Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Corn Tortilla Mexican Casserole

Our family loves Mexican--in any form or fashion.
Working from a memory of a casserole we once had at small group, I made this one up last night.
First I created an enchilada sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T AP flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup taco seasoning
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t cumin
(I borrowed heavily from this one.)
Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add flour and stir until flour is slightly browned. Add all other ingredients and stir until thickened, about 6 minutes.
After that I added my
2 cans chicken (when I do it again I'll use chopped cooked chicken breasts)
1 can refried beans
1 can black beans
(Again, when I do this again I'll probably add some sauteed chopped red/yellow pepper and onions.)
Spray a 9 1/2 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray and layer
Corn tortillas
Enchilada mixture
Shredded Cheese
kind of like you're building a lasagna.
I fit in three layers of each last night, but next time I do it, I may try to make the layers thinner and fit in four.
Cook at 350 degrees until top layer of cheese is brown, 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy!



Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Manifesto

And incidentally, I will also boil the milk all over the stove as I try to cook the family's morning oatmeal. : )
Never say our Lord doesn't have a sense of humor. I'm sure He's loving my childish "I will"s this morning. 
Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Star Wars Winner

Thanks to all who visited and commented for the Star Wars General Mills Giveaway!
We have another winner...

Congratulations!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Outside Play Worksheet

I don't know if anyone actually has slow days this time of year or not. But, since we homeschool, these occasionally happen. I am so thankful for them! I wouldn't change them for the world, but I do sympathize with the kids sometimes when we've had a few in a row. I know they have a million toys in their room and I could always let them play a computer game or two, but sometimes I want them to bust their boredom outside. Sometimes this comes easily to them. They go outside and love it for hours. Sometimes I join them and come up with things for them to do. 
Sometimes, though, they just need a plan for their outside adventures. That's where they Outside Play Worksheet comes in.
I think you'll be able to view this but not change it on iWork.com. But you can make your own with the "story board" template on Pages or probably just draw one out on a blank piece of paper. I have the following activities listed on mine:
Activity #1: Play Soccer (Play a little soccer and then draw a picture of yourself playing.)
Activity #2: Jump on the trampoline (Jump and then draw a picture of your best jump.)
Activity #3: Play on swing set and fort (Play and then draw your favorite thing about the fort.)
Activity #4: Pick flowers (Find at least one flower, draw it and save it to bring inside.)
Activity #5: Play with Dixie {our dog} (Throw Dixie's ball/stick then draw a picture of Dixie.)
Activity #6: Hike the trail and bring back one object you find (Draw a picture of what you've found.)

This could be P.E., art, and science for a homeschool day.
Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

10 Super Easy Recipes

I don't know if it's the time of year, the weather that can't decide whether it wants to be 20 or 60 or just because I am in a lazy mood, but I have wanted easy recipes lately--and I mean EASY. I thought I'd share a few lazy easy recipes with you so that you could come and validate my laziness by joining me. Please? Or you could just call it being very efficient with your time...
1. Six Can Chicken Soup--yep, just grab your can opener and a pot and in five minutes tops you'll have dinner simmering on the stove. When I make this one I'll probably double it, which will technically make it a 12 can soup, but that still sounds easy, so it made the cut.
2. Olivia's Easy Lasagna--I call this mine because I guess no one writes down recipes this easy because I didn't find it anywhere (I didn't look too hard.) I know that lasagnas can get involved if you actually make them correctly, but since my tummy can't handle the yummier, creamier cheeses, I make mine like this:
Boil the lasagna noodles. Brown 1 pound ground beef. Add a can of spaghetti sauce to the ground beef. Layer sauce mix, noodles and shredded mozzarella and cheddar. End with a layer of noodles and a layer of cheese. Bake at 350 for an hour. (Cover with foil for the last 30 minutes.)
3. Baked whole chicken. I can't recommend this enough. Throw a whole chicken in the crockpot. Slather it with something--barbecue sauce/olive oil and italian seasonings/sweet and sour sauce--anything. Then just let it cook. Three to five hours later you have your meat portion of dinner already done, and as I've said before, I feel like when the meat is done, the rest of dinner is easy.
4. Stir Fry--After our five and four guests devoured the whole chicken with barbecue sauce, there was still enough chicken left to make a nice stir fry. Cook your rice separately. Use a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables. Stir fry in oil according to package directions and add leftover chicken and stir fry sauce; stir until warmed. Easy and yummy!
5. These Simple Grilled Salmon Steaks seem yummy. I have salmon in the freezer, so this is on our menu for the week.
6. Quesadillas--I know I've mentioned this before, but our family will eat anything on a tortilla. I love to mix up our fillings for these grilled tortillas--maybe steak strips, red and yellow peppers, and mozzarella cheese; or taco meat salsa and mexican cheese---anything goes! And it's quick and easy as long as you're using leftover/pre-cooked meat.
7. Jiffy Jambalaya is another quick meal I've been meaning to try out (and all ingredients are accounted for, so this one will be on the menu this week as well.) It has a few more ingredients, but everything is cooked in one pot. P.S. I'm going saute the sausage first and add black beans.
8. Tuna Casserole is also on our menu for this week and it is yet another quick and easy recipe. Although I make my own cream soup, and this takes a few extra minutes, if you're able to use a canned cream soup, it's even quicker!
9. Eight more weeks (yes, weeks!) of easy recipes. This site is a great find, and I just had to share it with you. The variety is great--quiche and meatloaf, casseroles, glazes, and even a vodka sauce. Check it out!
10. Angel Biscuits--I am so excited about this recipe! The key words in the instructions are "store dough in the refrigerator until ready for use." Woohoo! This means that making the (very easy) dough the night before means we can have melt-in-our-mouth yumminess for breakfast with almost no effort.
Enjoy!
Oh yes, and speaking of easy, how about some free cereal? I'm giving away some on Friday. Comment to win!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Giveaway!

