Saturday, January 30, 2010

Easy as Pie

Easy Pot Pie

1 c diced turkey, chicken or leftover beef roast
1 c peas
1 c chopped carrots
(I always keep a bag of mixed peas and carrots in the freezer for this recipe)
1 c diced potatoes (or frozen hash browns)
1 can cream of chicken soup (Cream of mushroom if using beef)
1/4 c milk
generous sprinkle of pepper
generous sprinkle of onion powder

1 homemade pie crust, unbaked

(Of course, I realize, this pie is not really easy unless you use a store-bought crust,
but I prefer the taste of my homemade crust. :)

Crust recipe:
2c flour
1 t salt
2/3 c Crisco shortening, cut in
add 5-6 T cold water a little at a time

Bake 1 hour at 350 F

I'm not really a recipe girl, but wrote this out for you who like to follow directions. I take that back. I love directions. (I have put together every piece of furniture in our house that required assembly.) But I love flexibility too! I throw in whatever I happen to have (within reason, of course). For example, when I make a pot roast with carrots and potatoes in the crock pot and have a few leftovers, those get chopped up and made into pot pie. You could add beans, but I prefer not. Also, leftover gravy can be stirred in with the soup. 


Friday, January 29, 2010

Colors, boogies, and boy

You Capture this week is about colors. I didn't have to look very far to find some. My living room floor has been covered in primary colors all week. Drat those legos. Thankfully, I haven't stepped on one yet, or they would all go in the trash. You know what I'm talking about. Nothing hurts like the dickens more than tripping on a pile of these plastic blocks.

Anyway, I also found these lovely pictures of Mitchell sporting color on himself. What, you say? You don't see any color? You've got to look a little closer to see it. Here's a hint. His nose. Guess what that is? UmmmHmmm. He has nearly daily bloody noses in the winter and hasn't yet learned to look in the mirror after one. Nice. I need to introduce him to those Boogie Wipes I received at Cupcake '10.

Next Up. A boy who is tired of having his picture taken, but not tired of playing with his sister's Stawberry Shortcake stamps from her McDonald's Happy Meal. Thus the color on his fingers.

Without further ado, this ends the rather pathetic, interior design lacking, tour of color in my house.

To see more interesting pictures of color visit I Should Be Folding Laundry. Drat, now I just remembered what I'm supposed to be doing right now.

My prayer this morning

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blissful Quiet

We went to the library today. This is my reward: a few moments of peace.

Maybe my dreams of blissfully quiet afternoons spent reading will soon come true.

One can hope.

Been playing with my camera. Top one, lighting not so good. Bottom: getting better. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just Lunch?

The table is a mess. Paper plates and hot dogs. Ketchup smears from messy children finger painting from the globs that fell from dog and bun.

"I declare you are the messiest children I know."

Madison grins, "Or the messiest children you've had." As in mothered, I suppose.

But there in that mess sits a seeming anomaly.

A teacup or two. English china. Gold rimmed. Filled with tea and sugar and milk. The English way. Or at least our attempt at the English way.

They are not "special teacups," though we call them that. Really, I found them at a garage sale for a dollar apiece. Each child has their own for everyday tea parties.

This is not high tea. Just lunch. With tea filled china cups.

These moments will be remembered, I am sure. Everyday tea parties where the table was messy and the English accents were too. They need not be perfect moments. But the moment must happen to be remembered. Because lunch, even a hot dog lunch, is more than just lunch when tea is served.

This post is a part of  Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

Cowboy Texture

Between laundry and schooling the kids and blog book editing, I am carving out moments to learn new things! Yesterday Robb worked late, the kids were busy watching movies and I had time to check out the texture tutorials on iheartfaces in preparation for this week's challenge.  I think this photo of my father-in-law is great with a couple textures, adding to the rough and tumble cowboy theme he had for our visit to Rawhide in Phoenix back in October.

I am also excited to report that I will no longer have any excuse for taking bad pictures! Any error from here on out will be operator error! I ordered a camera yesterday! Thank you Grandparents and Mom and Dad for the birthday money (way back in November) and Christmas money!

