Monday, October 28, 2013

Stenberg Family Update

Its been nearly seven months since my last blog entry. 
Such is life . . . 

Here's the skinny on our family:

  • Mark graduates in FOUR months (March 1, 2014) with his Masters of Professional Accountancy from Louisiana Tech University. He has been such an impressive student. He has accepted a job with McGladrey, an accounting firm in Des Moines, IA. (Yes, Iowa.)
  • Callen turned five this summer. He is learning to spell and read. He is really a sponge. It comes in spurts, but when he's on, we encourage the learning! He's attending preschool four days a week here in Ruston. We made the decision to hold off on Kindergarten for him since his birthday is so late in the summer. It will really pay off in a few years, but for now, it will be a bonus because our move in March will not interrupt his schedule too much. He loves friends, playing Wii and games on an iphone and the computer, and Legos. He's adventurous (sometimes too much), ambitious, and funny. He goes by "Max" at church on Wednesday nights, just because he decided that's what he wanted to be called.  
  • Jack turned three in August. He's got a great sense of humor. He loves to play super hero dress up, build with Legos, ride his tricycle outside, and most of time do whatever Callen is doing. He overcame a fear of Champ (the Tech mascot) this fall, even initiating a hug and high five on his own. He plays really well on his own too. But when things get quiet with him for a while, I know I need to make a check! He can be a bit mischievous. 
  • Bennett is NINE months today. He's a joy. He laughs and smiles ALL THE TIME. He loves his brothers and makes a point to be wherever they are. He army crawls all over the place and gets around quick. He also pulls up on EVERYTHING. He still doesn't have any teeth. I think he may walk before he even gets teeth! His hair is slow to come in, but it is definitely red. His eyes are still changing. But they are certainly NOT going to be blue. 
  • I am busy keeping up with these four boys! My world really doesn't expand much beyond home these days. I have enjoyed a marriage class with Mark this quarter, a Bible study with some college girls, and attending MOPS. I also (just last night) started a Couch to 5K training. I nearly died. But it is a goal of mine to run an entire 5K. And I need to get in better shape to keep up with my kids. 
It has been so much fun living in Ruston this past year and few months. I've loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. It is good for my soul to know how loved we are here. And it is really fun to hear my kids picking up a bit of a southern drawl. They have transitioned well. And I hope that is a good picture of how they will do in March when we move . . . again. We are excited about Mark's job. We are so happy to have an answer to the question "What will you do after graduation?" Our Iowa friends and family have been so encouraging about our return. We have folks on the lookout for places to live and "interim" jobs for us. (Mark's position at McGladrey doesn't begin until Oct 2014.) 

We have been stretched in our marriage, in our personal relationships with Christ, in our parenting, and in just about every other area. God is faithful and has given us such blessing. 

We hope to make the most of our last four months in Louisiana. And we are looking forward to the next phase of life in Iowa too. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blogging Drought

Hey friends! Its been quite a while (almost six months!) since I blogged.

Mark is in his third quarter at Louisiana Tech and he's doing great. He is a 4.0 student so far!

Callen and Jack are adjusting to life with a new baby brother. I'll try to post pics of Bennett Shepherd soon.

But the whole reason I'm even on the blog again . . .to post some recipes.  This week I finally had the opportunity to try making some freezer meals. And I made SIX meals in one hour. It really was easy. We've tried two of them so far and they are very yummy.

So, here you go friends . . . happy cooking!
These are the ones I did this week.

Cilantro Lime Chicken:
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 limes juiced, 2 cups fresh or 4 tsps dry cilantro, 4 cloves minced garlic, onion powder, 2 cans black beans drained and rinsed, 2 tsp cumin, salt and pepper
Put 3-4 chicken breasts into labeled ziplocs, add remaining ingredients, mix by shaking, label and freeze flat.
Cook in a crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Serve on tortillas. Garnish with your favorite sides - sour cream, lettuce, salsa, cheese.

Hawaiian Chicken:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar, 3 garlic cloves minced, 2 tbs soy sauce, 1/2 cup of pineapple juice (from can), 1/2 can large pineapple chunks
Label your freezer bag, including cooking instructions.
Add all ingredients to a freezer bag.
Lay flat and freeze.
To cook: dump all ingredients in crock pot and cook 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.
Serve over rice and enjoy.

Garlic Honey Chicken:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2/3 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup honey
Label the freezer bag, including cooking instructions.
Add all ingredients to a freezer bag.
Lay flat and freeze.
To cook: pour ingredients into crock pot and cook 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.

Teriyaki Pork Chops:
4 pork chops, salt and pepper to taste, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 2 Tbs brown sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup chicken broth
Label freezer bag.
Add ingredients to bag.
To cook: dump all ingredients into crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

Chicken Fajitas:
2 peppers, 1 onion, 1 1/2 pound chicken breast, 1/2 cup chicken broth, taco seasoning packet, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp salt
Label freezer bag. Put in all ingredients.
Dump all in crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours, low for 5-6 hours.
After cooking, shred the meat and add it back to the pepper mixture and serve on warm tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Haven't tried these, but plan to do them next . . .

Sloppy Joes:
3-4 pounds ground meat, 2 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning, 2 tbsp chili powder, 6 tbsp dark brown sugar, 6 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 can tomato paste, 2 (14.5 oz) cans tomato sauce.
Brown meat, drain, let cool a little.
Divide all ingredients into 2 ziplocs, shake to combine ingredients.
Seal, label and freeze flat.
To cook: allow to thaw almost completely. Cook on med-high heat in saucepan or skillet until it starts to boil and allow to simmer for 10 mins.

Beef Burritos:
1 London Broil or top round roast, about 2 lbs
1 diced onion, 4 garlic cloves (minced), 2 tbs whole peppercorns, 2 tbs apple cider vinegar, 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce, 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (found in a can, use just ONE pepper), 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
Label freezer bag.
Add all ingredients to bag.
To cook: Pour ingredients into crock pot and cook on high 4-5 hours, low 6-7 hours. When the meat is cooked, strain and save juice. Add juice back to slow cooker. Shred meat and add it back to crock pot. Cook for another 30 minutes.

I have one more for Creamy Beef Enchiladas . . . but the baby just woke up. That's all you get for now.