Saturday, October 31, 2009

A True Tale of Two Sisters

Luke 10:41-42
"'Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better'"
Where do I even begin?  I have read this story in the gospel a thousand times and every time it just rubs me the wrong way.  I am a Martha, I think I have been a Martha from the womb.  I totally connect and understand Martha in this story and I've always been, if I can be frank, a little annoyed with Jesus and his response to her.  Let me just say I'm pretty sure Martha was the oldest, any of you out there that are the oldest girl in your family will know what I am talking about.  I have two sisters one of which in particular is a Mary with no hint of Martha in her at all.  I know exactly how Martha was feeling as she peeled potatoes, set the table and got ready for all of these guests in her house.  My blood pressure actually goes up while I imagine her getting more and more angry that her baby sister is just sitting there not doing a darn thing to help.  I mean "hello, can you not see Martha doing all the work!!!  At least get up and put the stupid plates on the table."  So here is my journey through this passage (with a little help from Beth Moore and the Holy Spirit).

John 11:5 tells us that Jesus loved them both.  Now going back to my sibling problem I can see this turning into a Jesus loved Mary more thing, and no that is not what is going on here at all.  As a mother there are times when I have to reprimand one of my children, it doesn't mean I love the other one more.  And let's keep in mind that Martha is the one that invited Jesus in, not her brother not Mary.  It is the Martha's of this world that think to do those kind of things, she was not bad.  This passage is not about good vs. bad it is about good vs. better.  Oswald chambers wrote: "The great enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but the good which is not good enough.  The good is always the enemy of the best." It took me a while to wrap my brain around what he was saying, I think what he was saying was; doing something that is good can often distract and keep us from doing what we are really suppose to be doing.  Let me use an example from my life, I like a clean organized house with three little ones, a dog, and a husband running around it takes a lot of time to keep it this way.  There is nothing wrong with a clean home in fact it can help keep us healthy and keep our stuff from getting broken, but all too often I find my answers to Hunter's pleas for my attention as "not now I'm busy, not now I have to get these dishes done."  Having a clean home is good, and Hunter learning to play and entertain himself is good too but one day he will be grown, I know that what is more important than a clean house is a relationship with my son.  Sometimes I have to let the dishes pile up and the beds go unmade in order to do what's best.

"Sometimes ministry can be the biggest distraction to the pursuit of true intimacy with God.  God's Word is saying that if we're not careful, even our need-meeting, well-meaning ministries can distract us from what is most important."  I think that this is one of our biggest dangers as women, we are wired to take care of things, that is why women are mothers and not fathers; if something happened to me the children's nails would never get cut, the toilet paper would never get replaced and the clothes would never get put in the dressers.  Likewise I'm sure we could each think of at least one thing that would not get done in our church buildings and for our church services if we women just didn't do it.  But these things are not the same as having a relationship with Jesus.  Service is important James says "faith without works is dead" but it is not the same as sitting down and spending time with the Lord.   Remember "if Satan can't make us bad he'll make us busy."

The issue with Martha wasn't that she was preparing a meal for the Lord "the issue is that she continued all her duties when the time came to sit at Christ's feet and listen." I am so glad the Beth Moore brought this up because one of the things I really hate is when people don't prepare properly for something in a church service and then act like they were doing the Spirit a favor by giving him extra "room" to work.  God is NOT honored by procrastination or laziness, of course there will be times when the Spirit moves you away from something you worked hard on, but he isn't asking you to not work, more often he will bless your hard work by working through that.  The word preparation has the beginning "pre" this means before.  The work is to be done before not during, there is a time to work and a time to sit.  Why is it that we know we need the Lord but when we get super busy and stressed the first thing to go is our time with him?  It's as if we're saying "yes you created me and saved me but you understand how busy I am let's reschedule." Well I had a very very close friend, we practically lived with each other during high school but when we got to college she couldn't say no to other people.  That meant that if we had something planned but one of her more "needy" friends had hurt feelings, or a bad day our thing would get called off.  At first I liked that we were that close and comfortable with each other; that we knew each others needs and I truly didn't want to make her life more stressful but after a while I began to wonder did she not want to spend time with me?  I clearly wasn't as important to her as every one else and I got tired of always making the first move, eventually we spent less and less time together and now we barely even talk on the phone.  Let us make sure that that is not how we treat our Lord!

