Thursday, July 18, 2013

BBQ Pizza

The Kroger brand Bisquick has some wonderful recipes on the back of the box. One of the recipes is for a BBQ Chicken Pizza. This is the perfect way to use up one or two extra pieces of grilled chicken. To make the pizza dough you'll need,
  • 1 1/2 cups Original Baking Mix
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Heat oven to 450.  Mix baking mix, hot water and oil with a fork, about 20 strokes.  Let dough stand for 8 minutes.  Press into greased pan.  Top with diced chopped chicken mixed with BBQ sauce, diced peppers, onion and mozzarella.  Bake for 15 minutes on the bottom rack.

Sometimes I turn into food stalker lady.  When I walked by the oven and saw this bubbling up on the pan, I stopped everything to watch the cheese melt into an oblivion of wonderfulness.  You'll notice my little corner of the woods is the part housing the sliced onion.  The minions freak at the sight of onion, so I have to strategically place them loud and proud so as to not cross any vegetable lines.  It helps keep the peace.

I will definitely make this pizza crust again.  As you can imagine, it has a biscuit like quality to it.  Today was a score on creating from the pantry. 

And while I was reading the back of the box I stumbled on another meal that I cannot wait to try.  Biscuits and sausage gravy.  I'll make my biscuits from scratch because I have some buttermilk left over from the Old Fashioned Lemonade Cake I made on the 4th of July, but I'm using the recipe on the back of the box to make the sausage and gravy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weird Food

I think my mission to eat out of the freezer, fridge and pantry was spurred on by us going out of town twice in the last month.  The week before both of our trips, I was on a mission to not go to the grocery store, and to pull from the reserves.

So we've had the strangest meals.  Bacon and fruit lunches.  Corn dogs and breakfast burritos.  Like, together at the same sitting.  What else are ya' supposed to do when their are only two dogs left?   Those are the weirdest combos we've come up with. 

Tonight we pulled together an amazing meal, thanks to fresh produce from Vaughan Family Farms.  We grilled chicken, squash seasoned with butter, citrus grill season and dill, we had mashed potatoes, creamed corn and Sister Schubert dinner rolls.  It was pretty impressive if I do say so myself.  Actually Shane gets the credit for pulling that one off.  I get credit for the bacon and fruit day.  Yay  me.

Tonight after dinner I spent a little time seeing how we're doing.  We have a ton of tomato products, cream of chicken and BBQ sauce.  And I have two jars of diced jalapenos.  It's funny how my hoarder tendencies manifest themselves in the way of cream based soups and condiments.  I don't even like cream of whatever soups.  But those diced jalapenos are so great so if you need a jar come see me, I have an extra I'd love to bless you with. 

But friend, looky looky looky at what I found hidden behind my canned tomatoes.  Dove chocolate with mint.  Guess who is going to bed early tonight with a bag of chocolate and the newest edition of Romantic Homes magazine?

So as far as I can tell, here are all the creative combos I can come up with using my remaining food.  My goal has been to stretch $100 for the last two weeks of the month, mainly to see if I can do it.  The fish day is stumping me.  I just debuted fish in my cooking career for the first time last month.  I'm just not sure yet what to pair it with.  But I cooked it in oven with butter and citrus grill seasoning and help me Rhonda, it was so good.  I am also trying a black bean and saffron rice dish that you pair with pineapple chunks and tortilla chips.  It's a real, live, recipe I've never made but have the stuff for.  I'm sure my people will be oh so happy about that night.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Came Home...

A little over a week ago I quit my job that provided for us over the last 8 years. It has been a long struggle for me to completely know the Lord was asking me to quit and to fully come home.  But when the end came, I knew with clarity it was an act of obedience that was being asked of me.

A little over a year ago, my eyes were opened one ordinary morning.  The boys were lined up at the breakfast bar eating cereal and it is like the blinders fell off my eyes.  They are getting so big.  They were growing fast and I was missing a large part of it.  Running a thriving business was getting the best of my energy.  I was reading in the book of Haggai later that day and it further confirmed what I was already starting to see.  Is now the time to dwell in paneled houses while this house lies desolate?  Consider your ways.  You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.

God was removing His hand of blessing on a provision that once housed His hand of blessing.  He started frustrating my plans.  The work of my hands was leaving me unsatisfied.  The process to completely confirm He was asking me to fully quit took nearly two years.  And Friday, July 5th, I came home.

It was a strange afternoon when it was done.  Shane was out of the country.  The boys were at the neighbors.  I had a rare gift, the house all to myself.  I felt lost at first.  What do I do with myself?  So I methodically started going from room to room, cleaning, fluffing, turning on lamps, lighting candles, and cultivating beauty in my little corner of the world.  The boys came home and we had a southern dinner on the patio. 

