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I have been married to Ryan for 7 years and I love being married to my wonderful husband. I am a religious Christian and I love God. I live in the United States and have lived in China. I love being free and those who sacrifice(d) for my freedoms (not just servicemen and women, but all who work to preserve and teach freedom.) My hobbies include photography, music, ceramics, time with Ryan, and trying new things. I believe in the family and marriage. I love spending time with my family.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Yummy Lentil Stew / meat sauce

So, folks, it's been a while.  It's been a while.
I am here today to tell you the secret to some Yummy, EASY, husband-pleasing lentils!  "Is that even possible?? you may ask?  Well, Yes.  Yes, it is.  And I'm going to tell you the secret.  (Unless your husband does not like tomatoes.  In that case, you will need to start looking for a new recipe, my dear!)

I have been trying to (and succeeding in:)) eating healthier!  I have not consumed sugar for over 2 weeks!  (Unless the pickled beets that I ate had sugar in them... But let's not count that.  I really don't know.  Let's stay positive here!  ...I'm positive there is a chance I did have sugar.  :P  rats.  Moving on!)  It has been a lot easier than I thought it would be.  (Really, I'm doing the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haley Pomroy.)  And, I can eat a lot of food.  It's great!

Okay, I started this diet the Monday before Easter - good thinking, not!  But on the other hand, I didn't eat any Easter candy!  That's good.  On the other hand, I did save a rice crispy treat for myself.  I stuck it in my freezer with some m&m's.  Rice Crispy Treats are my FAVORITE!  (sometimes tying with popcorn.)  And the candies were just there and everyone was getting some, so I couldn't be left out!  Come on, people!  So, yeah.  On that other hand, it was a bad idea to start before Easter, after all.
Of course, it's never a good time to start a diet.  There will always be something or someone who wants to feed you whatever it is you are not eating.  So, let's just get it over with!  Really.

The real reason I'm writing this post is to say that this lentil sauce/stew is AMAZING.  A-maz-ing.  Who knew?  I said to my co-worker the other day, "It is so hard to eat healthy in America!  We don't even know how to eat healthy!"  (Something to that effect.)

I am trying lentils.  And I've been trying lentils.  And trying!
I finally succeeded.  And didn't take a picture.  So, pretend this:
Meatless Meatsauce Zucchini Pasta -8

is without zuchinni and more soup-y.  Does it seem like it might be good?  If not,  you are not trying hard enough.  Or you just don't even know.  Let me tell you 'bout it.  (Thanks for the pic, Lemons & Basil!)

This diet is SO eye-opening.  For a couple days per week I have to have a very high in protein and veggies intake.  It's nuts.  I have to have protein with every meal and for every snack.  It is seriously hard.  Because none of it can be plant protein.  It's all meat.  (Unless you are a vegetarian, vegan, or have religious ...what's the word??  laws you go by.  Mine is the religious one.)  I don't eat (or am not supposed to eat) meat often.  I mean, It's fine to have meat, but 5 times a day!  That's A LOT.  You want to know the real wording?  What this law actually says?  It's called the Word of Wisdom.    Just FYI, it says this about eating meat.
Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

SO, this is why I'm opting for the "vegetarian option" so to speak.  And MAN!  Is it good!  It's so good.  I think I just ate 2 cups of the stuff.  Seriously.  I FOUND A YUMMY, YUMMY LENTIL RECIPE!   Okay, the one I did is altered.  But it is so good.  And I think the original which you can find here is also really yummy b/c mostly all you do differently is add tomato paste.  And measure...


(Now, remember, everything in this recipe is approximate.  I don't know how much I put in of anything except for the tomatoes.)

a lot of lentils  Like 4 cups
6 cups water
2 cans of tomatoes.  (diced winco brand is dandy if you don't care about or, like myself, you don't have the energy or income to go all organic non-gmo blah blah blah.)
dried onions
garlic powder
crushed red pepper flakes (just a tiny, tiny bit.)
(Italian seasoning which has...marjoram maybe, rosemary, thyme, and the above mentioned herbs)

1.  Boil your lentils in 6 cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt for about 30 minutes.  This used up ALL my water, so don't let it go too long.  You will need to keep an eye on this baby!  (If you have canned lentils, just skip this step.)

