Saturday, January 30, 2010

Menu Plan: Jan 31

How was everyone's weekend?  We had a really good and productive weekend.. And a milestone was reached in our home-- I tried Salmon and actually liked it! Is it bad that it was breaded and fried?! Oh, nevermind that!

I am going to try and incorporate regular breakfasts and lunches into my menu plan. I find that it is hard to begin with but during the weekend, it makes things run so much smoother!

cereal (I have decided to allow our family to eat KIX. Dylan was about to have a break-down when he found out there was no cereal in the house.)
chicken enchiladas, refried beans
spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

sweet potato struessel muffins
jelly sandwiches, carrot sticks
sloppy cornbread, oven fries, applesauce

applesauce bread
sloppy joes, carrots, applesauce
vegetable soup, grilled cheese


marcaroni and cheese, pears
roast, potatoes, carrots

lemon-garlic-herb chicken, rice and steamed broccoli

soaked pancakes, sausage
BBQ beef, macaroni and cheese

What's on your family's menu plan this week? I am looking for some yummy new inspirational recipes. Leave a comment with you favorite recipe! Maybe I'll try it, review it and then write about it!
*This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's 3 o'clock!?!?

Good afternoon! :)

A quick Howdy-do! I just wanted to pop in and let y'all know of a few things going on around this part!

For the past few weeks, I have been trying to grow my blogging audience by many (I thought it was the Lord's direction.) and after a little bit of a failed attempt, I had another meeting with the CEO of Creation (aka God).

I feel Him pointing me in a new direction. I am going to continue bloggging and posting the series Women Blessing Women but I am not going to be as fervent and determined as I once was.

My focus is going to shift to those already in my life (family, friends, church) and those who already read my blog. And I bet if I miss a day of writing, y'all will forgive me.

Instead I am going to focus on more indepth and personal posts, getting my house together, finishing out the school year with a bang, getting ready for our church bazaar and the three last but in my book the most important things are: finding myself and new hobbies which I enjoy, spending time with my kids that are getting way too big way too quick, and growing a deeper relationship with my Father. (Wow! What a run-on sentence! sorry... )

I have to be completely honest with you. I have been searching desperately for the direction the Lord wants me to go and I thought it was this blog. I thought it was writing and ministering to you wonderful readers. But after much prayer and acutally listening, I feel the Lord leading me away from this. I feel Him telling me that I need to work on IRL relationships. I feel Him telling me to quit hiding in a land where others can only read my words and I'm "safe".

You see, I have been hiding. It is so easy to minister and open up to a group of people that don't see your face and that you don't have to see them. I am hiding behind a computer. It is time that I get out in my community and tell others about Jesus and myself. It is time that I put myself out there and try to let others in. It's just time.

And while I really feel this pushing from the Lord, I will still be checking in and updating y'all on the crazy adventures in motherhood and finding myself that I get into.

 Please be in prayer for me as I search for myself and open up to people that I do see. Pray that I have the courage and the faith...

Blessings dear friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sourdough: Day 7

Once again it is just add 1 c. flour and this time I only put in about 1/4 c. of water. Tomorrow we begin baking! Woot! Stay tuned and what my yucky smelling sourdough looked like (It looked yucky too!)

A "Butter" Adventure

Butter really is better. And it is a lot of fun to make!

Last week, when I went to the farm, I bought raw milk and I have been using it. I love all the things you can make from it! I just l.o.v.e it!

There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to make butter and believe me, Andy and I have looked at them all!

And here is my conclusion... I am a person that needs a ton of steps and pictures. I need to know EXACTLY what is going to happen and EXACTLY how it going to look.

I thought some of you might be a lot like that also so I decided to show y'all step by step (and picture by picture) just how I made butter.

Here is a couple little housekeeping things about making butter. First, you really should let the cream get to room temperature (I keep forgetting but it works quicker if you let it warm up a bit.). Second, you can use just about anything that will aggitate the cream. I used a Kitchen Aide mixer. Others have used food processors, blenders and in the good ol' days they a churn! :)

Here is my milk. Do you see the line of where the cream has seperated? Just use the top part. The less milk and more cream, the butter better!

Put the seperated cream in the container of whatever appliance you are using. If you are using a food processor, Laura says not to fill more than 3/4 full or it doesn't work.

