Saturday, September 27, 2014

Show & Tell Saturday: September Edition

Coffee this morning:

A word pondered in the shower:


What is motivating me to push harder towards my goals and dreams:


How I have felt lately:


Where I find great enjoyment:



What I am currently working on:


You can find more information on www.thrivecamp.net

The one teenager that amazes me:


How I feel each and every day:



My life is pretty full and amazing! And through it all.... I am humbled and blessed to call this my life!

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup: Better than Campbell's

Every time that commercial comes on for Campbell's chicken noodle soup my sweet husband says "You've got nothin on my wife's soup!!". Isn't that the sweetest thing ever?! Chicken soup is something that is a time honored tradition of giving warmth, goodness, and can cure a whole lump of everything. This particular chicken noodle soup is your basic recipe, yet will just be amazing every single time you make it. I want to explore adding things like kale or spinach at the end of the cooking process, but for now I will keep making it just like this. After all, to be told that your soup is better than a brand that's been around for generations is amazing. (Though I must say that I really don't buy canned soup often. If anything I use the cream of's in casseroles but that is usually about it.) Over the last month and a half or so I have been making some sort of soup once a week. This particular soup has been made at LEAST three times! It is one that everyone loves (even with the carrots).


Ingredients
1/2 cup butter + 4 TBS butter
3 Stalks of Celery chopped
4 Large carrots peeled and chopped
1 LARGE onion chopped
2 TBS Chopped/diced garlic
2 to 3 pounds of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
About 1 TBS Chicken Seasoning
About 1 TBS Black Pepper
About 1 TBS Garlic Salt
4 to 6 cups Chicken Broth
Water if needed
1 bag of egg noodles.

Directions
Add in stick of butter (1/2 cup) to a LARGE stock pot. When butter is melted, add in veggies and allow to saute until onions and celery get semi tender. (These will continue cooking so no need to overcook at this point.) Top with chicken, seasonings, and chicken broth. Then you are going to want to add water to a good two to three inches OVER the top of the chicken if the broth hasn't already done that. (If your unsure about the amount of liquid you can add water later. Just remember to taste it ~ after chicken has cooked for additional seasoning. No matter what I always tweak the seasonings given on any certain day. The above measurements were just a guess.) Cook on a medium boil for a good 45 minutes to an hour. Turn burner off, and remove chicken from pan. Shred and put back into pot. Bring back up to a boil and add in bag of Egg Noodles and cook for about ten more minutes. **NOTE** Adding the noodles will remove some of the liquid as the pasta absorbs some of the broth. Make sure your not stuck with just chicken mush!** Add in 4 TBS of butter and allow to melt into the broth. This will finish it off with a deliciousness that can't be replaced with anything else. Taste to season again. I like to serve this with either homemade bread or crackers. It's a good meal any time of year or health.

**IF your telling yourself that you are NOT going to put in the carrots and/or celery ~ do yourself a favor. Cut them in LARGE chunks and still cook them in the broth with the chicken, removing them before adding in noodles. That way your broth will still get some of it's flavor but you won't have to hear (or say) "But I don't like carrots/ celery". **

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Yep it's back!


Menu Plan Monday is back for me!

Now I have to show you the new method I am using for my menu planning!

Yep! I printed this print out for a "sticky note" menu plan planning sheet either from pinterest or from teacherspayteachers. Oh my I have come to LOVE LOVE LOVE using sticky notes for every little thing! Why not menu planning too?

The changes in my menu plan:
All of the kids are happy buying lunch at school. Fine by me. Am I getting off cheaper? I doubt it. I still pay 65.00 a week for school lunches for three teens. (well 1 teen and 2 preteen boys) Breakfast is very light! Two of them have football practice and one does not eat a whole lot for breakfast. This week breakfast options are Oscar Meyer P3's (2 days), Pumpkin Bread, Chocolate chip muffins, Pancakes. Done.

What are YOU serving this week? Need more menu planning inspiration? Hop on over to Laura's blog at Organized Junkie and check out Menu plan monday!

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

When the weeds take over



Saturday's for us during the school year tend to be full of things that are not tended to during the week. Since I now have Friday's off I tend to get a lot of the errands, bill paying, etc done but the boys have now taken on helping with the yard work. Now don't get me wrong I love doing the yard work but it is important for me to allow them to help and the outside yardwork is one way they do. Why? They are 12. I have very years to prime them, teach them, and lead them in learning how to eventually live and make it on their own one day. They do have football schedules that keep them busy at school from early in the morning so when they come home they do their homework and have a bit of free time before dinner. Could they do the yard work during the week? Of course they could. But in their learning I want them to the true act of balance as well. On school days they indeed work hard at school. At home, I get them to make sure they pick up their  messes from snack and coming in from the day (both after school and after play time) so that we leave our "living areas" picked up and ready for the next day. They get to put laundry away daily and sometimes I ask them to tend to the cat's needs but that's about it.

So, this Saturday was one of those days we had no where to go, nothing to do outside of the home and it was a good morning to get that yard-work knocked out before the day got too hot. One twin mowed the back yard while the other started cleaning their room and then they switched so the other twin could mow the front. I was going to do the edging. As I began the edging I realized our flowerbed had really been taken over by weeds. Just like my life!


Yep. God began to spill out His heart to me as I worked on those weeds. See it wasn't just the few that tend to spring up quickly and can be plucked out of the ground. These were pesky, deeply rooted, and were taking OVER!

Weeds.... they grow quick. If left unattended they do spread quickly and can squash out any plant that is growing that should be. Some of them even look pleasing to the eye and could easily be considered a beautiful flower.

Our flowerbed has a rock border around it. Well it was there. At first glance you couldn't see it anymore but it was there. Buried. Under weeds and grass that was growing over it.

