Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 8:38 AM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It's only Tuesday, and it feels like it's been a crazy week already!
Here are some highlights and funny moments:
*Yesterday our little friend Haddie had the cutest Fancy Christmas Tea Party for all the little girls from church. Cloe LOVED it and had a wonderful time enjoying strawberry tea, Christmas cookies, and the cutest little snowman craft. Hopefully I'll get some pictures from Amy...it was too cute!
*On the way home, we noticed a familiar car stalled on the side of the Interstate so we whipped around and found our friend Julie. She hopped in and we ran to get some gas...silly vehicles. We were really struggling with the gas can, so we asked this guy to help us get it open. He said he had to grab some gloves first. As he was opening the can for us, he asked what we were planning on doing with the gas. Uh, filling up her car?!? He kind of looked relieved and said, "Good, I was hoping you weren't going to burn anything down and my finger prints would be on the can." Seriously, did we look like desperate, exhausted moms with no prayer to a sane life, so we'll just go ahead and torch the place...it was a good laugh!
*Today, I was on the phone on hold from 9:08 to 11:07...seriously, I thought I was going to crazy! I made the kids breakfast, bathed and dressed them, did a load of laundry, picked up toys...all with my phone wedged between my ear and my shoulder. When I got off the phone, I seriously thought I was going to cry from all the desperate thoughts that go through your mind while waiting for the silly customer service person to PICK UP! It turned out that I was instructed to drive to an office in downtown Des Moines and wait another hour for a silly piece of paper work...long story...I KNOW I have at least 100 more gray hairs and a much deeper wrinkle furrowed between my brows!
*Now, to the fun! I had to run several errands at the mall, so we started out with a ride on the Valley West Mall Christmas Express! For only $1, your child can experience 3 minutes of pure exhilarating joy on a little train ride. I LOVED their smiles and giggles...totally worth it!
*Kudos to my little eagle eye, McClain. He spotted a crumpled up dollar bill on the floor in GAP Kids! Since the store was pretty deserted, we got to keep the whole dollar bill! The dollar bill then told McClain it was waiting to pay for some ice cream. Of course, I obliged and we all enjoyed sharing a caramel sundae! (Yes, it was a little more than a dollar, but totally worth it!) I also got Cloe 5 shirts and a pair of velvet black pants for $20! Great sales!
*The kids did awesome as we jetted in and out of four more stores completely returns and last minute purchases!
*Then I called my mom and found out my dad had a rough day. He was outside snow blowing their driveway. He suddenly walked in the house, sat down and passed out. My mom tried to call 911, but their phone lines were down due to a blown transformer. Their cell phone wouldn't connect her either. So she just sat by my dad and beat on him (her words!). He came to and passed out...she finally got him in the car and took him to the hospital. They think his blood pressure went really low and had some trouble. Anyway, he's fine how. My mom said she now knows she won't do well in crisis situations!
Now for the future plans:
*Tonight, we get to enjoy a trip through Jolly Holiday Lights!
*Tomorrow, we are having our own little family Christmas in the morning! We're going out for breakfast at Gateway Market! (Buy 1, get one free! Isn't that awesome!) I love that place! Then we'll open gifts and head to Creston to be with Cody's family.
Sorry that the recipes have been lacking lately or have just been one's full of sugar! As soon as the new year's resolutions start in I'm sure I'll be full of sneaky, healthy recipes that you'll all just jump for as you steam and puree all your colored vegetables! Right?
Merry Christmas! I'm excited to hear about all of the wonderful celebrations that you enjoy as we praise God for His Gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior and remedy for sin!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 6:02 PM
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Every week I share seven things I'm thankful for on Sunday, but this week, I thought I'd shake it up a bit and share my seven top Christmas memories. Remember, I didn't say favorite memories...just the top seven. Here they are!
#1. When I was five years old, I woke up Christmas morning with chicken pox. Of course, my older brother and sister (but mostly brother) told me Santa had only brought me chicken pox for Christmas. That was pretty much the end of me liking the white bearded man. It was one itchy Christmas!
#2. The next year, we were celebrating Christmas Eve at our home with my grandparents. We had just finished unwrapping all of our gifts (yes, we always did all the gifts on Christmas Eve--lucky me!), when my dad looked out our front window and saw something funny glowing off the huge snow drifts. It was our chimney...on fire! Everyone got pretty animated as orders started flying out: Dad, "I'm going to the roof to throw snow on the fire." My Mom: "Mark, grab your new Bible! Grab your new Bible! Girls, grab your favorite gift, get your coats on and go outside NOW!" Later on, we laughed that my mom and yelled for my brother to grab his Bible, but never mind the envelope filled with cash from his employer next to it... In the midst of this, someone managed to call the fire department and they told us that they would not be able to make it out to our house because the roads were snowed shut, sorry. Nice, I know. I can't remember the specifics now, but somehow my dad did manage to "fight the fire" and it eventually burned itself out without spreading to the roof or anywhere in our house. We went back in our slightly smokey home. The next morning we when looked out the window, all of the snow surrounding our house was completely black. That was some exciting Christmas Eve!
#3. A few years later, I was practicing for the Christmas program that the tiny Christian school I attended was putting on. (By tiny, I mean less than 25 students, K-8. I was the only one in my grade.) Some moms were "building" the set with large pieces of cardboard and staple guns while we practiced the drama part. Suddenly, I felt a horrible piercing on my head near one of my temples. I immediately grabbed my face and said "OUCH!" Now this part gets quirky. The teacher told me to stop playing around and say my line. I was not a joker back then...pretty timid actually. I told her I had been hit by something sharp. She didn't really believe me until my friend told her I had two really red, swollen bumps. Sure enough, the mom stapling the cardboard together and fired a little hard and the staple flew through the cardboard right into my head. Nice memory, huh!
