Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Family Scripture Board

Scripture Memorization. It is something I've never been good at. Unless it is in a song, I tend to not remember it very well, OR I remember parts of it, but rarely the address. I've decided it is no longer an excuse and we are going to start memorizing scripture as a family. I'm taking baby steps. I won this gorgeous old window frame with a blackboard in the center at a silent auction when we attended the Burn's Night Supper a few weeks back. I knew it would be perfect for what I had in mind.

I had to move another picture off the the living room wall and hang it in its place. Thomas Kincaid move over! I wanted it to be in a visible location, where the whole family could see it. I'm letting the kids help me pick a verse and then when we get it memorized, we'll pick another verse. This is really helping! Especially the verse above. If I get even one word wrong, I will hear about it from Hailey especially. She loves memorizing scripture! We also try to pick a verse around a topic we might be struggling with as a family.   

Not only is this a beautiful part of our living room decor now, I know it is benefiting us as a family as we learn God's Word together. We want to hide God's Word in our heart so we won't sin against Him. That is our goal. We aren't perfect. We make mistakes everyday, but we are so grateful for a loving Savior who forgives and extends the grace we so desperately need.  We appreciate the chance to be able to start over again, leaning on the power of His Spirit instead of our own weak flesh. I praise God for the fact that when we are weak, HE IS STRONG! 

How about you? I would love to hear creative ways your family memorizes scripture.

God Bless,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Breakfast Popovers Recipe

I'm always on the look out for new breakfast recipes. I found this basic popover recipe in Sunset magazine, but then I changed it up to be healthier and heartier. As a result, it doesn't look like a traditional popover, but wow, does it ever taste good :) I used my new Demarle muffins pans for these and loved the results. None of them stuck to the pan!

Breakfast Popovers Recipe:
(Makes approx 12)

2 cups milk
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 cup cheddar
Optional items: bacon bits, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini or yellow squash
Garnish with cheddar or Parmesan cheese.
Butter or coconut oil for muffin pans

1. Blend milk and eggs together well. Add herbs, seasonings and flour, mix well. Add cheese and any optional ingredients, stir. Let stand 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 450 F, well ahead of time. Put about 1/2 Tbl of butter or coconut oil in the bottom of each muffin cup, put pan in oven for a couple of minutes to melt the butter, then ladle batter into muffin pan, about half full. Bake 10 minutes. then reduce heat to 375 degrees and cook form 15 more minutes. Top with grated cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

Additional Tips:
-You may want to put another pan the muffin pan just in case butter drips our of the pan.
-If you don't end up using all of your muffin cups in the pan, be sure to fill them with water to help distribute the heat so it doesn't ruin your pan.

Enjoy! Tastes better than quiche!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe

This is my one of my husband's all time favorite dishes. He's been begging me to make them, but I wasn't able to find the jumbo pasta shells anywhere in our town for a very long time. Well I was blessed this last week to find them at our discount grocery store, so I bought a whole bunch. The kids and I doubled the following recipe and stuffed over 50 shells and froze them to our family-sized portions. It really didn't take very long, especially with the help of the children, and I ended up with about 5 meals in the freezer as a result. How cool is that?

I got this recipe from the Martin Family Cookbook, which is my stepmom's side of the family. Diana gave me this book when we were first marriage and this recipe has been our favorite. Of course, I've changed it up a bit to make it healthier. Wish I could find whole wheat jumbo shells. I'll have to look on-line for some next time. I use raw soured cream cheese instead ricotta or cottage cheese because it is a great way for me to use up my older raw milk.

Cheese-Stuffed Shells Recipe:
(For 20 shells)
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, or smoked sausage diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 egg, beaten
2 cups Mozzarella or queso fresco cheese, grated (divided)
2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups Raw Soured Cream Cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp sea salt
 1/4 tsp pepper
20 jumbo shell noodles, cooked and drained

29 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp parsley flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sucanat
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Boil pasta shells and until tender, rinse and drain, set aside. Meanwhile, brown sausage and onion, drain. Transfer to large bowl and stir in all the cheeses (reserving one cup of mozzarella or queso fresco) and spices, spinach and egg. Stuff the cooked shells with approx 1 1/2 tablespoons of this mixture, place the shells in a 9x13 pan. 

Preheat oven to 350. Make sauce by adding all sauce ingredients together in a medium sized pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour sauce over shells. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella or queso fresco. Cover pan loosely with parchment paper and cook in oven 45 minutes.

Leftovers freeze well.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Meanderings

I've been incredible busy this month what with family emergencies, husband being gone for a National Guard training, planning homeschool events and trying to keep up with homeschooling and housework. The housework has sadly been suffering, but I always save it for last because I truly believe that living my life, not making sure my house is spotless, is what God wants me to do. We all work together to keep the basics clean and that is good for me. I now have a friend who comes in once a month to do the showers or deep cleaning. What a blessing! Please tell me my kid isn't the only one who does this?!! I asked him to cook the bacon and I turn around and see him in his motorcycle helmet with face shield, LOL. What a crack up that kid is! Hey, I wish I would of thought of first, LOL.

