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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts

I hope that you all had an enjoyable Christmas.  We'll be cleaning up from a relaxing day yesterday.  We'll have a light day of babysitting - just one as far as I know.  I had a whole week off of babysitting with the flu coming to us last week.

Did you hear the song "How Many Kings?"  Have you thought about that?  How many kings stepped down from their throne?  How many lords have abandoned their homes?  Just for you and me and not only that, but enemies of the kingdom.

Maybe we should remember that today, as we clean up from our holiday and celebration.  As we get back to our normal routines, let us never stop being in awe of the fact that God stepped down from His heaven to rescue and redeem.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Gingerbread

I found the information below at a website.  So today we are going to try it.  I think it will be fun to have a cookie mix in the house.


Another mix recipe for your collection!  I found this recipe years ago in an old cookbook and it has been a favorite ever since!

Gingerbread Mix
8 C. flour
2 C. sugar
1/4 C. baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 C. shortening (I use all natural palm oil)


In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients (I like a whisk for this job).  Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal. Store in an airtight container.


~This mix makes a great gift packaged in a cellophane bag.

~To use this for gingerbread house: use the Easy Ginger Cookie recipe below adding 1 C. flour (you will have to use a mixer or your hands to get it mixed). Roll 1/8"-1/4" thick and cut as desired.  Bake about 7 minutes, until edges are browned.  Cool on wire racks overnight.  This makes a very durable gingerbread house!

Easy Ginger Cookies

3 C. gingerbread mix
1/3 C. molasses
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl, dough will be fairly stiff!  Roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar (or cinnamon/sugar mixture) and place on cookie sheets.  Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until edges are browned.

I like to pre-portion this mix in ziploc bags, that way I can have cookies ready for the oven in a matter of minutes--perfect for last minute company, to tuck in a gift bag or just to enjoy with your afternoon tea.


~To make rolled gingerbread cookies: add 1/4 C. flour to the Easy Gingerbread Cookie recipe. Roll out on lightly floured surface and cut with desired cutters.  Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are browned.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Hot Spiced Cider Mix

This is a recipe I made this year, I'm planning on handing it out to the Sunday School teachers.  But we've enjoyed it and it soothes a throat that is scratchy with the colds that are running through our house.

Hot Spiced Cider Mix

I got this recipe off of AllRecipes.com. It was SO quick and easy to make and the ingredients are very affordable and should be available at your local grocery store.

Ingredients*:

§  1 cup of white sugar

§  1 cup of Tang®

§  ½ cup of Nestea® UnSweetened Iced Tea Mix

§  ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

§  ½ teaspoon of ground cloves

*Makes 20 servings

To Make:

1.    Combine sugar, Tang®, Nestea® UnSweetened Iced Tea Mix, cinnamon and cloves in a large bowl with lid.

2.    Cover the bowl and shake vigorously to combine ingredients.

3.    Store in a sealed container.

To Serve:

1.    Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture with a cup of hot water.

2.   
This is

Thursday's Thoughts - Who are you, O man?

Isaiah 40 has been a passage that our pastor has studying with us during our Sunday evenings.  It's been really good for me to hear.  Last week I mentioned our friend's early graduation into glory and my lack of understanding in that. 

Isaiah 40
1 "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" says your God.
2 "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins."

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
6 The voice said, "Cry out!" and he said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely, the people are grass
8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."
9 O Zion, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
10 Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. 
11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom and gently lead those who are with young.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him?
14 With whom did He take counsel and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding?

15 Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. 
16 and Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. 
17 All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.

18 To whom then will you liken God?  Or what likeness will you compare to Him?
19 The workman molds an image, the goldsmith overspreads it with gold and the silversmith casts silver chains.
20 Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; he seeks for himself a skillful workman to prepare a carved image that will not totter.
21 Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
23 He brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth useless.

24 Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.

25 To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the Lord and my just claim is passed over by my God"?
28 Have you not known?  Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.


