Thursday, October 28, 2010

our little church

We've been attending and serving at Turner's Station Baptist Church in Turner's Station, Kentucky for over a year now! Time has flown, our little world has changed in many ways, but oh these people have been such a blessing in the midst of it all. Some sweet memories include...

*pot-lucks :) Matt didn't really know much about pot-lucks until he "became Baptist", now he thinks they're one of his favorite things... especially at Turner's Station where the food is REALLY good, home cooked, and usually from someone's garden crops - seriously it is, and that is a rare treat indeed

*old pictures... last year I asked one of the ladies to bring some pictures from the church's history to share with us, how amazing! the church was built in 1919 and has been full at some times since then, now it's much much smaller than it was when these members were younger and raising their own families, but they memories they share are priceless and unique

*a surprise baby shower... they coordinated in secret and opened the partitions one Sunday after service (the day before Moriah was born in fact) to reveal a baby shower they'd planned for us, their generosity was humbling and their thoughtfulness was a blessing

*our country drives each Sunday... we see great things that just aren't found in our heart of Louisville neighborhood, deer (including a fawn once), cows of all kinds (even my favorite black and white dairy cows!), horses, tobacco hanging to dry in barns (that's fascinating for me), a blind beagle who lays near the church and lounges in the sun, old cemeteries which enchant me for some reason, and wonderful farm houses, a stream, wonderful wildflowers in the summer, and changing leaves in the fall... I really look forward to showing Moriah such great wonders when she's old enough to realize all the beauty we drive though

*great faith... Matt and I have often said that we've never met more Godly saints in our walks with the Lord than we have at Turner's Station, the simple and profound faith of each person there is astonishing... when one sweet lady was diagnosed with breast cancer last year she replied "God knows what He's doing... why not me!" she was serious, and really that faithful day in and day out, she's currently in remission (praise God!) after doctor's said on many occasions that they'd never had a better patient which she always turned to glorify God as she shared of His sustaining grace at work within her life

*grandparents for Moriah here in Kentucky! each week they ooh and ahh over our little one and pass her around to many loving and always open arms, she has grandparents here too :) they are all very sweet to cherish her as much as they do, and even our tobacco farming friend (who reminds me a lot of Matthew Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables movies) will hold her throughout Sunday school and do all he can to see her smile!

*generosity... there's a different way of life in the country which often includes sharing in times of plenty, we've been the joyful recipients of farm fresh vegetables in the summer (at one time I had more than 5 batches of zucchini bread and muffins from a surplus of zucchinis we were given), a wonderful fruit basket last Christmas, baby clothes and most recently a pumpkin... I hope we can give to them in our own way that can also bless their hearts

*a pastor's appreciation dinner... we attended a meal provided by Women on Mission at a nearby town's church for all Henry County Baptist pastors, what an example of kindness and service to the body! one woman prepared the meal for 35 of us to enjoy, and said that she was used to cooking like that for tobacco hands as a younger lady... I couldn't imagine preparing that quantity and quality of food ever! they allowed us to enjoy visiting with one another as we ate, and they even held Moriah and shared her with many open arms (all of which were strangers to us, but fellow sisters in the Lord who loved our little one very well that evening!)

We have been so thankful for this experience during this season of life and pray that the Lord will give us many more days with these sweet people. You can always keep us in your prayers, as Matt prepares sermons and teaches Sunday School while working at the bank full time and taking Seminary classes as well. We desire to be faithful to this call and opportunity the Lord has given us now.

I really wish I had some pictures to share, but we don't have any... it's a must that we take some soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

meal planning... what's working for me

So with the arrival of baby Moriah and my return to work, I knew I needed to brain storm a more efficient way of meal planning. I think I mentioned previously, that my habit before included flipping through my little notebook of favorite dinners, digging out recipe cards, looking through new magazine and e-mail recipes, and finally coming up with my list of dinners for the week. Then I complied all of that info into a grocery list. So I was meal planning... I could NEVER go to the store without a real list and a plan, I admire those of you who can... I would end up at home with nothing I'd need for a complete meal but that's just me! So anyway, while this "system" was fun for me, it was really time consuming and I wanted to make a change.