The reason Josiah's face is so red is because he keeps messing with my camera settings. Apparently, I snapped this pic on the "vivid color" setting, LOL. He had to have his baby eye teeth pulled to make room for his adult teeth to come in. It was a good thing we did because his roots hadn't dissolved and one had even broken off from the pressure of his adult teeth trying to get through which was causing him discomfort. Luckily, he is a OSU "Beaver" fan so he was OK with looking like a Beaver for a few weeks. His other teeth immediately started dropping down as soon as the baby teeth were pulled. Yay!

A couple weekends ago we got to go to the Pendleton Round Up Hall of Fame museum with our homeschool group. They are standing in front of the famous bronc horse called "War Paint".

We had around 10 families join. If we go as a group, they have to charge us the same as any other school group, which often there is no charge. It is a very interesting museum full of rodeo history.

After we ate a sack lunch at the museum, we headed across the street to ice skate one last time for the season. My children had so much fun skating with their homeschool friends. My mom and step-dad joined us that day. Here is my mom with Hailey and her friend, Hannah. If you look behind them, some of the homeschool families brought stacks of five gallon buckets for little ones to slide around on the ice. I'm definitely going to try that next time with Hailey. Saves your back!

After ice skating, we said goodby to our homeschool friends and did a little geocaching with the our new/used GPS. We learned to geocache with some of our friends who were into it and now we can do it ourselves. There was a small cache just down from my mom's house. Here she is, holding it up. We had a lot of hit and misses and definitely need to practice a little as we figure out the GPS.  It is like treasure hunting with the family. Gets you outdoors walking and discovering new territory. Love it! 

My children received their cookie grams once again from Michael and I. I also used Valentines Day to give the kids another Jonathan Park (fun Creation-based audio adventures from Vision Forum) CD set and another Torchlighter DVD from Voice of the Martyrs called the Amy Carmichael story. They loved it and now want to adopt a girl from India. Now we just have to get Michael on board. Seriously praying about that! Maybe there is a reason why he hasn't blessed us with more children. My heart is growing for adoption, especially now that the kids are older. But I know I have to wait on my husband. In the meantime, I pray and try to help others who are adopting. If God wants us to adopt, He will make a way. Read this post about how Jesus helped people one at a time. It is awesome and very eye opening: Once we know about these things, we have a responsibility to do something about it. I'm praying about how God wants me to help the orphans in this world. Currently we are sponsoring a child in Rwanda and in India, but it just doesn't seem like enough. I know we could be doing more with the resources God has given us.

My friend, Catherine, from Cat's Tale Productions, is going on a mission trip to help women in the Philippines and is raising money by making the most adorable aprons and selling them. She has some on her blog for sale, but I had seen one in her kitchen that I loved because it had a hand towel sewn right into it. Beyond handy! I picked up 1.5 yards of cute fabric and sent it to her. She created this lovely apron for me. I was thrilled to be able to help her raise money AND get to wear this sweet apron. Thanks again, Catherine!

This has been a wonderful weekend of desperately needed relaxation. I'm realizing I need to start slowing down on my activities, especially with Michael being gone so much. I've got too much going on and it is time to rein it all in. Didn't realize it until I was trying to find a babysitter three times last week. That is too much! Praying for balance.

God Bless,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romantic Getaway Weekend

My husband and I finally had a chance to get away for a romantic weekend. It was nice that we were able to schedule it in between his birthday and Valentine's Day, killing two birds with one stone. We went to Boise, Idaho to our favorite hotel called the Anniversary Inn. They have themed rooms and since it was his birthday, I let him pick which room we would stay in. He chose "Treasure Island", a fun room that really made you feel like you were on an old tall ship. My husband loves tall ships and wants to work on one someday and his idea of a romantic cruise is to go on a working tall ship together someday.
There were two "masts" and even a wheel. You walk upstairs to the king-sized bed. The large flat-screen TV was cleverly hidden behind the sail. Rigging ropes hung from the walls and the ceiling. A total "guy" room, LOL. Hand-painted sky and waves are all around the room and ceiling. 
Looking down from the balcony where the bed was to the "crow's nest" and the bow of the ship.
You could walk the plank to the "sandy lagoon" complete with palm trees and a huge Jacuzzi bath tub in the middle of the "sand". The shower came out from a coconut in the palm tree and the bathwater cleverly  came out from a spout in this cute treasure chest. 

They gave us complimentary sparkling apple cider and cheese cake as well as a nice breakfast left outside our room in the morning at the time we specified. It is expensive but worth it! 

Michael and I had a fun time exploring more of Boise's many restaurants as well as doing some shopping. We spent a great deal of time at Cabella's and got an awesome double cot that was on sale. Michael is going to make a pad for us and save us some money. 

A big thanks to my mom and step dad for taking our kids so we could spend some time together. Due to an upcoming deployment, and all of the training associated with it as well as his new job as tank mechanic, we aren't going to be seeing a whole lot of each other for the next year and a half. We've got to make some more memories while we can!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone,


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