Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meal Planning

I've gotten tremendously lazy with meal planning & massive organization is needed.
The price of groceries is going up, foods are adding more fillers to extend the servings, and healthier fare is needed for our home.  We do have a couple of "boxed" foods that we like ~ Zatarains has a good Red Beans & Rice that we serve with either sausage or chicken Or mixed with ground beef becomes dirty rice...everyone likes it cooked any way & the leftovers are great for lunches the next day. (The Red beans mixture does not have MSG like some of their others) The other Zatarains we like it the Southern Steak Stroganoff..we make it with ground beef & serve with sour cream (otherwise its just a bit too peppery for us).  I know that I can find "from scratch" alternatives for these boxes, but it is nice to have these on hand for busy days/nights.
The other boxed "staple" is Annies Macaroni & Cheese ~ we usually do these for our "school" lunches.  This is one of Amy's favorites.  And the Annie's brand is organic.  We buy many boxes when the sale occurs at Kroger.
And once a week or so, Ramen Noodles make an appearance at lunchtime ~ totally bad for you, full of junk but super cheap and well liked. 

Here is the menu plan for this week, starting today....

Tuesday ~ Tossed Salad with Chicken
Wed. ~  Baked Pork Chops with rice, vegies
Thursday ~ Red Beans & Rice with sausage
Friday ~ Crockpot Pirate Stew
Sat. ~ Mashed Potatoes, *gravy, vegies
Sunday ~ Pinterest Crockpot Meal ~ Italian Chicken Alfredo, peas

* for the Sat. gravy, we make cream gravy and mix browned ground beef with it ~ its one of Gregs new favorites.

The Italian Chicken Alfredo called for dry italian dressing mix, so I went on a quest to find a mix to make and not buy the packets.  I found one on "Heavenly Homemakers"...

1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons sea salt
 1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried celery flakes

Mix thoroughly, store in an airtight container.
Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons water and 1/2 cup olive oil to make the salad dressing.

Since my recipe calls for the dry mix, I will just use the 2 tablespoons.

I also found a recipe on http://www.cutest-baby-shower-ideas.com/ that I would like to share.

Recipe for Motherhood

1 Heart full of love
1 Head full of understanding
2 eyes in the back of your head
3 heaping cups of patience
1 gallon of generosity
1 barrel of laughter

Mix well,  Sprinkle with kindness, add plenty of faith. Heat with sunshine & spread generously over a lifetime for a plateful of joy.  Add a cup of warm memories!

Happy meal planning!
Now onto the grocery store with the organized shopping list!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Its Picture Time!

Hi Grandma!

Ohhhh, theres Mimi!

But Auntie Amy ~ I like my snarly face expression

Precious Gift from God

Beautiful Mommy & Baby

Little Bit is one month old now!

just chillin' with grandma!

3 Generations ~ Great Grandmother, grand daughter & great grandson

PROUD grandpa

Auntie Amy & Grandpa "fighting" over Robert

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fantastic Friday

Highlights of our day...

*seeing Amy & Will after them being at Street Reach all week
*going out with the Street Reach team this morning & watching our kids demonstrate Christs love to these inner city children
*seeing how much being here affected all our youth girls and watching them cry because they had to leave and go home ~ Amy included
*a wonderful Mexican meal with Greg, Will & Amy for lunch
*a relaxing time in the hotel room....just being together
*going to Greg & Wills "toy" store ~ a woodworking store in Memphis
*visiting with some family up here
*seeing Robert, Katie & Bryant ~~~~~hugging and kissing my little grandboy
*eating barbeque sandwiches for dinner, Greg smoked the meat and we brought it up here
*visiting with Katie ~ I miss our talks
*watching Robert be adored by his aunts & uncles & great grandmother (pictures coming later)
*eating Katie's yummy chocolate chip cake for dessert
*watching Amy aka the baby whisperer charm little Robert!

Tomorrow morning, we are meeting for breakfast at IHOP and then visiting all morning, eating lunch, and heading for home.

We've taken 100's of pictures today...most of street reach this morning.
I think mine would be ready to come back after a few good nights sleep...oh who am I kidding ~ they didn't want to leave this morning.  Sleep isn't important if you are doing something you love!

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Work-cation became Shrimp-cation

My dear husband planned a workcation for us while the kids were gone to Memphis.
Being the loving, supportive wife that I am ~~~I "sacrificed" some of my crafting time to tag along!
We left Monday about 3 and got back at 9 on Tues. night and managed to CRAM lots of fun into the work!  And his workcation became my shrimpcation when I at shrimp for dinner on Monday night & lunch and dinner on Tuesday night!  Shrimp cooked 3 different ways...grilled, fried, and in alfredo pasta!
But none had that Old Bay Seasoning junk on it ~ I am allergic to that stuff with shellfish!

