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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!


Thank you to Courtney for sharing this.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime: but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity; but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angelsand crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love does not envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return; but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Love never fails.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 years ago today....


On December 12, 1998, I married the man of my dreams and my very best friend.  I am shocked that these 12 years have gone by so very quickly!!!  How I love my sweet husband!!  He is FAR too good for me!!  I truly thank the Lord daily for allowing me to be his wife. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today from True Woman...


“Do we as a society believe that family is so important that we uphold caring for home and children as the best and most important job a woman might ever have?”...continued...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Putting God Back in the Holidays...



I enjoy reading what Courtney shares at Women Living Well.   She is so encouraging to remind her readers to get in the Word and focus on the Lord.  Right now she has a giveaway for a book entitled "Putting God Back in the Holidays".  Y"all be sure and head over there and enter to win!! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reading the Word...


“Yes, I read the Bible this morning. Don’t ask me what it said, because I don’t remember!”... read more....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ready for a cleaning challenge??


 Who's up for a cleaning challenge????

Here's a GREAT challenge from FlyLady if any of y'all want to do this!  I am BAD about stuffing things in the closet, closing the door and walking away and forgetting about it.  I appreciate how FlyLady believes in baby steps- something THIS perfectionist needs to be able to get my homekeeping done!!!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Writing CLAW.....


I LOOOOOVE this Writing Claw!!! It's made it so much easier for Elizabeth to hold her pencil. Her fingers simply fit into the little cups and away she goes!!! She would hold it so improperly before that I knew it would lead to handwriting issues later on. I was happy to find this Writing CLAW at our local teacher supply store.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Feminism exposed...



I want to get straight to the heart of the issue and expose some of the many and greatest lies of feminism. As you read through this list, honestly ask yourself which of these lies you may have believed in the past or present in some form or another.

Shall we begin?

1. I have my rights.

2. I can have it all.

3. I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings.
4. A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and mother.

5. It’s all about me.

6. If my husband is passive I need to lead.

7. If I submit, I’ll be miserable.

8. I have to have ________ to make me happy.

9. Children are a hindrance and a burden.

10. Women are smarter than men.

Continue reading here at Mrs. Fuentes' blog...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Butter help....



We've all had recipes that have called for "cold butter, diced".  It's such a pain, in my opinion, to try to dice butter. Even when it's straight out of the refrigerator, it still starts melting pretty fast once your hand starts touching it.

I've discovered a tip that works for me!!  I put the butter in the FREEZER about 20 minutes and then take it out and cut it into sticks and then dice it up.  It's firmer so it cuts more easily and it doesn't melt as quickly when my hands touch it.  After I dice it, I'll put it in a bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes just to make sure it's cold when I use it.  This way it's perfectly cold for my biscuits or pie crust or whatever I need "cold butter, diced" for!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Help!!!!

UPDATE: Problem fixed!! Mr. U realized that Firefox was my problem and did something to fix it (I am NOT computer savvy AT ALL, so I have no idea what he did). If anyone else encounters this strange problem, it may be Firefox!!!!

Is anyone else having trouble posting pictures on blogger??? When I try to, at the bottom left of the screen, it says "waiting to connect to blogger.com" and then changes to "connecting to draft.blogger.com" and they flash back and forth SUPER DUPER fast.

ACK!!!

Any ideas? I've already restarted the computer with no luck.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

First day of school....


Yesterday was our first day of school here in our homeschool.  I consider Elizabeth to be in PreK even though her work is all K and 1st.  She is SO excited about learning more. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I've got pumpkin!!!!



Some of y'all may remember me blogging about the pumpkin shortage. As you can tell by the above photo, I HAVE PUMPKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My sweet, real-life friend, Melissa, found the Libby's cans at a grocery store near her and her granny found the other cans at another grocery store!! I was SOOOOO excited when I got them!!

So can you guess what we had today for our meal? Yes, something with pumpkin in it!! Pumpkin Sausage Pasta that my family adores.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ready for a change....