After about 3 minutes, your cream begins to look like whipped cream (what a thought! :)). A tip from my experience, if you are using a mixture, put on the baking shield or your bowl will turn out looking like mine (a mess!). When you are using a mixer, you really  have to turn up the speed so it slops everywhere if you don't have the shield on. If you are using a food processor or blender, it needs to go on medium speed.

What I am trying to show here (and it didn't turn out) is that after the "whipped cream" phase, it goes back to looking more liquidy. I was really worried that I did it wrong and after doing the butter more than once, I have seen that for some reason it just does that. (Sounds intelligent, huh?)

After it's back to liquidy phase (after the "whipped cream" phase) it will go back to the whipped cream but it will be a more cream to golden color. Keep whipping!

The butter is starting to seperate from the cream (buttermilk-some say you can use it the same, some say you can't. The jury is still out on that one.)

The butter after it is whipped. The second time I attempted this, there was a lot more butter. I put way too much milky cream in the first time (which is this picture).

The next step is rinsing the butter. Run it under COLD water. Continue to squeeze and rinse until water is completely clear. It is a l.o.n.g process but keep at it. It is so worth it!

and.... Here's my butter. It is soft when you first finish rinsing it but within a couple hours, it will be back to the normal hardness of butter.

I know it sounds like a lot of steps but making butter is really really easy and like I said.. So worth it!

So what do you say? You willing to give making your own butter a try?

*This is linked to Frugal Friday.

Proud to be His Sister

Now I know this may open a can of worms and make some stop reading my blog. That is a chance I am willing today.

If you haven't read the beginning of my son, Dylan's birth story or my decision to follow Christ, please do so.

If you cannot tell, abortion is something that I feel a passion AGAINST! My whole adult life (from as young as 19 yo) has been in complete refute of abortion.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard and I am still hearing that I should have had an abortion. How can you even stand to look at him? Isn't he just a reminder? Doesn't it hurt?

My answers answered with questions:
  • How can I not look at him? He is beautiful. He is part of me and in my opinion, his other half is the Lord's. How could he not be? He is amazing. He is all I yearn to be. He has changed lives.
  • How could I not be glad that he is a reminder? He is NOT a reminder of being violated but a reminder of my transformation into a Christ-follower, mother, wife and friend. Dylan saved my life. God used him in a way that no one else could. He is a reminder that God is always good and faithful even when we don't understand. He is a reminder that God shows love and mercy in a physical form. He is a wonderful reminder...
  • Doesn't it hurt? Somedays... but not like you'd think. I don't hurt about what happend that much anymore, I hurt for those who made the choice to terminate pregnancy. I yearn to hold them and pray with them. I know they hurt also... I know they hurt more.
With all that being said... Today I want to proclaim how proud I am to be Dylan's mother and sister in Christ, but also Tim Tebow's. What an incredible story. What an incredible young man to stand against many people to proclaim what he believes. I am proud to be his sister in Christ.

Today I ask you... Would you stand for what you believed in even if it meant losing friends or fans or blog readers?

And today I can tell you.. Yes I will stand for what I believe in and for what is good and right in God's eyes. I will stand!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sourdough: Day 6

I just wanted to pop on and let y'all know how my sourdough looked today on Day #6. You are still adding 1 cup of flour to approximately 1/2 c. water. I started cutting down on water to keep the "sourness" down.

Women Blessing Women: Listening

Listening.... Do you listen? Do you listen or do you just hear? Do you listen only with your ears or do listen with your heart and mind as well?

I believe one of the easiest and most personal thing we can do to bless other women is to listen with our ears, heart, and mind.

How often do we ask... "How are you doing?"  just to ask and not really because we want to know? We ask because it is what our culture has taught us to do. We don't always ask because we really care about how the other person is doing.

Listening to a each other and really trying to connect with each other can be a huge blessing for another woman.

Do you listen to other women? Do you ask others "How are you doing" and really value their response or do you ask just to ask? I challenge you this week to truly seek out other women and really ask them how they are doing. I small action such as listening with your ears, mind and heart can truly be a blessing to another woman.

Please be sure to come back for more Women Blessing Women!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

No today isn't my Mom's birthday but last week was!

