October 28, 2011

You Are More: Fab Music Friday

A friend had this posted to her Facebook page this week - and it spoke right to my first-born-type-A personality-perfectionist heart.

I do not believe there are any coincidences in God's kingdom, so I was stoked - but not surprised - that it went perfectly with the song I had picked out for this Friday's musical inspiration. I am thankful that God doesn't have a "well, I told you once, you should have listened the first time" attitude. Instead, in his never ending patience, he tells us again...and again...and again, until we get it.

His mercy and grace are so amazing.  Enjoy...

Be encouraged. Be brave. Be who you are.

And have a GREAT weekend!

Email subscribers, please go HERE to view the video.

October 27, 2011


I think Scrooge was on the right track: the avoidance of all celebration, the refusal to acknowledge the "occasion", the desire to close the velvet draperies, lock the doors and pretend no one is home.

He had the right attitude...just the wrong holiday.

Egads, what is this woman talking about?!

I am talking about my complete and udder disdain, abhorrence and dislike of anything Halloween.

I know.  I am weird. But whatever...I just cannot get excited about this "holiday".

October 25, 2011

If It's Got A Tail...

OK - this is just silliness but I couldn't resist.  

We've been huge VeggieTales fans for years but as the boys have gotten older we've gotten a little behind on our episodes.  Last week, we picked up "The Land of Ha's" from our local library, and boy, I cannot believe what we've been missing.  I just had to share the joy, so without further ado, I am now introducing our new favorite "silly song" (be sure to play over and over repeatedly until you can sing along.) Email readers go HERE.

*giggle* Like I said, complete silliness. But you gotta love it!

What's your favorite silly song or VeggieTale episode?  How badly does it bother you that they don't have arms? And does it ever affect your children's veggie consumption (Mom, I can't eat Jr.!)

Monday *sigh*

Monday's To-do List:

1. Shower and become human
2. Send kids off to school
3. Take a Nap Check email
4. Remember that I never ate breakfast
5. Remember that we are out of cereal
6. Eat breakfast. Fill up large water bottle.
7. Begin shopping list/meal plan
8. Take a nap Type out directions for parents on how to log in to the Cub Scout Website. Get distracted and check online news and cruise Facebook. Pet cat who is now laying on top of my laptop.
9. Finish typing directions.  Transfer money to kids lunch account to avoid nasty letter from school lunch lady.
10. Clean kitchen and make coffee
11. Pack up stuff for tonight's Pack Meeting, dig cat out of bag
12. Sew patches on Scout shirts so we can wear them to tonight's meeting
13. Take a Nap Feed cat and think about eating lunch
14. Eat some chocolate and get ready to run errands
15. Get groceries, stop at hardware store and pick up coupons
16. Unpack groceries
17. Take a Nap Kids are home from school: do homework
18. Clean bathrooms and write some letters (not at the same time)
19. Start supper, Eat supper
20. Run errand I forgot to do earlier
21. Pack Meeting
22. Run kids home
23. Go back for Popcorn Meeting
24. Make sure kids are in their beds where they belong
25. Clean kitchen, pick up kids scattered belongings, start load of laundry
26. Attempt to catch up with husband before he falls asleep
27. Play with cat
28. Take a nap.  Go to bed. Uff-da.

How was your Monday? Keith is working 15 hour days in the fields and we are all tired. I have a hard time settling in for the night until he gets home which, right now, is between 10-11 PM. So thankful for the extra hours (God always provides) and for the fabulous weather the Lord has given us this harvest - but we will so be ready for a lo-ong winter's nap when they are all done.

October 24, 2011

Just A Little Randering: A Complete Break

Wasted Grief

I sent Colin up to get ready for bed, telling him I'd be there shortly to tuck him in.  We'd had a fun night talking and playing a game and he was giggling when he went up the stairs.  I gave him a few minutes to brush his teeth and "take care of business' and then hiked it up to his room.  But when I got up there, I found him sitting on his bed with his head buried in his "blankie"  - small sniffles escaping out from underneath.

I was so confused - and concerned.  What possibly could have happened in the last 3 minutes to change my giddy little boy into one so full of sorrow. Kneeling next to his bed, I asked him what was wrong.

October 22, 2011


Wouldn't you know it,  I think he's a poet!

