Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Easy meals

I know most of us are pretty busy, whether it's running a house, working a job, raising a family, or running around to various activities everyday. I had been struggling earlier in the year with homeschooling and balancing all the other household duties that I needed to accomplish throughout a day. And so I determined that I was going to become super disciplined and plan out my meals, two weeks in advance, so I could do my shopping and I would wake up each day knowing what I was making that day for our big meal, which we eat at lunchtime. So trying to homeschool and get that done in a morning was sometimes difficult.
Well, two things that really helped me was the Gooseberry Patch Super-Fast Slowing Cooking Cookbook, and  the Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites cookbook. The Once-A-Month cookbook was actually featured on a Focus on the Family Radio program last year, and I ordered it right away, and it's made my life lots easier.
Anyway, I thought I would share some of the recipes I have found that are super easy and don't take up tons of time. I especially loves those that I can just throw into the crockpot and forget about until dinnertime! This is what I made yesterday:


2 pounds extra lean beef ( I use stew meat, and cut it up into small pieces)
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup sliced carrots
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/3 cup catsup
1 TB worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce (I don't usually add this)
1 14.5 can beef broth
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
4 medium potatoes (I don't use this either)

Brown the ground beef, chopped onion, and red pepper in skillet on medium heat. Drain and cool. Mix all ingredients together and put into crockpot. Make sure potatoes are under liquid. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.

If you use the stew meat, you don't have to brown the meat. I usually make rice to eat along with it, and we eat it in a bowl, rice first, then goulash and sometimes we sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. It's so filling and good on those cool winter days. I can just throw it in the crockput in the morning and by lunchtime, we have dinner!

This recipe is from the Once-A-Month cookbook by Mimi Wiilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg, and can be found on page 28.

And something that I have found helpful, is when I am at the grocery store, I will stock up on lots of onions, carrots, celery, peppers, bring them home and chop up a bunch to store in my freezer, so when  a recipe calls for them, I can just pull them out. Saves LOTS on time, which is a precious thing. I'll try to post some more as I think of them. I know I love to get new ideas.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's a BOY!!!!

Today we went to Mexico and had an ultrasound. My sister, Ashlea is here, so she got to come along with us. I really wanted her to able to come with us and was so glad it worked out. Before we went, Nate wasn't sure he wanted to know whether we were having a boy or girl. But once we were in the room, and the doctor was checking things out, Nate called out, "It's a boy!" and then he questioned the doctor because he wasn't sure. The doctor said he would show us, and he ran the machine over that part of the baby, and sure enough, there was something there!!! We were just in shock. And I still am so surprised, just wondering, after having three girls, what it will be like, raising a man child. The measurements and pictures showed that everything is looking good, and that is a lot to be thankful for. I know there are many parents who don't receive that kind of news, and my heart goes out to them.
So we are looking forward to meeting this new member of our family. The girls are excited. They wanted a baby brother. And hopefully they still will, once he's here!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love this CD

I just had to write a quick blog about this CD that I have been listening to almost everyday. It was released back in the spring of 2009, and I just love EVERY song, which is rare. Usually I have several favorites, but rarely do I love the entire thing. It's the CD, Jesus Saves, by Travis Cottrell. One of my favorite songs on the disc is his version of "In Christ Alone". From the first time I had heard that song, it always brought tears to my eyes. But the one that speaks the most to me, is the song, "I am persuaded." The chorus says, "Nothing in life, nothing in death, no mountain high, no ocean depth, no power below on earth or above, can separate me from Your love." I don't know if many of you know, but Nate and I experienced the loss of our fourth child back in mid August. I miscarried very early, around the six week mark, and we don't know whether we had a boy or girl, but irregardless, it still stung and hurt. I remember driving home from the grocery store, and out here that is a 35 minute drive, this song came on, and it was like balm to my soul. I felt like Jesus was sitting right there in the truck with my, grieving with me, but also reminding me that nothing can separate me from Him; even the worst circumstances, and that someday we will see that child that God saw fit to take home early. So everytime I hear that song, I am reminded of that sweet moment, where I experienced the loving comfort of my Savior.
But I just want to encourage you to get this Cd and check it out for yourself. I think he is so gifted in writing and arranging, and everytime I listen to this Cd, I feel myself being ushered into the throne room of God. I have the opportunity to see him lead worship at the Beth Moore conference in Tucson this March, and to say I am looking forward to it is an understatement! :) Plus it's a night away with other adult women, which is a rarity for me these days. I hope the music blesses you like it did me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What's new

