Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making your own birthday invitations

I love making and receiving hand-made cards. I try to make my kids birthday party invitations every year. This year I had no idea how to make a Thomas the Train invitation and I was not feeling very creative since at this time of the year I feel that I have so much to do. My little guy's birthday always sneaks upon us, considering his birthday is in the early part of January. I am a new user of Pinterest. If you are not on and creating your own boards, you should! Let me know and I'll send you an invite. I have found so many ideas for home decor, homemade ideas for Christmas gifts and fun things for my kids to do. I often see things on websites, and then forget to put it in my favorites and then it is gone forever in cyberspace. So Pinterest is perfect for me, I can now find something I love, pin it to a board and it is there until I delete it! Awesome! I love how I can even organize those pins into categories! I love organization!! Anyway, back to my invitation. I found this one on Pinterest from The Scrap Shoppe. It's amazing!! She really did a perfect job!
 I love how professional looking it was and featured Thomas the Train. I do not have a Silhouette, but I thought I could probably do some of the same features using Microsoft Word or Publisher. I ended up using Word because that is what I am most comfortable with.
Directions for my invitation using Microsoft Word:
1. Changed the Layout Margins to 0.5
2. Went to the tab Insert and inserted a rounded rectangle shape. 
3. I changed the thickness of the line around the rectangle to 2 1/4 thick.
4. I then added 3 text boxes just like the photo above only I made the text box on the left a little longer.
5. I then added all of my text.
6. I added dotted lines around each text box rather than solid lines.
7. I added flags down the middle in blue and red for the  Thomas theme.
8. I then printed it out and added a Thomas the Train sticker in the bottom left corner.

The card stock I used was from Michael's and the cost was $0.49 per sheet and I was able to get 2 per sheet.  Here is the final product, I think they turned out nice. I always show them to my kids and if they are excited about the character and recognize what it is, then I feel that I have done well. 
Have fun exploring Pinterest and enjoy making your own invitations as well.
I did cut off the end of the ticket-like invite. Hopefully you can see it well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stationery card

Very Merry Moments Christmas Card
Add one photo or multiple to your Christmas cards this season.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saving Money with Prescriptions-

The other night on our drive home from some where we were listening to Clark Howard (http://www.clarkhoward.com/) on the radio. He was talking to a caller about saving money on prescriptions and my ears perked up. We are a family that does not have standard health insurance. We use Samaritan Ministries (http://samaritanministries.org/), which is great by the way and if you're interested I'll tell ya more about it! Since we do not have standard health insurance we pay out of pocket for all of our prescriptions, which seem to be ridiculously priced. Sometimes it can be $10 and other times it can be $90 and if you are in need of those prescriptions every month, that sure is a lot of money per month. I always worry when someone is going to get sick, and how much that is going to cost us out of pocket. Clark Howard mentioned on his radio program that you can go to places and get their cost per prescription list. Since I knew Wal-mart offers the $4.00 prescription program, I decided to call them today. The pharmacist was very helpful on the phone and said they offered a list in the pharmacy that can be picked up at anytime. Since I had just come from Wal-mart, I asked if the list was also offered online, and she helped me find it easily on the website. I think this is great advice on saving money for your family and I will be carrying this list with me the next time we go to the doctor to cut down on our prescription prices at the pharmacy counter. Since we are on one income and we also are trying to do better with our monthly budget, this will help us year to year save on our prescription medications.
 Here is the list for you!