All kidding aside, this week my youngest son had to write an original sentence using his vocabulary words and that is what he wrote. I love the way it feels in my mouth when I say it out loud. The imagery is beautiful and it inspired me to doing something more with it than just relegate the paper to the "school box." It was so fun making his words visual and I am seriously considering having it printed onto a canvas. It would look great hanging on the wall - plus, hopefully, it will encourage him to keep writing. Then he can write a bunch of best selling books and support his parents, right?

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

October 21, 2011

Cross That Line: Fab Music Friday

The world has drawn a line in the sand and is daring us to cross it.
They tell us that He is no longer relevant.
No longer right.
No longer true.

But they are wrong.

(He is the way, the truth and the life.)

 So crank up the volume and Rock what you've got.

(Do not be afraid of those who cannot kill the soul...)

Be brave.

(For God did not give us a spirit of timidity...)

 And cross that line.

Email subscribers, please go HERE to view video.


Scripture Ref: John 14:6, Matt 10:28, 2 Tim 1:7-8

Baby, It's Cold Outside

OK, don't worry, I am NOT about to break out into song but, geesh, have you noticed that chill in the air? After spending 3 hours outside on Saturday afternoon for a Cub Scout event, I was just about frozen solid (I may have under-dressed for the weather just slightly.)  I came home, made a very large mug of hot chocolate, turned the heat on and curled up on the couch under a mountain of blankets like a bear ready for hibernation. I was perfectly content to remain there until the spring thaw but then I felt a poke.  The poke was followed by a faint, vaguely familiar voice penetrating through the layers of blankets and insulation.

It sounded something like, "M-hm, eem engly."

I pushed away a couple of layers and asked the voice to repeat itself.

"Moo-oommm, eem wundry..."

I poked my nose out. "What?", I whined asked through blue lips.

"Mom, I'm hungry. Now. You need to make supper."

*sigh*  The shortest hibernation ev-er.

Thank goodness for soup.  And not the kind that comes out a tin can; but the kind that simmers on the stove awakening you out of that winter chill and getting your stomach juices rumbling for a taste. And I knew, once my son had my attention, that's exactly what today's chilly weather called for. So I grumpily happily crawled out of my nest and got to work.  This soup takes a little while but it is SO worth the wait - a big thank you to my friend, Rachel, for the recipe.  I tweaked it a little to fit the tastes of my sometimes picky family and it has quickly become a family favorite.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

This weekend, once again is supposed to be CO-OLD, so it would be a perfect time to try it out. And whether you serve it with a loaf of french bread from your local super store - or serve it with some freshly made Naan  - this is the perfect soup for a chilly fall day.  Enjoy!

Are you ready for this cold weather? Do you have a run-to recipe for when the weather turns chilly? And if the hot soup doesn't do the trick, there's still always hibernation. Right? Right?!?

October 20, 2011

Real Food Uproar

There are times I have bared my soul on this blog...and heard nothing.

Then, when I wrote about Hypocritical Women, I got a smattering of response...

When I wrote about How Not To Spend Your Winter, I got a few chuckles...

When I wrote about Making a Run For It, several of you offered your support...

When I wrote about my touring experience with Adele, you were amazed...

(OK, I never wrote about that but it'd make a fan-TAB-u-lous post, now wouldn't it? If it happened, that is. But it didn't. *sigh*)

But when I wrote Saving Money...At What Cost and talked about my struggle to feed healthy food to my family...Wow!  I was blown away by the all responses I got via comments and emails. I was encouraged to find that so many of us are on the same page, as far as wanting to eat healthy and provide healthy meals for our families.  It seems there are several things that we agree on:

October 19, 2011

Just A Little Randering: Live Well

Sometimes Mini Is Better

I love a good slab of meatloaf.  Meatloaf is a comfort food.  Snuggled up against a mound of mashed potatoes and some homemade gravy, meatloaf says, "Welcome, home.  Pull up a chair, dig in and stay a while."

I actually really like my meatloaf recipe: it has a great flavor but I found it either seemed slightly dry or would fall apart into a crumbly mess when I tried to serve it.

Until this week. With a little inspiration from Myra over at My Blessed Life, I made some awesome rockin' Mini Meatloaves that even impressed my recently-very-picky 8 year old. The key: baking the meatloaf in muffin tins. Muffin tins?!? Who woulda' thought? (Thanks for the tip, Myra!)

