Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hope for the New Year

Lately I've felt like I am stuck in the mud. Life seems to be so difficult. I've had that blah feeling too much. I am physically and emotionally drained and find it hard to make progress. In thinking of the new year, I am hoping to get some things in order. It's not that my body will feel much better necessarily or that I will feel emotionally energized all the time. However, my focus is on hoping in the Lord - that He can change me and my life. I look to Him for guidance so I can organize my life a bit more and renew my mind. I desire more peace and joy in my life and will do the best I can to make that happen. I pray the same for you.

Wishing you blessings in the New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a joyous celebration of our Savior's birth and salvation!

Blessings, Lisa
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Date Time

Flowers, chocolates, and a nice dinner for two... I'm sure that's what you are thinking about, right? Think again. This time imagine a mother with her four year old son, fondly following him around the dollar store with a smile and a warm heart as he carefully chooses Christmas gifts for his siblings. Follow that up with a hot meal in a cozy booth at Taco Bell. Yep, that's the date I had the other day, and it was absolutely lovely. I love having date time with my children, and they love it too. They often ask for date time, whether it's waking up early to play a game or make breakfast together or going out somewhere for a short while together. It's so wonderful to hop away from the busyness of life and bond with your children. If you haven't done it in a while or not at all, think about giving this gift to your children over the holidays. Plan a date with them, individually or a couple of them together. You will feel blessed, and so will they!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Blessing of Snow

Snow - some people love it; some people hate it. I happen to love it, except for when it is tricky to drive around in it. Otherwise, I absolutely think it is a delightful blessing that is given to us to brighten up our Winter days. Winter is going to be cold, sure enough! Winter is going to be dreary and gray much of the time, yes! When the snow arrives, I appreciate its display of beauty and brightness. To me, it is the highlight of winter! Even today, I was sitting in my parents' house, watching snow fall down in their quiet, wooded backyard. My dad and I agreed - it was so peaceful!

I think there is a real blessing and peace to the arrival and presence of snow, especially at Christmas time. I just love having snow for Christmas!! Who doesn't? I love seeing the Christmas lights aglow amidst the white blanket background as it snuggles us into our homes for time well-spent together! Lovely!

Yes, I'll take the snow every winter! Thank you, Lord, for the snow!

Hope you are able to enjoy the snow a bit!
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Tree!

Well, my Christmas tree is finally up and decorated. I just need Bri to help me trim the top so I can put my angel up there. A few years ago I finally delved in and decided to figure out a design for my tree. Up until then I had a mismatch of ornaments I had collected over the years. I realized that my more "elaborate, decorative" friends had a "theme" to their tree, so I felt a bit of pressure. I went with red and gold and tied some other things in bit by bit. Little did I know, I would finish off my living room in the same colors, so the tree works out really well. We bought a "real" tree, and I just love it! We usually make the splurge each year and get one. It's one of those special touches to Christmas for me.
I have a separate kids' tree in the family room. It houses any ornaments the kids want to display as well as any others I might want to keep that don't quite fit into my "theme" tree. The kids' tree is nice and colorful and cutesy.
I hope your holiday preparations are going well.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pony Party!

Last week my daughter turned six years old. She wanted a pony party. Being pregnant, I have been under the weather quite a bit lately. I didn't even think about many of the party details until the last minute. About two days before the party, I was hastily searching for a pony cake. I had already rectified in my mind that I would be making a box cake to make things simpler. Lo and behold, I found a Betty Crocker, You Tube video that showed how to make this lovely pony cake, and I found the instructions on their web site. I was a bit rushed with all of the chilling in between to make a successful crumb coat of frosting, but it still turned out quite nicely. If you have a young girl who loves ponies, I'd definitely encourage this cake. Not only does it look so adorable, it tastes absolutely marvelous as well. :-)
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Monday, November 23, 2009


The other night as I was walking through the grocery store, I felt spoiled. I oftentimes will feel this way when I am in the grocery store - oodles of tasty, healthy (and not so healthy) food at my fingertips, and I didn't grow any of it! Sometimes I get in my analytical mode and think about how much food we eat as a family and where that food comes from. Even recently, I said to Brian, "Think about how many chicken breasts our family just ate. Would we be able to keep up with that if we had to raise our own animals"? It gives you something to think about!

