Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Can I tell you that I am actually excited about posting my menu and doing some cooking this week?! After a few days on a retreat and NO cooking, I re-energized and ready to hit the kitchen. Aside from all meals being provided for us, we also enjoyed the fellowship we had with other Chaplains. We feel like we have a clearer picture of what God has for us in this ministry that He has called us to.

Here's our menu:

Monday- Chili with cornbread (make double batch for small group)

Tuesday- Turkey, Feta, Spinach stuffed peppers, fruit salad

Wednesday- Small group potato bar, baked potato with chili, sweet potato with smoked turkey

Thursday- Bourbon Chicken, brown rice, stir fry veggies

Friday- Military Ball

Saturday- Cajun Chicken Pasta , spinach salad

Sunday- Tostados made with homemade refried beans

What's your week looking like?

I'm linking to OrgJunkie

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Opening and Closing Doors

                                                                  Image Credit

The past few weeks have been a little up and down for our family. We have seen photos of precious children waiting in our state for a forever family. It's overwhelming to see the amount of children that need homes. There have been times our heartstrings have been pulled and we have pursued these children.  ~DOOR OPENS~

Not long after that, our agency had a fruit basket turnover and the continuation of what we had started seemed to cease. There was restructuring in the office and we were shuffled around in the mix. Our name was no longer known and our profile was lost. ~DOOR CLOSES~

We became hopeful when our friends brought home a beautiful little boy from a private agency much like our daughter was adopted from. It would be a financial leap for us and use most of our emergency fund that Dave Ramsey helped convince us to have. We were willing because afterall, most of it would come back on our taxes next year. ~DOOR OPENS~

We printed off forms full speed ahead until we read the tax law changes and saw where that money is no longer refundable. ~DOOR CLOSES~

Just yesterday I contacted a representative with the Child and Family services in our state. She deals with straight adoption cases rather than just fostering. We are inquiring if there is expedited options for military or if we can work with a state that does expedite military cases. Within just a few minutes, I had a return email from this very busy lady. We are expecting a phone call any moment today to discuss how we can bring children into our family while living this crazy military life. ~DOOR OPENING?~

Adoption always seems to have ups and downs or rather the opening and closing of doors. It plays on the emotions and creates heartache at times. My hope is solely in clinging to a Sovereign God who before the foundation of the world, set all things in order. He's using my Good Morning Girls study to remind me of just how much he is in control. He has ordained for this season and the body that is surrounding me at this time to bring comfort. 

Would you pray for us that we would see Him more clearly in the open and closed doors?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I love showing hospitality by having friends over for meals. I think it's a great way to be Jesus to someone and it keeps us transparent by exposing how our family operates before, during and after mealtime. I have to be honest though, there are times it can be exhausting! Our small group has grown exploded! So it seems I just got the dishes done from last week and I'm already grocery shopping for this week's study. I'm certaintly not complaining, but I am tired this week.

It's times like this that meal planning is crucial! To let you in on a little secret, I actually planned out my whole month of January last month so our "food life" doesn't get affective by my tiredness this week. What a blessing menu planning can be!

Monday- Chicken noodles with Peanut Ginger sauce (I'm modifying it a bit to include brown rice noodles instead of linguine) In light of the Chinese New Year, we are also going to take time at meal time to pray for the persecuted church in China.

Tuesday- Post-Wide UMT gathering. We are supposed to bring football cookout food so we are bringing Turkey Italian Sausages grilled with onions and peppers.

Wednesday- Small group- Asian night- making Mongolian beef with rice and possibly chicken satay

Thursday- Leftovers or out to eat

Friday- UMT training retreat for the whole family!

Saturday- UMT training retreat for the whole family!

Sunday- Chili and cornbread with citrus fruit salad for dinner after we return

I'm linking to Org Junkie

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Healthier Fruit Pizza

There are some sweets that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love the way they taste. The way they smell. The way they satisfy my sweet tooth. But then there's the hate part. I get an extreme sugar high which leaves me tired and lethargic feeling. The taste rarely outweighs that yucky feeling, and I hate that!

I served this tasty dessert last week at small group. It was pretty well received and satisfied our desire for something sweet after dinner. The leftovers were good in the fridge for the next few days too!


Sugar cookie dough
Slightly adapted from this recipe. I halved it and had to add some half and half in order to get the dough to form together well. I was having trouble with it being too crumbly. I would also melt the coconut oil before trying to form the dough. Press it into a pizza pan and bake.


One 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
about 1/4 cup of honey (or to taste)
Mix these together and spread over the cooled crust

Garnish with fruit of your choosing and slice like a pizza.

I'm linking to Gratituesday,
                      Tempt My Tummy Tuesday,
                      Tasty Tuesday 
                     Finer Things Friday

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was a success for us again. I did some rearranging in the menu in order to satisfy different appetites. I have found that if I stay flexible and be willing to have hamburgers on a different day then  planned, it keeps us from wanting to eat out. Here's what this week looks like...

Photo Credit

Monday- Cheeseburger soup with homemade bread and apple slices

Tuesday- Crockpot Beef tips, egg noodles and green beans

Wednesday- Small group, spaghetti and meat balls

Thursday- Hashbrown Quiche with smoothies

Friday- Spinach, Chicken and feta quesadillas with carrot sticks and orange wedges

Saturday- Southwest chicken salad with cilantro lime vinaigrette

Sunday- Mexican chicken soup (Rescheduled from last week, we didn't get to it)

As you can see, tonight we are having soup with homemade bread. I received a bread maker for Christmas and just this week made my first basic loaf. I'm looking for more whole wheat recipes. Do you have any you could share? :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homeschool Reset Button

We all have those days where the math fact sheet is taking way longer than usual to complete. The normally fun spelling game is not catching their attention and your enthusiasm is at an all time low.

In our home, if you fast forward this scene, you would probably see the scenario ending with frustrated crying from both student and teacher.

Let's face it, some days the school mojo isn't flowing. We sometimes bring what just happened in the kitchen into the school room and it isn't helping our teacher/student relationship.

Instead of forging ahead and forcing something that just isn't happening, why not hit reset?

~ Leave the school books behind and take a walk together. Fresh air always helps.

~ Do some exercises and breathing techniques to calm and get some blood flowing to the brain.

~ Stop everything and read a book to your child. Children really feel special when they are read to.

~ Switch up the order of your school day. Who says math always has to come first?

~ Have a "do-over" day. Enter the school room all over again saying surprised hellos. This usually brings a giggle.

~ Assign a reflection activity like journaling or drawing. It can quieten the mood.

~ Pray! I've heard a million times, you can't stay mad at someone you are praying for.

What are some strategies that help you when you need to lighten the mood in the school room?

I'm linking to Women Living Well

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Creamy Bacon Pasta

On Thursdays, my husband gets off early for work and we have a dedicated family night. Sometimes that means going to a movie, the park, and a lot of times going out to eat. After all our Christmas traveling, this past week we just felt like staying in and ended up having dinner on the coffee table, watching a movie. I needed a last minute meal and had all the ingredients for this...

3/4 pound center cut bacon cut into pieces

1 tablespoon dried minced onions

5 cloves of garlic mined

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 carton good chicken stock plus one cup water

1 14 oz. can diced Italian tomatoes

1 pound whole wheat linguine

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

4 oz. Neufchatel cheese

parsley for garnishing

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain all but one tablespoon of oil. Cook the onion, red pepper and garlic in the oil until soft and smelling good. Pour in chicken stock and tomatoes and half the bacon. Bring to a boil then add noodles. Cook until noodles are al dente. Stir in cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Serve with crisp bacon and parsley on top.

Recipe adapted slightly from Tasty Kitchen

I'm linking to.... Tempt my Tummy Tuesday 
and Tasty Tuesday

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I'm proud to say that we stuck to our menu plan perfectly this past week. We even skipped going out to dinner on Thursday night and played Kinect together as a family. I've managed to stay on my grocery budget really well too!

Sunday- Salsa Verde Pork with homemade refried beans

Monday- Parmesean encrusted tilapia with italian brown rice and mixed veggies

Tuesday- Dijion chicken with green beans and roasted potatoes and carrots

Wednesday- Small group, Mexican theme (unsure what I'm making yet)

Thursday- Back yard camp out (organic hotdogs and veggies with dip)

Friday- Hubby off work, out to eat

Saturday- Mexcian Chicken Soup tortilla chips, citrus fruit

I'm linking to OrgJunkie

Thursday, January 5, 2012

You Know it's a New Year...

When you order the southwest chicken salad at your weekly Chik-fila homeschool playdate. 

When you've read more chapters in your child's classic novel to them in the last 5 days than all of the month of December.

When you actually stop by Goodwill to see if they happen to have a ball gown just to stick to your budget.

When breakfast, lunch and dinner are all followed by scripture reading.

When you feel like you might die because when you look at the time elapse on your Shred video and it only says 4mins 30 seconds.

When the sink has been empty of dirty dishes four nights in a row.

Let's face it, we all know what we need for a better 2012. A closer walk with the Lord, a more frugal budget to honor Him, more quality time with our kids to teach them, a tidier home to welcome more guests, healthier eating to show gratitude for a healthy body.

My goals are much like yours I'm sure. I've been really great at fulfilling them too! The only problem is it's only the 5th day of 2012 and I already begin to feel the steam slowly leaking out.

My prayer for 2012 is for consistency. Knowing that I cannot continue on my own very much longer, I look to an unchanging God. My Yahweh who doesn't need anything to exist. He doesn't require sleep to accomplish tasks daily and he doesn't struggle to be the same in June as he was in January.

Let's pray together that the goals of 2012 are met with not just hard work and striving but with a surrender to the consistent, unchanging Master of all. May the Lord be glorified by our lives in four months as He is today.

I'm linking to Finer Things Friday

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crunchy Broccoli and Spinach Salad

Just like any family, we intend on trying to slow down on our eating and incorporate healthier foods with the new year. This salad is a great way to get everyone eating veggies! Our little girl is a bit more particular with raw veggies but the dressing in this salad had her eating broccoli like it was candy.


  • 1/4 cup sucanat
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (3 ounces) ramen noodles, broken
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  •  chopped broccoli
  • baby spinach
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
 Discard the seasoning packet for the Ramen noodles and crush them up. Brown them in the butter with the almonds over medium low heat just until golden.
Toss the broccoli and spinach together and sprinkle the noodles and almonds on top. In a salad dressing jar, shake together the sucanant, vinegar, oil and soy sauce.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
I'm linking to Tempt my Tummy Tuesday
and Comfy in the Kitchen

Monday, January 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I hope you had as good of a holiday season as I did. We were so blessed to spend time with family and unwind a bit. Being from the South, the holidays meant a lot of delicious but unhealthy food so we are hoping to keep it lighter around here.
                                                   {Pot Roast with gravy we had last week}

Here's our menu for this week:

Sunday- Vegetable beef soup with yeast rolls, cheese slices and apple slices

Monday- Grilled Chicken with Baked potatoes and spinach salad

Tuesday- Red Beans and rice, citrus fruit

Wednesday- Small group breakfast theme, making spinach, feta quiche and sausage breakfast casserole

Thursday- Family out to eat night

Friday- Spaghetti with steamed broccoli and spinach salad

Saturday- Chicken quesadillas with smoothies, attending a wedding that night

Go check out some other menus at