Category Archives: Recipes for Life

Making time for Family time

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The school year is well underway (finally after start two brought to us by Hurricane Harvey) and life is at that crazy-busy level.  It is our “normal” and I am thankful for the clubs, classes, Bible studies, and parties my girls are able to be involved in, yet finding time to reconnect as a family can be T-O-U-G-H.

Sundays set the tone for the week.  Sundays are a special day—that is how God intended it.  We all need a Sabbath, a day set aside for rest and worship.  Our Sundays can still be crazy though.  How can we carve out Sabbath time as a family on our Sundays when…

  • we have church in the morning,
  • a quick lunch all together before Brad heads off to his second job—thanks Babe!
  • the girls finish up the last of homework not completed on Saturday and then run off to Bible Studies at different locations
  • No one is home at dinner time and one child has dinner at Bible Study, the other snacks herself silly and Mom and Dad are running the roads to pick up everyone

I reflected on this and realized that in December our family makes time to have an Advent devotional and prayer time each Sunday night so why not do the same EVERY Sunday.  We love our time in December so let’s make it work for year-round.

I have decided that if we can’t have dinner together on Sunday night that at least we can have dessert.  I make sure we have something to snack on while we meet to reflect on our week ahead, discuss our time at church earlier in the day and then have prayer time as a family.  It has been a sweet time of fellowship.  It gives us time as a family to share concerns, laugh together and plan the week so the week can run more smoothly.

Sometimes I make an “involved” recipe dessert like the one Heather and I made a few week’s ago, salted caramel brownies, and then other times I pick up a box of “just add water” scones from Trader Joe’s and throw together the easy and well-loved “Fall Munchie Mix” (A box of golden grahams, mini-marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces, and chocolate chips all combined in a bowl!).

Easy desserts for our family time- Trader Joe Scones and Fall Munchie Mix

 

How do you connect as a family when life is crazy-busy?  Leave a comment and let’s share our collective genius!!!

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Lights and Dust

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This morning I was able to get up before the rest of my family for some rare time to myself.  I made coffee, I cleaned up some dishes left soaking from the night before, and I spent some time with the Lord.  Then I decided to open the blinds to let the sun shine in and sit down to quietly play some Christmas carols on the piano.

As I sat down, I noticed dust on the top of the piano.  Dust!???  I had recently dusted.  I had checked the house over before we hosted a gathering the night before and I had not seen dust.  Where had the dust come from?  The dust had been there but now  the light was shining in.

God then reminded me that He shines light in the darkness and reveals our sins and weaknesses.  Those sins and weaknesses are there, within us.  Many times we live life, day to day, without ever acknowledging them or even realizing how they are hurting us.  Then God sends the light to reveal what the darkness has hidden.

Acts 26:18

to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’
I was reminded how we have to daily open the blinds and  then dust.  I have to daily take time with the Lord to ask him to reveal what is keeping me from knowing Him better.  Then I have to ask forgiveness and change my behavior.
I am so thankful for The Light.  This time of year the entire world loves looking at lights…..Christmas lights on trees and those decorating yards.  I pray that as you take in the seasonal lights that you remember The Light that we are actually celebrating.  God sent his son, The Light, as a baby to deliver us from our darkness of sin that separates us from Him.

Isaiah 9:2

The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.
So get out the dust rag and get rid of the dust that the light reveals.
Let the light reveal the dust and then get rid of the dust!

Let the light reveal the dust and then get rid of the dust!

Homework Tray is Ready but We Aren’t!

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School is about to kick into full swing here in Texas. We have purchased school supplies, been talking about expectations and soaking up every last bit of summer we can!

Homework is an inevitable part of having kids in school. One thing that I put together this month as we prepare to get back into our school routine is a homework tray. I love this more than the homework “bucket” we have had before. Now everything sits on the tray and we can easily pick it up and move everything quickly if we need to use the table.

I bought a nice tray on clearance at Target and then loaded it up with a magazine file where the girls can put items that Mom and Dad need to see/sign, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, notecards, post-its, scissors….just about anything that is a “normal” homework need.

