Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade Potato Soup

Pin It Now!

There is nothing better than a bowl of hot soup on a cold day. Unfortunately, I have had to pretty much give up on the "cold day" part since moving to the desert. :)  I will still keep making soup, though. This one happens to be one of my hubby's favorites!

Potato Soup

- 4 large potatoes
- 2/3 cup butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 6 cups milk (and maybe more)
- 1 TBSP or more of black, ground pepper
- 2-3 tsp salt
- 4 green onions sliced
- 12 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
- 8 oz. sour cream

*Bake potatoes at 400 degrees for 1-1 1/2 hours. Cool. Cut in half and scoop out pulp. Set aside. Melt butter over low heat, add flour and stir until smooth. Cook 1 min. stirring constantly. Add milk. Cook over med. heat stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. (This does take some time--20 min. at least.) Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 TBSP chopped, green onions, bacon, and 1 cup cheese. Cook until heated through. Stir in sour cream. Add more milk if necessary.

** Bacon can be set aside and used as a topping if you like. Sometimes, I just stir it all in the soup to avoid family members fighting over it!! Use the rest of the onions and cheese as toppings. Seriously some good soup.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Put to the Test Already

Pin It Now! Already being tested to BELIEVE.

I wrote about this special word a couple of weeks ago.  Had no idea I'd be tested so soon!

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will have to move out of our home soon. It's not a complete surprise. We'd known it was potentially a possibility, but I'd pretty much put it out of my mind. I figured everything would get worked out. Not so much. At least not the way I'd hoped.

Initially when I received the news, I was a little upset and even shed a few tears. I need time to process any kind of change and tears are just a sign that I am processing. They don't necessarily mean that I think my world is falling apart. But I did have to muddle through the stinkin' thinkin' this-isn't-where-I-thought-I'd-be-at-35 thoughts. The thoughts of having to leave the familiarity; not being able to pick my apples in June, pomegranates in the fall, and oranges in the winter; wondering if there will be scorpions in the new place; and silly things like that clouded my judgement. I knew I just needed some time alone with God, time to refresh my mind, and time to get my perspective straightened out.

The next morning, I really did feel better. I even had to laugh at myself for feeling sad about having to leave this home. When my husband first bought it 5 years ago, (I couldn't be with him at the time) I was so disappointed when I first saw it. It didn't have any of the "extras" I had wanted, didn't have 4 bedrooms which was kind of important to me, and worst of all, it had one of those 1/2 walls upstairs. I totally flipped over that. I just knew my 3 little kids were going to somehow fall over the edge to their deaths onto our tiled first floor! (Of course that never happened, thank goodness.)

Thing is, I might not be very good at embracing change, but I am kind of good at dealing with a situation and making the best of it when I am forced to. I grew to like my home. I made it mine. The neighborhood is pretty decent. My kids have made some friends here. I LOVE my fruit trees we planted and the little garden my hubby built for me, I like that we don't have scorpions in this little corner of the desert, and I super duper love the familiarity! Have I mentioned that I don't like change much?

I am so funny. I cried when I moved in and I cried when I found out we'd have to move out! What is wrong with me?!

I do realize, though, that this is such a small trial. It could be way worse. And if God has already gotten us through a job loss and 2 very hard years of recovering from it, won't He get us through this, too? I am so thankful for the friends and family in my life who are giving us so much support already. We have an amazing and trustworthy realtor. We are so blessed. :)

So again, I will write that I am believing

  • that all things are possible with God
  • that I can do all things through Him
  • that He will direct my paths
  • that He will do amazing things in my life despite my weaknesses, lack of finances, etc.
  • that He will bring about my hopes, dreams, and desires according to His will
  • that He has my life in His hands, and that He is trustworthy

  • I think my memory verse for this week is very much appropriate: "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work in us . . ."

                                                                                                                  ~ Ephesians 3:20

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Weather Talk

    Pin It Now!
    Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot,
    We'll weather the weather whatever the weather,
    Whether we like it or not!

    My daughter loves for me to recite this poem to her.  It makes her laugh every time.  And then it makes me laugh when she enthusiastically though very unsuccessfully tries to say it back.

