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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pinterest Recipe Reviews

Because I'm loving pinterest. I am starting a series of reviews on pins I've tried. You'll notice every pin on pinterest is described as being, "the BEST thing ever." So I thought I'd put some things to the test....

First up: CROCKPOT PIZZA CASSEROLE

Source: Katie on Pinterest


I am always looking for easy crockpot meals that my little ones will actually eat. That is why I pinned this. Spaghetti like dishes are usually winners. I found that when done cooking it was a bit dry, could have used more spaghetti sauce or water. The flavor was tasty and I like the addition of the pepperoni. I think my toddler found it just a bit spicy for his taste however, they did eat it. I used ground turkey instead. Overall, I'd say I may make it again, if I remember it. Easily forgotten.


Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 Box Spiral Pasta (uncooked but rinsed)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni
  • 1 Small Can tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Spray Large Crockpot 6qt or larger with non-stick spray
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and green bell pepper. Drain excess fat.
  3. Rinse pasta and place in the crock-pot with drained ground beef mix. Stir. Tomato paste and water over noodle mix.
  4. Top with shredded Mozzarella.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours (no peeking)
  6. Serve with a side salad

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is staying "too busy" a bad thing?

We recently had a conversation, Dan and I, as well as a few other good friends about the notion of "being busy". In fact, we have been quite reprimanded and convicted on the matter.

Our culture has become so busy in fact, that when anyone invites another to spend quality time together, our knee-jerk reaction is that we are, "So busy. Insanely busy. Crazy busy." as some have put it...I think this response does invoke a kind of prideful feeling, that we are somehow in demand. Our very presence is so greatly sought after that we simply must turn people down. Like a product on a shelf, we are so popular that we are "sold-out". Please take a rain check and try again later.

Frankly speaking, I have long been in this camp. It's a funny feeling too. I loathe my busy schedule at times and at other times it gives me a sense of self-worth. When I have down-time, I feel that hurried feeling creeping up again, like surely there must be something more pressing that I have on the schedule. When I am allowed to simply do the normal things of life, like spending time on the floor playing with legos with my boys, or making dinner or even doing the dishes (which I often make excuses for doing). Is it wrong that I feel that these are less-than activities?

And what about when someone I care about comes to me with an invitation to do something together or simply spend time catching up? Is it tragic that I have to turn them down because of this activity or event that has grudgingly been on the calendar longer? I think it is a tragedy of sorts. And not necessarily for the person who is getting declined.

A friend of ours recently forwarded on a great blog post on this very matter. The author even goes as far to say that we are forcing each other to behave this way. Always fearing that the other must be too busy, and therefore maintaining the veil over vulnerability. Keeping score and therefore keeping each other at an arm's length in our relationships.

As far as ministry goes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain meaningful relationships, with friends and colleagues, let alone with our very own family. I can only foresee my sons schedules becoming more and more busy when school and sports come into the picture.

School is not bad, sports are not bad, church events are not bad. So where does the problem manifest itself? Is it in our behavior towards one another and the societal norms that are established within these institutions?

I think there is a growing tremor happening all around us, that has already been evidenced in movements from Moms all over the country that our children are being pushed to their limits. That  the busier we are, the more exhausted and stressed we are. The more our familial relationships suffer. Our friends get pushed to the sidelines and it leaves little to no room left to meet new people and develop new relationships.

I want to change. I want others to give me the freedom to change. I need to purposely re-create our sabbath. Our "day of rest" and enjoying all the blessings of family, friends and God's goodness, by just "being", not "being busy". I need to create           blank space           in my life.






Tuesday, June 12, 2012

" The days are long, but the years are short."

The years seem to go faster and faster now. Everyone says that. But it's weird when it's actually happening. The phrase that keeps surfacing in my mind is, "The days are long, but the years are short." How true that is with young children. I look into my little boy's root beer brown eyes and gently stroke his sweet soft skin while reading him his bedtime story and I feel as though he will always be this way. I lay Jack down on the floor to tickle his belly and take snapshots in my mind of little teeth popping out of a wide, joyous smile. I feel the moments so deeply that they seem as though they will always be. Just like this.

