Friday, November 22, 2013

Faith-filled Friday: Moving part ???

Hello Crushers!

So, today was supposed to be our closing day. That got moved now to some paperwork issues. Hmm.

For today's Faith-filled Friday, we're heading back to Psalm 27 (verse 14) for this gem:
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
 I try and act like an adult most of the time. I really do. However, sometimes I want to stomp my foot and yell, "I don't wanna!"

That is not the right thing to do. Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit and a big one. You need patience in all areas of your life, not just moving. I just keep telling myself that "You have shelter, you have food, you have clean water, you have a loving family, and most of all, you have a Savior. Shut up." Most of the time I listen.

Let's all try and count our blessings and listen to that voice that says "shush" when we feel like stomping our feet. You can do it!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Virtual Running Date No. 32: Yeah, I didn't run

Good morning, Crushers!

Unless you count running up and down the stairs or back and forth between houses, I didn't do any actual running. Well, I did run through the rain with boxes back and forth between the house and the truck, so there's that.

If we were on a virtual running date, I would tell you that we've been a little busy. The house is empty. And yes, I totally cried when we said, "Bye House." You see, we have this silly tradition of saying good bye to the house every day when we leave for work. So when we said bye for what may be the last time (hopefully!), it was sad. I cried. I have extra hormones. And I'm a crier. Ugh.

If we were on a virtual running date, I would tell you that I'm enjoying living at my parents' house more than I thought. My mom is a wonderful cook, who has been wonderful and cooked the past few nights without even mentioning that I should take a crack at it. Which I will. I will help feed everyone. I love feeding people. Anyway, she made these wonderful mashed potatoes last night that were all buttery and had tiny bits of onion in them. You know how I love onions.

There's one problem though. This house has a constant supply of cookies. And? How is this a problem you ask? BECAUSE I LOVE THEM! I'm trying to be all graceful and stuff about being pregnant and getting bigger (half way on Friday!), but when you have cookies on hand all the time, it's hard. Oh delicious cookies...

In the meantime, you know, when we're not working, teaching, packing, and stuff, we have been participating in local government to try and get some land rezoned. We have been working on this, and by we, I mean my mom has been leading the charge as the president of our local woman's club, since May. SINCE MAY! They had the vote last night and it did not go in our favor. Well, I know a few common council members that I won't be voting for in the next election. Harumph!

However, like all important lessons your mom teaches you, it's good to remember, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Much like "don't lick batter off your fingers until your done baking" or "always wash your hands". Moms know these things.

If we were on a virtual running date, I'd tell you to go call or hug your mom or your aunt or your friends' mom or any mom you know. Chances are they need that hug.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Faith-filled Friday: Moving Part 1

Good morning, Crushers!

As you may have noticed, the blog has been a little light on recipes lately. Well, as you know, we're moving. That means most of the kitchen is packed up. We've been eating off of paper plates and only using one stock pot and one skillet to cook everything. Between random cookware and trying to eat up what's in the fridge, it's like we're living on the Food Network's show "Chopped".

Here's what we've been eating:
  • Skillet-cooked BBQ chicken with mixed veggies
  • Delicata Squash Gnocchi and jarred red sauce
  • Leftovers (microwave quesadillas using up cheese and mixed veggies. FYI - peas are not quesadilla-friendly)
  • Leftovers (reheat squash gnocchi for lunches)
  • Soup and leftovers
Overall it hasn't been so bad, but Steve knows that this is starting to annoy me. I want my kitchen back! Anyway, he continues to be the most awesome husband ever and is taking me out to dinner tonight. WHOO! You know, before we finish some more packing...

Fortunately, we have amazing friends and family (Thanks Mom and Dad!) who are willing to take us and our stuff (that won't fit in the POD) in for a month or so. I was am feeling really overwhelmed about this. So, what do you do (besides tell your best girl friends and hubs?), dig in to the Bible. Duh. Facepalm.

