Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Six Sisters' STUFF: 52 Menu Plans, Recipes and Ideas ~ What A GreatRecipe Book~ Enter To Win

My Review~
This little cookbook is so cute ~ it sits on my kitchen counter right here. I was excited to get this book. It contains a year's worth of meal ideas. They can be mixed and matched. It also contains beautiful ~ glossy photos of most of the recipes. I am a see-to-believe- it kind of girl. 

Who doesn't just love sisters? Sisters have a way of brainstorming and making life great. That is exactly what these cute little sisters did when they created this book. They share their hearts and souls on these pages. The recipes are down- home cooking that I love. In fact~ some of the recipes are things I make all the time with just a little twist of their own to shake it up a little. And this stay-at-home mom can use a little shaken up. Such as my~ Strawberry Pretzel Salad which has been changed by the sisters into a Mandarin Orange Pretzel Salad

I just had to share the picture~ doesn't this look yummy?
It is also nice for when strawberries are not in season.

And just in the middle of typing this post
 I pulled this cake out of the oven~
Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Along with these cute little weekly menus are ideas and traditions
 that this family share along with the fabulous recipes. 
They want to bring families together in a yummy kind of way! 
 This is one cookbook you don't want to miss.
I rate this book 5 + stars~ I love it!

About the Author: The Six Sisters—Camille, Kristen, Elyse, Stephanie, Lauren, and Kendra—grew up in Utah, but a few of them have lived in other parts of the country since moving out of the house. Between them there are five nieces and three nephews, and all of the sisters love playing “aunt.” The sisters started the blog in February 2011 to keep in touch while they were apart, but it has since gained popularity, garnering more than 9 million viewers per month and more than 307,000 followers on Pinterest.
Book Description: 
Filled with delicious tried-and-true family favorites and oh-so-easy-to-make dishes, A Year with Six Sisters' Stuff features all-new recipes using basic ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Each menu is designed to make your dinner plans as easy as possible—and with such wide variety and a photograph accompanying every recipe in the book, you can easily mix and match menus to create a year's worth of dinner ideas.
In addition, the Sisters share some of their favorite family dinner traditions and crafts, as well as 52 dinner conversation starters, a list of pantry staples, and, food storage plan for beginners.

And now follow this link and enter to win your very own copy.
 Ten copies will be given away. Good Luck!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Pocket Full Of Dreams~


A Pocket Full Of Dreams~

One week ago I finished my homeschool career and entered a new chapter in life as a Veteran Homeschoool Mom. It has been a long journey~ 22 years of my life.   I would not have missed it for the world!

For the first time in forever, I will not be placing a curriculum order and stew over those choices. I no longer have to schedule my life around school hours and extra classes. A long journey has come to an end and I find myself really sappy about it.

My husband said to me on day two of not having a plan for my life that I needed to rejoice in a great victory instead of being depressed~ I should be dreaming of the possibilities. It has now been a week later and I have dried off my tears and stopped feeling sorry for myself. (well almost) I hate pity parties. I am praying that God shows me his plan for the next chapter in life ~ very soon! I need to look for a new pocket full of dream

This morning I read a devotion from Luci Swindoll. She shared a story about an eighty-seven-year-old woman who finished college and earned her degree. Her name was Anne Martindell.  She first started classes in 1932 but had to leave a year later. Her father~ a federal judge~ feared she'd be too educated to find a husband~ imagine that.

In the interim, she served as a U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, a New Jersey state senator and head of the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. She married and divorced two times~ had four children~ nine grandchildren~ and two great-grandchildren.  In 1996~ she began to feel a void in her life and decided to take the advice of a loved one to enroll in Smith's educational program for older women. She earned her diploma in 2002 and received an honorary doctorate at the same time. 

The founding director of the school told the reporter that when she first arrived at college she used a cane but just within weeks the cane disappeared and it was in no time she was revitalized. "There was a spring in her step and a gleam in her eye," the director said. 