One last thing, the scriptures don't tell us if Martha ever actually asked for help, maybe she did but I'm thinking she was thinking "I shouldn't have to ask" because that is exactly what I would be thinking.  You know sometimes we should ask for help, I'm guessing most of our husbands and most of the Marys we know would help they just need a little more direction and prodding.  My Grammy always says "many hands make light work" that is true.

There is nothing wrong with being a "Martha" within the correct parameters.  Lazarus was the head of the house, Mary, the depth of the house, but it was the hands of the house that invited Jesus in.  Otherwise Mary wouldn't have had a set of feet at which to sit and Lazarus wouldn't have had a friend with which to recline.  Jesus wants our service but he wants our hearts more.  Right priorities will never choose us, we must choose "Mary has chosen what is better."  Let us not allow good to become the enemy of our best.

Friday, October 30, 2009

email problems

I thought that when I published a new post that it was sending everyone in my email list something that said "jessie has published a new post" with a link, I just found out that it is actually sending my post to your inbox.  This feels really pushy and forward to me I am so sorry I had no idea that was happening.  I am going to ask a friend how she manages things like that I don't know if it's even possible to change it but please know I am working on the problem.  My friend who let me know this was happening told me that sometimes she doesn't get the entire post like pictures and videos and stuff and lets be honest that's the most exciting part.  If you don't want my posts clogging up your inbox I totally understand just email me and I will take your address off the list, (this will not hurt my feelings) if you like getting them in your inbox then enjoy until further notice.

Meanwhile back at the homestead...
The leaves are falling down like crazy and when it's not raining (which is like two days in the last week, do we live in Seattle or something) it is beautiful.

This is what it looked like when I started raking

Every time I turned around this one was chewing on leaves, yummy!

Mom you have a leaf in your hair!

awww aren't they cute

This is why I had kids to do the work!!

And this is what it looked like three hours later when Brian got home!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nacho Chicken & Rice Wraps

Today's dinner is brought to you by the Campbell's Classic Recipes book.  Today we are having Nacho Chicken & Rice Wraps which you make in the crock pot.  I'm not sure why I feel the need to tell you about my crock pot recipes except that it is just so rewarding to do a little work in the morning and have a hot yummy dinner ready in the evening with hardly any mess!  I had to thaw the chicken in the microwave and didn't notice that I forgot to plug in the crock pot so I turned it up to high for a couple of hours hopefully it will catch up.  Below is the recipe (with my additions and tweaks of course).

2 Cans Campbell's condensed nacho cheese soup (they call for regular cheddar cheese soup but I find this has more flavor)
1 Cup of Water
2 Cups of Salsa (I use medium and the Meijers all natural thick and chunky which is one of the best salsas I've had in a long long time, but if your wimpy then use mild)
1 1/4 cups uncooked regular long-grain brown rice (I think this means not minute I hope so or this won't be ready until saturday and you could use white too it's just not as healthy)
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used three big ones) cut into cubes
10 flour tortillas (10 inch)
In a slow cooker combine soup, water, salsa, rice and chicken.  Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or until chicken and rice are done.  Spoon about one cup rice mixture down center of each tortilla.  Fold opposite sides of tortilla over filling,  Roll up from bottom.  Cut each wrap in half.

I just now looked over and noticed that the dog was trying to bury a piece of gross raw chicken I gave him in the couch cushions; dogs are so gross!!  I mean really ranger, did you think I wouldn't notice the smell of rotting chicken in a couple of weeks?

So what do you think?  She's a little taller but they sure make a cute couple.

So yesterday Maddie (the little girl I babysit for) said the funniest thing.  She leaned way in to Hunter and said "Hunter I want you to listen carefully to what I say, don't understand me...I want to marry you because I love you very much." Oh my gosh!! could the two of them be any cuter?  Hunter was watching Clifford the Big Red Dog and it got to his favorite part (the speckles story) he pumped his arm in the air like he was watching a game and went "yah a speckles story" in this high squeaky voice.  Oh man for as much as they make me want to scream they sure do make me laugh.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Cottage in the Snowy Woods

Tahquameonan Falls is Beautiful even in the rain

I know I promised photos from the UP and you may just get your wish because today I want to talk about living in the city vs. the woods.  I know that the UP and this topic don't necessarily go hand-in-hand but I believe the reason that this is on my mind is because I was just in the upper peninsula and well it is one of the prettiest places on earth, more on that later.