I found some meal planning templates on another blog months ago and had them handy. The one I liked best included dinner plans for each day of the week with room for the main dish and three sides (although we never have quite that many). Also each page includes the Grocery List which accompanies those particular meals, all seven days of the week are on one page as well making it easy to review at a glance. So I embarked on my last big maternity leave project and found four week's worth of fall and winter recipes for us to enjoy. I sort of grouped them by days: Mon- chicken, Tues- breakfast for dinner, Wed- meatless, Thur-quick dinner, Fri- dinner out, Sat- Crock-Pot, and Sun- free for a new recipe. This grouping helped my brainstorming as I came up with meals we'd enjoy. The Friday night dinner out usually includes one of our favorite fast and less expensive places like: Qdoba (we have great coupons we bought from friends fundraising for a missions trip), Lenny's Subs, or Chick-Fil-A.

So now on a weekly basis all I need to do is consult my master list... recopy the grocery list onto my note paper, add any other staple foods (lunch items, breakfast foods), pantry foods, or toiletries and head out to the store - so much faster for me! I also experimented this week and shopped on Saturday morning EARLY, after Moriah had her first nursing of the day and had gone back to sleep while Matt was home getting ready for work. I really enjoyed it, felt productive and think I might make it a new habit - we'll see.

So here are our weekly plans in case you're curious or need some new inspiration for your own dinners... let me know if there are any recipes you'd be more curious about. I can assure you, they're all FAST and SIMPLE which was crucial for me these days!

feta chicken, rice and a vegetable (recently it was squash from the CSA)
blueberry pancakes, bacon and eggs
cheese and ham souffle, muffins and fruit
nachos with chicken and avocados, beans and rice
French dip sandwiches, a vegetable

lemon-onion chicken, bed of spinach, cheddar biscuits
*** an example of POOR planning, it took way too long and will be soon replaced on our rotation!
waffles, eggs, yogurt, and fruit
grilled cheese sandwiches and salad
pecan salmon, rice, a vegetable (also recently modified... salmon was expensive so I had some cod fillets instead)
cheesy potato soup, rolls, salad

pesto chicken pizza, side?
egg strata, muffins
sweet potatoes, berry and feta salad
spaghetti, garlic bread and green beans
chicken tortilla soup, cheese quesadillas, cornbread, rice

hawaiian chicken, rice, vegetable
pumpkin pancakes, bacon, eggs
spinach and swiss quiche, muffins, fruit
ham and cheese crescent roll-ups, vegetable
chili, cornbread

Saturday, October 9, 2010

funny 4 year olds...

This week I made the switch from teaching a 3 year old pre-school class to teaching a 4 year old pre-school class. I quickly realized that there is A LOT of growing up that happens in that 3rd year of life, as the 4 year olds are SO much more "grown up" than the little 3 year olds. So, needless to say, I personally enjoy the older ones more :) My days are now full of more "real teaching" with specific plans that can be successfully carried out and include art time, pre-reading activities, number activities, journal writing, free play (that's relatively independent and peaceful), calendar time, etc. My days are also absent of diaper and pull up changing as all the 4 year olds are potty trained, which is a wonderful skill that I've become quite thankful for already! I've also found that the conversations I over hear among my little ones is much more entertaining:

me: "Do you want to know something funny Miss I?"
Miss I: "What, Ms. Laura?"
me: "I was eating at your papa's Mexican restaurant the night before Moriah was born. I ate a lot that night, I was really hungry!"
Miss I: "That's not funny" (her reply was accompanied by a very straight and unamused face!)

among a few little girls, Miss I from above was part of this group:
"My parents say I'm a big girl"
"My papa says I'm the biggest girl"
"My mom and dad say I'm the cutest girl in the whole wide world!"
I never realized the implications of such comments... they all took them to be very literal and were unsure about how each could be true :)

I LOVE the 4 year olds, and look forward to many more days of enjoying their company. The classroom is becoming more organized (I actually miss being able to go in and set it up in my own way before a school year actually starts!), and more of "my own". Oh yes, another great thing - I get to cook with them every Friday... I think this is what Kindergarten used to be like, when it was fun!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

in case you didn't know...

Moriah is already 2 months old! I'll join the crowd of people saying "time flies"... "I don't know where the last two months have gone!", etc. :) She's such a great baby, and we enjoy new things about her every day it seems. Here's her 2 month old picture, taken right before church on a cool fall morning - the perfect reason to wear baby girl tights!

Blog topics to come...
our new weekly/monthly meal planning
a sweet dinner in Henry County with fellow pastors
friendships in the Lord
more "best of Louisville"

I'll get to those soon - I hope :)