-Happy Saving!
Kristy G.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Jar

There is but one lone quart jar sitting on my shelf downstairs in the basement. This one in particular is old and a blue mason jar, a hard to find piece. It is not good for canning, because the neck of the jar is a little short, making it hard for the jar to seal, so I cannot use it for canning. This is the first year I have used almost all of my jars. I might have one more thing to do and that is potatoes, if there are enough for me, but that means I'll actually have to buy some. It's so great to walk downstairs to see my full shelves for our family. It's a lot of hard work, lots of burns, as I even endured one today when I was canning applesauce. But the last of the jars means the end of the summer for us. I know it's October, but the canning season is officially over, so summer is officially done. Now we get to enjoy the bountiful harvest that God provided for our family all throughout the winter, spring and into the summer. And next year will be around the corner before we blink. I just wanted to count and see where all those jars went, so I tallied everything up and here's the final score for canning this year:
6 quarts of applesauce
16.5 quarts of green beans
12 quarts of dilly beans
12 quarts of tomato soup
10.5 quarts of peaches
14 quarts of carrots
11 quarts of tomato juice
39 quarts of grape juice
16 quarts of tomato sauce
12 quarts of apple pie filling
We also put away sauerkraut in our freezer, we have 10, but as a family (with Kyle's parents, grandparents and  brother, we put away 81 quarts)
I can't remember how many quarts of corn I have...

So the total without the corn: 137 quarts of homegrown love!!
I am so thankful that we are able to do this every year. I really enjoy it! The only thing I did not do this year was strawberry jam, but I added this year apple pie filling and peaches!
What a blessing that God has provided us!!
How did you do with your harvest this year?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Overture

I love the sound of an Overture, the beautifully arranged medley before a musical begins. I love listening in anticipation of the songs that are to follow in the play that is going to begin. The ups, downs, crescendos and fortes of the musical accompaniment that encompasses a musical.  I know at the end of the overture, my favorite moment will happen, the curtains will open and the play will begin. A little silence or hush comes over the crowd and we're all at the edge of our seats and alert to see what will unfold before our eyes. 
I had the opportunity once in high school (can you believe it?) to be in a musical. I loved it and I am so thankful for the opportunity, though I had no voice experience, I was thrilled to wear a pretty dress and dance and sing on stage. The overture, and listening to it in the wings was my favorite part. The overture featured little hints, but never gave away any part of the musical. 

As I was getting dinner ready tonight and listening to The Sound of Music begin, I could hear my daughter, who is 4, singing along with the Overture. She only knows bits and pieces of some of the songs, but she loves it! She is a huge Julie Andrews fan. She loved her on The Muppet Show (we have some of them on DVD), then Mary Poppins and now in The Sound of Music.  As I stood there, busily getting things ready, I was thinking about my daughter who is about to begin K-4 and school for the first time. I was thinking about how this time at home is the beginning of who she is and who she will become. Just little hints of her. I do not know what the future holds, but now she loves singing and dancing, but I do not know if she'll grow up to be a singer  or dancer. She always proclaims she will be a chiropractor like her Daddy. She makes me laugh everyday, and she has a wonderful sense of humor. She is silly and giggly. She's kind and caring. She loves movies, musicals and music. She loves finding the "girl's part" in songs and will sing that part only and her Daddy will sing the "boy's part." She likes dolls and Disney Princesses. She likes planting and watering flowers, playing outside and getting dirty. She likes riding horses, riding the gator and swinging. She's my little twirler, we're always twirling. She loves others and gives great snuggle hugs. She is a helper and a good big sister. She loves praying and reading her Bible. These are just little hints of my girl. This is just her Overture, only the beginning. 
I feel as if the curtain is beginning to be drawn and I am standing in the wings as my daughter is rushing to the stage for play to begin. All these things I have learned about her, have been her Overture in her life, the beginning of her musical. The rest is beyond the curtain. How my heart waits in anticipation for the musical to begin. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Mixed Tape