I love the way it turned out but I’m not in a rush to try it out.

#NotAFanOfHomework

#SoakingUpSummerABitLonger

Supplies are ready, but we aren't!

Supplies are ready, but we aren’t!

August 10- a day I will always remember

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Today is one of those “anniversary” days for me.  It is one that I will always remember for the rest of my life.

It is the day we picked up our girls, in 2013, from Sleep-Away camp in Pennsylvania for the last time. It was the day that we told them three very big things:

1) Uncle Dude and Aunt Erin were going to have a baby

2) Aunt Robin died during the night after battling cancer

3) We had decided that I would not accept a job in Texas that had been offered to me….a job that would have allowed us to live just an hour from our extended family.

August 10 is quite the anniversary for me.

This year I remember the day while sitting in Texas, our new residence….where God has provided a job for Brad and now, pending a written offer, a job for me. We moved into our home a week ago and live just over an hour from our extended family. Last year, I had no idea how it would all happen but we decided to Trust God and Walk Forward, knowing He had a plan for us. Knowing if we trusted Him, we would end up in just the right place….wherever that would be.

Today we visited a new church….I hate church shopping but it is a necessary evil of moving. The preacher was the highlight of the church for me, even with all its wonderful amenities. His sermon was a perfect confirmation of our desire to move back to Texas.

He preached from Colossians 3:20-21. His first point was “Make the relationships with our family of primary importance.” This entire move was based on this need of family. Our schedule in Pennsylvania did not allow us to interact as a family on a regular basis. Brad’s job was a great job, but the hours were not conducive to his being around at the times our girls were home. We did not like this. We had seen the warning flags that the pastor, Dr. Mark Hartman, shared

  • When the busy seasons become the norm.
  • When we connect our careers with our self-worth
  • When we stop fighting the battle of balance and give in to the career.

We saw these flags beginning to fly in our lives and didn’t want to overlook them and carry on.

I am thankful that God gave Brad and I the same desire, to find a job that allowed him to have a more consistent schedule to be home in the evenings. We know that our girls are growing up and we will never have this time again….we want to be the parents God has asked us to be. We also wanted our girls to know and be able to develop relationships with their extended family, as family is such an important part of life.

For us, this meant some big changes in career, location, and finances.

Moving is tough. We miss our friends, we have worked for hours packing boxes and now unpacking boxes and I won’t even mention the money involved in a move—ouch!

God is faithful and He provides.

I know He will provide new friends.

I know He will provide rest.

I know that He will provide for our needs.

 

Philippians 4:19

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

I hope to always be able to remember August 10 as a day that is bittersweet; mixed emotions and God’s hand always at work.

Hearing about a new cousin on the way!

Hearing about a new cousin on the way!

Celebrating the life of my Aunt Robin.  I miss her so much.

Celebrating the life of my Aunt Robin. I miss her so much.

Eating lunch in our new home....no Burger King this time but Whataburger!

Eating lunch in our new home….no Burger King this time but Whataburger!

Rainbow over our new hometown.

Rainbow over our new hometown.

Hey Math Teacher…when will I use this stuff?

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Yes, that is often the thought of many a math student sitting in the desk of math classes around the world. Well, let me tell you when you will use “this stuff”. Currently my life seems to be one big story problem; and the answers are not written at the back of the book!

We are excitedly looking to move back to Texas in the next few weeks. God has generously answered the prayers of many people and opened the doors for us to move back close to family. Right now, though, we constantly have to figure out all kinds of things:

  • If we have to be in Texas by x-date yet our belongings will be picked up on y-date and it takes so many hours to get to Texas, how many hours do we need to travel each day? (Make consideration for traveling with two cats)
  • If our insurance ended on June 30 and the COBRA information arrives on July 11 and is RIDICULOUSLY high, which short-term insurance plan should we go with taking into consideration the maintenance medications we are using and that our family will be traveling in two different directions in three different vehicles across the nation in just two weeks?
  • How many jobs do I apply for in the short amount of time I have to sit at the computer and give to that task?

