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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When You Have to Walk the Walk

Sometimes it is so easy.
Sometimes it is incredibly hard.

We have the reminder on our wall.


Sometimes you can't see the path that you will walk,
but you know the One leading you down the path.

"Oh for grace to trust Him more!"

Monday, November 6, 2017

Using the Slow Cooker

Usually one night a week I get home after hubby,
or we walk in together.
One night a week I am giving piano lessons to a family and we can't begin them until after school at 3:30.
On these nights, easy or make ahead meals are a must.

Today, I used the crock pot to make Pork Carnitas
basically Mexican Shredded Pork-
which we then put on corn tortillas with black beans and avocado and tomatoes.
The topping options would be endless which is nice for when we have been super busy and may need more calories, or it is easily scaled back when we have not been as active.

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas Meat:
3 lb. pork loin
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 C. water

Carnitas Rub:
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. oregano

Combine spices and rub on pork loin.
Place in slow cooker along with bay leaf and water.
Heat on low for 6-8 hours, until pork falls apart.
Shred the pork with a fork, then continue to heat on low until serving.

Carnitas Topping/Filling Options:
Corn or whole wheat tortillas
Black or pinto beans 
Brown rice
Cilantro
Onions or scallions
Romaine lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Diced avocado
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Green chiles
Salsa

Carnitas Sauce:
1½ C. Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp. lime juice
½ cup skim milk

I didn't try the sauce, but it sounds like something that I would really enjoy.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Just Have Faith

Many of you make a habit of reading through the Bible each year
(or maybe each time through takes longer than a year).
It often amazes me that new things stand out each time through.
It should not amaze me, but it does.

As wives, mothers, or wives and mothers-in-training,
we must be filled with the Scripture in order to help to protect and guide the home.
I was reminded of that this week.
Hubby reminded me of a Bible account that I had used in our decision making a few years ago - 
it had returned in some decision making this past month.
Yes, you can make a difference!

This week, I have been reading in Matthew.
I just finished reading about a variety of people who were rewarded for their simple faith.
Most of these examples had faith for healing,
but the heart of the passage applies to many situations.
Are you doubting?
Do things look impossible?
Are you in a hard place?
Place your faith in the One who deserves that faith.
He will not let you down.

Are you in the Word?
Dig, glean, hide it in your heart.
It will never be time wasted.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Relief


Relief:  

*alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the 
removal of pain, distress,oppression, etc.
* a means or thing that relieves pain, distress, anxiety, etc.
* money, food, or other help given to those in poverty or need.
* something affording a pleasing change, as from monotony.
*release from a post of duty, as by the arrival of a substitute orreplacement.

God is definitely our strength and has been sustaining us through a wilderness experience of many years.
Flesh and heart can fail and have failed, but God has been faithful
and He has now also given direction out of the wilderness.
Praise the Lord for His peace, His leadership, the relief that only He can provide.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Interruptions

Well, last week had good intentions.
Weeks of tree hauling,
2 days of power outages,
more wind storms,
more trees to haul ...
It has been a busy few weeks.

Before the craziness,
we had an Italian themed dinner at church.
Lasagna was the dish I brought,
but dessert was the fun one.
I wanted to stick with the theme.
In my search, I came across a Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Tiramisu.
I had never tasted plain tiramisu,
but how could pumpkin spice, coffee, and cookies go wrong?

I ordered the Gluten-free ladyfingers.
I found some single serve instant espresso packets.
I set to work.
It was actually a very easy recipe and quite quick to make.

It was a success in my home and requested for Christmas :)
We expected a very sweet treat,
but it was just perfect.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Tiramisu.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, at room temperature
One 5.3-ounce package gluten-free ladyfingers, such as Schar

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
 beat the cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form; 
transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate. 

In the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the cleaned whisk attachment,
 beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. 
Add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff peaks form; transfer to a small bowl. 

In the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the cleaned whisk attachment, 
beat together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar on high speed until thickened and pale yellow. Gently fold the mascarpone, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and a third of the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture.
 Gently fold in the whipped egg whites and refrigerate. 