I served the meatloaf with steamed buttered carrots (with a dash of salt and a pinch of brown sugar). The meatloaf was moist, easy to dish up and full of flavor.  My 12 year liked them so much he didn't even talk once during the whole meal because he was so busy eating - and he even went back for seconds.  In fact, after supper I caught him scraping out the bottom of one of the muffins cups. I call that success!

Sorry I don't have a better picture - but we were hungry and wanted to eat! Anyhow, let's get to the good part.

Mini Meatloaves

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 small onion, chopped (or 1 tsp onion powder)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup finely crushed cracker or bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Evenly distribute brown sugar between 12 muffin cups.  Press down lightly with fingers (see picture).

3. Evenly distribute BBQ sauce between muffin cups.

4. Mix together remaining ingredients, blending well.

5. Evenly distribute ground beef mixture between muffin cups.

6. Bake for 40 minutes.

7. To serve, run a knife in between the edges of each meatloaf and the muffin tin.

8. Lift each meatloaf out with fork and place on a serving plate.

9. Sit down and eat!
      What is one of your favorite comfort foods? Is meatloaf on your good list or bad list? What are you cooking for supper tonight?

      October 18, 2011

      A Little Kung Fu, Please


      I love my boys. 

      They are loud, busy, energetic ...and different.  Because they are boys. 

      Perfect, wonderful, precious and priceless.

      And I wouldn't change a thing.

      October 17, 2011

      Monday Meal Plan

      Well, for the first time in weeks (yes, I said weeks) I actually did a complete weekly meal plan and did my grocery shopping, too. My discouragement over trying to eat healthy has derailed my weekly menu planning but today I was determined to do it and I got it done.

      Woot!  Chocolate for me!

      So before you keel over from the suspense, here's what I'll be cooking this week.
      Monday:  Mini Muffin Cup Meatloafs and Glazed Carrots (from the garden!)

      Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Breasts with Rice/Broccoli

      Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs (with sauce I made from scratch and froze last week)

      Thursday:  Stir Fried Shrimp and Rice with veggies

      Friday:  Pizza :)

      Saturday: Sandwiches & Fruit Smoothies (lunch), Chili (supper)

      Sunday: Turkey, green beans and Cheesy Potatoes

      That's it.  Nothing too exciting but all fairly healthy meals, little processed foods (except for one can of creamed soup) and meals that I know will make my kids happy.

      Good news:  I finally figured out that using frozen shrimp is fairly budget friendly, especially compared to how expensive beef & pork have gotten.  And it's nice to have something different.

      Bad news:  I forgot to buy the chocolate. *sigh*

      So what's cooking at your house tonight?  Trying anything new this week?  Do you menu plan or do you prefer to 'wing it'?

      I am also linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at OrgJunkie.com

      The Least of These

      “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

      “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

      “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:34-40)
      Ever watched something that just socks you in the gut like a ton of bricks? I did just this last week. It was a video clip of Narayanan Krishnan. Kirshnan is a chef in India, who is going against everything his culture has taught him about people, to serve those around him who are despised and rejected and and literally left to die on the streets. Kirshnan is not a Christian. Yet what he says and does is truly one of the most beautiful examples I have ever seen of what the love of Christ - and being a Christian - is all about. Please watch with me...

      October 14, 2011

      Fab Friday: More Than Metaphysical

      It's Friday - Woot!  Here's hoping you have a great weekend.  
      And if you're starting things off a little sluggish, here's something to get you moving - be sure to share the fun with your friends.

      October 13, 2011

      Falling at Ease

      Courtesy Reader's Digest


      Hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall weather!

      October 12, 2011

      When Women Are Hypocrites

      I received something in the mail a while back that made me a little mad.

      Correction: It royally torked me off.

      In fact, I was so angry that I grabbed the offending object and stuffed it in a drawer. And that's exactly where I found it this week. Guess what? It still makes me mad.  So what was it that made me so angry? My cell phone bill? Seeing that the USPS delivered my IKEA catalog ripped to shreds?

      No, it was this...

      October 10, 2011

      Saving Money...At What Cost

      Is worth it? The coupon clipping and ad surfing and deal seeking?  I am struggling with that question on a daily basis lately. Many of you know, from reading my previous posts, that we live on a fairly tight budget.  And I am always looking for ways to do things better, cheaper or more efficiently. I like to be organized and prepared and have, for years, prided myself on having a good stock pile of "necessity foods" in my pantry for any occassion.