Maybe, by the title above, you have no idea what I am jabbering about to even begin. In the generation before you, one of the best gifts to give someone was a mixed tape. It wasn't expensive, just the cost of the cassette and your time putting it together. What defines a mixed tape, you may ask? A gift to a friend would be your favorite songs from the radio or songs here and there from your tapes or c.d.'s. A gift to your beau would be songs of love, of course (never gave or got one of those). It was fun to see what someone threw together for you, all the while thinking about how much fun the person would have listening to it in their car or at home. I remember when I got my first c.d. player and it had two tape decks, on one I could just listen to a tape and on the other I could record. I remember even in middle school, when we were working on our final tests in our science class, our teacher asked us to make a mixed tape to bring in for our last days in science. I was so curious to see the different genres of music that people listened to and how they mixed up their tape. How those songs all mixed up together showed a little side of them that maybe a few people knew about. All this to say brings me to a fun find today. 
My kiddos and I were at my parents today and my mom went through a bunch of old tapes to give to my kids to listen to in the car. You know those old favorites: Wee Sing Silly Songs, Wee Sing Bible Songs, and many others. One tape that she found just had my name on it, most likely so it wouldn't get mixed up with all the other tapes, and I would know it was mine. We popped it in and laughed out loud! Many of the songs were from our area Oldies station--which were so fun to listen to and my kids immediately started dancing to them. As the tape went on, we heard some awesome country songs as well, by Allison Krauss, Toby Keith, Tracy Byrd, yea, the old country (though on the tape the radio station was called Young Country 96)! I listened to that one almost all the way home. What cracked me up the most is that I did not stop recording in between songs, so I know the weather for that day, 86 degrees, the local traffic report (there was a wreck by the Beach Waterpark) and upcoming ticket giveaways for concerts (John Michael Montgomery)! It was like a step back in time in my drive home. I enjoyed hearing those old songs. One of my favorite country songs, was the One Boy, One Girl. I am not sure who sang that. That one was on there at least twice. 
The mixed tape is sort of a lost art, now that tapes are pretty much out of existence. Since my car is a 2002 it still has a tape deck, which is literally the only place we can listen to cassettes anyway. I remember making mixed tapes for friends and for myself, especially for running or working out. 
What were some of your favorites on your mixed tape?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Iron Skillet

So I figured it out! What always made my grandma's fried chicken taste the best...it was her iron skillet. Tonight I did a little experiment...because I was making a casserole and forgot to cook my chicken beforehand. And what do you do with 3 large chicken breasts all cut up into small bite sized pieces...well, you make fried chicken, of course. I made one big pan (my non-stick pan) of fried chicken and realized that I had enough for a small pan and low and behold I found a medium sized iron skillet in my pan drawer gathering dust. Now, don't believe what you hear about not using iron skillets (or even using a pressure canner) on a flat top--you can...just be careful not to move it around on the flat top stove or it may scratch. 
After the chicken was done, I tried a bite of each--one piece from the iron skillet and one from the regular non-stick pan. There was no comparison. They both were well cooked, well browned on both sides with a crunch as you bite into them, but there was something about how the butter browned in that skillet. As I am sure most cooks know, that overtime the iron skillet only gets better. I believe this skillet in particular is the same skillet my grandma would make her cornbread (it is after all perfect cornbread size) and I only wish I knew how to make her cornbread to this day! However, as I am writing this I am realizing that my current cornbread-sized skillet may have been her sister Sue's skillet and could have very well been her mother's, my great-grandmother's skillet. 
All this talk about the iron skillet brought me back to my time with my grandparents, one week, every summer from second grade to senior year in Wartburg, TN (yea, you've never heard of it)...it's definitely off the beaten path, but it was like a second home, or a summer home. I loved that time with my grandparents. I really knew them, I got to spend time with them and I miss it! Sometimes when you are going through things in life, why do we not appreciate them until that part of your life is over? O I long for the day when I could come back from my great-aunt Sue's house to find my grandma cooking in that little trailer kitchen her fried chicken, greasy beans with red potatoes on top, creamed corn and cornbread. And I think we had that almost everyday, since most of the times that we were there was during the bean-picking time. I never cared, I love that meal and no one could make it like she could, not even me.
Isn't funny how a little household item can bring your memories back to a sweet time. O how I miss my grandma today. I will again be cooking using my large iron skillet any time that I am making my grandma's fried chicken!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No writing

