Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
There is no better gift in all the world than a dear friend who knows you well and loves you still! Acquaintances come and go, but true friendship is like a pathway through a fragrant summer garden. Whether they resemble dearly loved rosebushes, with blooms that seem to grow more lovely with the passing years or a bright new flower that lifts its face to the sun and has arrived with a new season of life, friends are the most delightful garden. How soothing to linger through a long afternoon, to talk and laugh, dream and maybe share a tear or two. It is a garden where pretenses are set aside and we can just be who we are.
I am thankful for a dearly loved rosebush who has been there for years. She is a sweet fragrance and has graced my life for more than a decade. She is now officially a blogger and I am so thankful that even though many miles distance our old familiar walks and talks, she is only a click away from me hearing her heart and smelling the sweet fragrance of her life. Go and visit her at Traveling Light.
For more "Thankful" posts visit Iris at Sting My Heart
I made these last night and my kids loved them.
Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Beef Hoagies
-Boneless Roast, trimmed of fat (the recipe called for an arm roast)
-2 medium onions sliced into four sections
-1 can (14.5oz) Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained
-1/4 cup tomato paste
-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Place onions at the bottom of slow cooker. Place beef on onions. In small bowl, mix diced tomatoes and tomato paste; pour over beef. (I usually will put some Italian Seasonings in mixture or you could just use a small jar of spaghetti sauce)
Cover; cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours.
Remove beef from cooker; place on cutting board. Use 2 forks to shred. Return shredded beef to cooker. Spoon beef onto each bun and top with cheese. (I microwave sandwich for about 25 seconds to melt cheese)
Layered Chicken-Black Bean Enchiladas
(This recipe is super easy if you have your chicken already cooked.
Just open a few cans, layer, and bake. It is great for a crowd!)
-2 cups chopped or shredded cooked boneless skinless chicken breast
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
-1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
-1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained
-1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
-8 corn tortillas
-1 1/2 cups shredded colby-monterey jack cheese blend
1 cup sour cream
Heat over to 375 degrees. Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray. In bowl, mix chicken, cilantro, black beans and chiles.
Spread 2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce in bottom of baking dish. Place 4 tortillas over sauce, overlapping as necessary. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Spoon half of the remaining enchilada sauce and half of the sour cream randomly over the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, 1/2 cup cheese, the enchilada sauce and sour cream. (sour cream could be eliminated)
Cover with foil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand before serving. (Optional - top with sour cream)
taken from Betty Crocker-Easy Recipes
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Here is my menu plan for the week. It was 80 degrees on Saturday, so we were outside grilling. I am hoping to get outside this week and do some more.
Monday: Maple and Mustard-Glazed Grilled Chicken with red potatoes and green salad
Tuesday: Layered Chicken-Black Bean Enchiladas
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Italian Shredded Beef Hoagies
Thursday: Raspberry Glazed Grilled Chicken with asparagus, corn and red potatoes with a honey-mustard glaze
Friday: Tex Mex Chicken Salad
Recipe for Maple and Mustard-Glazed Grilled Chicken
3/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
Cook chicken on the grill for about 15 minutes over medium heat; turn chicken, cover and cook 20 to 40 minutes longer turning occasionally and brushing 2 or 3 times with glaze until juice of chicken is clear when thickest piece is cut. Heat remaining mustard mixture to boiling; boil 1 minute. Serve sauce with chicken
For more great menu ideas visit Laura at I'm an Organized Junkie
Friday, April 20, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
"God loves to decorate. God has to decorate. Let him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change. Portraits of hurt will be replaced by landscapes of grace. Walls of anger will be demolished and shaky foundations restored. God can no more leave a life unchanged than a mother can leave her child's tear untouched." (taken from Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado)
God's been redecorating around here for a long time and just when I get to thinking I like what He has done, it's time to rearrange some furniture, tear down a wall or two and freshen things up with a coat of paint. But just as I would wipe my child's tear away with my own hands because of my great love for them, God's love does and will continue to transform my life.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6 (ESV)
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Tuesday: Cheese Enchiladas, rice and beans
Wednesday: Sloppy Joes (one of my kids just love these) & pasta salad
Thursday: Lasagna and salad (Make an extra lasagna for the freezer)
Saturday: Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo and salad
It's Monday and we are finally getting some nice weather again. I am ready to change my menu planner from roasts, soups and stews to grilled chicken, shish ka bobs on the barbecue and salads. I sat this morning and reorganized my planner moving some of my soup recipes to the back of the book and inserting some new marinades for the grill to the front. I also moved my cookbooks around so that the ones that are specific to spring and summer cooking are ready to go.
The boys are in the middle of spring soccer season and baseball practice is starting. Our evenings are beginning to be busy again with running kids here and there, so this is a great time to plan ahead so that we don't end up eating too much fast food. A little preparation goes along way. Here are a few things that I have used in the past and have served me well:
- Cook and chop up (I will also shred some for enchiladas) several pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts. I then freeze in 3-4 cup quantities for quick meal preparation.