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's important to think about how spoiled we really are, especially here in America, and especially as Christians. God takes such good care of us, even in this suffering economy. We have so many privileges and freedoms. Truly, we have lot to be thankful for!

This Thanksgiving I am spoiled with:
*A great husband
*Beautiful children and another in the womb
*Loving family members
*Great friends
*A warm home
*Abundant and delicious food
*Continual help from my Lord

I pray you will be able to think about how *you* are spoiled. No matter what our situation, we have things to be thankful for. I pray your heart will be filled with thanksgiving and that you will be able to enjoy some time with those you love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Strawberry Smoothie!

I know what you're thinking... "Um, Lisa, a smoothie is the LAST thing I am thinking about as we approach the holidays". That may be true, but if you ever get a hankering, I ran into a wonderful recipe tonight.

I was craving a strawberry smoothie and wanted to make it with plain yogurt. I searched a bit online and found this delicious, not-to-sweet, refreshing smoothie recipe.

I used frozen strawberries for my fruit, and the smoothie turned out wonderfully.


Adapted from:

Yogurt Smoothie

1 cup plain, unflavored yogurt
1 cup fruit (your choice - strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple, etc.)
1/4 cups milk (probably more if fruit is frozen)
1 dash(es) honey

Preparation: Place yogurt, fruit, milk, a handful of ice and honey to taste all into a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste it for sweetness and add more honey if needed.

Pour, drink, and enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good Things take Hard Work

Months ago, Brian and I heard Todd Wilson speak at a homeschooling conference. His message rang true, "Family life is hard, but it is GOOD". He talked about the importance of family life, yet how difficult it can be. His message, though, was to encourage us to remember how GOOD family life is so it can carry us through its hardships. Over these months, I have come to realize more and more just how HARD the GOOD things in life are.

Having a great marriage takes hard work.
Raising children takes hard work.
Maintaining joy and peace takes hard work.
Balancing a budget takes hard work.
Keeping peace among friends takes hard work.

On the other hand, it's amazing how EASY it can be to be selfish, lazy, unproductive, say something unkindly, get angry, spend too much money, etc.

It's true... The GOOD things in life are HARD! If you are experiencing some hardship in life, be encouraged. You might just be running into something GOOD! ;-)

May God give you GRACE for the GOOD things,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Morning Chores

This summer, while we were still schooling, I was frustrated with the start of each day. I felt we were very frazzled. It was hard to get everyone on the same page, starting at the same time. It was hard for me to jump into school when I had a million other things on my mind, especially the cleanliness and order of my home. I really put some thought and prayer into the matter and am trying some things.

One of the things I have incorporated is the morning chore. Before doing the morning chore, breakfast must be eaten and typical morning routines must be done (dress, make bed, do hair and teeth). Then each child is given a chore to accomplish. Yesterday my 8yo vacuumed the family room, my almost 6 yo put all of the shoes into the laundry room closet (where they belong), and my 4.5 yo collected all of the kids' laundry. Today, I was super excited because my kids were asking me what their morning chores were. I didn't even have to initiate. Today my 8yo swept the foyer, my 6 yo folded some laundry on the futon, and my 4.5 yo emptied out the dryer.

Each day I see what my greatest need is around the house and dish out a few small tasks. Accomplishing these tasks brings me a breath of fresh air, gets the kids' blood pumping, and teaches them some great responsibility! I am thankful for the morning chores!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

I have made these sandwiches a couple times now, and they are a hit - yummy and pretty simple to make! I hope you like them. I served them with mashed potatoes and FRESH pineapple last night. YUM! (The recipe is posted "as is" from the blog referenced. I did not use the cheese either time, and the sandwiches were still very good!)


Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches

This is good to put in the crockpot for after church. I found chicken for .99/lb so I made some tonight to put into the freezer.
2.5 cups cooked chicken
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (or you can make your own by mixing soy sauce & brown sugar)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
oil to saute
provolone cheese
Saute onion and pepper in oil until tender. Mix all other ingredients and heat until it comes to a boil. Serve on buns with cheese. A nice side would be Asian coleslaw and some pinapple slices. To make Asian coleslaw (I'm flying by the seat of my pants now), just mix slaw, mayo, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and a pinch of sugar.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Proverbs 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

I have been thinking about this verse lately. Within the past several months, I have been seeking counsel and support from my friends regarding what God is doing in my life. Yes, he is stretching me. Sometimes my friends give me counsel that is hard to hear. It is not easy to embrace, even though it is right. Sometimes it even seems so foreign to my emotions, yet I am reminded by God's Word that the wounds of a friend are "faithful". They are meant to do God's work in us. The part I found even more interesting as I looked up this verse is the great relevance of the contextual verses.

Proverbs 27:5
Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.


Proverbs 27:7
A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

It is a blessing to have friends and family who can gently encourage you in the right way and sometimes, yes, "wound" you. They will touch the very depths of your heart and sometimes make you feel pain - pain over the way you feel, the way you act, and the struggles you bear. The Bible shows us that open rebuke from our loved ones is a blessing and that if we want to keep a spiritual hunger, we will swallow the "bitter things". I'm praying for this in my life.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Guest Blog Post - "The Manna Principle"

Boy, do I need some of that chicken soup right now! I caught the illness my sons had and am now struggling to conquer the flu. While I'm down and out for a bit, I thought you might like to read a great post on my friend's blog, "Three and Me". (Thanks, Leslie!) Just click and hop on over! It's about decluttering and trusting God to provide.

Hoping your family is healthy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Savory Chicken Soup!

Yesterday I made homemade chicken soup for dinner. (It's a good thing since sickness is in my house!) This is my own recipe, and it is very yummy (imho). I hope you like it!

This photo shows some of the soup gone already. The recipe makes a generous amount!

Savory Chicken Soup

Roaster Chicken
Bay Leaf
Onion, Garlic, Celery, Carrots
Pasta Noodles
Salt and Pepper
Wash and place a roaster chicken in a 6 qt. pot. Cover with coarse salt and peppercorns (or regular salt and pepper will do) and fill water almost to top to cover chicken. Cut onion, 2 cloves of garlic, carrots, and celery into large chunks and add to pot. Bring water to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours. By this time, the chicken is ready to fall off the bone! Strain the broth (I do this into another pot) and discard all vegs. Let chicken cool for a bit and then pull off all of the meat. Put broth back in large pot with HALF of the chicken and add two or three sliced carrots. Boil for a few minutes and then add about half a box of your favorite chicken soup pasta noodles. Cook until noodles are done. Flavor with salt, pepper, and parsley flakes. Taste and season to liking!

(NOTE: You can use the other half of the chicken for the next night's meal). ;-)


Enjoy your soup!
(If you try making it, post a comment and let me know how you like it).
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

Currently I am reading snippets from Charlotte Masons' The Original Homeschooling Series (as listed and linked in my sidebar). In Volume 4, Ourselves, she says,

The nature of Generosity is to bring forth, to give, always at the cost of personal suffering or deprivation, little or great.

Lord, make me generous.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soccer Finale!

