Monday, November 25, 2013

MY FIRST THANKSGIVING


Well, it took 42 years, but I am finally having my first Thanksgiving at my house. I am 25 weeks pregnant, so I will not be making the turkey or ham, but my kids and I are making all the sides and desserts. I am excited about our menu, so I wanted to share some of the great tried and true recipes and some new ones. Click on dish for recipe:

MENU
  1. Spiral Cut Glazed Ham (purchased at Bjs)
  2. Smoked Turkey (purchased from a local meat market)
WHY I LOVE THESE RECIPES
  1. This ham is delicious and easy because it is already cooked and cut.  Leftovers make amazing split pea soup.
  2. This is a new one.  I have always loved smoked turkey, but never tried to do it myself.  When I saw the local meat market was offering these for $30 for a 10-12 pound turkey, I ordered one.
  3. I am Cuban, so I had never eaten collard greens until a few years ago.  I had really good ones and loved them.  This year there were collards in our CSA box, so I had to turn to Youtube to figure out how to make them.  This video is engaging and these really are the best collards ever.  She gives a recipe list at the beginning of video.
  4. I found this recipe through Swagbucks last week.  As my plan indicates I prepared it yesterday and it is by far the BEST macaroni n' cheese I have ever tasted.  Printable recipe here.
  5. I tried mashed potato stuffing years ago and it is the most amazing combination.  I've made it several times and it is always delicious and always a hit.
  6. Tried and true!
  7. I have made this pie once before and let's just say, it disappeared!
  8. My daughter loves pumpkin pie and I have never made one.  This year she will attempt this Paula Deen recipe.
HERE IS THE PLAN:

SUNDAY
  • Prepare macaroni n' cheese, cover with foil, write directions on foil.
  • Prepare green bean casserole, cover with foil, write directions on foil.
  • Put ham in refrigerator to thaw out.

MONDAY
  • Prepare mashed potato stuffing, cover with foil, write directions on sticky note. (this gets cooked with foil on, so I didn't want the fumes from a sharpie wafting in the oven)
  • Prepare bacon and onions for collard greens.

WEDNESDAY
  • Make pies
  • Pick up Turkey

THURSDAY
  • Heat up ham at 11:00 a.m. according to directions (keep warm with foil and towel)
  • Heat up turkey at 11:00 a.m. according to directions (keep warm with foil and towel)
  • Start collards at 10:30, they need a good two hours to cook
  • Noon, heat up remaining casseroles
  • 1:00 Eat
We will be having a quiet Thanksgiving with a friend who is a single mom and her four kids, my husband and I and our four kids.

I am looking forward to a new tradition and hesitant about it at the same time. Thanksgiving was my favorite time of year as a kid, we ALWAYS did the same thing. It was constant and it was sure, there was comfort in that for me. Over the years, I have shared dinner responsiblities with others, I have made and brought dishes, I have made nothing, but I have never been the hostess. I did it this year out of necessity more than anything, which is not always the best motiviation. I have hope that it will be fun, thankFULL and a blessing to all of us.

I have so much to be thankful for; a new husband, four great kids and a little boy on the way, my health, healing, strong faith, great friends, the body of Christ and so much more...

What are you thankful for this year?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

HER NAME IS LOLA!

Lola is the gray bunny on the left and Coco is the tan one on the right. They are mini-rexes. A few months ago it became evident to me that a pet would be a great benefit for my kids. I began praying.

While out to lunch with a friend she mentioned that they were looking for a home for their dog. We arranged a meeting between said dog and my children (without their knowledge of the possibility that we might keep him). They fell in love and my heart leaped when I saw their eyes light up and their countenance change. We visited with said dog a couple of times, but it became evident it just wasn't a good fit. He was a puppy, a large puppy and we have a small house with no fenced yard. My prayer specifically was for a dog, not a puppy!

We began talking about a bunny and my oldest two got to work saving for a bunny. I got an email about a rabbit cage and pen for sale, so I bought them. My kids did a wonderful job saving and planning for a bunny. We went to our old neighbor's house, a rabbit breeder and picked out not one, but two bunnies. I just couldn't resist and my littlest two needed a pet too. We brought the bunnies home and fell in love. They are amazing. Lola, my bunny acts more like a dog than a rabbit. They are sweet and were immediately litter box trained. We keep them in their pen, with the cage inside on the screened porch (I'll include a picture of that one day when it's clean). For more on rabbits as pets, check out Georgia House Rabbit Society.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, but totally in God's bigger picture plan, we got our beloved little dog, Maggie back. We purchased Maggie, a long-haired, dachshund in the fall of 2010, but I never got the chance to post about her. In March of 2011 the kids and I moved to a new, small town with Maggie. I was a single mom, with four kids eight and under and very unsure of our circumstances and future. So, I sent Maggie back to live with my ex. He has had her since then. Recently circumstances changed and it was a good time for us to get Maggie back, so we did. In a month and a half we went from zero pets to three.

Maggie is settling in nicely. Everyone is so happy! I have realized the decision for me to not have Maggie for a while was a really loving thing to do for myself and allowed me to focus on the most important things, my children, at the time. I do not regret it or feel guilty. I am actually grateful that at a time when I could have really been cruel to myself I chose to love myself. It is a good example for my children. God is so rich in His mercy, He has restored to us what was lost and continues to do so. We are all at a much better place to love and care for Maggie.

