About Victoria T.

I am a Christian wife and stay-at-home mother. I blog about life, marriage, crafts, and now, motherhood.

Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna

Need a new Meatless Monday recipe? This is a good one. I adapted this recipe from a spinach lasagna roll recipe I found and tried.

Ingredients

    10-12 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
    1/2 lb lasagna noodles, broken in half, cooked halfway
    16 oz small curd cottage cheese (or ricotta cheese)
    16 oz shredded Parmesan cheese
    24 oz pasta or marinara sauce (about 1 quart)
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    1 tsp garlic powder

Process

  1. Spray a 5-6-quart slow cooker crock with cooking oil spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cottage (or ricotta) cheese, half of the Parmesan, and the seasonings.
  3. Add about 1/4 of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the crock. Layer 1/3 of the noodles over the sauce (about 6 lasagna halves). Pour over another 1/4 of the sauce. Spread over 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Loosely spread 1/2 of the spinach over. Then repeat layers of noodle, sauce, cheese, and spinach. Top with final 1/3 of noodles, 1/4 of sauce, and then the reserved half of Parmesan.
  4. Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-6 hours.

Tips

  1. If you forget to thaw the spinach ahead of time (ahem…), dump the bag out into a colander. Rinse with hot tap water briefly (about 30-60 seconds). Then, to drain, squeeze the spinach very well and place in a separate bowl.
  2. To doctor a jar of store-bought marinara (you know, if it’s on super mega sale and so you buy a dozen jars only to discover it’s rather sweet and fairly bland…), add directly to the jar 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, and 1 tsp red wine vinegar. Stir with a butter knife or tea spoon. Ah, much better. 😉
  3. If your family appreciates a gooier lasagna, substitute shredded mozzarella for the Parmesan (about 2 cups total).
  4. Don’t like spinach? Missing the meat? Substitute 1 lb cooked, crumbled, and drained Italian sausage or ground beef for the spinach. Or 1/2 lb for half of the spinach.
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Mom’s Mitts, the Sequel

My mom wore holes in the last pair of fingerless mitts I knit her. So I knit a new pair.

Progression

Started – June 24

Completed – July 2

Duration – about 1 week

Pattern

Blueberry Tea Mitts by Paula McKeever

Ravelry

This is the same pattern I used for her last pair of mitts. I tried to lengthen the fingers upon her request, but I don’t think they are as long as she would like. Next time, I’ll make them even longer. 😉

Yarn

Cascade Yarns Heritage

75% superwash wool, 25% nylon

Colorway – cerulean

0.38 skeins = 166.1 yds used

This yarn was leftover from the sheepy socks I finished just prior to this. It is very soft, warm, and machine washable. Perfect for my mom!

shiny and new!

old and new

Sheepy Socks

My knitter pen-pal friend in Poland likes wearing funky handknit socks. But she doesn’t like knitting socks. She says they take too long. She also likes to tease about how fast I knit.

I love knitting socks. However, I already have several pairs, so can’t justify the cost of the sock yarn with just the entertainment value of the knitting.

Cue the conversation where she commissioned me to knit her a pair of socks. I thought she was joking at first. But she ordered the yarn and had it sent directly to me. And she chose the pattern. And I got to knit these super fun cute socks I would have never chosen for myself. 😀

She sent me measurements for her feet, but I was still so worried they wouldn’t fit. I waited to blog about them until I got the good news. I’m happy to report they do fit, very nicely!

Progression

Started – May 29

Completed – June 24

Duration – about 3.5 weeks

Pattern

Sheep may safely graze by Caoua Coffee

Ravelry

I knit the larger size and offset the sheep. I swapped the main and contrasting colors on the second sock (per her request).

Yarn

Cascade Yarns Heritage

75% superwash wool, 25% nylon

Colorway – cerulean

0.4 skeins = 174.8 yds used

Colorway – blood orange

0.43 skeins = 187.9 yds used

Answers: How do you do it?

A series with long answers to some of the questions I am asked often. Face to face or via text or phone call, there usually isn’t time to give the whole, real, deep, raw, true answer. I am never certain if the person even wants that answer or is just making small talk.

You know, when someone asks how you are doing, and the truth is deep and maybe painful and a little uncomfortable, so you just say, “I’m fine, thanks,” and everyone moves on with their day?

I want to share the real answers to those small-talk questions.


“How do you do it?”

The short answer I give is…

“The best that I can.”


The long answer I want to give is…

I give my best effort most of the time. By God’s grace, everything keeps ticking and everyone keeps living all of those times I don’t or can’t give my best. By God’s mercy, when my best effort is in the wrong direction, He doesn’t let me go too far before I hear Him calling me back.

Some days, I am not “doing” much of anything well.

There is a new song out on the radio that, summed up, says some days you’re alive and some days you’re living. I know that singer wasn’t talking about motherhood, but he has boxed it up rather neatly. Some days, I’m barely treading water, waiting for bedtime, just getting by, calling my husband through tears of frustration. Some days, I am sailing the seas, enjoying every moment, wishing time would slow down, texting my husband through tears of joy and fulfillment.

When you find yourself in a difficult situation — like fully pregnant and “ready to pop” with a 13-month-old who doesn’t walk or talk on your lap — you just do. You take each breath as it comes, put one foot in front of the other, keep moving and keep doing because you must. When God gives you the task, He gives you the ability to do it, too. And this even when you can’t imagine how you ever will or ever could… you just do.

So how do I do it?

The best that I can, by God’s sweet grace and mercy, because He has set these children before me.

Thoughts on Upcoming Posts

My thoughts have been centered on life and motherhood and homemaking. I am hesitant to share because I don’t want to give the impression I am more confident than I am.

The truth is I am in the kiln constantly being refined as a person, a woman, a wife, a mother. I am an expert in nothing, but I have learned some things. I am not perfect, but I aim to always be improving. I am doing the best that I can with the knowledge I have in this moment and with the trust that God’s grace will fill my gaps.

If I don’t write about these things — the stuff of life as a woman, a wife, a mother of 4 children ages 5 and under — I will hardly write at all.

I have felt a pressure on my heart to write about these things. Maybe someone somewhere could make something of what is tumbling in my head.