Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week in Pictures - Feb. 19-25

Ok, so I've been hit head-on with a doozy of a cold this evening.  In short...this will be short. :)  Only 5 photos this week - no good excuse.  Wish I had one.  Thanks for sticking with me.  Should be feeling better soon.


Sunday 2/19 - Photo not available

Monday 2/20 - had fun taking some photos of the kids.

Tuesday 2/21 - Gloria had her annual ultra-sound for her kidneys due to bladder reflux.  Everything is great and she not doesn't have to go back for 2 more years! (iPhone photo)

 Wednesday 2/22 - Zane got bifocals on Tuesday as his left eye is turning in again when he looks at things up close.  Seem to be helping.  Praying another surgery is not needed.

 Thursday 2/23 - We got quite a bit of snow over-night, but it was melting fast by Thursday morning.  Both Katrina & I made use of it while we could. (click on link on my photo blog in the sidebar)

Friday 2/24 - Photo not available

 Saturday 2/25 - Cinnamon rolls rising.

Hard to believe we're entering the 3rd month of the year this week.  Time is flying, but I'm glad I'm freezing it a bit through these photos.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yea, Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death...

God is faithful, in all things.  Please go to the link you find below and watch the news video.  This young missionary family trusts the Lord and give Him all the glory for what He is doing through the death of their little girl earlier this week.  Several people have already come to know Christ and accept His salvation through this because of this couple's testimony.

Ask yourself:  What if it were me?  How would I respond?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cheese & Ham Scalloped Potatoes

Ok, so maybe this will be a bi-weekly feature.

For those of you who may be struggling with high cholesterol, diabetes, or clogged arteries, you may not want to continue.  Few of my recipes meet the diet suggestions of any health organization.

But, my family's happy.  For now.

For our casserole, we will need:
An oven pre-heated to 350-degrees
5-8 large potatoes (enough to fill a 13x9 baking dish at least half-way)
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 clove garlic, minced (the more, the better, I always say!)
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby-Jack - whatever you have on hand)
1 1 /2 cups fully-cooked ham, cubed
1 quart heavy cream.  Yes, that does say QUART

Get out your my case, it's stored in my brain:

Take your cubed ham (I cut up a ham-steak), and place on the bottom of a 13x9 pan.

Of course, there will be some scraps left that aren't worthy of human consumption... 

But some species just aren't that picky.

Chop up your onion & of these makes it so much easier:

 Add that to the pan.

THINLY slice your potatoes.  Thin is important, not only in waist-lines, but in these potatoes.  If they're too fat, they'll be underdone while everything else borders on burnt.

 Place the potatoes in the pan along with the cheese and mix contents of the pan together.

Now for the big boy:

Drown the previous ingredients in the heart-clogging, but oh-so-yummy liquid.

Put into the oven & forget about it for about an hour and a half (the original recipe says 60 minutes, but that's just not long enough).  Take out and begin salivating.

It is estimated that one serving is only 606 calories.  That really isn't too horrible.

Of course, I think one serving may be equivalent to 3 bites....but who's counting?

For a print-out of this recipe, click here!

In a nutshell:

5-8 large potatoes (enough to fill a 13x9 baking dish at least half-way)
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 clove garlic, minced 
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby-Jack - whatever you have on hand)
1 1 /2 cups fully-cooked ham, cubed 
1 quart heavy cream. 

Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.  Place the potatoes, onion, garlic, cheese, and ham in a 9x13 baking dish.  Gently stir until well combined.  Pour the cream over the potato mixture.  Bake until potatoes are tender - about 1 1/2 hours.  ENJOY!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Week in Pictures - February 12 - February 18, 2012

My husband was gone most of this week, so we filled it up with some fun things to do.  As my husband is a farmer & works nearby most of the time, it is not often that he is away for 3-4 days at once.  Though we missed him, I found it was much easier this time now that the children are older.  Texting lessened the miles between us, as well.  Friday, we were thrilled to welcome him home.  This next week....back to the routine.  I'm pretty satisfied with that.


 Sunday 2/12 - My husband and I finally had an opportunity to watch this fantastic movie. It was one that we agreed that the children could watch, as well.  

 Monday 2/13 - Just a random shot of the lenses on my shelf.  Notice the dust...the only one I use regularly is the 50 mm...the one I use the most is the one I took this photo with (85mm).