Every now and then when I catch a breath I will look back through old photos. And by old, I mean a year or two ago. I am amazed that, the little boys were once little tiny babies. That realization comes with a multitude of opposites. I feel them all; both long and short in time, high and low in emotion, and hard and easy in labor. I think God made it like that. I never remember things that are just short or just easy. I really want to remember this.

Some days I get caught up in wanting to join back in the rat race. I want to go back to school. I want to start working again. I want to contribute more (monetarily anyway). I look around at the culture's standards and I feel like I do not have much to hold in my hands. I strive to find ways to better our family. I think this is a pretty natural desire, aside from the "keeping up with Jones'". I want to help provide for my little family. I want them to be able to go to college one day. I want them to have the things they need.

And yet, they are more than provided for by our heavenly father. I believe he uses both Dan and I as a tool or an instrument of His love, if we are willing to allow it to flow through us. Even when we are tired or have had enough of the struggle of the wills and the bargaining with the three-year-old. Even when we feel defeated and feel that we are not meeting needs. Even when we just want some time to ourselves, to do things we used to do, to be able to have an adult conversation uninterrupted. What things we used to take for granted! But even when we don't feel like it, if we will allow His spirit to dwell in us and in our home and flow through our actions, he always blesses us in unexpected ways.

"I just get this feeling that God is really pleased with you." -anonymous lady at church.

That was what I needed to hear. I think that God knew that I needed to hear the words. If but uttered from an acquaintance, still a sister. I just want to know that what I am doing is good. That someone is pleased with me, most significantly God. That he shows favor toward me because of my actions and sacrifices. I think my love language is "words of affirmation". I would do the work of raising children all day everyday without a single word of encouragement, but sometimes it is nice to hear the words and feel them in my heart. It keeps me going when things get tough.

There ought to be an Oscar's for the Mothers and Fathers in the world. My guess is that a lot of other Moms would love to hear a little encouragement once in awhile. Then I think about those root beer brown and denim blue eyes gazing back at me and the far off sound of little voices and laughter drifts in and I am reminded of the great honor and responsibility before me. I return to my children with  renewed joy and enthusiasm for the crafting and celebration of their sweet spirits. They are my reward indeed, for as long as I live. Thank you Lord.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

KONY 2012---why the hatred?

We have been following Invisible Children's work now for awhile and the recent media uproar both gets me excited and disgruntled. I find it very alarming that anytime anything gets put in the lime light through popular interest people attack it viciously. This is not a new thing. It seems that we have been doing this for as long as I can remember now.

I think about politics. Wow. Everyone supports the presidential candidate and then as soon as he is elected, he is scrutinized and hated (as well as before he is elected). I am not always in the favor of the president's views, opinions and policies either, but what happened to a certain amount of respect for one of our own?

I think about celebs. Everyone loved Justin Bieber and sent him on a unprecedented rise to the top and now he is loathed by many and has even become an embarrassment, my hairstylist commenting on how she tries not to give the "Bieber" cut to her guy clients. (Though I agree Michelle!) There are so many anti-Bieber websites and movements.

What is with this hateful backlash? It makes me feel like I should join in on the bashing or be mocked and ridiculed myself. It is a "grown-up" form of bullying.

I think about the recent popularity of the KONY 2012 film campaign. Whose view count this morning was over 87 million.  This thing has totally blown up world wide. Before it got this huge my husband had signed a contract with them to bring their film to a local brewery (The Livery) here in town. The people we have dealt with are all about our age (20's) and volunteer to make this happen at venues and schools and churches and organizations all over the country and have been for several years.

Most likely one or two of them will be sleeping on our couch while here. This is why I love their mission. It is literally so close to home. They are bringing advocacy to this issue of justice to the inside of our four walls and our hearts. I am glad they got really "popular".

