Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Now showing- paperwhites

I just LOVE when spring flowers start blooming!!!!!

Although it is quite cold here, springtime bulbs are starting to open already to remind us that the Lord is soon going to be sending the next season our way.

These are paperwhites. They are in the daffodil family. While I usually see paperwhites in the section with other bulbs, like amaryllis, to grow "by force" indoors each winter, I like to plant mine outside with my daffodils. Every flower in the daffodil family makes me SOOOO very happy when I see them. They are a sweet reminder to me that even though things may seem gray and cold, the Lord is always in control and will soon send His change of season to us soon!!

Daffodils are probably my most favorite flower of all. How happy, sunshiny and smiley they are!!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Everyday Mommy- Hidden Treasure blog awards

Okay... you ALL can think of MANY blogs that you love to visit, right? And most of you love to find more, right? Well, Everyday Mommy is hosting Hidden Treasure 2007 Blog Awards and wants you to do just that- get out there and discover new blogs!! Then, once you find some you really enjoy, hop on over to her blog and nominate your new favorites between February 1 and February 7 in the following categories- Children & Family, Faith, Marriage, Motherhood, Homemaking, Humor, Current Events and Life. On February 8, the voting will begin.

So, what are you waiting for?? Get out there and discover new blogs!! So many "hidden treasures" are out there in the blogsophere just waiting for us to stumble upon them!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

6 weird things about me…

Okay... I was tagged about a week ago by Jordin and I am just now posting this. It took a while to narrow all the weird things about me to only 6. LOL!!!

6 weird things about me…

1) When I get Taste of Home magazine, I first look through it backwards AND upside-down at the same time. I simply CANNOT bear to look at the recipes until I find that hidden toothpick!!!!! Drives me NUTS!!!

2) I MUST have dishes in the dishwasher facing the same direction.

3) I do NOT like monkeys. Something about them gives me the creeps.

4) I cannot stand being licked by a dog. Ewwww!!!!!

5) I do not like ANY kind of seafood. At all. If it’s in water, I’m not touching it.

6) I cannot sleep in an unmade bed. The sheets have to be pulled tightly with no bunching and tucked in all nice and neat.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Chocolate Pound Cake

I made a chocolate pound cake recently. OH BOY!! I love all kinds of pound cake, but apparently people don't make chocolate pound cake as often as I thought. So people are missing out on such a great tasting cake? HORRORS!!!

In case you've never eaten a chocolate pound cake, please try this recipe. While it is far from healthy, it is INCREDIBLY good!!! Oh, and it is VERY easy, too! Can't beat that- tasty AND easy to make!!

This is my mother's recipe. You can see in the picture that I wrote it out- but that was years ago. That poor piece of paper has drippings from the batter all over it. I definitely need to write it out again and put it in a special place. I would hate to lose such a mouth-watering recipe!!!

Chocolate Pound Cake
1/2 pound of butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 cup of shortening
3 cups of sugar
5 whole eggs
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup milk
3 cups plain flour (all purpose)

Mix dry ingredients. Stir in wet ingredients. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let it cool in pan for 5 minutes and then turn onto cooling rack.

Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the chocolate pound cake. I baked it for a business near us that was holding a raffle to raise money for cancer research (Relay for Life).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Anti-Procrastination Challenge: Thursday

I've been part of an anti-procrastination challenge all week long!!! I've been reading some of my very favorite blogs and BOY did the conviction set in!!!! I even left a few well-meaning comments on others' blogs that I needed to heed myself- "Good job!! Isn't it amazing how little time it takes to do something that we've been putting off for weeks?!!" HAHAHAAA!! All the while I was sitting here staring at my own little pile of procrastination.

So... without further procrastinating, I finally did it!! I've been wanting to purchase some day to day towels and then Susan over at A Place Called Home recently found some Martha Stewart dishcloths which were exactly what I've been wanting!!! So I purchased them the other night and brought them home to launder. I (Oops. Confession time here.) completely forgot about them being in the dryer and they came out looking like this...

You can probaby tell what I had been procrastinating- ironing!! LOL!! So I FINALLY have these all crisply ironed and ready to use. Aren't they just lovely now?