2. add the rest of the ingredients.

3. warm it all up together and let the flavors become your new best friend.

4. scoop it up, let it cool a bit and enjoy!

Seriously.  SO EASY.  And Delicious.
My hubby said, "Mm.  That smells good."  And when I told him to try some he said he was going to have another bite!  (He already had dinner)  And he's happy to eat it for lunch tomorrow.
I have to go.  Bye.
Peace and lentils and happiness.

Monday, December 21, 2015

20 Stress-free Christmas Celebrations for your family

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Christmas... without all the stress
I sometimes wonder how I can make a Christmas holiday focus more on Jesus Christ and less on Santa and getting presents.  Although I like the tradition of Santa Clause, I don't want my children to grow up thinking that Santa bringing them presents is what Christmas really means.
I thought about some ways to celebrate Christ's birth that would not be stressful or complicated and that anyone could do, no matter their budget.

Focus on Christ - what Christmas really is and why we have the holiday.

  1. - Read the Nativity Story - The most popular reading of this beautiful, beautiful story is in Luke 2, however, it can also be found in Matthew 1 (and the wise men come in the next chapter!) Meanwhile on the American continent Samuel prophesies of Christ's birth and gives the people signs of his coming. (Helaman 14.)  Later, in 3 Nephi 1 Is their account of the birth of our savior.  It is So beautiful.
  2. A little historical note I found at a museum
  3. -Read stories of Christ - Whether it is his birth, life, ministry or resurrection, the Biblical and Book of Mormon accounts of Christ and his teachings are amazing.  If you read with a heart open to the Holy Ghost, you will learn and you will be edified every time!  This is one reason why I love the scriptures.
  4. -Act out the Nativity - One of my favorite traditions from my husband's side is that on Christmas Eve, Father reads the nativity from the Bible and the children dress up as the characters and act it out as he reads it.  A fun way to do this is to use scarves or scraps of cloth or bathrobes so everyone gets to dress up for the part.  Adding props is fun - gifts from under the tree or a jewelry box or bag become gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Use other household props or keep it simple and enjoy the purity of the account that way.  Sometimes the actors like to play their roles silently and sometimes they like to read their lines.  Do what works for your family!  
    A young girl in a biblical costume bends over a wicker basket to put a plastic baby doll inside during a reenactment of the Nativity.

  5. -Color the nativity - Make the best picture you can or print a free nativity!  (Or carefully trace it.  Like really carefully so you don't hurt your compy.)
    A black-and-white illustration of the first Christmas with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a shepherd, and a few animals in the hay.
    Free coloring page from

  6. -Talk about what you would do if you were supposed to go to the Christ child on that holy night.  Or, who you would have liked to have been on that holy night.  If you are not the kind of person you want to be, or would want to have been then, what are some ways that you can start working on or toward your own spiritual progress?  Make a goal or 2 and have someone to be positively accountable to.
  7. -Watch nativity videos - The Nativity Story is a full length video made in 2006 about the coming of Christ's birth.  It is beautifully done.  I definitely recommend it.  Other shorter clips that helps us think of Christ or learn of his birth can be found here.  I love these little clips.  They are so touching.  I think you will enjoy this free little library of inspiring short videos.  This is truly a wonderful resource. You can also find some more at at
  8. -Find a way to give to someone in need. Serving someone at a soup kitchen, singing to or visiting with a lonely neighbor or family member, taking a meal or treat to someone, etc... Any way you can let someone know they are loved and remembered will be a good service.  Whoever you visit is just like you; a child of God.  How To Give Gifts To Christ (For Youth)
  9. -Use an art medium to create a nativity scene. - Traditional or nontraditional mediums.  Just get your creative juices flowing and add beauty to your home with whatever you imagine.  Need ideas: pinterest and google.  There isn't really much I need to say on this one, is there?  BUT I will say that truly beautiful art will add much to any place.
  10. -Gift box for Christ - Make a gift box, jar, or other item that can hold slips of paper and that you will not mind sitting in a prominent or highly visual place in your house.  Everyone in your family writes (or draws) what they will give Christ this year.  Throughout the year, review your progress and update your goals as needed.
  11. -Let your baby type on the computer.  Like this:  l.
(That was a joke...)

