Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spiderman Smoothies

This is a guest post from my boys. They wanted to share with you their recipe for the best Spiderman Smoothie you ever put in your mouth. (this picture was taken probably 5 years ago!!)

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup orange pineapple juice
2 tsp. sugar
6 ice cubes

Blend well and serve with a straw.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chicken Tacos

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 oz jar salsa
1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom)
1 packet taco seasoning

Mix salsa, cream of chicken and taco seasoning together.  Spray crock-pot with Pam and add chicken.  Pour sauce over frozen chicken and cook on low 8 hours.  Shred with two forks and serve with soft tortillas, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

These left-overs are great, which is why I add LOTS of chicken.  For reheating, heat the chicken in the microwave and layer over tortilla chips placed on a cookie sheet.  Top with cheddar and broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  Oh, it is good.

My friend Becke' gave me this recipe and I've already made it twice.  It's a crowd-pleaser and so fast, easy and packed with great flavor!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

28 Minutes

Last night, 28 minutes before our friends were coming over, I got mad at the Mr.

T minus twenty eight and I'm in the bathroom huffing.  Behind 3 closed doors, my bedroom, then the bathroom, then the throne room.  As I sat there on the toilet, with the lid down, praying, I was frustrated at the situation.

There were still candles to be lit, lamps to be turned on, and a floor to be vacuumed and there I was in the bathroom hashing it out in prayer with the Lord.

Trying to remember the words I had read earlier.  It was something about giving grace to those who don't deserve it and speaking words that give life to those who hear.  It sounded better in my chair this morning while I was alone.  But having to apply it twenty eight minutes before the party was not my idea of fun.

That's the trouble with character building.  With allowing God to establish holiness in your life.  It doesn't come in a pretty package with a bow.  It doesn't happen sitting prettily in Bible Study with a finished lesson.

It happens twenty eight minutes before company comes while you're sitting in the toilet room deciding which road to take.

Within an hour my heart had softened and I extended forgiveness and grace and the boys killed us in cards.  Thanks, Lord.  I obeyed you and you still let me get stomped?  (haha) In the early days, it would have taken me days to forgive.

Wasted days, time and energy spent stewing, and letting the bitterness and anger grow.

Giving grace would have been nowhere on my radar.

The very nature of grace is that someone gets what they don't deserve.  Following Christ's example requires that we forgive those that don't deserve it.  It requires that we love back when we've been hurt.  It's not easy but it is possible. 

When God gives you a command on how to react, He will equip you through the power of the Holy Spirit to carry it out.   So here's the marching orders.

Watch the words that come out of your mouth.  Speak encouraging words that build people up, according to the need of the moment.  Let your words give grace to those that hear.

Ephesians 4:29

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Riveting Read

Shane is back from an 8 day trip. 

Today he was off.  We were both worn out.  Me, I think from 8 days of chasing boys, and him from leading a trip which was great he said. 

Do you know that feeling when you're looking a wide open day in the face?  Should we be total bums or should we be productive?  Well, we did both.  Divided and conquered.  He tackled the garage and I tackled the boys room.

Around 2:30pm we all hit a wall.  And crawled in our beds.  For 3 hours.  Then it took another good 30 minutes to fully wake up.  That.  Is.  What.  I'm.  Talkin'.  About.

That bedroom of the boys has been staring me in the face for awhile.  I just never could muster up the gumption to tackle it, ya know?

And tomorrow.  Well, we worked hard today so tomorrow we are swimming, reading, and having dinner with our friends who had birthdays last week.  Then we're gonna come home and play cards. 

Do you play Spades?  It's our favorite even though the boys count cards cheat.

Tonight I went on a walk and the neighborhood smelled like fabric softener.  I like that.

See, I told you this was going to be a riveting read.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Outdoor Lighting

Lighting is the easiest way to create ambiance-whether you are inside or on the patio.

Right now, Targe' has globe string lights for less than $6.00 a box.  (the Phillips brand).  They add such a fun feel to your back yard.

And how about Mason jars filled with sand and a small candle-these are from Pottery Barn and can be hung from the trees.

Sometimes it's the smallest touches that make the biggest impact!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Gift of Service

He came into my room crying because he got punched in the face.

