Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Funny

I got this in an email several years ago, and I bring it out every Christmas. This owns me! I get a giggle every time I see it. (yeah, I know, I'm weird)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><
(hee, hee, hee; Get 'im, Roy!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

“Christmas isn’t about the presents…”

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

Katie has been taking a church history class, using A Short History of Christianity as a text. In the section about Constantine, she learned about the pagan roots of our Christmas holiday. We discussed it, and how the knowledge of the history changes your perspective on the celebration of the holiday. When she told her dad about what she had learned, he told her that he thought it didn’t make any difference how the tradition started; it only matters what it means today – and today, to us, it means the celebration of Christ’s birth. I think this has made a profound impact on the way she views the season.

As for many people around this time of year, especially this year, our budget has been "tight." I had been trying to prepare the children for a scaled-down Christmas this year. A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, Katie gave me her Christmas list. There were only five items on it, but a couple of them were a little expensive. I told her that I didn’t know if I’d be able to get her everything on her list, and that I was afraid she might be disappointed.

She gave me a hug and said, “It’s okay, Mom, I don’t have to get any presents at all. Christmas isn’t about the presents anyway. All that is really important is that we have each other and can get together with our family.”

I really thought she was just trying to make me feel better, but she has kept bringing it up. When Cody gets the “gimme’s,” she tells him, “Stop asking for so much. Christmas isn’t about the presents.”

When we were decorating the tree, Katie started with the “special ornaments,” the ones that were made by the kids or were given to them by special people – the ones with memories attached to them. When all of those were placed on the tree, I started downstairs to get the blue and gold store-bought ornaments, but she asked if we could only use the special ones this year. She said, “I think the tree is pretty with just these on it. Besides, all of these mean something to us. That’s what Christmas is about, anyway.”

I am trying to take her words, and her “Mary” attitude, to heart – when the preparations feel overwhelming, when I am anxious about family gatherings, gifts to purchase, cookies to bake, the list goes on...

I want to put away the “Martha” in me, and be a “Mary”… it is not easy for me. And I don’t want anything to steal my joy this year, but satan sure is trying! When the mist of my life is gone, I want to leave good memories for my children that will last a lifetime; I don’t want to leave them a legacy of rushing and fretting.

I think I need to sit with Katie a while and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Maybe I can help her go through some of those cookbooks for our new cookie recipe…

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
Make his praise glorious!” (Psalm 66:1, NIV)

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9, NIV)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Katie’s Pesto Chicken

[Katie developed and perfected this recipe on her own. I am so proud!]

6-8 boneless chicken breasts
Granulated garlic, to taste
Cajun seasoning, to taste
1 8-oz jar basil pesto*
4 oz. sun-dried tomato pesto*
[*We use the Classico brand]

Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a glass baking dish large enough to hold the chicken breasts with non-stick spray. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with granulated garlic and Cajun seasonings. Place a spoonful of basil pesto into the baking dish underneath each breast. Then spread basil pesto evenly over the top of each breast. Last, place a spoonful of sun-dried tomato pesto on top of each breast. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the juices from the chicken run clear.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meal Plan: Week of December 7, 2009

[Better late than never?]

Week of:
December 7, 2009

Lunch
Dinner
Monday
12/07/2009



Chimichangas and Burritoes (I cheated today after the tree stand fiasco and bought 2 pkgs at Wal-Mart)
Fast Food Night while shopping


Tuesday
12/08/2009

Maw-Maw’s Spinach Beef Bake
e-mealz’s Crab-Topped Tilapia
Corn on the Cob

Wednesday
12/09/2009

Bagged Chili Meal
Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday
12/10/2009

Saving Dinner’s Ragin’ Cajun Pasta
Friday
12/14/2009

Pasta Salad and Chicken Salad
Broiled Pork Chops
Baked Sweet Potatoes

Saturday
12/12/2009



Maw-Maw’s Potato Soup


Cubed Steak
Homemade Biscuits and Gravy
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes

Sunday
12/13/2009

BBQ Boston Butt

Potato Salad
Baked Beans

Katie’s Pesto Chicken
Roasted Summer Veggies

Cindy's Pineapple Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts, sliced into fingers
Six Pepper Blend

Olive or sesame oil for frying, just enough to keep chicken from sticking
1 can crushed pineapple, in juice
1 Tbsp canned, minced garlic
1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce, add more to taste
1 ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, add more to taste
4 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Sprinkle the chicken fingers on both sides liberally with the Six Pepper Blend, then fry in the oil, turning frequently to lock in juices. While fingers are cooking, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Once the chicken is done, add the pineapple sauce and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and serve over brown or fried rice.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><


Monday, December 7, 2009

Preparing for Christmas



It is that wonderful time of year again. I love all of it – the music, the preparations, the decorations, the lights, the scents of the season – but most of all I love spending time with my family.