I just can't help it, y'all.  I am SOOO ready for Fall!!  I am OVER the extreme heat we've had all summer long here down South and ready for cooler days and changing leaves.  The nights have been a tad cooler lately so it only makes me want Fall all the more. 

Anyone else ready for Fall?

Monday, August 30, 2010

What I did on Saturday night....


I cleaned my sink.  Yessireebob, I did.  I did it the Flylady way and it is SPARKLING clean now!!!  It is amazing how simply cleaning the sink has gotten me into a cleaning mood!!  Look out dirt and dust, here I come!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I LOVE my Ped Egg!!!



For years, I have done all I thought I could do for my poor dry, cracked heels and NOTHING seemed to help.   I figured I was going to have to deal with them for the rest of my life.  What a pain!!

And then, I bought a Ped Egg while grocery shopping at Walmart last week.

Did you hear the Hallelujah Chorus last week from the South?  Yep, that was ME!  I LOOOOVE my Ped Egg!!!  It is the ONLY thing that has ever helped my icky heels.  Elizabeth asked me what I was doing and I told her, laughingly, that I was trying to make my heels as nice and pretty as her 4 year old heels are.  HA!  Well, y'all, guess what?  THEY ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!   Okay, well, not EXACTLY as nice as a 4 year olds, but a MILLION times better than they were!  I am super excited about my Ped Egg!!

I know I'm not the only one who has had to deal with nasty, dry, cracked, sore heels, am I??  If that's you, definitely give your feet a break and buy a Ped Egg.  You will be SO happy with it!!

And no, I'm not getting any money from Ped Egg. I just want to help out anyone else who has the same problem I was dealing with. 

YAY!! Soft heels are here to stay!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Groceries...

Groceries.  Oh dear.  The cost of buying groceries has gone up SOO much in the past few years!!  I'd love to know what your family is paying each month on groceries. 

Also, how much does your family eat out??

I shop right after each payday- the 10th and the 25th.  Just last week, our bill was $260!!!!  And that didn't even include any meat!!!!  There are 3 adults in our home and a 4 year old.  I'm not even counting formula for Caroline in this purchase.   I buy store brands as much as possible and don't buy anything premade (no chips or cookies or frozen meals) because I enjoy making things from scratch.  Coupons aren't always helpful since the store brand is usually much cheaper.  Wow, that totals $520 a month!! 

What does your family do to keep the cost of food down?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas....

Tammy shared yesterday that she made a homemade Green Enchilada Sauce and WOW does it look YUMMY!!! I've made several enchilada recipes, but I'd REALLY love to know YOUR favorite enchilada recipe that uses green enchilada sauce! I'm just dying to try this new recipe.

Would y'all share?? Pretty please???

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Trying to figure this all out.....

I remember well when we first brought Elizabeth home from China. I was in a fog for about 6 months, it seems, trying to figure out how to do things around the home and still watch her AND include her in what I was doing. Somewhere along the way, it all clicked in my brain and we found a routine that worked very nicely.

Since Caroline's been home (she was born here in the South), I'm finding myself in that same fog that I was in in 2007. Cooking is easier because Caroline is younger than Elizabeth was when she first came home and I can find more time to cook during all her napping. Hosuework hasn't been too difficult, either, but, I must admit, my house isn't nearly as clean or tidy as it was just a couple of months ago. With car seat carriers, boxes of clothes, Sam's-sized diaper purchases and soon-to-be-used Bumbo seats, I'm finding that our tiny home is feeling quite cluttered these days.

My main confusion these days, however, has been in trying to handle Elizabeth!! HA! She is SOOO excited about being big sister that she wants to pick up Caroline and do all kinds of things with her! LOL!! I told her in a few months she'll be sitting up and will be able to play more. Of course, to a 4 year old, "a few months" seems like an eternity!!!

But OOOOH am I thankful for my two little ones!!! They'll grow up and become wives and mothers all too soon. And I pray that, above all, they'll grow up into women of God- ladies that truly have a heart to follow the Lord no matter the cost.

For now? For now I'll enjoy the clutter and the smiles and the giggles. What sweet blessings I've been given!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Italian Beef Soup...