My natural response would be to say toughen up.  If you wrestle with your brother we've told you there's a good chance you are going to get hurt.  Something clicked inside of me though.  What about a different approach.  One tinted with a little compassion.

It was his eye that took the hit.  Come here, I said.  I turned my bed covers down and let him crawl under.  After putting a cool washcloth on his eye and covering him up, I turned a movie on.  As he laid there in my cool, dark room with a cloth on his eye he said Thanks Mom.  I think it's starting to feel better.

A little compassion and love goes a long way.  It's part of my ministry and how my view of my role has changed over the course of the last 5 weeks.

Every day there is another opportunity to serve.  To try to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  To be his voice in my realm, the giver of life-giving words.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down in my chair.  It was around 4:30pm.  My body was worn out from a long day of physical work.  Just a few minutes to sit, read and catch my breath is all I needed.  They'll be getting hungry soon I thought, but it feels so good to sit here with my feet up.  I remembered what I read in Part V about teaching my children the Gift Of Service.  How Jesus ministered with a heart of love and willing hands.  He gave Himself for the poor.  It was rarely convenient.  My work may not seem important, but in God's hands it is valuable, especially when done unto Him.

All standard mothering tasks can seem depressingly mundane.  Yet when I study the ministry of Christ, I see that he responded in compassion to whatever need was presented to him, not just those that seemed "worthy" or important.  p183 Ministry of Motherhood

So, I got up, made the Taco Salads and ministered to my boys.

Teaching your children to serve is about modeling it to them.  It's also about giving them opportunity to serve.  Even when they don't want to, gently make them.  It is about letting them see you serve and serving as a family.

One neat thing we have done this year is in regard to support letters.  We get quite a few letters from various people raising funds for ministries and trips.  We've started reading the letters to our kids and talking about it.  It has been neat to include our children in the giving process. 

It is my prayer that my children will leave our home being aware that God has a plan to use them.  There is a lost, dying world beyond the comfort of our home, and if we're willing, we can be used to minister. 

 It will start with ministering right where you find yourself today. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sam's Club

Well, since I am insane, I loaded up all the boys and picked Mamaw up on the way and we made a Sam's trip today.  A three ring circus I tell ya.

Several months ago I made a spreadsheet and did some price comparisons between Wal-Mart and Sam's.  The membership to Sam's is $40 a year so you really have to do your homework to find out if it's a better deal for your family.

It's hard to make blanket statements about what is cheaper at Sam's.  If you are willing to buy generic and if you coupon, then Sam's may not be cheaper.  The things I have listed though (I'm pretty sure) are way cheaper at Sam's vs. even the generic pricing at WM.

Shredded Cheese, Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Chocolate Chips, Toilet Paper, Trash Bags, & Hand Soap are all pretty universal shopping things that are significantly cheaper at Sam's. 

These things alone have made our membership worthwhile.  I have been going to Sam's every other month.  We also stock up on fresh fruits and veggies when we go, they are the best.  You can get a big bag of cut up Romaine lettuce for under $3!

I also buy a HUGE $22.00 bag of Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts when we go to Sam's.  Kroger sells it cheaper when it is on sale, but I love the big bag.  The pieces are not gargantu like you get in the store.  It is, in my opinion, 10 pounds of good lookin' chicken.

I'll tell you one thing I found when I was price comparing.  That Wal-Mart is tricky.  The marketing people are good.  Did you know that Daisy sour cream is the same price (or cheaper) than the Great Value brand?  You've got to watch. 

You'd think the generic is automatically cheaper.  It's not always so pay attention to that. 

When price comparing, I realized what a creature of habit I am.  The fresh spinach really threw me for a loop.  There is one brand I always buy.  After looking at all the options I found out there was a bag that was way, way, way cheaper.  It was at the very bottom of the shelf so I had never noticed it.

Do you think in some crazy ploy to make more money they'd put more expensive food at eye level?  You bet they would!

Here's another thing.  Raisin Bran cereal.  Kellogg's is on one side of the aisle, Post is on the other.  The Post brand is a lot cheaper.  But you have to know to look on the other side of the aisle for it.

Other things I've been purchasing from Sam's...Parmesan, Refried Beans, Pinto Beans, Corn, Laundry Soap, Downy, Gum, Cereal, Little Smokies, Sausage, Coffee, Tea, Bread, Chips, Water Bottles.  And of course an $ .86 Pibb Extra for the shopping trip!