Place the espresso in a shallow plate. 
Dip both sides of the ladyfingers into the espresso and 
arrange in a 9-inch pie dish to completely line the bottom. 
Top with half of the pumpkin mixture, 
more espresso-dipped ladyfingers and the remaining pumpkin mixture. 
Top the pie with the remaining whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 
Refrigerate 8 hours or up to overnight, until ready to serve.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Two Times Tuesday

For the second time in two weeks,
we have been shown God's power and His protection.
Yesterday we were in the path of a tornado again.
By the time I got word, it was too late to seek shelter in a brick building
(typically the local college about 1.5 miles from us).

I sat in the bathroom for about 20 minutes while the rain and wind escalated.

A tornado passed through the park again.

tree behind (with what is left of our wood pile - thankful to have found folks to share it with)

neighbor beside us

trailers and tornados are a bad combination


I am thankful that we had finished our tree.
Now there are 3-4 more down.
2 at the trailer behind us,
2 at the trailer beside us.

Power has been out for 15 hours so far.
So thankful that the weather is not cold yet.
Thankful for the gas hot water tank.
Thankful for the grill to heat my breakfast soup 😀

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Timing is Everything

On this Thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for God's perfect timing and protection.

This morning,
hubby went out to a truck with a flat tire.
Chances are that in the 25+ trips to the dump
I picked up the screw that had caused the flat.

We were both thankful that it did not leave me stranded on the side of the road,
that the trees were finished,
that hubby wasn't delayed at work.

I am thankful that my lessons were cancelled today so that I could get the tire taken care of.

We are also thankful that we had 2 tires for the truck that we had saved.
Instead of having to purchase a new tire, we just swapped out the rims.

Yes, we could grumble and complain,
but God's timing is perfect and His protection is evident.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Being Selective




Perhaps one of the hardest things in being a SAHW (Stay At Home Wife)
is making the best choices.
I guess it really is a hard thing in most jobs, unless your boss sets your priorities.
I have almost 10 hours alone each day,
but I want to those hours profitably.
I want to focus on the things that will please God and my hubby.
I want to choose those things that make my home a haven,
those things that point other people to my Savior.

Sometimes,
that means that I have to say "no."

Trying to do every "good" thing is definitely the enemy of the best.

So today,
I need to choose the best.
I may need to say "no" to some good things.

Maybe you do as well.
This week, I am praying that God helps me to choose the best.
There may be time for some "good"
but I want the priority to be the best.
And guess what?
My "best" and your "best" may look different.

This week,
my best seems to be to focus on creating healthy meals
and removing a large tree from my yard to help save as much time for hubby as I can this weekend.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Tree Transformation

Hubby and I spent most of Saturday hauling the neighbors tree to the dump.
(the rest of the day was spent cooking for a fellowship dinner
and preparing Sunday School lessons and sermons).
Before the chainsaw was put away,
hubby cut down the rest of the limbs on our broken tree ...
and so, this week I am hauling tree again.
3 loads yesterday,
and hopefully another 3 today.
It will probably take most of the week for me
and hubby will help on Tuesday night and Saturday as his schedule allows.

**UPDATE**
Only 2 loads today, but they were profitable ones.
Gave hubby the night off ... so we could take a long walk and enjoy the cool evening.

This is what I face tomorrow -


At the beginning of the week, there were branches around all sides of the tree.
Just two smaller piles on either side of the tree left - maybe just one more day -
3 Loads?

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Not Beans and Rice

There are a lot of different recipes in our home.
We try to make every meal and snack COUNT,
but we also don't like to be deprived which leads to bingeing.
Two weeks ago, I posted hubby's go-to morning snack ...
Black Bean Brownies.
He had eaten it everyday for about 5 months.
I would ask if he wanted a change,
but "no," they were just that good.

Last week,
he decided a change might be nice.
So I went to work looking for a new recipe,
high in protein and fiber and lower in sugar.

We first did the black bean gingerbread bars,
they're good, but not as good when we cut the sugar back for a snack instead of dessert.

The second attempt was Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars,
and, well, we are on the second pan alread.

