Catching Up and Moving Forward

DSCN0161Can you believe it’s already May? Where has the time gone! This year seems to be passing by so quickly that I really wish it would slow down. I feel like I’m trying to just catch up so I won’t miss out on anything. Yet, even though I’m behind in some areas, more time with my sweet children is a gift!

My blog has taken a back seat as I’ve been spending time with my family in the evenings and finishing up our school year during the day. I’m fine with that. In the beginning, I almost felt guilty, but I knew when I had the time, I could begin anew.

Scheduling has been tough, too, as I’ve been trying to figure out the best fit for our family. Now, I realize that the best time to get it in place will be over the summer when there are less time constraints. We thrive on a flexible schedule and I’m determined to finalize one before the school year begins again.

During this season in my life, be patient with me. I will be blogging and I will get on a schedule. Once our school year comes to an end, I hope to be able to share with you more of my life’s stories. I know my extended family will appreciate an updated blog a little more often with maybe a few photos of my lovely kiddos. So, as I get caught up, enjoy the warmer days and the prospect of summer being just around the corner!

 

Visit with Friends

This Saturday, we enjoyed a visit with some long time friends of ours.  How nice was the phone call I received earlier in the week saying they would be passing by and would love to visit with us!  We welcomed them and had a great time of fellowship.  All of our kids have grown so much and it was fun watching them play as if no time had passed by (and it’s been almost a year since we’ve seen them).  Don’t you love how some friendships can just pick up where they left off as if no time has passed!

The kids’ fun began with a little game of hide and seek.  They did a great job of hiding in the closet and under the crib, but the giggles gave them away.

Who could resist the zipline?  Not even their 22 month old could.The kids table was glowing with smiles.A few of the dolls received new hairdos.Before they left, they zipped some more on the zipline.After a few minutes, our 2-year-old was MIA and she is usually the first one at the zipline.  We found her on our porch reading to all of the dollies!The boys went for a little ride around the yard.Our baby girl lounged in her chair while watching all of the activity.We were able to get a few group photos in before they left.  The day was done and nap time came as soon as they had gone.  My kiddos were worn out and slept so peacefully during their nap.We had a great time with our friends and are glad God placed them in our life!

Just a little note.  I was a little worried after spending the day before at Legoland that our home wouldn’t be welcoming because of its untidiness.  Well, remember those plastic bins I’m always talking about?  Take one and fill it with all out-of-place items.  They are in one place for you to go through at a later time and your clutter problem is solved.  Then, you can forget the clutter and focus on enjoying your visit with friends.

Messy Times

Forgive me for the lack of blogging this past week.  Sometimes, everything seems to go wrong at the same time.  Last weekend I came down with a terrible cold that continues to linger on.  Then, in addition to feeling awful, a musty smell in our bedroom caused us to investigate, upon which, mold was found.  So, after clearing out part of our bedroom, we found mold on our furniture and a lot of other things.  It seems as though mold likes moisture and the poor ventilation in our bedroom and bathroom provided the perfect breeding ground!

Silly people that we are, we only cleared out half of the room thinking that the other half was okay.  Sadly, this is not the case.  As I was sorting and putting things away tonight, I found more mold (on the big dresser that we were hoping not to move).  So, we are in the process of clearing everything out of our room and thoroughly cleaning it.  What a chore!  I still feel awful and being in my room aggravates my coughing.  My husband is a lifesaver as he is attacking the mold as we speak (or write 🙂 ).

So, my blog might be quiet for a few more days as we start to get things under control.  These are messy times, but because of Jesus, I have comfort and joy in the midst of them.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
    
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Dessert & Dinner Fixes from the Wanna-be Homemaker

Have you ever tried a new recipe and something just wasn’t right?  Did you give up?  Was it thrown out?  The lesson I learned yesterday is fix it, don’t throw it out.  If you stick with me, you might find something helpful for your next kitchen mishap.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolaty Peanut Butter Frosting
I’m always looking for new cake recipes and love to try them out for birthdays.  Thankfully, I have 3 coming up and it’s time for some testing!  My daughter turns 8 on February 4th and has requested a chocolate chip cake with chocolate icing.  So, I perused the internet and found a recipe for chocolate chip cupcakes.  Delicious!  My failure came with the frosting.  I didn’t sift the powdered sugar and the result was lumpy frosting.  How to fix?  My first attempt was to add mini chocolate chips…still noticed the white lumps.  Off to the computer I went to search for a fix.  My result, put it all in my handy ninja food processor and pulse until smooth (I was given this as a gift and love the results I get from it).  Why stop there, since they are chocolate chip cupcakes and I have to go to all of this trouble, why not add a little natural peanut butter to the mix. Yummy!  I now have delicious chocolate chip cupcakes with a chocolaty peanut butter frosting.

Chicken Enchiladas (I think)
For dinner I wanted quick and easy.  I found a recipe in one of my books and most of the ingredients were not in my pantry, so I modified it…a lot…and since I heard, “Mmm this is really good!” at the table, I thought I would pass it along.

