Friday, February 26, 2010


I can't emphasize enough how grateful I am for my family and friends.  I feel so lucky to have such wonderful, supportive people in my life.  Thank you all!  Here is a little pic I took today of my six month old.  That's right...6th months!  I can't remember a time without this little pumpkin.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meal Plan...Tuesday

So, I am totally negligent with the meal plan Monday thing.

I think I will make it more of a sharing of new recipes, etc.  Please share any easy recipes that you have!  I NEED some.  My email is

Yesterday I made a big batch of my Dad's Tomato Florentine Soup.  It is a secret recipe or I would share:(  Sorry!  It should last us all week for our lunches.

Tonight, I am making Black Bean Quesadillas, except I just checked and I am out of black beans, so I am substituting refried instead.  Here is the recipe.



  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2/3 cups salsa, divided
  • 10 flour tortillas (8 inches)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2/3 cup sour cream


  • In a bowl, mash the beans; add 1 cup salsa. Place five tortillas on ungreased baking sheets; spread with bean mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; top with the remaining tortillas.
  • Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until crisp and heated through. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream and remaining salsa. Yield: 30 wedges.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Good Morning...It's Sabbath!

Wow!  Can it get any better than a relaxing Sabbath Morning?  From the time I was a little girl, they have always been wonderful.  The sounds of music filling the house, the smell of cooking food are just a few of the wonderful memories that I am excited to share with Monroe.

This week has been a good one.  I am still trying to figure things out around here.  Haven't found the grocery store I am ready to call my own yet.  Still looking for my go-to Walgreens and gas station.  I guess those are all things that take a bit of time to figure out.

Last night, I finally tried the Au Gratin potato recipe that I said I was going to make weeks ago!  It was very yummy.  I used skim milk instead of whole, and I don't think you would have noticed.  I would definitely recommend it.  It is very easy to make and you can change the ingredients to make it a bit healthier.

Monroe discovered applesauce this week.  It is her new favorite thing.  She can't get enough:)  Before she could take or leave solid food.  Now, she starts to whimper if she thinks I am putting it away.  She is also so much more aware of us eating.  She just stares at my yogurt in the morning.  I feel like I have to go in another room to eat.

She's definitely getting more fun by the day.  She just cackles and laughs and brings such joy to my heart!  I love this kid.

My boss invited us to one of the Foundation events tomorrow.  It is a brunch at a place called Drury Lane.  It is supposed to have the best brunch around.  Even better than the restaurants downtown!  I am pretty excited.  After the brunch,  the show Funny Girl is being performed.  I don't know if we will stick around for the show, though.

Today we are going over to Mike and Melissa's for lunch.  Melissa's mom is in town and I am excited to meet her.  I am sure she is going to be lovely, just like her daughter.

Yesterday was a great day out and we were hoping that today would be the same.  Sadly, it snowed over night and it's just pretty dreary out:(  Oh well!  If it is not too cold, we are going to go for a walk.  There is a park about a mile away and we might check it out.  We definitely look like Floridians when we go on walks here.  We bundle up big time...including snow pants!

I wish everyone a wonderful day!  Love you:)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Here are a few pics of the new place.  We haven't had a chance to paint the guest room or one of the bathrooms, so I will post those later.  Monroe is sleeping in her room right now, so I couldn't snap a pic of that.  Also, the basement is still under construction...well, really it's just messy.  I will get those up soon.




Monday, February 15, 2010

No more roadtrips....please!

My first week of work went great.  I love my job and I think my boss is wonderful.  The boss thing had been a big worry of mine.  You never know what kind of situation you are walking into.  I have read that the biggest reason people leave a job, no matter how incredible the job, is boss issues.  So anyway, I am really relieved.  She is very passionate about her job and is super flexible.  I didn't realize how important flexibility was until I had Monroe.  With all the doctor's appts and sicknesses, it's a must!  I work every Tuesday and Wednesday and every other Monday.  I was able to set my own schedule, so I will see if this works well.  If not, I am free to change it up any time.  I am so excited to get to spend so much more time with Monroe.  It's amazing how God answers our prayers.

Monroe seems to be adjusting to her new childcare splendidly.  For a kid that doesn't seem to know a stranger, I had guessed as much.  We love the lady who is watching her, Shelley.  She is the same person who watches Max and Mason.  It's fun to know that the cousins will be there together.  The only bad thing is the inconvenient location.  I am praying that someone just as amazing comes along that is closer to our home or to work.

I can't get over how big she is getting.  We enjoy so much getting to see her accomplish new things every day.  Parenthood is sooo rewarding.  Sometimes I get worried about our finances here in Chicago.  Things will definitely be VERY tight for us and we really are having to change our whole way of life, but it is totally worth it.  When I hear that little laugh, see that little smile, smell her distinct little smell...I know we made the right decision.    

It is so funny to me how many nicknames this kid has.  The list is growing quickly.  The main ones are  Monrovia, Ro, RoRo, and Rosie. But to be honest, I call her about anything that comes to mind.  The poor thing probably has no idea what her real name is.  I frequently call her Sister Sue, Sis, Sister, Chicklet, Kid...the list goes on and on.  In fact, I even called her Jalopy one day.  Don't ask me why.

This weekend was Mark's 10 year highschool reunion in Kansas City.  I was so dreading the 8(ish) hour drive.  Especially after our long trip here.  I tried to get pumped up for it, but I have to admit, I was a big whiner about the whole thing.  I feel bad about that now:)

We left on Thursday after work.  On the way down, we caravaned with Mike, Melissa and the boys.  We didn't arrive in KC until 3 in the morning.  Monroe did great until the last hour.  I think the drive really does number on her little tummy.  It wasn't horrible though.