Now that is what I call a pocket full of dreams. I had to do a little more research this morning~ always a homeschool mom.  She did not enter politics until her 50s~ she became an ambassador in her 60s~ earned a degree in her 80s and published a memoir titled, "Never Too Late" in her 90s. She thought of going to graduate school stating~ "That would be a good ticket to a job, I suppose," She died in 2008  at the age of 93.

Ok~ now if that is not the cure to any mid-life crisis I might be having.  Just imagine what the Lord can do with our pocket full of dreams if we allow Him to have them and use us. I am inspired now ~ how about you?

Psalm 32:8

 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Would I Look Like If Jesus Lived My Life For Me Today?

This morning I am reading my devotion from 40 Days To Easter. It asks this question~ What if for one day Jesus could take over and live my life for me? He wakes up in my bed, has the same chores, the same pains, the same questions, the same concerns?  Nothing about my life changes at all~ except Jesus has my heart~ for one day I get the day off and Jesus takes over. (Oh~ wouldn't that be great? I can see myself on a sunny beach with no care in the world sipping Diet Coke.)

Wow,~ think about that. What would that look like? Would people see a difference in my behavior? Would they recognize me ~ would they think I was abducted by aliens? 
Would my family see more love in me? Would my friends see more compassion?  Would neighbors see my light shine ? How about my worries and fears? Would I be worried and troubled about simple little daily issues~ money ~kids~ religion~ church~ broken dreams~ broken appliances~ broken relationships??  Would I have more joy for the journey? 

What about my agenda for today~ would that change? Would what I see as important really matter that much to Jesus?  What would my day~ my week~ my life look like if Jesus were living my life?  Would I have to take less aspirin? 

Philippians 2:5

 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

God wants us to think and act like Jesus. What matters to Jesus today? What is important to Him today?  How does Jesus act? 

Ephesians 4:23-24

King James Version (KJV)
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die so we don't have to be good enough~ have enough faith or get it all right. But God does love us so much that He doesn't want to leave us as we are. He wants us to grow in our faith and our walk and talk. He wants us to have a heart like Jesus. Maybe it's just that simple. Maybe today we take a long hard look not at religion but rather in what would our life look like today if Jesus were orchestrating our whole entire messy life~ and surrender to living it out just the way He wants us to. 

Micah 6:8

King James Version (KJV)
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Broken Into Beautiful~

My Bones Are Broken~

Psalms 51:8
Make me to hear joy and gladness:
that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Psalms 51 is the account of David’s prayer after sin had separated him from his Heavenly Father~ his God.  David was in a pit.  David had caused his own pit ~ don’t get me wrong. 

But God still heard him and returned the joy of his salvation. The entire chapter is an amazing chapter to me. A broken hearted David calling out to God and God answering his prayer. David’s heart was hurting, his bones were broken, he had lost his joy, and he felt far from God. He begged God to cleanse him~ to forgive him~ to return his joy and to wash his heart clean.

This morning I am writing this post as I just read Psalms 51 and the above verse is what I desperately need. I have found myself in a pit. Before you start thinking I have committed some big horrendous sin like David did to land in his very own pit~ it is not the case. I am a sinner saved by grace as we all are but I have been thrown into this pit I find myself. I am taking a long look at my religion and replacing it with a relationship. 

Have you ever just been so discouraged in your walk of faith that you feel like God has forgotten where you are?  Some things have happened to cause me to question how much religion I have and how much relationship I truly have. Leaders whom I have trusted have let me down.  I have been here before and I suppose I will be here again. Disappointed in man but never disappointed in God. 

  I am waiting for God to pick me up out of this pit I am praying for God to help me find His will. In this valley, I may feel like God has forgotten where I am but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is still with me and has a reason for me to go through this valley. God never allows His children to suffer pain for no reason.

