Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Seven

This week was a great week full of so many things to be thankful for! It will be hard to pick just seven!
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 4:4-5

Enjoy this season with friends and family. We are called to celebrate!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A few pictures...

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!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

My mom sent the kids new aprons for a little Thanksgiving present. They loved them!
Cloe helped me stir up scalloped corn. It's funny how much children love to eat something they help cook!

Scalloped Corn

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:
Yummy!
The feast is ready!
After lunch, we all smiled as we ate apple pie! I called my grandma and got her special recipe...it's definitely a keeper!

Grandma Reed's Apple Pie

1 heaping cup flour
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

Steel Cut Oatmeal...a makeover!

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
In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, without stirring.
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

Sunday Seven

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!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well, this is exciting!

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
2. Popcorn
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...
1. Detasseling
2. Babysitting/Nannying
3. Optometrist assistant's "assistant" at 2 offices
4. Faith Admission's Secretary
5. 2nd grade teacher

5 People I'm tagging...
1. Calli
2. Jessica
3. Katie
4. Jenn (only if you have time to steal away from cuddling Baby Dane!)
5. Kasey

Can't wait to read your five things!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pinwheels!

I have always loved pinwheels!

Today, I found a new pinwheel to love!
I'm going to make these little guys for a Thanksgiving appetizer!

Sausage Pinwheels

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!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Layout!

Do you love the new look!?!
I have found a free site that will make you giddie with background glee!
(I know, I really need a different hobby!)
Check it out!
Happy Thanksgiving!

German Chocolate Coconut Bars

I realize I've been somewhat delinquent in my blogging lately. Sorry! It's not that I haven't had recipes or stories to post; there just hasn't been time to get it typed in! Here's a recipe I found a while back that has been stuck in my head. I must try these soon! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

German Chocolate Coconut Bars

1 pkg. German Chocolate Cake Mix

1/3 c. butter, softened
1 large egg, beaten
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/3 c. flaked sweet coconut, divided

1 c. chopped pecans

1 c. mini chocolate chips, divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour cake mix into large bowl, cut in butter and lightly beaten egg with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press onto bottom of ungreased 9x13 pan. Combine sweetened condensed milk, egg, and vanilla in medium bowl; beat until well combined. Stir in 1 c. coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips. Spread mixture evenly over base; sprinkle with remaining coconut and chocolate chips. Lightly press down chocolate chips. Bake for 30-32 minutes or until center is almost set. Center will firm when cool. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen bars.

A Souper Supper

Saturday night was the first fellowship for our new ABF at church...the Home Planners. It's exciting to see God bringing so many new people to WC! The menu for the party was a huge potluck of crock-pots of soup. We had a gourmet feast--no kidding! It kind of made this little Beef Barley Soup seem like a piece of humble pie compared to the extraordinary soups around it. But, in keeping with being a sneaky mommy, this one is packed with tons of vegetables that my children devour everytime. So, someday I'll hopefully post the recipes for mulligatawny, zuppa toscana, green chili, and butternut squash soup so you can feel the gourmet too. In the meantime, this little pot of soup will keep you warm and comfy on these cold nights!
Beef Barley Soup
1 - 1 1/2 lb. beef stew meat
2 T. olive oil
7 cup water
1 16 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
4 cubes beef bullion
1 heaping tsp. basil
1 heaping tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. sliced celery
1 c. quick cooking barley (I used regular barley and cooked it before adding it to the soup)
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 package frozen mixed vegetables

In a large pot, heat olive oil and brown stew meat. Drain any fat. Stir in water, undrained tomatoes, onion, beef bullion, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in carrots, celery, barley, and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and heat through.
*Feel free to add any other vegetables that you would like. We've added squash and peppers.
*This can easily be done in the crock pot. Cook the meat and combine all ingredients except for the frozen vegetables. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Add vegetables about 20 minutes before serving.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Seven

These Sunday Seven come courtesy of Carson...snuggling on my lap. He slept in his bed for 3 hours this afternoon and for another 2 hours on my lap. Not sure what he's coming down with, but he sure is being sweet!
Here are Carson's answers to what he's thankful for:
Jesus
God
Grandma and Grandpa
Curious George
My Daddy and Mommy
My best friend Clainey
The Park
My big sister Cloe


So, that's actually eight...but we couldn't leave out Cloe! I wish I could write in the little pronunciations of a two year old--that makes everything sweeter!
Have a happy week!

