Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Posts

It has been said that we don't update our blog very frequently...if only you could see the number of drafts that have been started. My husband wants you to know that these drafts are created by me...he then asked if I was planning on saving this as a draft--lol. Anyway, I'll work on finalizing my drafts and posting some of the things I've been thinking of posting. The main reason for not posting is not that we don't have much going on or that there is little on my mind; I merely get side-tracked by other things that seem more important. So...by God's grace I'll do more posting for God's glory.

Soft Pretzel Recipe

I must confess, I'm somewhat of a lazy blogger, hence, the lack of pictures around these parts. Therefore, I'm simply going to link to the blog where I found my soft pretzel recipe as it has a pictorial tutorial. :D

These are great pretzels! My only advice is to make sure that you make your snakes pretty thin since your dough will be rising a bit. We like the pretzels with salt or cinnamon sugar.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Recollections

This Thanksgiving day was not a typical one for our family, though it will likely go down in the books as most memorable. This is the second year that our family has not gone back to New Jersey to celebrate with our parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. However, we were invited to celebrate with another family in town who has no family nearby. They also invited another family for the occasion.

Due to the fact that we had 21 people present, we chose to do dinner buffet style. This worked great. We gathered at the table and began our Thanksgiving event by giving thanks to the Lord. We then proceeded to get the children situated with their plates of food before serving ourselves. I asked my husband to tend to this matter so that I could nurse our darling infant who was also hungry at this point.

Now, my handsome husband looked out the window and said, "Hey look! There's a cow coming up your driveway." That is where a very normal Thanksgiving meal turned into something like a National Lampoons Thanksgiving meal. :D You see, there truly was a calf meandering up the driveway. At this point, the woman of the house also noted that there were some deer grazing in the field across the street. This may not mean a lot to city folks, but for those of us in the country, Thanksgiving day is a great day for hunters (and for those of us desiring to fill our freezers with some virtually free meat ;). So...while the adults are filling up their plates, the woman of the house called the neighbor to wish him Happy Thanksgiving and to inform him that he had a calf on the loose. As the rest of us are sitting down at the table with our delicious food-filled plates, we hear said woman asking for permission to shoot the deer...yes, you heard correctly...shoot the deer. We're starting to think venison steaks now folks. Returning to the table, our woman says nonchalantly, "He said we can shoot the deer."

We all take a few bites of food and deliberate...should we really interrupt our meal to shoot these deer? Shooting these deer requires retrieval and a whole host of other things most would not want to think about while enjoying a nice meal. The discussion turns to who the shooters would be...there are three men, one of which has already shot his allowed deer for the day and another who has not brought his gun. Mr. Already-Shot-A-Deer offers to lend Mr. Gunless his weapon of choice. Now, I have been told that borrowing a man's gun is like borrowing his underwear; it isn't something men like to do, but they'll do it in extreme situations. Is this situation extreme enough? Apparently so because as Mr. Have-A-Gun-Haven't-Had-A-Deer-Yet-Today gets his weapon, Mr. Gunless chooses to borrow the gun of Mr. Already-Shot-A-Deer becoming Mr. Underwear Man. Perhaps we're witnessing something akin to women going to the bathroom together; it just can't be done alone.

Anyway, leaving our plates and the delightful aroma of turkey, we turn our minds toward the venison across the field and head outdoors. Our men alert the neighbors who are outdoors and head across the quiet country road. It must have been quite a spectacle for the cows grazing next to the fence; 21 people pouring out of a house like that. Our guys aim their guns using the fence posts for stability, and "BANG!" the deer take off running. A deer drops. Mr. Underwear Man is still deciding whether or not to take a shot; the deer are awfully small, and he's already shot a small one this season. He decides not to take a shot, and we all return to the cozy warm house, the aroma of turkey, and almost cold dinner. The men eat the remains of their dinner rather hastily as the cows give thanks that we are not as excited about and dedicated to beef steaks as we are venison steaks. (If only they knew it was really loyalty to our neighbors that kept them alive that day.)

