Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jumping In

I think we may look back at January 2008 as being a very emotional month. Leaving our church family has not been easy. In the midst of all of it, it has been so comforting to have the peace of knowing that we’re doing what God wants us to do. You would think that in all of the sadness we would want to stay, but we have no desire to stay because God has taken away that desire. It was hard to do of course, especially since we don’t know for sure which direction we’re going in now, but sometimes God says "Jump!," and we have to trust Him to catch us.

Did your dad ever stand in a swimming pool and ask you to jump to him? Or maybe your husband has done that with your children? It can be a little scary at first to jump, but dad knows what fun is awaiting in the pool, and he has no intention of dropping his children. As children, we can continue to sit on the side and miss out on all the fun, or we can take the plunge and see the joy that awaits!

That’s exactly what God is doing. He’s standing there asking us to jump to Him, and we have a choice. We can stay where we’re at – in the comfort zone - and miss out on an abundance of blessings or we can jump into the unknown and trust God to take us to places we never dreamed we could go.

God has asked us, as a family, to "jump" many times. For example, when our first child was born, we were both working full-time. I had a strong desire to quit work and be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. I think the entire nine months of the pregnancy hardly a day went by that I didn’t pull out a sheet of paper and write and re-write our monthly budget and try to figure out a way that I could stay home. The day before I was to go back to work after maternity leave, we had a visiting minister at our church that Sunday. He was preaching on how he had been pastoring a church but felt God leading him to be an evangelist. Budget wise, he didn’t know how this was going to be possible, but he trusted God to take care of everything, and of course, he had not been let down. I knew this was more than a coincidence that we were hearing that message at that time in our lives. I went into work the next day and turned in my notice (with my husband’s permission of course). I worked a two-week notice, came home full-time with my child, and we never missed a bill. God also blessed us by giving Brad a better job with better pay around this same time.

During our marriage, I can think of at least three large companies that Brad has worked for that business started going downhill after Brad started to work for them – and I promise he had nothing to do with it! (One of these being Delta Airlines. When he went to work there, he was told how Delta had never had a layoff. We all know what has happened since, and he was part of the first one.) God has always taken care of us in the midst of all of this. It was very hard humanly speaking to totally trust in God and the direction He was taking us, but we always saw the answers to our "why" questions sometime afterwards. For instance, Brad soon realized his calling to preach after going to work for Delta. Had he continued to work for that company, it would have been impossible to pastor a church.

After that he went to work for a company in the graphic arts industry (this is the company he went to work for after Madison was born). A few years later, he began to hear the rumors that this company was not doing well and would be closing soon. It was during this time that he contacted a friend of mine who worked for UPS about going to work for them. She was able to help out in that area, and he left this company and went to work for UPS. Talk about a "jump!" He had to start out in a part-time position and had to take a considerable pay cut, but he knew that it would eventually be worth it – plus UPS gives insurance benefits to part-time employees so that sealed the deal. I was a nervous wreck with a lack of faith. To make up the difference, Brad put ads in the local paper and phone book looking for painting and pressure washing jobs. He didn’t get rich doing this, but God always sent the work when it was needed. We never missed a meal or a bill. (By the way, the graphic arts company he had been working for closed about a year later.)

Soon after that we found out we were expecting our third child and a few months later Brad became a cover driver and started working virtually full-time – much quicker than he ever expected to! I can honestly say that we have not had children for this reason, but with each child, God has noticeably blessed us financially.

I could go on and on about ways God has provided ,but I’ll just stop where we’re at right now. God has told us to leave a wonderful congregation and start a new work – a reformation of sorts. We’re excited and admittedly a little nervous at the same time. Once again, we’re jumping into the unknown knowing that God is going to catch us. In fact, He already has. Now, we’re just waiting to see where He takes us. There are other unknowns in our life right now, but I am refusing to worry about those things. God has proved Himself over and over again, and I DO NOT want to be like the children of Israel that Moses had to deal with. God has always taken care of us, and I certainly don’t doubt that He’ll do it again. If you’re reading this right now and you are not trusting God in every area of your life, give it a try. I promises He’ll not let you down! We are living proof!