All of these recipes do require a strong blender or food processor to get the beans blended well,
but with that blender they are easy-peezy.
Not only that, but no egg, so ... you can lick the batter 😄

Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

INGREDIENTS

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup all natural almond butter or peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chocolate chips 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a food processor or high speed blender, add all ingredients except chocolate chips
and process until batter is smooth.
Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips, I like to use dark chocolate because it has less sugar but it's up to you. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan
.Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.
The batter may look underdone, but you don't want them to dry out!
Cool pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Just a little tug ...

It has been a busy week.
I am so thankful for the little bit of help that was given.

With the currently 11 trips to the dump,
I had help on 8 out of 11.

I lined the bed of the truck with a tarp.
I filled the bed with branches.
I backed up to the large refuse container.
3 times I had to empty the truck 1/2 way by hand until I could physically pull the tarp out of the bed.
8 times - someone came and helped me pull the tarp for a 1 minute empty of the bed.

I am thankful for the dump workers and the one everyday citizen who just gave that little tug on the opposite side of the truck.

Sometimes we want to do the great things ...
to make the BIG difference in someone's life ...
but sometimes, the BIG thing is just the little tug.

And the tree trimming ...
is going well.

Sunday Afternoon


Tuesday afternoon after 7 trips to the dump

Wednesday night after 4 more trips to the dump and about an hour of chainsaw work.

And this is what will be tended to on Saturday.
Another full day of sawing and toting!

If you look to the left of the trailer behind our tree.
You can see that they lost a big tree as well,
It only missed the trailer by inches.
This tree is on our agenda as well.




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fidelity

I am currently reading through Hosea in my daily Bible reading.
Hosea - a picture of God's faithfulness with an unfaithful people.

Fidelity to God.
It is so easy, like Israel, to be drawn in by the world,
to be distracted by "shiny objects,"
to place God on the back burner.
He deserves first place!
Often Israel thought they were doing right,
they thought they were pleasing God.
They may have been following the letter of the law,
but they often missed the heart of the law.

Fidelity in marriage (or friendship) is a big deal as well.
How do you show faithfuless and loyalty?

Do you place a priority on your time with you spouse?
Is he/she the most important person in your life?

Do you turn to your spouse first (after God) in difficult situations?
No friendship should be above your spouse.

Do you make decisions with your spouse?
Do you value and desire their opinion?

Do you stand up for and respect your spouse in private and in public?
No "old bag" or "old man" jokes.  No divulging private matters that should stay private.

It is easy to fall into a "worldly" mindset - 
one that cuts down the partner in marriage,
one that focuses on independence rather than togetherness.
God values fidelity and has given us His perfect example.
STRIVE - STRIVE - STRIVE





Monday, October 9, 2017

Thankful Thursday: The Monday Edition

Often, we are reminded to be thankful.
We are reminded that God is powerful.
We are reminded that our safety is in God's hands.

We had that experience yesterday - 
a little residue from hurricane Nate.

We sat eating some dinner before church
and we watched the wind kicking up.
Soon the chair cover from the front porch was in the back yard.
In two minutes it was over.

It was a mini tornado.
It wiped out one of our Bradford pear trees - 
the one that we had not yet pruned back.

We are thankful that it blew into the yard and not the house.
We are thankful that the trailer is still standing WITH a roof.
We are thankful for God's grace today and every day.


And this week - 
I am thankful for the strength to work on removing this monstrosity from the yard - 
one Ranger truckload at a time.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An Example to Follow

In my Sunday School class of one,
we recently began trying to be more specific and intentional in our daily Bible reading.
One popular method (I was introduced to it by some of my nieces and nephews)
is the SPECK method.

My student and I look for:

Sins to Avoid
Promises to Claim
Examples to Follow
Commands to Keep
Knowledge of God

I have been reading through the Major Prophets.
It has been a great comfort to me this time through.
As sin swirls around in the world,
as I (in sin) want to "fix" things on my own,
as I get frustrated with events beyond my control ...
God has been reminding me to leave things to Him.

I have seen the prophets as the example to follow.
They gave God's Word - often with no response from the listener - 
and they then had to leave the rest with God.
They were asked to do hard things - 
endure hunger, imprisonment in the worst of situations,
running for their life, walking naked as an example ...
They did the hard things because they were asked by God.
How often I complain when asked to do the smallest things for Him.

