Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Cozy Eggs

Last year, Brian and I had a yummy breakfast at a Bed and Breakfast in Traverse City, MI – Chateau Chantal.  I’ve been wanting to try to replicate it at home and finally did, almost a year later!


Sautee some onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes in butter and season with salt and pepper.  Place entire mixture in the bottom of a baking dish and cover with halved boiled eggs.  Top boiled eggs with slices of cheese and a bit of salt and pepper.  (I used mozzarella this time).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for just a few minutes to warm up the eggs and melt the cheese.  Serve one or two of the egg halves with the sauteed mixture on a plate with toast as a side.  EAT AND ENJOY! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When I am weak, then I am strong

Ever find yourself feeling weak – either physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or altogether?!  When Paul found himself weak, due to the “thorn in his flesh”, he PLEADED with the Lord THREE times for Him to take it away and what was God’s response?  “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for My STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 2:9)

In God’s kingdom, our weakness is a good thing.  It allows God to show HIS strength.  It allows us to see HIS grace at work – not our own efforts getting us out of messes and solving our own problems.  God wants to draw us closer to Him, and He uses trial and difficulty to do that.  During those times, we choose whether we will resist His drawing and teaching or let Him woo us – no matter how painful it seems.  I admit…. I have been resisting some things in my own life and finding it hard to submit to God’s work in me.  However, I realize that acceptance of God’s will and my weakness is the way to gain strength.  That is the way to find joy and peace.  When we fight our situations in life, it only brings stress, negativity, discontentment, and anger.  If we can ACCEPT them, God can work in our hearts and make us strong in Him.

I’m praying I can be like Paul and say, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 2:10)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cutting Practice for Kids

IMG_4920 I found this cute cutting activity for kids.  They cut out pieces of bread, cheese, tomato, and the like to assemble a sandwich.  There are dotted lines formed into squares for younger aged children and solid lines shaped right around the object for older children. 

Check it out at Kaboose.  They have a lot more interesting ideas for children there, too!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Getting Ready for the Week

On Sunday evenings I like to do things that help me feel ready for the week… tackle some laundry, review school, have good family moments, vacuum my family room, review meals, etc.  It makes me feel like I can wake up to a better Monday morning. 

Just now I printed up one of our school scheduling sheets that helps me keep track of the kids’ school.  IMG_4681

This wonderful chart, which was created by my dh who LOVES Excel, helps my mind be a bit freer throughout the week.  The biggest drawback is that my children are not always faithful to check off everything they do, and I have to remind them.  Once things are checked, though, it is so helpful.  My children and I, both, are able to see what progress has been made so far and what is left to do.  The chart covers two weeks.  When I print one out, I surprise the kids with two, new pictures.  That brings a little bit of excitement to the mix.

What do you like to do on Sunday evenings to get ready for the week?  Do you have special tools you use throughout the week that help you feel more organized?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chocolate Pancakes and Brown Sugar Bacon


Before church last Sunday, I made this for breakfast!  It was delicious, and even though it seems like a sugary breakfast, it did not leave us with that sugary feeling.  I think the bacon and the fruit must have helped out!

I did not have bittersweet chocolate on hand for the pancakes, so I actually just melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips.  The recipe still turned out well!  The recipe does not tell you about the fruit.  I saw it on the video, which is entertaining to watch.  I did alter mine a little bit from his mixture.   I mixed strawberries, bananas, a splash of orange juice, a bit of honey, and a bit of sugar and let it sit while I made the pancakes.

I got the idea for the bacon from Trader Joe’s.  Their recipe calls for a package of their bacon and 3/4 cup of brown sugar.  I used turkey bacon and think I will half the brown sugar next time.  Hubby and I agreed that it was just a bit much sugar, but it was still good!  :-) 


Brown Sugar Bacon

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a baking sheet and arrange bacon slices flat, leaving space between each slice. Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake the bacon for 30 – 40 minutes until crisp.


Chocolate Pancakes


Serves: 6

    • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Melt the chocolate and the 8 tablespoons butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a large bowl until well mixed. Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter. Sift the flour over the top and fold it in.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter over low heat in a large nonstick sauté pan. Drop a heaping tablespoon of batter into the pan and cook for 2 minutes, then turn and cook on the other side. Transfer the pancake to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to the pan as necessary.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Little Things

A couple days ago my son and his friends were getting ready to play with Peppy, the pet hamster my son received for Christmas.  My son lifted up Peppy’s house and said, “He’s not there”.  I said, “What do you mean, he’s not there?”  Sure enough – Peppy was not there!  Fear and worry engulfed me.  I imagined Peppy stuck somewhere in our house where we wouldn’t find him or roasting away in our furnace or something.  The furious search began, and I began to pray!   “God, please show us where Peppy is.  Please help us”.