I've been particularly blessed by MyBlogSpark lately with these wonderful giveaways.

General Mills Cereal has paired up with Star Wars to celebrate Episode I being in theaters again! By buying GM cereal, you can collect all eight exclusive Star Wars pens that feature iconic Episode I characters including: Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Queen Amidala, Yoda, R2D2, C3PO, Jar Jar Binks and Darth Maul.
Participating Big G cereals include Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (12.8 oz.), Lucky Charms®(11.5 oz.), Reese’s® Puffs (13 oz.), Cheerios® (14 oz.), and Cookie Crisp® (11.25 oz)--these cereals are not the best for breakfast, in my experience (too much sugar) but they make a great treat snack! Your kids get a treat and you get to know that their treat has some nutritional value.
Star Wars Episode I came out in theaters February 10, 2012 you can catch all the action and adventure and relive how the saga began in eye-popping 3D.

To win the gift pack, simply become a GFC follower of Of Such is the Kingdom and leave a comment telling me what you like to eat for breakfast.


For additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each):
  • Sign up to receive Of Such is the Kingdom via email (see Feedburner box in the right side bar).
  • Become a fan on Of Such is the Kingdom's Facebookpage--Double wammy: once I have 100 followers there, I'm giving away these nine cool date night gifts!
  • Follow me on Twitter: yeah, I'm new at this but find me at KingdomOlivia.
  • Tweet, blog, Facebook, etc. this giveaway (comment once for each). Hey, you can even get an extra entry for pinning this! Just leave me a comment that you have. 
Giveaway ends February 25th at noon when I will choose the winner using random.org.
Thanks!

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{six word saturday}
Disclosure:  Prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines!

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Rom. 5:5
This was one of those mornings that, when the kids left with the hubby for school--even though they were ten minutes late--I felt like a parade should be held in my honor.
I have this thing about Valentines, as you know,  and I have a great desire to make it fun and special for the kids. Unfortunately, going to bed late and rising early to make homemade donuts sometimes makes it a little harder for momma to enjoy the fun and specialness.
But we did it. We had the presents (thanks, Grandma and Grandmomma!) and the donuts and the bacon and the oldest even made her apple dumpling cupcakes for her class. (We used the apple dumpling cake recipe and just put a few pieces of apple and a spoonful of the dough in each decorated cupcake paper. I think it worked well.)
It was great.
And there was no parade--just pictures that make me smile and a bit of cleanup.
Baked donuts--Recipe here
I am very grateful for a day that makes me stop and say
I Love You
with a bit more action.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Nesting/Spring Cleaning