I have gained knowledge learned to appreciate the judgment, righteousness, and holiness of God.
It seemed like the wicked prevailed, but God's judgment did come - in His time.
And there was always the reminder - I, God, am judging so that all men will know that I am God.

Have you read something that has been an encouragement to you?
Would you share it?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Go-To Verse

While it is not a Psalm or a Song on this Tuesday,
it is a go-to verse of encouragement.
I guess you could call it a Tuesday Transformation,
because it sure does change my outlook when I focus on it.
It is a reminder of God's power.
It is a reminder that we serve a God of miracles.
Look around you.
Only an all-powerful God could create such a heaven and earth.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Our New Favorite Sandwich

A relatively "whole foods" diet without a doubt takes quite a bit of work.
I am always looking for a quick meal when time is just not there.
While looking through a home magazine one night,
we found a veggie sandwich that hubby wanted to try.
We "tweaked" the recipe and it has become a favorite.

The sandwich is simple.
Two slices of bread, toasted.
Two triangles of Laughing Cow Cheese any flavor.
(This is just a soft, spreadable cheese in preportioned packages.
Any creamy veggie spread would do.)
Sauteed or grilled red onions and peppers.

That's it!

Easy Peasy! and a new favorite.

Monday, September 11, 2017

As Promised

I mentioned hubby's daily work snack last week.
It is a different black bean brownie recipe.
I make at least one 8 x 8 pan a week cut into 9 pieces.
Two pieces go to work each day to be devoured mid morning.
They are a good source of proteint (beans and eggs)
and use honey as a sweetener (a win in our book).
For me they are are a win because they mix up in the VITAMIX
and quickly dump in the pan.

Here's the recipe from our friend Dr. Axe (He specializes in fixing "gut" issues.)

Black Bean Brownies

1 can 15 ounce black beans, drained
½ cup cacao powder
4 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
¾ cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
½ cup gluten-free flour (you can use regular all purpose as well)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup water

DIRECTIONS:
Blend all ingredients together.
(I add the ingredients from bottom to top for ease of blending)
Grease 8 x 8 pan.
Bake for 40 min. at 350 degrees.


Today, we are feeling minor effects of Tropical Storm Irma.
A lot of rain and occasional wind gusts.
I have seen a few broken branches so far ...
Weather in the 60's today,
so I made a warm pot of chili and some corn bread muffins for dinner ...
 will also be good in hubby's lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Little Disconnect

"I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God ..."♪♫♫♪

Last Saturday,
we hosted a church Labor Day Weekend Picnic.
Since we had had hotdogs at the last two picnics,
I decided that we should do bone in grilled chicken.
I baked the chicken for over an hour ahead of time
and then we marinated overnight.
Just before dinner, we threw them on the grill.

The picnic went fine.
No rain (better than the last 2 picnics),
cool temps,
a good turnout.

BUT!
The next day I was mortified when we reheated some leftover chicken for lunch
and it was undercooked.
I had served "raw" chicken to my guests.
AND ...
nobody had said anything!
How easy it would have been to throw back on the grill!
No wonder I had so much leftover chicken!

So here is the disconnect.
Think to your physical family.
If there was spinach stuck in your teeth, they would be the first to tell you.
If there was something coming out of your nose, you can count on family to let you know.
If you are tickled while eating salad and something flies out of your mouth,
You can be sure that your family will call you "salad shooter" for years.
(not that that ever happened to me)

So why was my church family inhibited from saying anything?
They have been in my home many times.
They know me well.
Yes, the hostess would have been embarassed,
but not as embarassed as finding out the next day that everyone went home hungry
or possibly sickened.

Hubby reminded me that this happens when dealing with spiritual issues as well.
We claim to be family, BUT ...
My brothers are not afraid of offending me when food in my teeth might embarass the family.
Hubby is not afraid of offending me when I need to know that I have something in my nose.
So why don't we deal with sin in the family when it will bring shame to our Lord.

