separate her laundry into groups of what goes in what place and then she carries each little pile up and puts it in the appropriate place.

They also have to help with kitchen in carry their plates to the sink when they are done eating and throw their trash away.  If I'm doing dishes before they are done eating, then they also have to rinse their plates and stick it in the dishwasher.

Their biggest responsibility is to keep their rooms clean.  Which normally they don't keep them that clean, and that's fine by me.  The only thing upstairs is their bedrooms and bathroom, so company never goes up there, and once a week, we have a big cleaning day, and they have to pick their rooms up completely.  I clean their bathroom while they clean their rooms.  For my two older ones, I make the a check-list....and for some reason, they actually get their rooms cleaned when they go down the list and do everything in order.  For Ava, I give her a specific task and when she completes it, she comes back and I give her another one.  She's still not great about getting it clean - clean, so I often help her finish up after I pick up Breanna's room.  Then I vacuum all their rooms.

They do also have assigned days to help with the dog's food/water, and potty breaks.  They begged to get a dog, so they have to help with her.

The other things they (sometimes) do....but are NOT part of their chores are... mop .... all three big ones will fight over the Swiffer.  Something about pushing that button and squirting cleaning solutions entertains them. lol  And dusting.  Again, they get to 'spray' cleaner.  I often have to tell them they can't do these things because as soon as one of them starts doing it, the other two will start in....  'But she/he did it LAST time.'  'It's not fair that he/she ALWAYS gets to do it.'  'Stop!  I was doing it first.' 

Maybe I'm too easy on my kids, maybe I'm too strict.  I just know that as they get older more things will be implemented into their responsibilities, but it will really depend on how they are doing academically, and what their extra curricular activities consist of....because those things will take precedence over everything else.

So, all you parents of older children, what does your child (ren)'s chore list consist of?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sufficient Courage - Stand Strong

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."

Philippians 1:20 (NIV)

I just love this verse, and think most all of us, as Christians, hope we can live our lives to be fulfilling of this.

Someone made reference awhile ago to something that really (intensely) struck a nerve with me.  It was something to the effect of people acting like they have some huge drama in their lives and they have these attitudes of 'look at everything I've been through and I'm still standing strong.'  While I agree that yes, some people use unfortunate circumstances in their lives to actually better their situations or to get people to feel sorry for them (sadly, I do know a few people like this)...I don't believe that everyone who has faced personal tragedy whether it be the death of their parents or children, or an illness that had the potential to kill them, or whatever their story may be, wants to feed off of that.  They didn't ask for those the picture I showed you all of my friend, Allie awhile ago standing beside that sign that said, 'I don't want to have to be tough and brave and inspiring.  I don't want this to be my life. But I sure don't want it to be someone else's life, either'.

I don't want to have to look in the mirror and see these scars for THE.REST.OF.MY.LIFE. I didn't want to have 2 lumpectomies, a hysterectomy, and a mastectomy in an EIGHT YEAR time span. I don't want to have to inject insulin in my body multiple times a day, or prick my finger.  I don't want to have a child who I know I'm going to have to watch go off into the OR at some point for another open heart surgery.  I didn't want to have to let her go and entrust her into the hands of a (brilliant) surgeon when she was SIXTEEN days old.  This IS NOT, in any way, shape, or form the life I would've have chosen for myself, my husband or my child(ren)!  Heartache and hard times are NOT choices in this we chose to deal with them...that's the CHOICE! My husband, myself and my children had a choice as to how we would deal/cope with those situations.  It was up to Chris and I to show them through our actions that it's okay to be sad, it's okay to be scared, but it's also okay to be happy, and to be thankful.  I hope one day my children will look back and be proud of how we walked through it all. And I'm not at all meaning that in a boastful way.

I think as human beings we have a choice.....Are you going to let life knock you down, or are you going to stand strong and SURVIVE?!  I know the second option seems much more appealing to me.  I have a wonderful husband, 4 amazing kids, and awesome family and friends, and I want to spend as much time with all of them as I can (and not be wallowing in self-pity while I'm doing it!)

Sure there are times when you think 'why me', but then you get to a place where you grow into the understanding of 'why not me'. God doesn't love me anymore than anybody else...we are all His children and He feels all of our pain!

There have been many days in the past 5 months of my life that have been filled with extreme sadness, there have been many days filled with heartache, hurt, and disappoint in the 'what was', but there have also been many days filled with peace, understanding, love, and extreme happiness!  Those days have far exceeded all the others, and without God giving me the strength to 'stand strong' that would not have been possible.  I would've succumbed into a place of grief and depression.

I very much believe that God gives 'special life missions' to people He knows will use them to His glory whether it be through their lives or through their deaths.  I know that when He does call me home and I'm kneeling at His feet that I want to feel secure in knowing that in those moments of weakness and in those moments of 'standing strong' I glorified Him.

