Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pepper Steak

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Check out my mom's blog for more amazing recipes. I grew up on this and still love it today. As a mom, to be able to toss something into a crock pot in the morning and then simply leave it until dinner is a life saver. Takes the stress out of the 4:30 P.M. time frame when you realize you have forgotten to even think about making something. Try this out sometime. You will not regret it!

1 1/2-2 pounds round steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups hot water
pan drippings
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1-16 ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 green peppers cut into thin strips
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
cooked noodles or rice

Brown steak in oil. Transfer to crock pot. Add water to pan and stir up pan drippings. Combine next seven ingredients with water; pour over beef. Cook on low 6 hours. Add tomatoes and peppers. Cook 2 hours longer or until peppers are soft. Combine water and cornstarch. Stir into liquid in crock pot. Serve over noodles or rice.

No Bakes

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fast, easy, and tasty. Grab some tums or maybe something for insulin. You will get either heart burn or diabetes but you can't stop yourself from eating these anyway! Thank you to my mom for the recipe!

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

4 cups sugar
12 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 stick butter
1 cup milk

Mix and boil in a Dutch oven until sugar is dissolved. Add:

6 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
2 cups coconut

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper and let cool.

No Cold Animals

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This is just a fun post for me and this little giraffe is adorable. My oldest was concerned that her animal friend was cold so I whipped this up for her. Pretty soon all the stuffed animals were out of the toy box and in a line. It is a great way to use up scrap yarn that is for sure! Enjoy, and hopefully this makes you smile as much as it did me!
Pay no mind to the cowboy boot, Frozen DVD and whatnot in my background!

Burbon Chicken

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Another fast and easy family favorite. The credit goes to the internet    and is for sure in our food rotation. This dish is fast, spicy, and filling. Five stars from us! Note: Named from a cook who worked in a restaurant on Bourbon St. There is not any actual bourbon in the recipe. :)

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove 
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (cut back if you don't like spice!)  
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbs ketchup 
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce                                                                                       

Heat oil in a large skillet, add chicken and cook until lightly browned then remove. 

Add remaining ingredients over medium heat until well mixed and brown sugar is resolved. 

Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve over hot rice with a side of steamed veggies (we do broccoli)! Enjoy!



Just In Case You Noticed

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last week, in order to become a more dedicated "blogger," I did something that was probably considered strange.

I went on my Facebook account and I created a page specifically for my blog and then proceeded to delete all of my "friends" off of my friends list. Only my family and "might as well be family" remained.

I was feeling like I made the correct decision until I received a message. The little red notification popped up and I thought, "Yay! My grandma must need help with her printer." I was a bit off-taken when I read, "I noticed you must have unintentionally deleted me off your account. No, you must have intentionally done it. That's fine, I understand, I just wanted you to know that I noticed."

Tears flooded my eyes. Not the kind where you think, "Oh no, I have hurt someone." They were the tears of, "How dare you!" I took a big breath, and responded gracefully. After stewing over if for the day, I realized, "I have not prayed about this!" So I did.

"God, my heart is wounded. I am doing what you asked and am being lashed out at for it. It wasn't personal to any of my friends. Lord, Facebook is my idol. I waste my time on it more than I live for you. I scorn and envy and compare. My life is full of jealousy and anger because I can't get off of there! I never meant to hurt anyone. Now I am angry and frustrated. Please bring me peace and comfort. Confirm in me the plans you have for me in your word (Jer. 29:11). Soften my heart. Explain to me what that may have meant in light of my choices to serve you."

Now see, on the outside, my family really seems to have it all. We follow Dave Ramsey, we go to church, my husband doesn't yell at me, my 2.5 children are healthy, we have two mostly rust free cars, we give to others, and our home has a Bible verse hung in each room that our perfectly fluffy goldendoodle follows me around in. It looks great.

But on the inside of me, I am a sinner. I am a person in need of redemption. I struggle. For me, Facebook amplified that struggle.  I would log on to see all the cool things my friends were doing. Hikes, home improvements, new purchases, the flowers for their anniversary, something their husband built, a big move, an accomplishment their child has done, and a vacation they took with perfect scenic pictures to prove it. An hour later I would still be browsing at that check in at the local coffee shop with a friend, or that retreat with their group of friends, or that...  yep. There goes my heart and my attitude.

"Must be nice to get a new car, again." was my thought. What I should have been focusing on is, "Thank you Lord for my two very reliable cars in the garage that are paid for." "I want a kitchen like hers," should really be, "Lord, we have a kitchen full of food. I am so grateful." The worst, "She looks so much better than me after five kids than I look after just three." Where was all this coming from? My rotten heart condition.