Just a thought to ponder.
Has someone brought something to your attention that you need to fix?
Listen graciously and make a change.
Is there someone that you need to exhort?
Let's fix the disconnect.
A family should act like a family.


Monday, September 4, 2017

A Little Celebration

It is Labor Day.
Are you celebrating the ability to work?
Work was never meant to be a curse.
Work is one of God's means of providing for us.
Today we are thankful for jobs that God has provided to meet our needs.
I have been a book shelver, a nanny, a cashier, a phone operator, a teacher ...
Hubby has worked fast food, at a hardware store, as a nuclear mechanic,
as a farm hand, as a stocker, as a tractor mechanic ...
God has always met our needs.

Today hubby has the day off.
While we enjoyed celebrating our anniversary last month with family,
we are enjoying celebrating again today.
We enjoyed some extra rest this morning,
enjoyed a four mile walk/run,
exercised for another hour at home,
grilled lunch outside,
studied our Bibles for over an hour in our sweet little front yard,
are looking forward to French Dip Sandwiches and Watermelon for supper,
Breyers almond milk peanut butter ice cream for a treat,
and a four mile walk to finish with a bang.

Just the perfect day together celebrating 15 years and looking forward to another 15+ as the Lord allows.

Last week for our baked good breakfast on Friday and Saturday,
I made some Morning Glory muffins.
I made them with a little fear and trepidation ...
they are one of my favorites,
but the last time I made them,
hubby was not impressed.

I had not been shopping and the recipe just suited what I had on hand.

This time, hubby raved ...
not only are we to keep the recipe,
but it might also become a lunch box snack
(it takes a lot to overthrow the favored black bean brownie).
 ** I was going to create a link to the latest black bean brownie recipe,
but I guess I haven't posted it yet ... maybe next Monday. **

While there are many recipes out there,
this is the one that I am using right now.

Paleo Morning Glory Muffins

2 large eggs
8 T. pure maple syrup
¼ c. coconut oil
½ c. shredded carrots
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. almond flour
¼ c. coconut flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
⅓ c. raisins
⅓ c. coconut
¾ c. chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, carrots, pineapple, coconut and vanilla in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.
Toss the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins and walnuts in a medium bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined. Do not overmix.
Scoop batter into 12 cupcake wells and place into preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing. 


Monday, August 21, 2017

Thankful Thursday: the Monday Edition

Well, as life goes,
my schedule has been anything but scheduled.
My "Thankful Thursday" post is late,
but ...
better late than never.

Thursday was our 15th anniversary.
It is not hard to think of what to post in honor of this day.
How thankful I am for 15 years of marriage.
How thankful I am to be loved so unconditionally.
How thankful I am for a God who grounds us when life's turmoil would seek to overthrow.
How thankful I am for a union that truly is most often unified.
How thankful I am for the transformation of mind that has happened to both of us to make us more like God and better able to serve and love one another.

I am thankful for the strong man by my side ...
the one who challenges me ...
the one who encourages me to do right ...
the one who props me up or lets me rest when strength is failing...

On Thursday,
we began our day with an interval run.
How we enjoy the time together.
Time to work on health together.
Time to talk (when I am able).
Time to challenge and encourage.

15 years and prayfully many more

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Everyone Needs It ...

God continues to show me that everyone ... EVERYONE ...
needs fellowship.
There are those who may claim to be loners,
but even they need the touch of others.

For many years, I have feared to "just stop in"
to see people in the church.
I felt intrusive.
I wondered if it was only meeting a need that I had for company.
But with each additional visit,
the chatting increased,
the visits lengthened,
people grow more comfortable.
Sometimes they remind me that they value it.
Sometimes they make sure that I am making a return visit.
Other times they remind me that the church is failing in this area ...
"you are the only one who stops by."
I am shown that I need to give fellowship.

The need is great.
It becomes harder in a fast-paced world.
My days are filled with other ministries and home responsibilities.
It is hard to skip the text and arrive in person.
But I need it, and so do the people in my life.

Is there someone that you can minister to today?
Is there a visit that you can make this week?
Later this month?

