Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday Menu- The Short List

Good morning, my friends!  The sun is shining BIG today and it is the start of a great week for us!

But a great week for us, means a short menu for you! ;)

You see, we are headed out in a few days to see Riley, daughter #2, in her college performance of Into the Woods!  No worries, the dogs and the house are being well watched!

The exciting part is that means I only have to, I mean will, cook three days this week.

Well, the other exciting part is seeing this cute face!

Excuse me while I do a party dance!

Don't get me wrong, I do love cooking for my family, but sometimes it is nice to have a little break.  Plus let's face it, it only takes a few meals out to make you appreciate home cooked ones even more!  So on that note-

Our short list-

Monday- Egg rolls and Fried rice

Tuesday- Meatballs

Wednesday- Breakfast Burritos

Together soon!

Friday, October 13, 2017


Are there days that you just struggle to get through?  Days that you are tired of being sick?  Or days that you are tired of stress?  Or days that you are just- TIRED?

Oh friends, I have been there a lot lately.

Tired of pain and not feeling well.  Tired of struggling to school a child that wants to fight me every step of the way.  Tired of sadness and stress.  Tired of- well, a lot honestly.

And sometimes most of all, just tired of pretending all is well.

Sometimes all is not well.

But who wants to say, yeah, I am struggling right now.  Or yeah, things stink right now.

I get tired of myself some days.  I can only imagine how others feel.

But here's the thing.  We all go through rough spots in our lives.  Some are mercifully short lived and some are not.   When you are in them, whether short or long, they are no fun.

Refining, but often no fun.

I am pretty sure God is doing some refining in my life.

  • Teaching me that there is a time to share and let others help bear my burdens and a time to just simply turn to God.

  • That there can often be times of great pain and sorrow in our lives and that of our children's, but then he sends joy and hope when you least expect it.

  • That there are times that we are healthy and then there may be times when we have to slow down and allow God to restore our bodies.

  • That there are times when we are ministered to by friends and times when we must do the ministering. 

And all the while, God is using it all to refine us.  To draw us closer to Himself.  To make us more like Him.

Sometimes it is a long, painful road.

Always it is a worthwhile one!

If you are reading this and are in a rough season of your life, I want to encourage you today.  Know that you are not alone.  Know that you are loved.  And know that  you will get through.

God is with you and He loves you!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday Menu Meets the Freezer

Another week, another menu!  Does anyone else feel like they spend a lot of their days in the kitchen?  Thankfully with a planned menu in hand it does cut down on the time a little.  Hey, I will take what I can get.

This week two of the recipes we are using, both new to us, were specifically chosen with saving time in mind.  A blogging friend raved about a cookbook called, Fix, Freeze and Feast so I broke down and ordered it from Amazon.  With over 125 recipes, it concentrates on meal prep in bulk and then freezing for later meals.  One thing I like is the simplicity of it.  Some meal recipes only make two serving , while some make 4 plus.  But none are made to break the bank or consume all your day cooking in the kitchen.  Instead of making them all at once, I am choosing one or two a week for a while, eating one immediately and freezing the others for later use, whether for us or to bless someone in need.

I also love that the recipes are simple to make and are family friendly. (think picky kids!)  There are also cooking instructions included you can print off and tape to the extras that go in the freezer for easy reference when cooking time comes.  How cool is that?!

So here we go!

Monday- Italian Chicken

Tuesday- Rose City Teriyaki (from Fix, Freeze & Feast)

Wednesday- Chicken Cordon Bleu (from Fix, Freeze & Feast)

Thursday- Left overs

Friday- Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday- Hamburgers

Sunday- Baked Potato Chowder

And for an easy recipe-

Italian Chicken

Cover Chicken Breasts in Italian dressing and generously sprinkle with garlic salt. 
Bake covered for 45 minutes at 375. 

Yep, that's it! ;)

Told you it was easy.  I often put it in the crock pot as well.  If you prep meals once a month, this is an easy one to freeze in a baggie and is simple to pull out and cook quickly!

Have a beautiful week, my friends! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Daring to Hope

Ah,  yes.  Another book review.  Because what is life without books, right? ;) 

I have just finished reading the soon to be released book Daring to Hope- Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful, by Katie Davis Majors.  You may vaguely recognize the author's name from 10 years ago, when Katie first wrote and published the best selling book, Kisses From Kate.  Now married and still doing life in Uganda, Katie tells of her continued journey with God and the people she ministers to in a country far away from her homeland.

I have to start by admitting I did not LOVE Katie's first book.  There I said it.  To be honest, though it was well written, I struggled with some of the things she shared, especially leaving her home and staying in Uganda, seemingly at the time without her parents' full permission or blessing.   Whether or not that was reality, it was how I perceived things and I could not shake the feeling that God would not have called her to do something that went directly against honoring and respecting her parents.  Again, just my feelings.

