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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday:Baked Ravioli


I have always enjoyed trying new recipes.  A person can get burned out on the same old, same old.  When looking for something new, I came across this recipe and figured it would be a winner.  It contains ravioli and cheese!  My guys love pasta and love cheese, so a win-win right there before we even started!

Get that oven preheating to 400 while you prepare the meal.
Spray the bottom and sides of your cooking dish with cooking spray.  
Spread marinara sauce along the bottom of the pan.  The recipe calls for 3/4 a cup, but I just eye-balled it according to how much we like sauce.  Just make sure the bottom is covered.  
Then add your first row of frozen raviolis onto the sauce. 
Then comes the good part.  The best part.  Cover those happy raviolis in mozzarella cheese!  The recipe calls for 1 cup of shredded cheese, but I loaded that baby up!
See?  No evidence that ravioli's even exist under all of that cheese!
Then you add another layer of ravioli.
Then more sauce {as much or as little as you like}.
Then more....CHEESE!

Cover with aluminum foil and back for 30 minutes.  Then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes so that the cheese is bubbly.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve!

I will admit that because I used two (!) bags of mozzarella cheese in this dish, it was supa'cheesy in the best of ways!  Because of the two layers of ravioli it is quite filling leaving lots left over for warm ups.  This would be a perfect dish to take to a pot luck or as a meal to deliver to family or friends!  

Benjamin said that this was a definite repeater and Winston loved it too!

Ingredients
1 bag of frozen ravioli {your favorite type!}
1 jar of marinara sauce {your favorite type!}
Shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat to oven to 400.
Spray bottom and sides of pan with cooking spray.
Spread sauce on the bottom of the pan.  It should at least be enough to cover the bottom.
Then a layer of frozen raviolis.
Then add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.  I think I used an entire bag on each layer.  Use as little or as much as you like!
Then a layer of frozen raviolis.
Then a layer of sauce, as much or little as you like.
Then the last layer is cheese!
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and brown for 10-15 minutes.

You could also add Italian sausage, mixed cheeses, spinach, mushrooms, or garlic to add a different flair each time you make it!  Personalize it and enjoy!!

PS: I'm joining up to A Peek Into My Paradise for #tastytuesday!   

Monday, April 21, 2014

First week: A success!

Y'all, last week was my first true week of staying at home full time with Winston.  The first week I was celebrating my Grandma's 80th birthday in Ohio with the ladies of the family, Winston finished out his last week at Primrose and we geared up for the next week.

I can without a doubt say that I love being at home with Winston!   It has been a great week full of play time, of learning new words, of having home cooked meals each night (!!), of lots of hugs and Luli kisses, of a few tears and lots of giggles! 
My breakfast routine has changed quite a bit!  I have gone from catching up with Ellen over coffee and a muffin to eating waffles and fruit with Buddy and Elmo.  Plus Lulu always get a little bite of whatever it is that we're munchin!  I don't always get to finish my cup of coffee, but that's usually because we're off to build block towers.
We stepped out of our comfort zone this week by heading to the zoo for a "Mommy and Me" outing with folks from the church.  There were two gals and their precious littles from the Sunday school class we're visiting who also went.  We ate lunch with them, starting those first steps of forging new relationships.
Although I love nap time and am thankful Winston loves to sleep, I get excited when I hear that my little buddy is awake!  This is one of my favorite times: getting him out of his crib and ready for the next adventure of the day.  

We are both excited to see Benjamin in the evenings when he gets home.  They play while I finish dinner, we eat together, play some more, bubble bath time and then bed!  Benjamin and I get to have time together to catch up on our day and when I lay my head on the pillow I am happy and tired.  I am thankful that we are able for me to stay home with Winston.  He is so fun, so comical!  I know that each week will hold joys and challenges of their own.  I am eager and excited to face them and embrace them as they are days that go by so fast! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bunnies!

Much like last year, I wanted to get Winston's pictures taken with live bunnies.  I called up the place that we got them taken last year to learn that the location closest to us was closed for transition.  Knowing how much I wanted pictures with bunnies, Benjamin started a search online and found a lady who was selling bunnies in the neighborhood next to us.  He emailed her to see if we could borrow them for a few minutes and she said yes!  

In our minds, we were thinking that these would be tiny bunnies that we could hold in the palm of our hands.  When we arrived, we discovered that the bunnies were 9 week old were 5 pounds each and called California meat rabbits!  They were very calm and some of the best subjects for our photos! 
 Winston was cracking up and enjoying being close to the bunnies!
One of my favorites!  He was just so adorable!

Easter photos of 2014 were a huge success!  A big thank you to Benjamin for making this wifie's wishes come true!  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Retirement of Sorts

When Benjamin and I got married, I knew full well that I was signing up to support our family while he attended dental school and orthodontic residency.  After each move to a different city, God was faithful in providing me with great jobs.

This Monday I turned in my two weeks notice stating that I would be ending my career as a member of the Well Technology team at Hess.  While this decision took some by surprise, to others they knew it was just a matter of time.  