We began to scour through the house, hoping to find the little critter soon.  After several minutes of searching basically the entire house, my husband sat down on the couch to rest for a minute.  He motioned for me to sit next to him.  Brian shut off the dryer and when he sat down again, a thought ran through my mind.  I asked Brian, “Do you think we should search the couch (the one we were sitting on)?”  I was thinking perhaps Peppy was hiding out in the cushions of the couch.  Right after I asked Brian that question, we heard scratching noises inside the couch!  Brian and I quickly looked at each other in amazement!  Peppy was inside!  Brian tilted up the couch on its side, tore off the “liner” underneath, and began to pull away the padding from the coil as much as he could to peek inside the bottom corner.  Sure enough – there was Peppy! 










Brian lured him out with a piece of lettuce, and our hearts were relieved.  I couldn’t help but think about the prayers I prayed during the search.  I sensed God tugging at my heart once again, showing me that He cares about the little things in our lives. 

Luke 12:7

…the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grocery Insanity!


Is anyone as insane as I am when it comes to grocery shopping?  I went to FOUR stores over the past few days to get almost everything I needed:

  • Costco (bulk items)
  • Trader Joe’s (certain very reasonably-priced healthful choices)
  • Nino Salvaggio’s Fruit Market  (produce and a few other things)
  • Target (canned goods, toiletries, etc.)

I do not always go to four stores.  Normally I hit two stores a week:  Nino’s and Walmart .   This week I went to Target instead of Walmart because I needed something specific there.  Of course with that change, that still made my grocery shopping incomplete!  Yes, believe it or not, even after four stores, I STILL have a few grocery items I have yet to buy.  I am going to try to wait until next week, when I will have to buy pretty minimally since I bought most of my items for two weeks with these trips. 

Juggling quality, quantity, and healthfulness puts my brain into full gear.  I am always trying to improve my trips, be conscientious of my spending, and eat healthfully.  Many times I feel discouraged and beat up, though.  I do not find this to be an easy task.  Thankfully I usually rejuvenate within the next couple days of my shopping when I can start using all of my lovely groceries and make delicious, fairly healthy meals. 

What are your grocery shopping habits?

Good Cooking Web Site

Somehow in the midst of browsing for recipes, I ran into this great cooking web site I thought I would share.  Check it out!

There are videos you can view, too, which I really like since I don’t have the Food Network to watch fun cooking shows!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Drawing Game

IMG_4866 IMG_4867

This game is fun to play with children or with adults when you have some down time or are just sitting around waiting for an appointment or other event.  The first person draws a “shape” of some sort.  The second person has to complete the picture by adding to that shape.  Once that object is completed, the second person starts the new picture by drawing  a new “shape”.  If you use two different writing tools to play the game, you can see more accurately what was drawn first and what completed it. 

Have fun!  My children really like this game!

A Child’s Prayer

I was blessed today when I heard my 8 year old son give thanks at lunch.

God, thank You we can live in this house.

Thank You we have the freedom to worship You.

Thank You we are homeschooled.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Good Find

Last night I went to the local thrift store to see if I could find any maternity clothes for myself.  I am 30 weeks pg now, getting bigger and bigger, and not wanting to spend a lot of money on clothes.  I had gotten rid of my pregnancy clothes from years’ past.  I ended up finding some regular shirts for myself at Kohl’s.  I did try on a couple maternity shirts, but they were more expensive AND either fit me like a tent or too clingy.  UGH! 

Anyway, when I was at the thrift store, the Lord blessed me in two ways, which was really nice because I was having another emotional day (imagine that!).  First, I saw my son’s piano teacher with her mom and brother.  They are solid Christians, and it was a blessing to chat with them for a few minutes.   Secondly, I found something for my foyer - a velvet red rose tree.


We are currently finishing our foyer area (which I hope to post about in the near future, once it is completely finished!).  Just a couple days ago I looked at the shelf in the turn of the stairs and thought, “A silver bowl with some red roses would look nice and elegant there”.  When I found this at the store last night for $8, I was excited!  I put the flowers on the shelf, and amazingly enough, my husband noticed right away.  He said, “Nice flowers”.  I told him I bought it at the thrift store and he celebrated with me.   Thank You, Lord, for the small blessings in life!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saltine Toffee










Recently I got the recipe for Saltine Toffee from Sunday Baker.  It is a simple and delicious treat to make!  A few days ago, I saved half of the batch for our family, which we (eh hem) consumed within about 12 hours or so of making it, and gave the other half of the batch to a friend for her birthday.  