God has spoken to me before about that flowerbed and that rock border. He used it before to tell me about boundaries and how easy it is to let things spill over the boundaries He has given us (me) if we allow it to happen. He won't stop it... sometimes that is how we learn. The boundaries that we allow in our lives must be solid and well maintained otherwise they will be skewed and sadly lost.

People in our lives become weeds. Work loads in our lives can also become weeds. Wasted time... yep you guessed it weeds. So many of us don't even see the weeds until they completely take over. I had to spend a bit of time pulling and gathering weeds that were deep into the ground. I was just amazed at how I didn't notice during the week how bad they had become. I walk by our flowerbed every single day in and out of our home yet I had no clue how the boundaries had been covered. Other's could see it I am sure, but me? Nope. Not until today when I was purposely out there edging did it even come to my attention.

That is how it is in life. We get going and sometimes we are so busy that we do not see the weeds we are allowing to invade our lives. The weeds that keep us from living the life God has given us to live. The weeds that keep us from a relationship with God. The weeds that just grow with the only intention of destruction and death.

I know I have some weeds in my life .. and I am desperately seeking God on how exactly to deal with them in a way that will bring LIFE into the life that I am living and allow me to uproot the weeds that try to steal, kill, and destroy.


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Friday, September 5, 2014

Taking a deep breath

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Today is one of those days that I have truly been forced to take a deep breath and start again. Over the last few weeks I have honestly worked myself into a frenzy and as I shared with some precious ladies earlier I feel like a butterfly who is constantly keeping her wings aflutter so that she didn't end up drowning in a pool of water. I am completely exhausted.


I have spent today taking care of many things around this house. This evening I will be starting on Moment by Moment and making sure I allow time to do some payer journaling and reading of my own.


The good news... time will begin to open up for a few more blog posts during the week and I am being called into a slower paced week. I even took off my fitbit which I have worn every day for three weeks.



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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Party like it's your birthday... oh Wait!

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Well it's not my birthday yet! Almost! Like in 24 hours! This year though I am looking forward to it. I know ... as women we get hung up on a number but I am honored to say my age doesn't bother me. Perhaps if I looked like my age ~ it would but since it doesn't I am good! I will be 41. For the next four months I have something to look forward to and/or work towards and in a way reasons to celebrate something special to my life/heart every single month! Have decided to end this whole year with balanced purpose!

September's "purpose" event is to commit to good physical health. The entire month.

October I am going to Icing (Spiritual health),

November I want to run the 5k in Houston's turkey trot (Mental challenge) and self publish book #2 in the Ladies of Cotton Lake Series (Professional health)

December I am going to the Ranch with Joel while he goes deer hunting (Relationship health).

As I succeed in these events and move closer to the end of the year I will sit down and plan out at LEAST the next quarter if not the remainder of my  year of being 41.

Would you like to make my birthday REALLY special this year?! Why not grab a copy of You Are More either for yourself, a friend, your mother, sister, grown daughter, pastor's wife, etc?! You can get that copy here! And each book that is ordered between now and midnight September 1st I will do 25 crunches or squats just for kicks!


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Monday, August 25, 2014

Thoughts on the ALS Challenge and why I am choosing to opt out



So, I was watching some Tony Robbins videos that were put on YouTube from various events and well... I came across this one that really not only inspired me... but led me to posting this post before I was even "officially" challenged! YOU CAN WATCH THAT HERE! It got me to thinking about the current social media trend of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been trending at great speed for the last couple of weeks (It really started on June 30th) on sites like Face Book, Instagram, Twitter and the like. My husband was challenged and I helped him via getting his stuff set up and taking the video. I too was challenged as well as our children. They will gladly do it, I on the other hand am apprehensive. And here is why:

1. I am learning that I don't have to do things to be "liked" by my friends, much less social media. Today I am taking a stand and refusing to play the whole "do or die" mode that is set by someone else. If I am not bold and strong enough to have convictions that have that "do or die" motto, I surely am NOT giving in to public peer pressure.I have yet to see anyone challenged to go serve in a Homeless shelter, a food-bank, or anything of the like that will help immediately aid someone other than themselves or researchers.

2. There are so many organizations that need your help too. Not just for ALS but what about TTTS that will save LIVES that were created yet sometimes do not even get a chance to be lived outside the womb? What about cancer that is killing kids, mothers, husbands?

3. I am not a trend follower any longer. I used to be. I used to be so cowardly that I would feel ashamed for thinking differently. I am not condemning anyone who took the challenge ~ because like I said.. it made a difference in a positive way. I am growing myself into being a leader  and leaders must consider just exactly what they should do and why they should do it. Call me a natural over thinker ~ I would rather call me a person brave enough to stand out and follow my own convictions.

ALS is real. ALS is deadly. I am not diminishing that truth.  I will donate to ALS and even put a donation button or link here on the blog.  They have gotten plenty of donations.... more than ever before. But really... how many of the people who took the ALS challenge take real challenges in life? How many people who stood bodly and said "I take this ALS challenge in honor of ..... and I challenge ......"would do the same if it meant they actually had to do something more than give a few bucks?  I LOVE that other's were challenged yet .... in real life some of those same people would rather bury their head and either complaining about or hiding from the challenges they are facing. Please do not think I think badly of you .... but in the world we live in I have to make sure to clearly state why I will NOT follow because you may just think I am a coward and don't want' to do it for the simple reasons of not doing it. I am raising world changers in our children, and I truly believe they will be ones who are helping to change our world to be a better place to live, perhaps no longer a place where you are an outcast for thinking differently than you friends and neighbors.

This is a video stating other's who are also NOT participating and they too do not feel shame for standing for what they believe in.
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