Tuesday 2/14 - A great Valentine's dinner - heart-shaped pizza with good friends! (iPhone photo)

Wednesday 2/15 - After being gone most of the afternoon & evening, the fire was completely out when we came home from church.  Mike put a lot of time into getting it going again.  (iPhone photo)

Thursday 2/16 - Took the kids to the local science museum.  They have an "Extreme Mammal" exhibit.  Which is more extreme - the extinct giant or the 7 crazy children posing with it? (taken w/ my children's Sony Cybershot)

 Friday 2/17 - My daughter and a couple of her classmates in their HOPE photography class.  They are learning so much about one of my favorite art forms! 

Saturday 2/18 - We had gone to my mom's small-town to meet up with her for breakfast.  I was tempted to use a photo my husband took of my girls, my mom, & I - but these posts are to be of photos I take. :(  Oh well.  We got some shots of the beautiful scenery on the way home.  I'm thinking my post-editing added a bit too much of a purple hue.  Then again, it might work....

Hoping everyone has a great week!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

I absolutely LOVE Valentine's Day.  My mom always did a little something special for us when we were children; whether it be a little card and a box of conversation hearts or even a piece of jewelry.  Maybe that was where the seed was planted.

Valentines Day 1990:  My worse Valentine's Day ever.  I was about 17 years old and had a mad crush on a tall, handsome college-guy and we had become friends.  However, he felt the age difference was too great for anything more and had begun dating another girl long-distance.  She was in town that week and while they were spending time together on February 14, I was babysitting for another couple.  It was a sad day for a teenage girl.

Valentine's Day 1991: The tall, handsome college-guy had come to his senses about 7 months before. On February 14th, he came to my house with roses & the sweetest card and I made him dinner.  Though we had not yet come to the point where we would say, "I love you," I felt loved.  It is a memory I cherish in my heart even now.

Valentine's Day 2012:  My tall, handsome farmer left in the morning to attend the National Farm Machinery Show in Louiseville, KY and won't be home until Friday.  He had bought me a heart-shaped box of candy about a week before as he knew we would not be together.  I refused to actually open the box until the actual day.  It's filled with PB Cups - my favorite!!  I spent a few hours the night before making him a Valentine card along with 3 other cards - one for each day he'd be gone.  While we were disappointed that we couldn't be together on my favorite day, the sadness was lessened by the fact that we know how very much we love one another.  Valentine's Day 1990 was so extremely sad as I "loved" someone and knew I wasn't loved in return.  Just knowing I am loved makes all the difference.

We still had a fun day here on February 14th.  We had our 2nd-annual Valentine's Day party & it grew a bit this year.  Forty people came to share the joy of friendship which, let's face it, is based on love.  My brother came and headed up a football game for the older guys while some of the younger boys climbed the snow hill and had snowball fights.  The real little ones stayed inside and were entertained by one of the young ladies from our church who is so dear to us.  The young ladies made home-made valentines and decorated heart-shaped cookies.  Then, we ate...chips, cookies, candy, etc.  We had such a wonderful time!  Unfortunately, it was so busy, I didn't get a chance to take any pictures!  However, one of my friends did and when I get those, I'll share some here.

Everyone left by 4:00.  We finished cleaning up and I started on the chicken wing dip we were going to have with our pizza for dinner.  Another friend of mine (whose husband also went to KY) came with her children bearing heart-shaped pizzas (I'll share a photo of that on My Week in Pictures post).

After a great day with friends, the children and I settled in to watch "Courageous."  Eric and I had watched it on Sunday and were pleased that it was a movie our children could enjoy.  What a blessing it was to see my children laugh and hear them sniffling at the emotional parts.  Half-way through the movie, we received a call from Eric and were able to chat with him for a few minutes.  As he and I were saying good-bye, his parting words were, "Happy Valentine's Day, girl."

Yeah, Valentine's Day 2012 was a wonderful day.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Week in Pictures - Feb. 5-11, 2012

This week began with my husband's 42nd birthday.  I'm glad he allowed me to get some shots of him...they seem to be few and far between.

Life got back to normal with our CHOICE Kids Club on Monday afternoon.  After a month & a half away, it was good to get back with these children who so need to hear of the love of Christ for them.

The rest of the week was filled with normalcy, which is always a good thing! :)  I'll let the photos speak for me...after all, a picture worth a thousand words, right?


Sunday, 2/5 - The birthday boy!