#4. I was in fourth grade when Cabbage Patch Kids came out. I wanted one soooooooo badly, but there was no way my parents were going to be able to buy me one. I opened my presents to find that my mom had worked diligently to sew me my very own Cabbage Patch Kid. Do you remember those? No offense mom, but those homemade dolls had to be the most ugly dolls ever created. I was crushed. Then I opened my presents from my brother and my sister--they were both college students at the time. TWO REAL CABBAGE PATCH KIDS!!!!! They had each saved their money and gone out to get me a REAL Cabbage Patch Kid. I had a boy and a girl! I knew right then I had the best siblings anyone could ever ask for! To add to the excitement, my other grandparents gave me exactly the right amount of money to purchase ANOTHER Cabbage Patch Kid. So, yes, I ended up with THREE REAL ONES! Can you tell, this still really excites me!
#5. This is a memory that happened virtually every year. Our little Baptist church in Estherville was very old and had a terrible problem with bats during the winter. It was very common to have a bat come swooping out on any given Sunday--especially during the singing. Of course, during the Christmas program, the bats really liked to put on a show. The classic set up was to have all of the small children (2 to 5 years old) all lined up in the front singing their little songs away when about 4 to 6 bats would just start swooping like crazy. The kids would try to keep singing...just a lot of crazy ducking whenever a bat would swoop close. Then a few dads would come tromping down the isle with tennis rackets and a couple fishing nets. They would whack the bats and then scoop them into the nets. The program would always go on. I know this sounds crazy, but it is completely true! Bats still creep me out!
#6. When I was a freshman at Faith, the chorale stood in an enormous star to sing our Christmas Concert. It was called the "Singing Star." Yes, it was pretty corny, but people came from all over to see this phenomenal Singing Star. Of course, our blue polyester dresses with pinned on lace colars just made it gorgeous. One of my friends had to take off her shoes while we were singing because they pinched her toes. The girl behind her started feeling pretty woozy, so she sat down...then had to lean forward to throw up...right in my friend's shoes. My friend was mortified but didn't think she should walk off the stage without shoes on, so she put the shoes back on her feet and sloshed on out of there. Isn't that completely gross?!?
#7. Fast-forwarding several years ahead...my favorite Christmas memory is one that is being made. Our children have just embraced the songs, the festivities, the lights, the cookies, and most importantly, the true meaning of Christmas. I love hearing Cloe ask Santa if he will celebrate Jesus' birthday. I love seeing them ask to buy presents for friends and family that they just adore. I love hearing them sing of Jesus who came to earth as a baby, the lowliest of human form. He came to be our remedy. He came to be our Savior. He took the penalty of all sins that we might have a way to be made righteous in His Father's sight. My favorite memory is one that is to come...celebrating Jesus' birth with Jesus. Won't that be awesome?
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 4:51 PM
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Last night we had a Christmas party for our new ABF at church. Included in the evening was a cookie exchange! I think exchanges like these are very exciting...trying an assortment of cookies, not too many, not too few...just the right amount to let everyone have a taste!
These cookies were made by our very prestigious new pastor's wife; she's quite the little tool in the kitchen! I love these cookies because they are like exactly like Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, only on steroids! BIG mint cookies with an extra thick chocolaty layer: PERFECT! I think the only thing that would make them even better would be a nice hot latte...
I'm stealing Martha's picture from her website, but, trust me, Liz's were prettier! She just hit a home run with these!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Today my Facebook status could be many things:
Londa is still in her pajamas.
Londa was so giddy that is was a snow day, she couldn't go back to sleep.
Londa has a huge batch of cut-out cookies to bake and frost.
Londa loves her children...even when they use their sleeve as a kleenex...gag!
Londa watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special at least 20 times...good grief!
Londa wonders what the deal of the day will be at GAP today.
Londa is thankful for a free pass coming to Jolly Holiday Lights! (Thanks, Joy!)
Londa will not have two year olds in twelve days...weep, weep.
Londa thinks the new babies at church are pretty much the most adorable babies around!
Londa doesn't think you should read into this and think she's getting baby fever...
Londa has a secret Christmas present for Cody!
Londa happily enjoys date pinwheel cookies...even though no one else seems to like them at all...
Londa hopes she can figure out how to make a John Deere Tractor birthday cake!
Londa thinks snow is pretty...as long as she's on the inside of somewhere really warm!
Londa must stop wasting time blogging and get to work!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 9:10 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
A couple of my favorite recipes:
White Velvet Cutouts
2 c. butter, softened
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 c. sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 c. flour
Butter Cream Frosting
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar, divided
3 T. butter, softened
1 T. shortening
3 to 4 T milk, divided
Red and green food coloring
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, egg yolks and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour. Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 in. thickness. Cut into 3 inch shapes; place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until set (not browned). Cool 5 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool.
For frosting, combing 1 1/2 c. sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla and 3 T. milk in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually add remaining sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add enough remaining milk and food coloring until frosting reaches desired consistency. Frost cookies.
1 c. margarine
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, soda and salt together and add to first mixture. Chill while preparing filling.
1 pound chopped dates
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
Combine and cook until thick, about 10 minutes. Stir often. Cool.
Roll out dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick between waxed paper. Remove top paper. Spread with date filling and roll up. Chill overnight or freeze for later use.
Cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. These will burn easily.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Break apart into pieces and enjoy.
