Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Won!?!

It is the nature of humans, I guess. 
There is that desire to win.
I am on a number of money saving email lists
and often enter to win free prizes.
The pool must be huge, and the wins are few and far between.
I did win a wallet once, but it never came :(

For the past month, I have been researching for a new exercise program.
I love what I do now which includes 
aerobics, strength training, circuit training,
kick boxing, pilates, walking ...
I love variety.

One new plan was one I had never heard of ... T-Tapp.
The reviews looked outstanding.
I was thrilled that the exercises were billed as helping to balance hormones.
I was thrilled that the basic program only took 15 minutes - 
- so I could keep doing the other exercises that I loved.
The plan is bodyweight only so it can go ANYWHERE!

While I researched, I found an entry form to win a T-Tapp DVD.
While I was away for the holidays, I received a confirmation email that I had won.
I won a DVD and then 50% off another DVD if I so chose.

I ordered my DVDs yesterday and look forward to starting in the New Year.

I'll report back in February and let you know how it goes!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Back in Place

I am not usually this early,
but the Christmas decorations are coming down today.

It is cleaning day,
just the living room and kitchen are left.

I am branching out in the recipe world again.
I am fairly confident in the gf - cf realms,
but we are entertaining a family with yet another diet need.

So ...

I am trying a "just like" potato recipe to go with a ham.
I haven't tried it yet, but sometimes you just have to risk it.

Twice Baked Mashed Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower florets, cut off stem
3 c chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
1 c shredded cheddar
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 -3/4 c sour cream
salt and pepper

Boil cauliflower in broth - 10-15 min.
Drain cauliflower well.
Process in food processor  1/2 c sour cream, 3/4 c cheese, and garlic.
If not creamy enough, add remaining 1/4 c sour cream.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Use butter if desired.

Place mix in baking dish.
Top with remaining cheese.

Bake 350* for 20 minutes.

I also found a new cookie recipe ... pumpkin cream pies!
We'll see how it goes.

Weekly Meal Plan:
Monday: Spicy Cod with Veggies and Cilantro Rice
Tuesday: Ham
Wednesday: Lunch with Friends: Taco Salad
Thursday: Split Pea Soup
Friday: Chili Chicken

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Forum: Resolutions

Psalm 119:133 
Order my steps in thy word: 
and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

We are looking at a new year ... 2014 is right around the corner.
With a new year comes reflections on the past
and plans and hopes for the future ...
at least it does for me.
I am still contemplating directions that need to be changed
and disciplines that need to be kept or reinforced.
I will share these next Wednesday - January 1, 2014.

The above verse will be covered in our next Wednesday service - I think.
It jumped out at me as the perfect New Year's Resolution.
Direction based on God's Word
and freedom from the bondage and control of sin.

Have you ever made resolutions?
Do you plan to make any this year?
What are your thoughts about resolutions?

Thursday, December 26, 2013


It is not to be taken lightly.
Today I am thankful for safety as we traveled this past week.
Clear sailing from NC to NY and back again.
Safety for family members who drove to see us.

God is good to us ... far better than we deserve.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Even a child ...

Proverbs 20:11 
Even a child is known by his doings, 
whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

On this day when we celebrate our Savior's birth,
we remember Him as the perfect example.
I am sure that He was known as a helpful, respectful, intelligent child.
His actions showed His character.

Do you think of this verse as you watch the children around you?
Some children are known as foolish, because of their actions.
Some are known as lazy, because of their actions.
Some are known as intelligent, because of their speech and actions.
Some are known as diligent, because of their behavior.

Have you ever heard or said,
"Well, that is just the way a child is ..."
"Well, boys will be boys ..."
"Well, it is just childishness and he will outgrow it ..."

"Even a child is known by his doing, ..."

Can you imagine Mary making excuses for the growing Jesus.
Was there recklessness, laziness, foolishness?

Yes, children will play,
but may I encourage you to train character early.

Merry Christmas

A Savior is born.
We rejoice!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Carols with Meaning

Last week, I shared hubby's favorite carol.
This week, one of mine.
Again, I think it tells the whole story from birth to death to return.

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.


The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.


Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.


When the heav’ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Bread

My friend and I found a pumpkin on the side of the road on Visitation one Saturday.
It appears that someone was done with their fall decorations and had just thrown it across the street.
I couldn't let a pumpkin go to waste.
It provided 6 cans of pumpkin.
And so ... I make pumpkin bread.
Some to give ...
some for meals and snacks ...
maybe some for the freezer.
This is not the most healthy recipe ... but it is the BEST!
This bread also smells tremendous while baking.