To be called an official blogger, I would think that you would need to write more than once every two months. So I am going to try to start this again...writing more often...I know it's hard to believe, but I am going to try to write more. My goal when starting was to have a log of my kids growing up, and I do that that through pictures and my journaling I do for them...and of course the journaling has taken the back burner. And this is always the last. I feel like in the last two months, there have been lots of huge things happening, one that our daughter turned four! Four, that seems so huge! And she is now eating like a child, not a baby. I can actually fix a plate for her and it's all gone and she asks for seconds. Where is my baby?
And then there's our son, who is now 15 months, almost 16, who we have yet to have his 1st year pictures taken...grant it, it has been cold, wet, snowy and raining I think since January, so we have had very few days of no rain or wetness to be out with the photographer...but I am chopping at the bit to get out there! But as Kyle reminded me, I do have pictures of him on his birthday and that's what matters (and lots since then).
Someone asked to see our house, it's not for sale, but when someone asks, you have to be willing to show it right? So we were busy preparing a house to be shown...but I am not ready to move. I have the memories of each part of each room of our house that I walk into and remember a special time or special memory of holding a baby or child or sitting with my husband as a newly married couple. What is a house? It's just a place where all our stuff is, a place to call home, a place where memories are hidden. It's earthly, it doesn't last, can I let go of it. God had to really work on me on this one. I know I adore our blue house with the red door, with the red porch swing, and back patio. As I am a person who likes to know endings and how things are going to work out--a planner, an organizer. We still don't know where we stand on the house with these potential buyers, but I know that God has a plan. A wise friend once said to me when I was looking to change jobs, she said and I quote, "You have to be willing to stay, before you are willing to go." I guess that can be turned around to I have to be willing to go before I am willing to stay. I had to realize the through this, just someone looking at our house, that God is in control of our lives. As always, he knows the best path we are to take. I need to let go.
These are just a few reasons I have been absentee from my blogging. In this next year, year two, I hope to write more about my family, my kids and post more pictures. And as you know gardening and canning will be starting up before you know it! So get your first crops in on those dry days!!
Thanks for reading friends, stay tuned for more to come!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Well I officially started my own store on Storenvy.com! Come check it out and let me know if you'd like to buy anything from my store or would like something custom made! Enjoy! I hope to be making and posting more items soon!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Being Green

What does "being green" look like to you in the world today? Well for starters, it's the fact that the term litter has become more obsolete since I was a child. My daughter and I were looking through our favorite Richard Scarry book, The Best Word Book Ever and on the city page a key word to learn was litter. Wow, that part of the book would never be shown today! I remember the commercials of the crying American Indian of the litter he saw on his land. I remember getting gum wrappers when they first started showing "Do No Litter" or basically a "How-To" on re-using a gum wrapper to wrap up your used gum after you discard it, rather than throwing it on the ground, which is one of the most annoying things...guaranteed my shoes would find that gum! Eww! What a mess. 
I too am trying to become more green. I know I probably do not do the best job, as I am just more starting a little at a time. Last year for Mother's Day or my birthday (wow, I  can't even remember) I asked for a clothesline! And I got one. I loved hanging my clothes out. My daughter would be playing in her sandbox while I hung up or took down a basket of clothes. I would throw my clothes in the dryer afterward just to get any bugs (ew!) or fluff them up a bit (not too keen on stiff sheets and towels). I loved that and I can't wait to do it again this summer.
I also no longer buy bottled water, unless we happen to be on the road and we forgot our water bottles. We have a Brita dispenser in our refrigerator and our tap water tastes better and it's cold!! I absolutely love cold water! 
I also can in the summer, reuse my jars and rings. The only thing I have to buy each year are new lids. Other than that, I am saving money by canning my own veggies, soup and jam. (There, of course, are still things I must buy from the store, but I am saving on some things--it's a start!)
I recently started making my own laundry soap. I have already saved my family $40.00 since I started making the soap in December. Every time I fill up my container, that's ten more dollars we are keeping in our home!! That is so exciting to me and I will always make my own.
I just yesterday found a recipe for making my own oven cleaner, since my oven does not have the awesome self-clean button. I couldn't find a coupon for the oven cleaner I normally use, and I was dreading the smell, use of gloves and worry I would get it on my skin or on my kids skin. Instead, I decided to find one  that allowed me to not use the normal oven cleaner! I found this great website: http://beingfrugal.net/2008/03/25/save-money-frugal-homemade-cleaners/
Tonight I plan on trying this new oven cleaner! I can't wait, as my oven is very dirty. I'll let you know how it goes.
This is just a start of ways to save our environment. What small steps are you taking this year to help your environment?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A handmade gift