I made this up today because this was all I had on hand. Surprisingly, it was GOOD!! I love when a recipe comes together so nicely!!



Italian Beef Soup

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 piece bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, minced *
4 cups chicken stock
1 (14 oz) can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, NOT drained
3 T freshly minced rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano reggiano

In stock pot, heat extra virgin olive oil. Stir in bacon and cook until crisp. Add onions and ground beef and cook until pink is gone from meat and onions are translucent. Stir in garlic and cook until you start to smell the garlic fragrance (maybe 1 minute). Stir in stock, beans, tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Let come to a boil and then simmer about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Top each bowl with freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano before serving.

*I have to tell y'all, we are BIG TIME garlic fans in our home. You don't have to use 4 garlic cloves if you don't want to. Please change it to make YOUR family happy. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2 months old...



Here's our little Caroline at 2 months old. WOW how much she has changed!! So full of love and life and SMILES and giggles! I LOOOOVE it!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Next Food Network Star....


It's no secret. I LOVE to cook. And I really enjoy watching the Next Food Network Star. My favorite this year? Hands down, Aarti!!

If any other NFNS fans are reading this, be aware that you can go vote for the Fan Favorite!! You can vote up to 10 times a day until August 16th and the winner will be 6 episode web-only show. FUN!! I want Aarti to win the whole thing AND win the web show, too! Go Aarti!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Baby Conference....


Our family has been in San Antonio, Texas, attending The Baby Conference. What FUN we've had here!! We were blessed to meet some old friends, make new friends, visit a beautiful city and be encouraged in our family vision! It's been wonderful!!

Were any of y'all here?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A pumpkin shortage????



I know I can't be the only one out there that has looked EVERYWHERE for canned pumpkin lately, can I? If you're like me and cannot find it, I just found out there is a pumpkin shortage!! For real! Read about it here...

Still, this doesn't AT ALL change the fact that my family and I are really craving Pumpkin Sausage Pasta and Thai Style Chicken Pumpkin Soup!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Napping....


Yep, I just finished a nice little 30 minute nap. I've always loved being able to take a quick nap, but now that we're still adjusting to Caroline, I'm definitely in need of them!!! And how wonderful to know that naps are good for you!!! While Elizabeth and Caroline are napping away, this mommy will certainly find time to fit in a little shut eye.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What our family has been busy with lately.....

Yep!! A BABY!!!! Caroline Elaine was born May 12 and we were able to bring her home yesterday, June 16. We are SO blessed!!!

Thank you all for your prayers and support of our adoption! I am quite sure more stories and photos of her will be on this blog soon!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Regeneration...

Regeneration

O God of the Highest Heaven,
occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme, lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine for ever.
Thou art worthy to be praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul.
served with my every act of life.
Thou has loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favoured, clothed, adorned me,
when I was worthless, vile, soiled, polluted.
I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
ne ears to hear thee,
no taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee; But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide, solace, joy.
Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me from thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.
O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.
Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That henceforth I may be salt of the earth and a blessing to all.

HT- A Portrait of a Lady

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Raising Homemakers...


I am SO looking forward to learning from this blog!! Y'all be sure and check it out!!

RaisingHomemakers.com was born out of a desire grow, learn, and be encouraged by women who were living out Titus 2 and who were managing their homes well for the glory of God.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Brokenness and Worship...

From Nancy Leigh DeMoss
It seems there’s a lot of emphasis in the church today on freedom, love, and worship, as there should be. But we need to remember that God has established a process that leads to true freedom, love, and worship—and there are no short-cuts.

True worship begins with brokenness and humility over our sin. Mourning over our sin leads to repentance and then forgiveness. That produces freedom from guilt and bondage. Freedom gives us a greater capacity for love and then for worship.

And of course, true love and worship will lead us back to a new level of brokenness, deeper repentance, increased forgiveness, freedom, love, and worship.