I'm not going to pretend like they aren't cool anymore. Or that their mission and strategy is flawed to a serious fault. Or even that I have a better idea of how we could resolve saving these innocent children from the world's top international criminal. Because even if I do have a better idea (and trust me I have opinions), am I doing any of them right now? Nope.

They are taking this from "the land of talk, to the land of do". I stand by them in this.




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

:::Reporting Back:::


My Lent sacrifice experiment spending
only $14 for a weeks' worth of groceries.


First chapter of my book...?

Here's a little sneak preview of a book I've been working on...with the Lord's help I will finish it. One of these days. Only the names are changed to protect the innocent. Haha!


:::::::::: LESSON ONE:::::::::::
Congratulations. You are a mother now.

I will never forget how I became a mother. Ok, not so much that part. Although that was nice I suppose. But when I actually gave birth. The whole thing began as a disappointment. I guess I mean... it was different than what I expected. You know that book, What to expect when you are expecting? yeah...about that.

Expectations = a love affair with an unrealistic idea that slowly attaches itself to my heart like a malignancy.

When Gavin was born, everything was different than how I imagined it. My ideas and visions of victoriously giving birth %100 drug free to the most perfect little boy the world had ever laid eyes on were dashed in a matter of moments. The first surprise came at 3AM lying in bed next to my husband amidst a sea of boxes, all packed up and freshly scribbled in sharpie, ‘bedroom’ and ‘frag-ee-lay’.

At first I thought I was peeing myself. Warm liquid was trickling out of me and then as I woke up I screamed, “Ahh, I’m peeing! I can’t stop!” I managed to roll out of bed when I realized that it was probably my water breaking. I had never seen so much fluid come out of me before.

“Is this what it was supposed to be like? Why had I never thought to put rubber sheets on our memory foam mattress? And why is this happening right now? My due date is not for another 4 weeks! How are we going to move out tomorrow if I’m giving birth!”

We were scheduled in less than 5 hours to have a whole crew of people come over and move us into our new house (our first home we bought). I hadn’t even set up the nursery, or the kitchen. We didn’t have appliances. This was not the vision I had seen so vividly in my mind.

It’s almost humorous isn’t it? It’s like the God of the universe knows just what a control freak I am. So much so, that I pushed and fought to buy our perfect home before the baby came, so that we would have our perfect white picket life all laid out like a pressed church outfit on the bed. I was just waiting on the little bundle to be handed into my perfectly folded arms, fresh fuchsia mom fingernails glistening in the morning sun that filtered through the hospital window.

So here I was, sitting in a puddle of juice, walled in by towers of chiquita banana boxes and a wide-eyed, freaked out husband frantically throwing shampoo bottles and toothbrushes into a  Wal-mart bag. I’d say a pretty good little Saturday so far.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who is the best Mom?

Recently I have become acutely aware of the competitive nature of Moms. Not only do we want others to believe that we have it together, we want people to get the impression that we are even better mothers than they are.

Has anyone else felt compelled to parade your motherhood in a rather perfect light? Or felt it was your duty to air your opinion without permission or recourse? What is it about us Moms that makes us feel so justified?

Here are my thoughts:

1. We feel like conquerors: We have recently endured (or presently enduring) one of the hardest things we have ever done. Raising young babies and children is not for the faint of heart.

2. We feel like failures: Just the slightest negative comment from the stranger at the grocery store can devastate us. Let alone our mothers or grandmothers.

3. We are plagued with guilt: We replay that time we goofed and spanked when we shouldn't have or let our kids watch one too many episodes of "Wonder Pets" over and over in our minds.

4. We want others to commiserate with us: There is nothing that can bond people more than shared hardships.

These are just some of the negative aspects that I believe the enemy uses as a foothold to get into the door of our hearts and bring discord among mothers. He knows our weaknesses and uses them against others and ourselves.