    I'm not the best person when it comes to weathering weather.  I don't like it too cold or too hot, and I've never really liked rain much.  Now that I live in the desert, I have come to appreciate some rain,  cloudy days, and any break I can get from the scorching sun. 

    The only weather I've ever been concerned about is the weather where I'm at.  At least on a day to day basis--I do get concerned when family and friends back home face terrible weather like tornadoes and such. Until recently, I don't think I ever once thought about the weather in other countries unless it made the news.

    But that's all changed since a little boy with dark skin came into our lives.  The little boy who wrote that my husband was like a father to him because he knew what he needed, the little boy who says he prays for our family, the little boy who got so excited about being able to eat meat 3 times while recovering from minor surgery, the little boy who brings tears to my eyes every time I open a new letter from him, the little boy--our Compassion child--from KENYA.

    I think about the weather in Kenya a lot these days wondering how the drought is affecting our child's family.  Supposedly recent rainfall isn't enough to undo all the damage that's been done.  I know what it's like to live in a place where rain is scarce, but I can turn on my hose in the backyard anytime, I have a watering system that keeps our plants healthy, I have faucets that supply all the water I need every single day. 

    I am thankful for weather apps that keep me updated on all the weather I care about besides my own!

    Our family is praying for you, Livingstone!  May God protect you and your family during this season of drought. 

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Most Stressful Day of 2011

    Pin It Now! Yea, it's January!  I can breathe again.

    December is always a stressful month, and I think I experienced my most stressful day on the 17th of that month. Not a tragic, my-world-is-falling-apart kind of stress but a helpless, mom-ish, I-want-my-kids-to-win kind of stress. If I was a nail biter, my fingers would have been a bloody mess by the day's end. 

    Instead of spending the Saturday before Christmas baking goodies, I put in a full day's work (literally 9 am -5 pm) at the soccer and football fields cheering for my kids.  It was Shiloh's last game of the season, and I don't think they'd won a game.  While Shiloh was a good player, especially when playing goalie, she had yet to actually score a goal.  She so desperately wanted to score a goal this game, so I sat on the edge of my seat as she kicked the ball down the field and shot like 8 times just barely missing each time.  I sat on my old-timey, metal lawn chair about to BUST!  My little trooper wore a smile the entire time, though, even after a kid on the other team said she "sucked."  Yeah, nice kid.

    Daddy, Grandpa, and her brothers left about 10 minutes before her game ended in order to get to the football field in time.  Shiloh's team was winning, but she still hadn't scored that goal.  Finally, the moment we'd all been waiting for . . . she scored!!  My mom and I cheered, Shiloh cheered, the whole team cheered.  What a great way to end the season. :)

    Shiloh, I absoluetly love your joyful spirit on the field win or lose!  It was so fun seeing you play sports for the first time and seeing just how much you improved by the end of the season.

    Immediately after, we hurried to watch the boys play in their football tournaments.  Both of my star quarterbacks played on winning teams, so I have to admit I was a little overconfident that day.  Lincoln's team had won last year, and I thought how awesome it would be if they could both win this year. (Of course that was what every parent was thinking, right?)

    Well, Lincoln's team (the Assassins) didn't get off to a good start, which honestly was quite shocking.  Deep down, I was feeling a little feisty because there were quite a few players that had shown up that I'd never even seen before.  I thought to myself, If I was the coach, I wouldn't be playing those kids!  Seriously, why is he playing those kids?  So. Not. Fair.  Anyway, they won their second game and hope was rekindled but lost their third due to a stinkin' penalty in overtime. :(  And so their season came to an end. 

    Lincoln, you are an amazing football player, and I enjoyed watching your cool moves on the field. Can't wait for next season!

    Mullin's team (the Spartans) won every game except one, so they made it to the last and final game, which would determine the tournament winner.  They were playing the Sharks again, the team to which they'd lost.  The Sharks had been resting while the Spartans had been playing a few games back to back, and I think they thought the trophy would be theirs for the taking.  Our team was worn out, and the quarterback (Mullin) was playing slightly sick. 