Do you have your tree up and your house decorated yet? I am almost finished getting all the decorations up. We had decided not to get a live tree this year, but branches kept breaking off our artificial tree as we were trying to put it up, so we trekked up to the tree farm and picked out a lovely Virginia Pine. Luckily, we didn’t have time to decorate it this weekend, because we noticed today that the stand was leaking! All over my hardwood floor – oh no! So, because we hadn’t put any decorations on yet, it wasn’t a huge deal to replace the stand. Now, the kids have the tree decorated and I almost have the house back in order. Whew!

I am looking forward to sharing some of our favorite holiday recipes with you, just about as much as I am looking forward to making them! We have three holiday treat traditions: I bake a variety of holiday cookies and make truffles and my husband makes fudge. In the past we have made each year about 15 pounds of fudge, around 7 pounds of truffles, and I don’t know how many dozens of cookies.

However, making all that took away so much time from the family, we had to decide to cut back a couple of years ago. Although I want to make the treat bags to give to family and friends, the stress of getting everything made in time when matched with our homeschooling and my work schedule took a lot of the joy out of it, and it made it very difficult for the kids to be a part. Cutting back has allowed me to enjoy making the treats again, since it’s a “want-to” instead of a “have-to.” Plus, less cookies around the house is better on the waistline, too.

This year, I am going to let the kids make most of the decisions about what we will make, and we are going to make treat-making a real family event. They have always helped, but I am really hoping they will be interested in being more involved this year. Katie is old enough to start choosing new recipes on her own, and I hope she will find a couple to begin a new tradition or two for the family.

Ooohh, I can’t wait!

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father’s house,
Cindy <><


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The best laid plans...

I made up my mind on my way home that I was going to bed as soon as I got here. No goofing off, and no posting to the blog tonight (um, this morning). Well, here it is, half past two, and guess what? I'm still up. Unfortunately, Gizmo has decided that he can't sleep. I took him to the kitchen for a drink of water; that wan't enough. I sent him out, which he apparently did need, but that wasn't enough either. He tried getting under the covers; nope, not it. So I brought him down to the kitchen, and he promptly picked up his food bowl and brought it to me. I have now fed him, but he has just finished and picked it up again and taken it to the living room. Goofy dog. Let's go get it...

...well, I'll be..The Giz is still hungry! Wow, how is that possible? He posed for a picture for me while eating his second scoop of dog food.


Oh, no, he just sneaked off with his bowl to the living room again...this time he seems content...so now it's time for a trip out side so he can "see a man about a dog" (or should it be, in this case, "see a dog about a man"?). Hey, at least he's housebroken!

He just scratched at the door to come back in...I need to get his collar off... would you come here? Now is not the time to play...

He knows my rountine when I get home. He knows I go check on the kids and give each a kiss, so he has gone to Katie's room and scratched at the door. I guess this is the cue that I can finally go to bed. Oh! he's scratching at Cody's door now...I had better go before he scratches at our door and wakes up hubby...

There is joy on this journey, on my home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #10: Be Realistic

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll go ahead and admit it: I’m a ‘Martha.’ I cannot rest until everything is finished; I cannot sleep (at least not peacefully) if I have left something undone. And the work is never done.

Unfortunately, however, it’s time for a dose of reality. If you’re working outside the home, you need to realize that you are never going to get everything done, especially if you have children. It’s physically and mentally impossible. The Titus 2 Woman, in her wisdom and encouragement, will tell you that although we are to aspire to her standards, the Proverbs 31 Woman does not exist. Not even the fortunate ladies who are SAHMs get everything done, although reading some of their blogs makes me feel grossly inadequate. We have to keep in mind, however, that it’s fairly easy to look good “on paper.” But just like no one really lives in the pretty rooms you see in magazines, the way we portray ourselves to others is not necessarily the skin we walk around in each day.