And as I read these verses, I realized, who am I to worry about why things happen.  God is in control and knows what He's doing.  He's good and kind and just and what He does is great.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday's Household - sickness

In our house, my littlest guy has a fever and I have been coughing so much that I'm hardly sleeping much at night.  Feeling pretty miserable, and in our house Mommy on the couch usually ends up with disaster. 

But I've been keeping up, so today, I'm not doing extras.  I pulled a freezer meal out of the freezer - Chicken Noodle Soup.  In a few minutes, I'll pull my bread mixes out of the freezer and make two batches of bread, which will only take about 10 minutes.  I started a load of the laundry I could find, but there isn't much more than that.  And I washed up the dishes. 

If this were the stomach flu, I think everything would be left, but I am capable of little bits at a time.  I still have to drive the kids to school and pick them up later and grab some milk today.  But it's nice to know that I can relax on the couch with my baby. 

I think we'll turn on "Planes" in a little bit, and sip some Hot Spiced Cider. 

Keep pressing on today, you never know when you'll be on the couch. :)

Steph

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Easy Lasagne


Easy Lasagne

1 8 oz pkg of lasagna

1 lb gr beef (or 3 cups meat)

4 cups red sauce

¾ c water

1 t salt

½ t sugar

1 lb cottage cheese

3 c mozerella

½ c parmesan cheese

Brown beef and drain.  Add sauce, water sugar and salt, bring to boil (maybe it would be easiest to do all together).  Spray foil pan with oil spray.  Layer 1/3 of the sauce, ½ uncooked noodles, 1 cup cottage cheese and 1 cup mozerella.  Repeat layers ending with sauce and remaining mozerella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil. 
 
Label with this label:
Thaw.  Bake at 350 degrees with foil on for 50 minutes.  Remove foil for last 10 minutes.
 
Let me re-iterate that thawing usually means placing the meal on a counter (preferably if it's a bag, in a bowl).  When you get home from work, or if you work at home - when it's time to start cooking, it will still be very cold if not icy in the center, turn on the oven and start cooking. :)
 
Keep pressing on,
Steph

Project Monday - Laundry room shelves

It's Christmas, so things are somewhat crazy around here.  Here's my post for yesterday.



Carpenter mentioned that these shelves could use some cleaning.  Hmm - ya think?  It took about 10 to 15 minutes to clean it up.  And now it looks great!



I love this.  I can finish one day and still have two or three loads the next day.  I'm so thankful that we're still finding the end on a daily basis.  Or at least the end in my laundry room, obviously on any given day someone is holding back something. :)

Have a great day, and remember, those jobs you dread...may not take as long as you think to clean up.
Steph

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday's thoughts - bear one another's burdens

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

As we were packing up to leave our home, and our lives were turned upside-down because we lost our job.  We were supposed to pack up in two weeks and be out of our home.  Shocked and blinded with confusion, we were overwhelmed as we started randomly throwing things into suitcases and then re-evaluating our decisions over and over again.  I was seven months pregnant with our sixth child. 

We wandered around tears and anger intermixed.  We had had no idea that this is what that meeting would be about. 

We moved out to town.  There was  a couple there who were filling the position of supply buyer.  They went out of their way to make our stay in that country pleasant, even in the midst of terribly hard circumstances.  They planned a party for our three-year old daughter - I am sure that it was the last thing on my mind. 

Less than two months, later after we came home with our second daughter and our sixth child - she helped plan a shower for the little one we'd just had.

A year later, when my husband and two oldest boys returned, the husband and his son went along to help take care of things in the village we'd been working in.

This is a picture of bearing one another's burdens.

But lately, I've been wondering if it can mean something else as well.

You see, just this week the husband (36 years old) died suddenly after his children were tucked into bed.  And now, here I am on the other side of the world, while my friend goes through something even worse than what I went through all those years ago.  Her home is uprooted (they are coming back to the U.S.), her job as a missionary is going to either be over or very different, but even more, she has lost the person she planned on spending the rest of her life with.  I can't imagine having to go through what I did 7 years ago without Carpenter.