Y'all know that I love to decorate cakes for people. I love to make people I care about feel special. I love taking the time and making something that I think they will enjoy and know that they are important to me.

So... I made my Mom's birthday cake and I also made her a scarf.

I used fondant for the first time and it was quite the adventure. It actually turned out pretty good for a first go!

How about you? Do you enjoy making gifts? Do you enjoy recieving homemade gifts?
*This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.
*This post is also linked to Life as Mom.

Sourdough: Day 5

Welcome to Day 5! Now there is nothing more to really report except for it is really starting to smell "sour". Okay... "sour" doesn't begin to describe it!

I acutally had to move my starter to a bowl today! According to Laura's steps (and I am a rule follower!) we should only add 1/4 cup of water and 1 cup of flour to start making the starter thicker.

This is what my starter looked like when I pulled it out of its warm hiding place.

This is what my starter looked like when I dumped it into the bowl before adding to it.

and this is what it looked like after adding 1/4 cup water and 1 cup of flour.

Come on back for day 6!

Monday, January 25, 2010

GratiTuesday: Upward

I just L.O.V.E. GratiTuesday! I love the schedule time that I weekly sit down and think of just all that I have to be thankful for. I often have such a hard time picking what I am going to share with y'all. Isn't GratiTuesday just a blessing? Laura is definently a woman blessing other women!

This week I just want to praise the Lord and tell him how grateful I am for blessing our first Upward basketball game.

I feel am so grateful that God found me worthy to coach and witness to these young souls.

I am already learning so much from these sweet little souls.

I am so grateful that their little hearts are so innocent and they yearn to learn about the Lord.

I am grateful that the Lord equipped me to teach them about Him and even a little bball.

What are you grateful for today? We serve an AWESOME God, don't we?!?
*This is linked to GratiTuesday.

Sourdough: Day 4

Welcome to Sourdough: Day 4!

If you are visiting for the first time, I am attempting a sourdough starter using Laura from HeavenlyHomemakers sourdough steps. Take a gander!

Day 4!

This is what my sourdough looked like on day number four. I didn't take any more pictures because I thought y'all might be getting tired of my pictures of a cup of flour and a cup of water.

Therefore if you're wondering, today you add another cup of water and another cup of flour.

Come back tomorrow for day 5!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lord, You're All I've Got...

Many of you  have been following my posts on my son, Dylan's, birth. If you have been following you will hear some of this for a second time.

I grew up in church. I knew church. I grew up in church and knew all about how I should live and how I should have a relationship with Jesus. I knew... I knew what was expected of me. I knew that "becoming a christian" was the next step. I knew...

Sometimes knowing and really knowing are different. Sometimes knowing that your parents have a relationship with Jesus and knowing how they believe and feel are just enough to sustain you through your childhood. You think Mom and Dad know everything. (Don't they?) You mirror them and look up to them.

And sometimes, scratch that, a lot of times when you hit high school and college, when you run into "real life" (aka enticing sin-- my definition), you don't know why you believe those things, especially when you just want to fit in. You just want people to understand you and to like you. Sometimes the faith of your family takes a backseat.

That is what happened in my life. I thought I had a relationship with Jesus but in all actuality, I just had the faith of my parents. I had not made my own commitment and I had not made my faith my own. I had not sought after Jesus or what He wants for our lives. I had never studied or questioned or wondered everthing.

I got caught up in real life. I got caught up in the life of sin. I got caught up in the life of trying to find people who I thought I mattered a lot to. I got caught up in all the wrong things. I just got caught up...

And guess what.....

I got caught up in being caught up. The life I was living brought on many hard times. I found myself pregnant. I found myself all alone. I found myself with questions. I found myself...

While finding myself, I found God. I found God loved me regardless. I found God forgave me. I found God wanted me. I found God loved me. I found God wanted me and wanted a relationship with Him. I found God...

On Sunday, November 6th, 2005 I broke. I had no where to turn. I had no where to go to but the alter was calling me. I needed it and He wanted me... He was waiting there for me at the alter. I remember actually running to it. I remember actually laying on it. I remember actually sobbing on it. I remember the peace I felt, the embrace of my Jesus. He was waiting there to love me and for me to love Him back.