Proverbs 3:5,6 – Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Two Meal Ideas

I'm not going to post my menu this week as it's pretty boring and simple - organic hotdogs, lasagna, etc. I did want to post a super soup recipe that we tried over the weekend. Nothing beats being at home with my family on a cold winter night enjoying a nice bowl of warm and spicy soup!

Supper Idea
The name of the soup is Zesty Mexican Soup. Not only is this soup delicious, it's good for you! It has all sorts of vegetables in it. The only changes we made to it were to add diced chicken (I had some chicken breast filets that I cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked in extra-virgin olive oil), and we did not use the pumpkin seeds. I also used canned chopped collard greens as this was much easier. To go along with it, I made some Mexican cornbread. Yummy!!

Lunch Idea
Also, I know we're always looking for quick and easy lunch ideas around here, so I thought I'd share one of our favorites. It's super easy and not expensive at all. We almost always have plain tortilla chips in the pantry, so we take these on a plate and sprinkle some shredded sharp cheese on top. (Note: I always buy the blocks of cheese and shred it myself to avoid the preservatives in the pre-shredded cheese.) We let it melt in the microwave for about 20 seconds. I then cook some refried beans on the stovetop (our local Ingles has delicious organic refried beans for about $.98/can) and put these on top of the cheese, and then lastly I add sour cream, which we usually have on hand also. That's how we usually do it, but today we happened to have some fresh spinach and a jar of salsa, so we added that on top as well. Onions, black olives, and tomatoes are also good toppings should you have any.

Friday, January 25, 2008

End of the Week This and That

My 8-year-old daughter, Cari, painted the above picture at her oil painting class yesterday. I think she's a fine little artist! Of course, I do have to admit she has a wonderful teacher who could probably even teach me how to oil paint! Cari has this class once a month and really enjoys it (except for the fact that our group has a play day on this day, and she's usually torn because she really wants to go play with her friends. She always ends up enjoying her class though.) This is Cari's first year as the teacher prefers the students to be at least 8 years old before taking the class. Madison took for a few years and has gone a couple of times with Cari, but she didn't go yesterday.

Madison didn't go yesterday because she got her cast off! She's hoping she'll get to play in tomorrow's game, so she wanted to go to the gym and get some practice. She got in a little bit of practice, but all the kids ended up having a great time playing dodge ball and kick ball in the gym, but I figured both of those games were great tests for how she'll be able to handle a basketball game. I hope. I cannot believe how rough these 11- and 12-year-old girls can be! She does have to wear a soft brace for a couple of weeks, and then the doctor said she should be finished with all this.

I did get two more cabinets cleaned out this week, but I won't bore you with more photos of that. I cleaned out the medicine cabinet - I'm embarassed to say that I found some Rx medication from 2002! I went through the toddler-size cups and kept only those Amelia actually uses regularly, and I put more dishes in the yard sale box that I've never used or have rarely used. I guess I'll keep working in the kitchen next week finishing the rest of the cabinets and then moving on to the pantry and refrigerator.

I know I mentioned several weeks ago about our newest member of the family, our puppy named "Major" (that's him in the above picture wearing his #10 - Vince Young - Texas Longhorn jersey). He's doing much better now and is only going into his kennel to eat. He's even staying out all night and has been accident free. I think he did have one accident this week during the day, but that is "major" progress! I was beginning to think this day would never come, and there were a few times I was ready to find him a new home, but things definitely seem to be looking up now. I'm still hoping he'll turn out to be one of those dogs that goes to the door when it's time and then knocks when he's ready to come back in, but I'll be happy where we're at for right now.