So now, I'm thinking that bearing one another's burdens, may not always be physical things you do, but maybe it's standing in the gap and praying constantly, and I mean constantly.  The memorial service for James was just last night - our time. 

Nicky and her family just had to get 5-year visas which is a huge expense for a family of 5.  Then they also need to get tickets to come home and don't have the advantage of getting them ahead. 
If you feel that you would like to help them financially, here is a link to give to them.
http://usa.ntm.org/missionaries/james-and-nicolette-poarch

Thanks for keeping them in your prayers,
Steph

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday's household -

There is an Elisabeth Elliot quote that I keep in my binders to remember the words and the thoughts behind it. 

I first read this quote on Time-Warp Wife's blog.  Here's the link to print from her: Elisabeth Elliot's quote.

It says:

This job has been give to me to do.  Therefore, it is a gift.  Therefore, it is a privilege.  Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God.  Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is to be done for Him.  Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God's way.  In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.  - Elisabeth Elliot


How often do I listen to the voices that surround me saying that to work at home is not work at all, but just the lazy way?  How often do I think it would be better and we would have more money if I would work outside the home?  We would be able to eat food that we love and not just the food that we have.  But what's the trade off?  That's what I forget about.  Thankfully, my little sis reminds me often. 

Not that working outside the home is bad, but I have SEVEN kids!  I need to be here right now for them.  And I can't imagine keeping up when I come home from a long day at work. 

I'm glad for this reminder.  Actually, this quote applies to those who work and those who don't.  Those who are privileged to be able to stay home with their kids and those who don't have the option.  Any one of you could apply this quote to your own life.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Cooking Tuesday - BBQ Meatballs


¾ c oatmeal
1 can evaporated milk
1 onion
1 egg
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp chili pwd
½ tsp mince garlic
¼ tsp pepper
2 lbs gr beef
2 cups BBQ Sauce
1 gallon bag or foil pan
 


Mix together and make into meatballs.  Place on a tray and freeze for 2 hours.  Place into bag or pan, and pour 2 cups BBQ sauce in with the meatballs.


 
Label with this label:
Thaw.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Project Monday!!!

Only because I'm accountable to you, I finished my project from last week.  It's soooo much better and yet will still need work on a regular basis.

Remember this?

Now it looks like this. I just took a shelf or two at a time.  And then spent about 15 minutes this morning finishing it up, because I had to post pictures today.  Accountability is awesome!!! :)





I can see where things are again, and the kids will too, so they won't stay there long.  :)  But someday things will stay where I put them and I'll be wishing for little fingers and hands to pull things off their shelves.

Steph

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - Remember


Let's remember what the season is for!  Joy to the world, the Lord has come!!!  God came down to the earth, became a man, so that he could die for us!  Amazing grace!!!

Wednesday's Household - consistency

This is for yesterday.  I probably say it too many times, but that's because it's not sinking into my brain very well.  Consistency is the one of the keys to a happy home. 

It means that instead of doing what I want, I will do what needs to be done first. 

I will not listen to the lies that tell me I will never be done.  Those lies only serve to bring defeat and discouragement.

I will do what I can today and when my family is home, I will enjoy them and teach them patiently to care for their own things, and tomorrow, yes, I will do the same things again.  But  each day, it will be easier, it will be neater. 

There will be set backs.  You should have seen my laundry pile after Thanksgiving weekend and I was doing laundry throughout the weekend!  But I will not let them conquer me.

I will press on.   Yes, dishes are never done, there are always a few sitting on the counter in my home, but I will not gripe about someone getting a cup to get a glass of water.  Of all things!!!!!  (And yes, I have done that.) 