After that, we made a big batch of these:
Snow Capped Ginger Snaps
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 c. flour
1 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. molasses
Mix in order listed. Make balls of dough the size of walnuts. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees until lightly browned and tops are cracked. Makes a lot. (I love the easy, straight forward instructions. This recipe is from "Pauline" in the 1980's edition of the Estherville United Methodist Church cookbook--lovingly known as the "green cookbook" in the Nelsen family.)
We finished off our morning with a very special cake for our new friend, Chelsea. She is Caitlin's sister. These poor girls do not have a mom involved in their lives, so I love to take every opportunity I can to love on them!
Isn't she cute? Chelsea was so sweet about the whole birthday cake. She even said it was the best birthday cake she had ever had in her entire life. Kind of makes you want to buy her the world! (We actually had this cake on Wednesday...her real birthday. I love how God works things out like that...throw in a little snow, a canceled Bible Study, a rescheduled Bible Study, invite everyone over for supper and a have birthday party!)
Raspberry Cream Cake
1 box vanilla cake mix (I know, I just blew my secret!)
1 c. whole milk
1/3 c. butter (softened)
Mix ingredients well. Pour into 2 well-greased cake pans. Bake according to directions on the box. Cool.
For filling: Mix 1/3 c. raspberry preserves with 1 1/2 c. whipped topping.
Frosting: One can of Betty Crocker Whipped Cream Frosting (shhh...that's my other secret!)
Crumb topping: 1/4 c. cold butter, 1 c. powdered sugar, 2 T. flour, 1 tsp. vanilla. Cut together with pastry blender and sprinkle all over top of cake.
That was my Tuesday...rush, rush, rush! Only to have everything canceled due to the snow! Oh well! We enjoyed a nice fire in the fireplace and a peaceful evening at home! Plus, Wednesday turned out pretty well too!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Butter! Growing up, anytime I would say something tasted delicious, my mom would reply, "Must have butter in it!" My Grandma Nelsen was infamous for always using real butter in all of her cookies. They were soooo good! She's been in heaven now for nine years, but every Christmas I find myself really missing her and her endless supply of amazing cookies! I know if she were here, taking these cookies to her would be like presenting her with a cookie that would be up to her delicious standards! I don't know if that makes sense, but I've always loved her so much that I hope I can emmulate her baking skills someday and have everyone "feel my love" just from one bite of a real butter cookie!
These little gems are currently the favorite of everyone in our house...and everyone who happens to be around when a pan comes out of the oven. The last batch only lasted a few hours! Come on over...it'll give me an excuse to make them again!
Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints (long enough name?)
|1||cup butter, softened|
|1/2||teaspoon almond extract|
|2||cups all-purpose flour|
|1/2||cup raspberry jam|
|1||cup powdered sugar|
|2 to 3||teaspoons water|
|1 1/2||teaspoons almond extract|
Combine butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. (I use the squeeze bottle of raspberry jam and just fill up the thumbprint. Less messy method!)
Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.
Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It seems like December is just flying by too quickly! Our days and weeks seemed to be packed with fun activities, traditions, and endless shopping excursions...the one's with the list of hard to find items! We've enjoyed many opportunities, amidst the chaos, to share the true meaning of Christmas with our children and others that we've been around. That true meaning, the birth of our Savior, is what calms the chaos and joyfully puts the whole season in perspective!
1. I'm thankful that Cloe is so bold to share the meaning of Christmas with her friends at school. She shares Christ so uninhibited. I'm praying she will never lose that desire to share Jesus with her friends!
2. I'm really thankful for my parent's willingness to come for yet another weekend of Christmas fun! This time, Cody and I got to sneak out for a quick date!
3. So, on this date, I realized I'm thankful that I'm married to quite the germ.o.phobe. As Cody came back from the restroom, he was discretely pointing at the guy in front of him like "look at this guy!!!!" What, what?!? Yeah, he didn't wash his hands in the restroom...we watched as he went back to a beautiful girlfriend, held her hand, rubbed her shoulder, and kissed her...nice. We had quite the laugh as we played out who should take the hand santizer over to the guy... That's the type of fun you have after ten years of marriage!
4. I'm thankful that all the kids did a great job in the Christmas program! It's a little nerve wracking wondering if any of them will run off crying, do something inappropriate, or forget their line. Cloe especially did a great job with her little speaking part! She loved all the festivity of the night!
5. Who isn't thankful for the annual red apple and salted nut roll handed out after the Christmas program?!? Gotta love being a Baptist!
6. I'm really thankful for the time we've been able to spend with Caitlin lately. She is such a sweet girl! We're looking forward to celebrating her sister Chelsea's birthday tomorrow!
7. Lastly, I was really excited that I was going to be able to post that I was thankful Carson's asthma had not flaired up with this most recent weather change...but alas, the boy is wheezing again! I'm still thankful for the strides we had made, and we continue to pray that God will take away this asthma!
Have a great week! Enjoy all the Christmas celebrations that could only take place because of our Savior humbling Himself to be born as a baby! Merry Christmas!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 10:29 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
Today will have to go down in the books as one of those days with continuous "mommy heart attacks" happening all day loooooong!
It all started at 10:00 am with a call from the school nurse, "Mrs. Crigger, we have Cloe here in the nurse's office. I don't want to alarm you, but she fell down on the hill and slid on her face..." Poor Cloe and those stinkin' monstrous boots she has to wear to every recess, they tripped her up and she tumbled down the hill--right on the left side of her face. She got to talk to me and told me she would be okay to stay at school for the rest of the day...heart attack #1: not too bad.
