LOOK! Another Recipe!

Some of y'all will remember that I do not share recipes very often for the mere fact that I am not some fancy chef. When I do take the time to share a recipe with y'all, you better grab up some paper and pen and take some serious notes. Because if I can do it, you can do it!

I happened upon a recipe for Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders in last March's edition of Southern Living. Typically, I steer away from any recipes that call for "dredging" any type of raw meat into a bowl of flour and another bowl of raw eggs.

My mother refers to this flaw in me as "Miss Nasty Nice". Get my hands dirty? No, thank you.

But when I saw the photo of the finished chicken tenders last March, I knew I had to clip that recipe and give it a whirl. I was scared to death to try it, but after I talked myself into trying it the first time, my family has been hooked on homemade chicken tenders.

Are you ready to get your hands dirty?

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders
(I've tweaked the recipe slightly from the original article.)
16 saltine crackers, finely crushed (The boys loved to smash the crackers inside a baggie.)
1/4 cup pecans, ground
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 egg whites (or the whole egg if you're feeling dangerous)
cooking spray (Make sure you have plenty. I mean, like, at least 1/2 can.)
1 1/2 lb. chicken tenders
1/2 cup flour

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
2. Stir together crushed crackers and next 4 ingredients.
3. Beat eggs in separate bowl.
4. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray on top of a parchment-paper lined 15 x 16 inch jelly-roll pan. (If you're a novice like me, you're saying, "A what on top of a what? Huh?" Don't be discouraged! You can do this.)
5. Dredge (Uck! That word still gives me chills.) chicken tenders in flour; dip in egg white, and dredge in saltine mixture. Coat chicken on each side with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on wire rack.
6. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes. Flip the tenders and bake 8 more minutes.
7. Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a green veggie.
Go ahead and give it a whirl! Your family will love you!

From the Backyard to the Diamond

We have entered a new phase in the CupRunnethOver household. We are now an "official" baseball family. By that, I mean we are no longer just playing in the backyard, but Liam is now on a team.
As you can see, he is a KC Royal.

Let's just pause for a moment and reflect on the sovereignty of God. The Lord knows how I have loved baseball for oh so many years, and He knows that I need my own little league. We are currently the proud parents of two boys who live and breathe baseball, and we are working on the third boy at this present time. Thank you, Lord.

Our local league doesn't take the little sluggers until they're 5 years old, so Liam is the only official player this year. He is disappointed that they also only allow t-ball at this age, because t-ball is "for babies, don't you know?" Yes, Liam, I know. But we figured he would benefit from a year of fielding experience, so t-ball it is.

His first game was last week, and we went all out and invited the entire extended family. Half the bleachers were taken up by our family. It was only slightly embarrassing, because there was one other family outnumbering us.
One of Liam's biggest fans is his cousin Preston, who was a KC Royal last year. Aren't they a cute pair?
Oddly enough, they share the same number, as well.
Did you know that t-ball is not all game? There's plenty of time to make new buddies in the dug out, too.
As a side note, Liam is not the only "brown boy" on his team, which has thrilled Liam to no end. (The other brown boy must have been up at bat during the above photo.)

Liam was selected to be pitcher for this first game. If you're like me, you're wondering why in the world a t-ball game needs a pitching position, being that the ball is not actually, you know, pitched. I was lovingly told by my informant (a.k.a. my husband) that the pitcher has the vital role of catching the ball and throwing it to first base.

Liam was more excited about his fan club at the beginning of the game than the game itself, so he missed the first couple of plays. And then, he had about 20 people yelling at him to watch the ball. Daddy had to learn to pipe down and let the coaches, you know, coach. Daddy and Liam both settled down after a few minutes, and our boy made us proud with his attentiveness for the rest of the game.

Here he is in the center of the shot with his hands on his knees awaiting the ball. Just like his Daddy taught him in our backyard.
Even though t-ball is for babies, my big boy can smack that ball a good one.

And he can run like the wind.