So let me share a little truth about me:

Kenny’s Mexi-Meatloaf

About 1½ to 2 lb. venison hamburger or lean ground round
1 cup oatmeal
1 large egg, beaten
Minced onion, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced; or sprinkle in granulated garlic, to taste
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt
1 16-oz jar mild salsa, separated, plus extra to serve on the side

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine the ground meat, oatmeal, egg, spices and half of the jar of salsa and mix well. Shape into a loaf and place into a loaf pan. Pour remainder of the jar of salsa onto the loaf and spread evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow the loaf to rest for a few minutes before slicing to serve. Serve with additional salsa on the side, as desired.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Week's Meal Plan: Week of November 30, 2009

Week of:
 November 30, 2009
Lunch
Dinner

Monday
11/30/2009


Brunch:
Scrambled Eggs
Bacon
Whole Wheat Pancakes

Smoked Sausage
Corn
Oven-Roasted Potatoes


Tuesday
12/1/2009


Chicken Quesadillas
e-mealz’s Crunchy Onion Tenders
Steamed Broccoli


Wednesday
12/2/2009


e-mealz’s Chicken Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Kenny’s Mexi-MeatloafMashed Potatoes
Green Beans


Thursday
12/3/2009



Loaded Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese Sauce

Sunday School Christmas Party (tailgating at the Christmas Parade): bring finger foods
(we’re taking venison sausage balls and maybe some homemade cookies, if I have time)

Friday
12/4/2009

Salmon Patties
Baby Limas

Olive Oil Fried Flounder
Roasted Summer Veggies

Saturday
12/5/2009


Leftovers or Sandwiches
Our friend Beverly is hosting a BOYM SEC Championship/ 40th Birthday Party
(we’re taking a Venison Tenderloin)

Sunday
12/6/2009

Saving Dinner’s Florentine Chicken Parmesan
Saving Dinner’s Creamy Chicken and Corn Skillet

Back at it...

I had not intended to take a few days off during the Thanksgiving holidays, but I found out I really needed the rest as well as some time "disconnected." I hope to be back at full speed tomorrow, God willing, in spite of getting to bed at this late hour. I hope everyone enjoyed time with family and friends this past weekend.

Oh, and may I say, ROLL TIDE!  Auburn made it a really good game, as it always is, but we pulled it out in the end.  And to Sonja over in Germany: I think the championship is going to be a great game! I want for the Tide to win, but I won't feel bad if Tim Tebow pulls out a victory for Florida. I was so proud when the announcer on CBS read the Bible verses out loud on the air that were referenced on his eye black during the game: Hebrews 12:1-2. I am so proud of him that he has taken this remarkable platform he has been given and used it for God's glory, and I am so thankful to have such a wonderful role model for my young, homeschooled athlete.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Give thanks to the Lord!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
GIve thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights -
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharoah and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings -
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
 His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan -
 His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance.
 His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
 His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate
 His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
(Psalm 136, NIV)
I wish a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving to your and yours, remembering to WHOM it is we are thankful and to WHOM we owe all the glory.
There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #9: Know When to Say “No”

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  (Titus 2:2-5, NIV)

Although we may have to work outside the home, doing so doesn’t mean that our hearts aren’t there. The time we have at home, with our husbands and our children, should be cherished, protected and defended.

I have been visiting the blogs of many beautiful Christian women who are blessed to be able to be at home. Many of these emphasize that they are “steadfast at home.” Since I am called out of the home, I want to emphasize that I am “steadfast about home.” That’s the attitude I want to encourage you to have.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Check out this contest...

Lisa Barthuly at Homestead Orignals is having a contest called Thanksgiving: Preparing the Homestead, and she is giving away a copy of her ebook Homestead Simplicity: Naturally Clean. Check it out!

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

The Meal Plan: Week of November 23, 2009

NOTE: Please check back later in the week, as I'll be adding a couple of recipes to go along with the meal plan. Have a blessed week, and a bountiful Thanksgiving full of praise for our Father and gratitude for his wonderful gift in Jesus Christ!
 