You may meet someone's needs.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Challenge Until May

I have been given another wedding challenge.
The last one was corn meal muffins for a reception,
the next one is for May ...
a gluten-free apple, cherry, or apple-cherry pie.

The bride and groom are not gluten free,
but they have a brother-in-law who is.

My first attempt will be this Sunday for a fellowship dinner.
An apple-cherry pie.

Hubby is excited 
and the groom-to-be thought it would be good if I tried
every month for the fellowship dinners at church.

Have you ever made a cherry-apple pie?

What did you think?
Success? Failure? Just stick with the "old faithfuls"?

Update:
The pie was a success.
Hubby loved it.
We both thought it was the best gluten free crust that I had ever tried.
The bride really liked the mix of the two pies
(her favorite is cherry and his is apple)
In honor of the wedding,
it has now been named the "Chapel" (ch-apple) pie!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cloud Cover


Do Hoops and YoYo make you smile?
They are Hallmark characters and they definitely cheer me.
They were a regular part of electronic correspondence between hubby and me
while he was out at sea.

Typically, this solar-powered girl is looking for every bit of sunshine she can.
But this month, I am thankful that August has been a little more mild than usual.
I am thankful for the overcast days.
I am thankful for the days of rain.

The grass is still green.
The cherry tomatoes are plentiful without too much extra work.
While we wait on our new a/c unit to arrive and be installed,
it spares the old one from overworking
and spares me from more sopping towels that are catching the drain pan overflow 💧

What are you thankful for today?

Update: as of 11 am ...
the old a/c unit is ripped out.
If hubby can fix the floor (water damage) tonight,
the new unit will be installed tomorrow!
And today is cool, breezy and comfortable ... so we shouldn't suffer too much tonight.
God's timing is perfect - we will be up and running and comfortable for our guest.
We are also thankful that they are installing a heat pump
that is supposed to cut our heating and cooling bills substantially!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Old Switcheroo

This summer I have spent a lot of time outdoors.
The house got painted including trim.
The porches were resealed.
Last week, I repainted the white parts of the decks.
I also worked in the gardens last week to tidy them up.

This week, I was back in the house.
Not only did the rain drive me in,
but we needed to fix up a room for my MIL's upcoming visit.
We had moved the guest room to the smaller of our two extra bedrooms,
because most of our guests are one nighters and that was sufficient.
Since our guest will be with us about 2 1/2 weeks,
we switched the guest room back to the big room.
Because that room gets the bright morning sun,
we added some room darkening curtains.
I finally replaced the sheets which were left from my college days 😀.
We emptied part of the closet (and once again realized that we have a lot of stuff).
We emptied a chest of drawers.

The room is ready for Saturday and so are we!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Change in the Garden

Often when we throw outdoor parties,
folks will ask me what flowers are in my garden.
I know most of them, but often in the middle of entertaining, the names escape.
So this weekend,
I made some sweet little labels for my plants (which are fading in the summer heat).



I took used canning lids,
sprayed with leftover spray paint,
used sharpie for the names,
used old paint for the flowers,
then used some wire left from making our many wall hangings for the stakes.

I still have a few to finish,
but I was pleased with the result 
and using odds and ends was even better.

Enjoy your trip into my garden.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quick and Easy

Every once in a while you have to hit the "reset" button.
That button where you remind yourself and refocus on goals.
I guess the middle of the year is a good time ...
that and results of recent blood work :)

We are back to focusing on getting more veggies.

We tried an excellent recipe for a grilled veggie sandwich on Friday night.
It was simply grilled zucchini, peppers, and onions brushed with oil and balsamic vinegar
and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
The bread was toasted and spread with a cheese spread.
It was a big hit.

Tonight's quick and easy recipe was:

Spicy Mexican Pork Chops with Pepper and Corn Saute

The pork chops were sprinkled with salt, pepper, and chili powder.
Then they were sauteed for 2 minutes per side in 2 TBSP of olive oil.
Next dump a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies on top and simmer for 20 minutes.
DONE!

The brown rice takes the longest, but it is still easy.
Just follow instructions on bag.

