Sunday, November 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

The next two weeks will be a bit busier than normal. Who am I trying to fool here? It is going to be nuts! But at the end, we will be finished with all Christmas type programs the girls are in and we should be able to really have the week or so before Christmas arrives to really concentrate on what it is all about. I hate that hectic feeling during the holidays and refuse to take the focus off of Jesus to just be busy doing all the little things we think are so important to make it what we think it should be. I think it is great to have traditions but if that tradition begins to be the focus and not Jesus Christ, than even good, fun traditions must go. Ok, I'm stepping off the soapbox. haha! Not sure where that came from but I am thinking it might have been one of those things I needed to write so I would remember what we are doing this month. :)
So, coming off a lovely relaxing weekend with family and my dear friend, Lainie, at the lake house...I am ready to take on this week! Here is what we will be enjoying this week:
Monday: (BSF) sandwiches, chips, veggies (quick and easy and get on the road!)
Tuesday: (dance) Wraps for the road, apples, chips (so jealous....aren't ya?!)
Wednesday: (choir practice for Bean) Biscuits and Gravy, fruit salad
Thursday: (girls at grandparents, Date night to Cincy) Dinner at Cincinnati Christian Univ.
Friday: Crockpot lasagna, bread, salad
Saturday: (Bean's play at church) Stovetop chicken and rice casserole, broccoli, oranges
Sunday: (girls go to Yuletide Celebration with my parents) Veggie soup, fresh bread, cottage cheese

See more menus at

Cherished Moments

This weekend was a lovely time with family as we celebrated Thanksgiving weekend with Matt's family this year. (we rotate years) I so enjoyed spending time with his parents and sister's family as well as all his cousins, aunts, uncles....etc. It is a big group! After the dinner crowd left, I really had an enjoyable night with Tammy, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law as we all worked at straightening up their library. Although the process was painful for my MIL, I know she cherishes those moments with all of us together. The four kids had so much fun together they ended up having a cousin sleepover at Grandma's. That allowed me to get home and pack for my lake house escape with my friend Lainie for a much needed scrapbooking retreat.

Matt got up early and drove over to the lake house to turn up the heat and turn the water pump on for the ladies. (Have I mentioned what a great guy I am married to before?) Anyway, Lainie and I arrived at the lake at very close to the same time on Friday afternoon. We ate lunch and laughed some before getting started on our books. We worked on those things until dinner and then back to it until things started getting a bit loopy! That is what I cherish about these trips with my dear friends....losing it over something so simple as green glitter for example! Who would think that green glitter would bring such joy or giggles..but trust me it can when you are tired enough and hopped up on caffeine! We actually went to be early for us and both slept well.

While I was scrapbooking, my girls were able to spend Friday night and Saturday with my parents and their cousins on that side. They had a blast! Matt took a friend down to chop wood at his uncle's home. They also enjoyed that time together. Matt's uncle has always been a dear man in Matt's life. Lately, this uncle has not been well and I know that weighs on Matt. So while I played, he got to go do the same. Funny how his "playing" always involves a machine or tool! :)

On Saturday, Lanie's family came to pick her up after lunch to go hiking. (Did I mention what a nice guy she is married to as well?) You should have seen the kids' excitement as they explored the lake house! Truly can't wait to take them out on the boat someday. Too sweet!

Sharing life with those friends who become your chosen family is just as sweet as sharing life with the family God has chosen for you. Once Lainie's crew headed out, my husband and girls joined me for the evening at the lake. There is just something about being on the water that makes you just relax and know that God is in control. I wish I could find that same feeling by looking at the water in my kitchen sink...but since I don't, I guess I'll just do the dishes and head back to the lake for that much needed refreshment when needed. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There is hope!

This morning, I find myself saddened by the news of a dear friend from school passing away. This friend not only is gone, but I found out he also took his own life. So many thoughts whirl through my head with the knowledge of this information. What was going on in his life that would make him feel this was the only way? Why would he want to leave his precious baby here with no daddy? Why did I not tell him about the hope there is in Jesus? That last one is the one I am clinging to right now. Why did I not tell him, or all my friends for that matter, about the precious love of Jesus before it was too late? If we weigh the measure of success on earthly standards we will always come up short. There is no way to find success or worth in the world. Our worth has to come from Christ alone.

Today, I am sad for this family. I struggle with how to reach out and yet I know this is not the only friend from school or person God wants me to share the hope of Jesus with. So I wonder, who will God bring to my mind today. Will I be bold enough to share this hope? What else do I need to wake me up to the importance of sharing our faith in a bold manner? My heart aches for the family but also for the many others in this world that do not know the hope, faith and love of Jesus Christ. So with that in mind, I keep singing this song in my head and thought I'd share it with you....

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of this earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

His word shall not fail you He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of this earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

I realize I skipped a verse. These just happen to be the two that are screaming in my head. I am so thankful for the hope we have in Jesus and am eager to share that more openly in the future. But for now, I want to pray for this family in sorrow and for this precious 3 year old boy who will never really know his daddy. Hitting my knees.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah!

Do you ever go through times when you just feel kind of...well, kind of blah?! I have been struggling with that feeling for about a month or two. Couldn't really put my finger on what the problem was and yet I just did not have my normal zest for life. I would not say this was a true depression, but I understand how those who struggle with that in their life would need assistance other than family and friends.

I have had no desire to get up in the morning and start my tasks ahead of me. I have found it hard to allow myself to find joy in the every day things as I usually do. I have struggled to just smile. I just felt blah.

I have been told that it is because I am a mom and give so much of myself to my girls and husband and needed to take some time for me. I think that is a very normal response to this feeling. I must say, that approach did not work. Pushing them away made me feel worse. They gave me a couple days to just be still and alone with my thoughts. What did I think about? The fact I was missing out on all the fun they were having! So that did not work.

I certainly have not been blah all the time. I mean I giggle a lot. I love to laugh. So that is still true. I just didn't have the same oomph to handle my tasks at hand nor the desire to do it.

This week, my husband and I had a discussion that sent me to my knees in prayer. The topic is not what was important but what I found there on my knees would be. As I knelt and prayed, I found that my blahs were leaving. I cried tears of joy and some tears of sadness for situations out of my control. I realized that my blahs have nothing to do with what is going on in my home. What the blahs for me have been about is a direct relation to my pulling away from my heavenly Father. I stopped having that daily prayer time. I stopped digging in His Word for answers in handling the daily tasks. I started going through the motions. Sure we talked about God and what He expects in our home but I stopped meeting with Him daily.

I learned something valuable there on my knees. I can not do the jobs God has called me to do without Him. I am not capable to pull that off. I rely deeply on His guidance, love and wisdom in all areas of my life. When I choose to stop that daily meeting in order to get more sleep or do more jobs, I am choosing to step into the world of the blahs. I will say that while I feel better today, I know that this shifting back to my normal zest for life will be a process. I know what I need and I know how to get it. Now I just need to do it.

As I was reading today, God gave me this verse:

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:16

Can you imagine?! I wept. He knew just the right thing I needed to read today so that I could find my way back. I am thankful for a loving heavenly Father who meets my every need. Do you need to have a meeting with Him today? He truly is my everything and He can be that for you too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feel the pressure...cooker that is!

Well, my friend Lainie, has outed me with hinting at a story to blog about pressure cookers. :) So I took the bait and I think it is something those of us who use these lovely pots need to know.

I inherited my pressure cooker from my Gram. She had it for years before I received it. I just love it! The size is perfect to make stews, soups for large groups and of course big roasts, ribs, chicken to boot. So I used it a lot because I am known for forgetting to lay out the meat needed for supper that night. (getting better by the way) Anyway, this certain fall day about a year ago or so, my family was outside and I decided to make my homemade veggie soup. I think it tastes better after letting it cook all day allowing all the tastes to come together and make this yummy bowl of comfort food. MMM! This time, I did not have all day as lunch was needed in about 45 minutes.

So I pulled out the pressure cooker knowing that would work as well. I did all that you are suppose to do to get it ready and I came in to make sure that the top vent dealy was just dancing a little bit but not over the top. This was not my first time using this device by all means. About ten minutes later, I hear an explosion in my kitchen! I run in to see what was making that sound.

To my horror, I found a fountain of veggie soup spewing from the top vent of my pressure cooker. I could not take the lid off yet and the fountain was not stopping just by removing the pan from the heat!!! I had vegetable soup all over my kitchen from the backsplash, up the cabinet fronts and most of it was on my ceiling!!!! How do you get vegetable soup off the ceiling?! Anyway, I am a problem solver by nature so I didn't panic, but I grabbed towels and threw them on top of the lid so it would spew into the towels instead. Then I stood back to take it all in.