I realized that I cared more about the opinions of people who do not know anything about me more than I cared about the opinion of the one who created me just the way he wants me to be in the very situation I am in.

You see, I wanted to compete with that. I wanted to keep up with the Jones'. "Nice minivan soccer mom, look at my TAHOE!" Friends, that is sin. That is my sin.

In order to please the Lord he says in Matthew 5:29 (NLT), "So if your eye--even your good eye--causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

I had to make a change in order to be able to stand in front of God. My private sin had to be taken care of and that meant social media needed to be weeded out. God wants all of our being to glorify him. If we Christians want to rain the glory of God through out the world, we need to have his glory in every fiber of our body. Even in our secrets, no, especially in our secrets. God knows the condition of our hearts, even if we hide it. God goes there without an invitation and he sees past the way we try to justify having sin there.

So, if any of the rest of you noticed that you are no longer on my account, you are hopefully on my blog fan page. Let me tell you what is amazing about all of this for me.

My conversations used to consist of, "I saw on Facebook that you..." In the middle of a long talk the phrase, "Oh, yeah, I saw that on Facebook!"  What a killer! The topic would end there. "Oh, you already know." Genuine conversation cannot be had when you already know what is to be said! For me, a contact list in your phone is so much more important that a friends list on your screen.

My dear friends, I love you. I love you all. I want you in my life, but I want you in my life so I can be having genuine conversation with you. I want to be happy for your new houses, cars, and children's accomplishments. I want to see your beautiful anniversary flowers. However, I want to see them IN your house. I want you to come visit me in mine. I want to bump into you at the grocery store and I want to say, "How have you been?" and I really, really want to mean it. Because right now when I ask you, I get the run down of your news feed over the last week. That's not genuine. That's public.

This is true for me and in need of repentance before my Savior. Maybe your convictions are not the same here because this isn't your sin to carry, but I know for me personally, I'd rather ditch social media than risk my witness of Christ working through me.

Maybe you are no longer on my friends list but you still are my beautiful friends that I trust to carry my baggage and do life with me. So if you want to know what I have been up to, call me and ask. You will be surprised because you won't have generically read it voiced on a public forum. If you want to hear about my five year old who is teaching herself how to play a poorly tuned guitar via YouTube, then we can meet at the park and let the kids play while we chat. Even better, if you want to know about how the basement remodel is coming or what color I painted my kitchen, come over to my house. I will brew a pot of coffee and show you around.
Titus 1:8, "But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meet My Pal Nicole!

Monday, September 22, 2014

She is a strong, encouraging woman of faith with a blog that can be found here.

Nicole emailed me this fantastic post and asked me to share it! Thank you Nicole for sharing your thoughts with us!

My little guy started 4K this week.  He’s been so excited about school for so many years and it was finally his turn to go.  He loved every minute of the first day and couldn’t wait to go back for more the next day.  On his second day I had to work in the afternoon and the kids would need to be at the babysitter’s until family could pick them up.  I had Tater ride the bus from school to the sitter’s house.  Unbeknownst to him I watched him get on the bus from the school parking lot and then drove to the sitter’s and watched him get off safely.  (I did have to blow my cover at this point since he left his backpack on the bus!)  I gave him a squeeze and he stayed with our sitter for the very first time.  They had only met briefly about 10 days beforehand but he was excited to play!  After I got to work a few hours later I was sent this picture of Nathan zonked out on our sitter’s lap:

Photo: One reason I love babysitting! Cuddled up and fast asleep within seconds, he had FUN at school today!

Tater’s peace and tranquility got me thinking.  Trust.  Look at the amount of trust that he was able to place in our brand new babysitter.  He had met and spoken with her for a total of five minutes before the day he hopped on a bus and went to her house for the afternoon.  Yet he still was able to lay down on her lap and snuggle in for a nice nap without any hesitation.

I went through my day and counted multiple times that I have to put my trust in someone or something else.  The alarm clock, the other drivers on the road, my coworkers, my husband, my kids, my family, friends and often complete strangers.  Think about a trip to the grocery store.  You get in your car and trust that all of the drivers around you will follow the rules of the road, stopping when they need to and staying in their own lanes.  Without trust in them you wouldn’t be able to get to the store.  Driving is a constant trust in complete strangers.

