Posted in 7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Instead of my normal 5 kid-free days, this week I got two. MLK Day Monday, Snow Tuesday and Laura sick today. I definitely can tell it when my kids are home with me more than I’m used to.

2. One of our worship team leaves for the Dominican Republic tomorrow. She and I sing together, and I’ll be singing alone on Sunday. Gulp.

3. I did next to nothing today. Seriously.

4. Tomorrow a bunch of women that I used to work with–oh my word 20 years ago! are getting together for brunch. They don’t know that I’m coming. I haven’t seen them in 5 1/2 years.

5. What is it with chocolate anyway? I mean, really! Why do I crave it and love it as much as I do? Dark chocolate is a truly wonderful thing.

6. I still haven’t sent out our Christmas letter. Yeah, that’s pretty normal for me.

7. A little mommy brag: Bennett moved up a level in reading groups. This is a BOY, who is the youngest in his class (turned 5 only 7 days before the cutoff when kindergarten started two years ago). He’s doing so well academically!

Whew. I managed it! Yes, they are short. Sorry about that!

Posted in God, Me

Other Lessons

I’ve been slowly working my way through James doing a bible study by Elizabeth George. It was definitely a fits and starts beginning more than a year ago, but I’m now doing it several days per week in my daily bible reading. Yesterday her lesson was on James 4:11-13. Her point was do not slander or gossip. She took us around the bible, to various passages that listed various sins, and slander was listed each time. She also had us read a verse or two after the lists, which usually had a “do this instead” message. Each time, the message was something like “Be kind….” and instead of just sitting there, I was propelled to get up, get a note card (I got two) and write this down, because you know what, Tina? This is important. Elizabeth might have been focusing on slander, but God had another lesson in mind.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Being kind is definitely something I struggle with. Not with the rest of the world, but with my own children. I get impatient, frustrated, short-tempered and unkind. And I really SO do not want to be that mom. I am praying now for a gentle spirit. I’ve always admired women who have that….godly women that love the Lord and seem to just live and breathe Proverbs 31. Believe me, my children don’t, as a rule, arise and call me blessed.

I started this year of trying to read my bible daily with an idea that it would be “good for me”. It’s certainly challenging me, I’ll say that for it!

Posted in Me

I am Not a Girly Girl

Don’t bother buying flowers for me. They look pretty, ok, that’s true. But they take up space on my counter, and then they start dropping leaves pretty quickly and then it’s just a mess I have to clean up.

Don’t buy me jewelry. I have my engagement ring, my wedding ring and my 10th anniversary ring which I wear every day. For dressing up, I have a nice necklace with little figures of all my children. And now I inherited a pair of diamond earrings from my late mother in law. I’m all set, so thank you.

I’m not into shoes. I own a pair of clogs, a pair of sneakers, a pair of winter boots, and a pair of sandals that I wear out every summer. Oh, and I have a pair of dress shoes somewhere in the closet that I wear once a year to Jim’s company party. I guess now that my feet have grown I should probably buy a new pair of dress shoes. Rats.

Clothes, you ask? I buy clothes for practical reasons. I like pretty things, sure. But if they are trendy then they will also be not-trendy within a year or so. That’s pretty silly. I’d rather buy something I can wear until it wears out. I actually own a sweatshirt that I bought in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1991. Until I got bleach on it last year it was still working just fine.

Hair, you wonder? I get it cut at an actual salon. Because I have challenging curly hair with a very square face and apparently the people at Great Clips don’t have a clue what to do with me. I tried for years, I swear. It’s worth it to me to spend the extra 15 bucks and get a good cut. And I’ve pretty much decided to let the gray grow out. I haven’t dyed my hair since July. I’m 40 now and it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it did when it showed up when I was 24.

Chick films? Usually, unless there’s adultery. Adultery automatically rules out books or movies for me.

Chocolate. Well, that’s a different story! I’m a girly as you get when it comes to chocolate.

But please don’t think I’m a tomboy. I’m absolutely not. I’m a girl through and through. I just don’t go for the trappings.

Posted in Recipe

Pork Pot Roast in Cider

I love to read cookbooks. I love dreaming of making recipes, especially ones that my whole family would love. Mind you, that never happens, but it’s nice to dream!

This recipe comes from the pink limited edition Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, page 392.

Pork Pot Roast in Cider

1 1 1/2 to 2 lb boneless pork blade or sirloin roast (I think I got just a boneless loin)
2 Tbls oil (skipped this and used cooking spray)
1 1/4 cup apple cider or juice (used cider)
2 tsp instant beef bouillon granules (used two blocks)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 medium red potatoes or round white potatoes, peeled if desired and quarters. (I used red and didn’t peel them)
3 medium carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces (I used a bunch of baby carrots and wished I used more)
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (first time ever in my life trying parsnips)
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Trim fat from meat. In a 4-6 quart Dutch oven, brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat (skipped this because I just used spray!). Stir together cider, bouillon, mustard and pepper. Pour over meat. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 1 hour. (I did a little less b/c the meat was clearly done)

2. Add potato, carrot, parsnip and onion. Simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes more or until meat and vegetables were tender. Transfer meat and veggies to a serving platter, reserving juices. Keep warm.

3. For gravy, measure juices; skim fat (I didn’t see any). If necessary, add enough water to juices to equal 1 1/2 cups. Return to Dutch oven. Stir 1/3 cup cold water into flour. Stir into juices in pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. To serve, remove string from meat (there wasn’t one) if present. Slice meat and serve with veggies and gravy.

Slow Cooker Directions: Prepare meat as above. Place veggies in a 3 1/2-4 quart crockpot. Cut meat to fit, if necessary. Place on top of veggies. Stir apple cider, bouillon, mustard and pepper. Add to cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat for 8-10 hours or high 4-5 or until tender. Transfer to serving platter and prepare gravy in a medium saucepan.

This was delicious and a complete winner. Jim and I both loved it. And neither one of us had ever had parsnips. Really. And they weren’t bad at all! I would have them again, even! And no, the kids wouldn’t even try this. Whatever. More for Jim and me!

Posted in Kids, Menu Planning Monday

Our Little Scientist and Menu Planning Monday

This week’s menu has been incredibly tough for me, I have no idea why. The every week stuff fits in fine, but that’s only three days–the other four were just seriously tough. And yes, I know I’m having two ground-beefy things in one week, but I think I can safely say that chili and meatloaf are nothing alike. 😀

M: Spaghetti and Meatballs
T: Hot dogs, mac’n’cheese, carrots
W: Meatloaf, frozen potato product of some sort, carrots/green beans
R: Quiche, fruit
F: Take Out
S: Shrimp Pomodoro Pasta (recipe posted after I try it, but it sounds yummy)
S: QAD Chili*, cornbread

*QAD chili is Quick and Dirty Chili. I got sick and tired of all the steps of making “proper” chili, so I take 2 cans of chili beans, 1 lb ground beef (browned and drained) and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Put together in a dutch oven, probably mix in some extra chili powder and call it good. Jim and I both like it and man, it’s a LOT easier!

Onto our Little Scientist

Back story: two nights ago we went to Chili’s for dinner and Catie brought home her cup with ice in it and put it into the freezer. No explanations, just “I want to do this.” Ok.

This morning Catie got up, saw that it was, yes, still freezing outside. She put on her snow clothes, and informed Jim and me that she was going to do her ice experiment. Huh? Ice experiment? I figured, oh, she’ll put the ice outside and that’s the end of it. No, our little scientist got the cup out, broke the ice into two groups, put them on the deck into two piles and put salt on one group. Apparently they did this last year in preschool and she wanted to see if she got the same results that they did! And no surprise, she did!

But wow! For a five (almost six) year old, I was pretty impressed that she planned it out and got it done all by herself!

Posted in Funny

7 Quick Takes

1. Oh, please, please, if you have 42 minutes, please go watch this!!

Dr. Horrible

Apparently it’s been around awhile, but I just found out about it today, so that’s all that counts, right? But don’t let your kids watch. Most of it is fine, but there are a few things that are INAPPROPRIATE for 7 year old ears, as I unfortunately found out the hard way.

2. I’ve been doing pretty ok with actually reading my bible! I try to decide the night before when I will read and then stick to it. Sometimes that works and sometimes not so much, but there is actual QUIET TIME being set aside. The prayer happens. The bible is read. It’s a Good Thing.

3. Laura’s orthodontia is going to cost considerably less than I had feared. I’ll bet I was the first person sitting across the table from the coordinator actually thrilled with the cost. Seriously. Several. Thousands. Less. Happy Dance time!!

4. Our school district has an in-service day today. So, Ethan has school but the others don’t. Therefore, I’m taking them to a movie. I have never taken the children to a movie. They’ve gone once with the neighbors, and Ethan hated it. I talked to him this morning about it, and he did NOT want to go and was fine with the others going. Win-Win!

5. The kids are enjoying the basement. Glad to know all that work is not going to waste!

6. I’m already working on our taxes. I got Turbo Tax the other day (totally recommend it) and put in our charitable information and mortgage interest so far. As things appear in the mail I just put them in. The big thing I’m waiting for is Jim’s W-2.

7. Seriously. Go watch Dr. Horrible. It’s funny, it’s poignant, it’s musical, it’s very good! And you’re even able to get past Neil Patrick Harris’ orientation. He’s that believable.

Posted in House

Basement Pictures

I got the pictures loaded on the pc finally. Here they are!

Before (well, sort of–this is after we took the tiny carpet up and moved everything out of the way to put down the new carpet)



After:

Please note the dual-purpose air hockey table. #1 a great air hockey table. #2, a great laundry folding table for me! Two, two, two things in one!

And yes, I hate the blue. It was here when we moved in. They had also painted part of our kitchen with it. Yes, the kitchen. That was one of the first things we did!