Twelve Extraordinary Women

Dear sisters,

I can’t really say that the last few weeks have been uneventful for me.  I seem to always be busy and short on sleep but nothing new or exciting to share despite that!

One of the things I’ve been trying is a different kind of devotional.   Honestly, I’ve never been very good at doing my devotions every day.  Actually I dare say I’m bad at it.  Drew is quite the opposite.  He does really well, generally reading either the Bible or a devotional each morning before work.  For this past Christmas, I bought him a book, “Twelve Ordinary Men” by John MacArthur.  Its more of a book than a devotional, but it also includes a study guide.  Something that I think would work really well for a study group.  While I was searching for something for his “Twelfth day of Christmas” gift (I’ll have to tell that story some other time), I came across said book.  But I also came across one called “Twelve Extraordinary Women” also by MacArthur.

So I bought both.

And of course, its nearing the end of May and I still haven’t even finished the 200 page book.  In any case, I do quite like the different style of the book.  As opposed to a devotional which is read this scripture passage, then read this commentary on it, its a chapter book, each chapter devoted to a different woman in the bible.  It outlines strengths, weaknesses, differences between roles of men and women, and more  – like how Abraham and Sarah were actually half-siblings, they had the same father (not something I normally remember about them).

MacArthur

I’m a little sad to say how much I read and I think to myself, “Oh yeah! I forgot about her,” or “I forgot that happened.”  The first chapter (on Eve, of course) was a little hard for me to get into but now I’m on to Rahab, the prostitute.  The song I sang sooo many times as a child always pops into my head, “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho!” but its very refreshing to look at Rahab’s role in the whole story.  Its amazing how God can use even a “harlot,” Rahab.

The book is really living up to the title.  What extraordinary women the Bible tells us of!  And even as I sit here before bed time, about ready to read a few more pages, I’m reminded of some other extraordinary women – thats YOU.   I don’t thank God enough for my sisters (biological or not).  So I’m going to take a moment to do that now.  I appreciate you all and couldn’t ask for anyone better.

Thank you, Lord, for your wonderful blessings. Amen.

~T~

Advertisements

A New Milestone

Well sisters, I’m finally growing up.

And no, I’m not pregnant.

Drew & I purchased our first major piece of furniture.  Actually, aside from our TV stand, I don’t think we’ve bought any.  I think that’s quite impressive – over 2 years of marriage and somehow our house is completely furnished 🙂  We got our bedroom set from Mom & Dad, 2 spare beds from an aunt and a grandma, dining table from an aunt… Boy we are good.

Drew taking a study break on our old couch.  This is when we still lived in our basement apartment.

Drew taking a study break on our old couch. This is when we still lived in our basement apartment.

Anyway the couch we had was pretty old.  We had lived in a basement apartment for a while after getting married, and this couch was there when we moved in.  Our very sweet landlady told us if we carried the couch out we could have it.  So guess what we did?

The couch was starting to break though – you were pretty much laying down no matter how you sat on it.  So we finally went shopping and got ourselves a new one!!  Actually we don’t even have the whole couch yet – the end piece is on back order but Drew couldn’t handle the old couch anymore.  (The picture makes it look a little purple-ish… its actually a dark brown.)  So its kinda exciting to have bought something new – something we actually picked out ourselves.  A milestone in our lives 🙂

Our new couch!  Or most of it!

Our new couch! Or most of it!

On top of that, Drew got chosen to be a deacon at church.  Boy does THAT make me feel old!  He was actually nominated a year ago, but didn’t get chosen that time.  I certainly do not feel old enough for him to be a deacon already!  Where has all the time gone?

So, sisters, I’m joining the club: I’m finally old.  (Just kidding!! :D)

~T~

Winter, I love you.

You know how it always happens that you really remember how much you loved something as soon as its gone?  It’s like ugh, you were right again, Mom.  I complained about it when I had it; now that it’s gone I miss it.

So I made a list to remind myself later when I start complain about winter again; here’s my top 10 (in no particular order) reasons of why I love winter.

Happy May Day!  Yep woke up on the first day of May to this.  Ironically enough it was nearly 100 degrees just two weeks later.  Stay on your toes people! You never know whats coming.

Happy May Day! Yep woke up on the first day of May to this. Ironically enough it was nearly 100 degrees just two weeks later. Stay on your toes people! You never know whats coming.

