Thursday, July 31, 2008

More blogs for your reading enjoyment...

I would like to introduce you to a couple of more blogs that I frequent. I don't have enough time to give adequate props but I figured a quick run-down was better than nothin'!

Nesting Place- Oh my! I tell ya'll you will love, love, love this site and it will inspire you to dress those necked windows you have in your house! She does everything in the most simple yet beautiful ways....and without sewing! See all my exclamation points!!! That means I am tickled to death!!! I can't sew!!! I love window treatments!!! I love Nesting Place!!!





Crystal at Biblical Womanhood is a precious young momma with wisdom far beyond her years. She is married with two little girls and draws from His Word the beautiful truths that encourage us as mothers and wives. I have enjoyed her daily posts about homemaking and creating a haven.

And Now. Without Further Ado. The Long Awaited. Much Anticipated (drum roll)......Presenting:

Brian's blog, Play The Man! We (Chris & I) have been blessed to be under Brian's teaching for the last 7+ years and what a blessing it has been! He serves as a teaching elder and worship leader for our church, Grace Fellowship and his zeal for God's Word is more than infectious. Oh, and his wife Jenn, is one of my dearest and closest friends!

Note to bloggers: It can be dangerous to blog alongside people who live around you because they could expose your true identity to the world.

Or worse. Publish a photograph of you wearing your swimsuit.
Don't worry Brian. It's all good.

There are still so many others that I want to highlight and I'll plan on doing so in the next few days. Have a blessed week!

Shrimp Etouffee

My friend, Kelly made this a couple of weeks ago for my birthday dinner and it was so delicious! And it came from Cooking Light :)
I forgot to post the recipe back then, so here it is:


4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (Kelly used only green bell pepper)
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chopped green onions (Kelly used NONE ONIONS....cause she loves me)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30 shrimp)
4 cups hot cooked long-grain rice


1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Cover and remove from heat.

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour to pan; cook 8 minutes or until very brown, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup broth mixture to pan; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining 3 cups broth mixture, stirring with a whisk until smooth; set aside.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups onion, celery, and bell peppers to pan; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper to onion mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add reserved broth-flour mixture and Worcestershire sauce to pan, stirring well to combine; bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green onions, 1/4 cup parsley, and shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Discard bay leaf. Serve over rice. Sprinkle each serving with 2 teaspoons remaining parsley, if desired.


6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups étouffée and 2/3 cup rice)

Nutritional Information Calories

CALORIES 395 (28% from fat); FAT 12.2g (sat 6.9g, mon 3g, poly 1.1g); IRON 4.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 142mg; CALCIUM 102mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47.9g; SODIUM 655mg; PROTEIN 22.6g; FIBER 3.6g

Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD , Cooking Light, JULY 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Way Of The Sammer

Our church has been studying and implementing Ray Comfort's evangelism method, The Way of the Master. Ray uses an unconventional, radical and rare approach to sharing the gospel.

He tells the truth.

That's my segue for the following conversation that I heard at the pool yesterday. It involved my 5-year old son and his new 7-year old friend. It went something like this...

New kid: Hey there! My name is Reed! What's your name? How old are you? Where do you live? Where is your mom? Do you like raisins? Do you want to play with me? Can I dump sand on your head? I can jump like Spider-Man! I need to go to the bathroom! Do you want this nickel?

(This kid is obviously gonna give my boy a run for his money in the *conversation* department)

Samuel: Um. My name is Sammer (how he pronounces Samuel).

New kid: Sam?

Samuel: Um. Yes.

New kid: Well, Sam. My dad died. I mean my dad's dad died. I mean my grandpa died. Did you know that? Did you know about that? Did you know that I have been at the funeral store...I mean funeral home all day? We went to the funeral and did you know that they put them under the dirt.

(I let out a little "yikes" from the mom corner...keep in mind I am caring for the baby just on the other side of a screened-in porch area, where I could see and hear, but I don't want my presence to be known, cause I'm.....eavesdropping.....shhhh....)

New kid: Did you know that when they put them in the dirt they put them in a box first? They don't just put them in the dirt (very matter-of-fact). First, they put them in the box, then they dig a giant hole, then they put the box in the hole, and cover it up. That's it.