So there’s nothing wrong with popping in a worship CD. But remember, we can’t experience true freedom, love, and worship unless we enter by way of humility, repentance, and forgiveness.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Trouble in a 9x13...


I have made Congo Bars before and they were good. But these? Oh dear. Trouble. Nothing but trouble. The recipe is slightly different but WOW is there a big difference in taste!!!

Thank you, Bakerella, for sharing this recipe!!

Congo Bars

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

By mixer:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chips and then pecans.

By hand:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. You can use the back of your spoon to help incorporate the two together.
Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.
Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Our graduate...



Yep, that's my Joshua!!! He graduated this past Saturday from Liberty University! YAY!!! He's now working toward a degree in Masters of Arts and Religion with a concentration in Biblical Studies. It is so hard to believe that this is the same little boy that used to snuggle with me. Who said he could grow up so quickly???? But WOW am I proud of him!!!

Oh, and in case anyone is interested, he completed his undergraduate degree (and now working on his Masters degree) through Liberty University Online. He LOVES it!! Feel free to contact him through his blog if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thank you!!!




THANK YOU to everyone who helped support our next adoption by shopping with Blessings Unlimited!!! We were so blessed by Charree for allowing us to have her commission for the sales.

Now... just to bring a baby home...

Monday, April 26, 2010

You are cordially invited....

.... to my blog party!!!!

Yep, I'm very excited to announce that I am having a Blessings Unlimited party!! My sweet friend (and new mommy!!) Charree, at Held in His Hands, is a representative with them and is very kindly giving all her commission from the sales of this party of us for our next adoption!!!! I am soooo humbled by this!!!



Anyway, y'all be sure and head over to Blessings Unlimited and place an order. Mother's Day is coming up and this would be the perfect place to find a gift for your mother or grandmother or the special mother in your life that you want to bless that day. Or you could find something super cute to go in your own home.

Here's what I found out about Blessings Unlimited...

At Blessings Unlimited, our Mission Statement is "To pursue the heart of God and bring blessings to others." We are a company which operates upon Christian principles for the purpose of Christian ministry, not just a company that sells religious products.




Not only does buying from them help our adoption, but it also supports a Christian company, too!

This online party will be over Friday, April 30th. Thank you to EVERYONE who can help us through this party!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Contented at home?




Because we are all sinful human beings it can be very easy to be a keeper
at home who is miserable, discontent, longing for “greener pastures” and
foolishly plucking down her home with her own hands (Proverbs14:1).
Self-absorption and the demanding of our “rights” can steal our joy and destroy
our effectiveness in the mighty work the Lord has given us to do.


You can read the rest of the article here.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Spring cleaning, anyone?...


Since Spring weather has officially arrived in our area (although it was in the 90s last week.... kind of seemed more like summer!!!), it's time to get spring cleaning done!!!

Here's a link to suggestions from Martha Stewart about spring cleaning ideas- click here.


Have you already started your spring cleaning?

Friday, April 02, 2010

Ricotta Cookies....

(Yes, there is a cookie missing. I am guilty!!!)

I'll be the first to admit that using ricotta cheese in a cookie recipe sounds a little weird. That's just not normal. Ricotta is used in cheesecakes and lasagna- not cookies!

But WOW was I impressed when Elizabeth and I made these Thursday! I wanted to try a new cookie to share at a church meal and found this recipe while browsing Allrecipes (LOOOOOOOOVE Allrecipes!!!!)

The cookie reminds me more of a Little Debbie snack cake instead of a cookie. It is cakelike inside and slightly sweet and ooooh soooo good!! The lightly lemon flavored glaze surrounding it really pushes this over the top in goodness!!

See how puffy they got! Yum!



Enough talk. Y'all try them soon!! They are REALLY good and definitely not like your typical everyday cookie!


Ricotta Cookies...

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
16 ounces ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon shortening
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1/2 cup colored candy sprinkles


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together the 1 cup of butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the ricotta cheese and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, stir into the ricotta mixture. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting warm the milk, 1/2 teaspoon of butter and shortening, in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until solids are melted. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar and lemon extract. Dip each cookie into the icing then dip in colored sugar or sprinkles.