Today is my son's last soccer game. Being the coach's wife, I feel a need in my heart to give the boys an end of the season "gift". God always helps me bump into something. When I was at Walmart browsing the candy aisle the other day, I found the GIANT size candy bars. I knew all the parents would love for their kid to have one (especially since it is Sweetest Day :-) ), so I bought a Crunch bar for each of the kids. I asked Brian if I should put a note on it or leave it blank, and of course, he decided to go simple. Well, I woke up this morning feeling determined in my heart to dress up the candy bars a bit. I found a couple clip arts online, enlarged them, and cut & "pasted" them on. For the two parents who helped coach during the games, I bought them a Hershey's Symphony candy bar and just put a little "Thank You" note on it, as you can see from the picture. Neither addition was too taxing or elaborate, but I like the end result - just a tad bit of accessorizing. :-)

Happy Sweetest Day,
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Family as "Guests"

As I drove by the church, I took note of the message it shouted from its sign: "Treat Your Family As Guests". I have it heard it said many times that we treat those who are the closest to us the worst. Those who live continually with us, day by day, in the same house, taking notice of all of our sins and bearing all of theirs grate us the most, and it can be utterly challenging to love them as we should. As I read the church's sign, all my soul could respond was "ouch". Truly, I fail at treating my household as I would treat my guests. Truly, it is "easy" to welcome friends with a smile, to do my best for them, and to treat them with utmost kindness. However, it is all too "easy" to lose my patience with my family members. May I learn to "Treat My Family As Guests".

Wishing you a home of peace and joy,

Monday, October 12, 2009

Soft and Fast Breadsticks!

There's just something therapeutic about making and eating homemade bread...The kneading and shaping of the dough...The tantalizing smell that sifts throughout the house! It's so comforting! Although I can not make a claim to making much homemade bread (even though it is my goal EVERY winter!, eh hem), I do try to make these breadsticks from time to time. With my bread machine, these are really a cinch. You make the dough in the bread machine, cut and shape the breadsticks, bake them, add any garnishes, and voila! Yummy bread that satisfies everyone's tummy! I received this recipe years ago on an email list I was on (Laine's Letters), and it is listed here from her web site with my notes at the bottom. I know you'll enjoy it!


1 c. warm water
3 T. brown sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 c. oil
2 1/2 c. bread flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour (can use all bread flour if desired)
2 1/2 t. yeast

Put all in order in the bread machine. Set to dough cycle. Let rise in the machine. Take out and pat into a semi-long rectangle, (about 9x11). Take a pizza cutter and slice lengthwise into 7 or 8 strips. Take one strip at a time and twist a bit before laying on a greased cookie sheet. Do the rest of the strips putting them an inch away from each other on the pan. Cover and let rise. (I do this in a warm place, they rise fast.) Then cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. (If I want thinner breadsticks I cut them thinner and into 14 or 15 strips.) Enjoy!

**Lisa's notes: I cut the dough into about 7 strips lengthwise and then cut the entire rectangle in half so I have about 14 thick breadsticks. After I cook the breadsticks, I usually brush the tops with melted butter and parmesan or cinnamon sugar. In this batch, I made half with parmesan and half with cinnamon sugar.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


As I was tucking my daughter into bed tonight, she once again asked me to put her mattress pad on her bed. We had washed it recently. It wasn't dry enough when it was time to make her bed, so we put only the sheets back on. Everything seemed to be fine, so I tucked the mattress pad away until we would switch her sheets again. Well, after seeing her brothers get their beds remade with cozy, comfy flannel and fleece sheets, she thought hers should be a bit comfier.

Last night when she went to bed, I pulled out the mattress pad and said, "Let's put it on tomorrow". Well, sure enough, we forgot to do that during the day, and when bed time came, my daughter was asking again, "Mom, can we put on my mattress pad?" Bed time routines were already done.... She was already tucked in... and I was done for the day. I told her we would do it tomorrow. She then again pleaded, "Please, mom, could we just put my mattress pad on top of my sheets even?" Usually at this point, I would react with "I said 'no'", but this time I gave in with a "FINE, but I'm not happy about this". Once we were done, my daughter crawled into bed with a smile on her face and gave me a huge hug and kiss, saying, "Thank you, Mom. I love you". I realized how much my little act of kindness meant to her. In the end, her persistence produced a reward for both of us.

