Monday, October 29, 2012

30 Reasons Among Many...

holy experience

1101. when flexibility at my job means no overnight after all
1102. little friends playing together
1103. dinner with friends, good conversation that lasts
1104. worshipping as a family
1105. God's work at Sojourn in Louisville
1106. pumpkin bread (even though the top sunk, applesauce wasn't a valid oil substitute I guess!)
1107. apple cider
1108. Matt and Moriah carving our biggest pumpkin
1109. Charlie Brown on the laptop, all three of us (and Moriah's "friends" or baby dolls) snuggled on the couch
1110. rising a bit later on Saturday as Matt woke with Moriah, 30 extra minutes is a treat sometimes
1111. homemade chicken pot pie for supper
1112. anticipating family visiting, even a couple months from now
1113. packages from my mom
1114. God's incessant reminders when there's something to be learned, He pursues
1115. a library morning with my little girls, sitting together to enjoy our new finds
1116. the wisdom of kind ladies at my church, do in fact keep the fat at the top of my homemade chicken stock, it gives it the flavor :)
1117. straight hair again, maybe I wasn't meant to be a "curly girl" all the time
1118. free giveaways, lovely hand cream thanks to a Facebook coupon
1119. remembering the Lord's total faithfulness each month when the bills are paid
1120. honest mechanics, and windshield wipers that work again before winter
1121. Matt's final semester of Seminary scheduled as he enrolled this morning
1122. time to pray and entrust our future to a God who already knows it, wow!
1123. looking forward to the Getty's Christmas concert at Southern again this year
1124. pajamas 'til noon, some days it works
1125. well organized church child care, a blessing to families and a comfort to moms
1126. morning exercise
1127. banana almond smoothies to start the day (though it's getting too cold for them!)
1128. goal setting and the purpose it can bring, with grace of course
1129. talking with friends who pick right up where you left off last
1130. a husband who I'm glad to follow, and blessed to be beside wherever the Lord takes us next

Sunday, October 28, 2012

recent encouragement from blog reading

Here are a few blogs that have been of particular interest to me over the last week or so... they're really full of specific encouragement for a variety of circumstances, maybe one with encourage you as well!

7 Tips for Hospitality on a Pastor's Wife's Budget at Money Saving Mom
The blog's title is pretty self-explanatory!  Some of these tips are similar to ones I've heard at various seminary wife classes and conferences here.

A Comfort More Enduring Than One More Kiss at Domestic Kingdom
An encouragement for the bedtime routines with helpful theology about God's comfort to us through the Holy Spirit.

The Online Mom at GirlTalk
This blog highlights the common struggle of comparisons, especially common on-line.

A Kiss Can Lie at In View of God's Mercy
A really thoughtful perspective on saving all physical affections for marriages, not at all the commonly legalistic reasons, but far more theological sound.

Ministry to North Korean Refugees at Radical Womanhood
A fascinating look at a ministry to those who've left North Korea.

The Good News on Mommy's No Good, Very Bad Day at Domestic Kingdom
Another title that's pretty easy to understand :)

In other reading I just finished The Other Wes Moore, an excellent book and have started Building Her House.  See my page, Recently Reading for more about each of those.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

fall/winter meal plans, back to the beginning

Fall/Winter Meal Plans - cycling through week 1

I'm back to Week 1 of our Fall/Winter meal plans, which is when the plan starts to be really helpful!  I don't have to add a new twist to our plans, and can enjoy the recipes I've already planned in advance.  Usually that works, but sometimes I still adjust things as needed.  This week I'm sticking to our plans, but decided to have nachos instead of cashew chicken.  We're also having pecan salmon (from a couple week's ago) instead of the baked oatmeal.  Economically it was more helpful to use up the ingredients we had on hand and the salmon that was still frozen.  Our sides will be...

chili WITH cornbread muffins, and baked streusel apples


whole chicken WITH baked sweet potatoes, and rolls (leftover from our meatloaf night last week)


chicken pot pie WITH leftover baked streusel apples

nachos WITH chicken, black beans, and avocado

pecan salmon WITH rice, and acorn squash

I've also been enjoying this healthy banana smoothie recipe for breakfast, lunch (on my day at home), or just a snack...  thanks to Pinterest for so many good ideas!  If you try the smoothie, I've been adding a tiny bit of vanilla and honey as the yogurt I've used is plain.  I didn't cook the oatmeal before hand, and use quick oats as other reviewers mentioned in the comments.  I also added some ground flax seed, and can't taste it at all :)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

fall/winter meal plans week 5

Here's another week of Fall/Winter meal plans for our family...