See, even Elizabeth loved them! Of course, I think her favorite part was putting sprinkles on each cookie.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas...




I love trying different enchilada recipes and I was excited when I saw Kelli share this recently. They are really good!! I'm thinking that it's the cilantro (my FAVORITE herb in the world!!!!) that made it sooo delicous!!!

Thank you, Kelli!!!


Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup cilantro
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

1. Mix sour cream, enchilada sauce, salsa, green chiles, and cilantro together in bowl. Set aside.

2. In separate bowl, mix shredded chicken, 1 cup of the sour cream mixture, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. I also seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, and a little cumin.

3. Heat tortillas in microwave oven until soft. Pour enough of the sour cream mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish to coat bottom.

3. Place 2 heaping tablespoonfuls of the chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Pour remaining sour cream mixture on top and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbling.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies...



These are crispy cookies with a very slight chew in the middle. Yum. My normal sugar cookie recipe is very soft and almost cakelike in the middle. This is a nice change.

Mr. U, who normally doesn't like sugar cookies, said these were quite tasty and that they reminded him of pound cake!! WOW! I think it must be the sour cream in the recipe. They don't make me think of pound cake, but they are good!!!

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
-adapted from a
Martha Stewart recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees line cookie sheets with
parchment paper (my FAVORITE thing in the kitchen these days!!!). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat well to combine.

With mixer on low, add half the flour mixture, followed by sour cream, then remaining flour mixture; mix just until smooth. (Dough will be stiff; you may need to finish mixing it by hand with a wooden spoon.)

Scoop 1 1/2 T of dough into your hand and roll into a ball and then roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges of cookies are just firm and tops are barely beginning to brown, 13-17 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Our Forever day...



My dearest, loveliest Elizabeth. Three years ago today you were placed in our arms. That was the happiest day of my life!! I am so glad that the Lord chose us to be your forever family.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting....

So, what's up with our adoption? Well, our homestudy update was completed in November and we're officially in "waiting" mode. This could take weeks, months or, gasp, years. Yep, I recently found out about a family that waited FOUR YEARS for their child. Oh my. Am I prepared for that?? Heaven help me!!!!

The wait for China was much easier. I knew how their system worked and I knew that we were kind of standing in line for it to be our turn to be matched with our child. But now? Oh my. There is no line. There is no system to figure out. It's just one big waiting game. Sigh.

So... what does a girl do while waiting? Well, you go shopping, of course!!!!




I didn't buy anything major. These are just some burp cloths, tiny socks and tiny onesies. I realized the other day that we have NOTHING in this house for a newborn, so when "the call" finally does come, we'll be going crazy trying to get things together!! So I figured I'd buy a few things here and there to prepare.

I don't know whether to buy girl or boy things. We requested a little girl because we already have tons of girl things and also because our house is small and the baby will be sharing a room with Elizabeth. If the agency calls us with news of a little boy, I am KNOW we will be more than thrilled and, well, we'll just figure out what to do about the bedrooms. :)

So that's where we stand with our adoption. Waiting. Just waiting. And one day "the call" will come and I'll be a nervous wreck. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup....

Once again, a post with NO PHOTOS!!!! I am sad, but what could I do? We had company today for lunch and she would've thought I was NUTS for taking pictures of the food! HAHA!!! I do promise, though, that we all LOOOOVED this!!! I most definitely will be making this again!!!


Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 1/4 t dried basil
1 t dried parsley flakes
4 T butter, divided
4 cups chicken stock, divided
5 cups diced peeled potatoes
3 T all-purpose flour
8 ounces process American cheese*
1-1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup sour cream

In small sauté pan, melt 3 T butter. Add flour and whisk 1-2 minutes until mixture turns light brown. Gradually stir in 1 cup chicken stock, whisking as you add more stock to make a smooth and thick mixture.