Connect with your Family  -Past-Present-Future

  1. -Read or tell Christmas stories or experiences from your life, your parents, grandparents, or anyone in your family tree
  2. -Read inspirational Christmas stories - Growing up we loved to hear about my great grandmother's Christmas.  I could almost quote the whole thing just from hearing it every Christmas.  Amelia's Christmas by my Aunt Mary.  She wrote it in elementary school, I think.  "The closer it got to Christmas, the more secrets there were..."
  3. -Watch a Christmas movie together - Frosty the Snowman, Miracle on 34th Street, The Nativity Story, Cricket on the Hearth, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, etc... There are so many I can't name them all here and still keep the purpose of this post.  You know what to do.
  4. -Read/tell the stories of the original Santa Clause - I went to a museum and saw a Christmas display.  1/3 Santa 2/3 Nativity.  It was so fun to go see all the nativities!!  (I'm sidetracking) The only thing about Santa Clause that really caught my attention were these little stories of how we got the Santa Clause tradition in the first place.

    Oh, yeah, and there was a gingerbread room.  That was kinda fun - to see all the gingerbread houses.  My favorite was a replica of a church from (Switzerland?) that the artist's grandfather had attended.
  5. -Sing Christmas songs - Around a tree, outside, around your table, in your living room, wherever.  It doesn't matter where.  It will lift your spirit.  Music is powerful.  One of my favorite activities with my family is singing.  At Christmas time we love to sit around the tree and sing Christmas carols together.
  6. -Make a fun meal together.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  Pancakes - add red OR green food coloring and suddenly they are Christmasy!  Try drizzling the pancake batter in Christmas shapes.   Look on google or pinterest for fun, easy, festive food ideas.
  7. -Make Christmas or winter crafts - google this if you don't have any ideas.  There are a billion and one things to do out there!
  8. -Play with your children - the gift of time and attention is so valuable.  Your children may or may not remember the exact experience, but they will value the relationship you build with them and that is more important to remember.  Your children/teenagers may not act like it is cool, but they will know you love them.
  9. -Go do something together - go to the movies, go sledding, build a pillow and blanket fort, carol at a nursing home, play in the snow, do a snow dance if you don't have snow but want it, anything!  Just go do something with your family.  Let your family members know you love them and love to spend time with them.
  10. -Sit and talk together - about anything.  Make up stories, tell why you love each other, talk about school, work, play, home, build plans together, talk about your dreams and wishes, etc... Listen, too.  Part of having a good conversation is being an engaged listener.
  11. -Make a new Christmas treat together - Peppermint bark is really easy and delicious! All it takes is white chocolate and candy canes.  Melt the chocolate, crush the canes and mix.  Let it dry and voila!  yum.  (It's not an exact science, but 1/2 pound bark to 12 candy canes is a good starting ratio.)  Caramel or candy popcorn, fudge, whatever tickles your fancy!
  12. Christmas Pin Art - If your child is old enough to do this on his own, great.  If he needs a little help, great.  Sketch/draw a Christmas (or not Christmas) picture on a paper.  Put it on the carpet or other soft place.  Using a pin, paperclip, pen, or pencil... poke holes through your outlines.  When you are finished, hold it up in front of a light or lamp and see the picture shine!  (Really, all you need is outlines.  If you feel really inadequate drawing, print or trace a picture on white paper and put your dark paper underneath before you make the holes.)  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Baby man got a new toy in October.  It was pretty fun to watch him try to figure it out. At first, he liked exploring it but didn't know really how to use it.  He is figuring it out and now he likes it better.

First day with his new jumper!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Random Summary of October Happenings

Our little family has been so busy.  Here are a few updates from the last little while.

October 1:  Our family was made "official" and "legal."  Yay!  This is our Adoption Day.  It was pretty good.

Mostly, it was interesting to get an in person glimpse of the way the court system works.  My uncle was graciously our lawyer and we had a representative from our adoption agency with us and some of our family members were able to sit in on the hearing!  It was pretty cool.  I was a little nervous when I was answering questions.  Okay, I was really nervous.  But it all went well and we 3 became 1 family.  Legally.  We already felt like a family, so it was just more of a formality to us.

