Thursday, December 30, 2010

crepes (said in the best possible french accent you can conjure up)

crepes for Christmas morn...or anytime really
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup flour (I use a brown rice flour, tapioca, potato starch blend)\
1/2 t. guar gum (if using gluten-free flour)
1 T. oil
2 T. sucanat (or sugar)
1/4 t. salt
Combine above ingredients.  Beat well until mixed. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and scoop 1/4 cup of batter into pan; lift and tilt skillet to spread batter.  Return to heat and brown one side only.  Place paper towels in between crepes to keep moist.  Repeat.   Makes 12 crepes.

Serve with berries, bananas, nuts, maple syrup, and whipped coconut milk.

Well, Christmas has been celebrated. Happy Birthday to Jesus has been sung.  Gifts have been unwrapped.  "Honka dump trucks" have been hauled all over the place.

Miles have been traveled.  My mom's prime rib consumed, along with fresh ground horseradish that I look forward to all year.  Many rounds of dutch blitz, euchre, and scattergories have been played. Hills sledded on. 

And now, it is time for decorations to be stowed away.  Unless if you're grandma Mary, where it's Christmas anytime :)  We have many memories to savor.  
And much more to celebrate...
Almost 10 years ago, I said “I do” to my love on January 6th, 2001!!!

So the celebration continues ‘round here. 
Besides, we have a few more days of vacation to live up!

Friday, December 24, 2010

God. is. WITH. us.

Matthew 1.21-23
And Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because
He will save His people from their sins.  
All of this happened to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet:  
The virgin will conceive a child and will give birth to a son, 
and He will be called Immanuel, which means 
God is with us.

John 1.14
So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.

Could there be any greater reason to CELEBRATE!!!
Wishing you all an AWE-some celebration of our Lord and Savior's birth...
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
HE is with us!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

chicken black bean soup

This has been my day.  Introducing littlest one to the potty.  With backpacks hung for 2+ weeks and a slower week planned, I thought we would tackle it.  2 successes out of 7.  I’ll take it! 
So, after my attention was on Jude all morning, during his nap this afternoon, the boys and I made and decorated Christmas cookies…the simple way.  Thank you, Bekah, for the GF box mix to try out!  We made Christmas ornament cookies this year.  BY FAR, the easiest way of making Christmas cookies we’ve done, and perhaps that’s what made it the most enjoyable.

With all this going on, I’m thankful for recipes like this.  Hearty soup cooking all day long, because with 3 very lively boys, there is plenty else to do…

chicken black bean soup
2 chicken breasts
2 cans black beans, drained
30 oz. rotel tomatoes
1 c. salsa
1 T. cumin
14 1/2 oz. can tomato sauce
cilantro (add at end)
Place in crockpot on low 6-8 hours (depending on how quickly your crockpot cooks).  Shred chicken at some point, after 4 hours or so.  Add back in the shredded chicken to finish cooking.  I add a huge amount of chopped cilantro right before serving.
Source: Julie - this always makes me think of you :)  love and miss you girl!

Like savor these ever-growing boys...

Miles drawing baby Jesus with a lightsaber (surely God smiles at this mind He created), or
Jack's chicklet teeth on top of that ornery grin of his, or 
Freshly bathed little one with his footy jammies, his Christmas kitty ("who is shy"), a sippy cup of milk and a cookie with "pinkles" on it.  

As much craziness as a day can hold, I want to relish these moments. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

mocha truffles

Today is set up perfectly, with some time here this afternoon to continue gifting, sandwiched in between a lively MOM's group this morning and some fun friends hitting the town sans kids this evening.  
As promised, this is just a small snippet of what we've been up to over here...
tins of honey orange caramel corn for those who teach our children and boxes of homemade holiday trail mix for those who assist my husband in the office.
bags to fill with materials suited to our boys’ personality – pens and paper for miles; bugs and lizards for jack and any type of *aminals* for jude.

stamping cards the way boys like to stamp best

and mocha truffles... decadent. smooth. savory. hint of coffee in ghiradelli chocolate. mocha truffles.

mocha truffles
2 pkgs. (12 oz. each) semisweet chocolate chips (I use ghiradelli)
1 pkg. ( 8 oz.) softened cream cheese
3 T. instant coffee granules (I use Juan Valdez)
2 t. water
1 lb. dark chocolate confectionary coating
white chocolate, optional
Melt chocolate chips in microwave or double boiler.  Add cream cheese, coffee, water, and mix well.  Chill until firm enough to shape into balls.  Shape into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.  Melt chocolate coating.  Dip balls until coated in chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.  
Optional: melt white chocolate and drizzle over top.  
Source: Melissa - thank you!

Also optional: place on cute plate and wrap up in fabric to give away.