"Delicious Pumpkin Bread"

5 eggs
1 1/4 c vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
2 c flour
2 c sugar
2 pkg (3 oz each) cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Beat eggs.
Add oil and pumpkin.  Beat until smooth.
Combine remaining ingredients; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.
Pour in greased loaf pans.
For 5 - 5 x 2 1/2 x 2 pans - cook 325 for 50-55 min.
For 2 - 8 x 4 x 2 pans - bake 75-80 min.
Cool in pans 10 min. before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

This Week's Menu Plan:

Monday - BBQ Pork
Tuesday - Out to Chipotle Mexican Restaurant
Wednesday - Cold Cut Sandwiches
Thursday - Ham and Corn Fritatta
Friday - Mexican Pork Chops

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In the Hustle and Bustle

Just another reminder - there is more than cookies, lights, and presents ... is the night of the dear Savior's birth!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Forum: Christmas with Focus

Do you get heartburn over the covetousness that Christmas seems to breed?

What is the answer?

As a couple,
I think that it is easier to have a proper focus on Christ.
But even as adults it is easy to lose the focus.
The ads, the gifts, the sales ...

For us,
we have often opened our home to others on Christmas day.
We can take the morning to study our Bibles.
We typically like to share one gift that we choose for each other.

Do you have a plan to ward off the covetousness?

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I have not had occasion to use that word recently, 
but today I do.
I am thankful that hubby is coming home today.
Work took him to Raleigh for some training.
Usually I go along, but there was much to get done at home.
The days felt funny with that strange deployment feeling from 5 years ago.

I am thankful that hubby will be home.
I am thankful that he has a job.
I am thankful that training is only 2-4 days and not 6 months!
I am thankful for some time off next week.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wherever You Are

Proverbs 20:7 
The just man walketh in his integrity: 
his children are blessed after him.

What mother does not desire to see God's blessing on her children.
God gives us a clue how to see this ... it is not a mystery.
Live in a morally upright fashion.
Have integrity.
Be predictably consistent and uncompromising in your values and principles.

It is easy to be one thing in public and another in private.
(Remember last Wednesday?
Most men will declare their own goodness.
It is those in our homes who know if we have true integrity.

So, I remind myself to stop playing games.
This wife should be the same,
and hold to the highest standards

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Carols with the Whole Story

It wasn't until we moved to NC that I was made aware 
that there are people who do not like Christmas carols;
that there are many who do not celebrate the Savior's birth.
Those who are "anti-carols" say that the carols celebrate a baby and not His work.
I do not agree.
This is hubby's favorite - when not abbreviated - 
it tells the WHOLE story.
What do you think?

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Zucchini Wedges

E-meals continues to surprise and delight us.
I have been thrilled with the balanced approach.
I have been surprised by the tasty dishes.
I am pleased with the ease of the recipes.

Last week, I made Chipotle Zucchini Wedges - YUM!

6 large zucchini
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. chopped chipotle pepper in adobo
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Toss zucchini wedges, oil, chipotle, salt and pepper on baking sheet.
Bake at 350* for 25 min. or until tender stirring once.

The meal plan for this week - 
Monday - Leftover Italian Pork and Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday - Leftover Egg Roll in a Bowl
Wednesday - Chicken Caesar Salad
Thursday - Fried Rice
Friday - Soup and Sandwich

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Forum: The Local Library

I worked at a local library during my last years of high school.
It was a great job.

When hubby was at sea, I spent much time walking to our local library
in Washington for the exercise and to borrow books by the score.
I read about relationships, health, child training, exercise, fiction, biographies ...

Our library here in NC is a little weak, in my opinion;
but I have been using it this week ...
free internet ...
some exercise dvds ...
some Christmas books to read during our holiday travels ...
and some informational books to fill the evenings when hubby is at training.

How about you?
Is your local library a treasure?
Perhaps you are a collector of books and your home is the library?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Sights and Sounds

This week, I am thankful for the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.
I love the pretty lights as we drive around town at night.
I love the luminaries around the churches.
I love the wreaths and pine boughs and the bright red ribbons.
I love the Christmas carols playing around the house.
I love playing Christmas arrangements at church.
I love singing Christmas carols - congregationally, as a special, or while caroling. 
I love the winter scented wax burning in the Scentsy burner ... spruce and minty spruce.
I love the scent of Christmas cookies in the oven and sweet breads cooling on the counter.

Hope you are enjoying the season as well.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Honorable or Foolish

Proverbs 20:6 
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: 
but a faithful man who can find?

Does this pairing catch your attention as it did mine?

I want to be a faithful woman.

If I keep the couplet together;
a faithful woman does not proclaim her own goodness ...
and, might I add, does not lead the conversation to bait a complement.

Oh so difficult for prideful humanity! 
I love praise.

God's idea of faithfulness 
is the unsung hero.