I don't want to brag, but I'm going to brag. The coaches' wife kept saying, "Are you sure he's never played on a team before? He's a natural." My response was very humble and gracious, but I wanted to stand up on my bleacher and shout out, "THAT'S MY BABY! HE GETS HIS NATURAL ATHLETIC ABILITIES FROM ME!" But then, I might fall off the bleacher and eat humble pie.

I also want to journal a moment we didn't capture on camera. After Liam scored the first time, he did a cartwheel on his way to the dugout. Again, the coaches' wife, "Wow, he does a good cartwheel, too! Is he in gymnastics?" No, he taught himself that trick at the age of 2.

Apparently, the coaches' wife wasn't the only one impressed with Liam's first game, because he was awarded the game ball.
As I put him to bed that night, I said, "Do you know why I'm so proud of you tonight?" He said, "Because I played a good game." I said, "I am proud that you played a good game, but I'm more proud of how well you listened to your coach and how sweet you were to the other players."

Because it's not just about the game you play. It's also about who you are. The Lord gave him an amazing athletic ability, but I want Liam to learn to use all of his gifts for His glory.

In Case You've Been Wondering...

...they're getting better. They're almost to my eyebrows.

This photo was taken by a friend's two year old daughter, thus the reason for my chin being cut off. And the goofy face.

Because I don't have my own girl, I have to borrow every once in a while. My friend, Amanda, is in the process of adopting a black girl, Lorraine, through the state, and when we took our bazillion kids to the zoo recently, I pretended the little missy was mine. I can't share her picture, because Lorraine's adoption isn't yet finalized, but once that happens on March 30th, rest assured that I will show you her scrumptious cheeks live on this here blog.

Bowling Alleys are for Kids

Our local public schools have been on spring break this week. Because I'm superintendent, principal, and teacher of the CupRunnethOver School, I called it spring break, too. We needed a break.

We spent one morning at the bowling alley with friends. It was the boys' first attempt at this sport, so you know I had my camera handy.

You know it's spring break, when the parking lot is full of mini vans and the bowling alley is full of screaming kids. As luck would have it, we were placed on lane 34. We weren't there 5 minutes, when the lady from lane 35 said to me, "I don't know why they put kids next to our league, but could you please keep your kids back by the chairs each time we play? I have kids and all, but we're a league ya' know."

I would love to tell you that I smiled and said, "Why, yes, dear old lady, I'd be happy to keep the children out of your way. Please tell me when it's okay for us to resume playing."

Instead, I glared at her. I did not have nice words to say to her, but I said them in my head, since my children were present and I'm trying to leave ugly words in my BC (Before Children) days.

Then, I turned to my friend and said, "Did you hear her?!" She did, and she had to fight the same ugly words, too.

My friend was a little quicker on her feet and went to request a new lane. A lane not beside uptight league players. A lane beside other mamas and kids who understand the pure excitement of first-time bowlers under the age of 6.

Let the bowling begin!

It was fun to watch my boys' personalities shine through bowling.

Garrett, my boy who is timid with new experiences, needed me to walk with him for his first few attempts. This perfectionist also took great time in squatting down "just so". His athleticism served him well, and he enjoyed the game.
I wish I were that limber still!

Liam has never been shy a moment in his life. He has always attacked new situations with a level of excitement that is contagious. Attack is exactly how he approached the bowling alley. He picked up his ball and took off running to reach his perfect speed.
Once he reached the point of no return, he dropped to the ground and hurled the ball more like a baseball.
Jack is our middle child, and he approaches new situations somewhere between Liam's vigor and Garrett's shyness. He's not afraid of new ideas, but he'd rather sit back and watch for a while. I walked him up to the lane and explained that he would need to swing the ball between his legs and let it go.
Because he could hardly pick up the ball, it took 5 minutes for the ball to make its destination. Did you know that present-day bowling alleys have radars to give you the speed of your ball? Did you know that a ball travelling at 1.2mph will take 5 minutes to reach the pins? Did you know that 1.2mph x 5 minuutes x 20 frames = a really long time?