Ok so lately I've been dreaming about living in the country.  My parents always talked about this when we were kids, how they wanted a house in the country, and I always thought they were crazy; who cares where your house is right?  Well now I am older and wiser and more tired and frankly a little peace and quiet would be oh so nice.  Now I don't want God to think that I'm second guessing his blessing for us in this house because I'm not.  Brian and I wanted to live in town, the last house we had was way out in nowheresville but was not quiet (we had a highway on one side and a turnpike on the other) and was not dark because of the street lights.  We also had our car broken into because of people coming off the turnpike, plus there were no trees just corn fields.  So we lived way out in the country with none of the perks and all of the hassle (no pizza delivery namely).

All that being said there are great things about where we live.  First of all I love our house, it's small and the kitchen is way too small the bathroom still needs to be re-done and I'll have to paint next spring, but I love it.  It's a good size for us and has loads of character, our living room floor is wood and shines so nicely.  We have a fenced in yard and great neighbors who look out for us love our kids and come over to visit.  It's nice having tree lined streets and sidewalks to go down with the dog.  When I do walk the dog people are so friendly (there is something about a floppy eared dog that black, white, old, young, middle and lower class all love).  There are a couple of parks within walking distance (one that they are redoing as we speak) and some really nice ones within driving distance.  And if I am in the middle of baking and discover that I'm out of butter (this happens way too frequently) I can run to the store...

But maybe if you grow up in the woods it gets in your blood and you just can't seem to really thrive if your not in the trees.  There is that smell of pine and the soft way it feels under your feet.  The way the wind whispers through the tree tops, the sound of a creek gurgling happily.  The deer that roam into your yard, the occasional fox and oh the birds!!  I discovered I wanted to be a writer in the woods behind my house as a kid.  There was this tree that leaned out across the creek and I would lay on it on my stomach and watch the water go past and think how magical it all was, especially when the snow was beginning to melt, it just looked exactly like Narnia should look.  I took Brian there last summer, it was sad that it wasn't mine any more.

I know what I want and I'm willing to wait, I understand once the kids are in school living in town will be a lot more convenient, nothing huge just a bit bigger then the house we have now.  It will be nestled in the woods next to a small lake that I can kayak on.  It will have a bigger bedroom for Brian and I so that we can have a real bed with a head board.  The bathroom is going to have a footed tub and there will also be a half bath for those times when you need a second toilet (I do have a second toilet now but it's just in the laundry room right out in open; isn't that funny)?  A front porch in the front and a three seasons type room in the back.  A sewing room with tons of light where I can have everything organized and not have to put the sewing machine away every time the creative bug hits me (if your interested in seeing the perfect sewing room check out  And the kitchen will be bigger!  Big enough for a dishwasher and table and chairs.  And last but not least I would really like a fire place to curl up in front of during the winter.  I know it's crazy and I am happy with what I have now but I can dream can't I...I think it's worse right now too because I have this "Currier and Ives" vision of a quiet snow covered forest that I can cross country ski in and it would be so hushed so quiet.  My life is filled with lots of noise and I'm sure that you totally miss it once the kids are gone, but for now I'll dream of a quiet home filled with the smell of gingerbread and a lake right outside my window.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Yesterday was the end of our vacation and the trick-or-trunk.  I will write more about the UP tomorrow, today I want to let you all know how our halloween went...It was good, Hunter's costume turned out all right, not as cute as last years but I'll give it a passing grade.  He did decide he wanted to wear it after a bit of a freak out over the long johns, so that was good.  Wouldn't yo know it we get home from a five hour trip took naps got up and started to get ready to go only to realize that the pants I had set aside for Hunter to wear had been peed in and not washed, ARRRG!!!  Oh well I did a quick quick wash and we were still early.  Conner looked cute as a button in his dinosaur costume (there was another dinosaur that went through the parking lot but mine was way cuter).