Taking "frugal" too far

Today I was reading one of the "frugal" blogs I check daily. Usually I check quickly for freebies, coupons, or shopping tips. Today I was deeply disturbed by what was posted as a "frugal" tip. In this tight economy, the author suggested that rather than giving God 10% each week, it would be just as appropriate to give "bargain" groceries to a food pantry and give of our time and talents in trade of the offering.
I certainly don't mean to judge this person's heart but to challenge that way of thinking. Our family has made it our priority that we will always give to God first...regardless of what bills surround us...and with three kids in and out of the doctor's office, there are plenty! We set an amount each week that is to go to the Lord...no questions asked. Guess what! God always always always meets our needs and so many many of our wants that it's humbling.
Pastor Mike preached an awesome message a few weeks ago on Stewardship. (listen to it here) By giving my money to our local church (which by the way is completely amazing and tops in my book!), we are giving to something much much larger than ourselves. By being a steward of my money and giving with a grateful heart for all that God has given me and done for me through His Son on the cross, I am contributing to the building of God's glorious Kingdom through providing the resources to reach people and keep our ministry going. That's important to us! (and that was a long sentence!) Read Deuteronomy 8 for more insight and reminders on giving!
I don't doubt for one second that God is going to provide for my needs. I have no reason to doubt whether I should give generously or not. Would I want my brother to have to leave the mission field where he's reaching so many people for Christ because I felt that I should "tighten my belt" during this "recession"? I'm pretty sure that would not bring glory to my God!
Sometimes my "harping" on giving can seem selfish because...well, the "church" does pay my husband's pay check. However, it's a great reminder to remember that it truly is for something much bigger than us. It's something I want to be a part of. I hope you do to! Couponing and bargaining can be a thrill, but when it cuts into my serving my Savior, it's gone too far. I pray that we will won't be swayed by the flurry of society to cut back and short change something amazing that God will do in our church...if we are faithful to Him!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A quick transformation!

It's no secret, the girls in this house love purple!


This was one of our favorite little summer shirts, but alas, summer is gone!
I really hated to put it away in the summer tote. So, we got a little creative...


and turned it into a little purple pinafore!Viola!

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Yesterday just felt like a chicken day. It was cold, rainy, and yucky outside--but not inside! We had the little bird simmering on the stove and homemade noodles resting on the counter! I know my mother-in-law makes the best homemade noodles around, but I'm considering my noodles a work in progress. Maybe it would help if I got her recipe...hmmm. Anyway, here's what I did:Noodles:
Mix 2 beaten eggs, 1/4 c. milk and 3/4 tsp. salt.
Slowly stir in enough of 2 c. of flour to make a stiff dough. (I only used about 1 1/2 c. flour.)Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.On a floured surface roll dough into a large rectangle. Use a knife or a noodle cutter (mine is an antique from my grandma's kitchen) to cut into long strips. Spread out and let dry for approx. 2 hours.Soup:
Bring chicken and broth to a boil. Add noodles, 1 c. thinly sliced carrots, 1/2 c. chopped celery and 1/2 c. chopped onion. Cover and let simmer 10-15 minutes. (This can be thickened with a flour/water mixture if desired...we like it as soup!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Treats for Ladies Bible Study

Tomorrow's the big day: treats for Ladies Bible Study. Who knows why I put so much pressure on making something super special...but I do. I search the internet and dig in recipe books for the perfect treat. This is what I've come up with: Emeril's Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze. (love the mile long name?) I gave it a trial run and it turned out super tasty!
Here's a picture and the recipe:
Cake:

  • 1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Brown Sugar Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.
In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.
To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Seven

It's always fun to see what things come to mind each week as I post seven things I'm thankful for...

I'm really thankful for November 8, 1996. Yep, twelve years ago yesterday, Cody asked me to be his girlfriend. Ahhhh.....I'd have to say it's all worked out rather amazing! It's funny how what started as a little smilin' and winkin' has turned into a love deeper than I could have ever imagined.**Fall 1999**

I'm thankful for God continuously showing me how to be a better wife and mom...sometimes it feels like I have to relearn lessons too often. I'm thankful for patience, forgiveness, and unconditional love!

