Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 12, 2009

<--Little Miss Autumn at her Santa Bear tea at Christmastime at the library. All the kids made little glittery reindeer antlers to wear. :)

Autumn woke up sick. I spent the morning cuddling with her and trying to nurse her back to health. Apparently it worked because by midafternoon she was feeling fiesty, playing with her sisters and eating everything in sight. :)

I'm trying to lose a few pounds and get healthier in the hopes that I will have more energy to keep up with my family! Last night we had a grilled London Broil over a really nice salad with some sunflower seeds sprinkled on top. Then I went and killed it by throwing some ranch dressing on it. ;) It was HEAVENLY! I'm sure it had a decent amount of iron in it as well, which I need really badly right now, as my anemia has been really bothering me.

I weighed in this morning and got my starting weight. I'd like to lose ten pounds. Not because I want to be a "hottie" or something, but because when I was about ten pounds lighter, I had a lot more energy (and I could fit into most of my pants! LOL!)When I weighed in this morning I got a pleasant surprise-I was about 5 pounds lighter than I had anticipated! :) I love the outdoors and it is hard to enjoy them when i'm anemic and sluggish and my asthma acts up-I have noticed, that in my life, all of these things can usually be kept in check with proper nutrition and activity. My body functions so much better when I make an effort to live healthfully.

I really feel like I need energy to do the Lord's work, to take care of this adorable, rambunctious family I have been blessed with. I have been praying that He will help me to eat healthfully and that He will just grant me energy and vibrance so that I may be a shining Light to my family. Wish me luck! :)

**I won't be posting my weight on my blog for personal reasons.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Little Footprints

I took this picture of Autumn's (4 years old) little footprints at the beach this summer. I just thought it was so cute, I couldn't resist posting it.

Atole de Arroz recipe

It's pretty chilly tonight, so i'm making atole. Atole is kind of a sweet, hot rice cereal type of stuff. It's really good and warming. This is how i'm making mine.
I'm not putting raisins in because I don't have any, and, well, i'm not really into hot raisins. :) This is a pretty cheap recipe to make because it consists of mostly rice and milk.

Atole de Arroz

3 cups milk
2/3 cup rice
¾ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook 15 minutes over medium heat.
Cover and cook 15-20 minutes. (oh, and don't eat the cinnamon stick when you serve it! LOL!
Serve warm.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Proverbs 3:3

Proverbs 3:3 (NIV)
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:3 says that two things should never leave us: love and faithfulness.

The Bible addresses Love quite often, probably most famously in the "Love passage", 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, which states:
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Verse 13 wraps up the whole of chapter 13 with this simple, but poignant, statement:
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Faithful is defined as
1. Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal.
2. Having or full of faith.
3. Worthy of trust or belief; reliable.

Synonyms: faithful, loyal, true, constant, fast, steadfast, staunch
These adjectives mean adhering firmly and devotedly to someone or something that elicits or demands one's fidelity. Faithful suggests undeviating attachment.

Faithfulness (noun): loyalty, devotion, fidelity, constancy, dependability, trustworthiness, fealty, adherence

Faithfulness is a very strong word-it indicates that I will follow my Lord, never deviating or stepping to the side. I once heard a sermon at church in which the pastor talked about standing upright and walking straight ahead. This pastor stated that he knows why the Bible says not to step to the side at all-if one stands straight under the sun, there is no shadow, only Light-but as soon as you step to one side, a shadow is cast to the side of your body-the Light is no longer shining straight down upon you. I need to strive to always walk straight so that my actions cast no shadow, or prevent others from witnessing the Light. With a definition and synonyms that include the words constant, worthy, devotedly, dependability, and trustworthiness, the word faithfulness is well chosen and meaningful. I can be faithful to God by starting every day out asking that I do His will, and praying that He will help me to show his Godly Love to others that I come into contact with during my day (including, and especially, my family). I know, for myself, that I need to start every day anew. Some days I go to bed and think that I did a terrible job, but that just gives me the fire to start the next day over and do better. I also try to stop several times during the day to make sure that I am on track. If I am not, I say a silent prayer and try to redirect myself.

I love the words "bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart." The 'tablet of your heart' just strikes me as such a beautiful visual! I know that I can "write" these things "on the tablet of my heart" by memorizing scripture and learning more about His word so that I am better able to put it into practice in my own life. If I can draw these things from memory in times of confusion or times where I find I am slipping off track, it helps me to be able to meditate on them within, rather than having to pull out a Bible and search for a comforting or guiding verse, which can be distracting, and can take a while if I don't know what I am looking for.

I want to be worthy of His trust, full of faith, and adhering to His word constantly and devotedly. The only way I can do these things is to learn the word and meditate on it often, and put it into practice in my life.