So...our men take all but the youngest of the children on a deer retrieval expedition while the ladies enjoy perhaps the quietest Thanksgiving dinner they've ever had, some delightful conversation, and a lot of laughter at recalling the progression of events of the evening. It truly was a night of Thanksgiving for all of God's provision for us including the gifts of friendship, food, laughter, and most of all His Son who saves us and gives us the common ground to enjoy fellowship together. Being part of the family of God is such a wonderful blessing and being with His family is very much like being with our very own family. There is a sweetness to fellowship with other believers that is like no other this side of heaven. It is a foretaste of the fellowship that we who are called will one day enjoy with our Creator God and Savior for all eternity. Praise His name!

How was your Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some sort of productive...

For someone...

The day started with breakfast in bed...a bit less of a rude awakening than most mornings...oh wait...that's negative self talk. :/

The day started with breakfast in bed from the love of my life. What a gift! I think that was God's grace to me today. My kids really wanted to go out and play in the snow so I spent the morning figuring out which snow pants, jackets, etc. fit which kid, got everyone bundled up (I think that took an hour or so itself), and went outside to enjoy the frigid...I mean invigorating, weather.

Next, the kids wanted to come back inside because they were cold...go figure. So...we came back in, unbundled, and they sat down to watch a movie...while I put away all of the snow gear.

Somewhere between that and whatever I decided to do next...return a phone call perhaps...Matt decided he was going to cut Grace's hair (fortunately I got to him after the second cut so the damage isn't too bad). As I was surveying the damage, I realized that her hair had somehow gotten singed...maybe she got to close to one of the heat sources in the house?

Then, there was the lunch process which went very smoothly (praise the Lord). Again, I got to spend time with my handsome husband :D

After hubby left, I gave the kids permission to get a piece of candy out of my closet...at which point one of the kids peed on the floor (third time in two days!).

Which gets me to now...I took the morning off to play with the kids since our snow keeps melting and the rest of the day has been helter-skelter...my house is a disaster area...all I want to do is sleep...but first, I think I'd like to cry a little. Visions of hot chocolate, a book, and a coffee shop are not far from mind. Of course, that would be a lot self-serving. But I must say, I do see God's grace in the midst of my day...He enabled me to be gentle and kind to the little one who peed on the floor, and He enables me to serve even now...with joy in the midst of fatigue. I may be a bit emotional due to sleep deprivation, but I can see the rainbow in the midst of the rain, and I know that God is working out my sanctification in the midst of the mini-trials. Another day I'll look back with laughter on the events that brought about tears. What a kind God we serve!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twist on Math Drills

We all want our kids to practice their math facts, right? My daughter has been getting tired of drilling math facts. I can't say that I blame her; I'm getting sick of drilling math facts too. Sometimes we have to do things that we don't care to do; sometimes we don't. I read an idea on a blog the other day that stimulated my thinking in the area of math drills. It doesn't always have to be worksheets.

For example...you can use dice. In our case, we're drilling basic math facts up to ten so I have my daughter roll the dice and tell me how many more she needs to get to ten (except in the rare case that 11 or 12 are rolled). Alternatively, since we really need to work on subtraction, I've been having her add the dice together (e.g. 4+3=7) and then, subtract (7-4=3, 7-3=4). She's writing them in her notebook which gives her plenty of practice. This is also something she can do by herself so I don't have to be right with her for drill work.

You can also use playing cards...simply pull out the face cards and jokers and play a concentration like game. Instead of having kids match the cards, have them pick a partner/bond/whatever you want to call it that adds up to ten. (e.g. if your kiddo picks up a four, he/she would have to find a six to take the match ;)

Anyway, I'm sure there are a lot of creative ways to drill math facts without endless worksheets. These are just a couple that I have found. What works for you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet Potato Quesadillas



We tried a new recipe tonight that was pretty tasty, healthy, and inexpensive. We're trying to learn to eat seasonally; this recipe also fits that bill.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas (from Simply in Season)

1 1/2 c. onion (minced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)

Saute in large frypan in 1 T. oil until translucent.