Fall/Winter Meals week 5

Sunday -
*found this last year and enjoyed the creamy and cheesy taste :)
it reminds me of my favorite potato soup from Houlihan's

Monday -

Tuesday -
Crock Pot chicken tortilla soup
*a recipe I've used and we've loved for a few winters now, yum!


Wednesday -

Thursday -

Friday -
BBQ meatballs

Saturday -
French toast

Here's what we're actually having...

I kept most of the meals as planned and added sides, though our pizza became a frozen one (not a homemade one!).  We're having broccoli (leftover from last week's soup) as a side with our meatballs.  Edamame (also a leftover) will be a side with the potato soup along with rolls.  We'll have cheese quesadillas and Mexican rice with our tortilla soup.  I also substituted a night of Crock Pot Ham and Beans with cornbread, instead of French toast.  We'll be away one night as I'll be working, and Matt has class so we didn't need as many meals.  We'll also have leftovers still!

from Plain Chicken

Monday, October 15, 2012

fall thanks

1081. weekend times together
1082. soup in the crock pot
1083. pink overalls for our "farmer" :)

our pink farmer at the pumpkin patch
1084. her excitement over new independence
1085. Moriah's helpful spirit, carrying things to the laundry basket, delivering clean things to their spots, dropping her (plastic) dishes into the sink
1086. an early Sunday morning drive
1087. the Amish lifestyle
1088. another pumpkin given to us, it's big!
1089. coffee with plenty of cream
1090. my husband's love

thankful that he loves us both so well

1091. a large sugar maple right outside our sliding doors, a perfect view of fall colors
1092. many opportunities for friendship
1093. a husband who will come along for my working overnights with three little ones to listen for (though sleep is often elusive!)
1094. Moriah's memory, her coins are currently stashed in her play food cornbread box - she remembers!
1095. Moriah's growing love for Matt, when he comes home from work she often says "missed you Daddy!"
1096. talking with my brother, hearing of his latest baking endeavors
1097. a sweet girl wishing her Grandma "Happy Birthday"
1098. Matt's growth as a preacher, thankful the Lord is working through him
1099. watching the Lord persevere the faith of His people, even in difficult trials
1100. one more Seminary class paid!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall/Winter Meal Plans - week 4

Here's the next week of our Fall/Winter meal plan rotation...

Fall/Winter meal plans - week 4



(somehow I've always just done this in the Crock Pot and only realized this week that it's not intended to be, though it was always fine cooking on low for my teacher work days - about 8-10ish hours?!)

from Taste of Home



(I've never poured the chicken soup base over the chicken as the recipe mentioned, mine has been fine and moist for us, though I'm sure it would be a yummy addition)

(maybe I'll have a post soon sharing some of my favorites, we like quiche a lot!)

As often happens, we don't need each of these meals this week.  Instead we're sticking to our plans, but just rearranging them a bit, and skipping spaghetti and quiche.  One evening we'll be at our community group's pot-luck so we won't need a Monday night meal, and I knew we'd likely have plenty of leftovers from both the soup and roast to stretch a bit more.  We're also trading quiche for pumpkin pancakes this week and only planning through Thursday, as I'm off work again next Friday and will "restart" for the following week.  In case you wonder what we're eating with each of these main courses I'll share that below... sometimes I hit a road block trying to come up with sides, and we honestly stay pretty minimalist on them these days.

broccoli cheddar soup WITH Gretchen's muffins, homemade applesauce (from Joy of Cooking)

*the applesauce recipe linked is close to what I do though I don't use apple cider just water,
I have used "sugar in the raw" to sweeten it which we all liked

roast WITH veggies in the Crock Pot, Bisquick rolls, homemade applesauce

feta chicken WITH edamame, quinoa/rice mix (Uncle Ben's microwavable rice bags)

pumpkin pancakes WITH bacon, eggs

Monday, October 8, 2012

thanks for all

all of these things and more give me ample reason for thanks to the Lord, the giver of all things...