      But today, I have a confession: my pantry is almost empty.  The shelves are bare except for a bag of cereal, some marshmallows, some Cub Scout popcorn and a can of sweetened condensed milk.

      Now before you panic, don't worry, it is not because we can't afford groceries that our shelves are empty.  Instead, it is simply because I just don't want to buy the junk anymore.  I want to feed my kids good food - not processed, chemical laced, fake food.

      But it is hard.  Especially on a budget.  Especially in North Dakota.

      I adore coupons - and for quite a while I was doing the super coupon shopping.  And I loved it!  The thrill of the deal.  The adrenaline rush I got from getting $100 worth of groceries for pennies on the dollar.  The overflowing cupboards and pantry. And then I started taking a long, hard look at what I was buying.  And I wasn't impressed. I had been doing some reading on food allergies and gluten intolerance and what I learned, to say the least, truly concerned me.

      October 7, 2011

      Feel Good Friday: Move

      It's Friday!  Get up and get moving!  Have an awesome weekend!

      (Did anyone else think that looked like Mr. Bean at about 2:00?)

      If the video doesn't show, please go HERE.

      October 5, 2011

      Fresh Brewed Life by Nicole Johnson

      "Coffee is an invitation. When someone invites you to get coffee, it isn't because he or she is thirsty; more likely, that person just wants to spend time with you. Coffee calls us out of hiding."
      My first encounter with Nicole Johnson was as the dramatist at a Women of Faith conference several years ago.  She was funny, witty, relevant and profound.  And she had a way of connecting with her audience as if she was sitting down with you, one on one, over a cup of coffee.  Personal, comforting, challenging ... as if she was looking right into your soul where no one else could see.

      Fresh-Brewed Life is more of the delightful same - and more.

      For the woman who feels stale, lonely, purposeless or even lost.  Through the pages of this book, she helps you to look into your own heart to regain that which was lost, forgotten, stuffed down- buried deep within. She reminds you, in an inspired, insightful and witty way that God longs to spend time with us and speak into our hearts - to help us face our lives with honesty so he may refresh us and help us to find the joy in living that he created us for.

      In 10 short chapters, Nicole draws you out of your shell.  She walks you through exploring your heart, dreams, longings, friendships  - and even your anger - to help you to unlock all those things that you have been dreaming of sharing but never dared - to be the "you" that you always knew you were deep down inside.  Along the way, you'll find a beauty and intimacy with God that you never imagined.  And, as I was, you will be changed and transformed.

      Fresh-Brewed Life is a journey - not a book to be rushed through or read in one sitting. But a book to savor, simmer and brew over slowly. I absolutely loved this book and cannot imagine a woman who would not be better off for reading it. I encourage you to give Fresh-Brewed Life a try and just see "if you [don't] find the Creator finding you and drawing you out of hiding, welcoming you, issuing the same invitation: Wake up to a richer, fuller, more flavorful life than you ever imagined."

      This book is perfect as an on-your-own resource but several discussion questions for each chapter are also included at the back of the book, if you wanted to use it for a small women's group study.  

      In compliance with FTC regulations, I am now mentioning that BookSneeze® graciously provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to read and review. My review is completely honest and in no way influenced by BookSneeze or any other source. This post also includes affiliate links.

      October 4, 2011

      How Do You Do It?


      Yeah, and Martha Stewart doesn't live here either...

      October 3, 2011

      Have A Seat

      There are few things worse than having a large group of people over and not having enough chairs for everyone upon which to sit. I have had this happen once or twice over the years. It's embarrassing...for you and the guest. It makes the guest feel as if they are an inconvenience ("I RSVP'd...maybe they didn't really want me to come? Maybe they were praying I wouldn't come and, as a step of faith that God would answer their prayer, they purposely did not set out a chair for me." And so on...) It makes the host feel as if they failed as a hostess and can cause them quite a bit of fear and anxiety about the evening being ruined and no one ever wanting to come back to their home again.  Especially if you slightly burned the main course.  And forgot make dessert.  Ahem.

      It is for that reason that I have tried to build up a reasonable stock pile of chairs at our house.  You know, for the one time a year that I might step out of my comfort zone and be brave enough to attempt cooking for people in my home.

      At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.