How is it that we can so easily put our trust in someone, even someone we don’t even know?  If we’re able to trust so many people throughout the course of the day, are we putting our trust in God too?  Often God is the hardest for us to trust.  His paths for our life often don’t line up with our ideas and this is when it’s most important to trust.  Jeremiah 29:11 says “”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.””

He has created a plan for you, a plan that is good and a plan that will help further His Kingdom.  Although it may be hard to understand, we do need to follow.  I have found in the darkest of times, when I feel that I have been given the wrong path and it’s hardest to trust in Him, I come out of the darkness into a light beyond anything I could have expected.  The blessings abound on the other side of the struggle.  The only way to get through is to trust in Him.  

Dear God, please allow us to give our hearts to you.  To give you our complete trust, knowing that the path you have set for us is one that is good and true to your kingdom.  Help us to follow you with an open heart to accept any challenges that might face us, knowing that there are blessings on the other side.  With our praises, Amen!

I hope that you will be able to put your full trust in God just as you’re able to do with so many others during the course of a day.  Let him be your snuggle spot when you get tired!

That is such a truth there. The best thing we can do when we are weary and heavy laden is to go to our Father and rest there! Thank you for a great reminder here, Nicole!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Toddler Teach Me Moment #1

Sunday, September 21, 2014

I had what I like to call a "toddler teach me" moment a while back. You know the kind, where you try to teach your toddler something and end up learning something yourself.

 I'm even going to get real with you. I was just shy of 8 months pregnant and it was a daily battle to feel beautiful, especially when even your maternity clothes are just a little too tight,  you carry around a few extra stretch marks, 60 extra lbs, and your face has more hormonal acne than skin cells. This is not to even mention as a mom, you have to schedule in your showers and don't even get me started on shaving over the beastly belly!

My oldest asked if she could, "do me up" one day and I agreed. I fully believed that it couldn't get much worse but let me tell you, it could. My second daughter also got in on the action with a little shimmer eye shadow and enough lipstick to paint a barn.

I thought I would use that moment to teach my daughter that it isn't what is on the outside that counts. That no matter how much purple shadow she had on, if she had a bitter, icky, unforgiving heart then she was still ugly. I continued on with the fact that no matter how much makeup she put on, underneath, she was still "Gracie" just like I, five solid shades darker than normal, was still "muh-muh." But the more I spoke to her, the angrier I got. Probably because I didn't believe a word of it.

After my fingernails.. er.. fingertips..all got layers of different colored polish, she decided she was going to watch a movie. I used this opportunity to baby wipe my face off. As I stood there in the bathroom removing the only tan I have ever had, God started to pull at my heart strings.

Moms, we're beautiful and I'm going to tell you why.

Because when you have kids, you become humble.. and that is "precious in the sight of God." I'll tell you something.. My mom is beautiful. I've never seen her in make up. I have never seen her in anything other than a turtle neck, my dads hoodie, and faded jeans from 15 years ago. But to me, she's even more beautiful than the woman wearing skinnies, perfectly curled hair, and barn red lips. Because my mom is humble. She's the real deal. My mom will have the flu and still make you pancakes. My mom is a servant and is always last.

That's Jesus, and we call him "beautiful."

The second baby wipe took off that bronzer to reveal my red dots, pasty, ten pounds rounder face and I stared at myself for a good minute.  I became overcome with the junk that I carried. The make up I don't have the time to wear couldn't cover the shame in my heart . My insecurity to the marks that no one will even see. I prayed that God would release me. To be joyful and whole. To rejoice in the work he is doing in the lives of his moms.

We have so much more to focus on than how tan we are or if after baby three can we still wear those jeans from ten years ago (dont lie, we all have that one pair we "might get to wear someday" at the bottom of the stack...)

But what God finds beautiful, more than our ability to wake up at 5:30 A.M. and paint ourself (and believe me, I am a firm believer in getting done up to attract your spouse- but thats another post.. I'm also not condoning being sloppy but I am trying to promote realistic beauty.) He wants us to us to have a gentle & quiet spirit, a humble heart.

He gives us moms kids, less time, and more responsibility, to learn to be last. Because moms are beautiful in their lastness. Because the mom who has flour in her hair, take out after work, and who settles down after a long day and thinks.. "Did I even brush my teeth today?" is learning to be like Jesus.

And as my fifth baby wipe hit the counter and I reached for the polish remover, I decided, "No, actually, I like my ten different colored nails and I'm keeping them." They remind me that what is beautiful is how I serve my kids and my husband. That the inperfection of toddler painted nails, is much like Gods work in our life. Hes not going to quit perfecting us until our last breath. And he has a head start on his moms.

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