Can we go there?

So tonight we watched a show about Disney's Animal Kingdom. This little guy really got into it.  When I say he got into it, he barely watched but came into the living room 28 minutes into the show fully dressed.  He had taken off his pj's and put clothes and shoes back on.

Can we go there Mom, can we?  Go where honey?  To Disney World, can we go there right now?  Well not right now because it's a 2 day drive and it costs money.  Well, we have dollars.  And he disappears.  He's back in a flash holding a $20.  Mom, we have Eleben dollars, now can we go, can we?  We can drive the Camry and I can sit in the middle and buckle my own seat belt.

And we can make a list, he says.  He disappears again and comes back in with my Sam's Club list.  There was some chatter about the value of the list.  There were some tears that we did not make it to Disney World this evening.  But dang, was it hilarious.

Dude found dollars and a list.  He was determined.  In the end we settled on Monkey PJ's and a book about seashells.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Gift Of Training

Shane snapped this pic when he walked in last night.  This is (most of) our Ministry of Motherhood group and this picture makes me so happy.  The last 5 weeks have been so amazing with these women.  We have had a blast eating and sharing together.

Last night we talked about the gift of training.  We looked at the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.  My favorite part of that story is how God met the need.  The men looked at the resources and determined people needed to be sent away.  Jesus said, "What do we have available?" 

The small resources, when placed in His hands, became enough.

My temptation is to feel my resources aren't adequate.  That they aren't enough.  The challenge to me is that my resources placed in His hands will always be enough.  They may be small.  When viewed with earthly eyes they may seem insignificant.  The daily task of training our children can seem unfruitful.  You may be tempted to wander, is this enough?  The Bible says apart from me you can do no good thing.  With me, all things are possible.  You plant the seed, I'll water it and make it grow.

When you tell your son to stay inside and he steps two little feet over the threshold of the doorway.  It's not a huge, showy, "Hey Look at me I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off in the yard even when you told me to stay inside!!!"  No, it's quiet.  It's subtle.  It's, "I heard what you said and slowly, I will put one foot outside the door and then the other".  And now I'm quietly standing on the mat in front of the door.  Outside.  Like you told me not to do.

The gift of training is enduring in disciplining when it seems easier not to.  It is asking God to help impart words to prepare them for situations.  Helping them think through scenarios, whenever possible, before they encounter them.  It is not always rescuing them.  Allowing them to sometimes make a choice and experience the consequence.  It is modeling your faith, out loud, in front of them.  Opening up to them at times about what you are going through and how exactly you are looking to God for guidance.

I bet right now you have something you are seeking God for.  Using that as a natural thing to say, "You know kids, this is what we are going through right now.  We are waiting on God to give us clear direction.  We are praying for Him to lead us and show us the way"...and then, when He answers, pointing it out to them.

Training involves teaching them to pray.  Praying together, as a family.  Teaching them to read their Bible.  Reading the Bible as a family.  The challenge this week is to read Proverbs 1-4 daily as a family (out loud, together).  Mention it to your hubby.  See if he'd be willing to lead that time after dinner.  Or you could read it before bedtime.  Or at breakfast. 

After talking last night, some of the tactics of the enemy became so apparent.  He wants us to think we have to wait for the perfect time.  To think it has to be done the exact right way.  My kids are too young.  My kids are too old, we've missed the window.  I don't know how to do this.  It feels awkward reading out loud together.  The list could go on.

I firmly believe that training our children in the Word is the most fruitful gift of training we can impart to them.  We're giving it a try this week.  Proverbs 1-4 (or at least one Proverb a day) this week.  We'll forget.  Even though the Bible Basket has been placed on the table, I don't notice it yet.  It's funny how new habits can be a challenge to begin, even when it's staring you in the face.  Don't get discouraged when your training doesn't go perfect.

Remember, your small, inadequate resources, when placed in God's hands, are always enough.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Barefoot Contessa's Strawberry Shortcakes

Oh man, these things are so good.  I've made them 4 times in the last 2ish weeks.  I can't get off of them.  You want to come over and have some shortcakes with me?  It's getting awkward me whipping these up so often just for the heck of it.