My to-do list is a help for me as I serve my family.  I will not be it's slave!  I refuse to be mastered by it to the point where I complain if someone messes up what I have accomplished.  Where is the peace and tranquility in that? 

I want my home to be a haven a place where my family can come and relax from a hard day's work and be refreshed. 

Keep pressing on
Steph

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Ham Balls Supreme

This is a recipe we'll be trying on Saturday at our Cooking Day.  But one of our "members" has used this recipe a lot and it's a favorite at their house.   So we know it's yummy!

Ham Balls Supreme

2 ½ pounds ground ham

2 pounds ground lean pork

1 pound ground beef

3 eggs

3 cups crushed graham crackers

2 cups milk

2 cans tomato soup

¾ cup vinegar

2 ¼ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine meats, eggs, crackers and milk. Mix well. Make into balls using about ½ cup mixture. (about 25 balls) For sauce, mix soup, vinegar, sugar and mustard. Cover the ham balls with sauce. Bake 350 oven about 1 hour. Can be frozen before baking.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Monday, December 2, 2013

Project Monday - decluttering drawers part 2

I wanted to show you how I "stepped it up" in the drawers department.  I can never find anything in the kids' top drawer.  Socks, underwear, pajamas and their favorite things are a jumbled mess in there. 

So I used some plastic and some cardboard shoeboxes to remedy the problem.  The girls share the top drawer so they only have room for socks and underwear and a shoebox for each.  I went up there today after the holiday weekend and took this picture.  It's still neat!!!! Amazing.

Pajamas have to go in with their play pants because there isn't room for them up in this drawer.

Favorite things are for desks - they each have one and since we don't homeschool this year, they are for special things that they want to keep. 

Problem solved!!!  Now on to the next problem!


Games and puzzles and books!  De-cluttering.  I was overwhelmed with how to organize it, but I think the answer lies in getting rid of a few games and puzzles that we don't use.  We have an abundance of puzzles and usually my mother-in-law brings a couple every time she comes, so we should be getting rid of them a bit as they come.

An idea is to make a specific shelf be designated to games or puzzles and once it's full we'll need to remove some before we get more.  In case you are wondering, my mother-in-law gets her puzzles and games from the thrift store for 50 cents or a dollar and so we have her permission to pass them on, when we're done with them.

My project seems huge, but since we'll be eating our "elephant" one bite at a time, it won't be a huge deal.  I will break it down to daily projects for the week.  :)

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday's Household - preparing for freezer meals

I'm starting to think about what to make with the extra turkey from our meal. So when I run out to do my last minute shopping, I will grab a few extra things.

4 foil pans
2 pkgs of broccoli
4 pkgs of corn
celery
carrots
2 cans mushrooms
1 24 oz container cottage cheese

This will help me make two recipes of each of these:
  • Easy Chicken Divan
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Chicken and Dumplings
  • Hot Chicken Salad
We have to double a recipe because of the size of our family.  I probably won't be able to make all of these recipes, but Christmas is coming, so I'll do the others after that meal. :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  We have our whole weekend planned out - none of us are working on Friday.  We'll be sawing lumber during the day and playing games and partying when it's dark.  I'm looking forward to a weekend of family.  We put in so much time this last year working in the pasture and being apart, that I'm especially thankful for this time.

We'll be back on Monday!
Keep pressing on
Steph

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Cheeseburger Casserole

Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking a meal to one of our new moms.  It's amazing how easily you forget what holding a brand new baby feels like.

I made this recipe for the family with a fruit salad and some lemon bars.

It's very easy, only 6 ingredients:

2 lbs of hamburger, cooked
1/2 block of Velveeta cheese, cubed
2/3 cup catsup
1/2 cup bacon bits
8 oz of elbow macaroni, cooked, al dente

Mix all of these together.  I cooked the pasta, then chopped the cheese and put it on top.  When I was done cooking the hamburger, I put it on top.  This way the cheese started melting and could be mixed through a bit better.  Place in a Ziploc bag.  Put 1 cup chow mein noodles in a small freezer bag.  Tape the bag to the gallon bag. 