I don't know about you but I love receiving a handmade gift...something someone has crafted themselves just for me. I love that! I love all the gifts we received when our daughter was born, but one that stuck out to me was a handmade hooded towel by my friend Bobbie. As a mom of little ones that are growing older, those little baby hooded towels are so sweet and so snugly, but they quickly grow to too short and too small. As my daughter has grown and is now almost 4, she can still use this pink sweet hooded towel. It's so great because she has lots of long hair and it is so warm and cozy and she feels warm after her bath. While I started putting away her baby towels and teeny bathrobes, I realized I am going to need to purchase her some new towels and I realized I should make more hooded towels. Now, for someone who struggles threading my bobbin, I thought this was an impossible feat, but I found a great website that I go to when I make these (because I always forget the directions) and make theses sweet towels. http://www.makeandtakes.com/easy-hooded-bath-towel

For my nephew last year for Christmas, I made him at least two, I think. And for our son for Christmas this year, I made him two. Our daughter's original towel is made with a ribbon around the hood, which is how I made our little girl's extra two and my nephew's. My poor son does not have his decorated at all, so I'll have to work on that! My best friend from college just had a baby!! And I thought, I'll make her one for her little one. I decided to try my hand at lettering, and no I do not have an embroidery machine. I think the last time I did lettering was in Middle School and made a FMS pennant. My pennant was made with felt and did not move, so I tried just fabric and I struggled and tried to give up, but I think it turned out nice. I know it's not perfect and I have a lot to learn! Next time I may use fleece instead, as I am afraid my lettering will fray, sorry Kel! Here's a photo of my hooded towel for my sweet friend Kel and my "niece" Ava!
Disclaimer: I realize my lines are not near straight, but I am learning and trying! I just hope she enjoys it as something of her own! If you or anyone would be interested in a hooded towel, I enjoy making them and would love to share with you too! Just let me know!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another reason

Another reason my writing has been so few and far between would be the many projects that I have assigned myself to. One is the new projects I have started making. As 2011 rang in, there was, on Facebook a craft-it-forward project. This project was to sign up under someone else's status to get a craft from them, in exchange for you to craft-it-forward to 5 others. So I have received my very fun magnets from my good friend Tammy and was all inspired to try something new, out of the box! My mom received a very neat gift for Christmas from a student. It was a trivet with her name written and stamped snowman on it. It was so cute and simple, but my mom thought it would be something I should do. I didn't even know where to begin or how to even attempt it. But after looking online and watching some tutorials I found a new hobby/craft that I love doing. I can make coasters, trivets or art with this simple trick. It just takes a little Mod Podge, tile and a little imagination and I start crafting away. Here are a few of the projects I have done:
I love any verse about the Lord being my refuge and have been meaning to post it somewhere...so I finally did it! I just need to get a book stand so that I can set it up right! The letters are from my cricket.

This is from left over boarder wallpaper from our kitchen. This is my favorite to work with.
This is a trivet.

I love this vellum paper and how the tiles look through the paper! 

I got a little excited with the stickers, but this was for a friend whose living room is decorated in hunting. I like how they turned out!

