Monday, October 31, 2011

10 More Amazing Recipe Pins

Time for another list of 10 Amazing Recipe Pins (Find the first one here). I find the recipes, I pin (on pinterest) them and then I just can't stop there. I have to share them with you. Here are 10 I've found recently:
What better way to start than with a bowl of worms on such a day as this? To make these beauties, just fill straws with jello and chill! Brilliant! 
This crock pot breakfast casserole makes my tummy rumble! Easy, filling, and very yummy!

I never imagined drying fruit could be so easy! These dried strawberries look both easy and delicious
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup: You can try it the Vegan way or with meat here.
Yay for slow cooker meals! We're having one tonight. The only thing that could make them better is if they were prepped ahead of time. This blogger did just that!
These garlic butter knots use a pizza dough, butter, cheese and spices to give a wow factor to your dinner's starch.
Coffee Cake in a cup! Hurray!
Cheesy garlic sticks have graced our table a few times in the past weeks, and I never make enough--I always hear, "Is there any more??" And my oldest even began to plan out the next time when I would make double what I made that night. : ) The blogger in the link uses a premade unbaked pizza crust from a local pizza place. I have used a crust mix for mine--I'm as unsatisfied with homemade crust as the aforementioned blogger. I'm still looking for the perfect recipe.
Yay for soup! Our family is definitely more on the hearty end of things. I rarely think of soup as a side; I most often serve it as a one dish wonder.
And the grande finale? A list of 50 Great Cupcake recipes that you'll certainly want to bookmark for future reference! 



Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm Thinking On A Working Song

A line from a Sara Groves song has been running through my mind lately--one of my favorites in all her songs,
"My grandmother had a working song
hummed it low all day long,
'Sing for the beauty that's to be found...'" (from Setting Up the Pins)
And so my heart has been longing for a 'working song.' Something to hum low all day long. A way to set my heart to prayer even when my mind wanders. Here's the first one that pops to mind:

O fill me with your fullness, Lord,
until my very heart o'erflow
in kindling thought and glowing word
your love to tell, your praise to show.
O use me, Lord, use even me,
just as you will, and when, and where
until your blessed face I see,
your rest, your joy, your glory share. (Lord Speak to Me)
It reminds me where my strength and rest come from. It is a prayer to do it for His glory and His alone. It is an acknowledgment that my life is constantly a witness (whether good or bad) in these days of having young children about. And it is a plea for keeping me close to Him.

Or what about one of these?

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wand'ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above. (Come Thou Fount)


I praise the God of grace;
I trust his truth and might;
He calls me his, I call him mine,
My God, my joy, my light.
'Tis he who saveth me,
And freely pardon gives;
I love because he loveth me,
I live because he lives. (Not What My Hands Have Done)



But if you try and fail in your trying,
Hands sore and scarred from the work you've begun;
Take up your cross, run quickly to meet Him,
He'll understand; He'll say, "Well done. (If When You Give)




Basically I could go on all day. I love hymns and singing and this idea of singing my prayers all day long is very attractive and really doable. (You know how songs can get stuck in there!)
Any suggestions? What would you want to be singing all day long? What do you sing all day?




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ten Pumpkin Recipes

repost from last fall--oldie but goodie!
I love fall. I love pumpkins. And I love baked goods. 
Here's a little proof!
1. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins 
3 cups wheat flour, 2 cups pumpkin, 12 oz. chocolate chips, 4 eggs, 2 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt  Mix all ingredients. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 
2. Pumpkin Bread #1
1 cup oil, 4 eggs, 2 cups pumpkin, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp nutmeg, 2/3 cup water, 1/2 cup pecans, 3 1/2 cups AP flour, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp allspice  Combine sugar, oil and eggs and beat. Add pumpkin. Sift flour and dry ing. together. Add dry ingredients to wet with water and nuts. Fill two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 or 70 minutes.
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3. Pumpkin Roll (hubby's favorite)
4. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies I tried these for the first time last week and the whole family loved them. I think I ate the entire first batch! : ) I substituted half whole wheat flour for the AP flour.
5. When I went to the site that posted the above wonderful cookies, I discovered that she had posted another wonderful pumpkin recipe today. Woo hoo! I can't wait to tryPumpkin Swirled Brownies. They look amazing!
6. Stew in a Pumpkin Here's my token savory recipe for the pumpkin bunch! This stew looks wonderful, and I have been meaning to try it for our small group. 
7. Pumpkin Cake This cake can be made with either pumpkins or sweet potatoes. I love it because it's one of those "add to a box cake mix" cakes. Easy, crowd-pleasing, and delicious.
8. Pumpkin Waffles are another recipe I can't wait to try. This looks easy, and our family loves breakfast any time of the day. 
9. Pumpkin Seeds are something that I mean to do every year after we carve our pumpkin, but I rarely get around to it. I'm determined to do it this year. After reading the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, it's easier to think of not wasting things like yummy pumpkin seeds.
10. Pumpkin Casserole is a great way to eat pumpkin as a side for a meal.
You may have noticed that I didn't include a pumpkin pie; I'm not so fond of them, but I really need to make one this year because the hubby loves them! Maybe you guys could suggest a "wow" pumpkin pie recipe for me to try!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Beauty