1051. a fall break full of rest
1052. a car repair more simple than we expected
1053. two girls grocery shopping with me, happy as can be
1054. an art fair, creativity on display
1055. art for us to hang in our room
1056. clothes for bundling up, warmth is possible
1057. Women on Mission showing appreciation to the area's pastors
1058. winning a door prize
1059. Cracker Barrell Saturday morning breakfast to look forward to
1060. rejoicing with friends as they Lord has led them to a great new position
1061. homemade country foods, fried chicken!
1062. all things pumpkin
1063. little ones scrubbing their pumpkins clean
1064. a playdate with friends, time for moms to connect
1065. a pajama walk
1066. Gator rides even to the "back forty" and the joy on their faces
1067. fellowship with others ministering in similar places with more experience
1068. seeing hte Lord's work in growing us, and encouraging others as He teaches them
1069. the conversation free as gender roles were discussed in Sunday School, the Bible is plain to our church family, they aren't phased by the "times"
1070. big kids kindly playing with our little girl, listening to her delight to be included with them
1071. forts with dad
1072. a clean home to begin the week
1073. time to cook slowly on Sunday afternoons
1074. yogurt in the Crock Pot, plentiful and cost effective
1075. a cancer considered "treatable"
1076. book orders, even though I'm not a teacher any more
1077. knowing that I'm part of the mystery Paul proclaimed, salvation to the Gentiles
1078. a community for on-line Bible study
1079. the prospect of a Dutch baby pancake for breakfast
1080. the rest time mutterings of my 4 year old friend as he ingrosses himself in imaginative play

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Home, Simple and Sweet

These are the blessings of my home and family most recently, all simple and sweet... 

a weekend afternoon at the park

she had a bag for her inevitable collections

adding fall pansies to our flower pots

eager to help with her gardening gloves
and tiny shovel

dinner time together

bathing a girl who wants to cuddle as she dries

bedtime stories read aloud

quietly reading with Matt on the couch

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall/Winter Meal Plans - week 3

Here's my official third week of Fall/Winter meal plans...


from Martha Stewart



from The Girl Who Ate Everything


see my post on Matt's birthday for the recipe

*I really simplify her recipe, using tortilla chips and Rotel,
though I'm certain it's extra tasty as written!
from Pioneer Woman

This week I'm venturing from my plan quite a bit actually... we'll really have the pesto cream pasta with garlic bread (that I skipped last week), pecan salmon with rice and acorn squash, migas, and chicken barley soup, plus leftovers twice.  We're blessed to have a Pastor's Appreciation dinner tomorrow night with our local Baptist association, and lunch with another pastor Sunday so we didn't need to plan quite as many meals!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Enjoy warming up with this rich and creamy soup - one of my favorites!  I don't know the original source, though the recipe was given to me by my friend and boss Carrie.  I tasted her leftovers often last winter and then started making it at home for us!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
4 c chicken broth
2 c cooked wild rice *I usually buy the pouch of Uncle Ben's wild rice that is microwavable
3/4 tsp thyme
pinch cayenne pepper
bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
vermouth (optional) *I haven't used it
2 c half and half
2 c cooked turkey or chicken *I use chicken, and recently used our extra Crock Pot Whole Chicken

Saute onion, celery, and carrots in butter in large Dutch oven (*I use a stock pot as I don't have a Dutch oven).  Reduce heat.  Blend in flour, stirring until bubbly.

Gradually add chicken broth, stirring constantly.  Bring to boil.  Boil one minute.  Reduce heat, add wild rice, half and half, chicken, and seasonings.

Simmer 20 minutes.


*I've frozen our leftovers in the past and have found it to work pretty well.  We've also enjoyed serving this to guests!

chicken and wild rice soup
served with an apple muffin and fruit

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

blogging change

I've recently had some convicting thoughts that are also teaching me more humility.  I'm thankful for humble and kind friends who help me learn as well.  In lots of ways blogging is pretty opposite of humility for me I've realized.  While on one hand I love to share ideas and hope that they benefit others, perhaps sharing these ideas turns into self promotion.  I really don't want that to be the case.

If in fact, someone would like to know more about my family's choices in parenting, training, educating, reading, etc. they'd ask!  I don't need the help of a blog or my words to advertise the "good things" I think I'm doing.  If no one is asking for my opinion on a certain topic it's really probably better not to share and be tempted with pride,  I think this will be a better gauge for me. 

I'm not assuming that others struggle in the same ways that I do, so I'll continue to read other bloggers.  I'll also keep blogging as I share some things, but probably mostly meal plans, books I'm reading, and my list of thanks.  The things I do in my days as a nanny and a mom seem less helpful to share in the big picture, though I may list some of our favorites each month.