The alumni was very nice.  Ten out of 15 of his classmates made it and he enjoyed seeing many other of his friends.  It is always a treat to get to spend time with Mom and Dad Murrill and Grandpa and Grandma Murrill.  Grandma Murrill is an AMAZING cook. I always get excited to see what our Sabbath lunches will include.  There is always a huge spread of yummy food.  She didn't let me down this time.  She made my very favorite, potato pie.  Trust me, it's delish!

It was a short trip and we headed home on Sunday morning.  Yes, we spent our Valentine's in a car...pretty romantic:)  Actually it was romantic.  We had a nice time chatting, laughing, singing, etc.   We also found a little Mexican restaurant on the way and had a lovely dinner, topped of with a little frozen custard.  Every Valentine's get's better with Mark.  Even just riding in a car is great.  I love that guy.  I feel so blessed to have him in my life.

Anyway, that's been what's up with us.  I really plan on starting back with the Menu Monday.  I promise:)

I hope everyone is well.  Keep in touch!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Back to reality...

It's weird to say, but Chicago is now our home!  Crazy!!!  It took us about a week to get here, and I never want to go on another road trip again, but it was worth it.  I had fully intended on blogging the whole trip, but that ended up being a much harder accomplishment than I had thought.  So now, I will tell you all about the trek.  It may take me a few days, but I will do it!

Helping Mom pack

Day 1-3:  On Friday morning, we started our journey from Tasha and Billy's lovely home.  We awoke (later than planned) and packed up our little car.  Destination? Memphis.  Tasha sent us out with a huge bag full of travel snacks and the Duckett's sent us out with the new Britney CD, so we were pretty set, to say the least.  We got about 5 miles down the road and realized that Mark left his phone there.  Day one- take two:)  So, with "You Drive Me Crazy", blasting from the speakers, and twizzlers in our mouths, we were off, again.

After a long 15 hour drive, we arrived in Memphis to be greeted by our besties, the Baughman's.  It was wonderful to spend the weekend with them.    It was Mattie's birthday weekend, so it was great to celebrate with that little munchkin.  Brandon's mom, Anna, was also visiting, so it was nice to see her.  She is Russian and makes a mean Borsch.  This was my first experience with the soup and was almost turned off by the hot pink color. Luckily, I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised by it's yumminess.  I thought maybe I could wow people and add this recipe to my repertoire, until Anna described the day-long process it entailed.  Nevermind.  While in Memphis, we were taken on a wonderful site seeing excursion, the highlight being Graceland!  I always had this place in my head to be phenomenal and incredible, but from the outside, it is just a normal looking big house.  It was great to see, though.  Here are a few pics of our adventure...

The Murrill's...yes, that is Monroe in that pouch.

 The Baughman's
Our hunk-a-hunk of burning loves...and Mattie 
In front of the Civil Right's Museum where MLK was shot

Day 3-6 On Sunday morning, we packed up and headed to Tulsa!  It was supposed to be about a 8 hour drive, but with an infant, and Mark's bladder that turned into about a 10 hour one:)  We arrived home Sunday night and were excited that Mom not only had made my favorite soup, but invited our close friends the Knight's over, as well, as Stephen and Michelle.  It was so great to relax, eat and chat with everyone.  Monroe especially enjoyed all of the attention and the fact that she was out of the car seat!  

On Monday, we slept in and headed to my dad's office for a check of the teeth.  Who needs dental coverage, when your dad is the best Dentist ever?:)  Mark and I both got our teeth cleaned, while the wonderful girl's at the office, took loving care of Monroe.  We then met Mom, Dad and Kamryn at our favorite restaurant of ALL time...Desi Wok.  They have the most amazing Tikka Masala with Paneer.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  After a lovely lunch, we headed over to Mumsie's to pay her a visit.  It was great to see her.  We were able to snap a few pics of the four generations of women in our family.  How special!  

That night, Dad made vegeburgers and the fam came over (Shane, Tami, Kamryn, Stephen and Michelle).  It was so wonderful being with them.  This was Shane and Tami's first time meeting Monroe, so that was fantastic.  I could kick myself for not getting any pictures!    

On Tuesday, we had lunch with Mom and Dad at Red Robin.  I love that place.  There wasn't one in Florida, so I was craving it.  Then Dad, graciously offered to watch Monroe at the office for a few hours, so Mark and I could have some alone time!  What at an awesome Papa!  Monroe hung out with Papa all afternoon, and we went to the Mall!  We both found coats in preparation for our new home.  

We went and picked up Monroe and headed to meet Vivian and Xander, my neice and nephew.  We hadn't seen them in soooo long.  They had grown up so much.  Vivi is as outgoing as ever, and Xander, just as shy.

That night we went to TAA to see our former students play basketball.  They were exciting games and both Eagle's teams won!  We were so proud of them.  It's amazing how quickly kids grow up.  

Days 6 & 7 On Wednesday morning, we headed out of Tulsa to Kansas City.  On the way, we stopped in Miami, Oklahoma to see Mark's grandparents.  We had lunch with them and then got back on the road. 

Grandma and Grandpa Hallam 

We arrived in KC and spent some quality time with Mom Murrill.  When Dad Murrill got home, we went over to G-ma and G-pa Murrill's house for dinner.  They were excited to meet Monroe and we had a great visit.

On Thursday morning, we packed up our car for the last leg of the journey (thank goodness).  The movers were arriving on Friday morning, so we needed to get to Chicago.  After a long day, we arrived into the Windy City.  We decided to stop by our house first, to check it out.  Mark had seen it, but I hadn't yet.  After taking a little tour of the place, we headed over to Mike and Melissa's for the night.  

So there you have it,  We made it to Chicago in one piece!  Praise the Lord!!!  I will have to take some pics of the house and post them later.  Right now, my hand is too sore from typing.  Have a wonderful day.  It's good to be back:)