Never fear, Jack was not discouraged. While he waited, he gave us a jig or two. He loved those shoes. "Mommy, they're like dance shoes!"
Of course, I made the brothers pose. The day wouldn't be complete without a posed, affectionate picture.
They do love each other. Sometimes it shows in the form of affection. Other times it is shown in a good, ol' wrestling match. But for the bowling alley, they were cooperative.

My Tank is Full

As we were climbing into bed last night, Rick mentioned that he might take the day off, since it was supposed to be another pretty day. Since it was long after my bedtime, my only response might have been a yawn.

But instead of waking up to his 5:30 alarm this morning, we slept until 7:15. Good times!

We spent the day in the yard. Daddy and the boys finished their spring gardens, while I picked weeds. (I actually enjoy picking weeds. I know it's weird.)

The boys were able to choose what to plant in their own garden. They chose tomatoes, a few herbs, and cauliflower. (Cauliflower? I know it's weird.)

Daddy's garden is behind them with strawberries, potatoes, and more herbs. That was our only garden last year. We started out small to see how much we would enjoy it. Come to find out, we all love it. Rick and the boys love the digging, watering, and picking, and I love the eating.

Actually, we all love the eating, and we're a sight to see sharing the slim pickings. Did you know that a small garden produces only a small amount of food? We were a sight to see bartering over 3 strawberries at a time.

So Rick allowed the boys their own plot this year. They're only a little excited about it.
Before I know it, our entire backyard may be a garden. But if it saves me a weekly trip to the store for fresh produce, so be it.

Since my love language is quality time, my tank is full after having my man home for the day.

All About Mommy

I've seen this interview going around the blog world as well as Facebook. I thought it would be fun to hear my boys' answers. Perhaps only my husband and mom will enjoy it, but just in case the rest of you are interested.....

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?
L: I love you.
J: To obey.
G: Obey.

2. What makes Mommy happy?
L: To clean up.
J: To obey Mommy and Daddy.
G: Get in my seat quickly.

3. What makes Mommy sad?
L: When I grow up.
J: When I disobey. (Do you see a pattern here?)
G: Not obeying.

4. How does your Mommy make you laugh?
L: You tell me jokes.
J: When you do something very funny.
G: When I be funny.

5. What was your Mommy like as a child?
L: A girl.
J: She obey.
G: (frustrated) I don't know.

6. How old is your Mommy? (33)
L: 38
J: Um, 46.
G: I don't know. Um, 76.

7. How tall is your Mommy? (5'1")
L: Taller than us.
J: This tall. [squeezing thumb and forefinger together]
G: [looking me over from foot to toe] 07.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
L: Play games and hug me.
J: To go to Sonlight (our homeschool co-op) and to clean.
G: To clean up the house.

9. What does your Mommy do when you're not around?
L: Go to the ice cream store.
J: Be sad.
G: Clean up the dishes.

10. If your Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
L: Rich.
J: Tell them your name.
G: Getting mad.

11. What is your Mommy really good at?
L: Hop scotch.
J: Being a school teacher.
G: Reading your Bible because you're smart.

12. What is your Mommy not very good at?
L: Playing pillow fight.
J: Not good at playing baseball. (Excuse me?! I think I'm better at it than he is.)
G: I can't 'member.

13. What does your Mommy do for a job?
L: Clean up the house from us.
J: Help us.
G: Worship God.

14.What is your Mom's favorite food?
L: Enchiladas.
J: Strawberries.
G: Hamburgers and carrots and vegetables and apples and peppers.

15.What makes you proud of your Mommy?
L: When you sing.
J: When you surprise me.
G: Going to the Aggie game.

16. If your Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
L: A vegetable.
J: Superman.
G: A good girl.

17. What do you and your Mommy do together?
L: Play with each other.
J: Play and laugh.
G: Go to the store with Didi (my mom).

18. How are you and your Mommy the same?
L: We both lay around. (I'd like to know when he's EVER seen me just "laying around"!)
J: When we be right.
G: We like to be together. Because you're a cute girl. (Yes, he's my charmer.)

19. How are you and your Mommy different?
L: You are big and I am small.
J: I am brown and Liam is brown and Garrett is brown and white and you and Daddy are white.
G: I'm brown and white and you are not.