I am just so thrilled to have this new idea and I am hoping to be able to give them as gifts for weddings or at showers. What new crafts have you found?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Struggling to write

So over the last weeks, there has been ALOT of snow and ice and we have been stranded at home for days, but it seems we have found things to do around the house and have been so busy that my writing has been put on the back burner. So here we are, and I have a lot to share. For one thing, if you haven't tried it you should: Host a House Party! http://houseparty.com/events
I had never heard of this until I was reading my informative couponing blogs this fall and I saw one for Shutterfly (which I am a huge proponent of). I felt though the application was, well reminded me of, the college essays I wrote for applications. I tried my best and wrote what I felt was the right things and I did not get chosen. So a few weeks/months later I saw they were going to have a COFFEE-MATE House Party. I signed up for this one and the application was so much less intense. I was chosen!! They gave you several scenarios to choose from for your House Party and I chose the Cafe Bistro Coffee Party. I received a package in the mail filled with fun items: a new heart-shaped silicone cupcake pan, a red COFFEE-MATE apron, cups and napkins and creamer and coffee samples. They also sent recipe cards and a recipe notebook where the recipe cards can be filed! I also received about 12-15 coupons for FREE COFFEE-MATE!!!! I was so excited! I invited friends from church and home to enjoy the event. I had a group of about 15 and it was so enjoyable to just spend time together and relax. The evening went beautifully and I loved having friends and family in my home. I did not have to do a presentation, as some House Parties you do. They sent a few talking points and so I put them on table tents around my house so my guests could read at their leisure. For my friends who did not like coffee, I provided Hot Cider, which they still tried the COFFEE-MATE by adding the caramel vanilla to their cider and they loved it. At the party, if I took at least 5 pictures and sent them in, I also received a $5.00 amazon card! Which I love to use for purchasing a new book for my kindle off my wish list! It seems on their website (CoffeeMate, that is) that they are doing more House Parties, so sign up! Currently right now, Johnsonville, Green Works and Singer Sewing Machines are doing house parties. It's a great way to try new products, and sometimes enjoy getting them for free or at a very reduced rate! I love opening my home and this was a fun way to have friends and family over to visit!
Here are some pictures from the party:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A thought about being a parent

Whatever you write on the heart of a child,
No water can wash away.
The sand may be shifted when billows are wild,
And the efforts of time may decay.

Some stories may perish, some songs be forgot,
But this graven record--time changes it not.
Whatever you write on the heart of a child...
Will linger unchangeably there.
--Doan, Speaker's Sourcebook p. 52

I got this poem (I think there are more stanzas however, but this was all that was written) in the book A Mom after God's Own Heart, which I am hoping to study more on this summer. This sometimes haunts me, but most of the time it encourages me to persevere through my day and pray that all that I say will be honoring to the Lord. I pray that all that my words and language that are given from my mouth to my child and to their heart, will be of encouragement to grow in the Lord, to show them love through correction and discipline and love above all from my heart to theirs. I pray that in our day they will learn that Jesus came for them, and they need Him as a Savior...I hope that is written on their heart most of all! I hope that through our words and actions they will know we have loved them from the beginning and God has loved them from the beginning of time. O I hope what I write on the heart of my child, that they will in turn write on the heart of their own children and each generation after will know of God's love, and their parents love for them! I hope in all things that I say and do it will honor God, because for Him is the reason I do what I do.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trying my hand at making bread