As for an update on my 2008 goals, thankfully I'm up to date with my schedule of trying to read the Bible through this year (Even though it might be a month late, I've added a weekly Bible reading schedule to the side of my blog). The "For Sale" sign is in the yard. And lastly, the budget seems to be on track. In fact, I told Brad I think we can now reduce our grocery budget from $110 to $100. I know, it's not a huge change, but I'm all about baby steps! It certainly shouldn't be hard this week with all the stuff I bought last week.

This Sunday will be our last Sunday at the church Brad has pastored for the past seven years. They're giving us a going away lunch after the morning services. I know it's going to be sad, as has every other service since he resigned. But we know it's time to move on, and we're ready. I have another post I'm working on about that, but it's not quite finished yet.

As always, I thank God for His blessings, provision, and answered prayers this week. Psalm 100:4 "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Vision Forum $100 Passport!!!

Visit this post at Crystal's site and leave a comment to be entered into a giveaway for a $100 Vision Forum Passport, compliments of Vision Forum!!! (If you don't know what a "passport" is, it's another name for gift certificate.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Using Substitutions to Save Money

I wanted to make pancakes for breakfast this morning, but I realized I was out of baking powder. I contemplated running to Wal-Mart but knew that would be a waste of time. I tried to make them without it, and I ended up with a couple of frisbies. I then remembered seeing in a cookbook a table of substitutions. I found it, and thankfully baking powder was on there.

For 1 tsp. of baking powder, you can substitute 1/4 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar. I had these on hand, so we were able to have some fluffy pancakes afterall!

Here are some other substitutions that may come in handy sometime:

1 cup bread crumbs = 3/4 cup cracker crumbs

1 square (1 oz.) unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tablespoons cocoa plus 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

1 Tablespoon cornstarch = 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup corn syrup = 3/4 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup water

1 cup light cream = 7/8 cup milk plus 3 Tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream = 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup butter

1 clove fresh garlic = 1 tsp. garlic salt or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Decluttering continued...

Yesterday, after reading Mrs. E's post, I did go back and look at that cabinet with a different perspective. Did I really need to hold on to all that tea that I've had for months or years and haven't even touched? No. Out it went. I did save my favorites that I know we'll drink and a few other varieties that guests might enjoy while visiting.

I looked through the coffee cups, and since I never drink coffee, I put in the yard sale box the ones that I know Brad will never use. I'm not sure why I was holding on to those. My cabinet is much more spacious now, and I feel much better about that.

I'm not much for collecting things anyway. If it's not practical or being used, I'd just assume let it go. The only collection that I can note that I have is a collection of old tea cups that Brad's grandmother passed down to us when she downsized to an apartment a few years ago. These stay in my china cabinet, and the girls love to choose one to drink out of whenever we have tea. I'm certainly not fond of collections that can't be touched or must stay behind glass so that little fingers can't touch them, and we definitely use these. Amelia dropped one and broke it the other night, but those things happen. I really wasn't bothered. It's just a tea cup.

Cari has received several of the collectible holiday Barbies over the years, and I always allow her to take those out of the box and play with them. Sure, they usually end up in the donation box a few months later when the hair is all tangled up and the clothes are missing, but at least she enjoyed playing with them. Maybe in 100 years these would have been worth something, but have you ever tried to sell one on EBay? I didn't have much luck.

We were visiting a home the other day that had various collections in every room. In a basement room was a wall of bookshelves that had nothing but Barbies, dolls, and other collectible toys still in the box. My second thought was "What a waste!" Of course, my first thought was "some of these would do great on EBay!" This lady has a child my daughter's age, and I couldn't help but wonder what her daughter thought. This woman had more toys than her child did! I guess some people do it for the pure enjoyment of collecting, but all I can think of is how much unnecessary space they are taking up and how much extra dusting is required, etc., etc.

Anyway, I'm glad I read her post at the beginning of decluttering and not the end. It's given me a totally different perspective on the whole issue.