- Prepare several freezer meals such as lasagna, tamale pie and other casseroles that freeze nicely. For the next two weeks, I plan to cook "double" on two days in order to build my stock of freezer meals.
- Utilize your crockpot!! There are so many great recipes for crockpots from very simple barbecue chicken to roasts.
- Make a menu plan. I make the plan for the week based on what I have on my calendar. Our goal for most nights is to gather at the table, but if I didn't have a plan I am afraid we would miss many opportunities for this important time together. Having a plan as always served me well.
I will finish my post on "Manners Matter" next week. Have a great Monday!
For more menu plans visit Laura at Organized Junkie
Thursday, April 12, 2007
What has happened? Twelve years has gone by so quickly. The day you were born will be forever etched in my mind. You were the most wonderful baby (and I am not exaggerating). Your toddler years, like most toddlers, were busy and filled with me wondering what happened to the sweet and content little baby I had just held. I love this picture of you at fifteen months in your tiny night gown and slippers. We had just arrived home from a summer camp, I had given you a bath and we were all ready for bed at like four in the afternoon. I couldn't help after a long hot week but snap a picture of you with your sun kissed cheeks.
Finally, as a preschooler your hair began to grow and stayed as a cute brunette bob for years. Elementary school has been full of growth. Your passion for gymnastics and your accomplishments in theatre ballet have helped develop your confidence to perform in front of other people. But it is your love and passion for Jesus that blesses me most.
I love to go in your room and find all the little notes you have left or see the many crafty projects you are creating. You love to read to me what you have written in your journal. I have noticed the extra time you are starting to take in the bathroom. It is a sign of things to come, but most days (weather permitting) you are outside on your bike, roller blading or just exploring with friends.
You have been my adventurous one at times, always curious and yet a very pleasant little girl. Others would not know this about you, but there is a very shy side to you. You are beginning to change into a warm, caring and lovely young lady. April 12th, your golden birthday! I pray that you will continue to love to talk, sip warm tea, and never stop wanting to just be with your mom. Kelsey, I pray that you continue to grow in character, strength and wisdom as a young woman of God. You bring our family great joy and with an older sister and three younger brothers, you hold your position well. (wink) Enjoy your tamales tonight, lots of birthday cake and thank you for waking up this morning with the best smile ever.
I love you so much!
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Since someone else already beat me to giving each of them this award, I will just say "thank you" again to each of you by sending it back to you and share a bit why each of these blogs bless me and cause me to think.
Cyndi at One Day More challenges me to dig deeper. She encourages me almost daily in the word of God through her posts. She is a powerful writer and definitely causes me to think about my relationship with God.
Susanne at Living to tell the Story is a beautiful Godly woman. Her posts at Faith Lifts are inspiring and full of God's truths. It is her comments at my own blog that often times has caused me to think. She is such an encourager and finds the good in all things.
Kelly at A Spacious Place was one of the first blogs I began to read regularly and hopefully will never stop! We walk in similar paths. I have found her love for mentoring the young women God has placed in her life as well as her love for her husband and children refreshing. She is truly a woman after God's heart.
Deidre at For Such A Time as This is a buried treasure. If you have never read her blog, go now. She is a beautiful writer who expresses what God is doing in her life so powerfully! Her posts not only cause me to think but they inspire me!
Tammy at Family Doin's is brand new to me too! But thank you Tammy for your kind words. She has been leaving such nice comments, but it was reading this post that not only made me think, but made me thankful that I am not the only one at times feeling a bit awkward.
Go read and enjoy!
Monday, April 09, 2007
Tuesday: Ham & Bean Soup with cornbread
Wednesday: Spaghetti & garlic bread
Thursday: Birthday Dinner *It will be mexican her favorite* Cake & Ice Cream
Friday: Teriyaki Burgers, salad, & chips
Saturday: Taco Salad
- Setting your table - The simplest part of your preparation is to provide your guests with the tools they need to comfortably dine with you. (Remember proper etiquette has to do with others) Whether you are having guests for supper or not, setting the table or placing the table utensils at appropriate locations provides an inviting atmosphere to all who are coming to your table. At a very early age your children can begin setting the table. This is a great time to talk about serving others and preparing a place for them to come and feel special. I have one of my children help me each evening not only with the setting of the table but also depending on their age, I talk about ways we can make others feel welcome including our family members. For example, if Daddy has a special glass encourage your child to look for it and place it at his place. Even If I am serving from the stove, utensils, cups and other items can be neatly placed on the table.
- Simply Prepare - Simply preparing things ahead of time and planning can free us to be more attentive to others. This is a skill that will make things much smoother when hosting others. Allowing your children to participate in some of the preparations provides the opportunity for them to see what is required in serving others. Talk to your children about how we can ask the Lord to teach us other ways that we can honor our family and guests. With my children, I will walk through all the things that are needed at the table or the serving area so that we can remain at the table during the meal and enjoy our time together.