1. No SPIDERS and no birds.  I haven’t officially found any live spiders in my house yet, but I know they are coming.  I HATE spiders.  Like seriously.  It doesn’t really make sense to me where they go in the winter time, but I don’t really care.  If my house is spider-free for a few months (or more) I’m happy.  I also got home from work the other day and there was a giant splat of bird poop on my car…. the kind that is basically cemented on.  No regular car wash gets that stuff off and it makes a bigger mess when you try to wipe your windshield… talk about gross.

2. Never worry about what to wear.  There’s really little decision-making for me on what to wear.  I find some pants, a sweater of some kind, fuzzy socks, and one or more coats.  Generally it doesn’t even matter which top you wear because you’ll have a coat on anyway.  And I’m not the kind of person to try to match my coat to the rest of my outfit.  A coat is a coat.  Plus my fur boots go with EVERYTHING!

3. Venues for parties/get-togethers are pretty much decided.  You don’t have to worry about anything outdoors.  Any party that you have will be inside, or will have some sort of heated shelter/cabin nearby.  You really don’t want to go to that community building an hour away… chances are there will be a freak blizzard and take you 3 hours to get home even with 4-wheel drive (and you have to get home, else where would you sleep?)  Basically you go with your house, or the friend’s house down the road.

The wind can do some crazy looking things to the snow.

The wind can do some crazy looking things to the snow.

4. I can sit in front of the TV with a blanket and my space heater and that’s perfectly acceptable.  One of my favorite things to at night is grab a blanket and get nice and toasty with a little heater.  Its not that I’m really that cold, it just feels so wonderful to be warm.  Its like why do so many people like hot tubs?  Its warm and relaxing and mmm… so nice 🙂

5. Everything looks pretty and clean. I love when everything is white.  White looks clean.  Of course this generally turns brown and dirty fast, but the white is nice!  See after harvest it gets a little depressing.  The fields were full, producing bountiful crops, and then all of a sudden they are empty.  Barren.  Nothing but scraps and dirt.  So after harvest I’m pretty ready for some nice white snow to cover up the sad and empty fields.

6. No one tells me how great my neighbor’s yard looks.  I will admit: my neighbor’s yard always looks fantastic.  They have good looking trees, grass, landscaping, paving stones, rock, bushes, flowers… you name it.  And all of it looks good, all the time.  I’m just happy if my lawn is mowed on a semi-regular basis!  However, in the winter, my yard looks just as good as theirs.  The grass and landscaping (or lack thereof) is covered in snow, so we’re basically on an even playing field! People will tell me how good theirs looks and its like, “hey, you haven’t even seen their backyard.  Its even better.”  Seriously.

IMG_1207

7. The only work I have to do on Saturdays is clean the house. There’s no roofs to be shingled, no houses to paint, no rocks to pick up.

8. No yardwork.   My husband and I have this sort of unwritten agreement:  he does the snow, I do the grass.  So when it snows and we can’t get our cars out of the garage, I lay in our warm bed while he goes outside in the cold to clear us a path.  When summertime comes around I’ll mow the lawn in the sweltering heat after work sometime.  So winter is great because I don’t have to deal with whatever winter decides to throw at us.

9. My hair stays straight when I do it.  Yes I do have naturally straight hair, but even with genetics the humidity of the summer can give me some odd waves and curls.  Its great to not have to worry about that during the winter months.

IMG_1359

And probably my favorite thing about winter…

10.  It does finally give way to sunshine and warmth!  Despite all the wonderful things listed above, I have to say that I am probably more of a summer child!  So bring it on… after several months of snow, cold, and bitter wind chills… I’m ready for an indian summer!

Cheesy Chicken Penne

I’ve been trying a new thing lately.  I think of 5 or so meals and write them down on the refrigerator.  Then I check if I have ingredients for them, or I write myself a grocery list for it.  I do try to take into account leftovers, etc.  For example, one time I had roast and potatoes as a meal idea.  I used the leftover roast to make some beef enchiladas, so I made sure to have the ingredients for that, also.  (The enchiladas I ended up just throwing in the freezer to eat later!)  Then we’ll try our best to eat everything on the list before I will go and buy anything else from the store.  This is our attempt to have better/healthier “family” meals at home and keeping our spending down.

IMG_0104

As I’ve been thinking of meals that we like, I am reminded how much of a beef and potato kind of people we are.  So I’ve decided to try to pick 1 new recipe each time I do this, something a little bit more out of our comfort zone.  I’m not sure how long it will last, but at least I’m getting a good grocery list… and hopefully I’ll remember why it was that I bought 3 packages of taco shells.

