Friday, October 29, 2010

My Cup Runs Over

Today is one of those days when it has been hard to put one foot in front of the other.  My “To Do” list seems overwhelming.  There are issues weighing my heart down.  I have spent the week without my husband, missing him tremendously, and today I feel the impact of it all. 

YET, in my difficulty, God reached out to me.  I was at my window, washing the dishes, and my daughter said, “Look at the clouds”.

This is the picture I found out my kitchen window.

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The clouds were amazing!  There was this wonderful display – something I had never seen before.  I thought it might be a skywriter, but I couldn’t find one.  Whatever it was, I stood in awe and felt God was reassuring me that He was right here with me, throughout my day.  This happened another time when I was experiencing a very difficult time a few months ago.  I had looked outside and found a double rainbow.

Today, God has enveloped me in His love.

As I sat down to write this, my daughter said, “What are you going to say,  ‘My daughter found this, and my cup runs over'?”  She said that because she had seen a picture of some hot cocoa I had made.  Nevertheless, I felt God speak to me again.  As the psalmist says in Psalm 23,

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life.

How has God touched your life today?  Are you experiencing difficulty?  Remember that God is there, and I’m sure He is trying to speak to you in the midst of your day.

May God richly bless you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In My Kitchen

Tip #1

Ever have trouble juicing a lemon that feels as hard as a rock?!  Try cutting multiple slits across the lemon and then juicing it.  This makes it so much easier!

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Tip #2

When I am browning ground beef, I use my potato masher to mash and break up the meat into small pieces after the beef has browned for a little while.  I find this to work much better than using the edge of a spoon.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Bargain Books!

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Last week I ordered some books for the kids, mostly my oldest, since he is out of new books and desperately wants some.  Plus, I am using them as prizes for our new reward system.

Originally I discovered a store on Ebay and looked them up online.  I found their web site and ended up ordering FIFTEEN books for the price of $21, with FREE shipping.  If you order $20 worth of books, you get free shipping.  The books arrived today – a week later, and I am just thrilled!

The company sells overstocks and used books that are in good/great condition!  It is definitely worth a look if you like to buy books!

http://www.bhfobooks.com/

Happy reading!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Celebration and Sunday Sundae Cupcakes

This evening we celebrated my middle two children’s receipt of a wonderful gift – the Bible, God’s Holy Word.  After our children learn to read and are reading well, we celebrate by giving them a Bible.  We reiterate to them how a Bible is different than any other book they will read because it is God’s Word.  We talked for a bit about the Bible and prayed that God would draw their hearts closer to Him and teach them through His Word.  Then we had our children read aloud a couple verses out of Psalm 1, which influences the idea that a man is blessed when he delights Himself in God’s Word and follows righteousness.

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To conclude, we dolloped a delicious heap of toppings onto our cupcakes to make Sundae Cupcakes.  They tasted just like sundaes, in cupcake form.  You can find the recipe here at “Joy the Baker”.

Enjoy!

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Precious Moments

Moments I have cherished recently

that brighten my heart and lift my soul…

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THREE MONTHS OLD AND LOVING LIFE

 

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MY DAUGHTER PICKED THIS FLOWER FOR ME

 

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SWEETNESS

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Cherishing nature… It was a beautiful Fall day,

raining leaves.  See one?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our New Reward System

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Face it – we, all, love rewards!  I like to reward my children with various things and in various ways – praise, gifts, affection, etc.  I’ve been wanting to begin some sort of reward system to encourage them in goodness.  To start, we are tackling our homeschool days – morning routines, attitudes, completeness, and other special behavior that I might see from time to time.  I found this idea in Family Fun Magazine and also ran into it on another blog.  I distribute a pom ball to each child whenever he earns it.  Once his jar is full, which will take approximately a few weeks, he will earn a prize!  I feel this is not only encouraging them in good behavior, but it is also teaching them faithfulness in their efforts and patience – delayed gratification.

I am making the prizes more substantial than a piece of candy, per se.  For this round…

My nine year old son is working towards earning two books.  He loves to read and is out of fresh books in the house. 

My almost seven year old daughter will earn a shopping trip to Claire’s accessory store with me where she can purchase a pair of earrings or something.

My five year old wants REAL tools.

This system could be used to motivate a child in many areas…

Stopping a bad habit.

Kindness towards siblings.