Week
of:

 November 23, 2009

Lunch

Dinner
Monday

e-mealz’s Pasta e
Fagioli*

Saving Dinner’s Shrimp Pompadoro
Tuesday

Creamy Broccoli Soup with grilled cheese
sandwiches

Bagged Italian Soup Meal**

Wednesday

Salmon Patties
Baby Limas

Chili Mac

Thursday

Loaded Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
Sauce

Splurge on a Little Caesar’s Pizza
Friday

THANKSGIVING DINNER:
Cajun-injected Turkey
“Southern-style” Dressing
Broccoli Casserole
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Fried Corn
Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls
Pumpkin Pie
Southern Sweet Potato Pie

PARTY FOOD FOR
“THE GAME”
ALABAMA vs. AUBURN

Then, leftovers for dinner (if anyone can still
eat!)


Saturday

Sandwiches

THANKSGIVING DINNER AT MAW-MAW’S AND
GRANDPA’S HOUSE (yum, yum!!)

Sunday
Taco Salad*
Leftovers

* We had leftovers for lunch several times last week so I had a couple of meals on last week’s plan that we didn’t prepare, so I have placed them back in the cycle this week.

** I bought a couple of books containing recipes for “Gifts in a Jar,” and instead of putting the ingredients in a jar, I place them in a quart-size zip-close bag. I then add that bag along with any other non-perishable ingredients, such as cans of tomato sauce, into a gallon-size zip-close bag, along with preparation instructions. When I make these up, I make about 5 sets of each recipe and keep these in my pantry for quick fixes. These are also good to pull out when you need to take a meal to someone.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Keeping Up with the Kids

Katie decided a self-portrait was in order yesterday afternoon as she was typing a paper.


Here’s another photo of my angel as a bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding this past spring.

Cody was sick two days last week, and he decided to spend his down time watching a little historical fiction: Gods and Generals and Gettysburg. He was inspired by the movies and convinced the neighborhood boys later in the week that they needed to build a fort to defend. Watch out, aggressors! They will defend to the…well, at least until they are called home to supper…

There's joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Getting It All Done Tip #8: “Do Ahead’s” Save Dinner! (And lunch! And breakfast!)

“…she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15b, NIV)

I think the biggest challenge that faces a woman who works outside the home is how to feed her family healthy, nutritious food when time is pinched. Let’s face it: not only does is cost more to eat real, whole foods, but they also take much more time to prepare. In addition, it’s all too easy to pick up a pizza or head to the drive-thru when it’s late, the kids and hubby are hungry (and probably complaining), and you are facing 1 to 1 ½ hours of prep time before a meal is ready.

After reading through The South Beach Diet on my doctor’s suggestion (and through working to implement the lifestyle changes therein), then through Nourishing Traditions as a curiosity after reading so many posts about it on the New Harvest Homestead Yahoo group, I have become convinced that I must work harder to eliminate the processed foods from my family’s diet. How to accomplish this is taking some time, but I have found that if I can eliminate the things that make it harder for us to eat the best foods for us, I can make the transition easier.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mmmm...Muscadine Jelly

11:45 AM, Tuesday, November 17, 2009

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” (Deuteronomy 16:15, NIV)

I wish you could experience the aromas in my kitchen this morning! I have my pumpkin spice candles burning, and I am making muscadine jelly. The juice smells wonderful as it’s cooking, and the color is so beautiful that I just had to take a picture. It’s a lovely shade of dark garnet with a hint of purple.

Today I made one batch of 8 half-pints and one pint; I will have about 20 more pints by the time I am finished. I will have to do a batch or two a day until I get it all processed. My jelly is really a cross between traditional jelly and jam. I cook the muscadines until all have “popped,” then I press the juice through a strainer. I don’t strain again through cheesecloth, so there’s pulp in the juice, but there’s not as much pulp as in regular jam. It makes for a very flavorful jelly with a rich, deep color. The juice I am using had been frozen after I prepared it until I finally found time to make the jelly.


This tastes fantastic on homemade whole wheat bread!