At 4:00, my mom and I were racing home from running an erand when my dad called and said, "Londa, the bus just stopped at the corner, but Cloe didn't get off." I was just around the corner, so I watched as the bus went by, and sure enough, no Cloe still on the bus either. I started trying to call the school office; no answer. My dad said he would wait in the driveway and my mom and I raced off to the school. I ran in the building and the office was all locked up, her teacher was gone and there was no Cloe. I ran in the classroom next door where a teacher was still working and burst into tears as I told her my kindergartner had not gotten off the bus, and we didn't know where she was. She hopped on the phone to Cloe's teacher to make sure she had gotten on the bus. Yes, she had. Then she started to call the bus driver when my dad called me and said Cloe had just appeared out of no where on the side walk at the end of the street. I raced home, still feeling like I could lose my lunch at any moment! I ran in the house and asked Cloe what had happened. Here it is in her words, "My friend, Mali, told me we were supposed to have a playdate today and she made me get off the bus at her stop. She said I had to. When we got to her house, her mom said they had a Christmas party and I couldn't stay. She said to walk home." So, my poor little girl got duped by a not-so-nice little neighbor girl and then had to walk home quite a ways all by herself...still in those crazy monstrous boots. The worst part is that the bus driver (the "no-English" guy) let Cloe off the bus at a different stop without any parental permission...I feel a note to the principal coming on...
That alone would have been enough for my heart for at least a month, but then tonight Cloe was playing with a little friend in her room and had a mishap. She fell off her bed and pretty much landed her side square on her doll crib and konked her shin on her bed. I'm a little concerned about a fractured rib or shin...it's also skinned up pretty badly. The paint on the crib is ingrained into her sweater and there's red sweater fuzz stuck to the crib! She was pretty much frozen to the couch after that.
Needless to say, Cloe went to bed in quite a bit of pain! It was hard to put her to bed. I just wanted to hold her, squeeze her, and love on her!
Thankfully, God was protecting Cloe today in all of those instances! Each one of them could have ended much worse! Now for the damage to my heart...
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 11:45 PM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Yesterday I stirred up a batch of one my very favorite Christmas cookies: Kringla! This Norwegian treat is a little tricky to make, so made the dough and stuck in the freezer. Hopefully, that will make it easier to roll the dough into little pretzel shapes.
I'm using a recipe from an old lady that is from the church where I grew up. She gave it to me in 1993 and I stuck in it a handwritten cookbook that I was making as a 4-H project. (I'm sure you would enjoy seeing my very bubbly writing with big dots on all the"i" letters!) At the time, I thought the cookbook was a little bit of a ridiculous project, but obviously my mother really did know best as I am now enjoying pulling out some good (and not so good!) old recipes!
1/3 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. soda
2 1/2 c. flour
Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Freeze dough overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take out 1/4 of the dough. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a pencil thin rope. Shape into a pretzel on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The edges will be barely golden colored.
Store in a air-tight container.
(I'll post a picture of my kringla as soon as I bake a batch today!)
Monday, December 8, 2008
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 10:31 PM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Did you hear? Snow is coming! There's a slight possibility of a snow day!?! I'm praying hard. We LOVE snow days! PJ's, oatmeal, hot cocoa, lots of storytime, movies, popcorn...the whole is great! Maybe that will get to be on my Sunday Seven next week!
Here's a few things I'm thankful for this week:
1. I am SO thankful for our amazing MOPS Steering Team made up of totally terrific moms! We had a great time on Friday...I completed TWO crafts that I *love* and can't wait to make again! Thanks Abby and Amy! You girls are the best!
2. Chelsea continues to come to Bible Study, ask questions, and learn a lot! I'm so thankful that the Holy Spirit is continuing to draw her closer to salvation! This week she said, "So, the Bible is really like our handbook for life." He, he, he: YES! Some of the phrases she uses are ones that little 'ole grandmas taught me in Sunday School...yes, I sort of mocked them in my head...and now Chelsea is just coming up with them all on her own! I have a whole new appreciation for those phrases she's coming up with through studying God's Word!
3. This is quite silly, but I am SO thankful for computers! Please don't ever ask me to give even a slightly educated guess on how computers work: no idea here! But I love them, find them super helpful, and don't know what we'd do without one!
4. I am really thankful for my parents being able to come down for a long weekend with us. They love to help us out when we have activities at church...hopefully we'll be able to catch a date night next time!
5. I am thankful for a great chiropractor who has almost completely "fixed" the weird hand...arm...shoulder...carpal tunnel pain that was about to make me go looney! I'm thankful that God is opening doors for us to invite him to church. Please pray that he'll come to Willow Creek and most importantly that he'll come back to God (long story...but I think that's where he's at...). If you need a chiro, call me for the info. The only requirement is that you share Christ with him and invite him to church too!
6. You know how when something breaks, you realize how much you loved it and how thankful you were for it...well, that "thing" would be my wedding ring. Augh! When I got home from MOPS on Friday, I noticed that a diamond had fallen out. It was a weird day for me anyway on Friday...it felt like I was fightly tears all day...happy tears, overwhelmed tears, grateful tears, tired tears, my grandpa died and won't be around at Christmas tears (Cecelia?) and then "lost diamond...no money to fix it" tears. Cody did a great job picking out my ring twelve years ago; I still love it! It'll be watching me from the dresser now for awhile. Know any good ways to earn extra money?
7. Lastly, I'm thankful for this little guy...who's not so little anymore! We celebrated my nephew's "Gottcha Day" today! Nine years ago on Tuesday, my sister and brother-in-law finalized the adoption of Nathan. He is such a sweet boy and I can't imagine not having him in our family! I'm so glad we gottcha, Nathan!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 9:00 PM
Friday, December 5, 2008
Today Carson was sitting on my dad's lap. He loves his grandpa so much! Carson looked up and said, "When I grow up, Grandpa, I want to have hair in my nose * just * like * you * !"