Label it:   Thaw.  Place in a baking dish.  Heat at 350 degrees until heated through (generally about 1 hour, if it's been frozen).  Top with chow mein noodles for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

My testers had mentioned that the original recipe was lacking, so we vamped it up.  Tractorman and I taste-tested it and it was delish!!!

Because I only used half of a block of cheese and we don't generally use processed cheese, I made a double recipe for a future baby or need. 

Have a great day!
Steph

Monday, November 25, 2013

De-cluttering the clothes

Rooms were a disaster this last week.  I've shown older pictures of  their rooms.

They weren't this bad, but they were bad.  And had I kept up on inspections like I should have, they wouldn't have. 

Anyway, even though they weren't this bad, drastic measures had to be taken.  So I made a list of what they need for school clothes and farm clothes and dressing up clothes.  Then I took a tally of what they have. 




The clothes that had holes or stains get thrown out, the ones that have been worn a bit but still are nice get passed on, and the new things Grandpa and Grandma brought this last time get worn. 

Less clothes in their room means less to lie on the floor.  So I'm hoping we can keep up a bit better.

Keep pressing on.
Steph

Soon I'll have another bag for Goodwill and the pile for throwing away is growing bigger.  Another good thing about this: they won't be wearing stained or torn clothes --- for awhile.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts


Teaching is something even the young ones can do.  They can be mentors of those littler than them.  Teach your children to teach others.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday's Household - Keeping up

Just a bit of maintenance keeps things from getting out of control.  Just a bit of paying attention when the kids are playing helps.  Just doing what I don't want to right now is worth it. 

Taking five minutes to start a load of laundry keeps it from getting to be a huge mound. 

When the kids are playing, paying attention to make sure that they don't get out more than they can handle helps keep messes from getting too big.

I don't feel like folding laundry, but doing it for about 15 minutes right now, will make my day so much easier. 

Starting supper in the morning makes the day go so much better, because I know that I won't have to quit my stuff early to make supper.  Also today, I'll be out shopping for milk, and we head to AWANA early so I won't be feeling frazzled while I'm trying to get my kids ready for church.

So keeping up takes a few minutes, but it helps make progress toward some of the goals that I have. Because if I keep up, I can spend some time doing the projects that I want to do.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Chicken A La King - 11/19/13


Chicken A La King
2 ½ cups of Chicken White Sauce
1 green pepper
2 lbs chicken
1 gallon bag
 


Put 2 cups of chicken (cooked and cubed) into each bag.  Melt butter in saucepan and add flour, bouillon and pepper.  Stirring constantly for about two minutes.  Gradually add half and half and water.  Stir until thick and then remove from heat.   Once cooled, divide the sauce between both bags and then add mushrooms and peppers to each bag.
Label with this label:

CHICKEN À LA KING


Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Simmer the chicken and sauce in a large skillet over medium heat until warmed through. Do not boil.


Review from the testers:  YUMMY!!!!!!!  They served it over biscuits.

Steph
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

De-cluttering the drawers


 This is one of my favorite things from last year.  My spices.


 Not much changed with the hotpad drawer, except a little straightening.



 As with the towels.  Just needed a little straightening.


And the silverware also needed some straightening.
Like!!!!! 



Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm the server.

Lately my littlest guy, Tractorman, has been running around saying "I'm the server."  - thrilled for any opportunity to bring someone a glass of water, a fork or whatever.  I'm learning that I want to be more like that. 

"For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:28
On Wednesday, he was running around saying "I'm the server." - no he's not really thinking the waiter, because we hardly ever go out to eat, so he doesn't know that there is a name for the people who bring food to you.  He's just thinking that he wants to serve and he's changing the verb to a noun. 

