Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GratiTuesday- My Faith

Today is a day of somewhat uncertainty in our house.  I can't go into details, but I will say that I have been in prayer about this day for almost a year, and it is my faith that has gotten us through this far in the foster world.  I'd like to tell you it's all roses all the time, but being in foster care is often full of uncertainty.  If you're not careful you can really let the uncertainty turn to fear and take over.  There is a certain amount of unsettledness every time we have to go through these things, but honestly, I have gotten the same answer in prayer over and over and over.  So while I'm going through the motions I'm not really worried.  I have felt that this was all decided a long time ago and that hasn't changed.  If I didn't have my faith I'd be an emotional mess.

Thanksgiving at our house was a little different this year.  We went to the Thanksgiving service at church for the first time.  We never go because we're busy cooking etc.  Well, this year we decided we just plain wanted to go and the food could wait.  And you know what?  It was FINE ;)  I spent the service in prayer of Thanksgiving to God purposing to not ask for a thing and was moved to tears several times as I thought over all of the things I have to be Thankful for.  I have many trials in my life, just like everyone else, but my faith in God keeps a smile on my face through these trials.

I have a lot of family who are not believers.  It's hard to balance with them sometimes.  My Dad was particularly ruffled because we had gone to church on Thanksgiving.  I'm not really sure why.  I don't Bible beat him, or even bring it up most of the time.  But for some reason he was ruffled this day.  As I navigated through the landmine of a conversation I really found myself feeling bad for him.  I did get a bit irritated and hurt, but didn't let him know, but mostly I got sad for him.  His life experiences and his reactions to them have brought him to the place he is and that is a place that is very lonely and void of hope.  He's angry a lot, not at anyone person, just at life in general, and it shows in his demeanor sometimes.  It really is sad.  He is my Daddy, the one who stepped in and took care of me when he didn't have to.  I owe so much to this man, and have such love and respect and adoration for him.  It hurts me to see him unhappy.  This conversation really hammered home how important my faith is to me.  He doesn't have it, and I see it play out in his life daily.  His outlook on life and mine are so different.  The richness of our lives is so different.  If I lived in such a faith starved world as he does I would be bitter and ornery a lot too!  The hardest part?  There is no telling him about God, or what God has done for me- or him.  He won't hear it.  So all I can do is watch him live out his life like this.  I'm in prayer for him constantly, and I try to be a good example for him, and hope that one day he'll turn a corner.  Not for me, not because I'm "righteous" or "have it all together", but because I believe his life will be so much richer if he does.

So, today I am so thankful for my faith, and the richness of my life lived out through that faith.

This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker for GratiTuesday.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Monday- 11/29

Wow...  I have to start cooking again.... Darn ;)  We've sufficiently gone through all of our leftovers and I think most of us are pretty tired of turkey now...  So I think I'll put some beef on the menu ;)

Monday:  Beef Enchiladas

Tuesday:  Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

Wednesday:  Home Group- I don't have to cook ;)

Thursday:  Snack Dinner

Friday: Sloppy Joes, Corn

Saturday:  Pizza

Sunday:  Beef Stew, Rolls

Breakfasts:  Homemade Donuts, Breakfast Tacos, Oatmeal

Lunches:  Leftovers, Mac and Cheese, Sandwiches,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Supper Sunday-Turkey Soup

Hopefully you have thoroughly enjoyed your Thanksgiving and all the left overs that have been consumed :)  And, hopefully you saved your turkey carcass...  Ugh- that sounds so yucky, doesn't it?  Carcasss...  Carcass... Carcass....  Nope, still sounds ick.....  Turkey bones?  Turkey body?  I digress...  Anyway, I have a treat for you that my sister got me started on several years ago.  Turkey Soup!  When you are getting tired of the left overs this is a great way to get through them without it seeming like you're still eating the same thing :)  If you didn't save your .......a hem... carcass.... this year, be sure to save it at Christmas or New Years or whenever you next make a bird ;)

Turkey Soup
Turkey carcass
Left over veggies- carrots, celery, corn, peas, onions (or frozen varieties, whatever you have is fine)
Left over turkey if you have it, but there will be enough on the bones if you don't, so it's fine either way :)
Take a LARGE stock pot and place the carcass inside and cover  with water.  Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.  Cook on Med-high heat for a good couple of hours until the bones have released all that yummy flavor and you end up with a huge pot of broth ;).  Some people put onions and celery etc in while this is going on, but I don't, so if you want to you can ;)  I just like my veggies a little crisper....  Remove all of the bones from the broth.  Add in your noodles.  Heat until noodles are done and then add in meat and veggies.  Continue cooking for about 30 minutes longer until all of the flavors have combined...  You can leave it simmering on low for a while if it's not time for dinner yet at this point ;)

Make up some rolls, and maybe some cookies for dessert ;)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Singing Saturday- O Come O Come Emmanuel

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and my favorite is Enya's version.  You may wonder about the other words that are in this version.  They are from the original Latin version of the song.  I found a very interesting article on wikipedia about the history of this hymn.