(all photography by Lulu Photography)
Now my full time job is wife and mama.  I am overflowing with joy at the prospect.  No divided interests.  Just the freedom to be.  It is a costly sacrifice and one that I did come to quickly.  This process has taught me that there are not enough paychecks in the world to compensate and satisfy if God has removed His hand of blessing.

My heart is to cultivate this home, these hearts.  It is my favorite place on earth to be.  I re-sew the ripped furniture.  I wipe down the baseboards with chipped paint.  We pull weeds out of flower beds and cook good food in the kitchen.  We'll become masters at creating the beauty and fun right here within these walls.

Obeying has surprised me with happiness.  Sheer, flat out happiness.  I cannot wipe the smile of my face.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Little Dude

Man, I love this little dude. He is so much fun and I could just about squish his face off when he's wearing goggles and a life vest.

He enjoys getting his back scratched and pancakes is his favorite food.  He can almost always sweet talk one of us into making him pancakes for breakfast.

This morning he had to have some dental work done and was partially sedated.  He goes 90 to nothing from the minute his feet hit the floor till he collapses into bed at night.  Let's just say this was pretty much the best morning ever.  He came home, all groggy, and we climbed in bed and snuggled and took the best nap ever. When we got up, we had, what else but pancakes for lunch.

(this picture cracks me up.  on vacation he got to take a short drive without his carseat to the clubhouse to rent a movie.  this is the face of freedom!) 
Friday evening, while the rest of the family was watching Swamp People, he asked if he could do a schoolwork paper.  So without much fanfare and in the absence of my denim jumper, we started him on school.  Saturday night during a family game of Monopoly he asked if he could do another schoolwork paper so we did day two of school Saturday night.  It was darling to watch him learn the letters I and U. 

Friday, July 12, 2013


Following up with my last post, I will tell you, I've been daydreaming about sending all the boys to school.  Our homeschooling journey turned out to be a big whopping heap of blessing in our lives.  We actually loved it.  My favorite things were...

  • Rainy Days.  Super spiritual and clearly a great reason to keep your kids home.  But rainy days were the best.  Pajamas.  Small amount of lessons in the morning, maybe 30 minutes or so.  Then the rest of the day would be spent in a candle-lit, lamp-lit house playing Leggos, reading, baking, and resting.  Yep.  Rainy days at home were the best.

  • Flexible scheduling.  We would start school in July and work through Thanksgiving.  Then we'd take off from Thanksgiving to the second week in January.  This was a wonderful time to break.  The weather outside is nice.  Parties abound and it is OK if we're staying up later than usual.  Plus we'd all be burned out by the time Thanksgiving rolled around.  We'd pick back up in January and honestly, after Spring Break in March, I think everyone is usually done mentally no matter where they spend their days.  We'd wrap up and be done by April.  Our summer was May, June & July. 

  • Big Brown Eyed Boys.  I don't think I'll ever forget the day we were sitting around our little oak table reading our history story and my eyes were opened to what was happening in our home.  We were in a history lesson and my boys were hanging on every word of the story.  I was overcome with emotion.  The joy that circled our table at that moment made all the sacrifice worth it.  Some days were all struggle to motivate the boys to do their best and not give up.  Some days I felt like a huge failure in what I was doing and knew for sure I was messing up my children's lives.  But not this day at the table.  This day was laden with fruit.  They, we, were loving our time together, over a history story.  When the story was over, they begged for another story.  Tear.  Sniff Sniff.  Maybe this is working?

  • Close relationships.  Notice I did not say perfect relationships, I said close.  The boys sleep together and they spend their days together.  Some of the fruit of that is that they are very close.  My youngest son's greatest most dangerous move is his elbow, or so he says.  The elbow can cause angst in the close relationship realm.
So, back to my daydreaming.  This summer I was done.  Usually I bounce back from my burnout in mid-June.  Normally there is a clear vision in my mind of where the next year is leading us.  This year the vision never came and I was done.  I was settled that this was our year to send the boys to school.  I even sold all my Abeka Kindergarten curriculum in our yard sale.

A few Sunday mornings ago, a friend at church loaded my trunk with some boxes of schooling resources. 

We came home from church and I said, "Shane, we need to be praying about school for next year." 

He said, "I already know the answer to that question." 

"OK!!! What do you think?"

"We're homeschooling."

(insert bubble bursting here)  (Did I ever tell you how selfish I am?  And how wobbly my faith can be?  And that it takes a huge amount of trust to follow God in this decision and say yes to Him?  Don't read pride into that last statement because my faith is pathetically small, feeble and fragile)

So I go out to the garage and open the trunk of my car.  Wouldn't you just know it.  Brand new packets of every worksheet I would need to teach my youngest son.  As I am wading through each huge box I'm thinking, "That's great Lord that I have the worksheets but you know I sold my teacher's keys at the yard sale last week." 