OK all you bakers out there...I absolutely love to bake! I have enjoyed it since I was a child, but I think an area of baking I dare darken the door to is making homemade bread. I have recently tried a recipe out of our trusty Grace Chapel cookbook for pizza crust, but essentially I have never really made my own. Pillsbury or the grocer's bakery has always been my necessity when needing a loaf of yummy bread to go with our homemade tomato soup and grilling cheese. Yes, I did say grilling cheese, not grilled cheese (I'll get to that in a minute). Well, as I am realizing my need to again go through the house and toss and throw away, I am looking at all my cooking magazines that I allow to just sit on my shelf without looking through them again after I get them. As I wrote in another post, I read them like a magazine, put them on the shelf and then forget about them. So I have decided it is time to go through them. Look at all the recipes, find some to try in each issue or it's time to recycle, give or pitch them! So as I was leafing through my December and January 2010 Taste of Home magazine I came across this recipe: Mom's Italian Bread. (http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Mom-s-Italian-Bread) What I liked about this recipe is that it only calls for 5 ingredients! Fantastic...and I happened to have ALL of them, amazing!! (Yeast, water, sugar, salt and flour, that's it!) I am not sure how it will turn out, as I am currently waiting for it to rise, but what I am excited about is that I made it myself. I didn't go to the store and spend the $2.5o or so for a loaf, when I had all the ingredients sitting in my pantry and it makes 2 loaves!! Wowsa!! So I guess I will have to let you know how it turns out!
Back to the grilling cheese...a few years ago, we embarked on a wonderful hometown discovery...we have a place close by, right in town to buy our own cheese. Blue Jacket Dairy http://www.bluejacketdairy.com/ sells their cheese at a home in town, but also at our weekly community farmer's market starting around spring through the fall. Their cheese curds are to die for and we buy mostly all kinds, but the chipotle, because it's too hot for me and for my kiddos. The first time we went they gave us a cheese tour, you must go! Try it out!! The best part of the tour was the Gretna Grilling cheese! You just put the cheese on a hot electric griddle and it toasts it on both sides for about one minute each side, or until brown, and those little squares of grilling cheese are to die for! To us it is like having grilled cheese sandwiches without the bread! WE LOVE IT! We always go to get our grilling cheese from Blue Jacket when we have our homemade tomato soup nights. I think this is one of my family's favorite meals...we have tomato soup, grilling cheese and bread! Yummo!! Kyle likes to help out with the meal and my daughter likes to participate too. I love this meal, because I already have the tomato soup canned and I just add my heavy cream and heat it. Tonight I am throwing in a twist by adding homemade bread! Today is such a cold day, this is a perfect grilling cheese-tomato soup-and-bread kinda day! Another reason that I love this meal is that it brings family unity to the table, then praying over our food to the Lord who provided it and enjoying our dinner together. I love that and I hope you enjoy a meaningful meal with your family tonight too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Refuge

Refuge- a place or state of safety.
I think my favorite word of describing the Lord in His attributes would be He is my Refuge. So many times I have felt the need of finding safety in His arms alone. Whether it be during trials at home with having to endure hard times with my brother. Nights where he was battling his self-abuse, due to his autism. Living with difficult roommates in college. Dealing with sickness, the worst pain I have ever felt. Losing a baby in a miscarriage and especially dealing with my own terrible dreams at night. I have found God as my refuge and strength in these times. I would never wish those times away, though they were difficult, because in those hard times, they have caused me to seek His Refuge and to fall at His feet once again! I long for those times of falling into His arms and I cannot wait to do that when I meet Him in heaven! I would encourage you as you are studying your Bible to circle in God's Word something that you want to draw your attention to. For me I have been reading through the Psalms, and circling any words that are names of the Lord. I also circle anytime I read the word Refuge. I just encourage you today to know the Lord better in your daily reading of His Word. It is vast and wonderfully written.
I know my small feats have no equality to David being delivered from the Gibeonites or from Saul. I cannot imagine someone trying to kill me and what fear that may cause a person, but I know God has delivered me from my own fears and difficulties and so to Him I seek Refuge and Strength in His eternal arms.
"He said, "The Lord is my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies." 1 Samuel 22: 2-4