With each of my three pregnancies, I have felt the inclination to clean out and get ready for the baby. The urge usually came very strong in the third trimester and lasted until the labor pains began. 
Well, as you know, my family is preparing for an adoption. This is a soon-to-never kind of gestation period, and well, I guess that we're going to be in the "third trimester stage" until the child comes. Because, for better or worse, the hubby and I both have the nesting bug. He calls it an early case of spring cleaning, but I think at heart he knows what's really going on.
So, to celebrate this crazy bout of house cleaning, I'll occasionally be posting some cleaning and organizational posts here on Of Such is the Kingdom for the unforeseeable future.
First off, we have our bathroom. We've done some things well in our teeny tiny "master" bath, but there is still much to do.
I've done you the courtesy of enlarging the pics, so please do me the courtesy of not looking too closely. 
(thanks)
I think one thing we've done well is chosen a very neutral, very bright color for the wall part of our bathroom. When we moved in, the bathroom was painted the green of the background of the magnolia pic. It was overbearing and it gave me a headache just trying to figure out how to get something to match the green and the tile. So we painted a very, very, very light shade of yellow--something like this from Home Depot--maybe even lighter than that. Then I painted the magnolia blossom on a canvas we already had, and there we had the majority of our decorating for the bathroom.
Storage is also a problem in our teeny tiny bathroom, so I've had to get pretty creative. A rolling rack from Target holds toilet paper, a bucket of bracelets, towels and female necessities in front of the toilet.
A small shelf makes a great hanging place for necklaces and a pretty vase holds q-tips. 
This shelf may look merely decorative, but it is the holding place for all my small earrings and much more. This shelf has to be cleaned often, but it's a handy little holding spot for many things. (It's covered with a non-adhesive shelf liner kind of like this one)
The sink is one spot that needs work. (And yes, it would have been nice if I'd at least straightened the towel for the pic. Oh, well.) I think I'm finally ready to sacrifice the visual space and cover up the mess underneath the sink. My mom suggested velcro around the edge of the sink and velcro on a white, short curtain. Stick the two sides of the velcro together and I would have a convenient covering for all that unsightly bathroom stuff.
Remember that non-adhesive shelf liner? Well, I tacked some of it to the wall in an inconspicuous corner and slipped some of my earrings through the holes. It's a pretty and practical way to display/store my earrings.
For more inspiration, check out the "bathroom storage" page of pinterest.
What do you do to organize your bathroom? I would love more suggestions!

If you're looking for Valentines inspiration, yes! We are celebrating the day of love around here. 
Check our Valentines Day plans out here and I'll be posting more tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2012

And the winner is...

Thanks to all those who visited and commented on the Running Out? Run in! Publix Giftcard post.
The winner is...
Congratulations!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

$25 Publix Gift Card Giveaway



Thanks to MyBlogSpark and General Mills, I am happy to be able to offer a $25 Publix gift card that would be great to use during for the “Running Out? Run In” event at your local Publix from Feb. 9th through Feb. 14th! Great savings will be available on brands from General Mills and Procter & Gamble, including Yoplait yogurt, Cheerios, Charmin, and Crest.


Also, don’t forget to look in stores for over $14 in coupon savings – coupons are valid Feb. 6 through Feb. 25.

Receive a $5 Publix® gift card to use on your next shopping trip when you purchase $30 or more in participating items during the event (2/8 – 2/25); simply mail in the rebate form found in-store or online at runningoutrunin.com along with your original receipt(s).

For more details on this great rebate, visit RunningOutRunIn.com

To win the gift card, simply sign up to receive Of Such is the Kingdom via email (see Feedburner box in the right side bar) and leave a comment telling me you have done so.


For additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each):
  • Leave a comment telling me what items cause you to "run in" to Publix.
  • Become a fan on Of Such is the Kingdom's Facebookpage--Double wammy: once I have 100 followers there, I'm giving away these nine cool date night gifts!
  • Follow me on Twitter: yeah, I'm new at this but find me at KingdomOlivia.
  • Tweet, blog, Facebook, etc. this giveaway (comment once for each). Hey, you can even get an extra entry for pinning this! Just leave me a comment that you have. 

The winner will be drawn on Friday, February 10 by random.org and will be announced on a blog post that same day. U.S. residents only.
Disclosure:  The Publix gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

What We're Reading

We love to read, read, read and read some more around our household! Here's another list of what we're reading these days:


A Bible study I'm a part of picked Holiness out to read, and I'm glad they did! I've only read the intro and the first chapter, but already I'm being challenged. In the first chapter, Ryle talks of our human condition of denying the "sinfulness of sin," and that if we could just see sin as God sees it for one moment, we would be forever changed. And, he says, "We need not be afraid to look at sin, and study its nature, origin, power, extent, and vileness, if we only look at the same time at the Almighty medicine provided for us int he salvation that is in Jesus Christ." Good stuff!

I just read the first two Harry Potter books to the two older kids as a read-aloud. Now that I'm finished with The Book of God I intend to read through the rest of the Potter books--my excuse is to mark them for which age the oldest can read them, but really I just enjoy them and want to read them again.

The Mystery of  the Biltmore House is our current read-aloud. The oldest got a few of these "Real Kids, Real Places" books for Christmas. The writing is not the very best and the plot is a little slow, but the all the facts about the real place make up for both of those. We've enjoyed supplementing the book with pictures and videos from the internet about the Biltmore House.