So wife or mother,
keep going ...
keep serving ...
and if it is unnoticed ...


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Answer to Covetousness

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: 
and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; 
he shall not be visited with evil.

I know of many folks who are torn on the celebration of Christmas.
Why would there be a dread to celebrate the birth of a Savior - my Savior?
Many of the concerns stem from the covetousness that the season breeds.
What do I want?
What will I get?
What's in it for me?
Just looking at store flyers and catalogs or walking through a store
breeds thoughts of "I need that ..."

But satisfaction and fulfillment rests solely in the fear of the Lord.
If I look appropriately at God,
I know that He has given me what I need.
I know that He knows what is best for me.
I will fear the punishment for my covetousness.

What a thermometer!
Right now, I don't like the reading,
but God is faithful and I am claiming I John 1:9 
and seeking to know God better and to fear Him as I should.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Quick and Easy

We had a church fellowship yesterday. 
Hubby perked up when he looked over from his study
and saw the double boiler.
He equates double boiler with candy ...
and he was right.

This time it was pecan-cranberry clusters.

12 oz of chocolate, melted (I used enjoy life chips)
2 c. pecan halves
1 c dried cranberries

Melt chocolate.
Add nuts and berries.
Drop on parchment or waxed paper.


The original recipe added some cinnamon to the chocolate
and sprinkled the candy with salt.
I ignored that.
Of course this would work with any nut or any dried fruit.
How perfect is that?!?

This week's menu plan:
Monday - Tilapia
Tuesday - Almond Rice Chicken
Wednesday - Tater Tot Casserole
Thursday - Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Friday - Chicken Nuggets and Fries
Saturday - Egg Roll in a Bowl
Sunday - Italian Pork

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Forum: Fall/Winter Maintenance

The work continues in the new trailer.
Hubby fixed the shower stall door last night.
It was worn to the point where it would pop open whenever it had a mind to.
This weekend we get to cut a hole in the wall to access the pipes of the master bath.
I am so glad that we found an access panel to install 
to make it easier next time and to keep the project neater.
We are planning to cut back the Bradford Pears early in January
to keep them strong and prevent loss during large wind storms.
The gutters have been cleaned out (though they might need it again).

What maintenance do you do around the house each fall/winter?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Righteous Judgment

 Psalm 98:9 b
... with righteousness shall he judge the world, 
and the people with equity.

I have been thinking about righteous judgments this week.
I am so thankful that the Lord will do and does do righteously.
I am biased.
I am overly critical of the way others parent their children.
Hubby struggles with those who do not care for their health and bodies.
I know some who are particularly judgmental of dress.

I am so glad that the Lord does not show partiality ...
that the Lord does not see "degrees" of sin (because they do not exist).
I am thankful that the final judgment comes from the Lord and not from fallible men.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Keep Going!

Proverbs 19:18 
Chasten thy son while there is hope, 
and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

I hope this is a blessing to a mother today.
We have all seen and heard the verse before.
A parent needs to discipline a child from the very beginning.
We all have a sin nature and the desire to have our own way from birth,
and we show it VERY early in life.

I was drawn to this verse when I read a note in my study Bible.
The second half of the verse is well written,
but could also be written ...
"...and don't lift up, or let up, or ease up to his destruction."

Mom or dad,
discipline is hard work, but worthy work.
If you slack, you may be leading your child to their destruction.
The destruction could be physical or spiritual.
How much better to learn discipline and character as a child,
then to have to learn it as an adult,
or to never learn it at all.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like ... ♪♫♪♪♫

Hubby had the day after Thanksgiving off ...
so out came the decorations.

I had a little bit of a hard time with the Christmas decorations
because the yard was still full of fallen leaves.

I finished mulching and/or raking them yesterday.
Aah!  That feels better.

Ready to make some Christmas greetings tonight.
Have been cinching up the shopping on the internet.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Praline Sweet Potatoes

Well, the leftovers are almost gone.
The rest of the turkey will soon be soup.
I am eating the last of the sweet potatoes for lunch as I type.
They were an addition for a college student far from his home in Iowa.
Sweet potatoes aren't a big favorite for hubby,
but I did find these an improvement on the marshmallow covered,
diabetes inspiring dish I grew up with :)

Melanie's Praline Sweet Potatoes

3-4 lbs sweet potatoes - baked or steamed with skins removed

1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c coconut
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 c butter, melted

Place chunks of cooked sweet potatoes in a buttered baking dish.
Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over sweet potatoes.
Bake uncovered at 350* for 20-30 minutes.

This week's menu plan:
Monday - dirty rice with pork sausage
Tuesday - Calzones
Wednesday - Fiesta Quinoa Bake
Thursday - Pork/Vegetable Soup
Friday - Hungarian Beef with Pasta