I am not going to lie and say from that moment on, I was perfect. I am not going to lie and say from that moment, I stopped sinning. I am not going to lie and say from that moment on, it was a 180 degree turn around. I am not going to lie. But I can tell you that Jesus stole my heart. He was all I had. He was what I wanted. He wanted and loved and yearned for me. I was home in His arms. I was His...

I had my son, Dylan and I continued to live for Jesus. I met my husband and we have a family that we are raising to love and know Jesus. I am blessed.

As my children grow up, it is very important to me that my husband and I stress just important it is for our children to find their relationship with Jesus. It is important to me that they find their own faith. It is important to me that they see just how much Jesus means to me....

He is so important....

Menu Plan: Jan. 24

I know that my menu plan posts are pretty boring but they are important. Menu plans are important to me because they not only hold me accountable but they also keep my husband informed. He loves being able to just jump on my website during the day, while he's at work, and check to see what we are going to be eating for dinner.

So now I ask you... Why are menu plans online important to you and your family? Do they hold you accountable?

I am only going to be putting breakfasts and dinners, lunches are pretty up in the air due to left overs and being on the run a lot.

Sunday, Jan. 24
Daddy's dirty eggs, sausage, biscuits

Monday, Jan. 25
banana bread
corn dog muffins, oven fries, corn, pears

Tuesday, Jan. 26
baked oatmeal
coconut chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Wednesday, Jan. 27
hot cereal
homemade pizza

Thursday, Jan. 28
banana bread
chicken enchiladas, chips and salsa

Friday, Jan. 29
breakfast cake
salmon patties, macaroni and cheese

Saturday, Jan. 30
hotcakes and sausage
apple chicken stir-fry
* This is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sourdough: Day 3

I have to been honest, day number three is extremely uneventful but I feel like I need to show you step by step anyway because that's what I would need.

There have been a few wonderful ladies acquire about where to go jars at this time of year. I, really and truthfully, go around and let people (especially little cute old women) that I am looking for jars, I look on ebay and Craiglist and I also find them at Meijers (Meijer is a grocery chain in Ohio). Beyond those, I have no idea. Laura also says that you can use a glass bowl. You could try that instead of using recycle spaghetti jars.

Now until day three!

This is what my sourdough start looks like on day 3. Laura said that she did not have a lot of brown liquid at the top but as you can see, I had quite a bit.

The next step once again is pour brown liquid off.

Once again, just like yesterday, you pour your sourdough mixture into a clean jar or bowl.

You then add another cup of water and another cup of your flour mixture.

I took a picture of my mixing because this was the first day when I felt like it was harder to mix. You really have to make sure that you are stirring it all together and until completely blended.

Tie the rubber band and cloth back around top and put back in its warm little hiding spot!

I welcome you to come back for Day 4!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Food Flops and an Emergency Fund!

Now I couldn't  help but think about our recent debt repayment flops when this incident happened (Plus it's just really funny and I wouldn't be a good little blogging buddy if I didn't share it with you!):

I have been on a conquest to start making our foods all from scratch and not processed. I happened upon my first food flop this week. I was trying to make my own yogurt and somehow I made something the resembled soured cottage cheese. My poor husband is always the guinea pig (Hey! I'm not dummy!). Here are the pictures to document:

"Honey, this doesn't look like yogurt..."

And being the good wife I am.... I started chanting.... "EAT IT! EAT! EAT IT!"

And being the good husband he is (or just trying to get me to hush...), he....


And he says "ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!?"

Now that I gave you a little comedy relief, I want to share with you just how this pertains to paying off debt.

Sometimes, we have the best intentions. We come up with a budget and we chart our course to repaying debt. Then something comes up. Something always comes up... What do you do if you have cut up all your credit cards?

The next step in the Road to Financial Freedom is saving money for a rainy day. Dave Ramsey calls is your umbrella on a rainy day. He says to save $1000 fast or $500 if you have a family income of less than $25,000/year.

An example in my life is my van tires. We just paid a ton of money to get new tires for my van about two months ago. Andy comes in tonight and says, "Why is your van tire totally flat?"

It ended up that I drove over a screw. Ack!!

If we didn't have money in our emergency savings account, we would have had to open a credit card, get a loan or another method to pay the tire people. All of those are detrimental in paying off debt.