Then, add:

2 t. dried oregano
1 1/2 t. each dried basil, marjoram, chili powder
1 1/2 t. ground cumin (optional)

Cook another minute.

Add 4 cups sweet potatoes (cooked and mashed). Heat through, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8 tortillas
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)

Spread about 1/2 c. filling and 2T sharp cheddar cheese on half of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch border on the sides. Fold tortilla in half. Place on oiled baking sheets. Brush tops with oil. Bake in preheated oven at 400F until brown, 15-20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Alternatively, you can use shredded raw sweet potatoes, sauteed with the onions and garlic until soft.

We used a food processor to shred to potatoes and chop the other ingredients which really made this recipe a snap. I forgot to add the seasonings, and it was still very tasty. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Biggest Turkey Tale

The folks over at Happy to be @ Home are having a contest. I had a story but I didn’t want to enter it in the contest because it isn’t actually mine. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even alive when it happened. However, it is one that I make my Dad tell every Thanksgiving because it is very funny when he tells it. I’m sure I won’t be able to convey it well via the written word, but I’ll try.

Anyway, when my Dad was a teenager and still living at home, he lived down the road from a guy that had some pet turkeys. The man loved his turkeys and treated them just like we would our own pets. So…my Dad (compassionate, loving teen that he was) decided that he would get a live turkey for his family. As his Mom and Dad were discussing the upcoming Thanksgiving meal, my Dad told his family not to worry about the big bird; he was planning on getting a live turkey for them. His Dad asked him how in the world he was going to do that. My Dad kind of shrugged his shoulders and said that he had a plan.

The eve of Thanksgiving rolled around and my Dad got into his yellow Volkswagon Beetle with (what he considered) the necessary equipment. Keep in mind that they did not live in an area where they could just grab a gun and shoot a wild turkey. Anyhow, my Dad picked up a buddy of his (who also had the ‘necessary equipment’ )and they were off.

I’m sure you can imagine where this is going…my Dad and his buddy went to the neighbor’s home and eyed up the pet turkeys. They climbed over the fence with their gear in hand. Now the turkeys are getting a few ruffled feathers at the site of two strangers approaching them with…

hockey sticks.

Yes, that was their equipment of choice…hockey sticks. Needless to say, they successfully whacked a bird upon the head with a stick and quickly jumped back over the fence and crammed everything back into the Beetle.

The dinner conversation that evening was lively and memorable…so I’m told. Grandpa decided it was the perfect time to mention the neighbor’s troubling tale of his missing pet turkey. He also decided it was the perfect time to inquire about the mysterious acquisition of this year’s live turkey dinner. Especially since the bird weighed in at about 53 pounds!

I don’t know how the rest of the story goes from there…I do know that my Dad had to apologize for snagging that bird. I still can’t believe he used a hockey stick…that’s the part I find most amusing. It’s almost as funny as the time my Dad and his brother set the marsh on fire…but that’s a story for some other time. He tells them the best.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Challenge

"Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command" (Al Mohler).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Anxiety

"...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6, ESV).

"...fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10, ESV).

If you find yourself anxious about anything today, perhaps you'll find this post by Stephen Altrogee helpful:

Worriers Love Information

I would imagine an awful lot of people will be tempted to follow the media this evening trying to figure out what's going to happen in the future. I'm tempted to do the same. However, will that be the best way to spend my time. We may have a good idea late tonight about who our next president will be, but will my sitting around for hours this evening change anything? Will it be the best way to redeem the time? Will it further tempt me to anxiety? The news should be available and accurate in the morning. It will not be complete until the wee morning hours. So I'm going to cast my vote and pray. I'm going to pray too about how to spend my time this evening and not just assume that I should get caught up in the media's constant speculations.

Reading all of these blog posts is bringing out the anxiety in my heart. I don't want to be anxious with everyone...I want to trust in the Lord my God who is sovereign over all things! Won't you join me?