In a dutch oven, melt 1 T butter and then brown beef; remove any grease and then stir in onions, carrots, celery, basil and parsley. Add 3 cups chicken stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add butter/flour/stock mixture to dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper to taste; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

8 servings


*I used 8 oz of American cheese sandwich slices!! Yep, I unwrapped each one. Seriously!! It was SO perfectly wonderful!! I'll do it again, too!! YUM!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lasagna Soup...

While the snow started coming down last Friday, I was MORE than happy to make this delicious soup for my family. Boy is this GOOD!!! Thank you, Jesse, for the recipe!!!


Lasagna Soup

2 tsp olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
8 oz fusilli (or other) pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and saute 5-7 minutes. Drain excess fat from pot. Add onions and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and saute until the paste turns a rusty brown color (about 5 minutes). Add tomatoes with their juices, stock, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.


Add pasta and increase heat to medium high. Boil soup until pasta is cooked. Discard bay leaves and sitr in basil and salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan 1/4 tsp salt and pinch of pepper and mix well. To serve, place 1 1/2 T of this mixture in each bowl. Sprinkle with mozzarella and ladle soup on top.

Makes 13 cups


And, I am sorry to say, I do not have a photo of this dish. Next time I make this (and the whole family insists I WILL be making this again!! YUM!!!!), I will take a photo to share.


So, y'all, make sure you have all the ingredients and make this SOON for your family!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Farmhouse Crackers....


I got a sample issue of Mary Jane's Farm a week or two ago in the mail. Included was a recipe for Farmhouse Crackers. Yum. Homemade crackers. Crackers that don't have tons of weird ingredients listed in them like this...




What IS all that stuff, anyway?

Ahem...

Not only are these SUPER easy, but they are VERY tasty, too! Mr. U said "Stop buying those flavored Cheez-its for me and make these from now on!!!" I'll be more than happy to do that!!!

This is how my recipe ended up (remember, I have a VERY hard time sticking exactly to any recipe!! HA!)...


Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Farmhouse Crackers

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off three sheets of parchment paper (2 will be for cookie sheets and 1 will be used to roll out the dough).

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients and then stir in oil and water. Take 1/4 of the dough and put it in the middle of a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment on top and smoosh it down a bit (LOOOVE my technical terms!! HA!!). Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as thinly as possible (I go for 1/8th inch thick). Carefully peel the top piece of parchment off and then score the rolled out dough into the shape and size of crackers you want (a pizza cutter or
pastry wheel will make quick work of this) . Then, just bake them in the oven about 14 minutes until the crackers are crispy brown. Mmmm.

Take them out of the oven and remove the whole piece of parchment paper and set it on a cooling rack. Wait about 5 minutes and then carefully break the crackers apart and let them cool about 10 minutes longer before moving them off the cooling rack.

Repeat this same process for the rest of the cracker dough.

I have NO idea how long these will keep. They've never made it more than 3 days here before we eat them all up. Yum!!!
UPDATE: I forgot to add in this post that the last time I made these crackers, I added 1 tsp of garlic powder and WOW they were good, too!! I also made a batch where I left out the parmesan and the black pepper and added 1 T fresh, finely minced rosemary and 3 cloves of finely minced garlic. These were very good, too!!!
And y'all, if you make your own variation and they are great, PLEASE let me know!!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Old Love...

I found this on Mrs. B's site the other day. I just love it.


Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?

Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.

It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped; their faces are seamed, but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired, but still strong with love and devotion for one another.

Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love....

Old love.


~Author Unknown~

Friday, February 12, 2010

Around here lately...

My camera is broken. Such a sad thing!! We sent it to Canon to be repaired and it'll be back on Monday, but until then, I've been camera-less. Not good when you're someone who likes to blog with photos!!! :)

After hearing about all the snow up north, we are FINALLY getting snow here!! YAY!!! We Southerners surely like to see snow... maybe because it doesn't come very often and when it does, it's not very much. It's coming down pretty heavily, but not sticking to anything. Who knows? Maybe we'll wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow morning!!!!

Tonight for dinner? Lasagna Soup!!! Sounds delicious! It's a new recipe from our friend Jesse and YUM I can't wait to try it!! I'll have to share the recipe (minus the photo, mind you) later on. Any recipe with fresh basil and ricotta cheese has GOT to be delicious, right?