Here are a few pictures of our fun.....

Greg hard at work...he was measuring water depth at specific intervals while I held the tape measure and took pictures!

That stingray was about the size of a dinner plate and passed about 3 feet away from me....beautiful creature!

Ahhhhh, sand & salt water!  Love it!

This shell find was inhabitied ~ we threw it back into the water

Gregs new "do" ~ he looks like the comedien Gallagher

last parting shot before we headed for home
All in all, it was a great trip.  Monday night we went swimming in the hotel pool and last night we went swimming in our pool.  
Its nice to have time to talk, enjoy each others company, and explore together.

And we've exchanged many texts with Will & Amy ~ they are having a great time at Street Reach~  2 more days and we will be up there with them!

Then Friday night....I get to see my grandboy again!  Hope Robert is ready for grandma hugs and kisses and lots more pictures!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Amy & Will, along with 14 or so other youth from our church + 4 adult chaperones left for their mission trip yesterday after church.  They will be participating in "Street Reach" doing Vacation Bible School for inner city children in Memphis.

Here are some pictures of the team as they were preparing to leave yesterday...

Our youth were given the choice of a "fun" trip for a week this summer or a mission trip.  The kids unanimously chose to go back to Street Reach.  Its a blessing to have a group of kids who want to bless others instead of alternatives.

We are praying the Lord will use this team in a mighty way, for safety as they minister, and for their own lives to be impacted far beyond what any of us can imagine.  

Greg and I are headed up there later in the week & will go out with the team on Friday morning! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fruitful Life

Galatians 5:22-2
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature it its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

1 Peter 1:6
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need, be you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, maybe be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love.

Sometimes circumstances, people, and situations strive to "steal" my Joy.  The enemy knows who to work through and how to work through them to attack Christs believers ~ I am not immune to this thievery.   My joy has been diminished by events & the people involved.  Something I greatly anticipated was "hidden" from me by deception.   I am striving to let go of the hurt & dissapointment. 
  This is not easy. 

I am however choosing not to let this steal my Joy.  
As Christians, its up to us to life righteous, fruitful, and faithful lives.  I am only responsible for ME, I am not responsible for my husband or for my children.  I can encourage them, I can point them down righteous paths, I can give them materials that can equip them, and most importantly I can pray for them ~ hourly, daily, weekly.

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do in work or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

And several verses many chose to ignore, not obey, & laugh at...

Colossians 3:18-20
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.  Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

We need to know what the Lords word says so we can live a life pleasing to Him, to live peaceable with one another, and to encourage & not discourage one another.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Pictures

Onesies don't lie!
catchin' some sun!
Happy 3 week Birthday to our dear little Robert!

And thanks bunches to him Mommy for keeping Grandma supplied with pictures!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Narcissist is at it again

It is so sad that he really thinks that the only way folks have to get ahead is riding the coattails of the government. Please pray that change is on the way. Posted by Grandpa Greg

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Journey Continues

As Christians, we are on a journey.  The Lord takes us through valleys and over mountains to strengthen us, to challenge us, to encourage us, and to grow us.  Being a Christian isn't about "saying a prayer", and then life goes on as normal.  Its about intense joys, sorrowful hurts, questioning, praying, pondering, reading, listening, exploring, studying, laughing, mourning, coming out of the world & learning to be more like Jesus.  God doesn't give us everything we need for our walk the moment we surrender our lives to the Lord ~ but he does lead, guide, and direct our paths through life.

I am thrilled to be on this journey with my best friend & husband.  I am also thrilled the Lord is leading us down the same paths at pretty much the same time.  There have been some detours in the last 7 years that one or the other of us has been down alone, but those are few and far between.

Sometimes the lights on the path are so glaringly obvious, that we wonder why we didn't "see" this before.  And honestly, there are paths we are going down right now that are quite unusual to the world in general, our friends, and our family.  All I can say to that is....we don't make any decisions without first praying, seeking guidance, extensive reading, and many family meetings.

Right now, we are both thinking about "religious cults".  The best description I can come up with right now it ~ those religions, practices, prayers, ceremonies that don't line up with what the Bible clearly says. I put clearly in italics, because there are many faiths that say you need the Gospel &.  The & is the confusing part.  The scriptures are clear in what is needed to follow Jesus and how to live  a faith-filled Christian life.   You don't need a bunch of extras ~ the extras are always man inspired, man created, and man mandated ~ not from God.