Caïn by Henri Vidal, Tuileries Garden, Paris, 1896
Psalm 27 is my go-to chapter when I need a little pick-me-up. Of course it would have an appropriate verse about this!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27: 4-5
No matter where we go, we should always seek to "dwell in the house of the Lord". That's where you're the safest. It reminds me of a little child who knows that wherever mom and dad are, that's the safe spot. Have you ever seen a small child in a store or at a family gathering bump into a set of legs, look up, and then look scared because those legs do not belong to mom or dad?

When we try and walk around thinking that we're on the right path, sometimes we realize that "whoops", those are not the right legs. We are not on the right path. That is not the path that leads us to safety!

Let's always try to seek God and seek the safety and comfort that only He can provide. While I'm doing that, you can also find me and Steve safe and sound at my parents' house for the next month.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Water, water, everywhere... wait a minute...

Hello Crushers!

I have a friend who will be celebrating the second anniversary of turning 29 (aka - she's turning 30 people). Instead of asking for gifts this year, she is asking that everyone donate to charity:water. She wants to bring clean drinking water sources to places in need to improve the lives of the people, especially women and children who fetch water over long distances.

I think this is brilliant.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, you know that there are lots of places in the world that can use aid, especially the Philippines that were devastated by a huge typhoon. If you would like to help with aid to the Philippines or other places in need, please take a wander over to the Impact Your World site on CNN or WELS Kingdom Workers. If there are other sites you would like to suggest, please add them in the comments.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Virtual Running Date No. 31: Boxes and CPR

Good morning, Crushers!

If we were on a virtual running date, the very first thing I would tell you about is that my friend's mom was able to come home from the hospital! She's still not in tip-top shape, but she is home and that's an improvement.

If we were on a virtual running date, I would tell you that I took a CPR class this weekend. It was amazing to hear how the simple acts that people can do to help give someone a chance at life. If you're not able or willing, that's OK. But if you are, please check into taking a CPR/First Aid course. You might save a life! If anything, you should go check out this site to learn about doing hands only CPR. Just remember the beat to "Stayin' Alive" from the BeeGees and you've got the right tempo!

Boxes, boxes and more boxes. Holy boxes, Batman! Our house is filled with them.

Those pictures were just the living room where we stored some things. The stacks were as tall as I am! We are officially closing on our house a week from Friday. I'm sure I'm going to get emotional although I only lived here for less than 2 years. Steve had lived there for 10 years! Fortunately, we have a wonderful house to move into and I'm sure you'll see photos of that in the coming months.

Last, but not least, if we were on a virtual running date, I would tell you the most exciting news of all! Steve and I are expecting our first baby in April! AH! This means you're definitely going to be seeing more freezer meals, baby stuff, and pictures of a nursery! We're so excited!

NOTE: If you've done the math on months, this means that I've been running through my pregnancy so far. Before you get all "YOU SHOULDN'T BE DOING THAT!" please note that I had permission of my doctor and I am running slower than a turtle trudging through peanut butter so as not to get overheated, dehydrated or have a crazy high heart rate. Exercise in pregnancy is good for you as long as you're smart about it. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor before starting physical activity.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Faith-filled Friday: Calling on you for help!

Good morning, Crushers!

Today I need your help. No, it's not for recipes, although I do love it when you send them. Today I need you to send up some prayers, good vibes, happy juju and all that on behalf of a friend. I have no idea what to ask for because she's not talking. When she's not talking, I know it's not good.

Here's the thing. Her mom is very sick. I know that her mom has many health issues and this is a complication of them, but that's all I know. This friend isn't really a "send over a casserole" type of person when something is wrong. She's a fabulous cook, and so are her brothers and dad. They will not starve. This is more of a "we just need to surround you with love" type of situation.

In my daily e-mail devotion, this was the passage today:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
I have a feeling that Courtney, like most people, isn't feeling joy in the middle of this situation. She's probably feeling sad, angry, desperate, and stressed out. This is one of those times where you just need to pray for help. Just the one word. God will know what to do with it.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
 So, no matter what you say, whether it's specific or just a "help!", thank you for being prayer warriors today. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lessons in Soup Making

Good morning, Crushers!