But I have always been intrigued by missionaries and the remarkable work that do for God's Kingdom.  I also had no doubt that this young lady was indeed furthering His Kingdom with the work she was doing, so when I had the opportunity to read her second book I jumped at the chance.  Because of events in our lives this past year or so, the subtitle Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful jumped out to me.  I mean, whose life is not broken in some way?

This book I liked and would recommend.  Far different from her first, Daring to Hope is about just that- HOPE.  It does indeed reference Katie's story of living in Uganda and eventually adopting 14 young girls, but that is not the focus of this book.  Instead, page after page of this 204 page book, focuses on Hope.  Through stories of various struggles Katie has encountered in Uganda, she uses the lessons learned to point herself, and us, back to hope every time.  From having to allow one of her daughters to return back to her biological mother, to the loss of numerous friends and the healing of others, Katie relays how God used EVERY circumstance to point her back to hope and the One who gives it to her.  And us!

In times of crisis, Katie learned time and time again to be faithful and put her hope in the Lord, knowing that no matter what the outcome was, she had a God who was even more faithful.  It was often a gut wrenching lesson to be learned and Katie shares each story with love and compassion.  She has wrestled with God and known His goodness.  She has asked hard questions and gotten beautiful answers.  She has remained faithful and so had God!

I am in awe of the maturity of this young lady, inspired by her stories, and challenged by her faithfulness.  I think you will be too!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Grab a Friend for Dissections

It is no secret that Science is not my favorite subject to teach.  In the younger grades, there are always "cool" experiments to do that in my opinion, are just like art- messy and usually a pain.  By the time you get to science in the older grades, things just get complicated and I want to throw the towel in.  I mean, do we really need Biology and Chemistry?  Please, just don't even answer or I might cry.

And yet, here I am, just having finished teaching Biology for the third time.  Please note I only have one more time to go, and I am making him do it in a class of some sort.  Any sort, really, as long as it does not require me teaching!

I am proud to report we made it through successfully.  And with a little help.  Because you see, I did not do dissections alone.  Nope, this was another time I grabbed a friend,  and in this case a teacher as well, to help me.  I learned the hard way two too many times!

Plus, just like we have found with art and many other subjects, some things are just better done with friends.  There are also some other perks-

  • Knowledge- Not all of us are science people.  That's ok.  There are some people who are and they are happy to help.

  • Peer pressure- In this case, that is a good thing.  When everyone else around you is excited to dissect or at least willing to take a chance and try, other more reluctant kids are more willing to try as well.  

  • Safety in numbers- There are also some kids who just can barely stomach science things like dissections.  I get it.  When there are many kids working together, those kids can often get by with standing in the back and simply observing.  Yes, their hands may not touch the frog or other specimens but I assure you they ARE learning!
  • Wider Age Range- I have found when you teach kids in a group you can widen your age range in teaching.  It is an interesting phenomenon but it seems that the young kids step up to the plate when challenged by the bigger kids, and often the big kids jump in at helping and mentoring the younger kids.  It is quite a sight to see and I love it!

  • Cost- Science experiments can get costly, ya'll!  Luckily, when you order as a team and pool your resources with supplies you might already have, you can keep the costs down.

So are you ready for dissections?  Just grab a friend, or two, and go for it!


Monday, October 2, 2017

Monday Menu

It's that time again!

Sometimes menu planning is a breeze for me, other times I can sit and stare at a blank plan for a very long time.  I am going to be honest, food does not impress me much these days.  Since my gall bladder surgery at the end of June, I have struggled with severe stomach issues.  Yep, traded in the gallbladder for a new problem.  Nice huh?

But despite my lack of interest in food, my family does need to eat, so I am trying to stay on the cooking bandwagon.  Meal planning helps keep me accountable, and as someone mentioned last week, it DOES help save money!

For example, this week I saw turkey breasts on sale for .99/lb.  Yes, I got a $30 turkey breast for a about $8.  Well, actually I got 5 of them!  Stocking up on deals can equal huge savings.  Plus, because of their size, one of those turkeys will feed us for three meals as you will see with this week's menu.  I also love to keep things like that on hand for unexpected times when I feed others through our church's meal ministry.

So here we go-

Monday- Chicken Stir Fry

Tuesday- Sliced Turkey

Wednesday- Flounder (because a certain child who does not love seafood will not be eating with us!)

Thursday- Turkey Enchiladas

Friday- Hamburger Gravy

Saturday- Spaghetti

Sunday- Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

See, easy peasy!

Next week, I am going to introduce you to a few freezer meal ideas, a few oldies but goodies and a few from a new cookbook I treated myself to that I LOVE!  Can't wait to share!

Have a beautiful week!