20. How do you know your Mommy loves you?
L: Because you're my best friend. My #1 friend.
J: When we hug each other.
G: We love each other. We give hugs and be together.

21. What does your Mommy like most about your Dad?
L: You love him. Daddy's so special to you.
J: You give kisses and hugs.
G: He's your lover. (He tucked his chin in as if he was embarrassed, which makes me wonder where in the world did he get the word 'lover' and how does he know to be embarrassed about it?!)

22. Where is your Mommy's favorite place to go?
L: Bosses' Pizza.
J: Pizza Garden.
G: Church. And I love you.

Someday they may not admit to some of these sweet answers! Someday they'll grow facial hair, have squeaky voices and sweaty armpits, and be too busy for me. But for today, I know they love me, and I love them more every day!

Go Buy Yourself a New T-shirt

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was jealous of my friend Colleen for getting to meet Ree.

Well, let me tell you a little about Colleen. I love her to death! She's vivacious and beautiful. We met when she dated my brother in the early 90s. And, yes, she still speaks to me!

After their breakup, we kept up with each other every once in a while. Just enough to find out when major events took place in our lives such as college graduation and marriage. In fact, when she and I were newlyweds (not to each other but to our respective husbands), Rick and I stayed with Colleen and her hubby while we vacationed in Germany in 2000.

Due to her hubby's career in the Air Force and their many moves, we lost contact between 2000 and 2009. We each looked for one another during that time but to no avail. But thanks to that trusty tool called Facebook, we reconnected in January of this year. And Colleen and her girls came to visit a few weeks later.

Seeing Colleen after all those years was like only a month had passed, only between the two of us, we now have 5 more kids than we had 9 years ago. Funny what can happen in nine years. But anyway, Colleen was still Colleen, and we had a great time catching up.

She was wearing this really cute t-shirt that night, and I asked where she got it. "Oh, a friend and I are starting a new t-shirt company and this is one of our shirts," she said. "Really, " I squealed with delight.

Come to find out, she and her friend decided to start a business of creating stylish Christian t-shirts after seeing some random t-shirt at a restaurant one night. That shirt said something to the effect of "Life is crap." As Colleen put it, "Life is not crap. Life is a gift from God. And I'm tired of seeing junk like that."

Well, there you go. I can't think of a better reason to start a new business.

Because I love Colleen and because I want to support her new bizness, please check out Wild Olive Tees' website here. Free shipping for the month of March, so hurry on over there and spread the word!



Howdy! How y'all been for the past 2 weeks?

I've been great, because this has been my view for the past 13 days:
Isn't it breathtaking?!

If you believe that I've been on a beach for nearly two weeks, then I have a beautiful vacation home on the other side of that lens to sell you.

Instead of a dreamy vacation that you could drool over, I have been living my regular life. Only my regular life has taken on a life of its own. A life which hasn't allowed time for blogging, which makes me terribly fussy.

When Rick came home tonight, I was jabbering away about how my friend Colleen was able to go see Ree. "She's my favorite blogger, and Colleen got to meet her! In person! She's so lucky! Isn't that cool?!"

He said, "Yea, that's cool. When are you going to write on your blog again?"

"When do I have the time anymore, " I moaned.

"You need to write every night, " he said.

Ohhhh, look out blog, 'cuz I've been given permission to visit you every night!

Of course, I've thought about blogging at night, but our evenings are usually reserved for family time. And once the boys are in bed, Rick and I usually spend time gabbing or vegging on the couch together. But now that he's noticed my days are filling up too quickly, he's offering a portion of our evenings to blogging. Because he loves me.

Or because he finds me funnier on my blog than in person.

So, coming up shortly on CupRunnethOver:

  • I've found a great way to survive time changes! No more moaning over that lost hour.
  • The high-maintenance campers are baaaack!
  • An interview with my boys to see how they view me. I'm a little bit scared.
  • My friend Colleen has a new t-shirt company that I have to tell you about!
Y'all come back now, ya' hear?