I'm still thinking through these things, and hope to talk with Matt more about them!  He always helps me sort out my thoughts, and knows my heart well enough to encourage me to take steps towards godliness.  While I wanted to blog and remember these things for myself, somehow I can quickly become self-centered and prideful in the process.  I don't want to encourage that, but rather strive against it.  May I seek to serve only the Lord in the activities of daily life and in pleasing Him find my reward.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recently Reading Fall

I really LOVE to read!  I can remember loving good books at most every stage of life, though the books were obviously different in each season.  As a college student I became more interested in non-fiction books than I'd been before, and now my reading seems to bounce back and forth between fiction and non-fiction reading.  In the summer time I tend to "rest" and enjoy more novels, but somehow knowing that my Seminarian-husband is constantly reading for class makes me feel like reading for information.  Additionally, much of my reading is based a current desire to grow in a certain area or learn more, after college you realize all that you don't know much about! 

When I began teaching I read tons of teacher memoir books.  Before I got married I read lots of books providing wisdom for godly Christian marriages.  As a pregnant lady, I read all about natural birth, nutrition, pregnancy, labor and delivery, and newborn care.  Now as a mom I continue to have interest in parenting topics.  I also enjoy reading for spiritual growth which comes in many forms.  Some books are of like-minded authors, while others may be very different.  Some are far more weighty reads while others offer a light sort of inspiration.  I read often, and strive to read more widely though I don't often "assign" myself reading that I wouldn't naturally enjoy :) 

Reading novels these days has taught me that so many authors are throwing in characters who face all sorts of issues and struggles that seem a bit forced to me.  I don't want to be "close minded" but I also don't want to read books that aren't helpful for my own thoughts, so I tend to avoid those genres and topics if they're explicit in a book summary or review.  On the flip side, I don't want to only read books marketed as Christian fiction, so I really haven't read many of them either.  I love historical fiction and tend to gravitate that way in reading novels.

If you're looking for books of interest, I'd encourage you to skim through my "Recently Reading" page that I try to keep updated with my latest books and a quick summary or reason for choosing them.  Leave me a comment with any of your favorites!  My library book request list is long and my stacks at home are even taller, though I'm always excited to find a new favorite.

By topic/genre some of my recent favorites are...

historical fiction: The Forgotten Garden

Christian fiction (historical fiction): The Preacher's Bride

Christian living: Love Does

Parenting: Simplicity Parenting

Monday, October 1, 2012

our great God and the many gifts He gives

1016. weekends together
1017. an afternoon at the park and our little girl gathering "special things" in her bag
1018. reading outside on a bench when the weather is just right
1019. a little bit of overtime pay and dinner out as a treat
1020. belated birthday cards that are an ever better surprise unexpected
1021. letting the Lord lead me to love others, trusting Him that they'll know
1022. Matt's friendships with other men who encourage him
1023. the farmer's market one last Saturday
1024. sharing the deals of Big Lots with Matt, he's still talking about it!
1025. faith that says, "why not me?" in the midst of suffering
1026. a dad pursuing his children again, God working in our little church
1027. a job much needed
1029. simplifying life, even her toys
1030. coooking on Sunday afternoon
1031. friends who share favorite recipes
1032. homemade soup, hot when it's cool out
1033. a counter full of breads and muffins, Matt's dream come true!
1034. the generous gift of zucchini bread made by hands that have aged
1035. delight in little faces with new fun
1036. sweet Moriah and Matt in a fort
1037. my best laundry help, Matt who hauls it back and forth
1038. assistance received that astonished us as a big bill is no longer looming
1039. my debt of sin against God paid, far greater than any monetary debt, and a far greater payment in Christ on my behalf, oh the love of God
1040. time at home, becoming just as sweet (or sweeter than) as a busy day out
1041. a playgroup starting
1042. a book that inspires in a real way, Love Does
1043. reading time (see my page "Recently Reading" for the most recent books I've read)
1044. a recipe that will work well with little hands helping
1045. "happy birthday mama", Moriah's sweetest sentiment these days right after "I love you" but in her mind seemingly more significant as she says it so sincerely :)
1046. time when I slow down from to do's, just to enjoy things right in front of me
1047. an expressive little boy, telling me about his plans
1048. "Ring around the rosie" on our bed with Moriah, giggling with joy
1049. a dad's play, we're talking about "bad guys" though he chose to spray them instead of mentioning guns... he said "I don't know how to play girl things"as he looked out from the fort
1050. a community of ladies studying the Bible, She Reads Truth, so helpful to my walk