Brian and Gordon were hilarious looking in their costumes, I took lots of pictures, ate way too much candy (I'll start loosing weight tomorrow) I once again pledged to make myself something fun to wear next year, maybe a his and hers pumpkin sweat shirt with a stem hat as a nod to my pumpkin costume from when I was a kid, and had a pretty good time.  My kids were exhausted from the trip and the fun but they were pretty good too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Small Things

These are the things that make me happy; vintage table clothes, and a pie that turned out well.

God has blessed me in immeasurable ways.  Maybe the biggest thing, aside from his salvation, is the fact that he has blessed me with a very "quiet" life.  I don't mean boring by any means (and I really don't mean quiet most of the time there are two three year olds, a baby and dog running around) I mean there has never been anything so horrific to happen to me, nothing so dramatic that I could not function.  I grew up with good parents, got good grades, went to a good college, married a good man and have good children.  We make a living, laugh, go on the occasional date and have good health.  I am so very thankful for this so incredibly happy with my life and the people in it.  I don't want adventure on the high seas, just adventure in the nearby woods.  And so it seems God has granted me this very special very rare, in this day and age, life.  I still have some unfulfilled dreams, goals that I hope to accomplish in my future but I feel totally at peace with where I am now.

All that being said I experience a very real problem with my prayer life, with asking God for help.  Not because I think I can do it all by myself, I do not suffer from that delusion at all, but because I feel that asking for anything beyond what he's blessed me with is selfish.  It's hard for me to ask God to please pour out a small miracle and make my baby sleep through the night, even at two am when I am about to throw that cute little angel across the room.  How can I ask him for such a thing when there is a mom in a hospital praying that God will heal her dying child?  How can I ask for help to loose weight (which is totally my fault any way) when there is someone asking God for just a scrap of bread to eat?  So this is my dilemma how to approach the thrown with confidence when all I am asking for is eight hours of uninterrupted sleep?

I am in a women's sunday school class for the first time in my life and it has been incredible.  We are using a book by Beth Moore and it has been such a blessing to me.  I've always thought stuff geared for women was a little, well fluffy.  When I study God I really want to learn about him I want my intelligence stretched not cuddled, and Beth Moore's study is so what I need, so good.  She really goes into the Word, but uses what makes us unique as women to take it deeper.  In today's lesson she talks about Jairus' daughter and how Christ was on the way to heal her (it was a matter of life and death) when he is interrupted by a woman who is bleeding.  She asked me to write in the margin someone who's life was desperate who desperately needed Christ, then later she asked me to list some requests that were close to my heart for me no matter how "silly" they seemed.  I want to quote something from today's lesson:
Does He seem to be on His way to another need, one that you perceive may be more important than yours?  More a matter of life and death?  No problem! Reach out and grab that hem!  You are not going unnoticed-not even if He's on His way to raise the dead! (taken from Jesus the One and Only)

After having written my list of requests (one of which was to have conner sleep through the night) to say out loud: "Jesus, you have enough power."  It seems so simple so silly but I cried right out with the kids riding bikes in the drive way.  I cried because he does have enough power I'm just blown over that he cares enough for those little things, that I matter that much to him.

Thank you Jesus that just because I am doing well (for now and because of you) doesn't mean I don't have your attention.  Thank you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Halloween is about to be upon us and I am working to finish up Hunter's costume.  He is going as a retro-space hero, with cape and alien antenna.  I was smart this year and made part of his costume for his birthday party.  He refused to wear it at his party and was in an all around crabby mood that afternoon so I'm excited to get another use out of it.  All I had to do today was hot glue (isn't that stuff awesome, especially for child costumes?) some shiny material onto a blue sweatshirt.  We're going to the UP this weekend so I had to get it done because our halloween celebration is Sunday, the day we get back.  I'll post some pics afterwards so you can see how cute my boys were.  Poor Conner he's going as a dinosaur, which is of course a hand-me-down,  oh well he doesn't know any different yet plus it's a super warm one. Why is it that every trick-or-trunk is freezing?  It could be sixty that day and then it will rain/sleet and turn COLD.