 Monday, 2/6 - Lesson time at CHOICE.  The boy reading a portion of scripture ended up being my clubber this week.  A sweet boy who is hurting so much.  If we only knew the mission field that is right in our inner-cities! (iPhone photo)

Tuesday, 2/7 - I love that everyday life brings such smiles to her face.

Wednesday, 2/8 - After-church snack! (iPhone photo)

Thursday, 2/9 - What happened this day?  No clue...

Friday, 2/10 - Our home school co-op took a trip to one of the local TV news stations.  Kind of amusing - a bunch of kids who don't own a tv going to a television station.  But, it was fantastic!!  I once thought of going into communications...if I had taken a tour like this while in high school, I definitely would have chosen this for a career.   (iPhone photo)

 Saturday, 2/11 - Taking a quick break from pre-bedtime play for a photo. 

So, there you have it...about 6,000 words!  :)

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Remember When...?

"We live in a decadent age.  Young people no longer respect their parents.  They are rude and impatient.   They self-control."

How we wish for the good old days when kids behaved, had respect for themselves and for others!  What is it with kids today?

Oh, by the way, the above's inscribed on a 6,000 year old tomb in Egypt.

Yeah, remember the good old days...about sixty-five hundred years ago?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

I did mention that I would try to post a recipe every week.  That was two weeks ago.  I will remind my readers that I also mentioned that I'm not real good with commitments.  Well, other than marriage.

So, I didn't post a recipe last week, but I do have one for this week.  Another family favorite, but this time it is under the "Main Dish" category.

Chicken Enchiladas

About 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 C sour cream
Onion (1 large or 2 small), chopped
3-4 cups shredded cheese (Colby/Jack, Cheddar, or Mexican Style)
Minced garlic (optional)
2-3 cans enchilada sauce
1-2 4oz cans chopped green chilies
Jalapeño peppers, chopped (optional)
Flour tortillas (not pictured. What was I thinking?!)

First, grab your chicken breast and cut into cubes.  As I make this for our family of 9 and usually want left-overs, I use an entire Family Pack/Club Size package of chicken.

 Can't you just see the salmonella?

Dump it all in a pan (or two, if you're cooking as much chicken a I do) and cook through.  *Note:  I do not cook the onion & garlic with the chicken.  I like them cooked as little as possible, so I just add those ingredients with all the others.*

 After draining the juice from the chicken, add the garlic, onion, 1/2 the cheese, sour cream, soup, & chilies.

If you've never bought chopped chili peppers, you do have your choice of mild or hot.  Don't let the name scare you.  You may also add jalapeños at this time, as well.  Or, if you're like me and don't want to kill some of your younger children, just put those on the table later for anyone who desires some kick to add as a topping.

Anyway, mix all the above ingredients together and scoop some in the middle of a tortilla shell.  Not too much or you won't be able to roll it without the filling oozing out the side.  Oozing filling...yuck!
 OK, so it doesn't look appetizing.  Just trust me on this.

Somewhere along the line, you should open your can(s) of enchilada sauce.  Pour just enough on the bottom of your pan(s) to lightly coat.  Then, add your rolled tortillas, seam-side down.  Then, cover with more enchilada sauce. 

While the sauce is extremely important, even more so is the cheese.  Rather, the amount of cheese.  Cover every inch of those enchiladas with cheese.  Without the cheese, the whole meal is totally pointless.

Once the pan(s) is full, put in your pre-heated 350-degree oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.  Cheese should be divinely melted and filling should be heated through.

Serve just as they are, or top with jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole.  As these tend to fill young children quickly, I usually give some of them only half an enchilada to begin.  They can always come back for more.

The really lovely thing about these is that they can be successfully frozen for a future meal...for your family or another family in need.  Also, you could switch out the chicken for ground beef.  I've done it in a pinch & the family loved them.

If you try these, let me know what you think!

In a nutshell:

About 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 C sour cream
Onion (1 large or 2 small), chopped
3-4 cups shredded cheese (Colby/Jack, Cheddar, or Mexican Style)
Minced garlic (optional)
2-3 cans enchilada sauce
1-2 4oz cans chopped green chilies
Jalapeño peppers, chopped (optional)
Flour tortillas

Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.  Cook chicken in skillet.  Drain.  Mix in soup, sour cream, onion, garlic, half of the cheese, & green chilies.  Coat bottom of 13x9 pan w/ some of enchilada sauce.  Spoon chicken mixture down the center of tortilla shell.  Roll shell & place (seam-side down) in pan.  Cover enchiladas w/ remaining sauce & cheese.  Bake for 20-30 min. (until heated through).  Serve just as they are or top w/ sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, and guacamole.  ENJOY!

