Recipe: Pasta Salad

I got the basic idea for this recipe out of this month’s Kraft magazine.  If you don’t get the free magazine, you need to sign up for it, its great.

Keep in mind that the amount of pasta that you cook and the type of pasta you choose will increase or decrease the amount needed of each ingredient.


  • two grilled chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • one tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup Kraft Greek Vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 1/4 (or less) red wine vinegar
  • one package of cooked bow-tie pasta

Mix all ingredients together, refrigerate until cold.

We had this with sandwiches for dinner last night and it was great!  We grilled chicken the night before and so I had thrown a few extra breasts on the grill.  If you don’t want to grill the chicken for the salad, you can buy grilled chicken now in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Planning all my meals for the week is so helpful.  I am able to cook extra meat and reuse for the next night’s meal.  It makes my life so much less stressful when I am not trying to figure out what I am going to cook at 5:30 when everyone is hungry.

Oh, PS… I had to add an ingredient to my Meat Loaf recipe.  I realized yesterday that there was no brown sugar on the list for the sauce.  If you made it, or are planning to try it, make sure to add that ingredient to your recipe.

The Heavenly Man

I am reading a book right now called The Heavenly Man it is the true story of Brother Yun.  A modern day biography about a preacher in China. 

I love biographies.  There is something inspiring to me about reading about other people’s lives.  There are some pretty unbelievable things in this book.  In fact, there are times that as I am reading, I literally think "that can’t be true."  I truly do not understand the cruelty of the Chinese authorities to people whose crime was simply their faith.  If you can’t stomach reading about intense suffering in terrible prison conditions, this is not a book for you.

The book has made me so grateful for the country I live in.  I went to a conference (Beth Moore) this past weekend and surprisingly, the topic was happiness, not joy, circumstantial happiness.  I think sometimes, I get so self absorbed that forget about all of the small benefits I enjoy every day, daily circumstances that should make me overlook any tough situation and know that I have a lot to be happy about.

There is a verse in Proverbs 31 that says "Her children arise and call her blessed."  The word blessed is also a synonym for happy.  I would be so honored if my children grew up to describe me as a happy mother.  I think I often take out my frustrations on my son.  That is not fair.

Don’t think I am struggling through some tough situation right now.  I am not.  I really just want to enjoy the life God has given me to the fullest.  Today, when Elijah wakes up, I think we will play the glad game (every watch the movie Pollyanna as a kid?).  We will list all the things that make us glad. 

I know what Elijah is going to say, "Daddy," "kuwrmit," (Kermit the frog is one of our favorite movies right now), "ewaphant," who knows what else.  My list will be more like…

  • I am glad that I have so many choices of clothes to wear even if they do have to be folded right now.
  • I am glad that I can get in may car and go to the grocery store even if I did just order groceries but forgot 2 essential things. 
  • I am glad that I have a beautiful master bathroom with plenty of space and a nice size garden tub even if it is begging to be cleaned right now.

Where to begin?

Family_3 Elijah_and_cousins





Well we are home from our vacation with my family.  What a week…

  • total of 17 hours riding in cars
  • total of 11 in people in one big house, 4 children under age 4
  • total of 11 people who contracted a stomach virus
  • total of $50 in bingo prizes won by the Furtick family (thanks mom for a great idea)
  • total of who knows how many hours spent in the "haat tu–b" by Elijah B because he thought the pool and the ocean were too cold.

We had a great time but I must say it was odd vacationing with so many of us sick.  After the beach, I joined up with a few  Elevation friends to attend the Beth Moore Conference in Boone, NC this past weekend.  Steven did a great job with Elijah.  I even came home to an unloaded car, clean dishes and a decently clean house (considering all the vacation stuff).

Today I am trying to conquer mounds of laundry, a grocery order and cleaning my bathrooms (I am trying not to put too many things on that list, lest I feel like a failure at the end of the day).  So far I have my grocery order done and ready to be picked up at 2:30.

I love Memorial day because it means summer is officially here.  We are grilling out with some friends tonight and I can’t wait!  I hope you enjoy your day!

Sesame Street Live

A couple months ago we broke down and purchased tickets to take Elijah to Sesame Street Live… in Greensboro.  I know, we drove from Charlotte to Greensboro to see a show.  But I really thought Elijah would enjoy it.

We left our house at 8 am and actually got there early!!!  Elijah was extra calm and quiet the whole way there.  Steven kept saying Elijah didn’t feel good.  I thought he was fine.  Let me just say, good thing we got there early (40 minutes which is too much for me) because Steven and I were the only ones who saw Elijah THROW UP!!!