I love to sew and craft, especially when it's easy and fun, which his costume is.  I also love home-made costumes.  That's what we always had as kids, my mom must have cut up a million bridesmaid dresses to use as princess and fairies.  One time she hired a pumpkin costume made that I wore then each of my sisters and most of my cousins, it was cute the top of the pumpkin (the stem) was a hat.  Man she got her use out of that one.  When I think of halloween that's what I think of; the making of the costume.  I have this vivid mental image of a pair of fairy wings made out of poster board and glitter, and a wand that was made out of a wooden spoon and tinfoil star.  The costumes today are totally cheap (cheaply made, they are NOT cheap to buy) and so unoriginal.  I mean I'll see like 30 pirates from the caribbean and 100 cheerleaders etc.  And they seem ugly too not cute at all dumb plastic masks that the elastic breaks off of after like the second house.  Any way not to diss everyones costume but what happened to the days of scrounging around good will for that perfect set of bell bottoms for your hippie costume?  Well it is my hope to make my kids costumes at least until they just have to be the dumb blue power ranger.

Oh and if our church collected enough candy (500 lbs) Brian has to dress up as the old school Batman, with tights! And his boss is going as Robin.  Isn't that awesomely funny?

Trick-or-Trunk for those of you who live close is this sunday 6pm at Central Christian Church on Riverside drive.  It's great the cars are decorated and it's a nice safe place to trick-or-treat plus some of it is inside so if it's really cold you'll get a little break and there's donuts and cider.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Bed and New Eye Glasses

A lot has been going on in Hunter's life recently, not that he seems to care as much as I do.  He is pretty much potty trained, I mean he is doing exceptionally well, praise the Lord.  He just got a new twin size bed today and he went to the eye doctor for the first time.

Let's start with the bed, it's huge!!! My gosh if he falls off that thing he's liable to break a limb yikes.  It's cool though it has drawers in it and a cubby (which he fits in for now).  and the head board has some shelves built into them although I don't know what I could put up there that he wouldn't play with when it was time to go to bed.  It was a blessing everything we looked at was way more then we had budgeted and our house is so small I really wanted something with storage in it.  We found this bed at Value City Furniture, which contrary to it's name has really nice things in there.  (I wish we had looked there for our couch).  And it was almost exactly what I wanted.

Now onto the eye doctor.  I took him in not because I thought he needed it, but because I needed glasses so young I just wanted to make sure.  You know catch it early so as not to impede his learning etc.  I was worried about his colors though, I mean he's a smart kid and some of those colors just seem to allude him.  There is no color blindness in our family that I know of but better safe then sorry right?  Well Hunter did great as far as behaving goes but he failed almost every test they threw at him.  He does need glasses, can you imagine a three year old in glasses!?  How am I going to keep them on his face?  And this is going to sound stupid but I don't want to cover up those beautiful blue eyes.  Then he also did very poorly on the color testing.  The doctor said it could be a recessive gene.  I'm upset.  I know it's stupid but I feel like this is my fault.  Brian has perfect eyesight and I really assumed my children would end up with his, but no Hunter is far sighted with a stigmatism just like him mom.  And what really gets me is that he may have some form of color blindness (not total he see blue and red and brown) that makes me feel so sad; I mean he is going to miss out on so much of God's beauty, so many things...

The doctor said the color tests are inconclusive because it's hard to know if a three year old can't see something or just doesn't understand what we're asking we'll know for sure with in a year.  Please pray with me.  I know God can heal his sight totally, which as someone who's worn glasses practically my whole like can attest, that would be great, but please pray that God can heal him of the color thing.  One in eight males suffer from some form of color blindness (maybe all males when asked which shade they like better for paint ha ha) but I don't want my sons to be one of them.  I want Hunter to see all of God's glory every single shade.