Faithfulness with chores.  ETC…

The system is working well for us so far.  The children are excited to earn their poms for the day, and it is not too tedious for me to maintain.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Shine Your Sink!

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If you have never shined your sink before, now is the time!  I felt a dire need to shine my sink again, so I did that tonight.  I originally discovered this novel idea from the Flylady years ago.  Here’s how I do it.

  • Plug the drain(s) in your sink.
  • Pour a small layer of bleach into the sink.
  • Fill sink nearly to the top with HOT water.
  • Let sit for about 15 minutes.
  • While the water is sitting, disinfecting, and cleaning, I clear off my counter and use the bleach water to wipe it and the surrounding surfaces.
  • After 15 minutes, unplug the drain and wipe the sink down, including the drain area, as the water is draining.

You will see a shiny sink when you are done, and it will make you feel soooooo good!  Then pour yourself a cup of tea and put your feet up! 

Blessings to you and your sink.  ;-)

Chicken Pot Pie

It is nearly midnight, and I just finished cooking for a pot luck after church tomorrow.  I made chicken pot pie and a batch of cornbread.  (If you haven’t tried the cornbread recipe, you must!  It is so moist and tasty!)

I received this chicken pot pie recipe from my sister-in-law when I first got married.  You see, I didn’t really know how to cook when I got married – gulp!  I have come a really LONG way!!! 

This recipe is great!  You do have to make a homemade crust, but it is worth it – of course!  Also, if you even consider leaving out the mushrooms, don’t do it!  I tried it once, just because I didn’t have mushrooms at the time, and it affected the taste of the pot pie greatly.  The mushrooms add such an earthy flavor.  They add depth to the pot pie!  I have never had anyone turn down this pot pie, even people who do not like mushrooms! 

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Chicken Pot Pie

Double Pie Crust (recipe following)

1 10 oz. pkg. frozen peas and carrots (or mixed vegs.)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

1/2 t. salt; 1/8 t. pepper

1/2 t. sage, marjoram, or thyme (I always use sage)

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup milk

3 cups cooked chicken or turkey

1/4 cup snipped parsley (you can use dried – obviously much less than 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup chopped pimiento (opt.) – I have never used this.

Prepare pastry; set aside.

Cook peas and carrots; drain.

In a saucepan cook onion and mushrooms in butter until tender.  Stir in flour, salt, sage, marjoram, or thyme, and pepper.

Add chicken broth and milk all at once.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Stir in peas and carrots, chicken, parsley, and pimiento.  Heat until bubbly.

Pour into six 10 oz. casseroles or 12x7x2” dish.  (I use a 9x13” pan).

Place pastry on top.

Bake at 450 for 12-15 min. until pastry is golden brown.

Double Pie Crust

2 cups sifted flour (confession, I never sift the flour ;-) )

1/2 t. salt

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup cold milk or water (I always use milk)

Mix flour and salt.  Pour oil and milk into measuring cup but do not stir together.  Pour all at once into flour mixture.  Stir lightly until mixed.  Divide dough.  Roll out between two pieces of waxed paper.  (Wipe counter with a damp cloth first to keep wax paper from slipping).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

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Some funny things my children have said recently:

From my almost seven year old daughter, after discussing that our niece is a tenor:

Well, if she is a tenor, I must be a twentier.  (My daughter has a high-pitched singing voice).

 

One of the leaders of the boys’ group at church asked my five year old son which grade he is in.  He responded:

First grade, second book.  (A good, old-fashioned homeschool response, huh?)

 

My five year old son set up a game in our basement the other day.  After he set it up, he said that it cost a quarter to play the game.  Also, if you get one ball in the basket, you PAY a penny.  If you get two balls in the basket, you PAY a nickel.  My daughter responded, trying to change the rules a bit, and said people do not have to pay a quarter to play the game.  My five year old then said:

Annabel, I’m trying to make money!!

 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Blessing of Friendship

 

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More and more throughout life, I realize how much of a blessing good friendships are to me.  It is such a blessing when a friend lends a shoulder to lean on or a tissue to cry on, a listening ear, a word of appreciation, a note of encouragement… thoughts of comfort, goodness, and guidance.  Faithful, loving friends are the sustenance of life, and I thank God for them.

To show your thankfulness for a friendship you have, reach out to a friend today.  Send an email or a note, go out for tea, call her on the phone – whatever comes to your heart first.  Someone in your life could use a pat on the back and a reminder that she has a good friend standing nearby.

Blessings to you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

To Make You Laugh

My daughter is growing out her bangs – a difficult process, as some of us are fully aware!  Every day, for school, I require her to put her hair up so it is out of her face.  While we were working on math today, I noticed her hair was hanging in her face, so I told her to get a barrette or something.  She fixed her hair and started working again.  When I looked up, I saw this and it made me laugh!!  I hope you get a chuckle.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   inspired by SouleMama

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Beef Taquitos and Garlic Green Beans

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These taquitos are very tasty.  I always use 1 lb. of ground beef (and actually used 1.5 lb. this time) and a little extra of the seasonings and salsa.  It stretches better for our family.  My chili powder is very potent, so I only use about 1 teaspoon of that.  I serve them with sour cream only, since there is salsa inside already.  Also, the taquitos are plenty flavorful on their own!

 

Beef Taquitos

from Family Fun

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing on the taquitos
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup salsa, plus more for dipping
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 10 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
  • Sour cream
Instructions
 
Heat the oven to 400ยบ. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook them for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the beef and use a wooden spoon or a spatula to break it up while it cooks, until it is no longer red, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the salsa, the chili powder, and the salt and pepper. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
 
Place the tortillas on a plate and cover them with damp paper towels. Microwave them until warm and pliable, about 45 seconds. Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup of the beef mixture, spreading it to an inch from the edges. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the beef.
 
Roll up the tortillas and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet with the seam sides down. Brush the taquitos lightly with vegetable oil, then bake them until the filling is heated through and the tortillas are lightly browned, about 8 to 12 minutes. Serve them hot with sour cream and/or salsa. Serves 4 to 6.

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If you are looking for a quick, tasty side dish, this is how I make my green beans…

Garlic Green Beans

Place frozen green beans in skillet.  (I buy a large bag of Organic Green Beans from Costco that I absolutely love!). 

Add about one cup of water, maybe less if you are not using as many beans.  Basically, you want enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and up a bit. 

Add one crushed or finely chopped garlic clove, a couple pats of butter, and some salt.

Cook on Medium High until beans are well-steamed, probably about 10 minutesI’m too busy doing other things to note the exact amount of time it takes.  :-)  If you are in a hurry, you can cover the pan, but I like to have the lid off for at least half of the cooking time.  That way the water will mostly evaporate.  Stir beans while cooking.

Eat with delight!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Getting Over the Slump

Type A personalities may never have slumps, but I certainly do.  I am more of a Type E personality – Emotionally wired.  There are times when I feel emotionally and physically drained, and it is hard to push myself into the next task.  I feel like I am in a deep slump, and it’s hard to push forward.  How can we push ourselves when we get in these types of situations? 

First of all, if you are tackling a project that MUST get done at the moment, like making dinner, you can think of the REWARD you will get when it is done.  This happens to me often.  Around dinner-making time, I am usually exhausted.  Sometimes I entertain the idea of ordering out but then realize the hassle it would take to get the food and the extra money I would spend.  I, therefore, tell myself to think about how satisfied I will feel once dinner is made.  I focus on what the meal will taste like when it is done and recall its healthy benefits.  A couple times this week, I had to do this.  I was completely spent.  I pushed myself to make homemade pizza one night and beef taquitos another night.  In the end, I was rewarded.  My meals turned out well, and I felt good about it!

Secondly, if you are just in a slump, evaluating many projects you could tackle at the moment, here are some ways to motivate yourself and decide what to do next.

  • Think of one that might be done QUICKLY and EASILY, so you could cross it off your list.  That feels so good; doesn’t it?  
  • What has been on your list for a LONG time?  It would feel great to get that one accomplished!
  • As in tackling an immediate project, think of the project that would give you the MOST REWARD right now.  Would it feel better to have that closet organized or to do some of the Fall clean-up in your yard?  Which result would please you most right now?

All of us have to make these decisions continually and motivate ourselves to plod on in the pursuit of productivity.  As my friend and I were discussing yesterday, tasks (done and undone) are always going to be a part of life – especially a part of motherhood – and we need to learn to flow with them.  They are part of the “cycle of life” (as my friend put it).  May we find joy and peace in the journey!

Blessings to you as you find fulfillment today!

(I will post the recipe for the beef taquitos soon!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   inspired by SouleMama

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