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #7: Get Enough Sleep

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (Psalm 127:2, NIV)

Sleep is often elusive for me, because I just don’t have time for it. It seems so useless to me to by lying there doing nothing. But neglecting this very important part of life isn’t a good idea for me, or anyone. In trying to keep up with the to-do list and the schedule, I’ll often get up early or stay up late – um, in my case, later – and all I do is end up ruining my time with my family because I am in a bad mood since I am (inexcusably) tired. What good does that do me?

So, I have learned that as I plan my day, I need remember to allocate enough time for sleep, even if I have to plan time for sleeping a little late some days. It’s a word to the wise for you, too. Perhaps you might need to plan on going to bed earlier, if you must be at work in the morning. For without enough rest, nothing you do can be done at 100%. You can’t work as efficiently, which will put you further behind. You don’t think as clearly, which will affect your judgment. Trust me on this one; I know from experience.

Besides, our Father wants for us to be at rest in our bodies and at peace in our hearts. He knows our needs, even down to the smallest details. He doesn't want us worrying about how we're going to "get it all done," either. He want us to work at all we do as if we were doing it for Him, and rest peacefully knowing we have done all we can do.

"The sleep of a laborer is sweet…” (Ecclesiastes 5:12a, NIV)

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” (Matthew 11: 28-30, NIV)


There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cody's First Deer Harvest

This weekend marks the annual Youth Hunt here in Alabama, and my son Cody took his first deer today, a young 7-point.  We are so proud! 


Cody's First Deer, 11/15/2009

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

This Week's Meal Plan




Week
of:

 November 16, 2009

Lunch


Dinner


Monday

Veggie Chili

Mexican Lasagna

Tuesday


Spaghetti and Meatballs

Saving Dinner’s Sweet Kielbasa and
Kraut
Potato Salad


Wednesday


Tomato-Basil-Chicken Couscous


Thursday


Loaded Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
Sauce


Saving Dinner’s Tuscan Chicken
Whole Wheat Linguini
Salad


Friday


e-mealz’s
Pasta e
Fagioli


Cindy’s Mushroom Chicken
Steamed Broccoli

Brown Rice

Saturday


Taco Salad


Saving Dinner’s Barbeque Roasted Salmon
Mashed Potatoes
Stewed Carrots


Sunday


Saving Dinner’s Beef with Broccoli
Brown Rice


Leftovers





Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cindy’s Mushroom Chicken

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg Onion Soup Mix
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Granulated garlic, to taste
Cajun seasonings, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix first three ingredients together. Spray an oven-proof 9x13” dish with non-stick spray and place chicken breasts in the dish so that they do not overlap. Sprinkle with granulated garlic, Cajun seasonings, salt and pepper. Cover with the mixture and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until the juices from the chicken run clear. Serve over brown rice.

(If you want to make this somewhat NT friendly, used split chicken breasts and increase the cooking time to at least 45 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked – or just set it up in the crock pot and let it cook all day on low.)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cindy’s Quick and Easy REAL Mac-n-Cheese (ready in less than 15 minutes)

1 13.25-oz pkg whole wheat elbow macaroni
Salt to taste
At least 2 cups freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
½ to ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
16 oz cubed, browned ham (optional)
2 cups additional grated cheese

Cook the macaroni noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, brown the ham (optional) and set aside, then combine the grated cheese with ½ cup of cream in a saucepan, heating very gently until the cheese is melted. The cheese sauce should be slightly thicker in consistency than the cream. Add additional cheese and cream until you have about 2 cups total. Drain the noodles, but do not rinse. Return the noodles to the drained cooking pot and add ham and cheese sauce, mixing thoroughly. If it appears that more cheese sauce is needed, simply add a little more cream to the saucepan and grate in a little more cheese; once melted, add to the macaroni mixture. Pour mac-n-cheese into an oven-safe dish and cover with remaining grated cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese on top is bubbly. Serve, and enjoy!

There is joy on this journey, On My Way Home to My Father's House,
Cindy <><

Getting It All Done Tip #6: Exercise Regularly

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (I Timothy 4:8, NIV)
You may be thinking, “Why should I take exercise advice from a fat girl?” Because it’s good advice, regardless of the source. ;)

It is well known that exercise has many benefits, including reducing your stress levels, increasing your energy levels, and possibly reducing your waist line (and who doesn’t need that – especially this fat girl!).

