Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fridge Magnet Tracing (KID CRAFT)

My 3 year old loves playing her home-school magnets. She does magnet pages and she likes pulling them apart and sticking them together, but she finishes her pages so quickly. I needed another way for her to play with them that kept her playing longer.

I have a deep freeze in my kitchen with an entire side facing out. I took some masking tape and "drew" her name and a few shapes. I told her to trace them in magnets or fill the shapes with magnets and do each letter in a different color, and let her play with them as she saw fit. She's still in there- half an hour later...drawing shapes and letters of her own!






Monday, July 30, 2012

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breast (FREEZER MEAL)

I'm on the lookout now for recipes use chicken breasts, because I get a lot of emails wanting new ways to cook them. This recipe is super easy and delish!

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Dijon Cream Sauce

Ingredients 

3/4 cup pecans 
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Melted butter 
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt

To assemble: 

In a blender or food processor. Blend the pecans, cornstarch, parsley, thyme, salt, ground mustard, and cayenne. Set aside in a bowl.


Take a raw breast, dip in the butter then into the pecan crumb mixture. Make sure the whole breast is coated with crumbs.

Lay the coated chicken breast on a piece of saran wrap and wrap it up tight. Place breaded, wrapped, chicken breast in a labeled Ziploc bag. Continue until all the breasts are done. (You may need to double the pecan crumb mixture if you have several breasts to do). Freeze.

To reheat:

Unwrap desired number of chicken breasts and place on a baking sheet. Put baking sheet in the fridge and allow the breasts to thaw.

When completely thawed, bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until brown (internal temp should read 170 degrees).

(If you plan on baking them straight from the freezer (not thawed), up the baking time to 35-40 minutes).

To make the sauce:


Whisk together the sour cream, Dijon mustard,  sugar, and pinch of salt. Serve chicken breast on a bed of sauce. 





 





Friday, July 27, 2012

Gods Love and Eight Cows

I got both of these stories and verses from Paul Washer.  Check him out on www.sermonaudio.com

God loves us, isn’t that amazing?  Just stop and think about that for a minute.  That would be like us loving worms.  Still, that isn’t even an adequate example.  What have we done to earn this love?  Nothing!  We couldn't earn it if our life depended on it.  By the way, our life does depend on it!  The same is true for our children; we love our children before they are born.  They certainly haven't earned that love.  Wives and husbands are no different.  We should love our spouse no matter what.  I know that can be a statement can be more difficult for some than others, but it’s true.  If Jesus can forgive us, what right do we have to be mad at each other?  What comes of it in the long run anyway?  Your wife knowing you’re right and she’s wrong?  Who are you trying to impress, yourself?  Your spouse certainly isn't impressed.  Last time I checked they don't give out trophies for the 1st place winner in the passive aggressive home contest.  We are Christians or "little Christs" Jesus is our role model; we should strive to emulate him.  That is setting the bar at a level that is impossible to reach, yet we should never give up.   

Here's another story from Paul Washer on that subject... 


The Christian ought to walk as Jesus walked, and you say, Brother Paul, you've gone too far now. Who can walk like Jesus walked?  Let me give you an illustration to try to explain to you what I mean. When I was a little boy, my father was a very big man, very smart man, and like all little boys, I wanted to be just like him.  Now, up north, we raised cattle and raised quarter horses. We'd get big snows and my dad would come into my room at five in the morning.  Even when I was a little boy and say, “Paul boy get up.”  No rest for the wicked.  And when he said, “get up”, you got up.  We would walk out there in the snow, and the one thing I can always remember is that my father would take these big strides and leave these footprints in the snow. Now, I wanted to walk like my dad walked, and so I would try to stretch my legs out and put my foot in his footprint.  Now, you can imagine, I was stretching out farther than I could ever go. You can imagine I looked ridiculous, and you can imagine I fell down, but you will also know by looking at that picture that the greatest desire in my heart was to walk like he walked. You could tell, looking at that little boy, he wanted to be like his dad even though sometimes he didn’t look anything like him. Let me ask you. What’s the greatest desire in your heart? Is your great desire to walk like He walked? To be like He was? Is that your great desire? Are you seeking to put your foot in his footprints?
In the same way, when God loves any of us, he will withhold nothing from us that is truly good for us. He does not hold back his own only begotten Son, Rom.8:32.  When Christ loves us, he gives us everything we need-- his merits to justify us, his Spirit to sanctify us, his grace to adorn us and his glory to crown us. Therefore, when any of us love Christ sincerely, we lay everything down at his feet, and give up all to be at his command and service. "...they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." Rev. 12:11.  -Spurgeon

Men, it starts with you!  If you invest little in your wife’s, you shouldn't demand much from them!  If a husband values and treats his wife like he should, she will live up to that value. 