Sometimes the simple moments are the ones that pierce like an autumn ray of sunshine.


Let all the beauty praise Him.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Chronicle of An Incredible Week

This week began with an outing with all my children (and my friends and their kiddos too)--the older ones being free because of fall break.



If you didn't yet know, my hubby was born and raised in St. Louis and he is an exuberant Cardinals fan. Our last two weeks have been exhausting but fun as we surprisingly have been treated to a Cardinals post season. When the Cardinals won on Sunday night, my hubby was in a state of rapture. And when he discovered that we had the opportunity to GO TO THE WORLD SERIES GAME (you can't even think that phrase without it being in caps, you see), our week was instantly scrambled. Instead of a fall break here relaxing, we would hop in the car and go to the big STL, visit the fam and see the game!
It really was incredible. The mood in the ballpark was about 10 times what it is in a regular season game. And after the win (we went to the first game, thank goodness!) the crowd chanted and yelled and high fived its way out of the stadium. And again I must say, the hubby was as giddy as a young child.
Last weekend my hubby's grandfather turned 85. His children (including my MIL) have been plotting a grande surprise for him for a while. He loves gospel music and one of his favorite singers is Cynthia Clawson.  The hubby's aunt happens to know Cynthia and asked her to come to STL for a private concert in honor of Grandpa's 85th. And so, on Thursday night, we found ourselves in the presence of a grammy award winning musician. She even invited Grandpa up to sing with her. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. Grandpa has alzheimer's and doesn't have the greatest short term memory these days, but oh, his face at singing his favorite hymns with one of his favorite musicians! It was definitely a treat! (One of the songs Cynthia sang for us was "Always," which was sung at Grandpa and Grandma's wedding. Download it for free at her website. I can't wait to learn it and sing it for my kids as a lullaby.)
But oh! The week is not done yet! On Friday we headed quickly home because I had a ticket to the Sara Groves concert that night. Before Sara, we were treated to music by Jenny &Tyler (click to listen--I love their style!) and Audrey Aussad (also click to listen--amazing!). And Sara and I go way back. : ) It was her "Just Showed Up for My Own Life" that God used to help with some crazy hard growth in my life about 6 years ago. And if you don't have her new album, you're late! It's out and you should have gotten it weeks ago! : )
So anyway, it's been one incredible week!




Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Day


Last week on our "All Day at Home" Homeschool day, we celebrated fall by having a Pumpkin Day. Here are some suggestions if you want to have a Pumpkin Day too!
1. Make pumpkin pizzas by cutting tortillas into a pumpkin shape and decorating with pizza toppings.
2. Paint miniature pumpkins.
3. Make pumpkin smoothies: 1/4 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup milk, 2 frozen bananas, 1/4 t cinnamon, 2 T sugar (YUM!) Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
4. Carve a pumpkin and talk about the textures of the pumpkin outside and in.
5. Roast the pumpkin seeds and make other pumpkin recipes. (More here too.)
9. Create felt pumpkins by cutting out pumpkin shapes from orange felt and creating face pieces from black felt. Make crazy pumpkin faces and snap a pic of each one.                                                                                        * And of course, color pumpkins! (Or for older ones, create a still life and have them draw, color, or paint the pumpkins!) Really the ideas are endless, so eat pumpkins, and have fun!      
6. Read pumpkin books! (Look here for a great list) One that's a great warning for me is Too Many Pumpkins! Sometimes I have to beware of serving too many pumpkin dishes this time of year!                                                                           7.  Have "pumpkin school" for the day. Pumpkins can help teach math, science, social studies, creative thinking, art and more! Check here for some great ideas!                                                                                                       8.  We watched this cool educational video about pumpkins as well.                       
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this post was first published on Of Such is the Kingdom on October 19, 2010.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10 Campfire Meals