This is information we all already know, but the problem for most of us is usually finding the time. But you don’t have to be preparing for a marathon in order to benefit from exercise. In The South Beach Diet Supercharged, author Arthur Agatston, MD, presents an exercise plan that is effective and very time efficient. I have been following this plan, and I have found that in less than 20 minutes a day, I can get a beneficial cardio workout that makes me feel better mentally and physically.

The important thing is to commit to do it, at least 5 days a week. Personally, I know that I may not experience weight loss from exercising because I am hypothyroid. After my son was born, my health really deteriorated finally resulting in a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid is attacked and eventually killed by the body’s own immune system. I am on replacement hormones, but losing weight has become very, very difficult. My body works against me, and when I am doing everything I should be doing in order to lose weight, I’m prone to actually gain. Talk about frustrating!

I have resolved, however, that whether I can lose weight or not, if exercising regularly is good for my heart and helps me handle the stress of my day better, then those few minutes are time well spent. And, LORD willing, maybe I’ll shed a few pounds in the process.

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father's house,
Cindy <><

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Week's Meal Plan


Week
of:

 November 9, 2009




Lunch




Dinner


Monday


Leftovers


Venison cubed steak
With biscuits and gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Veggies


Tuesday




Saving Dinner's Baked Enchiladas
Salad


Wednesday


Corned Beef Hash


Corned Beef and Cabbage
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Corn Bread


Thursday


Saving Dinner's Baked Zucchini Boats


Olive-Oil Fried Flounder
Oven –Roasted Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli


Friday


Leftovers


Saving Dinner's Tomato Feta Shrimp
Brown Rice
Sa
lad


Saturday


Sandwiches


Saving Dinner's Creamy Chicken and Corn
Skillet



Sunday


Crock Pot Roast, with potatoes, carrots and green
beans



Saving Dinner's Shrimp Pompadoro
Brown Rice

Cindy's Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 to 1½ qt chicken broth (homemade is best); add water to make up the difference
1 pint canned chicken (or a 12+ oz store-bought can)
1 can Mexi-corn (corn with red and green peppers)
~ ½ Tbsp cumin
~ ¾ Tbsp chili powder
~ ½ tsp basil
~ ½ tsp cilantro
Sprinkle of taco seasonings, to taste
Sprinkle of Cajun seasonings, to taste
Minced onion, to taste
Granulated garlic, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
~ 1 cup grated Colby-Jack cheese
½ cup half-and-half
Tortilla chips

Mix all but the last three ingredients together in a stew pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until all is melted. Turn the heat off and add the half-and-half, stirring until heated through and but removing from heat before it boils. Serve with crushed tortilla chips.

There's joy on this journey, On My Way Home to My Father's House,
Cindy <><

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #5: Keep First Things First

“‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

I really should have put writing about priorities higher on my list! But as we have come to it in the course of our conversation…

I often find myself “running behind,” trying to play catch-up. When it gets really bad, I find that I keep looking at all I have to get done, and everything is so important, and no one is willing or able to help, and something has to give, and…and…and I get nothing accomplished other than feeling sorry for myself. Where to start, when everything on the list is vitally important?

Well, those pity parties aren’t any fun, and they do nothing but make me and everyone around me miserable. Meanwhile, that to-do list is still there, and it ‘ain’t goin’ nowhere.’ The reality of the situation is I feel that everything is so 'vitally important,' but when I step back and look at the big picture, the situation is not so life-shattering after all. When I look at what’s really important, it becomes clear what truly needs my attention and what can be crossed off the list until next week. It comes down to priorities and perspective.

It should go without saying that you must stick to your priorities, but it is so very easy to get them jumbled up and out of order. How many of our everyday problems would disappear if we were able to keep our priorities perfectly in order? How many money problems, relationship problems, spiritual problems, would be eliminated or reduced by keeping sight of what is truly important?

Did you notice the order of those problems above: money, relationships, spiritual matters? That’s the order of importance in which many of us see our problems, especially in these trying economic times. When our priorities are out of order, the importance of the problems we face gets out of sync. If we will seek to keep “first things first,” the size of the others will begin to shrink, as we look at them from a proper perspective.