As for the cabinets, this one was my next project:

This one really wasn't that bad. I found a few things that needed to be thrown out, and mostly the cabinets needed cleaning from some honey that had dripped on the shelves. The spices were an issue also. Whenever I'm making a new recipe, I have to sort through all the spices (41 jars) to see if I have what I need. My solution was to print out in alphabetical order a list of all the spices that I have on hand, and I taped this list to the inside of the cabinet door for quick reference. I can add/subtract as necessary. Here's the finished product:

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Simple Home

Another book I’m reading right now is titled "The Simple Home" by Sharon Hanby-Robie. We were visiting with some new friends, and this book was sitting on their coffee table. My eyes were drawn to this book immediately because of the title and also because of the very simple yet eye-catching cover. It just shouted neatness and simplicity. I was asked if I would like to borrow this book, and of course, I said "yes"!

In her book, Mrs. Hanby-Robie says, "Our homes are the only environment over which we have control. As storms brew outside, our homes should be personal sanctuaries…. For most of us sanctuary is synonymous with simplicity." She goes on to say how cluttered homes can make it difficult to "maintain optimum spiritual health and peacefulness." I do agree. I admit I can feel a little stressed if I walk into the living room in the morning and can’t see the floor or when I’m emptying the dishwasher I have to push things around to make room in the cabinets or throw stuff in and shut the door quickly and run!

This week I plan to continue working towards my goal of getting rid of clutter. If we do get to move sometime this year, I want to go ahead and make that process easier by cleaning out as much as possible ahead of time. If we don’t get to move this year, it will still make this home easier to take care of.

I plan to work on my kitchen cabinets this week. I'll be baby-stepping my way (so to speak) through the cabinets, probably one or two a day. This morning I tackled the coffee/tea cabinet.

Here's the before picture:

The cups were everywhere, and coffee was mixed in with the tea - pretty much an unorganized mess. It didn't start out that way. My girls have the responsibility of putting up the dishes, and I guess I haven't done a very good job of telling them where I want things to go in this cabinet. We'll have to work on that.

Here's the "after" picture:

The "most used" cups went on the bottom shelf with the lesser used cups in the middle. I put all the coffee supplies on the middle cabinet. The top shelf is for sugar and tea. I had no idea how much tea I had! (Sorry, Angela! By the way, does tea expire? I don't know how long I've had some of it.)

Now back to the book, and a paragraph that sums up well my reasons for wanting to get my house in order:

"People want a home that is pretty enough for them to feel comfortable entertaining, and easy enough to care for so that they don’t feel like a slave to it. They want a place where family is nourished and friends feel welcome."

I think she read my mind!

Edit: Okay, after I posted this, I went over to Mrs. E's blog to see if she had any new posts. She did. I read it. I think I need to start over with my first cabinet....

(It's long but well worth reading.) http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/mrsE (the post titled "A Dangerous Immune Disorder")

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday (beginning on Saturday)

Saturday – Chicken wings/chicken fingers from Zaxby's, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, homemade whole-wheat rolls with honey butter, and vanilla ice cream w/caramel topping for dessert.

Sunday – Didn't have to cook! Most of the church services in the area, including our's, were cancelled yesterday because of the weather. My friend Anslea and her husband invited us over for a late lunch, and we had a great day of fellowship, food, and football-game watching - well, the men enjoyed that part! I made some peanut butter bars to take along.

Monday – Chicken Casserole, Bread

Tuesday - Roast, potatoes, and carrots in crock pot, cabbage slaw, and Mexican cornbread.

Wednesday – Monterey beans and rice (we’ve been trying to have this for three weeks, but it keeps getting replaced!)

Thursday – Mexican casserole.

Friday – Whatever is left, sandwiches, or eat out.

For more menu plan ideas, visit www.orgjunkie.com.

Friday, January 18, 2008

We finally got some snow!

We've been waiting for years to have some snow around here, and this past Wednesday the wait was over! (We're actually supposed to have some more tomorrow.) Here's a few pictures from our snow day:

Here's a picture of the girls as the snow was falling.

This is the snowman the girls made.

Lastly, here is a peaceful-looking night view.


Triple Coupons!!

