Wacky Things My Kids Have Said: #6

Samuel, age 5, about our apartment mate's departure to attend classes at the medical university:

"Mommy, she's going to the universe!"

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Other wacky things my kids have said.

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Budget Lasagna Recipe

I love lasagna.

No, that sounds too trite.

I adore lasagna.

My earliest memories of this comfort food are from my grandma making it. Even though she was something of a health nut and always prepared nutritious meals, lasagna was something she did well. Her method was simple. She'd layer the pre-cooked noodles in a casserole dish with her savory meat spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese, and shredded mozzarella. Knowing her, I'm sure the cottage cheese and mozzarella were low-fat varieties, but the result was always delicious.

Once I moved overseas and set up housekeeping on my own, it wasn't long before I wanted to try my hand at making my own lasagna. But I couldn't find lasagna noodles. Or cottage cheese. Or a decent mozzarella that didn't cost an arm and a leg. So I set about experimenting and substituting. Thankfully, my husband is a good sport about such things and offered me valuable feedback. (Usually some form of, "This tastes great, Sweetie!") I discovered several delicious combinations that, while not strictly lasagna, satisfied my craving for my favorite food. I found that I could toss cooked pasta with my own savory tomato and meat sauce, curds, and a shredded hard cheese and bake it all in a casserole dish for something that had the taste (if not the texture) of lasagna. I also experimented with replacing the lasagna noodles with cooked brown rice and layering the rice and other ingredients for something that was more reminiscent of true lasagna. At the height of the summer produce bounty, I also discovered that I could use sliced zucchini and eggplant in place of lasagna noodles for a surprisingly delicious and satisfying meal.

And then the economic crisis hit Ukraine.  Continue reading

Here We Go Again

Okay, I guess that's not the title you'd expect for an announcement of this nature, but that's kind of how I'm feeling at the moment.

We're expecting another child.

I'm excited by the prospect of another baby to nurse and cuddle, another precious one to love and nurture. It's just that I'm feeling so icky and fatigued right now from the symptoms of early pregnancy that it's difficult to maintain a consistently positive outlook. In fact, a few nights ago I told my husband that after this pregnancy was over, that would be it. I didn't ever want to be pregnant again. Continue reading

Boys and Girls

One afternoon not too long ago my husband and I were on a date. All we were doing was sitting on a park bench talking, but since we didn't have the kids with us, it felt like a holiday. One nice thing about being out and about without kids is the ability to people watch, and on this day we saw something fascinating. It was a mother with three daughters about the same ages as our three sons. (That would be 5, 3, and 1, for those of you keeping score.) She parked her stroller by a bench, let her toddler out, then sat down and opened a book. Continue reading

7 Housekeeping Shortcuts

If you're a regular around here, you already know that I'm not the best housekeeper. However, I have a few philosophies of housekeeping that I've developed in recent years that have been tremendous time (and sanity) savers. I'd like to share them with you, because I'm pretty certain that I'm not the only mother of small children who finds that keeping up with the messes that kids make while also trying to keep up with the kids is impossible.

And discouraging.

Someone once said that cleaning your house while your children are around is like trying to brush your teeth while eating an Oreo cookie. So here's to enjoying your Oreo cookies–or something like that. Continue reading

Still {Happily} Married

I recently remembered an unpleasant experience I had when I was a young wife. My husband and I were attending a conference. As was usual for us, we were acting very much like newlyweds. Another wife, ten to fifteen years older than I was, asked, "How long have you been married?" When she found out that we'd only been married for seven months, she assumed a superior air and said, "Well, you may feel that way now, but just wait until you've been married for seven years." Her tone and facial expression made it clear that she didn't expect the joy and tenderness to last. Continue reading

Housekeeping Tip #1

20120726-171611.jpgThis post is about housekeeping. Now, I've admitted several times that I'm not the best housekeeper. (Here and here, specifically, if you're interested.) So, if you're one of those moms whose floors are never sticky, whose bathroom fixtures are always gleaming, whose windows and mirrors never look dingy, and whose laundry never sits in an unfolded pile on the couch for a day and a half before finally finding its way into the appropriate drawers and closets, then this post is not for you. You might want to stop reading right now and just go read this post. Or this one. (By the way, you have my deepest admiration. I really don't know how you manage it!)

For the rest of you, I wanted to share something that has helped me maintain my home (and my sanity) in the hectic months since the birth of our third child.  Continue reading

Guest Post about Victory Through Defeat

Today I'm guest posting at CC Missionary Women, a blog devoted to encouraging Calvary Chapel missionary women by putting them in community with other Christian ladies around the world. I'm sharing a devotional thought that occurred to me while reading one of the most disturbing stories in the entire Bible. Every time I come back to this story, I always shake my head in sadness and furrow my eyebrows in confusion. But this time, I think God gave me a special insight. You can read it here.

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Solidarity is the New Initmacy

20120709-203616.jpgBefore my husband and I had children, our lives were wrapped up in each other. We were rarely apart, and when we had free time, we usually spent it doing something fun together. I'd spend half the day in the kitchen preparing a gourmet supper that we'd enjoy by candlelight. On summer weekends we'd picnic in the park or stroll around downtown Kyiv. We'd watch movies late into the night. (And we often did other things late into the night, if you know what I mean!) Continue reading