Getting It All Done Tip #4: Don't Be a Slave to Your Schedule

Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD'S purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21, NIV)


I know...I know...if you've been following my Tips you know that the previous post on planning, scheduling and to-do lists was rather extensive, and now I'm telling you not to be a slave to your schedule? What am I thinking??

I have found two constants in my everyday life: God's grace and provision and Murphy's Law. In case there's someone out there fortunate enough to not be familiar with the latter, it states that "Anything that can go wrong, probably will, at the worst possible time." I'll put it in flowery language by borrowing from Steinbeck (who borrowed from Burns): "The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray."

No matter how much you plan and prepare, there is always the possibility of the unexpected. But sometimes those unexpected plan-busters are God's providence in disguise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting it All Done Tip #3: Write It Down and Work It Out

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days…
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us –
yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:14, 17)


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


Thousands of books have been written that explain the benefit of planning. I don’t have a recommendation for a particular system, but I do know that taking a few minutes to plan makes my days flow much more smoothly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Making Homemade Soap and New Friends; Celebrating Autumn Blessings

Last Friday, October 23, the kids and I, along with my mom (Maw-Maw), were blessed to attend a soap making class with Miss Olivia, who is a governess for a friend of the family.  I had the pleasure of meeting her for the first time at the class. She is a remarkable young woman, and she taught a delightful, hands-on class on cold process soap making, followed by a delicious lunch.  I now have over 30 bars of homemade soap curing, and I can't wait to get the supplies to make some on my own. 

I did not do a fantastic job cutting the bars, but they smell wonderful!  We used a "Clean Linen" scent that Katie picked out.  We have to wait five more weeks for the soap to cure before we can use it.  We also enjoyed meeting some new homeschooling friends at the class as well.

About three weeks ago, I visited my cousins at the Farmer's Market, and they very generously blessed me with some pumpkins, SIX to be exact (!!!) and I was thrilled.  Two pie pumpkins went to make goodies - one to my mother to make pumpkin pie for Cody and one to my mother-in-law to make pumpkin bread for Katie.  Two pumpkins are just for looks; they are the "warty" ones in the picture.  My cousin Bob told me that this particular variety is called "Knuckle-Heads"-I think you can guess why!  My other cousin Bud gave me the huge, lovely mum.  I think a light frost got a few of the blossoms, but it is covered with new buds and will be blooming all over in a couple of days.


The big pumpkins were for carving, but they were so pretty in front of the house that none of us could bear to cut them up!  However, in a day or so we may cut one and roast some pumpkin seeds. If the flesh is not too stringy we may even put up some pumpkin for holiday pies.

There are blessings all around, and there is joy on this journey, On My Way Home to My Father's House,
-Cindy <><

Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting It All Done Tip #2: Redeem the Time

As I am writing this it is actually 6:50 AM, and I am not supposed to be awake. I work an evening shift, which means that I don't get home until the wee hours of the morning. I tend to be very grumpy when I don't get enough sleep, so the kids would be upset with me if they knew I was up and about. However, for some reason I awoke early this morning, and since I couldn't get back to sleep, I figured I might as well get my day started. My hope is that I will be able to take a nap before I have to leave for work this afternoon...

Anyway, the tip is to use the time you have wisely. Don't waste it by spending too much time on the Internet (although I do appreciate you reading my blog!), and don't let the Time Thief (aka the TV) rob you of precious time you could be spending with your family or in knocking off a few items on the To Do list.

For example, right now I could just lie in bed and bemoan the fact that I wish I were asleep, but what would that accomplish? "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV) And with God's grace on the day, perhaps I will exude a sweet spirit, and not a grumpy one. I think it's time right now to pray for that...

There's joy on this journey, as I'm On My Way Home to My Father's House,
Cindy <><

Getting It All Done Tip #1: Start and Finish Strong

Start and finish each day in the Word of God and in prayer. After all He's done for us, the least we can do is give Him the first fruits of our time in the morning and the glory for the day at its end. Don't substitute a "daily devotional" book with a snippet of a Bible verse and a feel-good story about someone else's feelings or observations about God; read the Bible, God's inspired, holy Word. And after you've listened to God speak to you through His Word, don't forget that He is waiting to hear from you though prayer. "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." (Psalm 55:22, NIV)

There's joy on this journey, as I'm On My Way Home to My Father's House,
Cindy <><
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