Monday, October 19, 2009


There is a dear old man in our church who is dying.  It's strange because he is ninety-four years old it shouldn't be so unexpected but it is.  He is one of the healthiest old men I have ever seen, don't laugh but he doesn't look a day over eighty.  He doesn't stay at home he is very active, in fact I think he still has a part time job, and he is always serving our church.  Well his friends decided to have a service for him before he dies of the cancer.  I actually think this is kind of nice I mean this way he will get to hear all the nice things people would have said to him after he dies.  It was a little strange, I mean for us, and of course it wasn't about us, but what is it about those type of things that make me feel so awkward, so clumsy?  In the car on the way over I'm a twenty-eight year old mother of two and as soon as we walk through the doors of the church I become a twelve year old girl.  However, as I was sitting in the back of the room listening to people talk about this man I was struck by how little I know him, by how many lives he's touched, by the fact that he has watched generations of children grow up right before him.  They talked about how he used to hold Carla and Marla on his hips while there mother got settled on Sunday mornings; Carla is our senior minister's wife and Hunter's adopted Grandma, how strange and moving to imagine this man much younger and Carla as a toddler!

Even though I have only known this gentlemen for three years he has managed to touch our lives as well.  A year or two ago, he came to church with a brand-new leather coat for Brian.  I love this coat it looks like an old bombers jacket and Brian wears it on Sundays and when we go out.  It makes me think about that scripture that says; if we have two coats and we see our brother in need we are to give it to him (very loose translation by me).  He embodied the meaning of this scripture in such a real way.  It makes me smile to think about it.

Blessed is the man who walks NOT in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water.  That brings forth it's fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither, and Whatever he does shall prosper.  Bob you truly lived this out, you love God, and others.  You served with a joyful heart and lived a long vibrant life.  You are the kind of man that I pray my sons become.  Praise Jesus that death does not have the final say in our lives.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Apple Orchard

Saturday we went to Gull Meadow Farms, an apple orchard not too far from where we live. I love the whole harvest thing! It's the perfect time of year, when you know you have to take advantage of every last ounce of sunlight and coolness before the bleakness of winter sets in.

Plus all the fun things for Hunter to do; climb on hay bales, ride in a make-shift train, take a hay ride, buy apples and of course eat fresh made donuts. This is the first time we have ever been to Gull Meadow Farms and it was very nice. A little too crowded we'll definitely try to go during the week next year (in our defense every tuesday Brian has had off in the last three weeks have been cold and rainy). But the donuts were the best I have had in years! That's really saying something because I love love donuts but these were absolutely amazing. It was almost embarrassing how much I was oohing and mming over them, luckily we ate them in the car where only my husband could laugh at me. It costs to get in which I think is becoming more the norm these days but the prices did seem low which I appreciate because I like to spend my money on the kind of apples you can't get in the store, which I did. My Grammy swears that spys are the best for pies but they are impossible to find so I bought a bag of those, and a bag of Jonathans for apple sauce and a half gallon of cider for warm spiced cider. I did think the apples were a little overpriced compared to wear we went last year but I'm not totally sure because it was a year ago, after all. Hunter had a very fun time and was so excited to see barns (but disappointed that there were no animals in them) and the giant tractor that pulled the hay ride was AWESOME but his favorite part was... can you guess... the donuts (a boy after his mother's own heart, seriously it would be worth going there just for the donuts!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pics of the kids

I just wanted to put some more recent pictures of the kids on here and maybe a video if I can figure out how, so those of you who are interested can see my cuties!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bean Soup

Hello again and welcome to this Friday in Autumn.  I just love a cool crisp day in the fall, one that dawns with so much possibility and excitement, one that seems to say "christmas is coming, christmas is coming..."  I love that.  The best thing one could possibly do on a cold day like today is to take ten to fifteen minutes in the morning to make a pot of soup for dinner.  This not only is a gift to your family but to yourself as well; one that gives all throughout the day.  First of all dinner will roll around and you will be hungry, instead of dragging yourself into the kitchen and making a huge mess all the while snacking so that your not actually hungry when you sit down for dinner, it will be ready for you with minimal mess; just bowls and spoons.  Second your entire house will start to smell amazing and this wonderful aroma will continue the entire day.  Is there anything better then coming in from outside, your cheeks rosy with cold, to the delicious smell of a hearty soup just simmering away?  Third it will sound good all day, now stick with me on this one.  If you use a crock pot (which is what I suggest for worry free all day cooking) after a couple of hours the steam and heat will cause the lid to rattle, just slightly as if to remind you that there is something wonderful and secret going on in the kitchen.  Now I recomend cooking a batch of refridgerator biscuits (which far as I can tell taste better then homemade and can be bought on sale quite frequently) and serving those with honey along side your soup and you have got yourself a healthful, tasty, and satisfying dinner to say the least.