Psalm 119:11 says:
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you

Psalm 119:97 states:
Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long

These are verses that are inspiring to me. I know that it is my duty to not only hide His word in my heart, but my children's as well. I also know from experience that on the days that I meditate on His word, I am a much happier person and a better steward of His Love. This year I am making it a goal for my family to learn one verse per week. My little girls will be starting with four verses about Kindness so that they can earn their Little Keepers Kindness Bible Memory badge. I think I will start with this verse (Proverbs 3:3) for me, and continue working my way through Proverbs for my own study. Goodness knows I could use the wisdom contained in this book!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 7th, 2009

Yesterday we just took it easy. My body is almost out of pain now, with the exception of my kidney area being very sensitive. My iron is low again, and I am having some trouble with fatigue and shortness of breath. My girls are having some trouble getting used to an early bedtime since Christmas break ended. Instead of going to church, like we usually do on Wednesday nights, I decided that we would stay home, have a cozy dinner, and go to bed early. We all needed the rest! :)

We had dinner, which really warmed up us, and the house too. Then we hung out in the living room eating pumpkin pie and watching Drake and Josh together (those guys are so funny! :P ) I put the girls to bed early, at 7:30, and it didn't work out very well, because they kept getting out of bed to play with their toys. I kept going up there and making them get back to bed, but by the time they finally DID fall asleep it was after 11. Of course they were cranky and not wanting to go to school this morning when I woke them up.

I went to bed and watched a food network program (hey I love to learn about how to cook better), and then did my nightly Bible reading and prayers. Boring day? probably. At least it was relaxing though.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tomato Hamburger Mac

This is what i'm making for dinner tonight. It's simple, fairly quick, and it can be quite cheap depending on the type of hamburger meat you use. It's also a one pot meal, which is always convenient! :)

2lbs. ground beef (I use the 7% fat ground beef)
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
4 cups frozen green beans
1, 16 oz. bag of dried large elbow macaroni noodles

Brown ground beef in a large pot with onion and garlic. Onion should be translucent by the time meat is done. While cooking meat, add salt and pepper to taste.

When meat is done browning, open your can of tomato sauce and pour it into the pan. Fill up the can with cold water, and pour the water into the pan, three times, for a total of 84 oz. of water. Add the [still frozen] green beans, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until green beans are slightly tender [to your liking].

Add the whole bag of macaroni noodles. Give it a stir, bring to a boil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat slightly and simmer until macaroni noodles are tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed or if you prefer a "saucier" dish. Make sure to stir often so the noodles don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Serve with freshly grated Romano cheese on top, and a wedge of crusty shepherd's bread on the side. (A salad is a nice accompaniment as well.)

**Fresh or canned green beans can be substituted for the frozen. For fresh, the cooking time may need to be extended. For canned, you can just add the macaroni at the same time as the green beans-there is no extra cooking time needed.

***This recipe makes quite a bit, and is good for a large family. If you have a smaller family, you can always cut the recipe in half, or freeze half for later.

If you end up with leftovers and reheat them in a microwave, sprinkle a bit of water on top first so that the noodles don't dry out.


I have been going through the book of Proverbs, and writing down verses that I feel particularly pertain to me. There are some nice ones about learning the word of God, and there are some really inspiring ones about taking good care of my household, but, embarassingly enough, the ones I write down the most are always the ones about keeping my mouth shut.

I have the WORST problem with talking and gabbing-it's just terrible. I can never keep anything short and to the point. In my defense, I grew up in a family of pushy old gabby ladies from back East. Get them all in a room together and it's really hard to get a word in edgewise! (Especially if you don't have a high pitched voice of authority with a thick back east accent.) In order to get into the conversations, you basically just had to butt right in and take over-which I learned how to do. I remember once, my mom said something about "Don't interrupt your great aunts, Cari!" To which [great] Aunt Caroline replied "Well Geez, Sha, how else is she gonna get ta talk around heah?" (Translation: For goodness sake, Cheryl, how else will she be able to talk? We never leave an opening for anyone!)

Yeah, my whole family has the gift 'o' gab, and in my family dynamic it is ok, and considered sociable. Unfortunately, interrupting and talking constantly is a hard thing to turn off, and it is not really nice in polite society. As I am growing in my faith I am realizing that there is a kinder, gentler way for me to be, and I want to work on that. As a result of this, I have been writing down these proverbs, to meditate on when I feel like I need to be more prudent in my speech. (Read: constantly.) It is not happening overnight, but as I "hide His word in my heart", I know it will bring me growth.