If there is a door that needs opened I am praying for God to open it. If a door needs closed I am asking God to close it. If there is a road I need to find~ I am asking God to help me find it. In the middle of the storm I am holding onto God. And I know I can trust Him because He has never let me down yet. Life is hard but God is good.

God does not want prayers quoted from a book~ He wants us to pray our prayers from a heart as a child speaks to his father. He does  not want our service to Him to look spit and polished ~ He wants us to be real. God is not impressed with our ritual traditions of men performed in our services.  He desires us to have a relationship not, a religion. I fear we Baptist have  grown into our own traditions of man and rituals looking very religious but somewhere along the way we have lost our relationship with the One True God. How about you?   

He longs for  us to give Him our messy and broken lives so He can take broken and make them into beautiful.

51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Corned Beef and Cabbage~

St. Patrick's Day

This classic dish is an Irish favorite. Serve this up for a St. Patty's Day 
treat or simply make it for a hearty weeknight meal.
  • 1-3/4 lbs onions
  • 2-1/2 lbs carrots
  • 6 lbs corned beef brisket or round, spiced or unspiced
  • 1 cup malt vinegar
  • 6 oz Irish stout
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 lbs cabbage, rinsed
  • 2 1/2 lb small red potatoes
  • 1/2 cup coarse grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
To serve 12, use a 14 to 20 quart pan.
  1. Coarsely chop enough onions and carrots to make 1 cup each. In pan, place. onions and carrots, corned beef with any liquid, vinegar, stout, mustard seed, coriander, peppercorns, dill, allspice and bay leaves.
  2. Add water to barely cover beef. Cover pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer until meat is tender when pierced, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, cut remaining onions into wedges. Cut remaining carrots into 2-inch lengths; halve them lengthwise if large. Cut cabbages in half through. cores, then into wedges.
  4. Scrub potatoes. Add onions, carrots and potatoes to tender corned beef, place cabbage on top.
  5. Cover and return to simmering over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is tender when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. With a slotted spoon scoop out vegetables onto warm serving dishes. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, remove beef to a cutting board; cut off and. discard fat, slice meat across the grain and place on warm platters. Serve meat and vegetables with coarse-grain and Dijon mustard.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all!

Fun Facts about St. Patrick’s Day

The first St. Patrick’s Day Parades were not in Ireland, but in Boston (1737) and New York (1762). 

Irish immigrants living in New York actually outnumbered Irish living in Dublin, Ireland at one time!

St. Patrick was born in Scotland, but spent 40 years preaching Christianity in Ireland.

Legend says that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland.

The three-leaf clover was used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity to pre-Christian Ireland.

For St. Patrick’s Day every year, Chicago dyes its river bright green to celebrate.

Leprechauns are hard-workers although sometimes mischievous! They are the official shoemakers to the fairy kingdom.

19 U.S. Presidents have claimed Irish heritage.

Seattle paints a green stripe on roads on St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef is completely an American invention, but very popular with Irish-American immigrants nonetheless!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Visit With A Plain Friend~

My favorite thing to do is spend a day in Jamesport, Missouri with my Plain neighbors. I love the sights and sounds of the horses and buggies. I pretend to step back in time just a day. No schedules or worries. I visit the Dutch Store and load my cupboards with flour, yeast, and spices. I  eat at the Mennonite restaurant buffet loaded with the most amazing food in all the world~ reminds me of eating at my Grandmothers. Did I mention it was heavenly?~ Fried chicken, homemade bread, mashed potatoes and this week bread pudding with caramel sauce. Oh, my stars~ my mouth is watering. 

My friend and I had the pleasure of visiting a Plain home this week on our visit. My friend has played dorm mother to a plain girl this past year while she finished up her education at our local University. So rather than live in the dorm this sweet girl stayed in my friend's home. Needless to say~ they have become family. This week when we visited Jamesport we stopped to pay a visit to the Bennett family. 