For the Pepper and Corn Saute,
Sautee chopped red onion and two bell peppers
(red, green, or orange look good with the corn).
Then add a bag of frozen corn and heat through.
DONE!

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Truth and Righteousness

Revelation 19:1-2a

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments:


This is our church Bible verse for the week
and part of the Sunday School lesson that I will teach on Sunday morning.
It is also a great reason to be thankful.

It is easy to get down as we look at wickedness around us.
I am thankful that I serve a God that rules with truth and righteousness.
We may not see rewards or punishments in our timing,
but His timing is perfect and can be trusted.
Alleluia ... Praise the Lord!


I am also thankful for the ability that God has given for the body to heal itself.
Hubby was struggling last week with some respiratory "stuff."
With rest, smart eating, and prayer,
he is feeling much better.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Into the Garden

With the house and shed repainted,
I move on to straightening the gardens.

The Lord has sent a break in humidity
and some cooler mornings,
so I am headed to the yard beyond the weekly lawn mowing adventures.

I need to trim around the trees (yes, this involves scissors).
I need to do some weed spraying around gardens and walkways.
And the weeds in the vegetable garden ... well, they are BAD!
On a positive note, the volunteer tomatoes are doing VERY well.
There is minor weeding in the flower gardens and some dead heading as well.

I am focusing on the outside right now,
because soon we will be preparing the inside for a MIL visit.
We are looking forward to an extended visit,
but will have to make the guest room more comfy than our typical 1-2 night stays.
It will be the first visit in our home in over 10 years probably.

I am also looking forward to starting a new book today.
My nephew just self-published a book he wrote for his Senior year of high school.
It is available in hard copy and ebook formats.
Would you like to support him?
Check it out here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What Will You Transform Today?


What are you desiring to transform in your life?

For me,
it may be health,
it may be my home,
it may be a circumstance,
it may be an added discipline.

It only takes ONE decision.

Will I snack before dinner?
Will it be sweet tea or water?
Willl I stay on top of the cleaning, the weeding, the laundry?
Will I be part of the solution, or part of the problem?
Will I stick to a disciplined schedule or blow it off?

Maybe you are not seeking to "transform" your life,
but now that one decision today could affect you life in a great way.

While this does apply to the adults reading this blog,
I especially challenge my younger readers (yes, you nieces and nephews).
Make wise decisions today!
Spend time in God's Word.
Make wise use of your time.
Be helpful.
Look for ways to minister to the needs of others.
Keep learning all you can today so that the open doors before you are many.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G Recipe

I have been trying to bring beans back into the recipe picture again.
Since trying to clean up our eating with less packaged foods,
hubby has really started to not mind that meat doesn't always appear at a meal.

Last week, we had a yummy quinoa salad (I leave out onions and add some feta and pepperoni)
 that suited us for 3 days of lunches.
We had a split pea lettuce wraps that fed us for 2 days and had good Asian flavor.

Tonight, we did enjoy meat, but stretched it with beans.
Why not try this simple burrito soon?

Cheesy Beef and Bean Burrito

1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)
1 can pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
optional - cooked rice (I left this out)
6 TBSP sour cream
6 oz shredded cheese
6 TBSP salsa
6 wraps

I browned the meat and then put it and the beans in my mixer to "squish" the beans.
If you wanted to further S-T-R-E-T-C-H the meal, you could add cooked rice here too.
Then I returned the combo to the browning pan and warmed with the spices.

Prepare each burrito with 1/6 of filling, 1 TBSP of sour cream,
1/4 c of shredded cheese, and 1 TBSP of salsa.

These were a pleasant summer meal with minimal heat to the house
and they were not overly hot because they were not baked.
I also liked that they were not super SLOPPY.

I am looking for "cool" meals since we are trying not to use our a/c much until it is replaced.
The drip pan gave way last week and our a/c man is back logged right now.
Using the a/c involves a lot of towels in and around the coils :)
The Lord has given a break in the oppressive heat and some days of overcast.
Actually made it through today with no a/c!


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Recipe That Bears Repeating

Back in 2011 - July to be exact,
I posted a great Watermelon Cooler recipe.