You should know that in Elijah’s short 2 years of life, he has never thrown up.  I could see it all over Steven’s face, "We paid all this money and he is going to be sick the whole time!"  We were so shocked, we really didn’t know what to do.  But being the great parents that we are, the "this is disgusting but this is my child and I have to clean this up" part of us kicked into gear and got Elijah cleaned up and called a custodian over.

You will be glad to know that Elijah loved the show.  Even Oscar was there to sing "I love trash!"  We had a great trip and I think Elijah is fine.  He started an antibiotic last night and I am hoping that is what made him sick.  We are headed to the beach next week and I don’t want any of us to be sick on vacation!

Meatball Subs

Meatball subs are so easy and so good!  I probably make this recipe once a month.  This is an easy meal to prepare.  It is going to look more complicated that it is.

  • Meatballs

              2 lbs ground beef or turkey

              1 cup Italian bread crumbs

              2 eggs

              ½ tsp pepper

              ¾ tsp salt

              1 clove of garlic (pressed)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Form into small balls (about the size of a ping-pong ball), set aside. 

  • Sauce

              1 large jar of traditional spaghetti sauce (no chunky stuff, I buy Ragu)

              3 garlic cloves, pressed

              2/3 cup cooking wine

Combine ingredients in a stockpot, bring to boil, reduce heat.

In large skillet, heat olive oil in the bottom of pan.  When oil is hot, add 6-8 meat balls. Move around the pan until all sides of the ball are seared.  Place balls in the sauce.  Repeat until all meatballs have been seared and added to sauce.

Cover meatballs in sauce.  Keep at a very low boil for 20-30 minutes or until meatballs are done in the middle.

Serve on hoagie buns, topped with provolone cheese.  OR if you want to get really fattening and messy, serve over cooked garlic bread, top with cheese and eat with a knife and a fork.  This meal is very filling.  A side salad would be the only side you will need.

I really like to use ground turkey with this recipe because the meatballs come out so tender (not to mention ground turkey is so much cheaper and better for you).  The turkey is a little more difficult to work with in the fry pan.  It is harder to get them to brown without sticking to the pan. 

Let me know if you cook this and like it!

PS.  Several of you tried the Mac and Cheese and love it, I told you so!  I forgot to tell you if you want to make the whole thing one meal, add cubed ham to the mix and you have dinner!

No more

I am done giving my child my personal items to play with.  In the last month Elijah has broken or lost 4 pairs of sunglasses (2 mine and 2 Steven’s).  He doesn’t mean to break things, he is just rough on stuff.

He is constantly asking me to give him my watch and bracelet.  The thing is my son is extremely persistent and not easily distracted (I wonder where he gets that from?  Hint: ask our church staff).  So most of the time I give it to him because I don’t want to hear him cry, scream or embarrass me.  Saturday we were in Taco Bell when Elijah started, "I need bracelet, I need bracelet, I need bracelet…" (he calls my watch, bracelet).

Have you ever done something, and as you were in the act, thought "this is not a good idea."  That is what that moment was like for me, but he wouldn’t be quiet and I didn’t want a scene.  So I handed him my nice watch that Steven gave me as a Christmas present several years ago.

Can you feel where this is going?  Yep.  Hours later, I was in a panic looking for my watch.  I could only remember that it did make it out to the car from the restaurant.  We had made one stop since then (in Pineville).  I looked in the car.  No watch.  I went back to Pineville (by the way, I hate Pineville.  There is traffic there 24 hours a day).  The only think that I could think was that it had fallen out in the parking lot.  I could imagine it being run over by car after car.  But, no watch in Pineville.

I was so upset.  I felt so careless and stupid for not just telling my child no.  I cried when I told Steven.  He wasn’t mad (probably because I was crying).  He told me I needed to do better and we would look in the car again.

Yesterday I wore a watch with no battery to church (I can’t stand not having it on my wrist).  I prayed and asked the Lord to please help me find the watch.  I tried really hard not to make promises to God about what I would do if I found the watch (ever do that?) but I did.

Last night I decided to have one last look in the car (my fourth time).  I found it.  It had fallen down inside of the car seat, under the cover.  I almost cried.  I did thank the Lord.  The promise I made that I will keep… I am going to say no to my so when he asks for my watch.  I have already done it once today.