So next step... save for a rainy day as fast as you can!!
*This post is liked to Frugal Fridays!

I Need Your Help!

*PLEASE if you don't normally comment PLEASE leave one with ideas and your opinions!*

I am part of the Women's Ministry leadership team at my church. I have been feeling God speaking to my heart as I have been writing the Women Blessing Women series and unfortunately or fortunately, whatever it might be, He is convicting me.

Jodi, why do you have such good words but your actions are few?

Thus where my idea came from. We have not done a Holiday Bazaar in a long time. I have come up with an idea and I would like some input from y'all:

I would like to call the bazaar The Crafts for Christ Holiday Bazaar.

All money we make would be going to the Benevolence Fund at our church to help families in the community through hard economical and financial times.

I want to start a group for SAH women to gather every third Tuesday at our church for Crafts for Christ. You don't have to work on crafts if crafts isn't your thing, support and fellowship are just as important in my opinion! Also it would be great if some of my SAH friends would join us!

Now for your help! I would love to know...

If you came to a Holiday bazaar, what crafts/ideas would you be interested in? If you live in our area, what crafts/ideas/ways could we get you to come and fellowship/help/support, whatever it may be, on Crafts for Christ Tuesday?

I appreciate your input! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are truly a blessing to me...

Sourdough: Day 2

Welcome to Sourdough: Day 2! If you missed it, here is Day 1.

Here is what the sourdough looked like after 24 hours. You need to pour off the brown liquid and transfer sourdough mixture to a clean glass jar or bowl.

Add 1 cup of your flour choice and 1 cup of water to the mixture in the new jar.


Re-secure cloth and rubber band

Find a nice warm home for your sourdough starter. We barely heat our house so I put mine on the furnace that runs about twice a day but is semi-warm all the time.

Come on back for Day 3 tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How Cool!?!?

My wonderful hubby has his own blog now! If you are really interested, sort of interested or just bored, head on over and check it out! He's so cute!

Andy is an incredible man with an incredible heart. You'd be crazy not to go and read his thoughts!

Mason Jars and Sourdough

I love jars. I know you remember just how much I love jars.  I love that you can use them for almost anything.

One new way we have been using jars around our house is by putting leftovers in them. They secure and keep your food fresh while being clear so you can see what is in them.. Isn't that just too cool?!

It never ceases to amaze me that good products, such as Mason jars, have been around for so long.

Generations and generations of my family have used Mason jars. I have made it my personal conquest to find the oldest jars possible. Look at the ones above-aren't those just so beautiful? Yeah, they need cleaned up again but do you know how many uses there are for these babies?

Well the reason for my talking yet again about how much I love jars is that I began to make my own sourdough this week. I used Laura's recipe and instructions. These instructions are GREAT but I have to tell you, they should make a book called "Sourdough for Dummies". I was so worried about beginning this adventure. Therefore, I decided to document my days of sourdough making for you!

Now I have to warn you, this was one of the few days that I have been in a good mood of late... Be warned... I am a goober... :)

The Birth of My Sourdough: Day 1 
(If you are interested in step one of making
sourdough here is Laura's Day 1)

Most people feel like this when starting sourdough. I know I did. My friends told me how hard it was and I totally went for it. Now y'all I have proclaimed honesty and openness on this blog and this might turn out to be a total flop but we will see together, won't we?

But "Put a Smile on Your Face and Make the World a better place..." Okay, back to semi-seriousness. This is me after I decided to take the the dough dive! (I told you I was a goober. I even think my own jokes are funny!) Isn't Dylan just a great photographer?!?

Here are the ingredients you will need: 1 cup whole wheat or rye flour, jar or bowl, one cup water, stirring spoon, rubber band or tie, and Laura says cheese cloth, I didn't have cheese cloth so I used a cloth napkin.

Pour in flour and by pour in flour, I mean actually IN the jar....

Okay that's better..... :) Now while you're on roll add the water to the flour and stir.

Last step put on the cloth on over rim of jar and tightly secure with the rubber band. Now I had the thought of doing sourdough with cheese cloth nativities for Christmas next year? Think that thoughts a winner? Just kidding...

Come back tomorrow for The Birth of My Sourdough: Day 2!
*This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday!