Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Best Advice

Isaiah 55

An Invitation to Abundant Life
  “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
      Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
      Come, buy and eat.
      Yes, come, buy wine and milk
      Without money and without price.
        Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
      And your wages for what does not satisfy?
      Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
      And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
        Incline your ear, and come to Me.
      Hear, and your soul shall live;
 And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
      The sure mercies of David.
        Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
      A leader and commander for the people.
        Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
      And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
      Because of the LORD your God,
      And the Holy One of Israel;
      For He has glorified you.”
        Seek the LORD while He may be found,
      Call upon Him while He is near.
        Let the wicked forsake his way,
      And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
      Let him return to the LORD,
      And He will have mercy on him;
      And to our God,
      For He will abundantly pardon.
 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
      Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
        “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
      So are My ways higher than your ways,
      And My thoughts than your thoughts.
  “ For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
      And do not return there,
      But water the earth,
      And make it bring forth and bud,
      That it may give seed to the sower
      And bread to the eater,
        So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
      It shall not return to Me void,
      But it shall accomplish what I please,
      And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
    “ For you shall go out with joy,
      And be led out with peace;

      The mountains and the hills
      Shall break forth into singing before you,
      And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
        Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
      And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
      And it shall be to the LORD for a name,
      For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Chink

Remember this post about Opening My Hands? Well, it is still my goal in these long months of waiting on a baby. First the update:
We are officially a "waiting family" with Bethany Christian Services. In order to be a waiting family we had to
1. Fill out a huge stack of paperwork
2. Go through an interview process (including a home visit)
3. Attend an orientation meeting
4. Create a family profile book
Those three things are (finally) completed. Because of getting a new leader, our Bethany office didn't have an orientation meeting for 6 months. This is pretty unusual, and we just happened to start our process right as they were having the one 6 months before ours. Bummer. Anyway, as soon as the meeting was over, I quickly got our profile book done and then here we are...waiting.
And last night I had another of those moments. The kind where I forget that my story is, "He has withheld no good thing from me" and that my song is, "Oh the Deep Deep Love of Jesus."

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

So I cry and I'm grumpy with the hubby and I go to bed feeling tired and completely drained. Then this morning He woke me up for a run. My limbs were "as lead," as they say, and if I had been on a tread mill, I would have fallen off exhausted. But I didn't and I got to see this
(it was even better in person)

and I got to hear Isaiah 43-48 as I ran...

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God"
"Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”

(what a promise!)
"Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant,
And Israel whom I have chosen.
Thus says the Lord who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring;
They will spring up among the grass
Like willows by the watercourses."

I couldn't ask for more specific encouragement. And as I ran I remembered my song and my story. And no, waiting is no easier, but somehow I feel I can manage another day. As long as I focus on him I can trust for one more day that He has a good plan and He will use me in it.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ultimate Of Such is the Kingdom Recipe List


Banana Nut Muffins
Olivia's Breakfast Cookies
Carrot Cake Muffins
Daily Dough
Double Chocolate Flax Seed Muffins
Olivia's Whole Wheat Pancakes
Yogurt Biscuits
Fruit Muffin
Valentine Pancakes
Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Breakfast Trifle

Easy Granola Bars
Easy Ham and Cheese Bread Braid
Pumpkin Smoothies
10 Kid-Friendly Healthy Snacks
"Donuts" and "Chips"
Peanut Butter Play Dough
Fruit Wreath
Fruit Muffin
Juicy Juice Popsicles
Oatmeal Cake Muffins
Corn Muffins
Fruit and Veggie Muffin Recipe
Pecan Pie Mini Muffins
Cheddar Broccoli Muffins
Banana Muffins

Pumpkin Pizzas
Pasta Salad for a Crowd
Croc Dogs
Homemade Kid's Meal
Ham and Cheese Shapes

Monthly Menus

November 2010 Menu
April 2012 Menu
March 2012 Menu
May 2012 Menu

June 2012 Menu

Chicken Linguine 
Beer Can Chicken
Corn Tortilla Mexican Casserole
10 Soups and Stews
Chicken and Dumplings
Food Remixing
Meatball Soup
Christian Seder Supper Menu
Christian Seder Supper Liturgy
Ham Fried Rice
Tuna Casserole
Taco Salad
Grits Casserole
Bubble Pizza

Yellow Cupcakes
10 Chocolate Cake Recipes
Cake Balls
10 Christmas Cookies
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Blueberry Crisp

Lists of 10
10 Specific Carbohydrate Recipes
10 Super Easy Recipes
10 Kid-Friendly Healthy Snacks
10 Yummy Vegetable Dishes
10 Zucchini Recipes
10 Chocolate Cake Recipes
10 Frugal Meals
10 Campfire Meals
10 Soups and Stews
10 Family Friendly Mexican Meals
10 Recipes for an Adult Birthday
10 Very Healthy Recipes
10 Pumpkin Recipes
10 Recipes: (cheeseburger buns, shrimp salad, and grits casserole)
10 Top Fall Meals: (Olivia's Chocolate Chip Cookies)

10 Summer Recipes
10 Christmas Cookies
10 Great Uses for those Holiday Leftovers

10 Savory Appetizers

10 Soups and Stews
10 Holiday Sides

Actual June Food

Can you believe June is nearly over? This month has truly flown by. If you perused my June Food recipes, you'll know that I haven't been having to put all that much effort into cooking meals. Yes, I am a lazy bum. You can find me most days on the patio soaking up some rays and reading The Count of Monte Cristo
What have we been eating? Well, like I planned, a lot of cold salads, grilled foods and crock pot meals.
But we also went blueberry picking (hooray!!), so I've made a few blueberry dishes: 
like this amazing and easy blueberry crisp from allrecipes:
And this blueberry baked oatmeal via pinterest:
It's funny how, even though my blueberries were incredibly affordable at $8 for a 2-gallon bucket (See the Blueberry Farm), I still have a hard time putting two whole cups into a recipe. I still have the scratches on my arms and the sore neck from spending two hours picking them from tree-like bushes, so they are very dear! But yes, I've sacrificed a few of them to 2-cup recipes and it has been well worth it. I love fresh blueberries!
For lunch, and yes, sometimes for dinner, we have quesadillas. Ok and yes, we sometimes have them for breakfast too! Melted mozzarella has to be one of my all time favorite foods. Add the grilled butter that makes the tortillas so yummy and you really have a perfect food. These quesadillas are quick and easy and go really well with fresh salsa.
The oldest has been trying her hand at breakfast. To make this beginning easy for her, I've stocked up a bit on some canned breakfast breads. One of my favorite things to make with these easy breads is Monkey Bread (you know, cut the canned biscuits in fourths, roll those fourths into tiny balls, dip these balls into melted butter and cinnamon and sugar then place in pan and bake--oh, and sprinkle the top with brown sugar and more cinnamon. Yum!) 
So we've been having some fun treats for breakfast.
Speaking of breakfast (or any time of day really) I have discovered that I do like Carrot Cake after all. I think my hang up with it all these years is that it tastes more like a muffin than a cake. So I made mine like muffins (and tweaked the recipe a bit so that they actually are not so bad for you for breakfast). So here's the 

Carrot Cake Muffin Recipe
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup AP flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup flax seed
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix sugar and wet ingredients. Add carrots. Mix dry ingredients separately and then add to carrot mixture. Mix sparingly. Pour into muffin cups or prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins are set. 

The original icing recipe calls for
1/2 cup butter
1 8oz package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar
but for breakfast, I thought I'd try a bit less sugar--more like a sweetened cream cheese spread. So I mixed
1/4 cup butter
1 8oz package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
and it worked. But the first recipe is definitely sweeter--so you choose.
Blend icing ingredients and spread over cooled muffins.

This is my second food post in a row--and that's pretty unusual for Of Such is the Kingdom. Don't worry, I'm not going exclusively recipes on you, it's just that in the summer, it seems like our world revolves quite a bit around food: packing picnics, making breakfasts, making snacks, putting together cold salads. Something about being off our regular schedule makes us eat more, I guess.
Happy cooking
Happy eating!
P.S. Thanks Deedra Martell for commenting on my That Works for Me E-book giveaway. You have won! You should be receiving an email with a free download of the book. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Perfect Summer Breakfasts

Or snacks...
Yesterday's snack came from a pin I found the other day--a genius pin explaining that if you blend/process frozen chopped bananas, you will come out with a one ingredient, soft serve ice cream. Amazing, huh? The original recipe also suggests adding a bit of peanut butter and some cocoa 
or you could add cocoa and honey
or any kind of fruit.
We added vanilla extract and chocolate chips while the banana mixture was still in the blender to make our "blizzards."
You can definitely taste the banana, but the possibilities for covering it up (or enjoying it) are endless.
Eat immediately as soft serve or freeze for ice cream to scoop.
This morning for breakfast we used our blender again for a simple smoothie:
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 1/2 frozen bananas, thawed slightly
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup grape juice
I have found that my kids are purists when it comes to smoothies--the fewer ingredients, the better they like it. They'll eat the one with spinach, blueberries and yogurt just fine. But start adding spinach to the strawberry-banana or bananas to the spinach-blueberry and they get a bit antsy. One more ingredient and they politely decline after a few tastes.
With our smoothies, we had 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Building a House

A friend of ours bought some patio furniture recently, and we were the lucky recipients of the boxes (!!!)
 Boxes and cake icing have this in common: they don't respond to my gentle proddings for beauty. But I thought, hey, the only way to succeed is to try. So we did. 

The kids did a great job helping decorate their new play house, and since they spent a good part of the day inside (all 3 of them!) after we finished, I think they liked it!
Last addition: sky light/head hatch
Notice the hand print roof--that was all their doing, and I think it's really cool.
Oh, and it does have a real window; it just happened to be on the side that never got in the photographs! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

That Works for Me E-book Giveaway!

I am happy to introduce a very helpful e-book!
by Kristen Welch and Jennifer De Groot
This is a book filled (and I do mean FILLED) with excellent homemaking tips--I could give you a list, but why don't I just show you...
Yes, 187 pages of help for moms like us.

The book itself is pretty exciting, but want to know three other exciting things?

#1 Kristen and Jennifer included two Works for Me Wednesday posts from Of Such is the Kingdom!
#2 I can give one reader a free copy of this e-book!
#3 All my readers can get their own copy of this great book for $2 off the regular $8 by using the code SUMMERSALE.

So how do you win this treasure for the modern housewife?

By being or becoming a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom and leaving a comment for each of the following (each comment counts as one entry.)
BONUS: Only 17 more likes before I give away 9 "date night" gifts
3. Repost about this giveaway on FB.
4. Repost about this giveaway on Twitter.
5. Repost about this giveaway on your blog.

I'll use to choose a winner in one week (on June 22). 
Happy Homemaking!

I was given a free copy of this book for review for this blog post. All opinions are 100% mine. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Update to Our Summer

The big(ger) kids went to camp. It was GREAT!
They hiked and swam and canoed and rode horses and played games and ate picnics and did archery and more! 
It was a beautiful little hidden hollow with a lake and a stream.

Taking a few intagrams of the flowers in a yard...

Our happy, shaved dog

Making pizza with the boy...

And building a dam in the rain

And making muffins too...

Banana Nut Muffins
(I started with this yummy recipe from Noble Pig and tweaked a few things...)

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 large egg
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Plain Greek Yogurt--enough to make your wet ingredients equal two cups
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup oats
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350o and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  
Mash your bananas well with a fork and place them into your measuring bowl.  Add melted butter, vanilla, egg, and yogurt to make a total of two cups.  
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nuts.  Now, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold them very carefully into each other.  
Spoon the batter lightly into the muffin pan.
Place into your preheated oven and bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

What are you up to this summer?

Monday, June 11, 2012

How I Keep My House "Clean"

Most days, if you decided to pop in on us for a surprise visit, you'd see what at least appeared to be a very clean house. Many people remark on how clean I keep my house: leaning toward the windowed front door as they drop off kids, they might even say something like, "You must have spent your whole day cleaning!" Usually I smile and say thank you because I've learned that denying well-meant compliments is often false humility. But I know that what my friends really mean is, "Your house is neat and tidy." Not "clean" necessarily.
So how does this happen? Well, it's your lucky day because I'm going to give you how it happens--not that you'll want to adopt any of these practices necessarily (there's that word again; it just keeps popping up today) but just in case you come over. You can let your eyes twinkle a bit when you compliment my house and I'll thank you with my eyes twinkling as well, and we'll both understand each other a little better.
#1. Everything has a place to live. If you've ever read the old Cheaper By the Dozen, you know that I'm just stealing this idea. And I guess the goal is that "Everything has a place and everything is in its place." But we're getting to that.
#2. I don't pass things out of place. If something's out of place as I'm walking through the house, I pick it up. Anything that doesn't belong on the floor, any toys out of the kids' room, any papers spread about or trash sticking out from under the furniture. I pick it up.
#3. I have a few drop places in the house. If, after I've picked up a misplaced item, I'm not already headed to where that item belongs, I drop it on the black bench near our front door or on the brown shelf in the kitchen. These places are allowed to be untidy for a while at least. (Oh, and the trash can is always the place for trash, btw.) The living room couch is sometimes a drop place--and it's the place where I fold and sort laundry--but I try to empty it even sooner than other drop places.
#4. If I have more than two misplaced thing in my hands, I definitely take them all to where they belong. I'm up anyway, right?
#5. After I put kids in their rooms for rest, after dinner and right before bed, I empty the drop places or have kids empty them. I'm hoping that with training, the kids will automatically pick up their things from these places and take them back to where they belong.
#6. After every meal I clean the kitchen counter. I put dishes in the dishwasher or wash, dry, and put them away. I wipe the counter down and move anything that doesn't belong on the counter either to where it goes or to one of the drop places.
#7. I sweep once or twice a day. Quick and easy--wherever I see dust or dirt. I wipe down toilets and sinks with Lysol and a tissue maybe twice a week--whenever I think about it.
#8. Once a week, (give or take) I dust and vacuum. Once every two weeks I wipe down my kitchen cabinets and clean my bathrooms. Once in a blue moon I wipe down walls, door frames, etc.
 #9. Oh, and there's one anomaly to this plan: the kids' room. Every time I play with them, I am half playing and half sorting. Don't get me wrong, I want them to play with their toys. Toys that are looking pretty in their place on a shelf are worthless toys in my book. But, I like to look and play and be in their room more when it's clean and organized, so I labor in their room more than in the rest of the house. I'm sure you can identify. (Oh, and where--in the world--do all the jibbles of paper come from? They are constantly covering the kids' room!)
So there you have it. Nothing tricky, just stuff moving. All day every day. If you could have a camera on me throughout the day and do that fast playback thing, you would see me pick up and put down things all over the house over and over and over and over. It would be quite amusing. 
But, in the end, the house looks clean. When I want to sit and relax with a cup of tea, I'm not constantly jumping up to do things I see I've forgotten. I can rest. And that (to me) is what a home is all about.

I'd love to know your cleaning tricks of the trade!