I could go on and on. I am getting many opportunities to quote Philippians 4:6 to myself…I’ve paraphrased it a bit to fit my situations though:

Be anxious for nothing, not even finding the right job,

Be anxious for nothing, not even how you will get all of this done,

but with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

 So the recipe for life is to start each day with Thanksgiving.

Thank you Lord for this move!

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to watch you work.

Thank you Lord for guiding each step of the way.

Thank you for the amazing friends and relatives that are all helping out in their own ways.

Thank you for being so amazing and loving me even when I don’t deserve it.

 

The answers are in the book…His book….the Bible.

“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.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

So when in doubt, go to the best book around, The Bible and seek his help with the story problems of life.   The answers are not at the back of the book but all throughout, from start to finish!  Then, as Philippians 4:7 goes on to say “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Answers throughout the book!

 

Back to packing!

 

 

Change of Seasons

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Saying that this has been a hard winter is quite the understatement. Heck, it is technically spring yet the winter weather still is hanging around.  We moved into our current home just a few days after Christmas. The week after we moved in the snow came and it didn’t leave our yard until well into March. I have never in my life lived with so much snow for so many days. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want it….but I survived. On one of the not-so-bleak days this winter, my handsome fella and I went for a walk. We noted that the evergreen trees were a nice addition to the landscape in the neighborhood as winter would be so VERY bland without them.

I am so ready for the next season. I am ready for flip-flops and Capri pants. I’m ready for sitting in the backyard and soaking up the sun. I’m ready for a little color and vibrancy in life! The flowers of spring are always energizing and almost intoxicating as they change the landscape around us. Did you know to enjoy the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths that I love so much…they actually must be planted in the fall before the first hard frost? They require the cold of winter to become what they are meant to be.

I wonder how that plays into my life? I feel like I have been in a hard winter for a while.   Even in the hard winter there have been those pops of green from the “evergreen trees” to keep life from being bland and too depressing.  I am so thankful for the “evergreen trees” in my life.  I am ready though for the next season; I’m ready for the vibrant colors and shapes of the spring flowers.  Just as God has designed and shaped the flowers that will soon be coming, I know he has a plan for me. I can’t wait to see the design.

Did you know that in the basal center portion of the bulb for all of those wonderful flowers are the leaves cradling a baby bud that is just waiting for spring?  In many of the species, this bud already has the appearance of a flower while still in the bulb!  Just like God has that plan already laid out for me.  The basic framework for the next season in my life is all there.  The winter was necessary to shape me into the woman he wants me to be.  He has had the plan all along and has just been waiting to reveal it to me when the time was right.

So until then, I keep trusting him and walking forward knowing that a change of seasons is near.

As for a taste of spring now, I made this pound cake when my younger daughter had a friend over that was staying for dinner.  The friend doesn’t drink milk so my original plan for the evening dessert, ice cream, was out.  I looked around my pantry and then found this recipe on the Duncan Hines website.  It was so yummy and moist.

 

Pineapple Orange Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 350°

Grease and flour a 10″ Bundt pan.

Combine together in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 package of Duncan Hines Signature Pineapple Cake Mix
  • 1 small package of vanilla instant pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 grated orange peel (about 1 Tablespoon)

Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for two minutes.

Pour into the prepared pan

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted inot the center comes out clean.

Cool for 25 minutes in pan and then invert onto a serving plate.

Make the glaze:

Combine in a small saucepan and then simmer for 3 minutes:

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Brush the warm glaze on the cake.

Enjoy!  The cake didn’t last 24 hours at my house.

 

Spring is Coming!

Lesson From a Fruit Salad

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Tonight we had a leftover fruit salad with our dinner.  The salad had pineapple, strawberries and raspberries in it.  I think I cut up the pineapple on Friday night to go with our pizza so the fruits have been hanging out together now for about 3 days.  When my younger daughter served her plate I said “not a fan of pineapple ehh?” to which she replied, “not when it has red on it”.

It was a good time to grab the moment and remind my girls that who we hang around with rubs off on us.  The raspberries and strawberries were making our yellow pineapple red.  Just like the friends we make and even the acquaintances we choose to spend time with will rub off on us.  Make sure you hang around those you wish to become more like.