Thank you, Mrs. Wilt, for encouraging us to stop procrastinating!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Homemaking meme

Homemaking meme...
Aprons – Y/N? If Y, what does your favorite look like?
Sadly, I only have two aprons. Neither of them are pretty or very likeable. I was SUPPOSED to blog about this soon, but perhaps this is all that needs to be said –WHERE CAN I BUY CUTE APRONS THAT AREN’T A FORTUNE???? Yes, I need help.

Baking – Favorite thing to bake
Thing? As in singular? Cookies. No wait... cake.... no, no... uh....bread.... oh dear.... I can’t pick ONE!!!!

Clothesline – Y/N?
No clothesline.

Donuts – Have you ever made them?
No, I haven’t made them yet. But they ARE on my list of “to be made in the future“ along with homemade marshmallows. Yum!

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day
Pick up after everyone (including myself)

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
No. A dream for one day...

Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
We have two dogs...tee hee...

Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
I would have said all the wonderful homemaking blogs, but I just got Martha Stewart’s new book and it’s wonderful!!!

Ironing – Love it or hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
Love it!! Well, maybe not so much actually doing the ironing, but I LOVE the crispness in the results!!!!

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Drawer? Or should that be “drawers“? HA! I’ve got... oh, do I have to be honest???? I have 3.

Kitchen – Color and decorating scheme
It is currently white cabinets with beigish lineoleum and a sort of flowery wallpaper. But we have had major water damage to the floor in our kitchen and we are getting a new floor in just a few weeks!! Looks like it’ll be hardwood! WOOHOOO!!!! And, who knows? Maybe I can finally get myself to pull that wallpaper down and paint!!!

Love – What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Keeping the house neat and tidy so that Mr. U always comes home to it that way.

Mop – Y/N?
Do I mop? Yes. Do I like it? NO WAY!! It’s the job I like least in the home.

Nylons – Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Hand wash keeps them longer.

Oven – Do you use the window or open the oven to check?

Open the oven.

Pizza – What do you put on yours?
Chicken, BBQ sauce, red onions and lots of extra sharp cheddar cheese!

Quiet – What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Read blogs, of course!

Recipe card box – Y/N? What does it look like?
It’s a simple wood box.

Style of house – What style is your house?
1970 ranch style.

Tablecloths and napkins – Y/N?
Oh we use napkins, yes!! But they are the disposable kind!! LOL!.

Under the kitchen sink – Organized or toxic wasteland?
Nothing toxic under there, just tons of vases that, for some reason, I think I need to keep.

Vacuum – How many times per week?
Twice- Monday and Thursday. I’ll vacuum more if we have people coming over. Mr. U LOVES a freshly vacuumed home and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to see lines in my carpet! LOL!!

Wash – How many loads of laundry do you do per week?

X’s – Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
I don’t do this everyday, but I work much more efficiently when I do make a list for myself. I should strive to make a list each day to keep myself on task.

Yard – Y/N? Who does what?
Mr. U does the mowing, but I do the rest. I LOOOOOOOVE gardening and prettying up the yard with flowers and plants!!!! I love the smell of dirt!!!!!

Zzz’s – What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
I always make sure the kitchen sink is empty and then I scrub the sink with my dishcloth.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cooking essentials- extra virgin olive oil

My FAVORITE ingredient in the kitchen, one that I cannot live without and definitely the most used is extra virgin olive oil. Not only does it taste wonderfully delicious, but nutritionists and doctors alike are recommending this oil because we all need a small amount of healthy fats in our diet each day.

I think the best informtion on olive oil can be found at www.whfoods.org. Here's a smidge of what they have to say about this very healthy oil.
Anyone coming from the Mediterranean region of the world would tell you about the health benefits, as well as the wonderful flavor, of a good dose of olive oil on salads, pasta, fish and almost anything else. Fortunately, it is available throughout the year to satisfy taste buds and promote good health.