Spontaneous Family+ Photo
I got a new brother for a couple of weeks.  My parents had a foreign exchange student from Germany.  He is awesome and we loved having him.  The Sunday after he left, I was at my folks' house and just felt like things were a little lonely.  I told my dad it was weird that he wasn't there and I wished that he was.  We miss him.
My little nephew was blessed and that was beautiful.  I mean, he received his name and blessing at church.  Afterward, family and friends gathered at my parents' to celebrate and enjoy life together.

Little Man learns so fast.  He finally figured out how to crawl.  Our little friend who is a month older showed him.  Then, a week after he learns to crawl, He started pulling himself up on things!  Tada!  New trick.  "...We will now see Little Man pull himself up from the floor on a rocking chair!"

 The rest of October we were getting ready for our temple day.  It was kind of stressful at some points but totally and completely worth it.
Ready to go!
October 24:  Our Family Sealing.  It was the "Best Day Ever!"  Serioiusly.  We had been waiting for this day for 7 months and it finally came!  We were able to take our angel boy to the temple, the house of the Lord and have him sealed to us for this life and beyond.  Before God, we are now a family and if we live true to the covenants that we have made in the temple, we get to be a family after we pass on to the next life.  This is the greatest thing!  It is my favorite thing about the gospel.  One of my favorite things, anyway.

It was so beautiful.  I was stressed before we went, because we had a big weekend and my house was not perfect.  Oh well.  Then, Saturday evening we went to the temple.  We sang a couple hymns on the way.  When we arrived and went in, things just got peaceful.  Peaceful and peaceful.  We knew what we were doing was right.  We knew there were angels there with us.  We didn't give a lot of notice to our family, but a lot of our family were somehow able to come.  They changed their plans for us!  It was so meaningful.  It was so special.  It was so happy!  There was power there.  What I learned most from our temple sealing are:  1.  Angels minister to man.  And they do it in families.  2.  There is power in the temple.  3.  There is power in families.  This is power from God.  It is strength.  It is peace.  It is courage.  It is comfort.  I love it.  It's a beautiful thing.
Forever Family    ~*~    Eternal Family
The next day was his baby blessing.  It was beautiful.  I'm grateful that he was able to receive a name and blessing at church.  I'm grateful for the holy Priesthood being on the earth today.  

I wish I could thank my baby's birth mother.  She is so beautiful and we are so grateful to her for who she is and what she has done for us and our little guy.  We do say thank you, but it is never enough.  There is just no way that the words, "Thank you" can mean on paper mean what they do in our hearts.  We love her and hope she knows it.

Halloween we had a little get together with some friends.  Ryan made "Boo Bubbles" with dry ice, water, soap, and a container with a tube.  The neighbor kids LOVED it.  After our get together we still had some dry ice, so we got to have a little date at our table.  We loved it!  

Halloween:  "I (am) a horse."

Pre-Halloween Fun

Those are the big events that happened in October.  On to a new month, season, chapter, etc...

God Bless,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pumpkin Bread

Okay, let's face it.  The reason I am putting this recipe on my blog is so that I don't lose it!  My mom sent me this recipe b/c it is REALLY good.  I know; I tried it.  And when I say I tried it, I mean that I put it in my mouth, not that I baked it.  ...yet.  :)  Here it is.  \

Another little note about pumpkin bread.  My brother made some chocolate chip pumpkin muffins and cooked it in a bunt cake pan.  It was delish!  Just an idea for you to try when you feel like it.

Love, Jeannine

This recipe is from my cookbook, Sally's Baking Addiction Cookbook, and makes one heck of a moist loaf of pumpkin bread. This fall favorite is packed with sweet cinnamon spice, chocolate chips, and tons of pumpkin flavor.


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves1
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips2


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil, and orange juice. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 60-65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes at the 55 minute mark or so.
  4. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing. The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container (it tastes better on day 2!) at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. But it won't last that long.
  5. Make ahead tip: Baked bread can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Additional Notes:

  1. You can use 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of these spices.
  2. Try using milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, or even pecans/walnuts instead of the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
This recipe makes incredible pumpkin chocolate chip muffins too – about 20 minutes in the oven, same oven temperature.