- Prepare to lavishly love - The obligation for following the rules of etiquette belongs to those who serve as host and hostess. In the dominion of our own homes we have the awesome privilege and Biblical mandate to represent Jesus Christ to those who walk through our doors. If your children are very young and the thought of entertaining guests just does not seem realistic, (which for many years, I was in this place ) first begin with your own family. By having one of your children work with you in the kitchen, you are teaching him/her to be the host/hostess. Next, start by inviting grandparents or other friends or family members who understand the season you are in with young children. Often times there is not enough seating at the table in our homes for those we may chose to invite, but we can still teach our children about showing kindness to those who have come to our home even if it means they are sitting in the living room or other designated places. Start simple and small, maybe just invite someone for dessert. Our home provides the perfect environment for practicing hospitality. We just need to give our children the opportunity to practice it.
Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ's body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him).
1 Peter 4:9 (AB)
This by no means is an exhaustive list. But please remember, the most important thing in teaching our children manners or etiquette is to teach people are more important than protocol.
Next week I will share some of the specific areas concerning proper table conduct that we have found useful with our children and have provided for enjoyment while we are at the table.
For more great menu plans go to I'm an Organizing Junkie
Friday, April 06, 2007
"However, what I could not do, God did (Rom 5:6) - and in doing it, He did it all, sending His own Son into the world to die on the cross for my sins, (Rom 8:3) thereby showing me unfathomable love. (Rom 5)
God loved me so much that He was willing to suffer the loss of His Son, (John 3:16) and even more amazingly, He was willing to allow His Son to suffer the loss of Him at the cross. (Mark 15:34)
Jesus loved me so much that He was willing to lay down His life for me. No one could ever love me more or better than Jesus. (John 15:13)
On the third day after Jesus' death, God raised Him from the dead, thereby announcing that His death was completely sufficient to atone for every sin that I have or will commit throughout my lifetime. (Acts 13)
God then exalted Christ to His own right hand,(Eph. 1) where Christ now reigns from on high, granting salvation and forgiveness to all who call on Him by faith. (Acts 5:31)
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
- Healed by the stripes of JESUS He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
- Kept by God and the evil one does not touch me We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 1 John 5:18
- Delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God's kingdom For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves Colossians 1:13
For more "In Other Words" visit Sting My Heart.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
When life keeps our family from gathering at the table for several days in a row, I usually have a longing for us to be together. This evening was one of those times. Due to the busyness of this past week or so we hadn't been able to eat together as a family for several days. Even though my plans tonight were very simple and included leftovers, I went ahead and set the table. Too often in our weariness, especially when our children are young, we fail to sit together quietly and enjoy our meal together. I had explained in this post some of the reasons and the purpose for my meal planning.
Another purpose for meal planning is the teaching of etiquette. But it may not be what you think. I am not looking for my children to become "proper" or be able to walk into a five star restaurant and act like an adult.
But as I mentioned here, our table is one of the best places to teach our children important biblical principles. The place we start from is "Your Manners Matter". Colossians 4:5-6 says,
Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (ESV)
The foundation of all etiquette is kindness, which expresses itself by consideration for the people around you. Knowing proper etiquette makes you feel comfortable so that you can reach out to others and make them feel important. If you are concerned about making a mistake or appearing to be foolish, then your thoughts are consumed with yourself. However, when you know how to properly conduct yourself in the presence of others, then you are free to focus on them.
Next week, I'll share how I have taken these principles and put them into practice everyday with my own family.
Here is what I am planning to serve my family this week:
Monday: Busy Day Beef Stew with Sourdough rolls
Tuesday: Taco Soup
Wednesday: (Cooking Day for my kids - they will make the menu Mon. evening)
Thursday: Swiss Chicken Bake and salad
Friday: Swiss Potato Soup
Saturday: Lasagna, salad and garlic bread
Easter Sunday Dinner
A few weeks ago a few of you asked about the recipe for Chicken Packets. This is one of my kids favorite meals. Several years ago I had tried the "once- a- month cooking" idea in order to save time. This is the only recipe that has lasted since those days.
3-4 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons milk
2 or 3 packages refrigerated crescent rolls*
(the original recipe called for chopped chives and salt to taste)
Mix chicken, cream cheese, and milk in a bowl. Unroll crescent rolls. Each tube will contain 4 rectangles of dough with a diagonal perforation. Press dough along each perforation so the rectangle halves will not separate. Place about 1/4 cup of chicken mixture into the center of each rectangle. Fold dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal tightly. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. They are even good cold the next day.
*two rolls make eight packets. If I have extra chicken mixture, it makes a great chicken salad or sandwich too.
For more great menu ideas and other great organizing tips visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.