Olive oil is made from the crushing and then subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree-Olea europaea-as oleas means oil in Latin. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor and most antioxidant benefits. read more...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Chipotle and Fire Roasted Tomato

Oh my stars!!! This recipe is from Rachael Ray and is the BEST soup I've ever had!!! Make sure and follow her directions and DEFINITELY use smoked mozzarella- it is WELL worth it!!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Chipotle and Fire Roasted Tomato
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

3 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken tenders
1 bay leaf, fresh if available
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
4 slices thick, smoky center cut bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons sauce
1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
4 cups lightly crushed corn tortilla chips
2 cups shredded fresh smoked mozzarella or smoked sharp white Cheddar, 3/4 pound
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, chopped
Freshly chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Bring broth to a simmer and add chicken tenders, poach 6 to 7 minutes with a bay leaf.
While chicken poaches, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium soup pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp then remove with slotted spoon. Drain off excess fat, leaving 2 to 3 tablespoons in the pan. Add onions and garlic to the skillet and cook 5 minutes then stir in chipotles and tomatoes.

Remove chicken from stock, dice and then add to soup. Pass stock through a strainer then add to the soup.

Place a pile of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup bowl. Cover liberally with smoked cheese then ladle the hot soup down over the top. Serve with lime, raw onions and cilantro at table to finish the soup.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A better way to crack an egg!!!

I learned the neatest thing and just had to share it with y'all!!!!

Every time I crack open an egg, I will either crack it against the corner of a bowl or on the counter. Sure, it cracks open, but it always cracks into a crazy maze of cracks and usually will indent the egg and, oftentimes, will get a small amount of the shell into the egg white when I pour it into the bowl. Does this happen to y'all?

I read recently (and I am sorry to say that I have completely forgotten where I read it) that if you crack an egg on top of a towel, the break will be a straight line every time. I've done it every time since I read that and it DOES work!!! Every time the crack is in a straight line and I haven't gotten any extra little shell pieces that end up in the egg white!!! What a wonderful "trick" to learn!!!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The mistress of the house...

I was recently reading part of Martha Stewart's new book Homekeeping Handbook. I do not own the book yet, I was just perusing through it at the bookstore the other day.

She mentions a book by a lady named Mrs. Beeton. Well, my curiousity was piqued, so I had to find out more about her. I found a web site about her which is very interesting. But this paragraph is what really got my attention.

AS WITH THE COMMANDER OF AN ARMY, or the leader of any enterprise, so is it with the mistress of a house. Her spirit will be seen through the whole establishment; and just in proportion as she performs her duties intelligently and thoroughly, so will her domestics follow in her path. Of all those acquirements, which more particularly belong to the feminine character, there are none which take a higher rank, in our estimation, than such as enter into a knowledge of household duties; for on these are perpetually dependent the happiness, comfort, and well-being of a family. In this opinion we are borne out by the author of “The Vicar of Wakefield,” who says: “The modest virgin, the prudent wife, and the careful matron, are much more serviceable in life than petticoated philosophers, blustering heroines, or virago queens. She who makes her husband and her children happy, who reclaims the one from vice and trains up the other to virtue, is a much greater character than ladies described in romances, whose whole occupation is to murder mankind with shafts from their quiver, or their eyes.”

Ladies, do you SEE how important your role in life is? Feminists will tell us that we are wasting our life away "just sitting at home". The world screams at us that we are nobody unless we have a career. But do you see what is written here? And this is just a small part of the importance you play in the lives of your husband and children. Your role as a wife and mother is crucial to society. You provide the safety, the warmth, the comfort that your family needs in this crazy, mixed up world we live in. You are training a future generation of warriors for Christ and you are cleaning the wounds of your knight in shining armor that is protecting his beloved family from the attacks of the enemy. Your career as a wife and mother is needed and very much welcomed.

Thank you for serving your families as the mistress of the house.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Trying to have a little normality around here...

With all the excitement about Elizabeth coming, I've let my homekeeping slide a bit. Not good. So yesterday, I tried to start putting things back in place. It's amazing how a few days of not keeping up with things can ruin a neat and tidy home. LOL!!