This year, I plan on occasionally taking a verse from Proverbs that calls to me and meditating on it in my journal. This will be kind of personal, but I think it will really bring me some growth. Not all of the verses will be about keeping quiet, but I have a feeling quite a few of them will be. :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Navy Bean and Sausage Soup Recipe

This is a great winter dish! Thick and warming with a rich flavor.

1 pound dry navy beans
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1, 14 oz. beef smoked sausage, cubed (I used Hillshire Farm brand)
2 medium sized carrots, diced (or sliced if you prefer)
3 large stalks celery, sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, halfed lengthwise and then sliced
5 or 6 good sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced

Sort navy beans and put in a large pot. Cover with plenty of water. Add chopped onion and garlic, and a bit of salt (not too much because the sausage will be salty too.) Heat to a boil and simmer for about an hour and a half to two hours or until beans are tender.

Add sausage, carrots, celery, zucchini, and potatoes, and let simmer for about 45 minutes to a hour, until all veggies are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water as needed, or if you like more broth in your soup. Serve piping hot with soft buttered bread.

This soup would probably be really good with about half a red bell pepper, chopped, and added with the rest of the veggies. It would add some lovely color too!

January 6th, 2009

Took it easy most of the day yesterday. I did have to go out shopping to get some milk and bread and necessities, and it HURT! Sitting around the house didn't hurt that bad, but when I got in the truck and went out every bump magnified the pain my my ribs. YEOUCH!

I made navy bean/sausage soup last night. It came out quite good. I put some white beans, sausage, onion, garlic, diced carrots, celery, a tiny bit of diced zuhhini, and some cubed poatoes in and let it simmer for a while. The kids loved it! They all had seconds except for Jenna. It was really good with some soft bread dipped into the broth. I felt so warm and cozy after eating it!

We went over to Wal Mart to buy the family a puzzle to do together after dinner. It's really cute, Americana looking. It has a lot of bright, vivid colors which I thought would make it easier (and more fun) for the little ones to help put together. The girls got Tinkerbell puzzles for Christmas and now they are puzzle crazy. I love doing puzzles too so I thought it would be a fun way for our family to spend some relaxation time. :)

Still taking it easy, I spent the morning relaxing with Autumn crocheting her a pink blanket.

Kellie's biopsy results should be back within 3 days from yesterday. I'm still praying over it and hoping He will keep her healthy!

Monday, January 5, 2009

January 4th/5th, 2009

We went to the snow yesterday, as kind of a last hurrah before school starts. We had to go all the way up Mount Baldy near the ski lifts because most of the snow had melted. There were SO many people there! We borrowed the church van and took another family from the church, and two sleds.

Unfortunately we weren't at the snow for very long...shortly after we got there, this lady came hauling butt down the mountain and plowed into me. Instead of going down the part of the hill the rest of the sledders were sliding down, she decided to sled down where the spectators were standing. I was the first spectator and boom! Down I went. I didn't even see her coming. I spent last night at the hospital-I got bruised really badly on my ribs and where my left kidney is, but the doc said my kidney function looks ok and that i'm probably just going to be really sore for the next few days. The left side of my body HURTS. Elbow, shoulder blade, ribs, sore abdominal muscles, and pain all around my kidney area. Not fun. I'm taking it easy today and trying to relax.

My sister is out at Loma Linda hospital having a biopsy on her lymph node today...I keep calling the house to see if they got home yet, and if they know anything today that we didn't know yesterday.

I'm so cold, I think i'll make a white bean/sausage soup for dinner to help warm up the house (and me.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Simple Pleasures

There is something inherently comforting in hanging out in my warm house with my family on an overcast day, eating toasted english muffins with melted cheese on top accompanied by a steamy hot bowl of creamy tomato soup.

January 3rd, 2009

I got my first goal for the New year done. I went into the girls' room and organized all of their new Christmas toys. I also filled a box with some older toys to give to the Goodwill, to make room for the new toys. Now their room looks really beautiful and they have spent HOURS up there playing since I cleaned it up! It was a mess after they dragged all their new toys home on Christmas!

New Year's Day

It is our family tradition on New Year's Day to have a pork roast, applesauce, mashed potatoes and turnips, peas, and gravy. It's the dinner we make and eat as a family every New Year (sans one or two when mom wasn't feeling well and we didn't get together.) On Friday we all went over mom's house around 4 and helped cook. Of course, my mom, being the mom that she is, had already done most of it herself, with my sister Kellie's help.

We had a really nice time, me, the kids, mom, Kell, Tiny, and Amanda (a family friend and 'sista in Christ!' that lives with my mom and Kell.) After dinner we hung out and chatted. Kell wasn't feeling well. She was sitting on the couch looking miserable with a bag of frozen veggies on her neck. Kell has a decent sized lump protruding from her neck, her lymph glands are swollen-her doctor is having the lump biopsied tomorrow. She gets really tired easily and sick to her stomach sometimes too. We are praying for the best, we hope it is not cancer. I have been praying for God to send her healing.