I'm thankful for the understanding of salvation that God (or the Holy Spirit) is giving to Cloe. She had so many sweet little questions on our drive up to Estherville. It ended with her asking if she could pray by herself in the back seat to ask Jesus to be her Savior. I don't know how clear the understanding of her decision was, but I'm excited to know that she wants to follow Christ.

I'm really thankful for our MOPS moms! On Friday, I was so exhausted from the week that I really contemplated just skipping out. However, God had a lot of little blessings in store that I'm glad I didn't miss! Lydia's granola was amazing...and I got her demo batch! I got to hold a sweetheart of a baby boy with a little broken arm. He was so sad and then all of a sudden just looked up and gave me the sweetest little half grin. The boys decided to be "big" and go potty in the toilet! We also had two sweet moms join our group this week! I love MOPS!

I'm so thankful for this last little blast of warm weather we had! I'm going to really have to work on being content with colder weather...content to stay inside, content with only the sweaters I already own...

I'm thankful the elections are over! I'll have to admit, I'm a little disappointed at the reactions of some Christians to the results. No matter who won, my Savior is still sovereign and is no less in control of my future!! This should be a great opportunity for us to continuously bring our government before God in prayer!

This may seem silly...but I am so thankful for some great shopping bargains lately! I am reminded that God is in control of even the smallest things. It's fun to shop for gifts and see what God is going to provide!

I'll leave with a quote (slightly corny, but thought provoking) that I was reminded of at my parent's house this week. It's from the Back to the Bible guy on the radio: Have a good and godly day...for of what use is a good day unless it is also a godly day.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Clean out the frig Fritatta

Whenever we're gone for awhile, it's always a mad dash to "save" what we can of the produce left behind. This may seem weird...no, we don't eat the moldy, rotten vegetables, but sometimes we have a lot of vegetables that need used up in a hurry. This recipe is the perfect catch all with tons of varieties that could be made. I found the concept of a fritatta on the Rachael Ray website. This recipe went over with flying colors with everyone from the boys to Cody! It was especially good with the red potatoes sent home from Grandpa's garden!

Vegetable Fritatta

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 large red skinned potatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • vegetables--peppers, spinach, etc.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add the sliced potatoes and onions, and continue to cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. (If skillet is not oven-safe, put potatoes in a pre-heated baking dish. Then follow the rest of the recipe directions.)
Beat eggs together with milk. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Stir in vegetables. Pour the eggs over the filling. Sprinkle with the cheese and transfer to the oven. Cook until top is deep golden brown. Remove let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Seven

Well, this Sunday Seven finds me in a place I wasn't expecting, but God is good!
I'm thankful we were able to pack up quickly and get to my parents' house today. It was good to see my grandma and let the kids love on her for awhile!
I'm also thankful the kids did so well in the car. It's a pretty long trip, but everyone arrived with smiles!
I'm SO grateful for my Grandpa's legacy. I can honestly say my Grandpa impacted my life for Christ in a way that not many people can compare. He was a soft-spoken man with a loud testimony of Christ in his life. His life was not a wasted life but a life that gave glory to his Savior.
I'm thankful that my Grandpa is not living in a body that is feeling the pains of living in a sin-cursed world. How amazing to take a last breath here on earth and instantly be with Christ on the next breath.
I'm thankful for Cody's willingness to do the entire funeral service. He got all giddy when I told him there would be people attending who didn't know Christ as their Savior. Watch out!
Back tracking on the timeline here...I'm thankful for an awesome group (21) of new young married couples who started a new ABF at WC today. What a blessing and encouragement to see God growing our family!
I'm thankful for the opportunity we had last night to lead worship on a front porch of a really old farm house near Iowa City. We were with the EndZone Campus Bible Fellowship Group. It was a fun night of activities: a bonfire, hayrack ride, singing, and getting to know new people.
Who wouldn't be thankful for the opportunity to stop at the outlets, too?!? We found some great deals a picked up baby gifts, too!
I'm thankful for a busy week of new life! Congrats to those new mommies! I'll be praying for quick healing and opportunities to find rest!
Hope you all have a great week! I'll probably be taking a few days off from here until I can get back to my normal routine at home. :)

Tonight Grandpa is at home with the Lord.
I can only imagine the celebration being held as he worships at his Savior's feet!