    Oh my, the stress was almost too much for this mama to bear--the tension in my shoulders was beginning to give way to a dull headache.  To make matters worse, this last game was SO close, and near the end  Mullin received a leg injury--not good since he was pretty much the fastest runner on the team. It seemed as if all hope would be lost.  I pulled my son aside and gave him some Pan Away (an essential oil blend) to rub all over his leg.  (Usually he is embarrassed by this sort of thing, but he gladly took it and claimed that his leg felt so much better and the pain was numbed!)

    Anyway, back to the story.  As Mark bit his nails and Grandpa paced the sidelines, we were all surprised when Mullin threw an amazing pass to one of his teammates who scored a touchdown, and then another pass to the same kid which gave them their extra point.  Jumping jubilation--we were all so relieved!  The other team had a little bit of time left to try and make a comeback to tie the game up, but the Spartans put up a fight and won!

    Congratulations Mullin!  You deserve it after such a great year.  May you continue to persevere next season.  And may all three of you (Mullin, Lincoln, and Shiloh) always give the glory to God for your incredible strengths and abilities.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Harvest Talent

    Pin It Now! Just when I'd thought I'd read every single Disney Fairy novel ever written, my daughter and I spotted a new one at the library.  Something about Rani and three treasures, I think.  Anyway, I have definitely learned a lot about Pixie Hollow over the past year or so and will forever cherish all of the fairy memories made with my sweet girl! 

    We often daydream about the kinds of fairies we'd want to be if we could.  We both think being garden fairies would be fun . . . waltzing through rows of glorious flowers, sniffing sweet, rose air, and resting on velvety green moss . . . ahhh.  We've even given ourselves fairy garden names: Ivy and Henna. 

    I think if it really came down to it, I'd pick being a harvest talent.  I know the harvest talents aren't the most popular of the fairies--Pell, Pluck, and Maisy--but I actually like harvesting better than growing.  I love picking veggies and fruit, heaping them up in colorful bowls.  The beautiful colors make me happy, and there's just something about the gathering of food--natural, God-growing food--  that really excites me.

    I definitely wasn't going to turn down an opportunity to help my mom pick the rest of her tangelos, which ended up being gazillions of pounds I think!  So, here I am, Henna the Harvest Talent, doing what I LOVE to do!!  I brought along the family, who started out not being as jazzed but had a BLAST anyway.  I knew they would. :) 

    Not only were we rewarded with more tangelos than I know what to do with, (Where's my baking talent fairy when I need her?) but my mom brought out hot chocolate and brownies for all.  Well, I thought it was a fun way to celebrate the 1/2 day off of school. :) 

    So far we've drunk fresh tangelo juice, the kids licked tangelo Popsicles, and tonight I think I will make tangelo, banana, strawberry smoothies to go with our homemade bread and hopefully yummy homemade hummus.  This will be my first try at the hummus thing.


    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Another Double-Digit Kid

    Pin It Now!

    To me he will always be my strawberry-headed, chubby-cheeked, crazy, little Poo.  But facts are facts, and I can't deny that this strong-willed stinker has grown up.

    He's graduated to the Double Digits to be exact.  10.  Really?  *sigh* 

    He's become quite the mature fellow, much more mellow, and wise beyond his years.  (Through much blood, sweat, and tears shed by his devoted and loving parents.)  ;)

    Though he's long given up goodnight songs, slobbery kisses, "pappy", and most stuffed animals, he still has a lot of "kid" left in him.  Love his deep, belly laugh; sensitive spirit; ebullience on the football field; and crazy sense of humor.  (And yes, I'll even put up with all the obnoxious bodily noises and "bathroom" banter if it means he's still just a kid.)

    Happy Birthday Lincoln!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Ham Pasta Primavera

    Pin It Now!

    This is always a meal I make when there's leftover ham.  If only my picture looked as good as the one in my cookbook, Hurry-Up Pasta Recipes.

    It really is delicious, and I love it when there are leftovers of this dish made from leftovers. :)

    Ham Pasta Primavera

    • 3 TBS butter, divided
    • 1 cup pea pods
    • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
    • 1 small red pepper, cut into thin strips
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 3 cups ham, cubed
    • 10 oz. spaghetti, cooked and drained
    • salt and pepper to taste
    *Melt 1 TBS butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add vegetables; cook and stir until tender.  Add remaining 2 TBS butter, milk and ham.  Cook over med/high heat 3-4 min.  Serve over warm spaghetti.