After dinner, Kell made a fire in the firepit and we all sat around the fire telling stories. The girls' stories were silly and full of fantasy, Kell told some stories about Iraq and her military days, and my stories were mostly silly stories about the kids. Mom even sat out there with us, and she hates the fire pit. See, it's not really a fire pit, per se. It's not, you know, all cutesy from the garden center at Home Depot or anything like that. It's more of, well, a drum from a burned out dryer. Which sounds really tacky but you can't even tell what it is, lol. My sister is a tinkerer, and we both love fire. We got tired of making bonfires in the BBQ, and dad got a gas BBQ which isn't a good idea to make a fire in, because the one time we did we could see the pressure rising on the propane tank guage as the logs in the gas bbq heated up. So obviously we really NEEDED a fire pit. Mom's dryer busted about a year and a half ago (don't worry, she got a new, much better dryer) and Kellie said she had heard one could make a fire pit from a dryer drum. I was in. Mom, not so much. Kellie took the drum, laid it on its side on some cinderblocks, and viola! instant fire pit. I don't know how many times mom has demanded it be thrown out but it never has. We've roased hot dogs, sausages, marshmallows, and all kinds of other stuff on it (including my shoes when I absent mindedly put my feet up on the side.) The kids found out on New Year's night that if they get a cup of cold water, take a big mouthfull, and spit it out on the drum, the drum steams and hisses loudly. They got a very large kick out of that and kept spitting on the drum to Kellie's dismay. (Classy eh? But oh well, they're little kids.) It took us a yer and a half, and my sister being sick, but we actually got mom to sit around the fire with us. it was a reall beautiful night. We stayed out there until almost 11-I didn't even realize how late it was because we were all having so much fun. I don't know what this year will bring us, but i'm just going to savor nights like this that leave a beautiful memory with my family upon my heart. I'm so grateful for everything I have in this life. I'm so blessed!

Little Keepers at Home

I ordered this book for my littler girls, from Keepers of the Faith. It's really cute. It has all kinds of skills and projects the girls can do to earn badges, kind of like Girl Scouts. They really wanted to join Girl Scouts earlier in the year, and we went to an informational meeting but were never called back. I started thinking about it, and we do a lot of stuff outside the home anyways. I found the Keepers of the Faith website and thought it would be a wonderful idea to do this in our home, as a little family "club". The girls took one look at the book and jumped on it-they were so excited! I just have to wait until I have the money and I will be ordering them the T shirts and sashes, and their initial keepers badge. I think we will have a lot of fun with this, and it will help me teach my girls about loving God and taking care of our home, and being wonderful family members and friends!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well, without a working camera, my blog will be pretty drab for now. I am a very visual person and I find myself less interested in blogging when I don't have pictures to accompany it...

For New Year's Eve we went to our church at 7, until almost 11, and played games and put together puzzles and stuff. We had cookies and goodies and snacks. It was a really nice, relaxing time, only a handful of people showed up so it was nice and cozy feeling.
We left at almost 11 to go to my mom's and we hung out there for a while and chatted with mom and sis, played Twister, and yelled Happy New Year at midnight, lit off some crazy fireworks my sister had been saving (including an M-80, which scared the nonsense out of us and the neighbors lol.) My sis lit a fire in the firepit but it was SO COLD outside we didn't want to go out there! LOL!

It was a really nice evening, and we spent it with loved ones-that's all that really matters, I say. :) Being the party poopers we are, we went home to bed shortly after midnight-but we went back to mom's and continued the family fellowship on New Year's Day.

I think this is the first year that I haven't made any resolutions at all. I mean, I do have goals for this year, but I don't have anything that I am trying to use as a "New Year's Resolution". I never keep them anyways, haha.

Last year I really found God. I thought I had known him all my life, but I was wrong. I had never really known him the way I do now. I went through some pretty rough stuff at the beginning of 2008 and it really drew me to Him. As a result, it helped me to teach my family about him as well. My 13 year old son was baptized at the beginning of last summer, and I was baptized in August. I still struggle with stuff, but He has changed me so much just in the course of less than a year. I am learning to lean on Him and to be the woman He wants me to be.

This year I will be focusing on being better as a keeper of my home. I plan on studying more of the verses in the Bible that pertain women being good stewardesses, and applying that knowledge in my own life. (I am great at studying, not so good at applying.)I will also be trying to bring my family closer as a whole, to each other, and to Him. I am trying to teach them His love.