We're relatively new to camping as a family, but coming from a family that camped a bunch, this is one tradition I'm really eager about!
We're headed out for camping soon, and we're going for two nights; this adds a bit more food than our one night stint last year. I'm excited about that aspect of the trip!
Here are a few ideas:
1. Easy Granola Bars--My kiddos love snacks and never more so than when they are spending a lot of time outside. I need to have good snacking options handy.
2. Logan Bread--This bread would be one to bake ahead of time and bring to the campsite in the cooler. It would work as a snack or a side for any of our meals.
3. Breakfast Bannock--This bread, though, is a good one to make while camping. I'm going to try this one with eggs for one of our breakfasts!
4. Hobo Meals--There is something so yummy about comfort food fixed over a fire! You can use ground beef or chicken for this one.
4. Shish Kabobs--I cannot WAIT to taste the chicken and pineapple we're going to kabob and cook over our fire!
5. Easy Campfire Cobbler--I think I might be able to pull this off in a miniature version in my little cast iron dutch oven. Maybe this recipe will help with the smaller pot.
6. Campfire Toasted Burritos--There's not enough time in a two night camping trip for all the yummy food!
7. Hotdogs, marshmallows, or just about anything that can be stuck on a stick and held over a fire! My kids very favorite part about eating while we're camping is being able to cook their own food. The fire and the smells and the stick...it all just warms their little hearts! (and fills their little bellies!)
8. Pig on a Stick--Here's another breakfast that will make the kiddos happy! They get to spear their sausage, wrap their biscuit around it, and bake the whole thing over the fire.
9. Barbecue Burgers--If I get brave enough to go beyond sandwiches for lunch, this might be one of our lunches. I don't know if we'll use a grate or a skillet, but either way they'll be yummy.
10. Campfire Orange Cakes--You can actually bake the cake inside the orange peel! I think I might try chocolate cake. : )
Here's a great outdoor cooking checklist that I'll be referring back to for my packing.
Hooray for cooking and eating outdoors in the fall!
Do you camp with your family and if so, what do you eat when you're camping?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Freshen Up for Fall

It's nothing really super exciting, just moving around some porch furniture, buying a few pumpkins ($6 for 3 at Aldi!) and spending $13 at Michaels for some silk leaves, foam pumpkins, and silk flowers. But I feel for once like our porch actually reflects our family's love for the season!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10 Soups and Stews

We woke up this morning to an unusual sight: rain and fog. How long has it been since we've had a rainy day? Well, I guess it was that record rainfall about a month ago. I was tempted to keep the kids home from their homeschool tutorial and celebrate by just watching movies all day. 
But I restrained.
Instead I'll celebrate the weather by giving you a list of ten warm and yummy soup recipes for just such a day as this.
1. Chicken and Corn Chowder: Corn, bacon, chicken, garlic combine to make a fall/winter wondersoup!
2. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup: I have been itching to try a butternut soup recipe (will my family eat it???) and this one will be my first. Perhaps the kiddos will taste the apples and give it a decent chance. 
3. Chicken and Dumplings: This is my favorite "soup" ever. I like it thick and warm and, yum! Maybe I'll make this one tonight!
4. Awesome Stew: With black beans, corn, tomatoes, and sausage, it really does sound like it will fit its name.
5. Chicken and Spinach Soup: Again, will my kids eat it??? It looks so very yummy! I'm just going to have to give it a try and let them taste it blind folded or something. : )
6. Black Bean Soup: This recipe is easy, easy, easy--as easy as dumping cans into a pot and yet, it is so very yummy! Hiding veggies in it is pretty easy too.
7. Egg Noodle Soup: Homemade egg noodles and chicken make this a healthy yummy alternative to the normal chicken soup.
8. Ham and Potato Soup: Potato soup is another of my favorites. I love the thickness of it--add some ham and you have a meal!
9. Stone Soup: You know the one where you just put whatever you have in the pot together? I make that one all the time. Every time it's an experiment and every time it comes out completely different. My favorite thing to start with is chicken stock and I often add tons of veggies and maybe some lentils, but really this soup could go any way you choose. Just keep taste testing as you go along!
10. Beef Stew: This is a good basic recipe, but with different spices, this stew can take on a completely different personality. Feel free to experiment!
I could keep going...there are so many soups and stews to try! Maybe I'll have to do do a Soups and Stews Part II next week!
Have a warm and happy week!