And until then (and throughout my whole ordeal), I want to lead and guide my children to the understandance that God does PROMISE life WILL throw you challenges, and even if they do temporarily knock you to your stay there and PRAISE HIM until He gives you the strength and courage to stand back up and stand strong in HIS glory...because without Him, when you stepped into the box-ring with the opponent called 'LIFE''d knock you out permanently!

I really wish that people would be more considerate of what other's have went/are going through before putting a label on them.  Until you've walked in someone else's shoes, you can't say how you would feel/handle the situation if you were faced with it.  We all like to think we know how we would handle certain situations, but until you are standing there facing it, you have no clue how you would actually respond.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Honey Mustard and Bacon Smothered Chicken Breast

This recipe was such a hit the first time I made it that I decided to make it again for the kids for lunch today, since we ended up having a SNOW DAY today!

It consists of very few steps, and can be made in bulk and is an EXCELLENT recipe to prepare as a freezer meal.

And not to mention, it just looks yummy!

-Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-Bacon (either that you've fried and crumbled, or real bacon crumbles)
-Dijon mustard
-Corn Syrup
-Colby or Cheddar Cheese
-Salt and Pepper

Between two pieces of wax paper, beat chicken to 1/2 inch thickness

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Fry your chicken (or bake, broil, or grill...however you prefer to cook your chicken breasts)

And now for the Honey Mustard....

Mix together 1/2 cup of Dijon Mustard and 1/2 cup honey

Add in 3 Tbsp of both the mayo and light corn syrup

And give it a good whiskin'

If you fry your chicken breasts, drain excess grease and place in a baking dish

Top with bacon

Top with the honey mustard

Top with your choice of cheese

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes


Definitely one of my favorite chicken dishes to-date!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This year is the first summer that my big girls will spend 9 weeks of their summer break in Louisiana with their dad and stepmom....meaning we only have them the first week they were supposed to be off of school, but with all the recent snow-days, it looks like at least a couple of those days will be spent at school.

So, we decided to plan our yearly vacation with the kids during their Spring Break.  We generally do something every other year when we have the big kids during their Spring Break, but it's generally something smaller like spending a few days in Indianapolis going to the Zoo and Children's Museum.

But this year....we've decided to splurge (but on a budget!) and take the kids to Disney World!!!  I think I'm just as excited as they are. lol

I've spent several hours the past two days printing out info on different Resorts and package deals, so that I can lay them all out together and we can compare our options.

I've received several emails from friends who have went before and offered advice on what's worth the money and what's not.

So far the consenses say the Park Hopper is a must have!

For a family of six, I've also heard that the Quick Dining option is a good way to go.

As far as lodging, with a family size of six, the choices are limited.

I really wanted to stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge but with a minimum price tag of almost $800/night, it's quite a bit more than we'd like to spend on lodging!

So, it looks like we'll either be staying at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness or The All-Star Music Resort.  Both places look like fun....but the All-Star Music Resort has TWO bathrooms (and let's face it...that may be important), but The Cabins have walking trails, marshmellows roasting, a nightly BBQ, and their own private decks/grill area.  I'm leaning towards The Cabins because it just seems like it's more fitting for our family.

Have any of you ever stayed at either of these Resorts?  And if so, what did you think of them?

Currently, I'm also debating between what character meal I'd like to plan to take the kids to!  They look like A LOT of fun, and everyone who has made suggestions to me, said they are a MUST!

Suggestions are definitely welcome!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

In the week's following my mastectomy, my neighbor, Allie, brought over several DELICIOUS meals for my family!  (I'm forever grateful!)

One day she stopped by and dropped off enchiladas.  I couldn't wait to throw them in the oven and get to dig in.   I have nothing but a LOVE relationship with Mexican food.

well, maybe that's not entirely mouth and taste buds have a LOVE relationship with it.  I'm pretty sure my butt and thighs HATE it!  lol

After watching my kids devour nearly the entire pan, I requested the recipe for these sinfully delicious, calorie packed bits of deliciousness, and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of ingredients/time it takes to make this recipe.

It's especially nice if you're busy that day, because you can just throw the chicken in the crock-pot with the salsa, and let it cook all day, and then throw it all together in about 30 minutes.

Throw 4-5 chicken breast and 3/4 jar of salsa in your crock-pot and let cook on low for 6 hrs or high for 4 hrs.

Shred chicken

In a large mixing bowl mix together chicken, the rest of the jar of salsa, 4 oz sour cream, 1/2 pouch of taco seasoning, and your choice of shredded cheese.