I know it has been so long since I have updated my blog. I still have Christmas pictures I thought I would like to upload on here of the time we spent with my family over Christmas. We went up to Greer and stayed in a log cabin for three days. It was so much fun. There was snow on the ground, and the girls had a blast playing in it. Grandpa and daddy took them out each morning in it. Charlotte wasn't too sure of it at first, but by the second day she warmed up to it. Of course, it didn't help that I didn't have any snow pants that actually fit her. Her two year body was crammed into a 9 month snowsuit!!! But I guess that's how it is when you live in southern Arizona, and rarely get to see any white stuff on the ground! Snow pants aren't in abundance at our local Target or Walmart! But anyway, someday soon, perhaps I will be motivated to upload those photos. Life has a way of just moving way too fast!

But I actually wanted to blog about what happened to my second child, Alaina this morning. I had been vacuuming the hallway and finished and was coming into the kitchen when I noticed Alaina standing at the table, crying and holding her mouth. I asked her what was wrong, expecting some teeth or a bloody mouth, but instead she gasps out she can't talk. I realize she's choking and so I start pounding her on the back. It's not helping, and she is now crying even harder because something is seriously stuck. So I turn her upside down and just start whacking her on the back. And a marble falls out onto the floor. A little marble. Thankfully that was the only one she had in her mouth. And then she threw up all over the floor. But I was glad to clean up that mess since it meant she was at least able to breath and talk again! I am still kind of surprised that the marble got stuck in her throat. I would have thought it would have just gone straight down and eventually come out the other way. But when she realized it was going down, she must have tensed up and it got stuck. I don't know. But I do know that my children had a very good object lesson about putting foreign objects into their mouths!

But this afternoon as I was laying in bed and trying to find some relief from a majorly bad headache, I was thinking about what happened this morning and what kind of lesson I could glean from this. And I realized that you could look at the marble as a metaphor for sin. Any sin. A sin that seems so small and so unlikely to hurt anyone, or yourself. And as you let it into your life, just kind of playing around with it, one day it gets lodged somewhere, and you suddenly feel choked off and fighting for air. And if you don't get rid of the sin, it could either make you really sick, or even kill you. Doesn't matter how small or insignificant it feels at the beginning, it will eventually take on a life of its own, and will ultimately own you, if you don't get rid of it. Or kill you. Wow. It's amazing the lessons you can learn from a four year old!

In two weeks my baby sister will be coming to visit us. To say I am excited would be a slight understatement. She is stopping here on her way home from Hawaii. My sister is quite the traveler. I am just so glad she is making time out of her vacation to see us. I don't know what all we will do while she is here, but she does want to go down to Bisbee and check it out. So we'll probably be antiquing and looking at some vintage stores. Being out in the middle of nowhere sometimes can feel so isolating. I check my computer for emails and facebook multiple times a day. It's quite sad actually. I am sure there are better things i could be spending my time on. But some days I just yearn for that adult connection. I mean, I am totally connected to my husband, but I think it's that girl connection I need so much. And to know there's other people out there, dealing with the same things I do each day. It's so easy to get into your little bubble world, and not have much fellowship with anyone outside my four acres. Sometimes I wonder how much good I am doing for the kingdom of God in my house with just my children. But then God reminds me, they are not just my children, they are His children. And I am raising them to be God lovers and seekers, and really, there is no more important job. But some days, like today, it still feels small. But that is when one clings to what she knows and not what she feels.