If we are being honest. And I am. The reality is that raising children is a very hard job. It requires all of you, at all times. If there is any shred of selfishness left in you it will rear its ugly head quite often. It is near impossible to be a mother ( or at least a good mother) and be a selfish person.

I think that is one of the ways that the spirit sanctifies us. Are we becoming more holy? The more we are pushed to our limits and broken daily are we learning to become better servants?

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

I admit that I really had no clue what it meant to serve until I had children. And for that I am so grateful.

So let us be gentle with one another. Our tender raw hearts are lying just beneath the surface of our mom armor.

I hope that I can cultivate relationships with women that are encouraging and full of grace. That I would accept them with open arms when they convey that they are weary. That I would give them words of advice only when asked and even then that my lips would be dripped with honey. That I would be truthful when I feel that a mother needs accountability and that my words would be spirit led.

That I would be kind to myself. That I would understand that the measure of my worth is not wrapped up in how much organic baby food I use, how long I breastfed, if I use cloth diapers, if I stay home with my kids, if I document every activity with dozens of photographs and video, if I spank or not spank, or if I let my kid eat food off the floor.

God does not want us to be the same. In that we can rejoice! So praise God that there are all kinds of mothers out there and that God is using their experiences to make them stronger and more like his character. He is not confined to one line of thinking in this. He only asks us to have hearts that want to open up and to learn to say yes to him, even when it is really really hard.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm going to the grocery store with $14 in my pocket.

video
http://blog.worldvisionacts.org/2012/02/lent2012/

What will you sacrifice? I want to know! I hope this "vlog" encourages you to do something crazy. So that we can become better people. People with our eyes focused on God.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cheap Fun! Just my style.

My poor kids. Every once in awhile I decide to have a game or activity.....Here's what I came up with today.... from The Preschooler's Busy Book all using things around the house.

A sock filled with dried beans or rice. Tape a square on the floor and try to throw it in the square!










Calvin loved this game and even came up with a variation of it all by himself. Each of us stood in a taped box and threw it back and forth to each other. It was fun trying to stay in the square and not fall out of it while trying to catch it. I would fall dramatically and Cal thought that was THE funniest thing ever.
Here's my boys just being silly and cute.....


Monday, February 6, 2012

My Baby Jack is 8 months!!!!!

I can't believe that my sweet little baby that I brought home from the hospital only yesterday, is now 8 months old and well on his way to the one year mark! I love this little man for so many reasons. He is such a laid back little snuggler. He has such a sweet spirit and is also starting to make some pretty silly expressions. He loves his big brother and loves to giggle with him. Whenever I say "Yay!", he holds up his hand high in the air with a big smile on his face. He is such a precious gift from God. I can't wait to watch him continue to grow. Thank you Lord, for entrusting me with these two precious boys.







Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on perfect conditions.

In my devotional yesterday it talked about "resources" and how we often wait until we have perfect conditions to make a move in our lives. It's an interesting paradox because when we do that -we have neither the resources nor the movement forward.

As a young woman and now a young mom, this resonates with me. I think most women would agree to wanting some sort of security in life. "I just want to know what our home will be like" or " I just need to know that we will have money to live on" or "that there will be friends or family to help me" or " that Mr. Right is really out there". In a way, I think that these are natural desires and good desires to want to take care of those entrusted to you and also yourself.

This devotional was reminding me that sometimes that gets in the way of living a life of TRUE FAITH. A life that lets go of the security blanket long enough to see the vision of God.

I also wonder how frustrated and flat out insulted He must be to think that we cannot let go of such trivial things of this world to follow his leading (as evidenced by a lot of scripture!) The God who created us and has a plan to prosper us and give us a future...shouldn't that be my security? Of course it should be. And it is. It takes the renewing of my mind over and over again to get it hidden in my heart and fleshed out in my actions.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matt 6:25

I am remembering that truth today. Life is more important. I will not worry. I will have Faith.
 
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