Ingles had triple coupons this week, and I certainly took advantage of that situation!! I didn't take a picture of all my good buys as I felt like that would be more trouble than it was worth, so I'm going to quickly list my purchases. We have a budget of $110/wk for our family of five, and I think I went over by $2. I didn't have to go over, as I added some things we could have done without, and I miscounted my total as I was shopping. (I had to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart, and that's when I went over.) We will definitely not eat all of this stuff this week. Some of it will be put aside for future weeks, and I gave a few items to my mother who always saves me her coupons. You can visit Money Saving Mom to see other deals for the week from some other frugal shoppers.

Most everything I bought was on sale along with the coupons, but I'm going to note the best deals.

Cinnamon Life Cereal - 2 boxes
Honey Nut Cheerios - 2 boxes
Fiber One Granola Bars - 3 boxes
Quaker Oatmeal - 1 box
Uncle Ben's Rice, assorted varieties - 9 boxes (total of $2.00 for all nine boxes after coupons!)
Nestle Tollhouse Morsels - 1 pkg.
Kosher Pickles - 1 jar ($.25 after coupons)
Peter Pan Peanut Butter - 3 jars (free + overage! On sale for $.88/each and had $1.00 off coupons for each)
Maple Syrup - 1 jar
Hellman's Mayo - 1 jar
Diced tomatoes - 2 cans
Healthy Request Condensed Soup - 4 cans
Organic corn - 1 can
Whole wheat bread - 1 pkg.
Crescent Rolls - 3 pkgs.
Orange juice - 1 92 oz. jug
Yoplait yogurt - 18 cups (total of $5.40 or $.30/each)
Cottonelle TP 4-pack - 2 pkgs. ($.78/each)
Viva paper towels - 2 pkgs. (free!)
Organic turkey bacon - 1 pkg.
Perdue Italian chicken strips - 1 pkg.
Boneless chuck roast - 1 pkg.
Boneless chicken tenders - 1 pkg.
Broccoli - 2 pkgs.
Pizza rolls - 1 pkg.
Whole Wheat Lean Pockets - 3 boxes ($1.00/each)
Slaw mix - 1 pkg.
Salad mix - 1 pkg.
Grapes - 2 lbs.
Breyers vanilla ice cream - 1 box
Bagels - 1 pkg.
Cream cheese - 1 container
Lay's chips and Pringles - 1 each
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1 container
Rotel tomatoes - 1 can
PB crackers - 1 pkg.
Turkey luncheon meat - 1 pkg.
Sharp cheese - 1 pkg.
Organic half/half - 2 containers
Organic milk - 1 gallon
Nestle Water - 1 pkg. of 12
Beef broth - 1 can
Green tea - 1 pkg.
Utility sponges - 2
Electrasol Dish Tablets - 1 pkg. ($0.63)
Gum - 2 packs

Needless to say, I'm going to spend Saturday morning getting this stuff organized. I am so thankful that God has led us to this better way of shopping and frugality, and grocery shopping is fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A New Year, a new plan-ner

I've been using the same planner/organizer for around 6 or 7 years. This past year, the three-ring binder completely removed itself from its home within the organizer, so I had to face the fact that it was time to move on. It was one of those kinds where you just add the refill calendar each year and keep all of your other information.

I tried to find another one like it, but the ones I looked at didn't have all of the same sort of information that this one included for daily planning/organizing. Earlier in the year, I had looked at an organizer of sorts on MarmeeDear.com, and I seemed to keep coming back to it. I hadn't seen it in person, but it looked like something I would like. It's called Yearbook for the Homekeeper 2008.

I went ahead and made the purchase, and not only do I like it, I love it! I am really enjoying using this organizer. It has pages for everything! It is rather large, but I like that. It makes it easier to keep up with, and it allows for lots of room for writing in the spaces on the calendars.

The calendars are broken up into one week per page. Each week has a Bible verse at the top and a vintage-type motherly drawing. It also includes reminders for the week, some of which include: Take my vitamins, read my Bible and pray, be a helpmeet to my husband, be thankful in all things, be a blessing to someone, etc...

