Before you head to the store, browse these coupons. There may be one...or two you can use!
Monday, February 27, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
It's 4 am. The baby wakes. Eyes half closed, I stumble to her crib and bring her back to my bed to nurse. She eventually falls back to sleep, but I am too tired to even place her back in the crib. I shuffle down in my bed, beneath my covers and lay her next to me. I drift back to sleep.
What seems like minutes later, I awaken to a little one climbing up on my bed. Surprisingly, it's Ethan, my five year old. I can't remember the last time he came into our room in the middle of the night. I grab him and help him up into my bed, thinking he needed comfort. I whisper to him to be careful of Baby Amelia, and he snuggles in and drifts off to sleep.
By now, I'm slightly awake and just lying there, thinking. Thinking of many things. Praying. Praying for loved ones, for situations, for anything that comes to mind. Before I know it, I hear the pitter patter of feet. Another one of my precious babies is climbing into my bed. I glace at the clock. It's now 5 am and we've got three children squeezed in between my husband and me. My sweet husband sleeps soundly, not even aware of our visitors. But I lay there. Wide awake, yet so tired. My thoughts bordered on feeling a little irritated that my bed was full, and I would surely not get back to sleep.
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1
my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1
But as I lay there snuggling these babies, the irritation melted away. I was suddenly filled with joy. My heart was full. For whatever reason, my kids awoke, needed to be close to us, and felt welcomed to come, knowing they would not be turned away. What a privilege it was to hold my babies close, keeping them warm, knowing they were all safe and well. They were at peace. They were comforted.
I began to think about the truth of scripture, and how this mirrors our relationship with God. When we are scared, need comfort, or reassurance, He welcomes us. He welcomes us at any moment, day or night. He doesn't get tired, or irritated by the hour. He just welcomes. He loves. He comforts. We are His children and He loves us more than we can imagine.
"As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13
I am so grateful to be a mom. I don't always show it, or appreciate it. Some days I wonder why God entrusted me with these precious souls. But He did. And I am thankful. It's moments like these, when my bed is overflowing with children, in the sleepy quiet of the night, that God reveals His deep love for me. His child! And just as my children come to us, without reservation or hesitation, I must go to my Father. Only there, will I find comfort and peace!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
So what exactly constitutes healthy eating? I realize that we will all define healthy eating a bit differently. Some may define it as homemade meals rather than fast food or convenience meals, and some may define eating healthy as an all raw and organic diet. Whatever your definition is, there are always ways to squeeze more healthful foods into your budget.
For our family, eating healthy is fairly simple, and perhaps a little old-school. It includes homemade meals, lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and watching our sugar intake. We stick to the natural fats (BUTTER, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil) and believe that red meat, dairy, and pasta are good for you when eaten in moderation.
So how do we feed our large family healthy meals on a budget? Here's some of how we do it.....
Read the full article here.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
We are beside ourselves with gratitude over the generosity of friends and family! We are speechless over the amount raised for Celeste's trip.
As of this morning, the total is $3,500!!!! In just three days!!!! Not only does that cover the airfare, but that covers nearly the whole trip.
I'm in awe of God's goodness! And I'm in awe of God's people! Thank you, friends, for your giving hearts, your love for our daughter, and your heart to minister to the orphans of Africa! We are humbled beyond measure and will be forever thankful!
I'd like to mention our business sponsors. Thank you to:
La Fonda at Oak Hills Restaurant
Slide Fire Solutions
If you own a business and donated, please let me know. I'd love send friends your way!
Thank you again to all who gave. Wow! So, so blessed by you all!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
It has been a whirlwind the last several days in our home. An exciting opportunity has come up for our 16 year old daughter, Celeste, and we have been in super-sonic action mode since.
Celeste will be traveling to Africa in the coming months to visit and minister to the orphans. We've been filling out paperwork, raising support funds, reading material, and working out passport details. I'll let you read all about it in a portion of Celeste's letter below. If you feel so inclined to offer support, contact me via the contact tab for details. We would be grateful if you would keep Celeste, the team, and the children in prayer as they prepare for the trip. Thank you!
Dear Family and Friends,
I am so excited to share with you an opportunity God has given me to love and care for the children of Africa. Soon, I will be traveling to Ethiopia and Uganda to show the love of God to orphans. There, I will get to help feed the children in several orphanages and minister to them in many ways. I will also get to visit the Fistula hospital, and reach out to children who live and work at the city dump in Korah.
Why do I want to do this? Over the past year or so, we've been connected to Africa through several of our friends. Friends who adopted from Ethiopia, and friends who have gone on mission trips in other parts of Africa. God has used these friends to give me a heart to pray for the orphans. Recently, my mom had us all watch several documentaries about various countries in Africa. Some were about the Genocide, some were about spreading awareness of the orphan crisis, and some were about medical conditions such as Fistula. I also viewed a trailer to a book called 'Kisses From Katie" that shares the story of the young woman who started Amazima Ministries.