I learned a lot in that process too: be careful who you buy from online. That should be a, Duhhh, but  I've never had issues before, and tend to be trusting since we owned an internet store a few years ago and are currently developing another. I am for the little guys. But not everyone out there is worthy of my naive faith in them. Thankfully I ran into a few reviews of some sites I was contemplating buying from, but I won't give away any more than that! Look for the story soon, though!

Thanks iheartfaces for the challenges and tutorials and resources! I can't wait for my camera to arrive and begin playing and practicing!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Scripture It!

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, "Fall on the earth," 
and to the rain shower, "Be a mighty downpour."
So that all men he has made may know his work...

Job 37:5-7

Thursday, January 21, 2010

'nuther blogger event

These MN bloggers helped pack enough meals at FMSC to feed 38 children for a whole year.

This event was planned months in advance of the Haiti earthquake, but the timing was perfect. We were ready to give, itching to make a small difference, to busy our hands after bearing heavy hearts from the news.

All week I've thought of and followed the Livesays in Haiti.We happened to attend the same college. Her cousin leads worship at our church. Yet I only know them through their blog. People I love, love them. So I love them too. They are real heros, before and after the quake. I'm sure they would protest they're just ordinary people.  But they were willing to give up everything for a crazy commitment to follow God's leading no matter the cost. Now the cost is greater.

Maybe I care more about this disaster because of this loose connection. Maybe I'm getting older and more compassionate. Maybe I'm just weepy. I don't know. (Goodness, my children can testify to my recent inability to read about George Washington or MLK without getting emotional.)  But I do know that I have come to carry my heart on my sleeve and live each day full of whispered prayer.

What I offer the masses of hurting is minuscule. I have given what I can to ministries I trust: Compassion and World Vision and the Livesays. I gathered my children around a globe and introduced them to Haiti and they watched news clip after news clip. And then they gathered the part of their allowance that is set aside for giving and they gave too.

If you haven't yet, please give.

And pray. His heart breaks for a broken people,  but His back is strong for the burden.

Photo by Carrie.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A day for play

Yesterday the kids were playing so nice. I was torn between the joy of their happy laughter and the nag of responsibility as their teacher.

They must learn. But they must play. And play they were. Happily. No conflict. Just joy in exploring a toy we've had so long, recently rediscovered. Marbles and plastic chutes. Endless fun.

I let them, ignoring the nag. Not til the end of the day did I remember that the rest of the country was at play too. A holiday I had forgotten. No more nag, just gratefulness for children at play.

Today, we buckle down, begin again. Three pajama clad students wrestle crayons and pencils and books.

They create new schools and desks with blankets and couches. Private offices of learning.

The youngest joins in. She's reading now, sound by sound. So proud of herself and happy to learn. There's joy today too.

This post is a part of Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anyone out there?

Evidently it's de-lurking day. Or something. Anyway. Time for you to say hello! Sometimes it feels like I send this into midair. I guess I do. But I wonder if anyone is out there.

Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do you read me?

You know me. Do I know you?

I'd love to!

Leave a comment. And as my kids say:

Pretty pleeeaaassse.......with Jesus on top?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sweet Cupcakes

Cupcake '10

A blogger retreat.

And I went, you ask?

Whatever for? you ask?

Good question!

As my facebook friends know by their newsfeed being clogged with links to my posts, and as my family members know because they religiously read my scribbles, I've been blogging for a couple years. I initially started with the purpose of sharing with family the silly things the kids did, the stupid things I forgot because I'm just that forgetful. I blogged to record our family stories. Because it's a better filing system than anything at my house. It morphed from there. I only recently made my blog public.

Recently, I met Carrie. Kinda through her blog. Kinda not. We can't make up our minds. Now I work with her.

We work with bloggers to turn all their hard work into books. Hard copies to display on a coffee table. Or to give as gifts to grandparents. Or a husband who needs something tangible from those hours his wife spent in front of a screen when she should have been doing the dishes.

Anyway, Carrie asked me to go to Cupcake '10 with her and I said sure! She was acquainted with some of the blog authors planning the get together, and wanted a traveling buddy. We had a bit of finagling to do with my sister's first baby due the week it was planned (She delivered a week early. Thanks sis!), and then Carrie had a complication the first day of the event. But we made it and am I ever glad!