Some of my favorite pages in the planner include a monthly menu plan calendar along with shopping list, a place to record all of the books you have read for the year, an address file section, a place to keep up with Bible memory verses, and also a page to check off the Books of the Bible you've read for the year. There is so much more, so click HERE if you want to see the list of all the other information this planner allows for.

I ordered mine through The Old Schoolhouse Store, as I was able to save a little on shipping. It comes either spiral bound or three-hole punched for you to put in your own binder. I purchased the spiral bound, but I wish I had gotten the three-hole punch. I will next time. Next year, I guess I can just three-hole punch my reusable information myself and then purchase a new calendar for the things that need to be refilled.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy 12th Birthday, Madison!

We call this one "injured birthday girl."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chocolate Banana Muffins

This morning I'm going to share one of our favorite breakfast recipes.

A few years ago, I took a regular recipe for these muffins and tried to make a healthier version of it:

Chocolate Banana Muffins

2 cups sprouted, freshly ground wheat flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine mashed bananas, honey, oil and egg. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add to wet ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 mins. or until done. (I usually use the miniature muffin tins.)

NOTE: Yes, I am the stereotypical homeschool mom. I enjoy buying the wheat berries and milling our own flour for breads, etc. It tastes so much better and is much better for you. A couple of years ago, I began the process of sprouting the wheat berries before milling them into flour. Here's my reason for doing this (these paragraphs were taken from an article I have titled "Sprouting 101 - No Prerequisties Required." I don't know who the author was.)

The foundation of the living foods concept is the seed. Filled with nutrients needed by the growing plant, and suffused with vital enzymes, seeds are the very core of life. All the energy and life of a plant goes toward making seeds. Each seed holds vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in reserve, waiting the suitable environment to begin growing. When air, water, and a suitable temperature are provided, a miracle begins. The seed germinates, begins to sprout, and an incredible flow of energy is released. Natural chemical changes occur. Enzymes are produced to convert the concentrated nutrients into those needed by the growing plant.

As the sprouting process continues, carbohydrates are made easier to assimilate. Complex proteins are converted into more simple amino acids and fats are chnaged into fatty acids, which are easily digested soluble compounds. Vitamin C, along with some other vitamins found only in trace amounts in the seed, is produced in larger amounts during sprouting. In addition, sprouts absorb minerals and vital trace elements from the water used to grow and rinse them. Moreover, the minerals in sprouts are chelated; that is, in their natural state, they are chemically bound to amino acids, so that they are easily assimilated by the human body. Sprouts which turn green are rich in chlorophyll.

There are many things you can do with sprouted wheat at different stages of the sprout process, but here's the way I do it for milling flour. I put about 4 to 5 cups of wheat berries in a mixing bowl and cover with filtered water. I let these soak for around 12 hours or overnight, rinsing and recovering with water once or twice throughout that time. Then I pour the seeds into a collander to allow all the water to drain out. After about 8 to 12 hours , a small sprout begins to form at the end of the seed. At this time, I put the seeds into a dehydrator. With the temperature around 95 degrees, it takes around four to five hours for the seeds to dry. Then they are ready to be milled.

If you let the seeds sprout too much, they will be very light in weight and will not go through the grain mill very well. It will also take more seeds than usual to produce a normal amount of flour. You also want your seeds to be completely dry before storing (to keep them from molding) and milling (you'll have wet flour and may even damage your grain mill).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quick update -

We went to the orthopedic doctor yesterday, and that was the happiest group of doctors and nurses I've ever been around. Amazingly, we were in and out very quickly. They put a hard, fiberglass cast on her, and that was so interesting to see. I had no idea that was how they did it. If you've never seen it, first they put a sock-type thing on your arm, then they wrap it with softer, cloth-like stuff (sorry I don't know all the technical terms!), and then they gave her a choice of colors for the final wrap. She chose blue, and the nurse wrapped it up, got it wet, the cast got very warm, and then all of the sudden it was hard as a rock!