It is on the menu for a treat tonight.
We are definitely in the "dog days" of summer,
but today, neither of us could lounge around in the shade like that summer dog,
so we will enjoy a treat tonight.

Watermelon Coolers

2 1/4 c frozen watermelon cubes
1/4-1/2 c water
2 T honey
2-3 T lime/lemon juice

Blend in blender and serve immediately.
Makes 2 juice glass size portions!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Coupons

On this thankful Thursday,
I am thankful for coupons.
Coupons that allow us special treats.
Coupons that allow us to try new things.

So this morning I am thankful for a coupon to one of our favorite restaurants.
BOGO on a meal at CHIPOTLE!
Two cell numbers mean two coupons!

Chipotle

Not only that,
but I am thankful that they gave me a link to share with you.

Check it out:

Have you been to Chipotle?

If not ... let me prepare you.

You only have about 5 choices to make ...

Choice one: Type of meal
Burrito
crunchy taco
rice bowl
salad

Second Choice: Rice
Brown Rice 
White Rice

Third Choice: Protein
steak
chicken
chorizo
pork
veggies
tofu (that's not a choice to me)

Fourth: Salsa
Mild salsa
medium salsa
hot salsa
corn salsa

Fifth: MORE
sour cream
guac
lettuce
cheese


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Just Painting in the Rain!

OK, so that is not typically the plan,
but I did get caught in a rain storm as I worked today.

I repainted the house in June,
and this week, I am working on repainting the trim
and wiping down the gutters as I go.


It has been hot, very hot,
but I thought I was clear of rain.

Guess I have another 1/4 of the house to finish tomorrow.

Happy Birthday!

Today, I wish my hubby a Happy 38th!
He is such a treasure to me!


See the birthday cards mingled among the sympathy cards.
Both a reminder that life is precious and that we have no guarantee of life.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Piano Arrangement ...

... that you cannot hear.

Back in April,
I worked to paint the last main area at our church.
The fellowship hall was in need of a fixing up.

The painting was done,
and the junk had to be cleaned out.
One such item was an old player piano ...
it didn't work and it was not able to be tuned.

As it was taken apart,
one of my piano students had an idea.
An idea to make an arrangement from the piano strings.



The notes sit atop the strings
and the curls are where the strings wrapped around the pegs.

It was delivered for my birthday.
I thought it went well with my decor.
It is the "piano arrangement" that you cannot hear.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Pizza

In the heat of the summer,
I have to revamp the eating schedule.
Hubby comes home hot and has much less of an appetite.
He wants something lighter.

So I have been searching.

We tried a new pizza recipe on Saturday,
and it was a hit.
Not only did we both like it,
but it is meatless so it is a money saver.
Wins all around!

I began with my flatbread recipe for the crust,
but you can use whatever you like best.
I made 7 flatbread rounds and the topping amounts worked perfectly.

Santa Fe Summer BBQ Pizza

Ingredients:

1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn kernels (I used canned)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I omitted because it is not one of hubby's favorite herbs)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Spread BBQ sauce evenly on top of crust, then add black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
Let cool five minutes then slice.
Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top before serving. 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

His Way is Perfect

Tuesday Transformation:
a change in perspective,
because God's way is perfect.

When hubby suggested the "staycation" in the month of July,
my heart sank.
Hot, miserable hot ...
no long walks, sitting inside ...
miserable.


But God knew what we needed.
He provided our cool, shady front yard and morning breezes.
It was not an unbearble heat,
so we did get to walk and run together at least twice.
He knew we needed a refreshing,
because He knows all.

He knew that at the end of the break we would face hard news.
He knew that that news would be easier to deal with when we were rested.
In His perfect timing, He has provided in clear ways and met needs.



Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Glen

This "Thankful Thursday,"  I am thankful for the lot that we rent.
We are spending much of our STAYCATION in the front yard under the trees.


The trees provide a shade that keeps the area far cooler than the rest of the area
and a pleasant breeze often flows right through.


We have moved our deck furniture into our "secluded glen"
and we do our Bible reading,
write and study,
share meals,
and enjoy the sunset.
 

We love our home,
but we are also blessed with a pleasant lot ...
a place to enjoy God's creation.