I visited my dad today and wanted to take him a treat (since he is recovering from surgery) so I made ANOTHER batch this morning.  I packaged a good portion just for him, gave another portion to the rest of  his household, and saved the remaining portion  for our home.

This really is very tasty and very easy to make.  Try it!

If you want to see some great photos of the procedure, check out Sunday Baker’s post on it.

Saltine Toffee
1 sleeve salted Saltine crackers
1-1/2 sticks real butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Foil line a large cookie sheet/jelly roll pan and grease well. Lay out the crackers. One sleeve fits perfectly:

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter. Melt and bring to a soft boil over medium heat, whisking, for about 2 minutes. Pour the caramel mixture over the crackers and spread evenly with the back of a spoon:

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 minutes. The mixture will bubble and soak into the crackers. Remove and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the entire pan of crackers. Stick back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to further melt chips. Remove and spread even over the crackers:

Let it cool on the counter for about 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for an hour to harden the chocolate. Remove. Pull up the foil and start breaking up the toffee into bite-sized pieces. So delicious!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meal Planning

In planning my meals this week, I realize that things are taking me 1.5 to 2 times as long sometimes, due to my ever-increasing belly size and the demands of life!  Yes, the reality of having another baby is starting to set in more and more.  I know meals will have to get simpler.  We’ll see if I can accomplish this over the next week!

  • Beef and Bulgur Wheat Burgers, Mashed Potatoes w/Gravy
  • Chicken Taco Salad, Breadsticks
  • Chicken Italian, Green Beans, Rice, Salad
  • Goulash, Salad
  • Beef Tacos, Rice
  • Chicken Fajitas, Cornbread
  • Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our Resurrection Celebration

I know all of you are sitting on the edge of your desk chair, waiting to see how my Resurrection (Easter) dinner went!

Here’s what I served:


*designates someone else brought the food

  • Spiral Glazed Ham
  • Brined Roasting Chicken with Gravy
  • Croissants with Strawberry Honey Butter
  • Cheesy Potatoes*
  • Green Bean Casserole*
  • Spring Salad Mix with Strawberries, Glazed Pecans, and Raspberry Dressing
  • Banana Split Dessert
  • Grandma Drops (no-bake cookies)*
  • Homemade Lemonade

As you can see, I ended up making a ham.  It was my first ham, and people say it turned out well.  A friend had recommended buying the ham from Costco and just following their directions.  Well, sure enough – it worked for me!  I didn’t actually eat any of the ham, but it smelled good in the oven.  :-)

All of the dishes were delicious, and we had a nice time.  I hope your Resurrection Day celebrations were great!  What did you serve or eat?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moving Forward

Yesterday was an interesting day.  We finally came to the realization, after some signs this week, that our refrigerator was not working properly.  It was too warm, and things were spoiling.  We ended up emptying out the entire refrigerator and freezer and defrosting it.

After some investigation, Brian had found this:

IMG_4724Yes, the coils on the inside were COVERED with ice, as you can see.  On top of this discovery, pregnancy, sickness, and other personal issues, I was feeling pretty discouraged about life in general and about hosting our Resurrection Dinner this weekend.  God has a way of moving IMG_4735us forward, though, and using bad situations for good. 

The thawing of the refrigerator fixed the problem, and the refrigerator  was now cleaned out and organized, just waiting for celebratory food to fill it!  I’ve gotten myself together and am on my way to hosting our Resurrection Dinner tomorrow. 

In addition to cleaning out the refrigerator, I cleaned out the vacuum filters, which were so immensely dirty.  Too bad I don’t have I picture of those, huh?   In the evening I made my first shopping trip and bought the bulk of the food I need.

We were also able to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL 80 degree weather yesterday, and the kids and I even did some of our school outside.  All in all, the Lord had His hand on us and helped our day turn around.  Thank You, Lord.

IMG_4726 IMG_4730

Now I’m off to make some chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and get my day going!  (I know… not the healthiest option for breakfast, but sooooo yummy…. and don’t forget all of those mood-boosting, antioxidant properties in chocolate).  :-)

Thursday, April 1, 2010