So, what have we have up to? Well, Mr. U and I have been talking about painting our spare bedroom for a while and we finally did it on Wednesday!!! Yippee!! The walls were a cream white color and we painted them a lovely green color called Jewel of the Nile. LOVE IT!! Today I am heading out to look for some new window treatments. I'm not quite sure what I want, but I know I will know it when I see it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What a birthday surprise!!!!!

Today is my birthday and our adoption agency just updated their website with the BEST news anyone could ask for on their birthday...

"Great news! We received matches today! The packet includes those families with a log in date of 9/12/2005. We did not receive matches for families with a LID of 9/29/05. We also received matches for Chinese descent families with a log in date through 3/15/06. We will be notifying these families by phone on 1/4/07."

PRAISE BE TO GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What does this mean? Our logged in date (LID) is 9/12/05 and we have FINALLY been matched with a baby!!!! Our adoption agency will call us with all the details about her- her Chinese name, the city and province where the she, if she's in an orphanage or foster care, how old she is, etc. We requested a baby girl between the ages of 6 months and 12 months, but I've seen people be referred children older OR receive a boy instead of a girl. So, who knows what tomorrow brings!!!! I am just SOOOO thankful that, after 15 1/2 months of waiting, we will be seeing our daughter's face for the FIRST time tomorrow!!!!!! She is REAL!!! She's not just a dream!!!!

God is good and He does good!!!

I will definitely post a picture of her sweet face when I finally have it!!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Brand new beginnings!!!

I just LOVE ringing in the New Year!! While it’s always sad to see another year go by, whenever a new year begins, for some reason, I feel like I’m starting with a clean slate. I think I’m a pretty optimistic person and January 1 seems SUPER optimistic to me! An entire year of possibilities is before me!!!

I know this year will bring BIG changes to our family with the addition of Elizabeth!! Oh, and when we find out about her, y’all will be among the first to know! What will life be like with a baby in the house? What an exciting adventure the Lord has ahead for our family!!! I cannot wait to tell her all about Jesus!!!

I want to work on being a better helpmeet to Mr. U. He really is a wonderful man. The Lord has spoiled me by giving him to me!!! Is he perfect? Oh no. But he is mine and I am oh so thankful. I was created by the Lord specifically to be Mr. U’s helpmeet. What a blessing and privilege. I want to serve him to the best of my ability and, in doing so, bring honor to the Lord.

I’m planning on being more organized in my home keeping this year, too. I’ve got a partial calendar made up for myself to follow. I must admit, I’ve been slack in my cleaning routine this past 6 months. While we were still homeschooling (Joshua graduated in May this past year), it was much easier to keep my cleaning schedule because I had to keep things straight in order to make sure we kept our schooling straight!! After he graduated, my regular routine kind of went out the window, so I plan on getting back to a routine (but not so rigid that I can’t change it if need be).

I plan to read more this year, too. Fiction is fine and usually a very quick read, but the Lord has brought so many difficult counseling situations to Mr. U and myself lately that I REALLY need to read and study more about true biblical counseling. People don’t need a Band-Aid nor do they need to blame their sins on “what so and so did to them”. Christians need to be taught to be responsible for their own sins and how to deal with them biblically.

Also, cults, false religions and false teachings are creeping into the church and into the lives of fellow believers. I want to read and study the Truth so much that when the false appears, I (with the Lord’s help) can identify it and confront. If the truth is not spoken by Christians, where will the lost hear it? To say nothing and allow people to THINK they are Christians is a vile, hateful act – like allowing them to continue with their disease and doing nothing to help them, even though you know the answer.

In order to do these, I obviously need to spend MUCH more time in the Word. Goodness knows, it’s SOO easy to talk about the Lord but so much more difficult to spend time with Him and really get to know Him. Why? On my part at least, selfishness and laziness. I long to be drenched in His Word daily and to know Him much more intimately than I do now. I have many faults that the Lord has pointed out loud and clear lately. I’m sure He and I will be dealing with those as well.

So there you have it. My optimistic look ahead at what 2007 may hold. Sure, I can plan all I want, but I know the Lord is the One who determines my steps. I will follow Him. His plans are always best.

Blessings to you in the New Year!!!

Mrs. U


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