The Bible shows us that the Lord wants us to be persistent with Him. In Luke chapter 11, Jesus gives the story about a man who knocks on his friend's door, asking for bread. The friend will not give the man bread because he is already in bed. However, "because of his persistence he will rise and give him" the bread (v.8).

Also, Jesus gives the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. The widow approaches a judge, who (get this!) does not "fear God nor regard man" (v.2), YET he eventually answers the widow's requests for justice. "...Because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me" (v.5). "Then the Lord said, 'Hear what the unjust judge said, And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them'?" (v.7)

God is a friend, and He is not like the judge! His character is upright, and we can not weary God with our requests and visits with Him. What does the Bible teach us? It teaches us that God wants fellowship with us and that He wants to pour out blessings upon us. He wants to comfort us. He wants to encourage us. He wants to teach us. If we continue to ask Him, will He not answer from heaven? I know this is something I need to call to remembrance!

May we have the diligence and endurance to spend time with the Lord and be persistent in seeking Him. Truly, we need Him.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Roasted Fall Vegetables! Yum!

I made these scrumptious, healthy, economical vegetables the other night! They are great for a side dish, and my kids really liked them. No one usually likes squash, but in this recipe squash is a hit!! With Fall here and our bodies in need of good cold and flu fighting foods, why not try roasting some yummy vegetables?! This recipe makes a huge amount, so you will probably have leftovers. With our family of six and also giving almost half to a friend, I STILL had leftovers. Enjoy!

Roasted Fall Vegetables

Serves 8; Makes about 12 cups

  • 2 pounds (about 1 medium) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds red new potatoes (12 to 14), well scrubbed and quartered
  • 1 pound medium red onions (about 2 to 3), peeled and quartered
  • 1 pound carrots (6 to 8 medium), halved lengthwise, if thick, and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide vegetables and garlic between two rimmed baking sheets (or line with parchment paper, if desired, for easy cleanup); dividing evenly, toss with oil, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 40 to 50 minutes, tossing them and rotating sheets from top to bottom halfway through. Serve hot or at room temperature.
From Everyday Food, October 2006

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Take Time to Be Holy"

Yesterday, I sat down to sing a hymn out of my hymnal. I ran across the title of this one and thought I would give it a shot. Fortunately, I have enough piano knowledge to be able to sit down and plunk out the notes to figure out the melody. I love the words to this hymn, along with its melody. It is very soothing and inspirational. The words speak for themselves, but in essence, the hymn encourages us to focus our hearts on God, spending time with Him, and doing what is right.


Listen Here:

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time with Our Children

Recently I received an email of a dialogue between a boy and his mother. It emphasized the boy's desire to spend time with his "mummy". He was saving up money under his pillow so he could buy an hour of his mom's time (equal to the wage she earned at work). This story certainly touched me. It showed the boy's heartfelt desire to be with his mom, yet she was taken up with the cares of life. It reminds me of the story of Martha and Mary, where Jesus told Martha (the busy worker) to look at Mary as the example. Mary was the one spending time with Him.

Life keeps us all very busy. Juggling responsibilities, school, sports events, appointments, and even time with friends and family becomes very difficult and oftentimes, I see myself being impatient with my own children. When they ask for an extra story to be read, for some snuggle time before bed, or for some of *my* precious time, it is easy for me to pull away. However, after I read this story in my email a few days ago, I was encouraged, once again, to take time out for my own children. I want to appreciate them and love on them, and when I do, I always feel rewarded.



Welcome to my blog!

For a long time now, I have thought about doing a blog. My mind continually writes and thinks, so I thought this would be a good outlet for me. As I read some of my favorite blogs, I am refreshed and encouraged. I hope you will feel the same as you read my blog, as you sit here in "The Cozy Nook" and share a cup of tea with me.

Blessings to you,