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 <><
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