"Do you need more coffee?"  "Can I fill it up?"  "How about if I make you another pot?"  and here I am saying "No, you can't do it yourself.  You are only five."  while Daddy's saying "Sure.  I need more coffee." 

Oh, to have the joy of serving as He did and my little boy does today.  Setting the cups in order for when Grandpa and Grandma come over for breakfast.  So excited to do the little things. 

Quite the opposite from my attitude - I think of the little things as mundane.  I do them over and over and over again.  It gets old in my mind, because I'm not thinking of serving.  I'm thinking of what I want to do. 

I want to be more like the Son of Man - the one who did not come to BE served but to serve. 

Desiring to be joyful in service
Steph

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Walking in the newness of the Spirit - how do we teach our kids?

I've been working on memorizing Romans.  Memorizing chapters 6 and 7 at the same time that we struggled with one of our children made me realize that we are forgetting something in our teaching. 

I wondered if they even realize that they have the Spirit of God in them.  Have we just assumed that they already knew that? 

How can they do the things that we ask of them in their own strength?  And if they don't realize that they don't have to do it on their own, how would they react?  As I memorize Romans 6, I realize that it would be extremely frustrating to me to try to do the "Law". 

It becomes legalism when we're doing these things in the flesh, but a heart yielded to the Spirit is amazingly different - it's the abundant life. 

Have I put my child in the chains of legalism?  And as I look at the one who is struggling, my heart breaks because I am pretty sure that I have.

This morning I asked my oldest if he realizes that he has the Spirit of God in him to help him not follow the crowd.  He shook his head no.  Ugh.  If he doesn't get it, I don't know if anyone else would have gotten it. 

It's not that we haven't talked about it, it's just that we haven't emphasized it.  And I am seeing that more than anything they have to know that, after they understand that Christ is their savior.

So I'll be hugging on my struggling one more than ever and sharing with him the joy of walking in the newness of the letter.

So, go, find your kids and make sure that they know the way to have abundant life.
Steph

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday's Household - the new normal

With boys going to public school, my world looks very different from what it did last year. 

Mornings start even earlier than they did last year.  My husband wants to have some quiet time to spend in the study of the Word, so he gets up at 5:00.  And since it doesn't really pay for me to try to sleep another half hour, I have been getting up too.

This morning he and I spent a half hour side-by-side on the couch, he on his computer and me on mine.  I was working on Scripture Typer which is huge in my understanding of the word.  He was working on his application for ministry for our church group.  It involves a lot of using Scripture to support your beliefs.  It will take him awhile to get this done.

At 5:30, I leave the computer and he continues working, and start breakfast, put his lunch in his lunch box and make his thermos of coffee, get the fire going in the wood furnace, start a load of laundry, and get out what's for supper (oops, still have to do that, it's in the basement and I forgot it earlier).  Ran around getting information for our health insurance and a receipt. 

At 6:00, the older boys get up and get started on their day.  And by 6:30 Dad is out the door and gone.  Piano for one of them and Awana for all.  The boys get on the bus just before 7:00.

Then it's time for the littler ones to get up.  Get dressed and eat.  Clean rooms. Piano for three.  Awana work if they aren't caught up.  Hair combed.  Shoes on.  Run out to feed chickens, ducks and dogs.

The first daycare child arrives around 7:30 and then for a half hour it's a bit of chaos, as I'm competing with him for my children's attention.  They love him and want to spend time with him, but I need them to finish getting ready.

8:15 we load up, unless we have a public school drop-off  (then it's 8:00).  And we drop off the school kids and pick up one from the bank where her mom works.  Then it's home with the two little ones (at least today) some days we have my Kindergartner home, he has school two days a week.

It's music time for the first hour.  Then a bit of  Bubble Guppies.  Then it's reading time.  Then lunch and it's nap time.  While they are napping, I have time to focus on things that take more concentration (like our Cooking Day planning) or require me to leave the play area.

3:15, we load up the babies (2-year olds) and head out to pick up the private school kids.  The older boys ride the bus.  Snack time and then moms are coming to pick up their kids.