The recipe looks a little intimidating, it's not.  You preheat your oven, whip up the shortcakes.  Pop them in the oven.  Then you put your cream in the mixer to get that going.  While the cream is whipping up you prepare your berries.  How easy is that?

We don't have the cute glasses so we used a good old fashioned plate.  My sister and her family came over.  Jeffrey couldn't join us and neither could Ina's florist friend but we still had a good time.

Candlelit dinner on the patio followed by Strawberry Shortcakes.  And I did not add Grand Marnier to my berries.  I was fresh out if you can believe that.  (shhh, I don't even know what the heck it is)  But I am pretty sure the berries suffered no adverse effects.  The first time I made these I added an entire tablespoon of salt.  Oopsy Daisy, don't do that.  Last but not least, I added 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla to my cream while it whipped.  French Vanilla whipped cream. 



Serves 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

2 pints fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
Sweetened whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Sift the flour, two tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend in the butter on low speed and mix until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer still on low, add to the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended.

3. Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough ½-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut 16 biscuits with a two-inch plain round cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and the insides are fully baked. Cool.

5. To serve, toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar and Grand Marnier. Place the berries in martini glasses, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and serve with two small shortcakes on the side.

"If you have the time to marinate the strawberries for a half hour, they'll make a sauce that's delicious."

"This dough is quite wet. Use lots of flour when you roll it out so the biscuits don't stick."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Olan Mills

And I introduce to your our very first Olan Mills family photo.

Complete with matching sweater vests.

Now my boys can graduate from High School and get married one day because we have the proper documentation for the slide shows.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Flowerpatch Farmgirl

Flower Patch Farmgirl is the sweetest thing ever!  She posted pictures of this tea towel on her blog not too long ago and I had a fit for it.  I thought it was so cute and I loved the color.  I told her I loved it and if she wanted to sell it I'd buy it from her.

She mailed it to me!  Sweetest gift ever!

Ruby even colored the envelope, how cute is that?

It makes me happy!  You know what else is cool about this?  I had just read John 21 where Jesus fixed breakfast for Peter and some of the guys.  It struck me as the most beautiful picture that Jesus ministered to them by serving them breakfast.  They were tuckered out after an unfruitful night of fishing.  And there Jesus was on the shore, with the table set.  I was on the lookout for where the table was set for me.  Then this came in the mail.

Two people in our house were born in '76.

Happiness from the hand of God.  Happiness is randomly opening up to Haggai because BSF is over for the year and I didn't know where else to turn so naturally I chose a Minor Prophet, and God was there.  In 2:19.  These last months I've been learning about seed.  The trouble with seed is you don't always see the fruit right away.  "Is the seed still in the barn?"  That's what 2:19 says.  Because even if you don't see the fruit of what you think God told you about, as long as the seed is still in the barn you're all good.  Maybe it's not planting season.  Maybe it's not harvesting season.  It doesn't matter.  If there is still seed in the barn, God will reap what He has sown.

Happiness is Farmgirl taking the time to put a towel in the mail to a blogger she hasn't even met in real life.  Happiness is knowing that Jesus knew how much I'd love this tea towel and knowing the same Holy Spirit lives inside us all, prompting the same way.  Several neat things like this happened that week.  God ministering to me when I was worn out and tired.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more...It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events." Melody Beattie

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Last night I saw Kris Allen at the grocery store.

I was totally star-struck.  He and his wife were looking at steaks.  I tried to act natural.  He didn't recognize me.  Weird, huh?

Granted, I had on a plaid ball cap, not a stitch of make-up or jewelry and we've never met, but still.

It was cool seeing a famous person at the store at 5:30pm on a Friday night.  Wanna know the funny thing?

After I got my groceries loaded, I caught a glimpse of myself in the car reflection and died.  Earlier that day I had gotten a new necklace in the mail that I'd ordered.  A fancy necklace.  I put it on to see what it looked like (ya know, with my hot pink t-shirt, denim shorts and Old Navy flip-flops).  Aaaaand, I FORGOT to take it off.

Yeeeeeep, I wore my fancy necklace with my bum-out clothes to go grocery shopping, ran into Kris Allen, and never even knew I was blinging till it as time to go home.