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Archive for February, 2011

Mommy, What Are We Eating??

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Moms spend A LOT OF TIME IN THE KITCHEN…Do you ever feel like you leave from breakfast & seconds later you are back prepping dinner?? And the clean up – it. never. ends. Especially with toddlers!! I really enjoy cooking & my mom has taught me SO much about food prep, menus & healthy meal planning. I delight in making tasty, good-for-you meals for my family, but I must admit, it does get tiring. I have found in the last year that planning my meals for the month has helped so much. Even if I don’t stick to it exactly, at least I have A PLAN. The worst feeling is 5pm showing up and thinking, “What are we going to eat?” Fortunately, that is happening less as I plan in advance. There are several tools, recipes & tips I thought I would share to hopefully bring encouragement & creativity to your endless hours in the kitchen!

A Favorite Tool – My Pampered Chef knife – it cuts SO well. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas & it helped me realize how BAD the rest of my knives are. I actually enjoy cutting tomatoes now! And onions. And fruit salad…etc!! One wonderful thing about this knife is that it comes with a sharpening sleeve, so every time I put it away, it gets sharpened!

A New Favorite Product – The “Simply” line from Pillsbury – Occasionally I want to make a chicken pot pie, chicken & dumplings, etc, and have the convenience of using pre-made pie crusts, biscuits, etc. Pillsbury has introduced a line of biscuits & breads, etc that are free of high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors & flavors. The line doesn’t seem very extensive yet, but I have hopes that it will broaden as Pillsbury sees the popularity.

A Favorite Recipe – I have become an avid reader of cooking blogs. I love bookmarking new recipes and not cooking the same old menus all the time. This muffin recipe I recently found is fantastic & it freezes well – although, even doubling the recipe to make 24 muffins, they don’t stay around our kitchen very long – everyone loves them!

A Favorite Help – I have never had much success with full meal freezer cooking. The entrees just always taste bland to me. But I have found that if once a month I cook a few things & freeze them, it really helps!

*Every few weeks I boil a whole chicken & shred all the meat off the bones. I separate the meat into 3 or 4 containers. This gives me meat for several chicken dinners – chicken spaghetti, chicken pot pie, chicken nachos, ETC. It is also so helpful to have this chicken pre-cooked if I need to quickly throw a meal together to take to someone.

*Taco meat – I like to cook 2 or 3 lbs at a time using my mom’s recipe. I will use some for a meal and freeze the rest for future taco salad, tacos, nachos, etc.

*Crock-Pot spaghetti sauce – I have tried several different recipes for this and we love them all. Sometimes I add hamburger meat, sometimes not. It is so handy to have this ready in the freezer for quick italian dishes!

*Beans – We love Pioneer Woman’s recipe that I posted on this blog a few weeks ago. Delicious by themselves, as a side or added to a recipe.

*This month I plan on adding waffles and pizza crust to the list.

What are some of your favorite tips and recipes to make time in the kitchen more fun?

Happy Cooking!

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Hands

This is my grandmother, “Mommom” who passed away in 2005 of stomach cancer. She was an amazing woman. I still miss her so much. Last night I was rubbing Kate’s back as I put her to bed and I noticed my hands. This led to me thinking of my grandmother’s hands – she had beautiful, hard-working, giving hands. I still distinctly remember what they looked like. Soon after her passing, my mom wrote this beautiful short story about her mom’s hands –

HANDS

I looked at the short, square fingers with onion ridged nails. For 59 years the left ring finger loyally wore a simple band; no ring was needed on the right hand. The wrinkles, the veins and spots of age engaged the years. The hands lay closed; they had fulfilled their duty.

I looked at them; I touched them. I ran my fingers around the wedding band. I remember the hoeing of fresh dirt for red geraniums, the scrubbing of the modern square vinyl kitchen floor tiles before the next meal, the Bengay rubbed on the coughing chest, “you’ll be better by morning.” And what about the fried chicken, mom’s hand reaching for one chicken piece at a time, sprinkling each with salt and pepper, then dipping in milk and flour? “Do it twice for a better coating.” Or the apron sash quickly untied with one moving hand, “let’s go now.” I knew what she meant. I looked at my hands–Mama’s hands.

Michael & his Daddy’s hands

Kate’s hands – nothing sweeter than the cute, chunky hands of a toddler 🙂

Hands are such a beautiful creation of God. I see His glory in hands – I love watching the hands of my four-year old – playing, loving, learning & creating. I love to watch the hands of my 1 & 1/2 year old – holding her baby dolls, her books, petting our dog. I delight in our family mealtime prayers where Michael, Kate, my husband & I hold hands to pray – Kate always reaches for my hand with her messy, food-covered hand, but I don’t mind. I know it will be a precious memory in the near future. We pray and then Kate says a quick, “A – men!” A favorite scripture – Psalm 73:23-24 – “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” I am so thankful that God is holding me by my right hand – guiding me, holding me up, ever-present. He never lets go. He is always holding my hand. And I am thankful that He equips me to be His hands to others.

What do you want your children to remember about your hands?