Today's dinner will be particularly satisfying because my Grammy and Papa are coming for dinner.  They are amazing, I mean amazing!! Papa is so wise and funny Grammy is loving and kind and sweet and together they are just about perfect.  My Grammy and I have been special friends practically since I was born.  They are among my biggest blessings and I cherish all the time I get to spend with them.  Plus they love my boys and isn't it great to be around people who genuinely love your children?

This is my recipe for Bean Soup, which is what I'm having today:
Mix together in a crock pot
1 Jar of Randal's white Beans
1 package of chopped ham (very cheap and can be bought near the lunch meat)
.5 Cup of Brown Sugar
A bunch of chopped celery (leaves included)
1 onion chopped
1-2 Cups (to your desired consistency) of chicken stock (which is way way better then chicken broth and  the left overs can be stored in it's box-container for at least a week)
salt and pepper
Let cook all day and enjoy!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Grocery Bill

I thought these pictures of Hunter eating were appropriate for todays topic. These are a pics of his space ship bday cake which turned out ok.

Here is a pic of Hunter eating an "elephant's ear"
I am in charge of the grocery shopping and so when I watched Julie and Julia the first thing that popped into my head was, "how in the world can she afford to buy all those ingredients?" I mean butter alone while a staple in my fridge isn't cheap and fresh herbs and spices...good grief. Sometimes I take my mad money just to buy a block of "fancy" cheese from our local farmers market store.

I like to cook, but I have to keep it all in balance in order to stay on budget. This last week was a disaster. Brian and I take out cash for our food we call it the "food budget" because we not only use this money to buy groceries but to go out to dinner or run for Dairy Queen etc. I never want to use the entire thing up at the grocery store because I like to have a safety net in case we run out of diapers or something and we always eat lunch out after Church on Sundays. So imagine my surprise when after pre-buying diapers, light bulbs, and some other things with my baby sitting money, and sitting down and making a very conscious effort to plan "cheap" meals that not only did I go over what I normally do, I used up all the money every last cent. If Brian hadn't been there I would not have been able to pay the bill (I had left my purse and credit cards at home). I was horrified totally steamed and I felt like such a failure as I consider this a part of my stay-at-home duties to buy thrifty.

What caused this balloon in bill you ask? I have no idea I have been over it and over it. There were a few things that could have been cut out, craisins and almonds, and some things that we don't buy every week dog food, toilet paper, olive oil (which I get cheap by the way) but even if you added all those things up we'd be back where we normally are and normally we buy diapers so then we're right back to using up all the money. To quote my current favorite show "what the frack?"

Since Conner has been born we had to add in more diapers (though Hunter is only wearing his to bed now) and I have made a real effort to buy more fruits and veggies. I know fruits and veggies aren't cheap but they're so good for you and what is the cost of your health if you don't eat well? Please don't think I stock my kitchen full of chips, cookies, sodas and snack cakes we don't ever, only for very special occasions and this week was not one of those occasions. I buy almost all off brand unless the brand-name is on sale (my mom would die if she knew I don't buy JIFF, but meijer brand really does taste almost as good and is like half the price) and really try to stock up on staples when they're on sale...So what's the deal?