New Menu

For Christmas I was given a great gift, one of my favorite things, a new cookbook. And generally like all the other cookbooks I have been given, I read them like a book and then add them to my shelf with maybe trying one or two new recipes. Well all except our Grace Chapel Church cookbook, which are wonderful recipes from many women and families of the church we attend. I am a proponent of starring or writing comments on recipes of corrections, additions or deletions I made while cooking the recipe. I also write, if in a cookbook if we liked, loved or it falls under a category of do not eat again. Which is rare, but there has been one recipe (and this is from a different cookbook, all the Grace Chapel ones are fantastic!!!) that my husband always laughs hysterically about, which was a terrible day of cooking: the pancake covered ham, sweet potato, apple pot pie. Eww!!! It was disgusting! A pot pie should always and forever remain a pot pie. Kyle was so sweet by taking seconds, but I threw mine away! And in that cookbook I put a big X on it! It is in the never ever again do we dare eating that category.
So for Christmas, I received Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. I looked through, as I am thinking I am going to try to do a new recipe each week. I am seeing that most of the recipes I can get from our small town grocery store and they do not seem that hard either, which is a plus for this dream-only gourmet cook, with limited budget. So I tried first her Chicken Pizza (pg. 68). The recipe called for frozen whole-grain pizza crust, which I could not find in our frozen section of the grocery store, but I did find a Bobali (sp?) pizza that was whole-wheat and I thought I would try that (though I know whole-grain would be better, but sometimes you've got to improvise). I also bought a jar of Marinara sauce, but all the rest of the ingredients I had at home (wonderful!) The other ingredients included: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, garlic powder, sweet paprika, pepper, olive oil, carrot puree, mozzarella cheese.
What I love about this book is that you are adding more vegetables to every meal (yes every meal!) I know I am always short on the day from my veggie intake and I want to be sure that my kids are not. In the sauce I added the 1/2 cup of carrot puree. My puree though was not a puree, rather a chunky cooked carrot (I was impatient and did not allow mine to cook long enough), but it didn't matter in the end product. I loved having the texture of the chunky carrot in the sauce and we gobbled up the entire pizza. My husband wanted more and my daughter asked for seconds. Needless to say this wonderful Chicken Pizza is a huge hit with my family and I put a star on the page as a good easy go-to recipe on a night I need a quick one with a great amount of nutrition! And as in any pizza, you can probably add any toppings you would like, but keeping the basics the same would be just fine.
What I loved about this was the low prep time and cooking time, especially because it was Wednesday night, which is church night. The recipe called for two pizzas and I made one, and I definitely will make two next time. We would enjoy the left-overs the next day, if there are any. I think I might go wild and add some fresh basil, as I love fresh basil, but that completely relies on the grocery store if there is any available and if it appears fresh. I tried to puree my fresh carrots and next time I think I may even opt to use my own canned carrots. My carrots from the garden, and even after they are canned have a lot more flavor and I would like to find another use for them. So I think I might opt to using them the next time with the next recipe.
I think the only problem I may have with this book, is that I do have a problem cooking cauliflower. A few years ago, before I had our first baby, Kyle and I loved having smashed cauliflower, rather than eating so many potatoes. I remember after being pregnant for a few weeks I tried making smashed cauliflower again and it made me so sick just smelling it cooking and I have not been able to stand the smell of cooked cauliflower since. Now, I can eat it if someone else cooks it, but I can't if I do. So we will cross that bridge when we get to it!
I would suggest this book for great reading material and I am thinking it is a great option, so far as a great nutritional recipe book with great flavor! I will continue to update on new recipes tried and true!! Enjoy and happy cooking!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings...

As I look back on 2010 and reflect of how gracious the Lord was to me again...I stand in awe of who He is, but I realized, alas I pail (pale, err) in comparison of where He wants me to be. I do not make resolutions because as January shadows February, they are usually forgotten. I don't usually write anything down, because I know I am a person and I fail every year. But here we are in the season of resolutions and personal goals of staying fit, exercising, dieting, etc. And I feel like God has a new beginning for me in store. I don't know what it is just yet, but I want to find it. I guess my goal, as it is every year is one in the same...grow more in love with the God of this world, which will cause me to share that love with his creation, meaning my family--my husband and two blessings--my children. I pray that this year will be different in the fact that I will study His Word more, know His attributes that makes Him who He is and to find joy in Him as I do in His creation (my husband and my children) and that I find in reading a new book. I pray this year I will write more in my blog. I am not good at that...and I hope to do better. I do want to do better about taking care of myself through diet and exercise or at least exercise. I hope to play everyday more with my kids and spend time with my husband. I feel the time is just fleeting by with my daughter as she may start preschool next year...and that's a huge decision...one we're thinking about and praying on...so I know I first of all want to dedicate this New Year of 2011 to the Lord and I pray that in the end come December, this year was about Him.