IMG_0102

Our newest experiment was a cheesy chicken penne.  I actually bought some penne pasta on an impulse buy – ironic how thats exactly what I’m trying to stop doing – some time ago.  I saw them in the store and decided that I should try it.  I wanted to do some sort of a chicken because we eat a lot of beef.  We also do quite a bit of red sauces, so I ended up Googling some chicken penne recipes.  I’m not going to lie, I was not very happy with what I found.  I did a lot of looking; I guess I’m kinda picky!  A lot of them had weird spices that I probably couldn’t even find in the grocery store, or had yucky vegetables (think spinach.)  So I ended up improvising a little bit and mashed some recipe ideas all together.

IMG_0101

Well it was a pretty good turnout, Drew was a big fan.  I ended up with some alfredo sauce (which I’m actually not very fond of, but my husband is) as opposed to a red sauce.  I chose a plain alfredo – I thought I was being bold enough for one meal already – but I think next time I might try a garlic/cheesy or even a mushroom alfredo sauce.  I made this while Drew was still working and put it in the oven to keep warm until he came home.

~ T ~

Cheesy Chicken Penne
Serves 2-4

Ingredients
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
Italian salad dressing
penne pasta (I used half the box, it was plenty)
jar of alfredo sauce
bag of shredded Italian cheeses
tomatoes (I actually forgot to do this, I don’t eat them but Drew would have liked it)
garlic (real gloves or garlic salt)

Preparation
Marinate chicken breasts in Italian salad dressing for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  Cook on a George Foreman or outdoor grill until done.  Cut into slices.  Cook desired amount of pasta according to the directions on the box.  Drain and put into serving pan.  Cover the pasta with Alfredo sauce.  Add diced tomatoes and sliced chicken on top.  Sprinkle the garlic on the chicken.  Cover with cheese.  Warm in microwave or oven until cheeses are melted.

Stromboli!

I’m not the best chef around, but I do make a pretty mean stromboli!

Whats left of the stromboli :)

Whats left of the stromboli 🙂

Unfortunately I was so excited for it that my hubby and I ate almost all of it before I remembered to take a picture!  I’ll have to post a better one next time.

I love stromboli for several reasons:
1. its filling
2. homemade dough!!
3. CHEESE
4. you get to pick your own topings (AKA satisfy your craving)

Yuummmmmy

Yuummmmmy

I actually use my breadmaker to knead the dough (some may call this cheating, I call it wonderful) but I’m sure you can do it by hand too, if you want! (P.S. the dough also works great for homemade pizzas!)

Enjoy!

~ T ~

Stromboli

Dough Ingredients:
2 teaspoons dried granulated yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water

Dough preparation:Throw everything into breadmaker, dry ingredients first, then liquid.  Put on pizza dough setting.  (Sorry for those of you without a breadmaker, maybe you can share how you make your dough by hand?)

Other ingredients:
italian seasoning
pizza toppings of your choice (our favorites include pepperoni, ham, and beef crumble)
provolone cheese (put as much or as little as you desire.  If you use an excessive amount of cheese it will all pool in the middle – you have been warned!)
jar of pizza sauce

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350. Let dough rise a bit, then press flat into a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with italian seasoning.  Layer toppings down the middle half of the dough.  Spread cheese over the toppings.  Fold edges of the dough over toppings and pinch to seal.  Fold and seal ends, too.  Spray cookie sheet with Pam and lay the rolled up stromboli with sealed side down on cookie sheet.  Cover with tin foil (not too tightly, it will rise a bit yet).  Bake for 20 minutes.  Take the tin foil back off and bake for 10 more.  Soak a dish towel in hot water.  Squeeze excess water out.  When the stromboli is finished baking, place the damp hot towel over the dough for a few minutes.  This will keep it from drying out and getting too hard.  Cut into strips and dip in a jar of pizza sauce.

Alaina Quote

As you may know, my daugher Alaina, has quite the quotes sometimes.  🙂  Tonight was no exception.  Alaina had previously eaten supper (so the food would have more time to settle before gymnastics), and we were getting food for the rest of us ready.  Keep in mind that Alaina does have an insatiable appetite…at least starting around 10 or so each morning.  Here was our conversation:

Me to my husband: “Wow, dear, Ally’s class is going to Feed My Starving Children again!”  (I think that might be the 4th or 5th time this school year, and one of Ally’s favorite field trips.)

Alaina stops twirling around the room in midstream and says: “Feed my starving children?” with a quizzical expression on her face.  “I’m starving!”  Andy & I burst out laughing…the way kids think.

~D~