In case you didn't notice, *wink* I'm not a big name blogger. I'm not even a little name blogger. More of a no name blogger. I went to this blogger retreat to grow my friendship with Carrie. And I went to spend time with women who happen to blog, most of them completely new to me.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I figured it would kinda be like a church ladies retreat. I was right!

Except we had wine!

Cupcake Wine!

I met wonderful ladies, who are so much more than their blogs. Each had a story to tell. Their authenticity and vulnerability were beautiful. Each seemed to struggle with their own feelings about blogging. Each added flare and texture and spice and style to the experience.

So, thank you, ladies! Thank you for being you. For sharing yourselves with the world and whoever wants to find you. For clicking publish when you were most afraid and letting your words reach out and touch others. For caring more about each other than the status of their blog.

Now as I  read your posts, I will hear your voices and understand a bit more, the depth of who you really are.

Photo credits: The multi-talented Carrie

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Farmer + Husband + Tractor > AAA

Yesterday I packed the kids up to head off to piano lessons. Wednesdays are busy: finishing schoolwork, making sure everyone is dressed and combed and somewhat presentable, grab a bite, make sure kids have piano books, lists for errands.

We head out of our driveway and I punch R to dial Robb.  I begin telling him of my morning. Of Mitchell's meltdown and how well I handled it.

Then he hears my voice say, without exclamation or changing tone,

"And we're going in the ditch."

And then the sound of snow flying.

We had done a 180 into the ditch.

He lets out a frustrated sigh and says, "I'm on my way."

The kids cheer, "That was fun!"

I open the windows to avoid asphyxiation. You know. In case the exhaust pipe is full of snow. Then I decide to check the damage and the exhaust pipe. It's clean so I shut the windows. It's cold here, ya know.

I text twitter that we're in the ditch, cause I'm sure that's more interesting than other things I've tweeted lately. Too bad I don't have internet on my phone or I could actually blog from the ditch....or answer the well wishes of friendly tweets.

But instead, I wait.

On his way to me, Robb picks up a tow rope at our repair shop. They're such nice small town guys.

I take a couple pictures:

Neighbors drive by offering help. One says he did the same thing this week. On this road. So at least I'm not the only one. Except he hit someone. He blames the county, of course. "If they'd just take care of the road!" Did I mention he's 22?  Does that mean I drive like a 22 year old?

Did I mention I used to teach driver's education? Ya, forget I just said that.

A girl from the nearest farm comes tearing down her driveway offering their tractor. I tell her my husband is on his way with our pickup, but we'll let her know if we need the assistance of the tractor. I have to give my husband the chance to be the hero, you know. He'd want that, I'm pretty sure.

Robb arrives, and I tell him how glad I am that he doesn't have a "real" job so he can come and rescue me. He's good at rescuing.

He hooks up a tow strap, and the truck doesn't budge the van. It fishtails on the ice packed road.

The guy with the tractor arrives.

They try the tow strap with the tractor and it promptly snaps. The strap, not the tractor.

They shovel around the van.

They shovel some more.

All the while with three kids and a grinning lady watching.

Poor guys.

Did you know we have lots of snow here? Yeah.

Robb's shovel breaks.

He drives the 1/2 mile home to retrieve another.

But he does not grab a coat. Or boots. Fleece vest it is. It's like his own strange uniform. Always.

They shovel some more.

Out comes the old frayed tow rope from the repair shop, and I take more pictures.

Of my knight's shining armor:

In no time About one hour after our slip up-  we are out.  I think that's still faster than AAA!

Tonight, I think I'll call my husband Robb Deere, Rescuer of the Ditched.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cherry Oatmeal

What can you make with these ingredients? Huh? Give up? Oh. I already gave it away! You're right. If you even like oatmeal a little, or chocolate or cherries, this is a healthy breakfast for you! Yep it's healthy. Even with chocolate!

You'll need:

1/2 c quick oats
3/4 c water

Microwave above for 1 minute.