Ingredients: Package of Tortillas, 2 cans of Shredded Chicken Breast, small can of Tomato Sauce, can of Enchilada Sauce, can of Refried Beans, Garlic & Onion Powder,  Mural of Flavor Spice from Penzey’s, and shredded cheese.

Drain the chicken and put into a medium bowl.  Mix in a little tomato sauce (maybe half of the can) and the seasonings (sprinkle to your liking).  Set aside.  Open can of beans and empty into a small bowl.  Get a 9×13 pan and a plate and start your assembly line.  Place a tortilla on the plate, smear 2-3 Tbsp of refried beans on top, then put on 3 Tbsp of the chicken mixture, sprinkle with cheese, fold corners and place in pan – crease side down (could use a cookie sheet as well – just make sure to spray it).  Repeat till all the tortillas are gone.  Then, open a can of enchilada sauce and pour on top of enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese.  Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted (15 min), turn off oven, leave until ready to eat.  …Oh, just a note, this is a great recipe for your emergency kits – no water needed!  You can keep these items in stock since all but the cheese is in a can or jar (but you can buy the cheese dehydrated if you want).So, what did I learn?  Lumpy frosting can be fixed and there are many ways to modify recipes if we are missing ingredients.  The worst that can happen is the cereal bowls might come out, but you never know, you might like what you have created!

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I’m Officially a Gabby Mom!

A few years ago, a friend gave me a copy of Teach Magazine.  I enjoyed the articles so much, but never did subscribe because I already didn’t have time for my other subscriptions.  Thinking that someday I would subscribe, I held on to my copy.  But life happened and it slipped from my memory.

Fast forward a few years, and Teach magazine was once again brought to my attention.  As I was leaving a local used curriculum sale, I browsed by a few free items and what did I see, but a few copies of Teach magazine (which of course I snatched up).  I was filled with joy and when I got home, I searched and found my old copy.  So, off I went to my computer to look for Teach magazine and see about a subscription.

That is when I found Eternal Encouragement (Teach’s new name).  I was so happy to find all that Lorrie Flem offers on her website and began making my wish list and even purchased a few things.

That’s when I found The Gabby Moms.  Oh, wouldn’t it be great to be a part of this ministry!  So, when I saw they were accepting applications for 2012, I quickly applied.  My hopes weren’t very high because I am new to this blogging thing and thought for sure I wouldn’t be accepted.  Words can’t express how I felt when the long-awaited email was received saying, Welcome to the Gabby Moms!

Who are the Gabby Moms?  We are wives, moms, homemakers, and most importantly, we are followers of Jesus!  We are seeking to follow His word in creating our homes and shaping our families for Him!  The Gabby Moms are a group of mom bloggers who review products for Eternal Encouragement Magazine (formerly TEACH Magazine).

Join me on this journey by subscribing to my blog and once a month, I will be reviewing one of their great products!

Cooking, Baking, Crafting, Oh My!

Whew!  I love the holidays with all of the cooking, baking, and crafts that seem to be going on all day long, but it sure can tire you out.  Yesterday started out with a little breakfast followed by the squishing of packaging peanuts.I saw the mess that was soon to come and quickly found a few items to bury for them to find – our nativity set.  They really enjoyed their finds!Standing for my little girl must have been so tiring, so she decided to kneel down for a bit.What a beautiful day we were having, so lunch had to be eaten outside!Then what could be better than a little watercolor painting!If that wasn’t enough for the day, sugar cookies must be made, so I gathered my 3 little helpers and made some delicious treats.  If you don’t usually have little helpers, might I suggest a tablecloth on the floor to catch those random flying pieces of food.Each child picked out their own cookie cutter and had a turn rolling the dough and cutting their shapes.  They had a blast and were very patient.  Some sampling might have occurred (they enjoy cookie dough).My little bakers baked their cookies and then it was time for a few to be decorated.Our littlest girl just watched, looking forward to the day when she can enjoy her own sugar cookie.Of course, with the overload of sugar, bedtime was not so great.  But, today wasn’t too bad.  We still had special breakfast – cinnamon bread from the farmer’s market, eggs and bananas.We stayed home today and watched church online.  My oldest daughter did her listening pages while the 2 younger children played with their busy bibles.  They sat quietly through the entire sermon!Later in the day, we decided to try out our 2-year-old, unused dehydrater.  Strawberry chips anyone? The jury is still out as the last tasting had them still juicy.  Hopefully, they will turn out okay.

So, while we wait, why not try making a simple treat that I saw at the farmer’s market?  I don’t know what they are called, but they are pretzels with chocolate and m-n-ms.  Delicious!Finally, our baking ended with a few little spritz cookies with the help of my oldest girl.What a busy few days, but we had a great time baking!  Only a few mishaps – full mug of coffee spilled on the counter, bug spray sprayed on the garage carpet, full bottle of medicine dropped and spilled on the floor…  Even with all of that, we ended tonight peacefully and with some tasty treats!  Just a note, with all of the cooking and baking ahead this week, let your little helpers be a part of it.  When the day is over, the mess is cleaned up, and the cookies are gone, the special memories you created will be cherished and always remembered.