Veni, veni, Emanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude, gaude, Emanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

I came, come, Emanuel!
And ransom captive Israel!
That mourns in lonely exile here,
The Son of God.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emanuel
Shall be born for thee, O Israel.

So, here it is :)

O come, O come Emmanuel,
To free your captive Israel.
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel.

Veni, veni, Emanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude, gaude, Emanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

( Chanting - Gaude, gaude )

Refrain: (2x)
Gaude, gaude, Emanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Family Time Friday-Christmas Traditions

If you've been reading my blog for a while, or if you know me at all, you know I am big on traditions.  I've blogged on this very subject here, here, here, here, and even a little on Christmas traditions here!  Are you tired of hearing about traditions yet?  Too bad :)  I've mentioned before how important I think they are to children, and I'm going to say now that I think they're important to your marriage, and your overall mental health too.  I have always found myself grounded in tradition.  Sometimes I even use my traditions as a crutch, I guess, but I figure that's alright :)  There was a time in my life shortly after my parents divorced that I really struggled through the Christmas season.  I've spoken many times on here about my strained relationship with my mother.  Well, one of my good memories of my mother is her love for Christmas.  And that love for Christmas has always been a source of glue for us.  A source of commonality between us.  Well, as things got worse and worse between she and I and she allowed her boyfriend more and more control over her life Christmas became more and more difficult.  The Christmas before my Grandfather died I tried to bury the hatchet between us and told her we'd like to come to Utah for Christmas, knowing that it was probably Grandpa's last Christmas.  She told me it wasn't a good idea because her boyfriend would be uncomfortable, and I was devastated.  I had a hard time with Christmas that year, (and for the next couple to be truthful).  I had virtually no Christmas Spirit.  My husband was amazing during that time.  He's not big into Christmas like me, but he saw the value in the traditions both for our children and for me and he forced me to start a new tradition with him- one of cutting down our own Christmas Tree.  Since that year we have gone to this farm to cut down our tree.  It has become Tradition!  ;)  That first year we went out the last weekend before Christmas and we ended up with quite the Charlie Brown Tree, but that is now a funny memory to us all. 

One thing that I've never stopped doing with my kids is something my Grandma started with me and my sister and cousins when we were young- making Gingerbread Houses.  Most years we make the gingerbread from a mix, last year we got a baby, and were sleep deprived, but we didn't let that stop us!  We just bought the kits and decorated from there.  This year?  I think I'm going to try homemade gingerbread :)  Some years just the kids make their houses, a couple of years I've made my own too.

Another thing my grandma would do with us is take us to the Nutcracker.  I took the boys for the first time last year, and I don't think I'll do it every year like my grandma did, but we'll definitely go often.

We have gone out to the Twilight Firelight at Fanthorp Inn several times, but not every year, as it depends on the other things going on in our lives and if we're free that evening.  We really love it, though!

When I can find them I buy the Chocolate Advent Calendars for the kids- the ones with the piece of chocolate each day from December 1-24...  I always loved these as a kid, but unfortunately I can't always find them for the kids :(

We also try to watch as many of the 25 Days of Christmas movies on ABC family as possible :)

We have more Christmas morning/Eve traditions, but I'll save those for another day...

I'd love for you to share your Christmas season traditions with us!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday- My Christmas List

I'm sharing my Christmas list with you.  It is very materialistic, because I'm going on the assumption that you know I wish for world peace, health and happiness, for my lost family members to come to Christ etc....  I'm sharing it to give the other women some ideas for their own lists, and I'd love it if you would share your lists with me, so if I've missed something I can add it to mine ;)

So here goes:

That's what I can think of for now.  I know my husband will look at this list and say no- I'm not getting you a mop and  blender and food processor for Christmas- those are not fun, but things we need for the house.  But really, these things would be for me, because I'd be the one using them most of the time.  And, these things would make my life easier, which is a gift in itself :)

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    GratiTuesday- Health

    My Pastor gave a very good sermon on Sunday, and the "after sermon" as it is lovingly termed by parishioners, (the extra stuff he says during announcements LOL)was even better. He spoke briefly about Thanksgiving and why it's important to come to church on Thursday. I'm embarrassed to admit I've never gone to the Thanksgiving service. I'm always busy cooking. This year I think I might. He reminded us that as we go about our normal lives, when we have very little happening that is earth shaking we sometimes forget that we still have things to be thankful for- especially our health. There are so many people who are ill, or nearing the end of their lives, and if you are healthy you should be thanking God for that.