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 6:45 PM
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Tortillas! We go through tortillas at our house so quickly! I almost never have any on hand when I really need them for a meal. It's been in the back of my mind for a long time that I could learn how to make them. So, today I set out, just me and google, to find the best recipe. I have no idea if this is actually the best since it's the only one I've tried, but these were amazing! (I made the whole-wheat version.) I don't think I'll even try other recipes...I'm stickin' with this one!
I found it on a blog of a homesick Texan...that's a good sign, I'm sure! Here's the recipe! Hope you enjoy!
Texas Flour Tortillas
Two cups of all-purpose flour (I made them whole wheat by substituting one cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3/4 cups of warm milk
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
Slowly add the warm milk.
Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It’s very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won’t roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. (If you roll out pie crusts you’ll have no problem with this.) Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.
While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
Makes eight tortillas.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tonight we had some friends over for desert. I love making desert for people who make you feel like you're some super woman baking queen...these people do that! I'm posting this recipe embarrased at how easy it actually is, yet it will make you look like a queen too (if you want to be a queen!).
Triple Chocolate Bliss Cake
BAKE 50 min. to 1 hour or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min. Loosen cake from side of pan with knife or metal spatula and gently remove cake. Cool cake completely on wire rack. Place on serving plate.
RESERVE 2 Tbsp. of the whipped topping. Microwave remaining whipped topping and chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after each min. Drizzle over cake. Immediately drop reserved whipped topping, by scant teaspoonfuls, around top of cake; create star shape by drawing wooden toothpick through middle several times. Spoon raspberries into center of cake. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
This week was a great week full of so many things to be thankful for! It will be hard to pick just seven! "As the holiday season approaches, I am reminded of December a few years ago when I did my best to wash away the happiness from the Christmas season. The tide started building by Thanksgiving. I became increasingly busy, convincing myself that all the effort was the best thing I could do for my family. I was crafting and sewing, cleaning and cooking on top of all the other obligations I had in teaching and volunteering. I found myself dreading the lovely invitations that we received to celebrate during this blessed holiday season. Instead of the good cheer these invitations were meant to provide, I saw them as representing wave upon wave of guilt. These celebrations seemed frivolous in light of what I had to do, and I felt like I was drowning. I didn't have time to celebrate with others. I felt like every slot of time I carved out of my schedule should have a specific point and purpose. What I was blind to was the fact that celebrating with others has a point and a purpose. Celebration is actually a spiritual discipline. It is the logical extension of worship. Once we understand how amazing God is in worshipful awe, we can then celebrate how amazing he is to us, together, as a community. Celebrating together accentuates our gratefulness and delight in life, love, family and friends. We need to celebrate as an antidote to the suffering, selfishness, senseless busyness and sanitized emotions around us that would steal our joy. Dallas Willard says that the spiritual discipline celebration is the "...most overlooked and misunderstood." Of all times of the year, Christmas and Easter are times to celebrate, to pull out all the stops and remember the incredible love God has for us in giving us his Son and his unconditional grace. "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." 1 Timothy 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:4-5
I'm so thankful for time with our little family. The kids were very sweet! We really enjoyed the extra long weekend together! It's humbling to think back to the years before marriage and children and how nervous I was that I would never meet "Mr. Right" and now God has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined! Mr. *Super*Right* and three children...I'm loving it!
I'm really thankful for the Holy Spirit's visible activity in bringing people to Christ! In all actuality, I am truly a big dork without a lot to offer people on my own strength...yet God brought Chelsea into our path, opened the doors for us to befriend her and she likes us, I think! I can't wait for her to accept Christ! It's going to happen...keep praying!
Speaking of Chelsea, I am so thankful she came and spent Thanksgiving with us. I have never met two girls (she is Caitlin's sister) that I wanted to adopt, protect and take care of more than these two sisters. I'm praying that God will give me non-intrusive but really special ways to show them love like they have never experienced. Any ideas?
I am so thankful to be a child of the King! It's pretty amazing to think of how we are chosen as wretched sinners to live lives as chosen ones bringing glory to our Savior. I've got a long way to go, but the privilege to serve grows greater in my heart all the time!
Now for three flaky items: I am really thankful for Black Friday. To a crazy nut-ball shopper like myself, this past Friday was a giddy exciting day! It was a very strategic plan...sleep from 9:45 to 11:45. Go to Jordan Creek from 12:00 to 2:30. Run home and sleep from 2:30 to 4:30. Hurry to Best Buy...hurry to Target...hurry back home and sleep from 6:45 to whenever the kids wake up. It worked pretty smoothly, too! I got all the items needed for Christmas gifts plus a few super deals at Gymboree. It was pretty crazy--they had 30% off the whole store and additional 20% off coupons. They brought out all their bins of leftover clearance items that were $4.99 or less, so I got Cloe a load of great clothes for $2.79 an item! (I know you all feel better with that information, right?)
I'm thankful for a great time at Disney on Ice with all the C Family. Cloe was so enamored by the characters--especially the princesses. The boys loved the big bucket of popcorn provided by Grandpa! It was a fun little outing!
Lastly, I'm thankful for ABC's showing of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving Special. It's funny how much the media will avoid talking about God, but Charlie Brown hits a homerun with his Thanksgiving prayer and his awesome retelling of the pilgrim's coming to America. (told you those were flaky!)
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, too! Enjoy the festivities of the season!
