Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekend Fun

This weekend was just fun! Friday evening we attended the local fireworks, always a good time!

Saturday we used our Season Passes to attend Silver Dollar City...got to see both the Magic Show and the Dog Stunt Show since the sun and rain were battling over who had control of the afternoon. Our favorite part of the day was the dog show, but the magic show is quite impressive, as well. We LOVE Silver Dollar City!

This morning we slept in and then attended church. Tonight we played Banagrams, made homemade funnel cakes, and I read poems to the girls from A Light in the Attic. It was just a fun weekend being a family...together. Added bonus: A Rainbow at the end of the day!

Homemade Funnel Cakes
(They are SOOO yummy & ingredients are almost always on hand!)
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
2 cups sifted flour

1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 cups oil

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add eggs and milk, mix together. Heat oil. Pour batter into a funnel, covering up bottom hole. Drizzle batter over hot oil. Brown both sides of the funnel cake. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powder sugar and/or cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tire Swing

Mike hung a tire swing in our yard last night!

When we lived in Jefferson City, there was this trail we use to walk quite a bit. If you wandered far enough back into the woods, there were these tire swings hanging up. There was actually an entire obstacle area - I think the boy scouts used it. Whenever I was feeling particularly down, I wanted to go to the tire swings because there was something about swinging wildly and free would make me laugh. I don't know what it was, but whenever we were on the tire swings, we laughed - a lot. They were just fun! (This picture was our Christmas picture in 2006.)

Since moving, I've mentioned off and on that I've missed the tire swings. So, when had to get new tires on our truck this past week, Mike saved one of the tires. When I got home from class last night (I'm taking a creative writing class this summer for fun), the swing was up! Just pulling into our driveway and seeing it in our yard made my entire face break into a smile. I hurried inside and then right out the back door with Mike and the girls! And once again, I swung thru the air wildly and free - and I laughed. I'm not sure if I'm more thankful for the tire swing itself or for my thoughtful husband who took the time to hang it up!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A 9 Year Old's Birthday

A lot of people choose to have big birthday parties every year for their kids, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Parties are fun, they create traditions and memories for children - kids love them. But for us, every birthday isn't celebrated with a huge party. Oh, they are always celebrated, but just differently. For example, this year when given a choice between having a party, doing Relay for Life with her Girl Scout Troop all night or going camping with friends - she chose the camping. And I'm glad she did.

It's been 2 years since we moved from Jefferson City and we still miss our friends - the Stolls - A LOT. Not only did their mom, Lori and I become dear friends, but our girls (5,7,7 & 9) really are BFFs in every way. And it's that kind of connection that goes deep, brings joy, and can not be easily separated by mere miles. I have a few other friends like that too and I am very thankful they are a part of my life. So when Morgan wanted to spend her birthday camping with them - well, I was thrilled!!
A few things I wanted to remember about Morgan's 9th birthday:
  • When the thunder woke her up at 3 in the morning and she wanted to snuggle up with me for comfort. I got to sing her all the lullaby's I did when she was a baby, old hymns and any other song I could think of. We then talked about all the cakes she's had for birthday's past (in order - sunshine, blue's clue paw print, flip flop, barbie, princess, ice cream cake, pool, high school music, camping.) It was just a special time we shared together as the storm raged on the other side of the tent.

  • She was speechless when she saw she got Justin Bieber CDs from us. Had lots of fun making jewelry with her gift from the Stolls and constantly used her sister's gift, a misting fan, this weekend.

  • Morgan flying across the lake on the tube with her friend, Morgan. Listening to 4 giggly girls laugh and splash and have fun swimming in the lake.

  • She spent hours working with her friends on a fairy house for the fairies who might stop by during the night. (We started doing this camping a few years ago, but this was the most elaborate one they've made). And how do you know if fairies stop by? They leave 'fairy dust' (glitter) everywhere and shiny things - like money.

  • Morgan's joy and happiness while we sang "Happy Birthday" to her - and then ate birthday cake and homemade ice cream while camping! Yum!

  • Morgan saying she wants to do this again with the Stolls on her 11th birthday (she knows we already have something big planned for her 10th birthday). I'm glad she thought this was the perfect birthday! I sure enjoyed it too!
Click on video to watch highlights from weekend:
video

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Easy Freezer Meals

Here are a few of our favorite (easy) make ahead meals. Often I just make a double batch...we'll eat one for dinner and I'll freeze one for later. Just thought I'd share them, in case you'd like to enjoy them too. And also, if I place them here, I don't have to worry about losing them later! :)

Tortellini
  • 5 cups frozen cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breasts (cubed) - I often leave the chicken out
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups Alfredo
Cook tortellini. Then mix all ingredients together. Can divide into 2 pans to freeze, or make 1 larger meal. If eating right away, bake @ 375 for 25-30 min. If Freezing and baking later: Lightly cover frozen tortellini and bake for 30 min. @ 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake for 20-25 min more.

Pull Apart Chicken (Crockpot)
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use frozen)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
Put all ingredients in crockpot. (Do not need to unthaw chicken.) Cook on low 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours. During last hour shred with two forks. Serve on buns with favorite BBQ sauce. I use leftover chicken in casseroles or to make enchiladas.