Now mix in:

2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips (NOT milk chocolate chips or the health value goes down)
1/4 Teaspoon vanilla
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon
2 Tablespoons chopped dried cherries

I tweaked this recipe from one I found in the Flat Belly Diet book, but it still fits in their menu plan with around 400 calories and a MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid). That's the chocolate working for ya!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

i heart faces photo challenge

My goals this year include learning more about photography, reading the entire tutorial of Photoshop Elements ( I think I have the original version!), and ultimately buying a new camera. (Maybe I should consider an updated version of Elements as well!)

Up til this past year, I've used a Canon Powershot (A430 to be exact...old clunky point and shoot), but more recently, I've been stealing my husband's Fji Finepix S9000 and playing around with it. These pictures were taken when I first brought it home from his office and had no idea what I was doing! It is not a DSLR, and does not have image stabilization, (grrrrr), but I'm hoping that what I learn playing with it will only help me later when I buy a step up.

I've been entering the i heart faces challenges because they spur me on to try new things and learn more. I have no grand visions of winning any contest. To be honest, I am often frustrated with my photos, and I'm not sure how much of it is my lack of knowledge and how much of it is the camera I'm working with, and how much of it is that it's the middle of winter and I'm taking a lot of inside shots with minimal light.  Oh, so many excuses! Bahh!  Pretty sure the problem is mostly operator error! And I'm so impatient when learning something new....

Sooooo, I try and try again, read up as much as I can and keep posting what I have. Please bear with me. *Grin*

And forgive me, dear friends at i heart faces, for wasting your time on my humble entry!

I am submitting this photo into the I Heart Faces logo photo contest. By entering, I am granting I Heart Faces LLC permission to consider my photo(ha) for use in the marketing and promotion of their website.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tomato Soup Fiasco

My freezer if full of frozen summer produce, my old fashioned pantry lined with jars. And there it sits. My husband still buys canned tomatoes for his taco soup and I forget I made pickles and applesauce and fruit salsa. The freezer is clogged with zucchini from this year and last year and green beans galore. I'm not sure my family even appreciates beans, unless slathered in cream soup and topped with fried onions.

So yesterday I decided to used some of the overabundance. I'd heard a friend rave about homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese, and though that flavor of soup is not my favorite, I gave it a try. Frozen tomatoes went in the pot with an onion and carrot and garlic and basil. It simmered and simmered down. Smelled good. I had hope.

I poured the boiling, chunky liquid into my blender. I knew this was dangerous, but I started slow. It gurgled slowly out the top. I spooned a good cup off the top to allow room for fierce blenderizing. I turned it on.

Who was it that was so careful, calculating her blender approach only to be startled by tomato puree sprayed all over an entire corner of the kitchen? Ummm, that certainly could not be me. But it was me and there I stood covered in tomato soup. Also covered was the wall, the cupboard, the stove, the recipe box, the canisters, the mixer, and the grill that was awaiting grilled cheese.

I wiped up. The counter. Not me. My clothes could wait. Supper could not. I finished the soup, timidly blending, not as confidently as before. The sandwiches were made after the fried soup was wiped off the griddle, and the kids came to eat. They eyed the soup.

"Who wants to try my new soup?" I ask.

"Not me," they all reply.

To read more ridiculousness click here:


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fences and Freedom

 "Look mommy, I put a fence around my plants."

What does this little one know of fences? Did she create this fence out of meanness of heart to restrict her plant's growth? To squelch it's freedom? Of course not! She's six. Surely not old enough to grasp the depth of her actions. She placed the fence in love. To guide the plant. To protect it. To support it.

The One who planted the universe does the same.

I whisper a prayer. Father, fence her round with grace, that she may grow upwards toward you, faithful, in the security of your mercy and love.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Niece, New Year, New Mercies


Welcome Victoria Grace!
Daughter to my twin sister.
You make me an aunt,
and I couldn't be more thrilled!


Today, we glance back, evaluate, and then look forward with expectation and resolve.
Today marks the beginning of a new year.
May we not, however, misconstrue this January first as the best time to begin afresh.

We may fail in our resolve.
In our goals.
Maybe even in our lack of faith.

But Christ's mercies are new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23
"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.
     They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness."