Monday, July 31, 2006

Update on our evening...

I just HAD to share what we ended up doing tonight. Instead of all of us sitting together but reading our own book silently, Mr. U read aloud to us! What a treat!! He read chapter 1 of "In His Steps" by Charles M. Sheldon and plans to read a chapter or two a night to us until it is finished. Oh, how I LOVE this book!! I first read it about 12 years ago and immediately fell in love with it. The characters seemed like such good friends by the end of the book. The story is oh-so-convicting!! But, I needn't say more. You must read the book. If your library doesn't have a copy, it can usually be found in Christian bookstores. Definitely a must read. Until tonight, I had forgotten just how dear this book was to me!! What joy to rediscover this!

Happy reading!!

Home clean home...

Today after Weight Watchers (I gained 4.4 pounds while on vacation!! OH MY!!!), I had some jobs around the home that needed to be tended to.

Yes, you guessed correctly, according to the picture, I did vacuum today. I try to vacuum twice a week- more if we have company coming or if we've been in and out of the house more frequently (like when we were putting the garden in- talk about DIRT!!!). I also cleaned the master bathroom. I try to clean it twice a week (again, more if guests are here). I like the home to be tidy enough for someone to drop by at any given moment.

I try to keep stacks of "stuff" picked up in the living room because it's the first room guests see when they enter our home. "Stuff" can accumulate within a few seconds (why is that??) and I try to stay on top of that. If any of y'all are familiar with FlyLady, you know that she talks about "hot spots". I try to keep those put out all day. I also try to always keep my kitchen sink shined.

I had more laundry to do today (yes, even after Mt. Washmore from Friday and Saturday!!!). I try to do our laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. I also wash our sheets weekly on Wednesdays.

Tonight our family will sit and read together and just maybe watch "Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace".

I love having a clean home that my family can sit and relax it.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

We are home from vacation...

We just got home yesterday from vacation. Well, we called it a vacation. It’s actually a conference, but our family enjoys it so much that we call it a vacation.

Every summer for 8 years now, we’ve gone to the Pastor’s School hosted by Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. We stay in the dorms on campus (major flash back to college days), we eat in the campus cafeteria (yes, I ate waaaaaayyyy too much this week!!!) and we get to attend many workshops and hear different pastors share their heart. But the best part is that we get to meet up with the many dear friends that we have made over the years that we’ve attended the conference. We only see them once a year, but it always seems like we saw them just yesterday. Don’t you just LOVE friends like that?

Anyway, we are home and happy to be back. Nothing beats your own bed and getting back to your normal routine of life. Do you know I actually missed vacuuming? HA!! I’ve done a ton of laundry since we returned last night- I had NO idea we had that many clothes!

It’s nice getting away for a bit, but there is nothing like being in this house that we have made into our home. How blessed I am.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chicken marinades and Spinach salad!!!

Okay, since I mentioned yesterday what Mr. U LOVES to eat with his favorite focaccia bread, I figured I should mention what kind of marinade we like to use on our grilled chicken- red wine vinegar marinade or balsamic vinegar marinade.

Red Wine Vinegar marinade-
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 T extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and then cook it on your grill.

Balsamic Vinegar marinade-
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (feel free to use more garlic- we often do!!!)
2 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped
dash of salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients together and pour over chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking it on the grill.

Spinach Salad
1 bag of triple washed spinach (so you don't have to wash it yourself)
1 can of mandarin oranges
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing

Put spinach, mandarin oranages and red onion in a serving bowl. For the dressing, carefully combine mayonnaise and Italian dressing until completely mixed together. Serve dressing on the side.

Everyone seems to really like this very simple salad (even those non-spinach eaters!!). You could even put in some sliced fresh mushrooms or even some sliced avocado.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Focaccia Bread

Since I wrote Monday about how very much I love Mr. U, I thought that I would share one of his FAVORITE recipes today!!!

According to Wikipedia, focaccia is a flat bread topped with spices and other products, which is related to modern pizza. The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or ancient Greeks.

Mr. U loves this with grilled chicken and big salad. Make sure it's fresh out of the oven so that all the cheese is really stringy. YUMMMYY!!!

Focaccia Bread

2 3/4 c all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast
1 t garlic powder
1 t oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t basil
1 dash black pepper
1 T olive oil
1 cup water
2 T olive oil
4 T grated asiago cheese
2 c shredded mozzarella

1. In large bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil, and black pepper.
2. Mix in 1 T o. oil and water
3. When dough has pulled together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
4. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat with oil.
5. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place 25 min.
6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
7. Punch dough down, place on greased baking sheet.
8. Pat dough into 1/2 inch thickness.
9. Using your knuckle, make indentations in the dough about 1/2 " apart, then prick dough with fork.
10. Brush top with olive oil, then sprinkle with both cheeses.
11. Bake for 13-15 min until golden.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Are you in love with your husband?

I just read a really wonderful book entitled Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney. I highly recommend this book to every lady.

One particular part of this book stood out to me most, however. This is a quote that Mrs. Mahaney shares from Shirley Rice...

"Are you in love with your husband? Not, Do you love him? I know you do. He has been around a long time, and you're used to him. He is the father of your children. But are you in love with him? How long has it been since your heart really squeezed when you looked at him?... Why is it you have forgotten the things that attracted you to him at first?... Your husband needs to be told that you love him, that he is attractive to you. By the grace of God, I want you to start changing your thought pattern. Tomorrow morning, get your eyes off the toaster or the baby bottles long enough to LOOK at him. Don't you see the way his coat fits his shoulders? Look at his hands. Do you remember when just to look at his strong hands made your heart lift? Well, LOOK at him and remember. Then loose your tongue and tell him you love him. Will you ask the Lord to give you a sentimental, romantic, physical, in-love kind of love for your husband? He will do this." (p 41-42).

Mr. U and I have only been married for 7 1/2 years, but when I read this, I realized just how much I have overlooked him lately. I do love him- so very much. It's so easy in the busyness of life to be so focused on the "stuff" of life- laundering our clothes, preparing our meals, cleaning our home, etc. My focus is to be on the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost, yes, but on my husband as well. God has given Mr. U to me as my head, my husband, my very best friend. How truly blessed I am. May I never forget.

Song of Solomon 2:16a "My beloved is mine, and I am his".

Friday, July 21, 2006

Brunswick Stew

Today I am making a great-tasting and EASY meal for our family. Have any of y'all ever had Brunswick Stew? My, my, my... this stuff is tasty. Mr. U's granddad used to own a BBQ restaurant in Atlanta and he says that his granddad's Brunswick Stew tasted exactly like this!! So, y'all give it a try. I know all of our family LOVES this!!

Brunswick Stew
1 medium onion, chopped, sauteed
2 cans (14 oz) cream style corn
1 can (14 oz) whole kernel corn
2 cans (14 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
1 can Castleberry BBQ pork*
1 can Castleberry BBQ beef*
1 can (10 oz) cooked chicken
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ketchup

Combine all ingredients; simmer for 1-2 hours

I love it!! Open cans and dump!! Family will think you have been slaving over the stove.

I serve this with cornbread, garlic cheese biscuits or a big salad. YUM!

*I buy these at either Walmart of Publix.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I saw this over at Tammy’s Times. She had a great time sharing, so I think I will, too!!!

Ten things you've done today:
Washed 3 loads of clothes
Watered flowers
Made brownies
Worked at our homeschool library
Bought new shoes for Mr. U
Washed dishes
Blogged (of course!!!!)
Talked with our son
Had dinner out with Mr. U

Nine things you need to do tomorrow:
Vacuum the house
Clean the master bathroom
Pull weeds in the flower garden
Have dinner with the senior adults in our church
Talk with my sister
Talk with my mom
Make lunch
Give out the brownies I made today!!

Eight items always in your pantry:
Diet Coke
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Diced tomatoes
TONS of spices

Seven things you need to feel "at home":
Diet Coke
Mr. U
Sam (he’s our cat)
My chair
My kitchen so I can cook
Good smelling lotions

Six things that sum up your childhood:
Blow up pools in the summer
Fisher Price Little People in the living room
Barbie and Donnie (Huh? We didn’t have Ken- we had a Donnie Osmond doll!)
Watching the Carol Burnett show
Grandma putting curlers in my sister’s and my hair
Being at our church every time the doors were open (thank you Dad and Mom!!!)

Five items of clothing you wear again and again:
Ked striped flip flips- LOVE THEM!
Denim dress
Khaki skirt
SAME workout clothes every day
Turquoise jumper with flowers on it

Four places you've lived:
Apartment in Atlanta
Two houses north of Atlanta
Dorm room in Carrollton
Parsonage in the South

Three books you've loved reading recently:
Home Comforts- The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson
Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
MacArthur Study Bible NASB (Mr. U just got it for me!!! YIPPEEE!!!)

Two heart's desires:
To look more like Jesus and less like me
To bring my Elizabeth home from China

One thing everyone reading this can pray about for you:
That I will truly seek the Lord first every day.

Weight Watchers

Since I mentioned Weight Watchers yesterday, I figure that I should explain it a bit more.

I joined WW in January and have, so far, lost 54 pounds. I have MANY more pounds to lose, but I am committed to getting to my goal and staying there for the rest of my life. I’ve only lost weight one time before (unless you count losing 5 pounds when I did Slim Fast or the 10 pounds I lost when I went totally fat free for a few weeks in the early 90s- HA!), so I’m not very good at losing weight but REALLY good when it comes to gaining weight!! LOL!!!

I’ve learned that my portions have been WAY off. It’s not that I cook so incredibly unhealthy, but I eat soooo much. Well, I ate so much- all that has changed now.

I still cook things that my family likes and are fattening, but I’ve learned to modify them AND eat less. Oh, and I’ve actually gotten my husband to eat and ENJOY (key word there) many more vegetables!!!

Oh, and exercise. I’m not one to love exercising (my dad actually LIKES exercising!!! Why didn’t I inherit that???), but I’m learning to, um, appreciate it. I’ve been doing Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds DVDs and walking on our treadmill. I do feel better when I’m done and I know it makes my heart healthier and it helps move the fat off my body.

So, over the course of the next year, I’ll be sharing the journey/struggle of losing weight. Who knows, when all is said and done, I may actually post before and after pictures!!! If anyone else is following Weight Watchers, let me know!! Let’s hold each other accountable!! We CAN overcome this!!! How do I know? “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Philippians 4: 13 and “For sin (overeating) shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” Romans 6:14.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Plenty of Cookies to share

I love to cook!!! But, I LOVE to bake even more!!! However, since I joined Weight Watchers in January, I haven't been baking nearly as much as I would like to until I discovered how much fun it is to bake and give it away!!! I get to enjoy baking, my family will have a cookie or two and then someone else gets to enjoy eating them!!! This has become FUN for us!!

Each week now I have been baking something and we decide who we would like to give goodies away to. This morning, we delivered this cute little bag of chcolate chip cookies to the lady who delivers our newspaper each day. We also are giving cookies to the sweet friend who brought all those blueberries to me last week (the blueberries are all gone, by the way!! LOL!).

It really is a lot of fun to share with others (thanks for teaching me that, Mom!!!).

What do you enjoy sharing with others? How do you let others know "I appreciate you"?

UPDATE: My blueberry picking friend was out of town. So, I will have to surprise her another day with some other sweet treat!!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I LOVE blueberries!!!!!

I was supposed to go pick blueberries with a friend earlier this week, but our schedules got mixed up and we weren't able to go. However, she came by the house a few days later with two big bowls full of blueberries!!! She knew I wanted some so when she had extra time, she went and picked a lot for herself AND for our family!!! How sweet is that??!!!

Since my family and I LOVE fresh blueberries so much, I have to share how good they are for you!! They are full of antioxidants, help lower cholestorol, help with vision (including nighttime vision), help improve brain function (memory and learning), protects against colon cancer, and they have lots of fiber to help with elimination. You can read more about blueberries here.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of blueberries, I should share with y'all my family's FAVORITE blueberry muffin recipe!!! We've been making these for years to eat and share with others. I hope y'all enjoy them as much as we do!!!

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
2) In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Add flour, milk, baking powder and salt. Stir just until all dry ingredients have been moistened. Mixture should be lumpy. Gently fold in blueberries (if you aren't gentle, then your batter will turn blue!!) and fill prepared muffin pan.
3) Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and centers spring back when gently pressed. Remove from pans and serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

(I should also tell y'all that I have sometimes put the zest of 1/2 a lemon in this batter. Oh yummmyyy!! I'll bet it would be good with some orange zest, too!!)

Friday, July 14, 2006

A little bit about our family...

Yep, that’s our girl!!! This is picture of our daughter, Elizabeth!! Well, she probably doesn’t look exactly like that- it’s just a guess on my part.

Huh? A guess?

We are in the process of adopting a daughter from China!!! We requested a little girl between 6 months and 12 months of age. We do not know who she is. The government agency in China that handles adoptions will match us up with a little girl. We are LID 9-12-05 (for those of y’all familiar with Chinese adoption lingo)-which just means that is when China received all of our paperwork- and HOPEFULLY we will receive a picture of her and get her medical report before Christmas. We are with a WONDERFUL agency called Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI). I highly recommend them to everyone considering Chinese adoption.

Why adoption? Do y’all remember when Nadia Comenici was in the Olympics in the 70s? She was from Romania. For some reason, I remember the news stations talking about all the orphanages in Romania and the need for families to adopt. I remember thinking, “I want to adopt!! I know what; I’ll give birth to 2 children and adopt all the rest!” Well, the sweet Lord planted that desire to adopt children when I was very little and it never went away.

When Mr. U and I married in 1998, he already had two children from a previous marriage. I was blessed in 2000- I got to legally adopt them (and we got to homeschool, too!!!)

While we do have the two children, Mr. U and I have always wanted many more children. I have never been able to conceive and doctors don’t know why. We didn’t feel like the Lord wanted us to do in-depth testing because we both wanted to adopt so badly!! So, after years of prayer, the Lord has directed our steps to China!!! We first thought “There is NO WAY we can afford international adoption!!” And we can’t. The Lord, though, has clearly provided for us in this entire process and I know He will keep providing to see us through until the day we bring our Elizabeth home and for the rest of our lives.

So, here we are…. Waiting… I will definitely let y’all know when we finally hear from China. If anyone is interested in finding out more about CCAI or Chinese adoption, please feel free to email me at

Children are such a blessing. I cannot wait to have our new little one home.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wow!! Look some of the things that the Lord is doing in our yard!! I am so excited each day when I walk outside to see what He has growing.

On the right are my first two dahlias to open. I love dahlias!! They tolerate the extreme heat that we have here very well. I moved them this year to a new place in our yard and I wasn’t sure if they would bloom- I am so happy to find out that they did bloom!! Oh, I can’t wait to show y’all my FAVORITE dahlia once it blooms!!!

On the left is one of the first oriental lilies that has come up. I can't wait to use them in bouquets!!!

Happy gardening!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Our first ripe tomato of the year!!!

Yep, it's true. We FINALLY have a red, ripe tomato!!! WOOOHOOO!!!

We planted a little late this year, so they are late in coming in. We've been given tomatoes from other families that have had their tomatoes ripen already, but nothing tastes as good as your OWN!!!

I love cooking with fresh tomatoes, putting them in salads, eating them on a sandwich or just biting into one like an apple. YUM!! But, I think my favorite recipe is from Paula Deen on Food Network. It's called Tomato Pie. Ooh boy, it's good. Here's the recipe. Be sure and let me know if you make it!!!

Paula Deen’s Tomato Pie

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cornbread blues...

Okay, here’s the deal. I have a really good recipe for cornbread. My husband LOVES this stuff. But EVERY TIME I make it, it sticks to the pan!! I am using a cast iron skillet and I heat it up in the oven first with some… uh hmmm… (I can’t believe I’m about to admit to this in public!!!)… Crisco in it. (There, I said it)… The Crisco is melted when I take the pan out of the oven and then I pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet and pop it back into the oven. What in the world am I doing wrong?

(I should tell you... this picture is only a PART of what stuck to the pan. The ENTIRE bottom of the cornbread was stuck.)

Oh, and here’s the recipe. LOVE it!!

Mrs. U.’s Cornbread
2 cups corn meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 T sugar (optional)
2 eggs
2 T oil
1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk

Mix wet and mix dry then mix the two together. Pour batter into a hot pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes one 9-inch pan.

Just how long does it take to crochet a blanket??

Okay, how long does it take for me to crochet an afghan? Good question!!

Our son, bless his patient heart, has waited on me to finish this blanket for him for THREE YEARS (wait, it could be four- it's been so long that I have forgotten!!!). I started it one VERY hot July day when the air conditioning went out in our home. My husband is a pastor and we live next door to our church, so while we waited on the air conditioning man to come repair the unit, we all hung out at the church. So, what's a girl to do when there's nothing to do? Why, start a blanket, of course!! So, it began.

We were sitting in the fellowship hall of our church and I started with the chain stitch and happily told Joshua that I was making a blanket all for him. He was so excited!! The problem began when I asked him, "So, does this look like it would be a good length for a blanket? Big enough to snuggle up with on a cold night?" "Oh, no!!" he replied. "It should definitely be this much longer" (and motioned with his hands). The length seemed reasonable and so I began. It wasn't until I had gone through an entire skein of yarn that I realized just how long this blanket really was!!! Because it's so big, I've put off and put off and put off finishing it. Yes, bad mother.
Now here the blanket sits- on the floor beside my favorite chair. I pick it up and work on it MAYBE once a month. Shameful, yes, I know. So, I'm posting about my slooooowness in getting this done to hold myself accountable to finish it!!! I plan on working on it everyday for at least 30 minutes until it is officially completed. When I'm FINALLY done, I will post a picture of the finished afghan.

Here it is.... the afghan that never ends...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An Ice Cream Party!!

Some good friends of ours invited us over tonight for an ice cream party!!!! I truly wish all of y’all could have been here to enjoy the ice cream with us. The weather has been cooler yesterday and today and we all sat outside and enjoyed the sweet treat.

They made three kinds of ice cream- strawberry, vanilla and peach and they were all homemade and TOOO delicious to just have one bowl!! My, my, my, the peach ice cream tasted just like the fresh peaches that are being sold in roadside stands this time of the summer! My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it!!

Good friends are such a blessing from the Lord. These dear friends are true sisters in Christ and we are so blessed to know them.

Friday, July 07, 2006

It has turned into one of the loveliest of days today!!! I awoke this morning to gray, gloomy skies and now it is blue and sunshiny and there is a cool breeze in the air!! I took my current read, “Chronicles of Fairacre“ by Miss Read, onto our back porch (along with my cup of tea) to enjoy the good book and gentle breeze. This is a LOVELY day, indeed!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Last minute meal...

Well, it was 7:30 and my husband and son were said they were starving to death. We had just gotten finished doing some work over at our church and I realized that I had nothing to cook that was easy and quick AND satisfying to two hungry men!!!

To the rescue, homemade biscuits and scrambled eggs!!! I quickly made the biscuits and popped them in the oven. Then I pulled out the eggs and started to warm up the saute pan on the stove. First, I melted a pat of butter and then stirred in some chopped ham. By the time the ham was hot, the biscuits were coming out of the oven. I added the eggs to the ham and stirred them scramble them. I quickly buttered the biscuits, then put the ham and eggs onto their plates. I added biscuits to their plates, topped the eggs with cheese and my boys were set to eat!! A quick and easy meal for me and a happy, great tasting meal for them!! All were satisfied!!!

Easy Homemade Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour
4 T melted butter (or Crisco shortening is fine, too!!)!
about 1 cup of milk

Combine flour and melted butter. Gradually stir in milk until all the flour is just moistened (you may not use all the milk). Set biscuit dough onto your work surface that has been dusted with flour. Gently knead it two or three times and then flatten out with your hands or with a rolling pin to desired thickness (I use my hands). Using some sort of round cutter (I use an empty mason jar), cut out your biscuits and place on baking sheet. Bake in a 425 degree oven about 13 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top. Brush with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Eat up!!! Oh, this makes about 8 biscuits.

Ham and Eggs
1 T butter
1 cup diced, cooked ham
4 eggs
black pepper
1 T water

In a saute pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Stir in ham and cook until hot. In a separate bowl, crack eggs and add water and desired amount of black pepper. When the ham is hot, pour in egg mixture. Stir occasionally until eggs are cooked. When you serve these, be sure and top with your favorite cheese (we use extra sharp cheddar cheese!!!).

The Farmer's Wife 1884

The Farmer's Wife
The farmer came in from the field one day;
His languid step and his weary way,
His bent brow, his sinewy hand,
All showed his work for the good of the land;
For he sows,
And he hoes,
And he mows,
All for the good of the land.

By the kitchen fire stood his patient wife,
Light of his home and joy of his life,
With face all aglow and busy hand,
Preparing the meal for her husband's band.
For she must boil,
And she must broil,
And she must toil,
All for the good of the home.

The bright sun shines when the farmer goes out,
The birds sing sweet songs, lambs frisk about;
The brook babbles softly in the glen,
While he works so bravely for the good of men:
For he sows,
And he mows,
And he hoes,
All for the good of the land.

How briskly the wife steps about within,
The dishes to wash, the milk to skim;
The fire goes out, flies buzz about--
For the dear ones at home her heart is kept stout;
There are pies to make,
There is bread to bake,
And steps to take,
All for the sake of the home.

When the day is o'er, and the evening is come,
The creatures are fed, the milking done,
He takes his rest 'neath the old shade tree,
From the labor of the land his thoughts are free;
Though he sows,
And he hoes,
And he mows,
He rests from the work of the land.

But the faithful wife, from sun to sun,
Takes her burden up that's never done;
There is no rest, there is no play,
For the good of the house she must work away;
For to mend the frock,
And to knit the sock,
And the cradle to rock,
All for the good of the home.

When autumn is here, with its chilling blast,
The farmer gathers his crop at last;
His barns are full, his fields are bare,
For the good of the land he ne'er hath care,
While it blows,
And it snows,
Till winter goes,
He rests from the work of the land.

But the willing wife, till life's closing day,
Is the children's guide, the husband's stay;
From day to day she has done her best,
Until death alone can give her rest;
For after the test
Comes the rest,
With the blest,
In the farmer's heavenly home.
First Published: 1884

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 230th Birthday, America!!!!!

23o years. How blessed we are as Americans to live in this country. Daily I take for granted the liberties that I have in this country. Daily I surround myself within my little world and fail to pray for my country and my leaders. Lord, thank You for Your Hand in forming this country and forgive me for failing to pray.

Here is a wonderful articled entitled "4th of July Article" by David Barton at Wallbuilders. Oh how I need to be reminded of this everyday!!

Happy Birthday, America!! Land that I love!!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

girl talk...

"Did you know that reading is a way to express our love to God?"... that's just the first line of this post from girl talk.

"But if you are not yet convinced of its importance, listen to Mr. Spurgeon go off about books in response to this verse: 'When you [Timothy] come bring the cloak which I [Paul] left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments' (2 Timothy 4:13).
'He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He has had wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up in the third heaven, and had heard things unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He has written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every Christian, "Give thyself to reading." The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves he has no brains of his own.'"

Smoothies for breakfast...

Our son and I love having smoothies for breakfast!! We don't always have extra fruit around to make them (because we LOVE fruit and usually eat it as soon as I buy it! LOL!). This past week, however, we had two friends give us about a gallon of fresh blueberries and 1/2 a bushel (that's what the box said anyway) of fresh peaches. WOOHOO!!!! I quickly peeled and chopped all the peaches and put them in the freezer as well as the blueberries. They are ready for smoothies, pies, turnovers, ice cream or whatever we feel like putting them on. YUM!!

Saturday, though, we both wanted smoothies for breakfast. Here's the recipe I used for our blueberry peach smoothies (though any type of fruit would work well).

1/2 cup of plain, fat free yogurt
2 cups peaches
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of honey (optional- just to add a little more sweetness)

Put it all in your blender, whirl it around until it's all pureed, pour into your glasses and enjoy!!!

Please feel free to share any of your own family's favorite smoothie recipes!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Did someone say "cookies"???

My family LOVES chocolate chip cookies!!! This recipe from for Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies is the BEST recipe!! I make this often for our family and to give away to friends and new neighbors, too!!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions:PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION: PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. * May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

YIELDS: about 60 cookies (if you can manage to not eat some of the cookie dough first! LOL!!)


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