By 5:30 we're getting supper on.  Then it's family time, and finally, if I've been faithful throughout the day to be productive, I fall into bed and sleep restful sleep.

I love my days, but sometimes I get lazy and forget what I need to be doing.  Lists of jobs help me with that.

Keep pressing on,
Steph

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Cashew Chicken Stirfry for the freezer


Cashew Chicken Stir Fry


2 lbs chicken breast
¼  c soy sauce
2 Tbsp c red wine vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 c unsalted cashews
1 pkg of broccoli and cauliflower
2 gallon bags
1 quart bag


Cut chicken breast into chunks.  Place into bags.  Mix soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and fish sauce.  Divide between 2 bags.  Add 1 ½ t minced garlic, 1 t minced ginger and ½ t crushed red pepper to each bag.  Place 1 cup of cashews in each quart bag. Place inside of another gallon bag with a pkg of vegetables and  bag of chicken.
Label the bag with this label:
 

CASHEW CHICKEN STIR-FRY

Needed on hand to complete this entrée:  2 teaspoons sesame oil. Completely thaw entrée in the refrigerator. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir-fry chicken and sauce until meat is almost cooked through, 20 minutes. Add vegetables; stir-fry until tender crisp. Sprinkle with cashews and serve. 

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

De-cluttering in the kitchen - upper cupboards


 I worked on these cupboards today.  Things I liked from my organizing last year - the canning jars!  That helped make so much more room in my kitchen until I get a pantry. :)  Things that I wanted to change - no more mugs in the cupboard with the dishes.  We have a cupboard for that.  Also the plastic plates don't get used much around here, so they will go in the back of the van for picnic lunches and days when I forget to bring "tableware" like I did last night.

 

Things that didn't work from last year  - the measuring cups hanging on the door got in the way, so I'm trying keeping them in the measuring container on the top shelf.  I labeled all the containers so the family knows where to find what they're looking for.  I still like the recipe cards hanging on the door.


 These cupboards will still be a nuisance as the glasses get strewn everywhere and though we are done with sippy cups, we still have them to contend with because of the little ones we have during the day.


The baking/cooking cupboard will still get messy.  One of these days I'll figure it out.  All the vinegars and sauces get a bit cluttered when I'm working in the kitchen.  Moving the toaster out was helpful though.

 

And the hot drinks cupboard was a wreck.  I pulled out everything, and I'm giving away some mugs.  I just don't need all we have.

Above the stove - I love my brick for holding up the cookbooks.  It works so well.  The vitamins needed a bit of fixing up, but it all is straightened once again. 

A future project - that was on the list last year too is to put new shelf paper down.  I want to put up lists for shopping in cupboards that have supplies.  For example in the hot drinks cupboard a list of things that are needed in that cupboard, so that I can circle them and remember things easier.

And here's my hot drinks cupboard after I straightened it up.  I'd like to get a basket for teas. But for now it looks a lot better.

Keep pressing on
Steph

Update:
These are the things I found to get rid of - yeah for moving stuff out.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Living the life

Yesterday, the Bible study gals were talking about Romans 7 and the life that we have in Christ and freedom we have to choose not to sin.  It was so exciting and fun to talk about the life we have in Christ - to know that warring against the flesh is actually a part of the walk.  I was on a high and loved discussing this with my friends. 

I came home to a quiet afternoon of memory work and a few other things.  Then I went to pick-up the kids and everything changed.  There was the chaos and loudness of "He took my seat!"  "He shoved me while I was getting in the van."  Somehow dealing with two-year olds is a whole lot easier. 

Dropping kids off at piano, and shopping with said two-year olds and a teenager who wants to make them happy.  Happy and goofy doesn't work in the store.  We have fun, but our norm works well when we don't have big kids.  Frustration is setting in. 

Babies are dropped off while we wait for piano kids to get done.  Then we pick the kids from piano up, one is sobbing because a book was forgotten and he got fewer reward points.  At this point,  I'm handling things o.k, but a bit more frustrated.

I had been working all week preparing for a weekend project that starts today (Friday) because my husband's self-employed stuff takes place on Fridays and Saturdays.  I "knew" we needed to get to the city (1 1/2 hours away) that night because we have missions conference all weekend.  But since he hadn't had time to look at the details that I had been calculating all week (my first time trying to  help him in this way), he wasn't ready.  Logically, it's totally understandable.  He also needed to talk with the owner a bit more to get an idea of his choices in the whole project.  But the frustration is climbing.

My big boys are home with homework done and there is so much to share.  This new journey of public school is hard for them.  They hear all kinds of language that we never use or generally hear and then they are blindsided by comments that are completely inappropriate.  So they seem to talk non-stop.  I feel the guilt weighing heavy as I just wish I could say, "I can't take any more." 

Younger ones need help studying, my littlest ones need snuggles, and I just want to find a place to hide.  And then I remember some words from my memory work earlier, "present your members as instruments of righteousness". 

That's all.  Just a few words.  And I remember how exciting I thought it would be to walk in the Spirit and to war against the flesh.  I knew it wouldn't be fun.  I mean after all warring is a battle and battles are never fun.  But the challenge.... I was up for it.  Yes, I was definitely ready.

24 hours later, I'm feeling battle worn.  Like Satan somehow got word that I was ready for a battle and threw everything he had at me.  I know that this discouragement isn't walking in the Spirit.  While my mouth stays closed (mostly), so I'm not spouting things that I shouldn't say, I'm still communicating, at least to my dear husband that all is NOT right with my world.   Somehow all we talked about yesterday is in the far distant past.

And then I heard it, right after I ran out the door, with my husband's questions about the project ringing in my ears, and coatless and lunchless and homeworkless kids jumping in the car so that they wouldn't be late for school.  I heard a song as soon as I turned on the radio.

You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
 
My favorite line - "You shut the mouths of lions" 
 
Hey, just yesterday a friend in our group had mentioned that we forget that we have God's power on our side.  Totally forgot that part.  But this song brought that back to the forefront of my mind.  And then, I'm believing God, trusting Him and forgetting about any strength I might have thought I had. 
 
 
After I got home and was still working on sending off my dear man on his project, and my boys' home from school and babies needing me, I got back into the frustration, but I remember the truths of this song and I'm back and ready to face the day. 
 
Chin up - God is on your side!!!!! Because of that, all things are possible.
Steph


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - another freezer recipe


Party Enchiladas
3 lbs of chicken
2/3  pkg of cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1/3 can green chilies

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp lime juice

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp chili powder

6 tortilla shells

1/3  c salsa

1 c cheese

1 can olives

4 cups of Chicken White Sauce

1 foil pan

 

Cook chicken. Beat cream cheese.  Add sour cream, chilies, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, chili.  Stir in cooked chicken.  Roll mixture in tortilla shells.  6 tortillas per pan.  Pour sauce over the shells.  Top with olives and cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil. 
Label with this label:
 
 
 
 

PARTY ENCHILADAS

Completely thaw one dish in the refrigerator.  Bake, covered, at 350°F for 55 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until sauce is bubbling.
 
My crew of cooks took this recipe home and they all loved it.  Hope you do too!
Keep pressing on,
Steph
 
 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ready for some de-cluttering

I am ready to start de-cluttering again.   So I think Monday's Projects will be back up with my de-cluttering projects.  Tuesday's I will keep posting recipes that I'm freezing.    I haven't figured out Wednesday's and Fridays yet, but we'll get that figured out this week.

For now, enjoy my pictures of the latest project almost finished, but in the pictures you can't tell they aren't finished. :)

I'm so happy this project is finished.  It took us almost a year.




Keep pressing on,
Steph