Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday + Balmedie Beach

It's been an absolutely gorgeous week here in Aberdeen and boy and am I thankful for it! Prior to that, the summer had been predominantly rainy and cool. So it was so refreshing to see the sun shine brightly and the temps creep up into the low 60's for almost 4 days straight! Woohoo! The girls and I enjoyed plenty of park time and playtime outside. Our whole family even made it to Balmedie Beach and had a wonderful time together. I posted some pics here, but  I'll post a couple more just because :) It's a nice secluded beach only about a 15 minute drive from our house. The Sand Dunes are wonderful and the atmosphere refreshing!

Even though it was fairly chilly still, the girls LOVED the water. But after about 30 min, they wanted to be
bundled up again :)


Yes, this picture was taken in JULY and we are all wearing sweatshirts ;)
The wind is so cool and strong coming off of the North Sea!
Tim swinging Maddy around on the beach. I so want to frame this!
Ok - now to what's cooking in the Baylor House this week!
Monday~ Chicken Parmesan Burgers, salad

Tuesday~ Chicken Stir Fry, brown rice (I'm using a frozen bag of stir fry veggies)
I got this recipe from my friend Danielle Barger from VA Beach. Love her and her blog!

Here's the sauce recipe in case you want to try it.

She highly suggests you double it to have extra for the sauce and all the vegetables. Cook the meat in hot oil, remove it so it doesnt overcook, cook the vegetables until just tender, & then add the meat back in. Add sauce & cook until heated through. 
For the Sauce: 
 1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T sugar
1 T cider vinegar
1 T ketchup
1/2 t ground ginger
2 minced garlic cloves

Wednesday~ Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs (321 calories per serving), sweet potato fries, salad

Thursday~  Easy Taco Salad (480 Calories for 1/4 of the recipe), although I'll use ground turkey, so it will be less calls

Friday~ Grilled chicken, Asparagus and Red Roasted Peppers (190 cals for half of recipe), Brown rice

Linked up with Orgjunkie

Friday, July 27, 2012

Aberdeen 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Celebration

On June 11, 2012, the Olympic torch came through Aberdeen on it's way to London. It was carried by 8,000 torchbearers over 8,000 miles; there were 8,000 torches stopping in 1,000 cities, towns, and villages al in 70 days. Our city of Aberdeen was one of them! We were so excited to be a part of Olympic History! 

The torch coming through the city center of Aberdeen 
Olympic Torch Relay map
This one is a close up to help you see the city we live in -Aberdeen. It's on the North Eastern Side of Scotland.
Quite the crowd gathered on Union Street, right down the middle of the City Center!
Kind of a dark night, but not raining, so that was nice!
There was a Coke Truck handing out free soda in tin bottles (which were very cold in your hand on a chilly night;) but were absolutely delicious! They even said, 2012 Olypmics!
Tim with his coke bottle
Me with mine -yummy coke zero!
Yeaaaaaaahh, we let the kids have a sip. After all, we were going to be  up late that night ;)

Seriously though, how cute is that?! Do you see Maddy trying to grab it out of her hands ;)

The highlight of the night for me was the Bagpipe Rock Band that played. They were so fun! I posted a little video of them here on facebook playing and the girls dancing :)
They gave out ribbons that the girls danced around with most of the night ;)

Maddy cheering on Tim's shoulders!
Haha- I love how excited she got!
Rose and I enjoying the festivities!
And our sweet girls after a long night ready for bed! Fun was had by all and memories that will last a lifetime :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ July 23, 2012

Monday~ Cheddar Bacon Burgers (466 calories a burger), roasted broccoli and cauliflower

 Tuesday~ Quinoa and Black Beans with grilled chicken

Wednesday~ Garlic Lime Shrimp (1 cup 295 calories), Salad

Thursday~ Stuffed Pepper Soup (261 calories for 1 1/3 cups soup and 1/2 cup rice if desired)  

Friday~ Chicken Fajitas, Guacamole (yes, a favorite of ours :)

Review of Last Week's New Meals: 
Coronation Chicken- Tim 8/10, Julie 8/10 - Ease to make 8.5/10. This was so easy to make and we just ate it on a bed of spinach leaves and with a piece of sliced bread. So it was partially salad, partially sandwich. It was really tasty. Basically just a curry version of chicken salad in my opinion. But I think it was a tad sweet and next time I would put in a bit less of the mango chutney. It's a GO!

Pesto Orzo- Tim 6.5/10, Julie 6/10 Ease to make 6/10 - It was a fair amount of chopping and sautéing and the flavor in the end didn't pay off for us. NO GO. 

Lentil Salad - I actually didn't get a chance to make this one and will most likely try it this saturday for lunch.

For more great menu plan ideas, check out orgjunkie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#009 You Might Live in Scotland If...

... you drive on the right side of the car...

...and the left side of the road.

The change did take some getting used to at first that's for sure. But it actually helped that we didn't have a car the first month or two here. Riding the bus and going in other people's cars allowed me to get a sense for the car, the road, the rules of the road and the location of things. 

Now I feel as if I've been driving this way most of my life. In fact, the other day I tried to envision the roads and cars back home and got worried that I wouldn't remember how to do THAT when I go back. Weird. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Menu Plan~ 3 New Recipes!

It was a busy but good week (which is why i'm posting this a day late). But better late than never, right?! I'm just glad to have this accountability to keep me on track with meal planning. It's been such a help to our family and our wallet.

Anyone have any good recipes for me to try?

Monday~ Lentil salad

Tuesday~ Coronation Chicken  over salad greens. We had this for the first time at a church potluck and Tim and I both loved it. So i'm going to try it out for ourselves.

Wednesday~ Pesto Orzo with chicken

Thursday~ Chicken Tortilla Soup (265 Calories a bowl). I'm pulling the leftovers from two weeks ago out of the freezer- yay!

Friday~ Lemon Dill Salmon (320 calories a fillet), grilled asparagus, and salad

Monday, July 16, 2012

Scripture Memory~ He is my Rock.

 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
(Psalm 62:5-7 ESV)

Friday, July 13, 2012

#008 You Might Live in Scotland If...

... in the Summer you get about 16-18 hours sunlight a day!

Yup, that means on the summer solstice (June 22nd) the sunrise was at 4:13am and the sunset at 10:08pm! That's a lot of sun! Although I suppose "sunlight" might be a relative term here. It's more often cloudy and rainy than it is actually sunny.
But I suppose it's more the "daylight hours" we are talking about!
 I can hardly complain though because if you remember from my post about the winter darkness, there was only about 6-8 hours of sunlight a day! So I suppose it all works out in the end :) As I had mentioned in that previous post, winter was dark and a bit lonely, but the Lord carried us through until it started to get brighter, we made more friends, found a church we love,  and had visitors again! 

The adjustment now is how sunny it is so early and late in the day! I had to get black out blinds for the girls' room to help normalize their schedules again. It's not like in the states where I could say, "It's getting dark so it's bed time."  We decided to help them out with knowing when they needed to stay in their beds and when they could get out (despite whether it's dark or light), we got a "Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer".  Basically we set it to be blue when they are to be sleeping or in bed.
 When they are allowed to get up and get out of their beds to come get us (7am) it turns yellow :)

It has really helped with making sure they get the sleep they need (and that we do too)! One of the best investments we have made while being here!

---> And ONE more interesting thing about the light here is that even if you wake up at 1, 2, or 3 am, there seems to be a haze of orange/yellow light in darkish blue sky. It doesn't ever seem to get pitch dark.
This is the view outside of our living room window at almost 1am!

"Things that make you go hmmm..."

Monday, July 09, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ July 9, 2012

Monday~  Baked Chicken, baked sweet potato fries
Without skin - 282 calories per medium breast (or 250 for 1 cup diced), With skin - 382 calories 
Tuesday~  Chicken Noodle Soup, salad

Wednesday~  Fajitas, guacamole

Thursday~ Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, salad with homemade sun-dried tomato dressing (that I also marinated the chicken in). I couldn't find whole or chopped sun-dried tomatoes so I used the paste and it was so yummy! Oh and P.S. - I took this picture :) I'm so proud of myself, haha!
200 calories a piece of chicken and 70 calories per tablespoon of dressing on the salad
Friday~  Orchard Chicken Salad

New Recipe Review: 
Chicken Tortilla Soup - Tim 9/10, 8.5/10, Ease to make - 2/10. Ok - I'm not lying that I think this entire soup took me like 2 hours to make with all of the chopping and simmering! But that is probably also because I was SO tired that day and the kids kept interrupting me - so I felt like it took a million years :)

BUT -this one was worth the effort! It was so flavorful and filling! The textures were well balanced -especially with the crispy tortilla pieces on top! It made a HUGE batch. So be prepared to have leftovers - we froze ours after eating it 2 days in a row :)
Changes: It was a bit too spicy for us, so I think I'll cut back a bit on the green chillies, the chili powder, and the jalapeños next time to bring the heat down a bit. We also added cheddar cheese as a topping - so tasty! It's a GO!

Emily's Brilliant Bacon Pasta - Tim 5/10, Julie 6/10, Ease to make 8/10. It was so easy to make and most of the ingredients I usually have on hand (ok except for the zucchini and the creme fraiche). But we weren't huge fans. The flavor seemed to fall flat a bit and didn't seem to be worth the calories. But I know many people who love this recipe, so don't let our opinion stop you from trying it! (Sorry Em!)