She'll probably have to wear it for two weeks. That was very good news as the doctor on Tuesday had said probably four to six weeks. Evidently it's not that bad of a fracture. There's a minute possibility that she could finish out the basketball season, but we're planning as though she won't in order to not cause any more disappointment. She's doing much better now, and I'm very proud of her. She's not one to mope around and pout about her circumstance. She's her usual jolly self, and I think that's wonderful. I'm also very proud of her little sister. I've been amazed at how Cari is taking care of her big sister and helping out with Madison's chores without even being asked. She made her a card the other night and put a $1 in it, and I thought that was very nice, too. Thankfully, most of us don't have to see very often how our children are going to respond in adversity. Even though this would probably be considered a small one (adversity), I've been happy with the response around here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It's a fracture....

We got in to see the doctor around 3:00 yesterday afternoon, and he sent her for an x-ray. He called later that evening and said it was a buckle fracture of the distal radius. We have to go see an orthopedic doctor today. She was really upset when I told her what he said. She wasn't worried about her arm - her sadness was all about missing the rest of the basketball season. I was really sad for her because I know how much she loves to play. I know there's a bigger reason for this, although we don't see it now or may never see it. I knew that game Saturday was going to be a rough game because of the team we were playing, and I specifically remember praying for her protection and that of the other girls. It wasn't God's will to answer that prayer, and I trust that He has a purpose in that. Or maybe He did answer it - this could be providing her protection from something worse.

She was feeling better last night after getting some phone calls and going out for ice cream after supper. We're anxious to hear what the doctor has to say today and what he plans to do....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

You're not going to believe this!

Have you ever been chased by a bat (the flying bat, not a baseball bat) at a basketball game? My daughter had a basketball game at an old dilapidated gym last night. I always dread going there (thankfully it's usually just once a year) as I am afraid there may be mice/rats under the bleachers, etc. But I never expected bats to be in the building. The girls started playing and after a while I noticed something flying around close to the ceiling. I thought, "surely not." But it was. And I can't stand bats! They really creep me out, and I have no desire to be close to one. Actually, I pretty much don't like to touch or get near anything that flies, especially if it carries rabies. During half-time, it went somewhere as I guess the noise was much less. When the second half started, here it came again, but this time it was swooping down onto the floor and the girls were actually ducking at times to keep from getting hit in the head by the bat! I was in panic mode. So I let out a scream and promptly left the gym and went in to the hallway while men were chasing this bat around with brooms and holding up shirts to throw on top of it. I heard a man say that they had killed a bat in there last week! Thankfully, the bat found a hole towards the top of the roof and made its way out and we were able to finish watching the game without fear of catching rabies.

Her team won, but Madison didn't get to play much last night. She had a game on Saturday and took a charge from a girl much bigger than her. Madison is pretty aggressive and isn't afraid to hold her ground in situations like that, but this is one time I wish she'd just moved out of the way. The other girl got the fowl called on her after knocking Madison flat on her back, but somehow Madison injured her wrist in the whole episode. We didn't go to the doctor as I wasn't sure how serious it really was, but after saying it hurt too much to play last night after going in for just a little while, I knew it must really be hurting because she really loves to play. I'll be making an appointment when the doctor's office opens this morning, and I just pray that it's not fractured or anything like that.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Saturday - Whenever we don't have any other plans on Saturday evening, Madison and Brad usually cook and try out a new recipe. We enjoy trying something new, so this is as nice as going out to eat. (We also usually watch a movie. We were going to watch Spiderman 3, but Brad wasn't sure about that after reading some reviews. So they went to the movie rental place while I cleaned up and came back with Mr. Bean's Holiday.......Let's just say I'm not a fan of Mr. Bean, but I don't guess it was the worst movie I ever saw. I just wish he'd talk more!) Our new recipe for the evening was Buffalo Turkey Burgers, and our meal looked just like the picture, complete with the potatoes, celery, carrots, and dipping sauce. It was really tasty!