For a printable copy, go here!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Week in Pictures - Jan. 29-Feb. 4, 2012

Most of last week was focused on getting ready for our first day of our second semester of HOPE for the year.  HOPE is our church's homeschool co-op.  Due to last minute sign ups and a variety of other circumstances, the prep work was a bit last minute and a tad stressful (but not too bad).  


Sunday, Jan. 29 - Best Friends
Monday, Jan. 30 - I got to talk to my dear friend who moved w/ her husband to Barrow, Alaska.  I miss her like crazy, but am glad they are exactly where God wants them. (iPhone photo)
Tuesday, Jan. 31 - Anna had a hardboiled egg for snack and it split in half.  So cool to see all 3 parts still together in such a way.

Wednesday, Feb. 1 - So, I was getting ready for bed when I realized I hadn't taken a picture all day!  This is what I see and use at the beginning & end of every day.  (iPhone photo)

Thursday, Feb. 2 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.  No other words necessary. (iPhone photo)
Friday, Feb. 3 - Back at HOPE.  Our pastor is our biggest cheerleader and I am so very grateful for him.
Saturday, Feb. 4 - The bane of my recent existence: my fourth prescription in 2 1/2 months.  

Whether or not anyone else is enjoying these photos, I am glad to have an account of my everyday (however mundane) life.  


While much of America crowded around television screens tonight to watch a bunch of guys fight over a brown ball, our family crowded around the table to sing "Happy Birthday" to a man among men.

In all honesty, I can say that my husband is probably the most humble, the most serving, the most patient man I know.   Don't believe me?   Let me use today, his 42nd birthday, as an example.

This morning, I had planned one of his favorite breakfast treats - home-made cinnamon rolls.  Unfortunately, the yeast must have died and the rolls never rose.  However, I baked them hoping that they just might turn out ok.  While they weren't quite the bricks I expected them to be, they were no where near to the delicacies I've turned out in the past.  He, however, said they were great and ate three!!  My kids liked them, too.

*Note to self:  don't believe the family next time they compliment my cooking.  It's all a hoax.*

My husband received home-made cards and candy bars wrapped with home-made wrapping from our children.  He beamed as if he had received the latest and greatest tool (or whatever it is farmers beam over).

I, on the other hand, didn't get him a thing.  I am that horrible.  Seriously, what does one get a guy who gets everything he needs whenever he needs it?  What does one get one of the most contented guys in America?  He mentioned a certain type of binoculars a couple of months ago & I didn't have a pen.  Do you think he would tell me the brand again?

As far a card goes....I always have a card or letter for him.  I don't like store-bought cards....I always end up writing what I really want to say in there, anyway.   Sadly, there was no time yesterday or today to write/make him one.  There was no time because I was doing things with Eric and for him, but that still doesn't help the guilt and sorrow I feel not being able to express in words how very much I love him.  Yet, he tells me not to have regrets.  He didn't want me to feel badly. He really is ok with not receiving anything from the one who loves him most!

Then, after church today, I was exhausted.  And freezing.  He was pretty sure I was coming down with something (again).  So, on his birthday, I got an uninterrupted 1 1/2 hour nap!!!  He stayed downstairs with the children while I rested!

After I got up, he took 6 of the kids and picked up Chinese (his favorite) from his favorite little Chinese place in town. (*Note: I did set a nice table with candles, etc., for his birthday dinner.  There, I'm back up for Wife of the Year.*)  While waiting for his order, he takes the kids to the candy store and buys me a box of chocolate for an early Valentine's Day gift as he knows he'll be out of town on that day.  His birthday and he buys me a gift!!!!!!!

This is the kind of man Eric is.  All.  Year.  Long.  He constantly is giving his best for me and for others while expecting & wanting nothing for himself.

America can have all of those egotistical, over-paid football players.  They are nothing compared to the one who loves me.  He makes an honest living by working hard.  He is faithful to me and to our children.  He serves others, but wants no recognition.  He could care less about looking tough, but gives a friendly smile to just about everyone he meets.

This is my husband....and I'm ever so grateful for him.