It has always been a goal of ours that I stay home with Winston when the time was right.  And now is that time!

Knowing that this decision was right around the corner for us, I started looking at my Fridays off through different lenses:  Could I stay at home with Winston day in and day out?  Would we be able to survive each other?  While depending on both of our moods and how the day's activities played out, there were times in the middle of it when I just wasn't sure... But at the end of the day when I was recanting Winston stories to Benjamin, I knew how much my heart desired to be with my little guy.

The decision to retire from the corporate world is a bittersweet one for me.  I am happy in my job; it challenges me daily.  I know that I add value on the projects that I am apart of.  I get a long with my boss and enjoy everyone on my team and the people I interact with daily.  I am well paid and have amazing benefits.  I mean, I don't have much to complain about when I only pay $2 for a large Starbucks cinnamon dolce latte!  

But put all of that against the cutest boy in my world and the decision is easy.  He wins every time.
Benjamin and I are thankful that we are able to make this transition to my staying at home.  It is not a decision we take lightly.  We know that there will be long days and tough days.  But the rewards that come will cancel those days out.  Even after turning in my letter, there were moments I doubted my decision.  I'm a people pleaser and I don't like disappointing or letting others down.  However every person has told me that I am making the best decision of my life.  And God, in his faithfulness, kept affirming again and again that this indeed is the right time.

Not only do I get to be with Winston {and Lulu!}, I am now able to relieve Benjamin of his morning caretaker duties.  Since the first day that Winston was in daycare, Benjamin has been the one to get Winston up, feed him breakfast, dress him and take him to school.  With me staying home, we all look forward to a new morning routine!   

Proverbs 31:15 says, She gets up while it is still night; she provides for her family...  While up until this point my getting up and taking care of my family has meant that I wake up at 4:30 and go to work, it will soon mean that I will get up and take care of them in a whole new way that I am excited to unwrap!  

In all of this, I am thankful for the career that I have had.  I never would have imagined that my resume would be peppered with a wide range of experiences.  Looking forward, I am super excited as to what the future holds for our family and the everyday adventures I get to have with my side-kick! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chalkboard: March

Yes, I realize that March is almost over, but just for documentation sake, here is our chalkboard for this month.  It is Romans 12:12.
This verse has been our mantra.  A reminder of how to be, how to love others.  A comfort.  I wrote it out on an afternoon that Benjamin and Winston were out running errands.  Benjamin came in and said, "Well, that about sums it up!"  What verse has been your comfort this month?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.11

On the Friday that we stayed at home this week, Winston and Lulu enjoyed playing with the water table.  Winston was more interested in watering the grass and Lulu was all about drinking what he was giving!  Winston and I often enjoy a break at Starbucks now and again for Petite Madeline's and a green tea.  Benjamin had to answer over 400 questions for a psych test, so he printed me a copy so that we could compare answers!  It was also a big week for us because Benjamin became Board Certified!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Project 52: Week 2014.10

Each day Winston gets more interested in using a fork and in this night in particular he aced it with his fish sticks and 'ronis.  For a kid who absolutely loves hats, Winston does not enjoy the hood on his hooded towel... so this was a rare moment of Little as a shark!  Benjamin and I inhaled three-fourths of this king cake...and never found the baby so I am left to say that it was in the portion that we did not eat.  Mom and I went to the theatre and had a nice time watching The Wizard of Oz!  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Houston, We are Board Certified!

This afternoon on my way home from work I picked up the mail and text Benjamin this image:
Upon arriving home, he burst upstairs into the bathroom where Winston was getting a bath and exclaimed, "I'm Board Certified!"  The excitement and glow of accomplishment beamed from Benjamin's face.  This achievement has been a goal of his since before residency.  It was one of the things he wrote that he wanted to accomplish in personal statement that accompanied his application letters and one of the main reasons that Houston was a such a good fit for him.  

Not every orthodontist that graduates residency is Board Certified.  It requires work above and beyond the requirements of satisfaction for graduating the program.  It requires countless hours of perfecting patients teeth, examining and re-examining their progress, writing and re-writing case files and being sure that, as an orthodontist, you can defend and give sound reasoning for treating this particular patient the way you did.  And you have to do that for six different cases.  It requires caring models of teeth in a padded case all the way to St. Louis, setting them and the write ups out carefully and then waiting for the next day when a team of Board Examiners ask question after question about the cases sitting before them.  Being Board Certified is an accomplishment that only 20-25% of orthodontic specialists can claim.

To my husband: I am so proud of you for this accomplishment!  Your faithfulness to trusting God's plan for your life has been rewarded in so many ways.  I am in constant awe of how humble you are in the midst of accomplishing great things!

To the Class of 2013: Congrats to all who have completed your journey to Board Certification!  You all kick butt in the best of ways and we are proud to have cheered you along!
 The ABO insignia pin to adorn the lapel at official ABO and AAO events.
The official letter!
Even Luli took the time to read the letter and give her Daddy celebratory arm hump!
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