As you have probably read here, our family is in the adoption process. We hope to adopt domestically, and we can't wait to welcome our fourth child home! The hubby and I are working our way through Talking with Young Children about Adoption. This book has taught me much about the process of sharing adoption with your adopted child gradually and naturally throughout their life. It has also revolutionized my view of play. Why have I never known that children share emotions and viewpoints through their play that maybe even they themselves don't know that they have? The two very intelligent moms who wrote this book share how through playing with your child you learn where certain behavior patterns are coming from. Wow! I have always had trouble just playing with my children, but this has renewed my motivation to do so. 


The Bark of the Bog Owl is our next read-aloud, and I'm excited to read it again. This book is a retelling of the David story in a fantasy setting. I didn't even know I was reading about David until he fought the giant and it all clicked! I've never again read the story of David in the Bible without thinking of this story. The author did a great job imagining how his main character would have felt throughout the story.
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**One more day to comment to win a $25 Publix Giftcard. Come on over and win a little!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentines

I have a thing about Valentines Day. 
When I was in high school I used to write letters to all my friends telling them how wonderful they were and hand out kisses on Feb. 14th. Now that I have kids, I get to be even more extravagant.
Valentines Decorations
I know that the stores go way overboard for this holiday but I can't help thinking that a celebration of love isn't a bad thing, you know?
We should celebrate our love for one another and His love for us often, and if Valentines reminds us to do that, it is a good thing in my book.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God 
and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 
1 John 4:7
The kids helped cut out and string these hearts. They make me happy every time I see them.
Valentines Food:
This Valentines, our family will be celebrating the Friday before with company and then again on Valentines Day in the morning and evening.
As you can see, we've already started decorating. 
This Friday, we'll be having crock pot pork roast with potatoes and carrots (and plenty of herbs), salad,  green beans, homemade rolls (made with leftover hamburger bun dough) and these Nutella Mousse (the recipe is for 2, but I'll be making it for 11) desserts made in small paper Valentine bowls I found at Walmart.
They're not at all as cute as these, but this is what I was looking for.
On Valentines morning, we're going to try out these baked donuts
with bacon (for my meat-loving hubby and son).
Yes, I know we're not going particularly healthy, but Valentines only comes once a year!
For Valentines dinner, I'm going to try this version of a beer can chicken with Sprite! I'll serve it with broccoli and homemade macaroni and cheese (everybody's fave).
Then we'll top off our day with these Valentines cookies.
Valentines Gifts:
We're giving the kids' classmates pencils, stickers and, of course, 
Phineas and Ferb gummies.
The teachers are getting #1 Teacher pens and chocolates.
The kids are getting little treats from my growing kid treat basket 
(shh! don't tell--I'll be filling you in on that later)
and the hubby is getting some terribly practical gifts. 
There now, even if he reads this, he'll never know.
We will most likely be giving out leftover donuts because I will want them out of the house so I won't consume them all. : )
There you have (most of) our Valentines celebrations.
Happy Valentines!
P.S. Please don't miss the $25 Publix Giftcard Giveaway going on at Of Such is the Kingdom right now! There aren't very many entries--it's an easy win!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Congratulations, Winner!

Congratulations,


"I am a follower.
I love to use coupons and visit hip2save.com- they have lots of good deals and freebies they share."

Thanks so much for visiting Of Such is the Kingdom and commenting! It's won you $25 worth of gift cards for Sam's Club!
Thanks to all who visited and commented. Check back tomorrow for a $25 Publix gift card giveaway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

October Baby


I've spoken of my love of teaching fact through fiction before, and if you'll pardon me, I'm going to harp on it again. One of the beautiful things about the way we're created is that inside us all is the love for story. When a truth is couched in a story, it is easier to take in, easier to digest, easier to love.
October Baby is another instance of that.
Here is a movie that could change the prevalent ideas about abortion--partly because the time is ripe for those ideas to change and partly because the Erwin brothers have beautifully couched this truth in a story.
This time the story is about a girl who finds out at 19 that she was adopted.
And she was adopted because she was aborted.
She's an abortion survivor.
If you are an advocate for babies and life and mommies, please, please, please go see this movies on March 23rd!
I was privileged to see the movie at a screening in our town last night. And yes, I cried through a good part of it. The acting is good (my only complaint being that some of the characters were missing that spark that makes you forget they are acting with each other.) There are some funny parts, some love scenes, some fight scenes. It's a story, but even more than that, it's a statement-- a statement that all life is precious, that a baby is a baby is a baby, and that in forgiveness there is freedom.
To encourage you to go and see this movie, I'll be giving out a couple of free tickets here at Of Such is the Kingdom in March. 
Take a group, take a crowd--take your whole church! 
And go see October Baby!