That right there is a little of what we have been up to.
And this is what we have not been up to…

Have a wonder-full weekend everyone!
Mine will be full of continued wonder of what it means to
let every heart prepare Him room.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

our new home to be

I wish I had more time to share all we’ve been up to.  I will post some more pics of Santa’s workshop soon.  But for now, we have exciting news that our house offer did go through, and we should be closing in a few weeks!  Praise. The. Lord!  This has been a beautiful process of seeing His hand in what started a year ago when we were feeling led to put a For Sale by Owner sign in our yard.  Not planning on relocating, but open to where He would guide.  And knowing that as long as we were in our new house (small, but new), the mortgage would always be the bulk of our income.  Our house sold in July, and it’s been a lot of seeking, knocking, waiting, repeat.  When this house came up a week ago, I shared a bit in the last post.  I immediately fell in love.  So much so that I never went inside the house (Andy did), and we put an offer on it anyway.  I would drive by the house and have to look the other way because I was trying so hard not to get my hopes up.  Well, after we turned in our earnest money this morning, I got to take a peak inside.  It’s rough, and needs a lot of love.  But that’s good, because I’m already smitten.  Mostly because I walk through the hallways and door frames and see what it could be.  

It's a beautiful thing to know: 
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
by His own hand, He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
for by His hand He leadeth me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

potato soup

It's winter out there! I'm back to drinking 3 cups of tea a day to keep warm. I pull an apple out of the fridge and run it under hot water before slicing. I live in my knee-high socks. I'm tempted to bake with the oven door open.  Those snuggies don't look like such a bad idea :) And we make lots of soup. Potato has been the soup of the week, mostly because we still have a box of these babies I bought in the fall for 4.25 from a farmer up the road. 

And because Andy owned this cookbook (the Creative Cooking Collection) before we ever met, which I find completely cute.  

Potato Soup
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups water
2 cups red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 T. butter
3 T. flour (I use GF rice flour blend)
Black pepper
Smoked paprika
3 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed smoked ham
Chopped fresh parsley
Bring water to boil in large pan over medium-high heat.  Add potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with fork, 13-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook and stir 4-5 minutes until onion is tender but not brown.  Add flour.  Season with black pepper and paprika; cook and stir 3-4 minutes.  Set aside.  Drain potatoes, reserving 1 cup of liquid (add water to make 1 cup, if necessary).  Gradually add onion mixture, milk and reserved liquid to potatoes in large saucepan; stir well.  Add cheese and ham.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently.  Garnish with parsley.

Jude's new favorite song is My God is so BIG, so strong and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do.  I've needed that reminder this week. Because we saw an extremely amazing deal of a house come on the market a few days ago. It wasn't even out 24 hours, and we offered more than they were asking, but they accepted another offer. I had some woe is me moments where I let the feeling of being unsettled and all the unknowns overtake me. I wanted to believe others when they said something better was out there, but doubted. That day I turned to Luke 12.22-34 (from the New Living Translation) and read just what I needed to hear:  Don't worry whether God will provide it for you.  These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs.

I still could not get that house off my mind.  So, I continued to pray that God would do the impossible, even if there was another accepted offer. And the call came today! The realtor said they would reconsider our offer. I have no idea what happened with the other offer. They originally told me it wouldn't fall through because they had offered cash. 

At this point, it's not even about getting the house. I can honestly say I'm at peace if we don't. Because I've seen God's hand. And that has been enough for me to be reminded that He IS so big. There's nothing He cannot do....and that includes leading our family. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

our gift for the King

One gift wrapped under the tree.  It’s not for any of us.  But we will all unwrap the gift and read what’s inside together on Christmas morning.  Notes that we’ve written.  Telling of kindness we’ve seen in others.  A brother lending a hand.  A father spending his day working to provide.  A son giving a hug.  Ways that we’ve seen each other carry out exactly what Jesus came to do, to serve and give our lives for others, what He asks us to do.  This is our gift to Jesus.  Yet what can I give Him?  I’ll give my heart.  Sarah McLachlan's lyrics reminded me this week of this tradition we would do as kids.  We still laugh over my brother writing "mom let me take a bath."  I can't wait to read what our boys will write.  But most of all, I want God to be honored.  He's given so much.  His only Son.  As a ransom for many.  
And the King will tell them, 'I assure you, when you did it (fed the hungry, gave the thirsty a drink, invited a stranger into your home, clothed the needy, cared for the sick, visited those in prison) to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!'  Matthew 25.40

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

honey caramel corn

Santa’s workshop is in full swing…
We’ve been busy dreaming, knitting, sawing, sanding, infusing, crafting, baking, hammering, painting…Which is all so much more enjoyable and relaxing for me than pushing a cart through a store this time of year.  

Not to mention some random projects the boys have thought up, like a clock Miles made all on his own - pretty impressive, I'll say!

Jack's working on a home for all his lizards and snakes.  
These boys love the work bench T-Pa made them.  It's amazing how entertaining a box of wood, some nails and a hammer is!    

One scarf saw completion this weekend!!!

I sampled a new recipe for caramel corn last night, and this stuff has got to get out of our house!  Quick!  The recipes I've used before called for corn syrup, which I wanted to replace with something "healthier" this year.  I typed in honey caramel corn and Google led me to this recipe:  
It is such a rich blend of flavors.  I added more orange zest than it calls for, and I used sucanat in place of brown sugar.  So, basically it's health food now...

And while I was working on some of these things, I looked out the window to see this. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest fan of the cold. But there’s something about little boys bundled up and the squeals that come with getting out the sleds that drew me outside for awhile.


I shoulda known that this snowball was headed for me…