Over the past couple of weeks, my parents have discussed the possibility of me going to Africa "some day" as part of a mission trip. I said I would love to go! While we were learning more about the Amazima ministry recently, we came across Visiting Orphans, a ministry that sends teams out to 13 different countries to visit orphans. As we looked at their upcoming trips, we saw that there was a team going to two of the places that I had seen in the documentaries. Amazima (in Uganda) and the Fistula hospital (in Ethiopia). I could not believe it. The team will also be visiting 2-3 orphanages in Addis where our friends adopted their daughter. It's likely that I will get to go to that same orphanage. Isn't that amazing? God has placed the perfect trip in front of me and there's nothing I want more than to go and love on these kids.
I ask you to pray. As excited as I am, I am also a little scared. This will be my first big trip away, and there will be a lot to learn. But I am ready. Please pray for the team, travel safety, and especially for the people we meet, that they would feel loved and needs would be met. Please pray that I would be able to raise the money needed to go.
Thank you so much!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Today, our good friends, the Carnahan's, are traveling to Africa to share the love of the Gospel, a message of hope, to the people of Rwanda. David, Hollie, McKenzie, and Taylor have been sponsoring four children there and will actually get to meet these kids and love on them, among other things.
The Carnahan's worked very hard selling bread and homemade meals to raise money for this trip. We are excited for them, inspired by them, and are praying for them. Please join us in praying for this family, for the people whose lives they will touch, and for the message of the Gospel to be disseminated clearly.
You can follow the progress of their trip over at The Carnahan Chronicles, as David plans to write while there...so check back!
Our hearts have been drawn to Africa more and more as we've been touched by friends who have actively ministered to various countries there in some way.
I think of my sweet friends, the Blair's, who adopted their precious daughter, Elle, from Addis, Ethiopia last year.
You can watch an incredible video of their journey to get their daughter here.
Another family that I've been following, though I do not know them personally, is the Freeman Family. I came to read about them through my sweet bloggy friend, Brandi, over at The Marathon Mom, and have been praying for the Freeman's since.
The Freeman's are missionaries in Swaziland. It's been so neat to learn how God is using them there, and to read of what every day life is like for this homeschooling mom of four. You can read of their adventures here and here.
These families have prompted us to learn more about Africa. Praying for the people, watching documentaries (ranging from medical conditions there, to hunger, to the genocide), and simply knowing where these places are on the map.
Please pray for our friends, for the people of Africa. I am so thankful for those willing to go there to meet needs, and share the good news of the Gospel. I am also thankful for missionaries all over the world, including in the United States. We are all missionaries if we listen to when God is calling us to act, whether it's to the neighbor next door....or the far reaches of the world.
What are you thankful for? Are you praying for any missionaries specifically that you would like to share?
This post is linked up with The Marathon Mom.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
We eat a LOT of salad in our home. It's pretty much a staple side for us. I've got kids who LOVE salad and eat it with no problems, and I've got kids who are more reluctant about eating it...namely, the little ones. I've observed over the years, that my children will eat salad better if it's in smaller pieces. In fact, I eat salad better when it's in smaller pieces.
Did you also know that they will consume more salad (and veggies) if it's in small pieces? Visually, a small portion of a finely chopped salad will look the same as a pile of big lettuce. But, in volume, the chopped salad will contain more, which means more nutrition, Moms!
I do one of two things:
1) Tear the lettuce into tiny pieces as I'm plating their food.
2) Or, I put portions of salad (and veggies) in my food processor and pulse a few times. Don't over pulse or it will turn into mush. You want a nice consistency of a delicious chopped salad.
If we're having a salad that is conducive to one particular dressing, I will mix the dressing into the salad before serving. This also aids in easier consumption. :)
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
If you're looking for a new pasta dish to feed your crew, give this a try. Not only will this dish feed a crowd, but it's good enough to entertain a crowd as well. It's one of our favorite dishes, and it freezes well too! A sweet friend passed on this recipe years ago...and we're so grateful! YUM!
2 lbs bulk Italian sausage
1 lb Medium Shells
16 oz Cottage Cheese
2 cans Sliced Stewed Tomatoes
26 oz (about 3 cups) Pasta or Marinara sauce
1 jar (or can) sliced mushrooms (optional)
8 oz sour cream
2 cups shredded Mozzarella
1 lb sliced Provolone
Preheat oven to 350*
Brown sausage, drain, set aside. In large pot, boil shells just shy of al dente. Drain. In same pot, mix shells, sausage, pasta sauce, cottage cheese, mushrooms, and stewed tomatoes. In very large baking dish (deep 9 x 13 or larger), place half of pasta mixture on bottom of dish. Then place dollops of half the sour cream randomly over pasta. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over sour cream. Then, add half of the Provolone slices to cover. Now repeat layers. Pasta mixture, sour cream, mozzarella, and top with sliced Provolone.
Cover with foil, but spray underside of foil before covering to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove foil the last 10-15 minutes of baking to slightly brown the top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a salad and warm bread and you've got a delicious feast!
*If you're a smaller family, make the whole recipe, split it in half (or fourths) and put it in the freezer for later...or bless a neighbor, or a new mom, or a sick family. You get the picture! :)