***Samuel (who has been drooling during this portion of the conversation waiting anxiously for a chance to interject his minute knowledge of funerals, coffins, and all kinds of other assorted things related to the deceased) finally gets his chance.

Samuel: YEAH! OH YEAH! I KNOW ALL ABOUT THAT! After they are done, they put the stones on top. The stone says, "I don't live here anymore. I live under the ground."

Hmm... I guess my avoidance of this topic may have led to a few misunderstandings.
Here's where it gets juicy.

Samuel: Hey kid? (obviously, not good with name retention) Are you a good kid? Or.....
Are you a bad kid?

New kid: OH! I am a good kid. I am a real good kid.

Samuel: Well. Do you sin? Do you sin or do you obey? Do you obey your mom & dad? Do you obey GOD?

New kid: OH, I obey! I obey God!

Samuel: Well. Do you know about heaven? Do you know there is heaven and hell? Are you going to heaven OR hell?

(At this point, I am hardly breathing because I am shocked, blessed, impressed, and scared to death)

New kid: Yes. I know about that! I know about heaven! I am going to heaven!


We don't say "hell".

Bullet Points:
  • It doesn't matter where you are....your age....or your biblical knowledge.You can still testify.
  • Explaining the burial process to children is difficult and weird.
  • Not saying "hell" or having an unbelief regarding it's existence, changes nothing.
  • God's grace changes everything.
God, my prayer is that you continue to work in the heart of my son. May he forever cling to the absolute truth about the depravity of sin, the blessing of obedience, the promise of heaven and the reality of hell.


Benjamin- Six Months (almost)

Can you believe it?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Friend Indeed

The following is an e-mail that I cut & pasted from Jenn this afternoon. The lesson here folks is sacrifice. Denial of self. True biblical friendship...
Hey - I may try to run to Marshalls tonight - did you want met to get you a cover-up if they have it? What size? If there's only one, you can have it."
Did ya'll SEE the last sentence???

"Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor."
1 Corinthians 10:24

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shower Caddy

We joined our community pool this year and it has been so much fun!

I would love to share with you the joys of "float night" and how Jenn's husband has been saddled with this lovely little barge and all the flailing/screaming/ruckus raising pirates that go with it.

It's some funny stuff.
But that's another post. For now, let me tell you about the shower caddy. I pack our toiletries in my ever-clever, handy-dandy, shower bucket.

I stole this idea from another clever momma at the pool. She doesn't blog, so she won't mind if I steal share her idea!
Wash it out. Poke a few holes in the bottom. Wa-La.

I happened to have an even larger bucket that was once the home to a Potato Head family, that I use. I believe having something a little bigger is always a little better (see above regarding float) and I put body wash, shampoo, detangler, and a hair pick inside of it.

For more ideas go to Rocks In My Dryer and check out the other Works-For-Me Wednesday


More about the good times...

Time for another installment of : "We went to Maryland and can't stop talkin' about it!"

While we were there, we ate some dee-liciously yummy food.

I mentioned in a previous post that the shrimp salad Lea Ann brings to the pool is yummy. The fact that she brings shrimp salad, rather than $4.37 is beyond me. I mean, $4.37 can buy you a bounty of fried up goodness from the concession stand. For goodness sakes, I can't make some of that stuff at home so I am just trying to take advantage the rare culinary opportunity.

Otherwise known as....FUNNEL CAKES!

But she's all, "Just let me whip up some little gourmet wraps with seasoned veggies and creamy sauce and couple that with a side of fresh fruit's easy!"

And then when she turns around I pretend to wrap my hands around her neck.


She inspires me. On so many levels.

Ya'll. When she takes her kids to ball practice, the girl packs them dinner almost Every. Single. Night.

And I ain't talking sandwiches here. I mean lasagna, burritos, chicken salad, etc.....She is a genius with the thermos, I tell you. Don't you think that would make a great cookbook?

"Meals On The Sidelines....The Soccer Mom's Healthy Guide To A Hot Dinner"

Anyway, here is a crockpot recipe that has become one of my very favorites!