    So true! How often do we get down on our knees when we're desperate, or in need of something... How often we praise in Thanksgiving to our God when we're happy with the end result of something.... But the ordinary, day to day life? Well, we're just too busy to thank God for that, or we just plain forget!

    I have several friends who are suffering physically, and emotionally. I have many friends suffering from cancer, some nearing the ends of their lives. My healthy body is not lost on me, but I definitely could say thank you to our God more than I do.

    So today I am so grateful for my health, and the health of my immediate family. We are very very blessed.

    Oh- and did I mention? Fr. D promised a "3 minute sermon"... Yeah... we'll see LOL

    This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker for GratiTuesday.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Menu Monday- 11/22


    Mmmm... Thanksgiving this week! I have the turkey thawing in the fridge, which means there is basically no room in there for anything else... So,, it'll be really simple this week with minimal left overs (until Thursday) ;)

    Monday: Snack Dinner
    Tuesday: Burgers
    Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
    Thursday: Umm.....
    Friday: Left Overs
    Saturday: Left Overs
    Sunday: Turkey Soup

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Supper Sunday- Frog Eye Salad

    As promised, here is my Grandma's Frog Eye Salad recipe. This dish brings up so many wonderful memories for me. I hope you enjoy it :)

    Frog Eye Salad

    1 Cup Sugar
    2 TBS flour
    1  3/4 cup pineapple juice (I use what's left from the cans of pineapple and it's almost always the right amount)
    2 eggs beaten
    1 TBS lemon juice

    3 quarts water
    1 TBS oil
    16 oz Acini De Pepe Pasta
    3 cans mandarin oranges
    2 20 oz  cans pineapple tidbits
    1 (8 oz) and 1 (16 oz) tub of whipped cream
    1 cup mini marshamallows
    1 cup coconut (optional)

    Boil acini de pepe in 3 quarts of water and 1 TBS oil.  Drain and cool.  Combine first 6 ingredients in a LARGE bowl.  Add cooled pasta, then fold in remaining ingredients by hand being careful not to over stir.

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Singing Saturday- Jesus is the Lord

    This is not my favorite version of this song on the YouTube video, but it's the best one I could find...  This is an incredibly powerful song..  Hope you like it :)

    Jesus is the Lord- Travis Cottrell
    Jesus Christ, crucified
    Bled and died to save our lives
    Giver of boundless love
    Faithful One to You we run

    Every knee will bow
    Every tongue will shout
    Jesus is the Lord, Jesus is the Lord
    And every eye will see
    The coming of the King
    Jesus is the Lord, Jesus is the Lord

    Son of Man, Great I Am
    Healing power is in Your hands
    Risen One, It is done
    Sin and death are overcome

    You're worthy of worship
    You're worthy of praise
    You're worthy of honor
    You're worthy of thanks

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Family Time Friday- Birthdays

    We had a birthday in our house this week and we're having the party tomorrow. Well, we're having our 6th Annual Family Picnic and featuring the birthday with it- mostly because it's all the same people who would come to both :)

    6 years ago Mikey asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said I wanted a party where everyone brought their family and just hung out at the park for the day. We have really great weather most of the time in November, and this year is no different- supposed to be 73 degrees!- so I thought it would be nice. Six years later, we're still doing it :)

    This year we're celebrating a very special kiddo... and this post is about birthdays!

    One of the things I started when the boys were little is I would write them a letter every year on their birthday. I'll admit over the years I haven't gotten a letter written every year, but I hope they'll appreciate the ones I have written. I sure do like re-reading over them :)

    Another thing I try to do is make their day special all day long. Like for breakfast on this particular birthday we had Mickey Pancakes, because we watch Mickey's Clubhouse every morning around here :)

    And I always make a special cake...  I've made quite a few over the years, and have taken cake decorating classes just to keep up with my kids' expectations LOL...

    And, finally, we have a "Birthday Plate" that only the birthday person gets to eat off of on their birthday :)

    I'd love to hear what the rest of you do to make birthdays special :)

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Thoughtful Thursday- Thoughts that have to stay quiet....

    I'm sitting here trying to figure out what to say and what I want to say I can't. There is so much I would love to be able to share right now, but instead I have to sit here and find something to say. We've had several things happen in our family over the last week, and I'd love to share it all with you and tell you all of the things that are swirling around in my head. Some of the things I can't talk about because I've already hurt one friend's feelings and I don't want to hurt more feelings. Some things I can't tell you because we live in the CPS/foster care world. It's been an emotional roller coaster of a week and I'm pretty much exhausted. So, today I'll just say that while I am very "thoughtful" today, I just have to be introspective.... which I'm really not good at.....