What are y'all having for dinner tonight? Any new recipes you are trying out?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Around home today...


(Photo found here)


It's been raining and cold all day. No fun. Gray skies give me thoughts of heading back to bed!! HA!!

Today has been a day of being lazy for Elizabeth and I. We had a quiet morning and then we cooked lunch. Because Mr. U works right next door to our home (we live in the parsonage) and Joshua works just a mile down the street, we have our main meal of the day at lunchtime. We LOVE having the biggest meal earlier! Oftentimes we'll have leftovers for dinner or just a sandwich.

We were supposed to have roast chicken with potatoes, but the chicken didn't thaw out soon enough. So, I thinly sliced the chicken and it thawed out very quickly!! Then I sauteed it with onions, peppers and garlic and stirred in some pasta sauce. Next I served it over pasta and served green beans on the side. YUM! It came together quickly and prevented me from allowing myself to get in a bad mood because the chicken wasn't thawed completely! YAY! Gourmet? No!! Quick and easy? YES!!!! (Do any of y'all ever allow yourself to get in a bad mood when something food related doesn't turn out like you like??)

Elizabeth is resting now. She hasn't napped for months, but will rest quietly in her room each afternoon. I use this time to check email or blogs or even take a nap, too!!!

We don't have any big plans for the weekend. Hopefully we'll be enjoying sunshine tomorrow instead of all this rain we've been getting today!!

Monday, February 01, 2010

What helps you grow in holiness?




This is from Nancy Leigh DeMoss....

What helps you to grow in holiness?

“Come to the Holiness Conference—this weekend at the Expo Center!”

“Buy 7 Steps to Holiness today, at your local Christian retailer.”

You know, God uses something surprising to teach us holiness—suffering! In fact, the pathway to holiness always involves suffering.

When our lives are all roses and no thorns, we tend to be spiritually complacent. We neglect serious self-examination and confession. But affliction has a way of stripping away the stubborn deposits of selfishness that build up in the course of everyday life.

The psalmist put it this way, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”

Are you going through a time of suffering? Let me encourage you, hard as it may be, to embrace it as a gift from God. Ask Him to use this time to make you more like Him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Granola...



Elizabeth LOVES Peanut Butter Granola for breakfast! And I love that I know every single ingredient that is in it.


Peanut Butter Granola
(adapted from
Hillbilly Housewife)

2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats

Begin by melting the butter and peanut butter together in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the honey, vanilla and salt. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and hot throughout. It doesn’t need to boil. Add the oats. Stir until the oats are completely coated with the sticky gooey peanut butter mixture. It will be chunky. Turn the mixture into an ungreased cookie sheet, or a large 9 by 13-inch pan. Spread the granola out evenly and bake it at 375° for 10 to 15 minutes. It should be brown and crispy. Now remove it from the oven and allow it to cool right there in the pan. Break it up into pieces after it is cooled. Transfer the granola to a sealed canister to store.

I'm not sure how long this would actually last before spoiling. Elizabeth eats it too quickly!! :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

TONIGHT!!! Return to Cranford...



I am positive I am not the only one who fell in love with the dear townspeople of Cranford. And tonight Masterpiece Theatre is airing part one of Return to Cranford!! Be sure and check your local TV listings so you can watch it!!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

New dish towels...



I just LOVE starting off the new year with a drawer full of fresh new dish towels!!! I buy new sets every two years and get so excited when it's time to purchase them!

We don't have a lot of storage space in our small home, so after I wash and dry the dish towels, I fold them and roll them up so that they fit neatly into a kitchen drawer.

Is there something that you do every year or every other year in your kitchen to make your house a home?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Coming soon!! National Pie Day!!!!



Once again, I'm going to be celebrating National Pie Day!! Anyone else wanna join in?

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010, will be the date to serve and eat some delicious pie!!!

Hmmmm... now to narrow down which pie I want to make to celebrate that day...

(Photo found here.)

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