We dropped in to say hello and was greeted by a Plain woman in a little plain farmhouse. Her husband is a dentist and all of her homeschooled children have gone on to college~ except for a couple still left at home. Mrs. Bennett was about my age~ gray hair~ no make-up but the most beautiful face and eyes. She had  a skin-deep beauty that you don't often see. She was full of joy and peace and you could tell she loved Jesus for she oozed with the fruits of the spirit. I felted like I could sit and learn at her feet for hours. She hugged me like we had been best friends forever. 

She invited us in to sit in rocking chairs. Her little farmhouse was full of rocking chairs. There was no T.V. but a large school desk with a computer and school books all over. There were kerosene lamps you could tell had been lit but she did have electricity. The most beautiful violets were blooming in several pots on a table by the window. On a nearby table were many board games in boxes that looked well used and tattered from many hours of a family playing together. She had bones boiling and was getting ready to can some homemade broth which smelled wonderful. 

Visiting with her and her children sort of felt like a warm hug. As she welcomed us in she said  something that stuck with me. Me being the recovering perfectionist that I am ~ plans on remembering her wise words from this day forward. 

She said~ " Just drop by anytime if you come to visit with us. If you come to see a clean house ~ call first so I can get it cleaned for you." 

In the middle of her living room was a huge pile of sorted laundry that she was in the middle of washing. She was in the middle of chores and cleaning but her hospitality hid all that to me. She was so gracious and kind and seemed above enthusiastic that we had stopped by to disturb her morning. In that plain little farmhouse not at all decorated in the latest fashion, I felt so comfortable. She was showing the love of Christ and her light was shining brightly through her spirit and through her hospitality.

I left there that day determined to focus more on things that really matter ~ rather than all the stuff that really doesn't matter. Nothing like a visit with a Plain friend to remind me to put life back into perspective.

Micah 6:8

King James Version (KJV)
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Is A Storm Brewing In Your Life?

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth,
 but most of them pick themselves up and
 hurry off as if nothing ever happened." 
- Winston Churchill

Sometimes out of nowhere you feel a storm brewing. What do we do when the storms of life start to rage?  The troubles and trials of this life are going to rage as long as we have breath in our being! Stormy weather can cause intense feelings of fear and reactions in us.

 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. Job 14:1

 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. Job 5:7

In Matthew 14:22-23 the Bible gives us a story of Peter walking on the water. He had found himself in a storm in life. The disciples that were with him were afraid.  They were even more afraid when they saw Jesus walking on the water. Jesus told them who He was. Peter walked on water too~ well at first. When Peter took his eyes off of Christ and began to concentrate on the storm around him, he became afraid and begin to sink. We will sink too~when we take our eyes off of Christ!

It is natural when we see the storm clouds swirl above our heads to give into feelings of fear. It is only natural when those hot rocks churn in our soul to not give into a hopelessness.

 In Matthew 14:31 when Peter began to sink he called out to Jesus.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,

and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 

I know we like to focus on the "little faith" part but we need to look at the part where Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Peter. Oh~ I love that part. Peter had failed to have the faith he needed to have but Christ caught him anyway. It only takes a little faith to allow Jesus to catch us. This just puts the spring into my step today. Sometimes I just need Jesus to catch me too!

Then on in the chapter in verse 31 it reads~
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 

Jesus did not stop the storm . No~He caught him and was with him until they got into the boat. Sometimes we have to walk through the storm~sometimes God will remove the storm. 

*The important thing to remember is that Jesus will always be with us as we are facing the storms of life. Jesus was the very one who told them to get into the boat and go to the other side in the first place. The storm did not take Him by surprise!

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get

into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side,
while he sent the multitudes away.  Matthew 14:22

Sometimes we have to deal with issues in our lives that we really don't like~it is easy to question God about these very issues.  We may question "WHY"  because it disturbs our smooth sailing in life.