Spinach Lasagna Rolls - Tim 8/10, Julie 7.5/10, Ease to make - 7/10. We enjoyed this very much. It was light and yet filling. Tim didn't even realize it was meatless :) I didn't actually make rolls though because our lasagna noodles are much shorter here. So I just made it like traditional lasagna. So tasty! The only thing I would change next time is using our own sauce recipe instead of the tomato sauce in the recipe to add more flavor. It's a GO!

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Friday, July 06, 2012

#007 You Might Live in Scotland If...

...You hang your clothes to dry outside or inside (depending on the weather!)
Our clothes drying in our shared back garden on a sunny day!

That's right. We don't have a dryer. I honestly didn't think I would ever get used to not having a dishwasher OR a dryer...but after 9 months without I think I'm am pretty well acclimated. That's not to say that I love not having those conveniences, but I have learned to use my time wisely and "get er done!" I find that I basically have to be doing laundry and dishes all throughout the day every day. The other tricky thing about laundry is that our washing machine holds about half of the amount that ours did in the States. So you really have it running all of the time. Then if you hang laundry outside (while it looks sunny), it could be 20 minutes before it rains again and you have to rush out and bring them in. Or if it's just a light sprinkle, you could just leave them out and hope for sunshine in the next hour. 
Our clothes drying inside with a heater on a cool, rainy day!

Now outside hanging of wash works MUCH better in the Spring and Summer when we are getting light until late in the evening, but in the Winter when the sun starts to set at 3pm, you have got to get your clothes outside first thing in the morning and take them down quickly before the sun begins to set or they will get damp again (at least that's what my sweet downstairs neighbors taught me :) We also have radiators that are on 2x a day for a couple of hours (yes most often even in the Spring and Summer- unless we have a "hot day"). So I also hang some of my clothes directly onto the radiators to dry. 
On those days when I am tempted to complain -ok most every day :() 
I try to meditate on this verse: 

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phil 4:11-13 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Aberdeen Update~ Summer 2012

It's been a cool and WET Summer here in Aberdeen. In fact it's been the wettest June recorded since 1911! We have become well acquainted with our rain boots (called Wellies here) and raincoats these days.The girls and I still go to the park to play and spend plenty of time splashing in puddles.
Jumping in Muddy Puddles on our walk to the Library 
If we stayed inside every day it was raining, I'm afraid we'd never get out! But the truth is that the rain isn't a downpour like in the States. It's usually more of a misty rain. And it's still been in the 50's - so it's warm enough to get out. I have to admit though, I have been aching for some HOT sun ;) So enjoy it for me if you can!

Taking a walk down a familiar path in the sprinkling rain. 

But when the sun does shine here and the temp climbs to 60 or 65, Scotland is one of the most gorgeous places to be! The grass is so bright green; the sky is a vivid and bright blue; the clouds are white and fluffy, the air is cool and smells salty from the North Sea and somehow the sun seems brighter than I've ever seen it before!
Pitmedden Gardens -just 30 min from our house.
See what I mean about the colors?!
Our sweet flower :)
We are feeling very settled after 9 months here. I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful Christian community around us. We always have something to do and someone to see. I'm thankful for this adventure God has lead us on. It may not be exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I suppose that's what an adventure is all about, right? I'm grateful that I am able to stay home with the girls while Tim studies. There is just so much to praise the Lord for right now.  Perhaps I'm especially thinking along those lines right now since I just finished the book One Thousand Gifts. It was quite the challenge to my heart to be content and even thankful in all circumstance of life! The grass will always seem greener somewhere else, but God is always good - all the time.

Here is the latest update of what we are doing in Aberdeen these days. Follow this link to view it in your browser or download it.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Menu Plan Monday~ July 2, 2012

Monday~ Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Servings: 9  Serving Size: 1 roll  Old Points: 4 pts  Points+: 6 ww pts
Calories: 224.9 • Fat: 5.1 g  Fiber: 3.4 g • Protein: 13.0 g • Carbs: 31.5

Tuesday~ Chicken Tortilla Soup (265 calories a bowl)

Wednesday~ Cheddar Bacon Burgers (466 calories a burger) for our American 4th of July party/picnic - yay! I'm so excited to be celebrating the country I love and miss so dearly :0)

 Thursday~ Emily's Brilliant Bacon Pasta in honor of my friend Emily who just moved back to America today! We're gonna miss you girl!

Friday~ Harvest Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

New Recipe Review: 

Zucchini Chips: Julie 9/10, Tim, 7/10, Ease to make 8/10 - These were excellent! Crispy on the outside and just soft in the inside(not mushy). WILL DO again :)

Mini Frittatas: Julie 7/10, Tim 7.5/10, Ease to make 8/10 - These were light, tasty and easy to make. They came out looking so cute and went nicely with fruit and and english muffin. Would be excellent for company brunch!

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