I found this article last year and loved what it had to say about celebration...hope you enjoy it too!
"As the holiday season approaches, I am reminded of December a few years ago when I did my best to wash away the happiness from the Christmas season. The tide started building by Thanksgiving. I became increasingly busy, convincing myself that all the effort was the best thing I could do for my family. I was crafting and sewing, cleaning and cooking on top of all the other obligations I had in teaching and volunteering. I found myself dreading the lovely invitations that we received to celebrate during this blessed holiday season. Instead of the good cheer these invitations were meant to provide, I saw them as representing wave upon wave of guilt. These celebrations seemed frivolous in light of what I had to do, and I felt like I was drowning.
I didn't have time to celebrate with others.
I felt like every slot of time I carved out of my schedule should have a specific point and purpose. What I was blind to was the fact that celebrating with others has a point and a purpose.
Celebration is actually a spiritual discipline. It is the logical extension of worship. Once we understand how amazing God is in worshipful awe, we can then celebrate how amazing he is to us, together, as a community. Celebrating together accentuates our gratefulness and delight in life, love, family and friends. We need to celebrate as an antidote to the suffering, selfishness, senseless busyness and sanitized emotions around us that would steal our joy.
Dallas Willard says that the spiritual discipline celebration is the "...most overlooked and misunderstood." Of all times of the year, Christmas and Easter are times to celebrate, to pull out all the stops and remember the incredible love God has for us in giving us his Son and his unconditional grace.
"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." 1 Timothy 4:4
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:4-5Enjoy this season with friends and family. We are called to celebrate!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 10:34 PM
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It's time to get into the Christmas mood! We started a little early--I was so glad to see many other people starting early too! I'm always so overwhelmed at the joy of the Christmas season. No matter how hard society tries, they can't take Christ out of Christmas! We've gone through a phase of trying "Merry x-mas" and only sending "Seasons Greetings" and having "Winter Paties"...yet Jordan Creek still plays Joy to the World as the grand finale of fireworks kicks off their Christmas festivities, the Rockettes (yes, I love those kickin' girls) still have an amazing part of their program that completely focuses on the birth of Christ, the Festival of Trees and Lights downtown has many trees that are all nativity themed ornaments... I love using these reminders to thank God for sending His Son to be my Savior! The Christmas story is beautiful and I never want my children to lose sight of the amazing wonder of a perfect Savior coming to a sinful world. Christ was and still is the remedy for a sinful, lost world!
Here are some pictures of the fun we've enjoyed at our house this past week...more to come soon!
It's hard to avoid the big white bearded man at the mall with the ensnaring twinkle in his eye...Cloe loves to talk to him and the boys think all his sleigh bells are the best. Cloe told him about Jesus helping her be good because He is her Savior. Because Santa is everywhere during Christmas, we've decided to teach our children that we don't "believe in Santa" as some would say, but we believe in God. Santa is a man at the mall who is a great example to us of how God wants us to be cheerful givers to others. I know it's a controversial thing for many families: Santa or no Santa. If you ask our children what Christmas is all about, they will tell you: JESUS! That is and always will be our focus at Christmas. So, thanks for reading that little editorial...and Merry CHRISTmas!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 10:18 PM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Hope your Thanksgiving has been wonderful! We had a very special day with our little family and our new friend, Chelsea. She comes to our Drake Bible Study and didn't have any where special to go for Thanksgiving, so she came and spent the day with us! It was great! Chelsea is pretty new to learning about God, so it was great motivation for our children to have good behavior and extra kindness as a way to show Jesus to Chelsea. (We're totally having her over more often!)
We had a pretty traditional menu, but the most exciting part was that it all turned out and was on the table in perfect time!
Cloe helped me stir up scalloped corn. It's funny how much children love to eat something they help cook!
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn with juice
1 stick butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. sour cream
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix OR (here's where my unfailing "never have all the ingredients" comes in) use 2/3 c. flour, 1/2 c. yellow corn meal, 3 T. sugar, 1 T. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 T. vegetable oil)
Mix ingredients together and put in greased baking dish. Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.
The other special treat on our menu was a butter Cajun injected turkey! It's a tradition at our house to inject the turkey the night before with this yummy concoction! We've done it for five years and enjoyed the yummiest turkey! Here it is:
1 stick cold butter
pinch of salt
1/3 c. cold milk
7-9 cups of apples (peeled and sliced)
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (or more)
3 T. flour
2 T. butter
Use a pastry blender and cut flour, butter, and salt together. Gently add milk and use a fork to form a ball of dough. Roll out half of dough on well-flour counter. Place in pie dish. (I like using my grandma's glass pie dish the best!)
Mix apples with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Pour on top of crust. Dot with butter.
Roll out top crust and place over apples. Pinch the crusts together. Cut five little slits in the top of the pie and sprinkle generously with sugar...crystal sugar...decorator's sugar...more sugar...you can't go wrong here, kids!
Bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until crust is slightly golden on top.
Although it felt great to have all the food come together so nicely, my best blessings were found in a wonderful day spent with...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Last Thursday was such a disappointing day. The boys were supposed to head to my mom and dad's with my sister and then we would catch up with them on Friday for a Nelsen Thanksgiving. As I was driving the boys to my sister's house, Carson threw up all over the back seat. It was awful! I had about seven important errands all lined up and a really needed appointment with a new chiro that all had to take a back seat... It was crushing but because I love Carson so much, I wouldn't have changed a thing. Does that make sense?