On a different note… How about Elevation Church yesterday??  I will never get tired of seeing people be baptized.  Yesterday, my husband (check out his take on it )preached an incredible sermon on baptism and then offered a call for people to be baptized on the spot.  Three services, and 209 people later we sat back stage amazed and exhausted.  I cried at all three services.  Watching people be obedient to God never gets old.  When we laid down in bed last night, we were so grateful for the lives that we live.  God has been so good to us.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

If you want to have the most popular dish at a covered dish supper, summer cook out, or party, this is the recipe for you to make.  Almost every time I have to take a dish to a function, I make Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese.  I hardly ever bring any home.  I promise you will love this.

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese

  • Ingredients:
    8oz of cooked macaroni
    1 (12oz) can of evaporated milk
    2 eggs
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    4oz sour cream
    1 cup milk
    4 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients except for 1/2 cup of cheese poured into a greased crock pot (I forget all the time and it is not that bad).  Put 1/2 cup of cheese on top.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

If you are preparing for more than 20 people, you can double the recipe.  The doubled recipe fits in a large crock pot.  Let me know if you make this dish and like it!  Next recipe… meatball subs.


You are not going to believe me when I say this.  The OB called me AGAIN this morning and canceled my appointment AGAIN.  Can I say, AGAIN, again?  No, I did not have an appointment with a doctor who was off delivering a baby.  I had yet another appointment with an ultrasound technician (a different one from last week) who has yet again called in sick.  I now have to wait until Thursday morning.  Thursday will be my 4th attempt to see the technician in about 10 days (one of them my fault, see previous entry).  I will not express my feelings about the way this practice does their ultrasounds.  I think you can figure out how I feel.

More cancellations… So my friend and I decided we need to go to the Library this week.  This morning I got online at 9:10 am and saw that the only story reading this week was at 10 am!  I called my friend and asked her if she wanted to try and make it (she has two kids!).  We busted our butts to get there only to find out that all classes were canceled for the month of May for planning in all Mecklenburg county libraries.  I told them they might want to update their site.  It specifically said "Pre-school Pizazz, Monday, May, 7, 10am…"  I think I am bad luck.

We made the best of the day, got some great books and had lunch at Chick-fil-A.

So I will conclude by saying I am staying home for the rest of the day.  I am afraid to venture out.  The stores might decide to close for inventory or something.  No I will stay home and do some chores and listen to Shark Tales in the back ground (This is our movie for the time being.  A babysitter put it in the DVD player on Thursday, Elijah has been watching it ever since.)

I am losing my mind

I have to go back and have my real ultrasound done by a technician.  The Dr. did it on Monday because the tech had called in sick.  This is just to get accurate measurements of everything.

So I arranged for someone to come and sit with Elijah while I went at 2:30 this afternoon.  I went to the office, signed in and sat down.  Fifteen minutes later, they called my name. 

Receptionist:  Mrs. Furtick, your appointment is not until Monday at 2:30

Me:  You’re kidding me.

Receptionist:  No ma’am

Me:  Can you fit me in?

Receptionist:  You will have to wait at least 45 minutes.

Me:  See you Monday.

Confused, bewildered and embarrassed I walked out to my car.  I decided to run in Walmart and get the two things on my list.  Unfortunately I could only remember one of them.  Nice.  So I prayed.  "Lord please let me remember.  I hate Walmart.  I don’t want to come back here."  Determined, I wandered the store trying to trigger my memory.  Finally I remembered, contact solution.  Thank you Lord.

What a day. 

My son is in the bath tub splashing.  It sounds like there is a hurricane in there.  I know I am going to have a mess to clean up.  Now he is screaming at the top of his lungs, "Mommy, get out!"

Bed time is just around the corner, for both of us!

The Stick Magnet

How is it that my child can be in the yard for 2 minutes and manage to find the biggest stick in the yard? 

Elijah is constantly finding sticks.  He loves to just carry them around outside.  Sometimes they are drum sticks, sometimes a cane, or a pointer, or maybe a really bad shovel.  Mostly he just likes to hold them as he walks (dangerous, I know).

The other day we walked to the end of our street.  By the time we got home, Elijah looked like he was collecting firewood.  Two sticks in each little hand.

I am constantly telling him not to bring them inside.  Somehow he manages to sneak them past me because I often find them lying around the kitchen and living room.

When I was a little girl, I doubt I even knew sticks existed.  I never played guns or swords.  I did play cheerleader with some branches that still had leaves.  I also remember pretending to sweep the sidewalk with a branch (again, still had leaves).  Come to think of it, I probably plucked these branches right off of a living tree.  I wouldn’t dare chance getting my hands dirty from a stick in the grass.

So today as I step further into the world of boys, I accept the fact that sticks are a part of it.