Spicy Shredded Beef

1- 2lb boneless roast

1 package fajita seasoning

2 TB olive oil

2 cans stewed tomatoes

1 can Rotel

Rub all sides of roast with the fajita seasoning. Sear in hot oil on all sides until browned. Combine tomatoes (do not drain) in large crock pot. Add browned roast to tomatoes and cover with any remaining seasoning. Cook 6 hours or until meat is tender and shreds easily. Remove roast and shred. Return meat to crock pot and mix. Serve over white rice.

-Add an extra can of tomatoes and more fajita seasoning if you use a larger roast.

-Leftovers are great! Drain excess liquid from the tomato gravy and wrap the beef/tomato mixture in a flour tortilla. Warm at 300 degrees and enjoy ;)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just in case you don't know...

In just a little over three months, we will vote in a new President of the United States of America.

Be informed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Play Dough...Big Whoop

I know. Homemade play dough. It's been done before.

You are not impressed.

All I'm sayin' is that we made this play dough and immediately following, the clouds parted and angels began to sing.

And they were singing about play dough.


My children played with play dough for hours. HOURS. UPON HOURS.

Of course Samuel pretended to make rocks....snakes....balls....even a cute little baby Larry from Veggie Tales. You know? Regular play dough creations.

The girls however, staged a fierce competition between chefs and starred in the newest Food Network program called, "You Can't Eat It But It Shore Does Look Good!"

I think they might have a shot. Have you seen some of the stuff they make on the Food Network???

Maybe you already have a play dough recipe. Maybe not. I got this one from a mother of nine and she promised it to be the best. I sort of trust her opinion.
  • 2 1/2- 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of alum
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • food coloring
And this stuff? We threw it all away!

For more Works-For-Me Wednesday ideas go to Rocks In My Dryer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heel Rollin...

My girls have always teased me about the way I pronounce the word, "hill" which apparently should rhyme with the word "Jill".

Says who?

We did some serious "heel rolling" while we were in Maryland and in keeping with my neverendingforeverlong posts about vacations, here we are again remembering the fun time we had a couple of weeks ago....


If you choose to sit here and read this post you will waste a good 10 minutes.
And you might get vertigo.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More about blogs I read...

I finally updated my sidebar to include several links to blogs that I love and have been reading for a while. I will try to write a little about each of them in the coming days (which means....if I have time or if I can remember).

For now, I'll tell you about Preschoolers and Peace. I found Kendra's blog through Kim's sidebar and I loved it from the very first visit. What an organized momma! Charts! Schedules! Ideas! Crafts! Oh, she speaketh my love language!

Plus, she has this wealth of knowledge in homeschooling and parenting, being that she is the mother of 8 precious children. I was a daily visitor to her blog when I sat down one morning just a few short weeks ago and found that their newest baby, Joseph, was not well and had been taken to the nearest hospital. Little Joe was just over a month old and over the course of several days, his little body appeared to be under viral attack. This sweet family who had shared their wisdom and love for God was in need of prayer.

I found myself in a bizarre but very real state of genuine love and concern. I didn't even really know these people. I mean, Kendra (Joe's momma) wrote with candor and humility in a way that made me feel like I knew her, but still.....this was the blog world. I prayed and watched...

  • Watching this tiny baby fight through the illness that was seeking to overtake his system was so difficult.
  • Watching this family glorify God daily, exemplified what it means to serve a holy and sovereign God.
  • Watching their church rally around them in prayer and love brought tears to my eyes.

Watching them bring home Mighty Joe, who has made a healthy recovery, has been the sweetest blessing. Even though I do not know them, I know their Savior and I have counted it a priviledge to be in prayer to Him, for them, over these last several weeks.

Read His story of provision in the life of Mighty Joe by starting at the beginning right here. As you follow along, trace God's hand in the day to day allowance of grace and love as he covers this family.

And, if you visit Kendra's blog, be sure and check out that sidebar with it's Pages! and Topics! It is a plethura of ideas and encouragement :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Be Fully Convinced...

There is a great article from Pulpit Magazine about Honoring God In Gray Areas from a couple of days ago. In it, there is a list of seven questions that are helpful in making decisions that are not necessarily black or white in scripture.