Sunday - Applebee's Clubhouse Grill Sandwich (using only turkey) - This is a quick and easy meal that we enjoy often.

Monday - Lasagna and rolls.

Tuesday - Monterrey Beans and Rice, Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday - Creamy Potato Cheese Soup, Cornbread

Thursday - Applebee's Oriental Chicken Wraps - This is one of my favorite meals!

Friday - Whatever is left or Out to Eat

For more menu ideas, Visit Organizing Junkie!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Decorating with Christmas Presents

I love to decorate our home and make it feel cozy. I don't have as much time to scope out the good deals as I used to, so I love it when I receive gifts that give me ideas. I received a couple of those this year. I won't be re-decorating around here since we may be moving, but I'm already thinking ahead to our next home - whenever and wherever that will be!

Here is a pretty rooster bowl that I received from a friend. I love toile patterns, especially the black and white. I thought this piece would inspire a very pretty kitchen. I have red walls in my kitchen now, and I really like that, so I would probably do that again. Although, I do like the shade of yellow that is in the bowl. Hmmm..... I was in a Home Goods store the other day and saw lots of beautiful black and white toile dishes, so I can only imagine the possibilities. And I could always sew some black and white toile curtains - or maybe find a good deal on EBay!

Then my sister gave me these adorable, vintage-looking, ready-t0-be-embroidered towels. They are soooo cute, and came with a nice embroidered envelope case. I thought they could possibly make for nice kitchen decorations also - sort of a Rachael Ray style I would think. But I don't think that would fit my overall taste. Then I thought, "why not a child's room?" I don't know if Amelia would agree, but she's too young to know the difference at this point! I think these would make for a good "cow jumping over the moon, dish running away with the spoon" type of theme.

A friend from church gave me this adorable teapot lady, and I think she would fit in rather nicely with the towels.

Talk about putting the cart before the horse! There's not even a for-sale sign in the yard yet and we haven't come close to finding where we want to move to. But I'm ready to decorate as soon as we get there!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Finished the book.....

Finally finished the Family Driven Faith book, and I can strongly recommend it if you're interested in learning more about family worship and discipleship within the home and family integration within the church. I found it to be very encouraging. This is one of those books that makes such wonderful sense that it makes me wonder why I didn't realize this sooner!? I'm thankful for men like Mr. Baucham who are preaching this message across the nation. It is truly a reformation/revival, and I'm excited to be a part of it!

Before I move on, I wanted to share some of my favorite paragraphs from the book - or maybe I should say the paragraphs that "made me think":

"Why is it that Christian families think nothing of a lifestyle that demands hours per week traipsing across town, blood, sweat, and tears from our children, and thousands of dollars each year from our bank accounts, but the idea of a twenty-minute daily commitment to family worship immediately strikes them as too much to ask? I fear that we have lost our way. Christianity has become so marginal in our culture that even those who claim allegiance to Christ have very little to show for it in terms of time and commitment."

"I believe one of the greatest crutches in the church is the nursery. Parents who have neglected to train their children have very little encouragement to do so when there is a place to hide them. The father who should be up in arms by the time he gets home from church because of the embarrassment to which his child subjected him ends up going home with a clear conscience while the nursery worker takes a handful of aspirin."

"Consequently, many Christians believe the best thing they can do for their family is provide them with more stuff. So we continue to accumulate as though accumulation is the answer. All the while our children are screaming at us from beneath the piles of untouched toys and unworn clothes begging for a few minutes of our time. Time we simply don't have because we are too busy trying to find that one thing we can add to the pile that will make the screaming stop."

And the last paragraph of the book states...

"I have simply tried to remind God's people of what He has said on the subject of multigenerational faithfulness. The exciting thing is that God's people appear to be in the perfect position to hear His truth and act on it. The evidence is sobering. The answer is simple. The time is now. We will either win the culture one family at a time or will continue to lose the culture one family at a time. Either way, the family is the key."