You had to laugh! I mean, if not, you cry at that moment. I have never had a bath in vegetable soup really. However, I feel certain I know what a shower would feel like. We still have a mark on our ceiling that is a reminder of this moment. It truly made me stop making that soup for a bit! Now, we are just more certain to check the vents and rubber seal as the company suggests. Good to know why they say that. So glad I could take one for the team in figuring that out for everyone. I now share this story with those who tell me they use their grandma's pressure cooker as well. It always brings laughter, but I assure you that at that moment when I saw the fountain o' soup spewing out of that cooker, I was not laughing....yet. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Let the Little Children Lead Us....

As a mom, I have found many times when my girls will cause me to stop in my tracks and stand in awe of what they are doing. Sometimes due to sheer amazement that one child could make such a mess, but that was when they were much younger. Lately, I have found myself standing in awe over my Doodle's disciplined spiritual life.

I walked into her room the other day and spotted a new sign on her wall. She likes to make and decorate signs and posts them as needed. Sometimes these signs will have scripture to help her be kind to her younger sister. Other times they will just have a fun saying she enjoys. This one made me stop in my tracks. It said:

I, Doodle, vow to God that I will not watch tv, play on the computer or play outside until I have spent time with God each day.

Now the difference between us is simply that I have that same desire and yet I fall short of meeting that goal daily. She doesn't. When she says she is going to do it, she does. She finished her chores over the weekend and asked if she could play on the computer. I agreed. About 15 minutes later, I came around the corner and she was not there. I called for her and asked her if she was going to play on the computer. Her answer: "Yes, but I needed to spend time with God first". Let me just say, not only does that make me proud, it makes me fall on my knees and pray that I will follow suit. She gets it. She follows through which is amazing at her age. What a blessing to let the little ones lead. ( I will post pic of signs later)

Menu Plan Monday

This week is really the same ol' same ol'...nothing new. So we are going to be trying to finish up some loose ends around the house. (at least what we can until we get bookshelves installed) The girls have dance and BSF but the rest of the week, we will be home. It is suppose to be a gorgeous week as well. Yeah! So here is the plan:

Monday: (BSF) left overs (quick and easy and get on the road!)
Tuesday: (dance) PB&J on the road, apples and pretzels (I know you are jealous!)
Wednesday: Baked cream o'celery chicken, buttery noodles, broccoli
Thursday: Pulled BBQ Beef , baked beans, salad
Friday: Individual Beef Wellington's, salad, fruit
Saturday: Mexican Skillet dinner, chips n salsa
Sunday: Baked Spaghetti, bread, salad

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Big Brothers Rock!

Do you have an older brother by chance? I do. Over the years of growing up, we certainly had our moments of fighting, laughing, learning various things together. Tom is 2 years older than me...well, actually 2 and a half! :) He has always been very protective of me throughout school. I loved that and still do. When Matt travels, I know if I needed him to come check out some sound in the night, he would do so without whining or complaining. That is just what he does. What brought on these thoughts?

Tom and all his girls. :)

Well, Matt left for Chicago on Friday. We are still in the midst of a transition in our home remodel. I feel helpless most the time as I can not do the different tasks simply because I don't know what to do. That got me to thinking. Matt must feel overwhelmed with his "to do" list because I just can't help much beyond cheering him on during his tasks. While he appreciates that, it is not checking things off quickly. So on Friday, the girls and I went to Menard's and found the lights we had wanted to switch out in the hallway. Then Tom, Tommy to me, got the call. I wanted to have him teach me how to exchange lights so Matt would not have that on his list and I could learn something new to be more helpful.

Saturday afternoon, he and his girls came over. He did the first light, explaining everything he was doing along the way. He was an excellent teacher. I did the second light by myself. While I was excited, only one of the bulbs turned on, which meant something was not connected correctly. Regardless, he showed me what was wrong with grace and we tried again. After three attempts, he made sure I had it connected correctly so nothing would start a fire! (he works for Koorsen!) Then he sat down and talked to me for an hour. Just chatting about his job changes, girls, etc. It just made me feel that although we are all grown up and have our own families, those times of laughing, learning together are not over. I am grateful for all of my family, but last night when Matt came in and saw lights, well, I was just so grateful I have a brother who gets my heart and is willing to come over to help me bless my husband. I truly love the men in my life....thanks Tom. You have always been a big brother who ROCKS! :)
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