So on this journey, I asked Greg to find us some good books explaining cults.  But then I changed that request....I want to know the Bible so clearly & vividly that when something occurs, I can "compare" it to what I am seeing/hearing.  Know truth, so you can recognize un-truth.  He found us a couple of books that are downloaded onto our Kindles now (which makes them extremely portable!).  They are "Know your Bible ~ all 66 books explained" a brief outline of each book of the Bible, "Always Ready" by Robert Booth ~ directions for defending the truth...not being neutral, the Bible is clear, there are rights/wrongs, no gray areas, "Everloving Truth" by Voddie Bauchum ~ just finished this book and its excellent, and "How to study the Bible".

Where is this journey taking us?  Right now, I don't know.  I do know that its steering us away from unhealthy, unGodly, unBiblical places we could venture into.  God is  showing us where we need to invest our time, our money, our ministry, our Missions time, etc.  He is also showing us who we need to be with, who to avoid, who to listen too, etc.  We do know that the Lords journey is a straight & narrow path and not a wide "all roads lead to heaven" path.

Its a confusing journey sometimes.  But its a blessing to be on this journey with Greg, Amy & Will.

Matthew 8:7-8
7 Ask and it will be give to you: seek and you will find: knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knows the door will be opened. Repeated in Luke 11: 9-10

Matthew 11: 28-30
28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and humble in heart, and you will fine rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

John 14:6 
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 1:16
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Romans 3:22-26
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference.  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance he had left the sins committed before hand unpunished - 26 He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Its that Time Again!

The Mississippi State Fair is in 2 1/2 or so months.
So, we've been working on fair projects.
We don't have quite as many done as last year ~ but my goal is to be up there with the numbers.
I've been working on COMPLETING projects.
I've got several started in different categories and need to finish.
Here are some of the newly completed projects ~ fair ready.

OK, he's not a fair project but look at that sweet baby "dressing up" his new onesie!

hand embroidered onesies

watermelon jelly, tomato juice & canned tomatoes

more granny squares ~ what I worked on driving to ST. Louis

a candlewicking shell ~ beige on beige is hard to see!

My 2nd ever completed afghan ~ after fair going into grandma's hope chest for 1t granddaughter!

hand embroidered garment ~ on back of little baby jacket

set of 6 hand embroidered napkins ~ will go in Amy's hopechest after the fair

I am linking up with http://mysimplecountryliving.blogspot.com/2012/07/country-homemaker-hop-28.html 

Oh, I found the following on Pinterest & I totally agree!
 Oh AMEN to that!  I love handmade gifts.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Jelly Delight

My new favorite place for inspiration & ideas is Pinterest.
Last week I saw a pin/link for Watermelon Jelly.  This sounded great since we had just bought a huge watermelon for the 4th.  Our company couldn't make it, so the watermelon remained uncut & refrigerated.  Last night the Tapleys came over for hamburgers, swimming and watermelon.
We gorged on slices of watermelon and only ate 1/2 of it.
So I broke my own "I don't ever want to make jelly in the summertime" self imposed rule and set to making this delight.  (the rule is because the heat of cooking, canning & Miss. is just too much for most summer days!)

The original link to the recipe is this...
since I didn't have liquid pectin, I started searching for a recipe that used powdered and I found it here...

Here are some pictures.....

I got about 16 cups of pulp from 1/2 the melon

blended it in batches in my almost never used blender
The finished product

The link has lots of adds and "extra" info mixed in the recipe ~ so here is the cleaned up version

Watermelon Jelly

2 cups watermelon juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/4 cups sugar
1 packet powdered pectin/1/4 cup sugar mixed
(total sugar 3 1/2 cups)

Heat the watermelon juice, lemon juice and pectin/sugar mix to a full rolling boil on med. heat.
Then add the rest of the sugar, and reheat to a full rolling boil.  Test for "jell", reading the directions on the pectin packet.
Recipe makes 4 jelly jars (1/2 pint) or 8 1/4 pint cutesy jars

Remove from heat.  Put molten yumminess in clean, sterilized canning jars.  Top with lids and rings & place in waterbath canner.  "Can" for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
Remove from canner, listen for the "ping" that indicates the jars are sealed.

***I blended the watermelon pulp into batches using the liquify setting on my blender.  The beautiful red juice settled to the bottle of the bowl with the pulpy part floating on top.  I skimmed of the pulpy part and just used the clear juice.  

The chickens got all the watermelon leftovers.

And when I tested for the "jell" I tasted the cooling jelly.  Oh my goodness, yummy.  Its a sugary, light fruity flavor and the color is a beautiful pinky red.

I made 2 batches today ~ and have enough juice to make about 5 more...but first a trip to Sams to buy more sugar!