Well, by three o'clock, I was going a little stir crazy and the boys were doing better. So, I packed the boys up, set up our little DVD player in the car, and headed to Keller's Kountry Store near Dallas Center. This family has transformed their garage into a bulk/natural grocery and they have crazy cheap prices. I got stacks and stacks of spices, decorating sugars, flours, and all sorts of weird whole grain products. The boys ended up sleeping the whole way up and back.
One of my favorite things to buy there is Steel Cut Oats. They are SO inexpensive and better than any other oatmeal!
Here's a recipe that I used for supper that night. It was perfect for sore throats, weak tummies, and a worn-out mom.
Steel Cut Oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1+ tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine the milk with the oatmeal. Stir gently to combine and cook for an
additional 10 minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl and top with cold milk (if desired), brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This week I spent a lot of time on the couch. Between holding sick boys and then getting their bug myself, I feel completely caught up on the mindless tv programming wired into my home everyday! I do have to say...I absolutely love Curious George and his endless entertainment for children!
Normally I enjoy watching Rachael R. and seeing what she has cooking. One particular day, I felt a little shocked back into reality that her show is not complete "goodness". (I know some of you may be rolling your eyes that I thought she was all good...but you know, when you're home alone with small children these people become your "daytime friends"...that's just how it is. I need a life!)
This day's program had all specialized people helping focus on particular areas to make Thanksgiving wonderful. I don't even remember which man made this statement, but it got me fired up. He said, "Thanksgiving is the one holiday that religion doesn't have to get messed up in. It's about coming together and just being thankful for each other and what we have..."
WHAT? Who are we thanking if we aren't thanking God? (Why must these people keep provoking me!?!) Yes, I am deeply thankful to my husband for being a wonderful husband and to my parents and family for their love, and on and on. Ultimately, however, I am thankful to GOD for providing these people in my life and for giving me all the blessings of which I am so undeserving. I think we would totally miss the point if we didn't point our thanks to our Creator! This is a pretty cool verse I found today: Psalm 44:8 In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. That's what I want our Thanksgiving to be this year...boasting in GOD and thanking Him...continually!
Pastor Mike preached a great message today on Thanksgiving: The Praise of the Privileged. You can listen here if you missed it. I was really challenged to be more grateful for the everyday blessings I experience, to be more grateful for the things I have prayed for and see answered, and to continually teach my children gratefulness!
So, you've been waiting for a simple Sunday Seven and got a mini-sermon...sorry! Here they are:
#1: This one may seem silly, but for the last several weeks I've been stewing about our dying tv and not having the money to instantly replace it. Today I realized I need to be grateful for the nine years of tv watching on a screen bigger than any of those that my parents have ever owned in their lives. We were so blessed to have such a generous grandpa who gifted us so kindly when we graduated from college. God provided way above our need back then...why do I stew now? Would it be the end of the world to watch a smaller tv...or go without?
#2: I am so thankful for Caitlin, one of our students at the Drake Bible Study. She continually amazes me at how she is growing in her understanding and most importantly, her following of God's Word. She has had a super tough week of rejection and cruelty from "old" friends, but she remains steadfast in her desire to grow in Christ. I love her and pray God will give me opportunities to show her Christ's unconditional love!
#3: I am so thankful for Cloe, McClain and Carson. Having sick kids isn't fun, but it really develops your compassion and love as you cuddle and comfort them. They have been little troopers...especially Carson. He had strep throat, double sinus infection, and the worst, worst case of the stomach bug. We're on the mend with extra daily vitamins, large doses of vitamin C, and zinc tablets.
#4: I am very thankful for Cloe's teacher and little blessings God is giving us with Cloe in school. She had "failed" the Dibel's reading test earlier this year. At conferences, Cody found out she missed it by one point. This put her in an intensive reading group--receiving must more help and one-on-one work with a teacher or aid. How cool--in a class of 26, she's getting individualized help. God is good! She's not getting "lost in the crowd" which was a huge fear of mine. The teacher said she will probably learn things very well because of this! God's plan is always so cool in hindsight! We just need to trust! Also, her handwriting is extremely neat and beautiful! I have a little artsy-fartsy girl! I love her!
#5: I am so thankful for Cody's parents willingness to drop everything and help with our kids. They stayed with them today during church to provide an extra day of rebuilding fortheir little immune systems. It is such a blessing to have grandparents close and to have them be so willing to help us!
#6: Who couldn't help but be thankful for the beautiful snow yesterday? I'm not a huge fan of the harsh winter weather, but a gentle snow fall always leaves me marveling at the incredible detail of God's creation! We put our Christmas tree up and got all of decorations out! It was a lot of fun! (Even though the phrase "many hands make light work" isn't actually true when the hands are those of 2 two-year olds...we caught some cute pictures of 3-5 ornaments on a single overloaded branch!)
#7: I actually have way more than seven things this week...but lastly, I am really thankful for the good friends God has placed in my life. I love having friends who choose to spend time relating to my interests...finding bargains, trying out a good recipe, writing a blog, and telling "children" stories. I know I have girls by my side who would stop everything to pray for me or help me in a bind, girls who don't mind if I have the same clothes as them, girls who are willing to share trials and triumphs, most importantly girls who are on the same journey of becoming more like Christ and devoted daughters of God. No matter which part of those statements fit...I love all you girls!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 9:04 PM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I've been tagged! I had to laugh at my junior high anxiety coming back as I secretly hoped I would get tagged someday! It's that "I'm not the last one picked for the team" sort of good feeling...now you can confirm that I'm a loser! Here we go!
The "5 THINGS GAME"
The rules are to write 5 things under each of the 5 headings, and then tag 5 other people.
10 years ago...
1. I was engaged!
2. I worked for the Admission's Dept. at FBBC.
3. I was sitting by my good friend Lydia in class everyday...thinking our lives would probably never cross paths after college.