Scoop mixture into a flour tortilla and top with some more shredded cheese.  (Now Allie's recipe DID NOT call for this or the added shredded cheese in the previous step, but in true Casondra style and with my children's love for cheese, I had to add in some more fat grams.)

Fold tortilla and place crease side side down.  I line my baking dish with foil, because it makes for an easier clean up!


My life would cease to exist without this ingredient.

okay, so maybe it wouldn't, and my waistline would be a little smaller, but I sure do adore it!

Pour over top the rolled tortillas.  I used about 3/4 of the container.

Top with Monterey and Colby Shredded cheese.

Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly golden.  

Remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes.  If you skip this step the cream will still be a little runny.


Top with shredded lettuce, sour cream, and/or pico de gallo.  

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Wednesday evening Ava's cheek's started turning pink (like they ALWAYS do when an asthma attack is pending).  Chris helped her pull up Taylor Swift video's on YouTube while she took a breathing treatment.  Before bed her temperature started rising, and I gave her a dose of Motrin.  Early in the a.m. she got back up and was struggling with breathing so we started her every 6 hour breathing treatments.

Thursday she laid around the entire morning, and I could barely get her to drink anything.  By early afternoon her fever was reaching 104-105 range by the time she was ready for another dose of Tylenol/Motrin, so I called Dr Luff to ask him what we needed to do.

He said because of her history with RSV he felt it was best to head on over to the ER to at least get her a bolus of fluids, and depending on what her chest X-Ray showed, they might send her home and then he would follow up with her the next day (at the appointment I had called in and scheduled for her earlier that day), or they might admit her.

We got to the hospital, and in the ER they were having a hard time keeping her temp down.  They did 3 chest X-Ray's, a urinalysis, 2 blood cultures, flu swab, and a whole rainbow of blood work.

Dr Lilly came in around 11 and told us that she had a pretty severe urinary tract/kidney infections, and they felt it best to admit her.  Her chest X-Ray had come back clear, so they just started her on Rocephin to treat the UTI/kidney infections.

It ended up being a blessing that they did admit her, because around 4 a.m. her sat levels dropped very low, and they started her on breathing treatments and 1L of oxygen.  Between 4 and 5 she was struggling so much to breath that they increased her oxygen two more times, and she ended up on 5L.

Around 8 a.m. we went down for a repeat chest X-Ray and it showed some spotty-ness in the left lung, but nothing that was completely indicative of pneumonia, but when Dr Luff made rounds and listened to her, he said she had 'crackling' in her left lung and that was indicative of pneumonia, so they started her on Azythromycin for that.

So as of Friday she had started getting breathing treatments every 4 hours, fluids were running at 75 cc's/hr, Tylenol/Motrin every 3, and both her antibiotics.

By this morning, she was able to decrease her wall oxygen to just as needed.  Her IV was hep. locked but not removed so that she can still receive her IV antibiotics, and so they can re-start fluids if need be.  She's still on breathing treatments which she will go home on, but overall, she is feeling a lot better than yesterday.

She's actually had enough energy to sit up and play with her doll house the nurse's gave her, and she's been more vocal today about her uncomfortableness.  lol.

She was really excited Mrs Truelove came to visit her yesterday after school, and she was smiling ear-to-ear when she told her dad about her visit when they video chatted on Skype.

Nana came and stayed with her for a couple hours last night so that I could go home and get a few things and eat with Chris and the other kids.

Today, the kids came and visited her for a little bit.  She was happy to have Breanna bugging her, as usual.  The big kids were too engrosed with watching YouTube video's to really 'visit' with her much, but she was happy to just have them in the room.

We did run down to the cafeteria to get some lunch and came back to find her crying because the string had come off her balloon and her balloon was on the ceiling.  Breanna came to the rescue.....daddy lifted her up and she grabbed the balloon.   Catastrophe averted...Ava was happy again.

The plan is to do one more round of IV antibiotics and then release her in the morning. YAY!!!

Thanks to all who have called, email, FB'ed to check in on her.  The prayers are very appreciated.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

I got busy with the kids homework and didn't get a step by step tutorial of this yummy sandwiches, but it is SUPER easy to make.

I got the recipe off allrecipes, and it had 4.5 star rating so I thought I'd give it a try.


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (17.5 fluid ounce) bottle buffalo wing sauce, divided
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise


  1. Place the chicken breasts into a slow cooker, and pour in 3/4 of the wing sauce and the ranch dressing mix. Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours.
  2. Once the chicken has cooked, add the butter, and shred the meat finely with two forks. Pile the meat onto the hoagie rolls, and splash with the remaining buffalo wing sauce to serve.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 578 | Total Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 54mg

Not the healthiest of recipes, but it sure is yummy!  

At least me and Big A think so, but we're the spicy food lovers of the house.

Everyone else will be enjoying their vegetable soup tonight!