My poor husband has already upped the food budget twice since Conner was borne, I mean I really feel like we're not poor or anything. I just feel frustrated. And after two days of thinking about it over and over I read one of my favorite blogs (Hazelnut Cottage) and she was talking about her dream to own a small home and showed a picture of a house where she lives that is a little smaller then mine that was listed for over $600,000! Her husband is a teacher so they're probably making right around what we are. And I know that God provides for us we have some angels that send us a little money every month, without which we would "get by" but that is all we would be doing...God has a way of asking us to count our blessings doesn't he? It's like every winter when they do a "families turning down the heat because of the cost of oil" segment they always show the family turning it down to like 72 degrees which is like what?! We keep ours at 68 in the winter I always wonder "who are these poor two car giant home owning people that have to put on a long sleeved t-shirt to stay warm?" (sarcasm dripping from my thought FYI) But now I see I am one of those. I had a bad grocery week, big deal, I'll do better next week and so what if I have to add in some of my own mad money, I need to stop feeling so self righteous about it and realize it's our money and I am helping my family, and God has blessed me with this ability. (Still would it kill them to cut the cost of nuts?)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The County Fair

enjoying his first corn dog
this thing is made out of legos! how crazy cool is that!
Don't giant pumpkins just make you smile?
smartest animal on the farm.
Ok, I am on a roll. I have all these great things to talk about because they have been building inside of me for a few months now so here is another before it becomes to late to make sense.

I am a country girl my husband is a city boy (this is beginning to sound like a Jon Bonjovi song) and we don't always "get" each other. One prime example is the county fair. I love it!! He thinks it is the weirdest thing in the world. The first time I took him to the fair he walked around with this look of bewilderment on his face the entire time. So anyway the whole summer I kept saying we have to take Hunter to the fair he will love it. But as time usually does it sped by and we missed our fair (or maybe my hubby failed to mention it to me). So when my parents came up for Hunter's birthday they were saying they missed a good 4-H fair (apparently they don't have any out where they live) so we looked online found one pretty close to where we live and decided to go.

I can't remember the name of it (and I mean no offense to every one else by what I'm about to say because I know that the fair can be a source of great pride to the community) but it was truly the nicest fair I have ever been too. It was so clean even the poultry barn didn't smell. The bathrooms while rustic where clean and the paths were great no problems with the strollers at all. We went on band day so there was the distant sound of local marching bands in the air; it was just awesome. The food was so good. It was a perfect day. I'm hoping that mom dad the boys and I can make it a tradition, part of Hunter's birthday celebration. And next year we are making Brian come.

I was right Hunter did love it. All the animals and the food. He was so excited to eat an elephant's ear (yes he really thinks they're elephant's ears, but we told him they grow back) And his favorite thing was the rows and rows of classic tractors. He went running from one to the other "look at this one, look at this one" and then he pointed to a sea do and said "a space ship" like that was the most normal thing in the world.

Ok so here is my theory about fair food. You can not get everything at one vendor. If you do will certainly get one thing that is good and one that is bad. You can't go to the corn dog place and get your french fries. You have to divide and conquer one person goes to the corn dog and sausage stand, the other goes to the fresh cut fries stand, and someone else gets lemon aid at the fresh squeezed stand, this is how you experience truly great fair food. Let your food settle walk around a little more and get your elephant ear (they don't have those where mom and dad live, can you imagine never experiencing an elephant ear?) then as you leave pick up a bag of cotton candy.

hello again

Well I can't believe how incredibly long it's been since I've even looked at this site. I think my life just seemed like it was too much and I was just worn too thin. I think it's been like two years! A lot has changed... for one I'm not sure I can call this blog confessions of a young housewife. Now that I have another baby (yes another boy) I certainly don't feel young, and my body certainly doesn't look young. Thirty is now looming closer then ever.

I'm not sure why I stopped and I'm not sure why I'm picking it up again. I guess I've been feeling the need lately to put things down in words and that feels good after such a long time of having nothing to say. And then I went and saw Julie and Julia, what a sweet movie that was, and was inspired to look and see what I had wrote in the past and boy am I glad i did. There is so much from Hunter's first year that I don't remember and this blog is such an amazing record of what was happening with him and me. I am so thankful that this website doesn't erase your entries after a long time of inactivity.

Hunter is three now and potty training and our second and last child is seven months. It's funny that I am starting this back up in almost the same place I began last time. Night after night of interrupted sleep, baby food, nursing, and tons of laughter and tears. I am a much more relaxed mom now but I am also twice as stretched out and chubby! Oh well the price of motherhood is high but it's rewards are immeasurable. I hope you will enjoy my journey and maybe get to laugh a little too. I have a lot to say and maybe there is someone out there who will be interested in hearing it.