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    GratiTuesday-my boys

    My older sons are the best.  I mean it!  They are usual teen and tween- agers, and I get on to them about the usual things that mothers get on to their tween/teenagers about, but their hearts are so kind.  They really teach me how to see other people sometimes.  Sometimes I get irritated with people about this or that, and let that irritation cloud my opinion of that person.  My boys can keep it separate- much like the "hate the sin, not the sinner" concept.  Beyond that, they are so great to the little ones.  I went out the other day to run some errands and was gone for a couple of hours...  When I got home they were so excited to play with the babies- it just made my heart swell :)  They could be aggravated because their lives have been changed by having the babies, but they don't see it that way.. 

    They said at dinner the other night- "life is different with the babies, but a good different- not so boring :)"  LOL!!!  Well, they've got that right- definitely NOT boring ;) 

    Sometimes I'm not the best mom.  I get short with the kids and don't treat them the way they deserve to be treated.  They don't often even remember what I did or said when I apologize to them.  They teach me about unconditional love.

    I often say that they are my world, and they really are.  I truly believe that God designed me to be mother and wife first and the other stuff is just extra.  I am my happiest when I'm having a good time with my kids, and I feel the most accomplished when they accomplish something.  I can't even put into words how grateful I am to have such wonderful kids.

    This post is linked to Heavenly Homemaker for GratiTuesday.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Menu Monday- 11/15


    We did briskets with the boy scouts this past week, so I'm going to try something new this week.  I was thinking it might be good in some chili...  If it turns out I'll post the recipe!

    Monday:  Stuffed French Toast, bacon

    Tuesday: Chili made with Brisket...

    Wednesday:  Taco Soup

    Thursday: It's a birthday in our house, probably something easy and birthday cake

    Friday: Snack Dinner

    Saturday: Family Picnic- potluck

    Sunday: Chicken Dinner in the crock pot

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Supper Sunday- Easy Lisa's Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I had a friend who shared this recipe with me a long time ago, and we teased her and called them Easy Lisa's Chocolate Chip Cookies instead of Lisa's Easy cookies :) It just kind of stuck.... Hope you enjoy them :)

    Easy Lisa's Chocolate Chip Cookies

    1 cup Peanut Butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1 cup chocolate chips

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Be careful- they burn quickly!  Pull them out even if they don't look totally done :)


    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Singing Saturday- Nothing But the Blood

    Nothing But the Blood- Hillsong United

    Oh precious is that flow
    That makes me white as snow
    No other fount I know
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

    Verse 1:
    What can wash away my sins?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus
    What can make me whole again?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus

    Verse 2:
    This is all my hope and peace
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus
    This is all my rightness
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus

    Verse 3:
    Glory, Glory, this I sing
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus
    All my praise for this bring
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Family Time Friday- Black Friday

    Black Friday is in 2 weeks!!! I'm so excited. I never used to shop the Black Friday sales until a few years ago. Once I went once I was hooked!!! Then about two years ago I found a website that actually gets the ads ahead of time and scans them in. They have a page for the ad scan and the deals listed in text on another page. They also email you when there is a particularly good deal they have come across, or lately the stores have started "Pre-Black Friday Sales", so they email you all of that info too!!!  Black Friday.Info is my go to place to start formulating my plan!  Of course there is nothing like the actually ad in your hand, so I rescan everything Thanksgiving night with my husband and we formulate my plans together.

    I've had a hard time trying to figure out what to get my older boys for Christmas this year.  It seems, that they are spoiled rotten and already have everything!  LOL  ;)  Well, as I've been scanning the ads as they've been posted I've gotten a couple of good ideas that I'm going to try to make happen on Black Friday :)

    I also am getting older *wink wink* and am getting a little forgetful in my older age, so I've devised a system to keep track of the gifts.  I started a page in my OneNote Notebook that I listed everyone I'm buying a gift for and what I'm getting them, whether I've purchased it or not and whether it's wrapped.  This way I can keep track of where I'm at and shop a little early when I see things are on sale.  I am also shopping for people with more of a purpose, which I feel better about and saves me time.  :)

    Last year when I started this list in the computer (which, by the way allows me to password protect that page so not even my husband can see it) I also started wrapping presents as I bought them.  Have you ever bought something and then hidden it, and when you went to do your mass wrapping couldn't find it?????  Yeah....  We've had lots of Christmas presents for the kids turn into Easter presents over the years LOL...  Well, no more of that!  I already have a nice stack of presents on my dresser wrapped and ready for Christmas, and I even know what's in them because it's in my electronic brain- my OneNote file!  WOOHOO...  I'm finally getting this down!