 Maybe~ you are in the center of God's will--- right where He told you to be----- doing what He wants you to do and still a storm comes out of nowhere.  Rest assured God knows you are in the middle of the storm but He is going to get you to the other side.

*We can take comfort in the fact that God knows all about the storm and He is there with us through every dark sky, every loud thunder and every strike of lightning! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Need A Do- Over?

2 Timothy 2:6

 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

I love mornings~if you are not a morning person I feel sorry for you. You miss the beautiful sunrise and the birds chirping. 

I love a blank new page~I get to start over. Don't you just love a chance to do it over? A new day is a do over~and today maybe I will get it right!

In my early years of raising our children, I was a huge fan of Emilie Barnes~she has since slowed down and does not write or speak as much. I will be forever grateful to her and will one day sit down in Heaven and thank her! She is the queen of 15 minutes. In reading her books I have adopted the 15-minute rule. If you have an extra 15 minutes~wipe down a bathroom, fold a load of clothes~ect... This concept has helped when tremendously. But the most important 15-minute rule I have is taking 15 minutes a day to read the Proverbs of the day~today being Proverb 5. No matter how busy I get~ I do my best to take 15 minutes to connect with God. 

Proverbs 3:6 
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I need God to make my path straight. I need Him to redeem my time, to direct me, and to guide me. If I don't spend time with Him~how in the world can He speak to me? I need answers~His answers. I take great comfort in knowing that when I spend TIME with Him ~He will direct my paths! 

His mercies are new each and every day. I am going to celebrate that on this cold ~ winter-like a day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Think I Need A Day Off~

I have to admit I am one of those people who like to work. I find it really hard to relax. I am working on it ~ truly I am. I get excited when I am productive~ it is fun to me. However, it seems like the older I get  the more I realize there are things more important in life. If we are not careful~while we are working life will pass by us. We may end up getting our list completed but it will be time to say goodbye to those we love and we will miss making so many memories.

I think God had a plan for us workaholics. It is called the Sabbath. We still consider the other 9 commandments worthy of keeping. Like~ killing, stealing, adultery and so on but somehow we think remembering the Sabbath is old-fashioned. I think Jesus gave us an example by taking a day off to rest. In Exodus 20:11 it tells us that God made the world in 6 days and then He rested. 

When I keep up this frantic pace of life 7 days a week I am rejecting God's thoughtful gift~ a day off. Even God gave us this personal example to remind us to slow down long enough to rest~even God rested.

Mark 6:31

 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

I have a friend that is constantly giving me permission to take a day off. Do you need a day off? I am giving you permission to take one~ make it a good one.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Italian Sausage and Spinach Soup with Tortellini

It snowed all night and March has come in like a lion……..sigh* 
We have Revival starting today at our little country church and lunch following. 
I am planning on making this yummy soup for a cold and snowy day.
Hope you have a blessed Lord's day.

Psalm 122:1

 I was glad when they said unto me, 
Let us go into the house of the Lord.

Italian Sausage and Spinach Soup with Tortellini

  • 1 tbsp. Carlini Extra Light Olive Oil*
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb. Roseland Hot or Mild Italian Sausage, thawed
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 can Priano Italian Diced Tomatoes*
  • 2 cups Little Salad Bar Fresh Spinach
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Dry Italian Seasoning
  • 64 oz. Chef’s Cupboard Chicken Broth
  • 8 oz. Priano Spinach Ricotta Tortellini*
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook tortellini according to directions and cool under cold running water. Set aside.
  2. Gently apply pressure to remove Italian sausage from thawed casing and brown in a stock pot or Dutch oven, with garlic. Sausage is done when no pink remains.
  3. Drain fat from pan. Add onion, celery and carrot and sauté 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add Italian seasonings, salt and pepper and sauté 10 minutes.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and gently scrape bottom of pan.
  6. Add chicken broth and reduce heat to simmer. Add bay leaves and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Add spinach, parsley and tortellini, and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Alyssa,
ALDI Test Kitchen



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