    **Notes-- I double the sauce part, so that would be about 6 TBS butter and 1 1/2 cups milk.  Also, instead of serving over the noodles, l just mix altogether.

    Thursday, January 05, 2012

    Starting Off the 2012 Home School Year with Super Fun Science Projects!

    Pin It Now! All three kids are studying different books in Science this school year.  Thankfully, Mullin is completing pretty much everything on his own!  Well, here are Shiloh and Lincoln starting off 2012 with science experiments . . .

    Shiloh is presently learning all about the planet Venus and how hot it is.  Since Venus is covered in volcanoes, she did an experiment with melted butter and flour to get a better idea of how rock can be liquid then turn into a solid.  She loved being able to do most of it all by herself. :)  I, on the other hand, had to pretend I wasn't wasting using real butter and King Arthur flour.

    To conclude Lincoln's study on blood, (he's studying anatomy) I ordered a blood typing kit so he could find out his own blood type.  I really thought this project suggestion was a GREAT idea.  Even though I rarely, if ever, spend this much (around $10) on a science project, I knew this would be something he'd remember FOREVER!!

    I thought is was so funny that he was hoping to have a certain type, and he got what he wanted. This project was pretty easy to do and really interesting -- I highly recommend it!  (You do need to have a brave enough kid to get his finger pricked--Lincoln was a little nervous at first but said it really didn't hurt that much after all.)

    Tuesday, January 03, 2012


    Pin It Now! It's my word for 2012.

    I gave up making long lists of New Year's Resolutions a few years ago.  Not that I don't ever make lists or set goals for myself, it's just that I am the type of person who is vulnerable to becoming a slave to tasks. 

    If it gets written down on a to-do list, it MUST be crossed off!  I hate failure and have a difficult time shrugging my shoulders and thinking, Hey, no problem.  Better luck next time.  To me, to make a resolution is to be determined no matter what to bring to pass whatever it is you have resolved to do.  To not do it = failure.

    I find it more agreeable to my personality to make a Hopes, Dreams, or Wishes list , and to truly live my life according to James 4:15.  I know in that particular context the heart of the matter is about boasting and bragging, and I am definitely NOT saying that people who make resolutions are sinning.  NOT. AT. ALL.

    I am more at peace with myself, and I don't have to live with the constant burden of you need to get this done, you need to go here or there, you can't eat or do that,  or you must be a size whatever by this time next year, etc.  I just want to take life one day at a time and to be open to whatever God has for me.  Way easier said than done, but it is my heart's desire.

    So, why the one word for 2012?  I read this post by Kristen yesterday, and thought it was such a great idea and was inspired to do the same.  As I was taking my makeup off last night I wondered how in the world was I going to come up with just one word?  I am a girl of many words!

    Believe seemed to be front and center, but I still wasn't sure. It didn't seem like the most interesting word, and didn't I already believe?  But this morning as I was reading Shiloh's Bible story that coincided with our Sword Fighting study, I believe it was confirmed. 

    In the story, Peter is bravely stepping out onto the water but starts to sink because he takes his eyes of of Jesus and looks at the threatening waves.  Jesus says in the Day by Day Kid's Bible, "Your faith is so small!  Why didn't you believe?"  In that split second I truly felt as if God were speaking directly to me.  So much so that I had to fight back a few tears.  (Seriously didn't want my daughter to think I was a total weirdo.)

    Humility replaced the pride buried deep in my heart, and I realized that I still lack faith and trust in my God.  Doubt remains a constant, though subtle, companion. 

    So for 2012 I am believing . . .

    • that all things are possible with God
    • that I can do all things through Him
    • that He will direct my paths
    • that He will do amazing things in my life despite my weaknesses, lack of finances, etc.
    • that He will bring about my hopes, dreams, and desires according to His will
    • that He has my life in His hands, and that He is trustworthy

    *My runner-up word is follow.  (Told you one word is so hard!!)  I must continue to follow God on the path He has for my life and to keep my eyes on Him.  Discontent and even jealousy so easily set in when my eyes wander to others' paths. 

    May 2012 be a year of blessings. Happy New Year to all of you!


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...