Remember when I shared some delicious soup recipes back here? Well, last night I made the Slow Cooker Tomato Rotini Soup. However, we were packing up the house, and I forgot to start it earlier in the day. Instead, I'm going to give you a few tips on how to make it on the stove top in less than an hour. It's so delicious. Thanks again to Susan for sharing!

Here is a link to the original recipe. Here is what I did, and tips from Susan:
Tomato Rotini Soup

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups tomato juice
1 heaping tablespoon of Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle (basil, garlic and oregano)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1-ish cup sliced mushrooms
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 box uncooked rotini pasta (make in a separate sauce pan)

Gear you'll need: Big soup pot, smaller pot or sauce pan for the noodles, spoons, a sharp knife for chopping up veggies, and measuring cups/spoons.

Directions: In the large pot, heat the broth (I used chicken broth) and tomato juice to a boil and then turn down the heat. Stir in the spices. For a lower-sodium version of this soup, try and find the low-sodium juice and broth. It's going to be flavorful enough without adding more salt. Your heart with thank you.

Chop up all of the veggies and put them in the pot. Put the can of tomatoes in as well. I accidentally bought the Italian kind, but that worked really well. If you want, you could soften up the veggies by cooking them with a half tablespoon of olive oil before putting them in the pot. However, we like chunky veggies at our house! Cook the tomato base and veggies on medium for at least 25 minutes if not 30.

Tip from Susan: For a spicier soup, you can use the spicy tomato juice (sometimes called zesty in the store) or throw in a few red pepper flakes. If we had had the red pepper flakes, I'm sure we would have used them!
Soup bubbling away before I added the noodles.
When you have about 8 minutes left on the soup, cook the rotini in a separate pot. I tried a little experiment last night and found that the soup is better when you don't cook the noodles in the pot. I cooked half in and half out. The half out was better because it didn't soak up all the juices. By the time we were done with dinner, the half in noodles had become enormous and soaked up lots of juice. When I reheat it, I think I'll just add more juice or broth. It'll still taste good.

Here are more tips from Susan:
  • "I get enough to freeze a dinner size portion for Dave (her husband) and myself and then usually 2 lunch size portions for me to take to work.  More than likely we will have leftovers from the dinner size portion that turn into another lunch portion for myself bringing that total up to 3 (maybe 4 depending on how hungry we are the night we have the soup and what we have with it."
  • Grilled cheese is an EXCELLENT side to the tomato (we did this last night).
  • "I let the soup cool for close to 2 hours and then I freeze the dinner portions in gallon Ziploc bags and lay them flat in the freezer so they freeze nice and flat.  The lunch portions I do freeze in Tupperware so that all I have to do to take them for lunch is move it from the freeze to the fridge the night before and then transfer to my lunch bag in the morning." 
 Thanks to Susan for sharing this soup recipe and all her tips! Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Faith-filled Friday: The house

Good morning, Crushers!

I hate packing. There I've said it. (I'll most likely say this many, many times). However, I'm kind of enjoying the box fort we have going in our house right now. I'm just hoping we don't box ourselves in and can't get to the door. We've still got to get out of the house on occasion for work and such. Heh.

I don't know about you, but it is a dreary day around here. It rained all day yesterday. Thinking of houses and rain, I'm reminded of the passages in Matthew about the house built on the rock.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. Matthew 7:24-27
Although this parable talks about a much stronger rain that we experienced here in Milwaukee, water is a powerful cause of erosion. Just drops over a long period can make a hole in a rock. Just like a few mean thoughts or words can tempt an even-tempered person to snap in anger. Maybe you tell your self that it's just a little sin here and a little sin there before you find yourself making a "big" sin. (Not that sins come in different sizes like crimes do). Not all faith destruction is caused by a huge life catastrophe.

I hope that you take the time to do the little things and the big things that build a solid rock of faith foundation in The Rock, God. Don't let the little rain drops or the big floods knock your faith-filled house down!

Don't mind me... I'll just be packing and watching Dad and Steve put gutters on the garage...