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Epiphany


I am at this very moment, strangely wide awake and so very thankful.
I had a little epiphany this evening.
I have often puzzled over His methods of teaching me. And where I put "puzzled" you are very welcome to read "struggled" or even "chafed."
But I had one clear moment where I looked back into my past and I saw...
Beauty.
Nothing but beauty.
He has withheld no good thing from me.
Never.
Not one time in all my life has He allowed something to be taken away without giving me more in return.
Not one time in all my life has He ever allowed a trial without bringing more beauty out of it.
"The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" has always held true for me. (Rom 8:18)
Always.
You might be thinking "Of course."
And actually I am myself thinking, "Of course."
And yet I was going to doubt Him just this evening-- I felt that doubt threatening to grow inside me.
Just as I have doubted Him so often lately. Whenever a trial comes, I go straight to complaining with my whys and my hows and my whens.
So that clear moment was a gift. A gift to fight off the doubts. A gift to grow the seed of thankfulness inside of me.
He has withheld no good thing from me.
Praise be to to the Lord!
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Story of the Relational Truck

When the hubby and I got married, he drove a really old humongous brown car. It was great for holding somewhere around 30 college kids, and the hubby loved it like you love your first dog. But when we received a report that the old car would need thousands of dollars of repair work, we decided it was time to look for the hubby a new vehicle. And the truck dream was born.
I was a young wife and I had no idea what was going on inside his head. In my home growing up, we talked big all the time about things we "wanted" when we knew it was just kind of a game--nothing for real. I took the truck talking like that. Oh, you want the most expensive F-150 there is? Hmm.. that's interesting. Oh, it has to have factory specialized features? Cool.
And when a friend of ours was selling a 1996 F-150 that the hubby kind of liked, I said, "Go for it!" and thought we were done with the truck dream.
Boy, was I wrong. It was only the beginning. He drove that 96 and really liked it, but it literally took me 8 years to realize that THE truck held deep, deep meaning for the hubby. There were some wrong motivations tied up in it, for sure, but there was something there too that was right and true. He wanted to have the truck that would meet everyone's needs. He wanted to be done with vehicle buying for a long, long time if possible. He wanted a truck that reflected personality and strength--fun, innovative, helpful, tough, big enough for the family, new enough to be really fun to drive. You know the one, right? It's quite expensive.
So in the early days, I would really let him have it. I gave him every truth in the book about why he shouldn't have an expensive vehicle. I really could have been a lawyer, folks. I shot him down, I refused to listen when he'd heard of a new innovation to the F-150 and many times we fought long and hard over who was right on this issue. Couldn't he buy a vehicle just for the love of it? Or should practicality always win out? And all the time I was arguing for some greater truth, I was truly missing him (and Him too, I'm sure). I wasn't seeing my hubby's heart, which I'm convinced is what he really wanted all those years.
God woke me up on this subject slowly and over much time. First I realized (about 2 years ago) that I needed to put the decision in the hubby's hands. So I said and meant, "Buy the truck when you think you should." But I still gritted my teeth at times about how it would set us back on debt management, etc. etc.
Then some advice that was given to a friend kind of latched on to this whole discussion in my mind. Every time I would think of the truck, I would hear, "Pray first for your husband's issues--his desires, his dreams." From there it was a short leap to the fact that the truck should come sooner than the hubby thought (he was shooting for the end of this year) AND that it should be a gift from yours truly. An open handed, open hearted gift.
So I actually listened and asked a few questions when he was talking about the one he wanted. I wrote it all down so I wouldn't forget. I called dealerships and located a few maybes.
I planned a getaway to a nearby city to celebrate our tenth anniversary and I told him that the entertainment for our trip was going to also be his anniversary present. He had no idea! (Hee hee!)
And then as we were getting ready to go, the hubby brought me the phone and said, "Listen to this crazy message where some guy is talking about an F-150." AAHHH! One of the guys from a dealership had called! I quickly clicked off the phone and the hubby got pretty upset. It's one of his pet peeves that we have to listen to a message entirely before we can delete it on our messaging system and all he was thinking about having to do that. When he grumped at me, I ran out of the room, and he thought, "Oh, great I've already ruined our weekend!"
When I returned I was holding all my notes about the truck. Happy anniversary, dearest!
His first words were, "I feel like such a cad!"
It took him until we got on the road a ways before he really believed we could buy THE truck that very day. And guess what? We did. He bought the only FX4 Ecoboost in the city we were visiting, and the look on his face was worth every dollar of debt. The look said, "My wife understands me." And that was something worth marking our ten years together with!
So, drum roll please.... here it is, the truck of his dreams...
Has it solved all our problems? No. We've quibbled about the camper shell and the truck bed liner and right now we're quibbling because my phone died and do I need a new old phone or a new new phone, but there is something different going on. This is a stepping off point for all that is to come in our oneness--want an example? The hubby has already asked if he can take the kids to school and pick them up two days a week because he wants this truck to really serve me and our family. Wow. 
You, dear reader (if any of you kept reading this far!) know that motives are never pure, and mine definitely aren't about this--but I really do want to stay hands and heart open. So long live the FX4 and Happy 10th Anniversary, dear beloved!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Bucket List

We're working on the walks and the baseball daily and we went to the planetarium today (very fun!)
Have a happy October, everyone!
P.S. Stealing this one from many places including this great blog.
P.P.S. This is my 500th blog post for Of Such is the Kingdom. It seems kinda monumental and I'm having a slightly emotional moment here about it. Okay. That's over. Back to enjoying fall!

Monday, October 3, 2011

To Wash or Not to Wash

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TRESemmé for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
You may have noticed that I have hair. {smile} I'm sure you have it too. Long or short, blonde, red or brunette we're all dealing with it, I know.
I've been trying to grow mine out, for oh, about 30 years now. I've had a few setbacks. I remember quite clearly being 11 years old and bitterly composing a story about the "short haired mermaid" because my practical mother kept my stringy hair short. And there was that time in college when a well-meaning hair dresser convinced me that my face shape would look so much better with short hair (and then she proceeded to chop off 4 years of hard-won inches). And lastly I lost my head (literally!) when the second child was born and had all the hair chopped off to be sent away to Locks of Love.
But no more. I'm growing this hair out as long as it will grow. There is still a good bit of the princess want-to-be left in me and I plan to milk the hair for all its worth. I've always loved it when older ladies had beautiful grey hair flowing down their back. Maybe just maybe I can achieve that someday.
In the meantime, I have to take care of this growing hair. Lately I've been hearing rumors that washing one's hair every day is probably not the smartest thing for those of us with hair that is closely kin to fields of dry wheat. So, I've been trying to at least skip a day in between washes. And I've learned something interesting: long hair collects smells. If I make sausage on Monday morning and then skip the wash on Tuesday, guess what my hair will smell like Tuesday night? Yep. Sausage. Greasy at the scalp and sausagey throughout. Yum.
So I'm very excited to share with you a product that will keep your nose in the dark about which days I'm washing and which I'm not (if you happen to run into me at the grocery store): TRESemm√© Fresh Start Dry Shampoo. This is great! The idea is that you save your hair the drying, damaging influences of the evil water and yet your hair still comes out styled and smelling washed and fresh. It absorbs oil and removes odor all without a drop of water. Amazing! Just like your normal in-shower shampoo, there are choices from TRESemme: you can choose from strengthening, volumizing, smoothing, and even moisturizing!
You just lift sections of your "slightly" unclean hair and spray in short bursts (about 8-12 inches from your head). You don't spray all over continuously like hair spray, but you can use your fingers to spread the shampoo throughout your hair. (The nozzle has a bit of a tendency to clog, but you can just rinse it under warm water and reattach it.) Click here if you want more instructions about how to use.
If you're really interested, here's a video  where celeb Julia Allison has teamed up with TRESemme and created a little training session on using this product.
Julia is giving away a $500 Gift Card to Target to one lucky viewer, so check it out!
So overall, my hair and I are very excited to let you know about this product. And if you're meeting me on one of those no-shower days, then you (and your nose) will probably be excited about it too!
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