 

 
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

This song is a great reminder of God's love for us (for you), His beloved children:
Still hoping in Him,











Friday, June 7, 2013

SUMMER SCHOOL


My kids attended school for the first time the year before last, so last summer was our first "summer break" and I had no idea what to do. That was not a good plan. So, this summer with a little planning we are off to a great start. The plans I had were quickly thwarted by unforeseen events, but God quickly stepped in.

One of my main goals was to teach the kids to ride bikes, but I had to purchase them first. Not happening! Well, my oldest won a bike at our local bank when she opened an account, seriously? God is amazing.

She came home and I showed her a Youtube video and in a couple of hours she was off with my six year old on her heels demanding to get her training wheels off. Then she was off. My son, who did not have a bike got on his sister's and he was off. Three kids riding bikes within 24 hours and no training or running behind the bike for me. My mother graciously offered to buy a bicycle for my oldest son and I bought one for my youngest. By far this is the "favoritist" pass time. I am looking at getting one too! Why should they have all the fun?

We are also homeschooling a little, mostly to spend time as a family learning and growing. Below is what we are doing:

As a family:
Read Alouds - Various Chapter Books beginning with Stuart Little by E.B. White
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Grace, Stephen and Sarah Mally
Around the World in 60 days by Thriving Family FREE here
Landmark Cards where we learn famous landmarks, their history and location
Spanish in 10 minutes a day
Say What You Mean by Art of Eloquence

Upcoming 6th grader:
Word Roots by The Critical Thinking Company book B1, explores Latin/Greek word roots
Etymology for Wordbrains like Me by Norm Bomer
Christian Light Reading and Language Arts
Light Keepers: Ten Boys and Girls Who Used Their Talents, 2 Volumes
Beautiful Girlhood (read aloud together)

Upcoming 3rd grader:
Chrisitan Light Reader Doors to Discovery with Light Units

Upcoming 1st grader:
I Wonder Reader with Light Units

Upcoming Pre-Kindergartener:
Chrisitian Light Beginner's Activity Set

Fieldtrips:
Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts The Cat in the Hat
World of Coke Museum (I won tickets)
Many days at the river
Family Bike Rides
Braves game (the kids get free tickets for being on honor roll)
Library Reading Program
Visit to the peach orchard
Blueberry picking

Our fieldtrips and fun will always come first this summer, the schooling is to fill in the gaps.  Since they were homeschooled previously they have a love of learning and are eager to get into their readers and other projects.

Also planned, backyard fires, gardening, church activities and animal care (more on that later).

What are your plans this summer?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

INDESCRIBABLY GOOD!



One of my goals for the summer is to try at least one new recipe a week. This week's was delivered to my inbox via a Pampered Chef newsletter. White Chocolate Cheesecake Strawberries, need I say more?

Strawberries are at the peak of perfection in my neck of the woods, so this was an easy choice. With few ingredients (usually on hand) my daughters and I split up the tasks and got to work. In about 15 minutes we had the most beautiful and delicious dessert I have had in a long time. These would be perfect for an outdoor event, tea party or potluck.

Will you try these?  Will you share?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

FREEDOM

It has been exactly one year since my last post. Today seemed like the perfect day for an update. A LOT can happen in a year! (more on that in another post)

Just over a year ago I had a revelation about FREEDOM that changed my life.

From my journal:

April 17, 2012

My thinking up until recently had been that I would have the victory or freedom when "all was said and done" or when I could say, "this is what God did, Praise the Lord!", but today as I walked around the neighborhood feeling much like a daughter feeling full and confident, it dawned on me - THIS is the victory, the FREEDOM - NOT caring what the outcome is but, basking, growing and celebrating the journey. The victory is I AM a daughter with a Daddy that loves her and no verdict or outcome can change that. I have the freedom to face ALL that lies before me without fear. So, even with no idea what the outcome is in any given situation, but SURE that the journey is making me more of the woman He created me to be.

Liberty in Strong's Concordance is 1657 freedom from 1658 which is unrestrained, not a slave, exempt from obligation or liability.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Romans 8:15-16

Liability is something that works to one's disadvantage. FEAR was my liability. Only in coming out of bondage to FEAR and receiving the Spirit of adoption could I cry "Abba, Father" and BE a daughter. I love being a daughter!

FREEDOM from Webster's dictionary is the state or quality of being free exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power. I do not want to be controlled by some arbitrary power (For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galations 5:5

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25

I'M BACK!

As I sat down to type this a friend from church called to ask me for a favor. During our conversation the Lord reminded her of something I said months ago and she wanted to speak TRUTH to me. She basically told me exactly what is typed above. What great confirmation from my Abba (Daddy).

FREE,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

ClearPlay: The Blog: ClearPlay's Third Mother's Day Giveaway

My family and I have enjoyed ClearPlay for several years, none of us watch a movie without it!  You can win your very own by clicking the link below...

ClearPlay: The Blog: ClearPlay's Third Mother's Day Giveaway


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WINNER - DOLPHIN TALE

The winner is #1 Jen, Congratulations! Please email me your mailing address.

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