Thursday, September 3, 2015

Another Season

Seasons...

Our lives are filled with them.

Whether we willingly enter them or not,

they happen.

Some call them chapters...

Others say adventures.

Whatever the word used - journeys/changes/chapters/adventures/seasons - 

they happen.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11 tells us...

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, 
a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal, 
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time...


Recently, my family left a state that we so dearly love for my husband's new work assignment.

As a military family, that's normal.  No biggie.

Moves happen constantly and it's just something that happens often.

But...

With this move, I'm entering my first year as a homeschooling mom.

Another season.

I never imagined myself to be in this position.

Home all day with my little one...

... teaching him.

It's most definitely a new season for me and I'm not sure I was ready for this time to come so quickly.

For our move to happen this year,

For our son to grow up so fast,

and for MY personal time to be no longer.

Thankfully, the Lord prepared our hearts over the course of a year.

(We didn't make this decision overnight.)

Praise God for that!

Praise Him for the wisdom from our friends who have successfully homeschool and are currently homeschooling.

Praise Him for the privilege to go to Him daily in prayer.

We've prayerfully entered into this time and have complete peace about our decision to homeschool.

While it may be a struggle to adjust to this new change and there may be days filled with tears and frustration, I'm resting in the fact that the Lord is with us, and that we will have lots of joy, growth, and time together as a family.

Praying for those entering into new seasons also.

May the Lord reveal His plan for you during this time.  May you seek Him daily for comfort, peace, and guidance during your new challenges.  I pray for growth in Him and that He may be gloried through it all.  

Together in Christ,

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

One of my sweet friends recently gifted me a beautiful book titled One-Dish Vegan by Robin Robertson.

I had been wanting to try more vegetarian meals and the idea of vegan sounded enticing.

I spotted a recipe in the book that made me curious...

So I made a trip to the grocery store and ...

Boy am I glad I did.

This recipe was terrific!

It only took about 30 minutes to throw together, and the taste...

Was outstanding!



Here's the recipe adapted from that lovely book.

Enjoy!

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed/finely chopped
1 small can of tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

In large saucepan over medium heat, add oil, onion, bell pepper, zucchini and garlic.  Cover and cook until veggies soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste and seasonings, mix well.  Add diced tomatoes and beans.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until veggies are tender, about 15-25 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve over quinoa, white rice, or brown rice.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Coal Region Boilo

There's a drink in Pennsylvania's coal region called Boilo.

It's very similar to a super delicious hot toddy.

Served warm, this drink is made out of fruit, spices, honey, and moonshine or whiskey.

My husband grew up the coal region and has been talking about Boilo since I've known him.

This holiday, I decided to attempt at making his hometown holiday classic.

After searching for recipes, I discovered numerous versions of Boilo.

Meaning, there are many ways to skin this cat.

So....my first batch had too much whiskey.

The second was too citrus-y...

and after a few tweaking...the third was just right!

Whew - Coal region nectar!


After several attempts and tastings, I was F-L-A-T on the couch.

To avoid multiple tries and making this perfect the first time, here's the recipe that worked best.

Coal Region Boilo

4 cups water
1 cup clover honey
3 oranges
1 lemons
3 cinnamon stick
2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp anise seeds
12 oz moonshine or whiskey (Jim Beam)

Juice oranges and lemons (keep the rind).  In a medium pot, add water, honey, orange & lemon juice, orange & lemon rinds, all the spices.  Simmer until rind softens.  Strain pulp.  Add whiskey.  Pour into jars and add one cinnamon stick (optional).  Serve warm.  Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Preschool Gifts

This year...

Christmas snuck up on me!

Oh....did it sneak up on me!!

I've been super busy with all of my volunteer projects that Christmas presents just fell by the wayside.

Presents for my family.

Presents for my friends...

and presents for my son's classmates!!

While I overlooked my son's classmates, I organized a group gift card from all the parents for his teachers.

That counts a little, doesn't it?

(No.... NO it doesn't!!)

Oh... his presents for his classmates!

How did I miss the boat?

UGH!

I look forward to making these presents each year.

Last year, I spent weeks on these birdseed gingerbread shaped ornaments for all 20 of his classmates.


These were messy, super time consuming, but lots of fun.

This year...

Feeling like a failure of a mom, I dug around in my craft box looking for some ideas the morning of his Holiday party.

I found some acorn jingle bells I bought in the Fall, some leftover precut cards, and some holiday stamps...

oh, and a little ribbon and...

a little five-year old with a marker...

WHA - LA!

The final product....all in less than ONE HOUR!!



Thank goodness for my hoarding ways.

Next on the list, presents for the family :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Amish Breakfast Casserole

Happy December!!

It's one of my most favorite times of the year...

and also the busiest.

From holiday parties to ...

Husband's office potlucks to ...

Breakfast playdates to ...

Fellowship breakfast meetings to ...

yadda .... yadda .... yadda.

The list is endless and for all of it -

I bring food.

I know, it's too much sometimes ... but I love it.

My go-to dish this holiday season has been an Amish Breakfast Casserole.


This dish is always and I mean ALWAYS a hit!

Even the gluten-free folks go nuts over it.

I found this recipe years ago online and recently discovered it again for this year's holiday gatherings.

It's amazingly simple and delicious.

I just throw the ingredients together the night before and store in the fridge.

Then the next morning, I bake it for 35-45 mins and BAM...

My kitchen smells amazing and I have a yummy crowd pleasing dish to share.

In case, you're in the market for a scrumptious casserole to bring to a breakfast or brunch this busy holiday season... consider this yummy casserole.

Amish Breakfast Casserole
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 lb sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups  frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Mexican four cheese (or swiss, or mild cheddar)
16 oz small curd cottage cheese

In large skillet, cook onion in olive oil until translucent.  Set aside.  In large bowl, combine eggs, hash browns, and cheeses.  Stir in bacon and onions.  Transfer to a greased 13in-9in-2in baking dish.

Either bake immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 mins until bubbly.  Let stand for 10 mins before cutting.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day!

Veteran's Day is a federal holiday that I never really understood.

I knew it was a day when we remember and thank those who have served and those who are currently serving in the US military.

I also knew it was a day when restaurants gave free food or discounts to the retired and active duty military, as well as retail stores offering discounts to retired, active duty and their families.

As a military spouse, I looked forward to this day for the shopping discounts and free food.

I just love great deals.

But...

As a daughter to a retired Navy veteran, I never thought twice about the retirees.

I mean, yeah.... I thank them and all.

But, Veteran's Day had turned into my day of getting great deals.

Sad, but true.

It wasn't until recently that I started questioning every holiday and observance.

Federal .... State .... Religious ...

Why do we celebrate these?

Are they holidays and observances that I want to celebrate and/or make time for?

Am I just going along with the status quo and going through the motions?

Do I really understand them enough to teach my son the specifics on ... "Why we celebrate?".

Well...

As it turns out, Veteran's Day is a federal holiday to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

People in other parts of the world also celebrate this day as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day as it marks the end of World War I.

The war ended at the 11th day at the 11th hour at the 11th month in 1918.

Since that day, the U.S. celebrated Armistice Day, but in 1954 this holiday evolved in the U.S. as Veterans Day.

How about that?!!

Today, I'm looking at Veteran's Day with a new set of eyes.

I'm bursting with gratitude for those who have served to protect the freedoms that I take for granted.

The freedom of unalienable rights as described in our Declaration of Independence.

God bless you for your sacrifice for this free nation.

DIY Spray Painted T-shirts

Ever since my son watched Spiderman 3, he's been obsessed with the villain...Venom.

So when I was cleaning his closet last week and discovered a black shirt hanging in his closet with oil stains on the front, I had an idea...

Venom!

So, I researched venom logos and drove to the craft store to figure out how to put the white logo on a black shirt.

THREE hours later, I left with Tulip fabric spray paint, Elmers spray adhesive, masking tape, and a black t-shirt.

I picked up a black tee as backup in case I mess up with the first shirt.

Here's how my first shirt turned out...

It came out great and my son LOVED it!

So, thought I'd detail the process with the back-up t-shirt.

1.  Print the image in the exact size that you'd like on the t-shirt.  Nothing fancy.


2.  Place image on a cutting board.  Cut out the image with a blade.  An x acto knife would have been much easier than the box cutter, but I couldn't find my x acto knife, so this had to do.


Remove the image.  Now you have a stencil.  Woo Hoo!!!


3.  Prepare the t-shirt by putting something inside that's flat.  Also in case the paint seeps through the shirt, it doesn't bleed through on the other side.  Here I used an old Disney book.


4.  Take the stencil, turn it over and spray with the spray adhesive.  Let sit for 2-3 mins.


5.  Center the stencil on the t-shirt and make sure it's flat on the shirt.  Straighten out any bumps and make sure the outline and edges are glued down.


6.  Take large pieces of paper and masking tape and cover the shirt around the stencil.  This protects the shirt from any paint splatters and such.  Here I used newspaper.


Spray generously.


Here's the paint I used.

7.  Let sit for 30 mins.  Then quickly peel the paper off the shirt.  The paint will still be wet, but if you rip quickly it won't smear.

I let this dry overnight...


Voila!
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