4. I wore a skirt and nylons everday...ew!
5. I thought tests in college were the hardest things I would face in life.
5 Things on Today's "To-Do" List...
1. Pack for the boys to go to Grandma and Grandpa's a day before us.
2. Go to the chiro and hopefully get the feeling back in my arms.
3. Get my soup to the teacher's lounge for conferences...wherever that is!
4. Run to Keller's Country Store and stock up on cheap, cheap goods!
5. Have fun with Cloe during the deacon's meeting.
(Well, that was my "to-do" list until Carson starting throwing up this morning...augh! Guess all five are nixed for now!)
5 Snacks I Enjoy...
1. ALL fruit
3. Special K Bars (not a daily treat!)
4. Granola and yogurt
5. Fruity, chewy candy
5 Things I Would Do if I were a Millionaire!
1. Take my family to visit my brother in France and stop off in England.
2. Provide the funds for our friends that are trying to adopt.
3. Trade in our old Jeep for something with better gas mileage and actual room for car seats.
4. Randomly show up with gifts or meals for my friends.
5. Try to do a lot of anonymous surprising for people with needs.
5 Places I Have Lived... (I'll have to really get specific to get 5!)
1. Estherville, IA
2. College dorms, Ankeny, IA
3. Married Student Housing, Ankeny, IA
4. 1009 NW Linden St, Ankeny, IA
5. West Des Moines, IA
5 Jobs I've had/Still have...
3. Optometrist assistant's "assistant" at 2 offices
4. Faith Admission's Secretary
5. 2nd grade teacher
5 People I'm tagging...
4. Jenn (only if you have time to steal away from cuddling Baby Dane!)
Can't wait to read your five things!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 11:19 PM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I'm going to make these little guys for a Thanksgiving appetizer!
1 lb. sausage (I use pork sausage)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 cans crescent rolls
Cook sausage, drain. Stir in cream cheese. Use 4 triangles in a rectangle shape (press seams closed) and spread mixture thinly, leaving 1/2 inch border empty around outside edge. Begin with long side; roll up, jellyroll style. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. (Repeat with rest of dough and meat mixture.) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let rolls soften slightly. Slice about 1/4 inch thick and bake until breading in lightly brown, 9 to 11 minutes.
Serve piping hot! Yum!
Today I experienced one of those days where you set out your schedule and have it all ready to go and then suddenly things start to spiral out of control. I'm so thankful for a Bible Study I did a few years ago that challenged me to put all the days' events in God's Hands--everyday, all the time, no matter what! I can make plans, but by telling God I will go with whatever He has for my day, I'm not overly frazzled when things start to spin out of control! I know that everything that happens will bring glory to God and today I caught a little glimpse of that!
The day started more bright and early than I'm use to with a quick accountability/prayer meeting. Then it was off to get Cloe to school and the boys and I to Precepts at church. After that we rushed home for early naps. During that time, I quickly fixed treats for the Drake Bible Study and a supper to be baked later. Thankfully, I got a call that the soup I needed to make and take to Cloe's school for the teachers was switched to Thursday.
At three o'clock, I grabbed the boys out of bed (from which they never actually slept in...oh well) and got Cloe from school early to head to the doctor's office for flu shots. Here's where it started getting tricky. The doctor's office called and had some delays, so we needed to wait about forty minutes to come. After a snack, we loaded up again to head to the doctor's office. They were still busy, so we had to wait quite awhile. I was getting a little concerned; Cloe's parent teacher conference was scheduled for 5:40, but we still had over an hour. Well, as it turned out, all three kids were running a temperature and a few tests had to be run...waiting, waiting... Three cases of strep throat and a major sinus infection for Carson. We still got our flu shots for the kids, too.
We finally got in the car at 5:36 pm. Cloe started wailing when she realized we wouldn't make it in time for the conference with her teacher. Cody had to go alone. He brought home lots of great news (relieving news!) that I'll probably share later. We threw supper in the oven; I ran to get all the medicine, we got Cody off again to Drake and the kids all got in bed quickly.
So, by now you've either quit reading about this marathon or you're really wondering how this brought glory to God. Well, let me tell you! Cloe was just bursting to tell our nurse, Jamie, that she had asked Jesus to be her Savior. Jamie responded so sweetly and asked knowledgeably about all the details and if I had prayed with her. I knew we really liked this sweet nurse!
Next, Dr. C came in and Cloe "shared the news" with him. He looked at me and said, "Is that like communion or something?" Well, well, well...let me just tell you...he, he, he! I love it when things like this happen! I quickly tried to put the fast clicking clock out of my mind and shared with him that we believe the Bible teaches that there is nothing we can do to "earn" our way to heaven or merit favor with God. So Christ was sent to die on the cross for our sins. When Cloe asked Jesus to be her Savior, she was telling God that she believes Christ died for her sins and that she wants Him to be her Savior. Dr. C responded with this, "That's pretty amazing what kids can understand when it comes to those things. My son went to a church class and can rattle of sayings that I don't even know." Yeah, he meant verses, but that's ok!
I know it was just a very quick seed planted, but I'm so thankful for this first opportunity! We have been praying that we would have a good testimony to our pediatrician, his wife, his nurse, our dentist, his staff, etc... Sometimes the opportunities come when we least expect them...or even maybe want them. Thankfully, my schedule is in God's Hands and although it all turned out differently than I had planned, I'm not disappointed at all! I'm reminded of a great short phrase from a verse I saw in Deuteronomy this morning: There is no one like our God!
Posted by The Sneaky Mommy at 8:45 PM