I know that my tendency is to claim absolutes on certain "gray" issues that I have either:

A) been firmly convicted of
B) are easy to apply to my life

Where I find myself resting in gray areas are those places where my flesh struggles to apply biblical truth and/or conviction. There are not really "gray" areas where God allows us to waiver and sit on the fence. There is no glory in professing that God does not care.

"But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1: 6-8

He does however allow for liberty in making certain decisions that may differ from one christian to the next. (gasp)

Oh, does this ever challenge me! Especially in those areas that I mentioned above (A & B) because, come on! On those issues where we stand so firmly it is so obvious, right? How could someone not come to the exact same determination?

Thank you God for grace.

It has required daily humility and reverence for God...His ways...His revelation...His purpose, so that I do not diminish His sovereign ability to convict through both the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Notice His ability. He is able.

"Now to him who is
able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..." Ephesians 3:20

Piper has a wonderful sermon (as usual!) about being fully convinced, no matter what the issue. And have mercy there are some issues, aren't there?

Homeschool, television, alcohol, modesty.....the list is endless and different for everyone. Piper asks these three simple questions which make a very complex decision quite simple.

1.) Is it sinful?
2.) Is it honoring to Christ?
3.) Is it the best way I can think for me to act in this situation?

Then the hard part. Be convicted and convinced and honor Him in your decision.

Therefore, I do not say to you, “Lighten up.” Or, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Rather I say, “Stand in awe of the risen Christ who will get his glory from the living and from the dead and from the eaters and the abstainers and from the day-keepers and the non-day-keepers. Stand in awe of Jesus Christ. And whatever you do, whether you eat or whether you drink, do all to the glory of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31).
John Piper

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Blogs I Read

I have been meaning to update my sidebar to include some wonderful blogs that are a part of my daily reading. If you don't subscribe to Bloglines (or something like that) I highly recommend it. It cuts down on surfing and really condenses my reading time. I often minimize things that I want to read during a quiet period or print them for later. I can skim through the blogs that are updated rather quickly instead of visiting each and every site....although for some reason I always have to open my favorites. Something about seeing their faces and the familiarity of their blog design.


Anyhoo. Here is one of the new (or fairly new to me) blogs that I love!

Jen @ Peace In The Pandemonium-

Ya'll. This girl is funny, smart, and guess what??? She likes to parent on purpose! Deliberate parenting! She's one of those people! She loves Christ and her family and so her blog is a sweet and witty reflection of both (with a kickin' new design!).

I have found out recently that she also loves grammar....which makes me sore afraid. I already have a lurking brother-in-law who gets a kick out of finding all of my grammatical hiccups. I have to pretend that Jen looks past my apostrophe issues and sees the real me.

The coolest thing about Jen is that she lives right close to my precious Lea Ann! I contacted Jen when I saw that she lived in Maryland and come to find out, these girls are almost neighbors! There are so many awesome things that have transpired as a result of blogging and this counts as one of the coolest.

I just totally gave away my age by using "coolest" in my blog post.

Jen has been able to offer insight and advice to my dear friend and I am forever grateful. And get this. Our families had a little get-together last week when we visited Maryland for the 4th of July weekend. Jen's kids are the exact same age as Lea Ann's three and my two (Hannah & Emma) and they all made fast friends at the pool. We may have only spent a short little afternoon together but it was clear that our common bond was Jesus & our family.

What more in common do you need?

Here are some pics from our little rendezvous:

This is Lea Ann's shrimp salad. Notice the shakers. She makes every meal opportunity a "dining experience".

Hence, the Hot Tamales.

Hannah & The Haircut..... She lives.

My Girlies.
Hannah & Ellen

My Boy....The Gansta

One of Jen's Boys....He's shy.

Jen's other boy....He's shy too.

Did I say shy? I meant to say gregarious, unreserved, extroverted, and very sociable.
That is sweet Sydney on the back row.

Notice Sammer's "gansta" influence has rubbed off on his sister.
And can you smell the testosterone that Samuel is trying to garner from Payton?
Obviously, Sawyer and Ethan have some youngest sibling/armpit issues. They go hand-in-hand.

O.K. boys. Take note...
See the sweet smiles? The composure? The self-control?

Obviously not.

See how Emma sits with boys? It's because she thinks boys can be your friends.
Simply amazing.
We had a great time!