Chimichangas
  • cooked beef, pork or chicken (1 lb)
  • 16 oz jar salsa
  • 16 oz refried beans
  • 1 1/2 oz. env. taco seasoning
  • 1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
Mix all the above together. Divide mixture into 16 separate tortillas. Fold the ends in and roll tortillas up. Wrap each one individually in foil, so you only need to take out how many you need later. Freeze. To bake, remove from freezer, unwrap and bake frozen chimichganas (on a cookie sheet) for 30-40 min @ 350 degrees. Variation: I mix just taco meat and cheese together and roll in tortillas for the kiddos.

Stromboli (a little bit more time consuming to make, but yummy!)
  • 1 cup ham
  • 1 cup pepperoni
  • 1 cup sausage
  • 2 cups cheese (cheddar and/or mozzarella)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1 Loaf frozen bread dough
Let bread dough rise (on a sprayed cookie sheet) according to directions. After it rises, flour counter surface and roll dough out into a 16x12 in. rectangle. In middle third, add sauce, cheese and meat. Fold into thirds and pinch together to seal. Roll it over onto a greased cookie sheet (so seal is on bottom). Careful not to break dough or it will spill out during baking. Bake for only 20 minutes. @ 350 degrees. Remove from oven, wrap in foil and freeze. To Serve: Remove from freezer and thaw. Bake for an additional 20 minutes @ 350 (or until lightly browned.) I usually make 2-3 of these at a time, we'll eat one right away and freeze the others for later.

Halfway

I am usually excited when birthdays roll around. I love celebrating them, celebrating the person who is a part of our lives, celebrating another milestone in their wonderful life. However, this year, if I were to be totally honest, I am feeling a bit sad about Morgan's birthday this Saturday. She turns 9 on Saturday and you see, 9 is halfway to 18...so that means half my years raising her are already done! I shouldn't have blinked...and that means just one more blink and she'll be completely grown up! She is an amazing daughter and has blessed our lives in countless ways. I am truly thankful for the journey I get to share with her!

Morgan chose to celebrate this milestone by going camping with our good friends from Jefferson City. We're bringing a 'tent' cake (compliments of our good friend Darian!) and making homemade ice cream at the campsite. It is sure to be a fun time and I will treasure it all in my heart.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Unstoppable

Our pastor, Tommy Sparger, has a passion and a devotion that is nothing short of inspiring. It is no wonder he is the pastor of the 9th largest growing church in America and that North Point, which began around the time Sarah was born is already ministering to over 4,000 people every week. This weekend's message was particularly inspiring to me, so I wanted to write it down, so that I didn't forget! It was about being an Unstoppable Person (because in order to have an unstoppable church, it must be made up of unstoppable people!) Mathew 5:13-16
  • Compassion - Does my heart break for the things that break God's Heart?
  • Sacrificial Generosity - Breaks the back of materialism. Make it a lifestyle.
  • Healthy Discontent - Do I look at the world and want to change what is broken about it? AND what am I doing about it?
  • Active Dependence - John 15:5 Depend on God, but not in a passive way. Be aggressive, productive and self-motivated.
  • Servant hood - Breaks the back of selfishness.
God, show me where I can grow in these five areas AND help me to take action to change!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hope

So, I have been needing a bit of hope lately, so I looked up the definition. I like this one: "to expect with confidence". So what if I begin 'to expect with confidence' those things I am needing hope for? For example...

I will expect with confidence that my kids will grow up to be happy, productive individuals, who love God...despite the fact that I have no manual to raise them and half the time I am wondering if I am doing anything right!

I will expect with confidence that the perfect job will open up for me this fall...even though I want to worry about it when I look at our budget and the fact that we are needing a new vehicle. We have 2 trips to MI and NY this summer and one car has over 200,000 miles and the other over 150,000 miles. Guess I am also expecting with confidence that our vehicles will safely get us to our destinations to visit our families!

I will expect with confidence that the deep (local) friendships I desire are just around the corner...despite the fact that it's been two years since we've moved and I am still struggling to let down barriers in my heart.

I will expect with confidence that the desires God has placed in my heart are there for a reason and at the right time I will have the opportunity to pursue those dreams...despite the fact that it feels like they might always remain just dreams.

Yes, today, if nothing more, I will 'expect with confidence', and for today, I am hopeful that it will be the encouragement that I am needing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Morgan & Sarah’s A to Z Days of Summertime Fun!

In between vacations and camps, here are some of the fun plans we have to fill our summer days! :) It was hard to just pick one thing a day!

A – W 2nd - Arts & Crafts Day
B – R 3rd - Baking banana bread and making barrettes
C – F 4th – Camping Day, don’t forget your camera!
D – M 7th – Dip in the pool!
E – T 8th – Experiment Day
F – W 9th - Friend Day
G – R 10th – Go geocaching.
H – F 11th – Half-price sonic drinks
I – M 14th - Ice Cream and Invest money at the bank
J – T 15th - Jewelry making.
K – W 16th - Kindness day (how can we be kind to others today?)
L – R 17th –Lava lamps…we’ll attempt to make our own.
M – F 18th - Mail letters to friends
N – M 21st – Nails, nails, nails!
O – T 22nd – Outside day
P – W 23rd – Park ‘n Pizza
Q – R 24th - Quarters….hmmm?!
R – F 25th – Reading, reading, reading!
S – M 28th - Scavenger Hunt
T – T 29th Take Daddy Lunch
U – W 30th Ultimate surprise!
V – W 14th Volcano (make one!)
W – R 15th Water Day
X – F 16th - “X Marks the Spot” Treasure Hunt
Y – R 22nd - Yesterday’s memories (scrapbook)
Z – F 23rd - Zoo