I want mine to remember them as loving, gentle, comforting, productive, creative…I want to be Jesus’ hands to my children, my husband, to all I come in contact with. Lord, I want to be your hands. I want to bring you glory with my hands as I take care of my children, husband and others. I also pray that Michael & Kate’s hands will be a blessing to you and bring you much glory!

Blessings,

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A Mom’s Sentiments

Yesterday my firstborn, Michael, turned Four. There is something about my children’s birthdays that makes me extra sentimental – I’m sure I’m not the only parent that this happens to 🙂 Yesterday morning I woke to thoughts of remembering how it was exactly four years ago – I decided to hunt through my journals to find January & February ’07 – I wanted to read what was on my mind those last few weeks before Michael was born. I’m so glad I journal – I don’t as much as I used to, but I was thrilled to find several entries from the week Michael was born. It was fascinating to read…

January 28, 2007 – “I can’t sleep. It is the middle of the night & I am filled with fear that something will be wrong with Michael or will go wrong during my c-section. Lord, please calm my fears & give me peace.” After I wrote this, I remember looking over at my bookshelf & seeing one of my favorite books by A.W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God. I remember opening it & my eyes falling to these words, which I wrote in my journal –

p26 – “I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart, that I might reign unchallenged there.” p27 – “Now he was a man wholly surrendered, a man utterly obedient, a man who possessed nothing. He had everything, yet possessed nothing.” And my favorite – p28 – “We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety. This is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives & friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. EVERYTHING is SAFE which we commit to Him…”

I remember feeling as if the Lord was sitting right there on my couch with me as I read those words. How perfect for my emotions – for my fears that were trying to take over – that HE would lead me to these words. It was exactly what I needed to read & be reminded of. He always provides SO perfectly! Why do I have to keep reminding myself of that??! When I look back at my life – years ago, last week & earlier today – I see His hand. I see His grace & mercy. I see His provision. And this is how He will provide for my children, and yours, as well – Perfectly. I constantly have to remind myself that He loves them more than I ever could and knows what they need more than I do.

That night when I read Tozer’s words and surrendered Michael’s little life to God, I really had no idea what mothering was about. I had no idea how to change a diaper, how to breastfeed, how I would truly learn what selflessness is. I had no idea that I would love someone so much, that I would be so tired, be so needy of God & so completely overwhelmed by the task of raising a child…But HE DID. And He has equipped me as a mom every step of the way so far. He knew & knows what the future holds. He knows exactly what we need. He provides perfectly for the JUST NOW – whether our child is a newborn, a 6-year-old or an 18-year-old.  And once again I find myself in a familiar place – fear is threatening me & trying to take over. In three short months I will have my 3rd c-section in four years & have three children, ages four & under. I have no idea how to be a mother of three. I have no idea how I will have enough energy to meet all their needs. But I don’t have to know, because God knows. And I am reminding myself again – The Lord provides perfectly. He equips beautifully. I just have to lay their lives at His feet, trusting that I don’t have to meet all their needs. The Lord will do that as I seek Him & make myself available to His Holy Spirit working through me.

He wants us to let go of what we hold onto – our children, our husband, our loved ones & friends – our most valuable possessions on this earth. He wants us to surrender them to Him so that HE may REIGN in our hearts UNCHALLENGED. And I think He knows that we can’t handle the burden of holding onto everyone we love – it is too heavy a load. We are human and we are weak. I still remember a quote I read in college out of Tommy Tenney’s book – The God Chasers – “Nothing is worth holding onto so hard that we can’t hold him.”

So though I gave Michael to the Lord back on that early morning in January 2007, I am going to give him to the Lord once again. It isn’t something that I did just once. I must do it over & over again – I must constantly give my children over to the Lord – surrendering them to His perfect plan & care & love. Otherwise I begin holding them too hard. I begin deceiving myself in thinking that they are mine, that I am in control of their lives & that I know what is best for them. I surrender my 4-year-old, Michael, my 19 month old, Kate, and my sweet little baby David that isn’t born yet – Lord, they are Yours, not mine. I praise you for putting them in my life, but I only want to hold onto You. I want you to REIGN SUPREME in my heart & mind. Nothing is worth me holding onto so hard that I can’t hold you Lord. You are so worthy of praise and worthy of my WHOLE heart!

You Are Good – Nicole Nordman*
When the sun starts to rise
And I open my eyes
You are good, so good
In the heat of the day
With each stone that I lay
You are good, so good 

With ever breath I take in
I’ll tell you I’m grateful again
When the moon climbs high
Before each kiss goodnight
You are good

When the road starts to turn
Around each bend I’ve learned
You are good so good
And when somebody’s hand
Holds me up helps me stand
You are so good

With every breath I take in
I’ll tell You I’m grateful again
‘Cause its more than enough
Just to know I am loved
And You are good

So how can I thank You
What can I bring
What can these poor hands
Lay at the feet of a King
I’ll sing You a love song
It’s all that I have
To tell You I’m grateful
For holding my life in Your Hands

When it’s dark and it’s cold
And I can’t feel my soul
You are so good
When the world is gone gray
And the rain’s here to stay
You are still good

So with every breath I take in
I’ll tell You I am grateful again
And the storm my swell
Even then it’s well and You are good

*Listen to this song on YouTube, here.

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