Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We were talking about it...

My friend, Barbara, was over this afternoon and while we were quite busy with nonsense and then with some painting we started talking about how God puts people where they need to be and prepare them for the plan and the blessing He has in store for each of His children. Periodically, we get ideas in our minds that our past or our lack of faith is the reason we have not acquired the blessing we believe are instore. Or maybe we have the picture for our lives drawn in the ink of our teenage wisdom. All of those reasons cause hearthache, loneliness, or other varieties of self-imposed emotional hurt. But the good news is we came up with the truth.

God doesn't punish us for the past, just as He doesn't withhold blessings. It's a process that every person goes through to learn that God has an individual plan, unique to each of His children. When we believe we are going without, for whatever reason, we just forgot that God's timeline is not like our own. Just as His ways are not our ways. See... Barbara and I came up with what we already knew. Just because we have mistakes mixed in with the years we wait for the life we imagined, doesn't mean there wasn't a reason for the wait.

Whatever weaknesses I have/had and the service/righteousness I tried to render during the years I wondered wasn't the reason I was 27 when Jake and I got married. I had experiences and opportunities that became apart of who I am and in the meantime I needed to wait for the right time to meet the right person so we could be together.

Barbara described it like this.... As we go through experiences and face trials and difficulties sometimes of our own making, we are gathering small colorful threads that start to create pieces. You can't quite make out what you are seeing, and then all the sudden your picture and God's picture start to align, then you see the threads have created a beautiful rug. All the pieces, that seemed like random pieces at the time, were never random at all. They bring you to the right place.... The temple, the scriptures, to prayer, to others through service, and maybe even to your family.

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersover thou goest." Joshua 1:9

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer.... singing loud for all to hear."  (Elf, the sponsor of Christmas 2011)

We're singing.  You better believe it.  Last night the kids and I went with Brother Fowers to the Stoddard's Hoopernacle.  A man came in with a white beard and a Santa hat so I told Noah how nice I thought it was for Santa to stop by the Hoopernacle so close to Christmas.  Noah replied with his usual, "ho ho ho."  Then thirty seconds later, Noah looked back at "Santa" and said, "He's not the real Santa!  That's not the real Santa!"  Which prompted Abbi on her lines...."He's a liar!  He sits on a throne of lies!"

Good times.

A couple weeks before this Elf/Santa incident, the kids and I were at the mall with Jeremy.  I was so excited that Santa was right there with no lines.  I said, "It's Santa!  I know him!  I know him!"  And Abbi ran her line, "He's not the real Santa!"  She repeated that several times but five seconds later I lost her.  There she was on Santa's lap all by herself.  We figure she was just covering her bases in case it was the real Santa.  She requested a pencil and a Christmas eraser.  Noah wouldn't sit on Santa's lap.  He made me do it.  So there was Noah on my lap, and me on Santa's lap, playing telephone with Noah's Christmas list.  I felt like Noah was a mob boss whispering his demands, "I want a basketball hoop."  I repeated that to Santa.  Then another whisper, "And a football."  So I told Santa a football.  Then Noah ran away.  That was an awkward second for me on Santa's lap.

Santa finished our shopping in October.  He had a hard time getting any type of ideas from the kids.  After some internet research, Santa wrote the list himself and headed to the store.  Since then, the kids have not come up with really any original ideas other than the pencil.  And at first Noah would only answer with "a treat" or "two treats" if you would ask what he wanted Santa to bring.  Santa took the kids to the store and piqued their interest by showing them a few items he wants them to look forward too.  Fortunately that worked, and now I am (I mean Santa) is really excited to watch the kids be excited on Christmas morning.  The other day I figured I should have just given the kids both a dozen balloons.  They love chasing those things around.

Anyway...I wanted to post a picture of our celebrations so far.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do you see what I see?

Toby kind of reminds of that scary movie, The Gremlins.  I'm pretty sure a gremlin hides in their Christmas tree.  He likes to get in about once a day.  Then Toby chases the ornaments round on the ground after he knocks them out of the tree.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

homemade alfredo

Don't get scared away by the recipe I am about to share.  If you're scared, I would still highly recommend the recipe....just use it as a side.  It's too delicious and way too easy not to make.
  1. use any noodle you like.  we had these weirdo-shaped noodles or spaghetti noodles.  i chose the weirdo ones.
  2. cook them like the package know...the good old aldente.  save 1/2 cup of the boiled water after draining the cooked noodles.
  3. in a bowl, mix together 2 (that's right...2) cubes (yes, cubes) of butter with 1/2 pound of grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. put the drained pasta back into the warm pot and add the cheese mixture.  
  5. start with 1/4 cup of the boiled water and add more if you want.
  6. the recipe I heard about includes a 1/2 tsp of salt but I wanted to make sure our dinner had flavor so I added at least 1/2 tsp of garlic salt on top of a little more regular salt and pepper.
This may have been the best "cheese" dish I have ever made.  We get a little gun shy around cheese at our house but this was wonderful.  The kids ate it with chicken nuggets and fruit.  Yum.

We like stuff....

Is it even possible to take too many pictures of a cat?

Crock Pot Orange Chicken

Browning the chicken on the stove

Mixing the juices together....mmmm....Smells better after it's cooked for some reason.

Finished orange chicken after a couple hours in the crock pot.
1/2 TB salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 TB ketchup
4 oz orange juice concentrate (thawed) -you could add a couple ounces more if you like it sweeter
4 TB brown sugar - you could maybe do a little less then this
  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and cover them in flour.
  2. Brown the chicken on the stove with olive oil.  It doesn't have to be all the way cooked through because it's going into the crock pot for a while, too.
  3. Mix the marinade in a bowl.
  4. Pour the marinade and the chicken into a crock pot and stir them together.
  5. Cook in the crock pot on low for about 3 hours.  The recipe I've altered said 2-3 hours on high but that was a little too much. 
I thought I'd share this recipe I found but with my alterations.  We didn't like it as sweet as the recipe I've used so we reduced the orange juice and the sugar.  We ate the chicken over jasmine rice and enjoyed it.  I could see my family enjoying with asparagus or something equally green or veggie, too.  I like spicy orange chicken so I'm going to try that next time.