Wouldn't you just know at the very bottom of the very last box laid every teacher key I needed.  I sold them and God gave them right back to me.  That took care of the Kindergarten curriculum I would need.

After texting back and forth with a friend, getting her input in the big boys curriculum, she asked if I'd like to borrow her books.  I offered to buy them but she wants to keep them for later use, so she is loaning me everything I need. 

God provided everything we needed to school our boys this year.

You've heard it said, "Where God leads, He provides."

You've heard it said, "Obey first, then the confirmations will start rolling in."

This is our story.  The night after I posted my last post one of my best friends and I were sitting in my living room.  Wanna know what she shared with me?  She has a desire to homeschool her children but they go to public school.  Every year she approaches her husband and asks if they can homeschool and every year he says, "Hon, we are not called to that.  We are called to public school."  So every year she sends them.  And it is hard for her.  She feels like she's the minority.  The funny thing?  I feel the exact same way about the road we are walking.

I end with that story because I am sharing my journey with you and I do not ever, ever, ever want any reader to feel she is not on the right path if her story is not mirroring mine.  My path is not the right way.  It is a way.

If we were all an arm the body would not function properly.  It can be hard to be a hand when it feels like the rest of the world is a leg.  So just take yo' hand and go on down the corner and get you a manicure.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Called To Homeschool

Not so long ago I remember the annoyance I felt when a woman would say she was "called" to homeschool.  We never set out to homeschool.  Growing up, I knew one homeschooled girl and she was weird so I vowed I would never do that do my children.

When my son turned five I did what you do with five year old children.   We drove down to the local elementary school and signed that boy up for school.  Easy enough.  But something happened after I signed my boy up for school.

My insides were burdened over the decision.  Every time I thought of sending him I felt heavy on the inside.  There was a lack of peace over our decision to send him to school.  And every now and again this pesky thought would make its way through my mind.
"I want you to try homeschooling for a year"

When that thought would come to my mind you know what I thought?  The devil is alive!

There is no way I could ever homeschool my children.  My favorite subject in school was lunch.  I majored in talking too much and passing notes and minored in planning weekend get togethers.  There was zero desire in me to educate my children at home.  I mean, I liked 'em and all, but come time they turn five it is time to spread those wings and fly baby.  Fly down to school and I'll see ya' at three.
I'm learning the slow way that when God frustrates your plans it is often because He is working out His unique plan for your days.  That can be an awfully hard pill to swallow.  Especially when the pill looks to be coated in the word thatwasnotonmyagenda. 
"I want you to try homeschooling for a year"
I began to get a little irritated at the frequency this message kept coming to mind.  So then I started hashing it out with the Lord.  Telling Him how I was pretty sure He'd sent the memo to the wrong girl.  But that stinkin' heaviness I was carrying around like a boulder around my neck.  It got to be a heavy burden.
Carry something like that around you long enough and you start to get tired of the fight.  Start thinkin' crazy things like, "Maybe I will just go out on a limb and obey this nudging and see if the miserableness goes away."
One evening Shane and I finally came to a conclusion, and it took time for us to come to this decision.  We decided to withdraw our son's registration from school and homeschool him for a year.
I got up early the next morning and headed to the school.  I felt like a freak.  "Yes, I need to withdraw my son's registration from Kindergarten."  She looked at me like I was nuts.  But I'm going to tell you what.  When the last paper was signed I turned around and walked out the door.
A lightness added a bounce to my step and I was overcome with joy and peace.  When I tell you I was joyful, I mean, I was bubbling on the inside with joy and peace.  That is what walking in obedience can produce inside of us.  Sometimes we cross the finish line of obedience limping because the struggle to obey was a long one.  But it is so worth it.
The blessing is always when we take our position and stand where He has asked us to stand.  Even if it is on the middle of the battlefield where you think you're going to get trampled down.
There is no other place I'd rather be than right smack dab in the middle of where He's asked me to stand.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Cleaning Lady

My cleaning lady came today. She looks and talks exactly like me.
This morning I hired myself for the job.  My payment is an early bedtime for the boys and a clean house for me.  So when you clean sometimes you run into disturbing things.

Take this tabletop for instance.  This my friends, is what we like to call a "Hot Spot."  Clutter gathering clutter.  Wompy jawed tissue box, candle lid, jar with two piddly pens...I can't even remember how long this table has looked like this.  I started to move the things to dust and then leave them when I remembered something.

Have nothing in your house you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

Clearly this is not pleasing to the eye, so I cleared the table and felt a million times better about the spot.

So here is my tip for the day.  As you go through your house, picking up or cleaning, keep a watchful eye.  If there is an area or an item that you think is U.G.L.Y. give it away or throw it away.  Your house will start to slowly take shape and you will be so happy with the results.