Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bible Study: Week 2

today at my women's Bible study i finally spoke. i find myself to be a way better "speaker" in the written form. every since i was a child i have found it much easier for me to simply express myself by writing. and with the vast explosion of technology and the internet this form of expression has found perfect vessels.
however, i am not mute. and i do need to speak. despite the fear of what people will say when they hear what comes out of my throat, wavering as i try to not be afraid. however, if i find i have something to say that may make people laugh i speak up very quickly.
i would never say i am a funny person- because i have been around people who really make me laugh (dave straley.... always put a smile on my face) and i have found memories of my father having such a dry sense of humor that would break most moods. and i think i have a tad of that nature. a straight A class clown (emphasis on the A, as i was a good student, and type A, but always looking to choose my moments of humor) if you will.
but Bible study- back on topic please.
we are studying the book of John, and have only covered the first 18 versus (this study goes through May) but the essential point John makes in the book and especially in these first few versus is "light". Jesus is the Light, and He will shine in our darkness. Jesus was/is full of Glory, Grace, and Truth. often people will find themselves in spiritual or emotional darkness and realize that they cannot see- that they are blind, alone and lost. and that they need Christ and His Light to shine and free them, and to guide them back to the Lord's loving arms.
Well, what do you do if you aren't experiencing major emotional or spiritual darkness in what one would think of in the traditional sense- i.e., death, major loss, depression.
And this came to my heart, and i spoke up.
Sometimes as a Christian we become very distracted by the two extremes of "light" and "darkness" and we understand that we are not to live in the "darkness". this doesn't mean that the enemy won't lure us into it. sometimes we can find ourselves in total darkness and not even realize that we have gotten there, because it has happened slowly and not due to a significant factor, but instead small little things.
Like lies. We find ourselves in the darkness most often because we have been listening to a lie, "i'm not good enough, God doesn't love me, i can have one more of this or one more of that," the small compromises we make with our faith.
When we are in the darkness (where the enemy wants us) we are ineffective for the Lord.
How do I find myself in the darkness, because lately i fill a little like I am in the darkness.
And how did that happen? I am a follower of Christ, a child of God, a lover of my Father and Savior.
Because I have learned to live in the darkness.
Imagine yourself in a room illuminated my light, you can see everything. then a little sin creeps in, and one light goes out. No problem- you've still got tons of light, you can see so much. than another light goes out, and another, and another- until you find yourself in a dimly lit room. but do you notice that its dim? No. Because what happens when we things around us begin to go dark? Our eyes will adjust, and we will begin to except the light around us as good enough, and work with the light we have.
Until we are in utter darkness and don't even know it.
Not anything big happened, the power didn't go out all at once to shock us, but slowly the light went out.
Is that where i am? Am I in a dark room and don't know it? i don't know. but i do know that i really need to examine my heart and prayerfully try to see where the darkness lies.
because that is what is truly awesome about or Lord and Savior.
When we ask Him to light our ways, all the Light will illuminate that room once again. We may be really surprised by the ugly things we have let come in to our room, our lives, our heart- but because of Him lighting our way- we can overcome them.
if you are living in darkness, Jesus is more than happy to be your loving Light.

Monday, September 28, 2009

soups on: Amazing Tortilla Soup

i might consider doing Sunday posts about soup! Today is clearly not Sunday (for those of you who may either be sleep deprived, not have a calendar, or not have a TV that helps you stay on track of what day it is based on what show you watch) but I did make soup yesterday.
Sam closed last night, and so on nights that I don't really "have" to cook (cereal and eggs please the kids) I find myself cooking. Simply because I know I don't have to make dinner for that night, so I can save what i make for today!
So as Sunday's will be come "Sunday Soup" you will know that we will be eating soup on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Well, because i love soup. Love, love, love, love, love it.
And because you can make a big batch of soup for the same amount of work of making a small batch of soup. Pair the soup one night with a yummy bread, and the next night with a sandwich and you have two delicious meals.
I'm picking Monday and Tuesday as soup nights.
Because Monday nights I am designating as my sewing night. One night where Sam will do the dishes and get the kids to bed and I am going to bury myself away in sewing for hours. I have found that if I can start working on a task just before 6 pm I will most likely stick with it till about 11pm. If I plop myself down on the computer, or in front of the TV or even keep cleaning past 7- then I'm usually mentally wore down and will not accomplish anything.
So one night dedicated to sewing, which means dinner has to be made in advance and super easy.
And why Tuesday? Because Tuesday nights Sam is gone from 6-9pm playing Worship music for Campus Life (I am so thrilled that he has found something like this to do- no sarcasm, I am so happy) and seeing that he is gone so late, I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking until 5:30 only to have him leave, and have a kitchen of filth and 3 tired children.
Plus, we are just starting Fall. In theory, I am currently sweating hard in 80 degree heat right now. But soup in the Fall sounds warm and yummy and very pleasing to my already huge love for soup.
Perhaps in the summer it will move to something else.... not sure what..... but something.

Tonights Soup:

Tortilla Soup
pictured during the cooking process

This amazing recipe comes from my God-mother Carol. Trust me when I say- it is unbelievable.

My rendition of the recipe is as follows:

2 cups shredded chicken breast
1 1/2 cups black beans
2 cups cubed raw butternut squash
1 1/4 cups brown rice
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots

In a big pot, cook the butternut squash, tomatoes, brown rice and carrots with 3 - 16 oz cans of chicken broth (or homemade chicken broth). add italian seasoning and salt and pepper. let simmer between low and medium for about 3 hours. Its okay if the broth is absorbed- just add more broth, but really let it simmer and allow all the veggies to cook through.
That part can all be done the night before- or the morning of.
In a hurry, you can cook on a higher heat for half the time- but the longer it simmers, the better it tastes.
Add the shredded chicken and the black beans (if you are using black beans that you have previously soaked, you really want to simmer them separately for 1 1/2 hours first) to the soup and cook for about 1 1/2- 2 hours, until everything is nice and hot.
**edit: you will want to continue to add chicken broth to your soup depending on the consistency you like, add more chicken broth if you want a broth-ier soup, add less chicken broth if you want a nice thick soup.

Serve your soup with:
Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream (this is a must)
Shredded Cheese

I cannot stress how amazing this soup is, so you will have to try it for yourselves.
Let me know if you do :)
Tonight we will be eating this with really delicious sweet corn bread.
Which I know must go and make!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

a different kind of saturday.

Today just feels like a weekday, not a weekend. Sam works most weekends, so we usually do more relaxing things on his days off during the week. But most Friday nights, his parents take Campbell and Mason over night, and I have (usually) a very laid back Saturday morning. However, this weekend his parents are taking a much needed weekend away to Fort Bragg, so I had my children all to myself today.
Which has been wonderful. I know, what a shock, right? How can I be blogging about my children without descriptive words such as: terrible, crazy, monstrous, will i survive, driving them to Nebraska, and other colorful words?
But no, by God's grace (and a lot of praying) we are having a really nice day.
Why? Because this week was absolute crazed. We had something going on every day this week, and today is the first time we have been able to get back on routine.
And my children LOVE routine.
Now mind you, nothing is done. From where I blog I can see a dirty kitchen full of last night's dinner dishes combined with breakfast and lunch from today. Behind me is an tremendous "island of Sodor" that Campbell and I put together this morning (its an epic train track, which takes me awhile to make- because i want every track to have a purposeful place its going- but it keeps Campbell busy for hours) and in the back bedrooms is one sleeping Mason (who i may have just heard) and one not sleeping Henry (he has a cold, and just needs to take a quiet break).
But even with nothing noticeable done, i know what has been done:
1) fun with Campbell- a great track built.
2) prayerful discipline all morning (i haven't lost my cool once- and i sure have wanted too)
3) home-schooling done (yes, on a Saturday, but we slacked all week)
4) and several posts set up on my other blog for our family.
And then there is me. Its hotter than heck still, I'm cooking an artichoke which absolutely heats up the kitchen, but there is a nice quiet rest to my usually overcrowded loud brain.
I'm always searching for new ways to be productive and new ways to be useful, and trying to find time and a way to produce all the ideas that come that most days I find myself stranded in a sinking ship of despair.
I'm kind of sick of that.
If my ideas go on hold for a bit and things don't get done the way I want, it's ok.
It's OK.
Trying to remember what matters. Keeping my eyes upward, not focused on what's behind, remembering what i can do, not what i haven't done.
and remembering why i do it all.

of course i'm doing this for more than just Mason, its just that i have invited my sister-in-law Jess to my little blog here (hi Jess!) and i told her i'd take a pic of me and mason wearing these matchy yellow tops. thanks Jess for the cute dress for Mason, she is going to get a lot of use out of it.
anyways, i am off to eat my artichoke, comfort my crying baby, clean the kitchen, make some tea (i'm getting a cold too), sit in front of the ac, pray for all i have to be thankful for, and probably post some more- i've got some sewing to share.
and a nightmare story that will hopefully teach us all a valuable lesson.
wait for it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

5 days behind.

that's kind of how i feel, like i am 5 days behind in everything in my life. every day for the past months i have gradually gotten behind in minutes, then it turned to hours, and now somehow days. i am not quite sure when i will catch up, if i catch up at all. its like i am playing the game with the 3 cups and the little ball- someone moves the cups with the hidden ball, and for the first couple of tries i find the ball instantly, then the guy starts going faster. and faster. and faster. until somehow the cups are all a blur, and i seriously doubt the existence of any white ball.
and the truly funny thing is that i continue to add cups to the game.
i'm really working on a tilted scale though. how can i really truly catch up when i am constantly engaged in the lives of three little people? they can't stop needing to be fed, wanting to be played with, looking for a hug, and requiring of structure and discipline.
if only i wasn't so dog tired, and for no reason- i have been getting sleep.
maybe to much sleep?
the carousal of my life is going up and down and round and round.
but God is good.

the best part of my day. the hardest part of my day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

small creations.

i've done a little sewing over the past few weeks. finished a couple of projects that needed to be done, made a couple of gifts for people. considering it is national sewing month, i do believe that i have acknowledged it quite well on my end. however, i did have lofty goals to have all of my christmas gift making done this month.
i know i am crazy.
and no, i haven't started one thing.
but i still have, oh 9 days-right?
yeah. right.
despite the fact that i have not gotten to christmas quite yet, here are my finished projects:

one tired model, and yes she was participating in some coffee table diving.

receiving blanket and burp cloths

this is a little apple embroidered on the receiving blanket,
the two burp cloths are tucked behind it

and here's a little alligator tied on, this is a baby shower gift.

a crochet hook roll

this is a busy week, my friend becky has a birthday on tuesday (same day as the baby shower) and our friend katie has a birthday on wednesday. the crochet hook holder is for katie, she gives all of us beautiful blankets that she crochets. i thought she might enjoy having something fun to put her hooks in.
everyone will have to wait till tomorrow to see my creation for becky, we are celebrating her birthday tonight...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

my daily dose of sanity.

i have my first latte between 10 and 10:30 am (this is of course after morning coffee). this latte serves both as fuel after my 9 am workout, and calm relaxation.

i have my second latte most days anywhere between 2-4pm. i have recently begun adding one bar of dark chocolate to this afternoon snack.
top it all off with a pretty latte mug in my most favorite color (i have this color everywhere in our home) and i have a little piece of comfort.
which it really is just comfort (well and good sense- nonfat milk is awesome for diet and weight loss) seeing that the steamed milk makes me sleepy despite the caffeine.

what do you do for a little dose or two of sanity?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

transitions and sleepy time.

i probably should be going off to bed. i do still have a little baby who likes to wake up and nurse. and i have a 3 year old who wakes up when his bladder tells him too (a blessing and a curse).
but i have my shuffle blasting music into my ears (i love the Desperation Band) which is giving me a little more motivation to stay awake (however, i am worried that sam will appear behind me, which will be embarrassing, since i am singing out loud).

i have absolute randomness on the brain.

today i went to grab the plastic wrap, but it was snagged in the drawer where i keep it. so when i went to pull it up and out, i ended up slicing the backside of my fingers. i should have been given an award for not swearing in front of campbell.

i went on a minor cooking rampage with campbell by my side. i made cranberry/pecan scones (which tasted awful), apple cinnamon muffins (yum,yum,yum), blueberry coffee cake (i have women's Bible study tomorrow morning, and its kind of a brunch potluck), homemade pizza (delicious), and then i actually made dinner for tomorrow and wednesday, and the night was ended with amazing hand constructed frozen yogurt parfaits.

and yet even though i home schooled campbell and mason today (mason who will now moo when asked what a cow says, and campbell who is memorizing poems, and talking about the pumpkins and apples of fall), exercised, and kept the house kinda clean all while managing 3 little ones, cutting into 2 bridesmaid dresses, and cut out fabric for a skirt- i feel horridly unproductive.
what is wrong with me?

the bridesmaid dresses that i volunteered* to hem, or in this case, hide the fact that we aren't doing a hem and simply add ribbon.
*i can never say no, but i am happy to help

you were warned about the randomness of this post.

i just have to many ideas, and way to many ways i want to spend my time.
has anyone seen the movie multiplicity? i would sign up for that in an instant, and probably sit on the couch and watch myself sew.

the harsh realities of life have been grabbing at my heart lately. i'm going through a transition i do not like, but am willing to embrace what the Lord is doing in my life (not totally happy about it, but trusting).
and i am watching pain.
and it just sucks.

but i do believe that i have been given one amazing outlet: i am writing. and i keeping a lot of the info about that under wraps. sam says, "you are a writer", and i laugh.
but in my heart, i know i have something to tell.

and now the beautiful voice of peter from the newsboys plays in my ears (oh becki, do you remember swooning over the concert dvd in jake's apartment???)

"my comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ, i'll stand"

if you were looking for random tonight, you came to the right place.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

a little more.

more fabric from my stash that was acquired in the last few months. i have still stuck to not buying any new fabric, and have been digging through my bins to make the projects and gifts that i have on my list of things to do.
i have been a little brain overloaded. i have so many things to be doing that i am often overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. in fact from my seat on the couch i can see way to many things that need my attention.
does anyone else get so overwhelmed to the point that they simply want to throw in the towel of all their hobbies and just do something else? i wonder if my life would be simpler if i didn't come up with new ideas to sew, or ways to organize our stuff, or all the other things there are to do.
ugh, ugh, ugh.
it is nice that i will never be bored, my brain keeps me always busy.
so do 3 little people.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a new dinner.

tortellini with walnuts and apple

i don't have to make dinner tomorrow or thursday night (gloriously happy about this!) and really this weekend is just me and the kids, so no real cooking will be done.
so tonight for dinner, i knew i didn't want to defrost any chicken (ours in 2 breasts to a pack, and i am sooooooooo frugal (so frugal, ha, if sam walks through the door and mentions either pizza or tortilla grill-my favorite mexican- i immediately balk at all thoughts of a "budget") that i only use one breast for me and sam) and have one lonely breast go to waste. earlier that day i had settled on the idea of making a crustless quiche. easy peasy- just throw in some veggies, and thanks to wic i have everything else always on hand, plus everyone in the house loves it.
then this month's issue of Real Simple arrived, and on the cover: a month of meals.
i leafed through the heavy magazine, and found a tasty looking recipe for: ravioli with walnuts and apple.
now, i never seem to have raviolis on hand, but i always have cheese tortellini's in my freezer (actually due to another favorite recipe from Real Simple), and i just happened to have a big bag of walnuts.
this meal was delicious! and SO easy. i cannot describe how easy this was, how great it smelled while i was cooking it, and how yummy it tasted.
you can follow the above link to see the original recipe. i substituted ravioli for tortellini's and i used dried parsley instead of fresh, and i only used 1/4 cup walnut, and 1 T olive oil (to reduce the fat, it was still plenty flavorful). with this i served asparagus and zucchini drizzled with olive oil and baked for 10 minutes at 425.
yum. yum. yum.
if any of you have a potluck you are attending, this would be wonderful served at room temperature, and could easily be either a salad/main dish, and a great item for a vegetarian.

Monday, September 7, 2009

a little bag

well another one.

this was more of jess's belated birthday gifts. i really like the way this bag turned out as opposed to her other one. don't think i am fancy, the ric rac is strictly there to try and hide the fact that despite my best efforts- i cannot sew straight.
i still love how long this tote bag turn out. i've made one before. i think the bag turns out better when you aren't using a regular needle on home decor fabric.
double sheesh.
it is still fairly imperfect. i really should have trimmed down the sides before adding the lining. oh the many lessons i continue to learn in sewing.

still around.

i'm not quite sure how to say i've been busy, without having anything tangible to show. well, i guess that's not entirely true. i finished another little bag for jess, made the most uneven burp clothes ever (in my defense, i whipped them up in ninja style in about 30 minutes while the meal i was taking to the new mama was cooking), and have been attempting to organize new home-school materials, plus a huge mess of fabric.
and i had a wonderful time with jess (my sil- sam's abbreviation for sister-in-law). my train ride was peaceful, and i had such a blast shopping with jess. i love to shop. i believe i mentioned in a previous post that i am not buying fabric this month (which i have held strong to) there was an additional rule that we wouldn't be shopping at target either.
that lasted 10 days.
but hey, we made it 10 days. we probably could have done more damage in those 10 days.
so with jess, we made a fun jaunt to her local outlet mall (she lives in los altos) and i found some fun new skirts (which i will wear ever day left of our miserable summer heat) and the greatest new pair of jeans, a really fun dress from good old target clearance.

if you've been to target at all this summer, you'll recognize the fabric above. i love this dress. nothing better than 6 dollars for a dress. the wild plaid colors helps to mask hand prints and food sharing by my toddlers.
not much else to share this early morning, except for two little tid-bits.
1) yesterday i used my "salon" shampoo and conditioner as opposed to the stuff i had bought from trader joes. not sure if anyone else can second this, but what a difference. curls, curls, curls. i can definitively see the difference, and it is worth every penny.
2) i felt absolutely beautiful yesterday. not because of my new dress, or my curly hair. but because after i had gotten dressed, i was fidgeting around in the kitchen and campbell came up to me, wrapped his arms around my legs and said, "oh mama, you are so pretty".
be still my tired heart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the best way to travel

...Is really without kids. Just kidding. I'm posting via blackberry (even though Sam did pack up my laptop, I opted to leave it) while perched comftorably in the blue cushioned seat of my Amtrak train coach.
Henry and I are playing a little hooky. Last Christmas my sister-in-law got me a gift certificate so that I could come down and see her.
I love riding the train.
Probably love it the most because I absolutley hate to drive.
Wait a second? Didn't you just drive all 3 of your kids up to Washington by yourself?
Yes, yes I did. But in my mind 12 hours strapped into their carseats appeals way more to me than 20 plus hours loose in the train- and WAY more than a short 90 minutes trapped in an airplanne.
I've never calculated how long by boat.
But I love the train. The free mental release from all responsibility. What shall I do? Read? Journal? Make lists? Sleep?
Clearly I am blogging.
There is a mess of a mess (think about that-my home mess has given birth to baby messes) waiting for me when I return.
Sam had to literally drag me out of the house as thinking about leaving such a castrophe made me nuts.
More than nuts, I threw a tantrum searching for a missing binky that made Campbell's tantrums look like calm obedience.
Not my finest moment.
But I believe the break from my tiny cove of responsibility will do me a world of good.
Not sure what the next 48 hours will hold, but a tiny break from my lovely children (except for Henry who is strapped in the Sleepy Wrap) will be peaceful.
And my sis-in-law is a lot of fun!!!
*i don't know how to spell check from my phone. Sorry for any errors.