That reminds me of another story…



This man in a tribe far off somewhere was looking for a wife.  The custom in that country was to buy the daughter from their father with some cows or chickens.  Well this man had this daughter and she wasn’t pretty.  He thought, “I’m not even going to get a chicken for this daughter of mine; she’s not pretty at all!”  So one day this guy comes up and says I want to marry your daughter.  The dad says “You’re kidding right?”  The man says “No, I want to marry your daughter.”  The dad is thinking, “I wonder how much I’m going to have to pay this guy to marry my daughter.”  So the dad says, “So what will you give for my daughter?”  Well the highest price you could pay for a wife was eight cows, yet most wives went for between 4 and 6 cows.  The young man says “I want to pay eight cows for your daughter.”  The dad says, “WHAT? Have you seen my daughter?”  The guy says, “Yes, I want to pay eight cows for her” and he did, he paid eight cows for her.  It was the talk of the town!  It was unheard of, an eight cow wife?  Guess what, she came to be known throughout all the land as the eight cow wife.  She became the most respected woman among all the tribes. 

Her husband valued her and she lived up to that value!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Love, Respect, and Nightmare Soup

I got these verses and wisdom from Paul Washer in a sermon entitled “Recovering Biblical Womanhood”.  If you read what I write and then listen to the sermon you will find much that is verbatim what he is saying.  He says it much better than I could, so why should I try to put my own spin on it?  I’m typing it out because I know people are more likely to read this than listen to an hour long sermon!  Thanks Paul :)



Ephesians 5:33
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

What’s amazing about this passage is that it only really tells the woman, be submissive to your husband and respect him.  But, the whole chapter is about men and how they are supposed to die to themselves and love their wives as Christ loves the church.  Again, that greater responsibility is upon the man.
I find it very interesting that it doesn’t say wives are supposed to love their husbands.  It says they are supposed to submit to them and respect them.  It doesn’t say that husbands are supposed to submit and respect their wives, but they are to love their wives.  Now this doesn’t mean that that wives aren’t to love their husbands and husbands aren’t to respect their wives.  It does tell us something very interesting though.

I don’t need my wife to call me three times a day to tell me that she loves me, or for her to send me flowers.  I need my wife to respect me.  If I feel like my wife doesn’t respect me, it kills me.  It takes all my strength away.  If you want your husband to be strong, respect him, honor him.  Now, it does say that the husband should love his wife.  What does the wife need?  Constant reminders that she is loved.  You say, well I’m just not the kind of guy that says that stuff.  I know, repent!  Here’s our problem, we don’t need reminders, so we think our wives don’t either.  

Now I’m not saying I constantly buy my wife flowers or cards, because I just don’t do that.  I don’t call her during the day just to tell her I love her.  I have before, but only a few times per year.  She may work really hard all day cleaning one part of the house and I’ll stroll in from work and don't always notice.  I try to compliment her on whatever I do notice.  Like when she looks prettier than usual, and I’m not really sure why.  Maybe she got a haircut or put on makeup.  I usually can’t put my finger on it, but I know something is different.  I’ll tell her how pretty she looks and flirt with her.  I always walk up behind her in the kitchen and give her backrubs and hugs.  I don’t have to say anything.  I always thank her for her meals.  I compliment her on her cooking and tell her what I like about it.  

Now not everyone can cook and I dig that.  I can’t cook, that’s for sure!  When she was first learning to cook she cooked a few things that weren’t that great.  I know that’s hard to believe, but I always gave her positive encouragement.  Because those meals were still way better than anything I could do.  She put a lot of work and love into them, so who am I to take that away from her?  I always build her up.  If your wife is not so great at cooking, but she is trying to learn, never say “that meal was ok, but the Aunt Sookies was better”.  Even though it may be completely true, it will really discourage her.  Always build your wife up.  

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
Proverbs 31:31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
 and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

One reason why my wife can cook so well is because I always praise her and she loves to be praised by me.  So she strives to cook bigger and better things.  She has definitely been blessed by God with her cooking ability.  I believe that’s what he wanted her to do with her life.  That’s her ministry and I’m a very lucky man to be able to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of her labor!  Now she’s a great cook and she knows that because I’ve told her a million times.  At first I would always tell her things were good.  But as her confidence grew in her cooking ability, I could start making suggestions.  Like “that was really good, but I think it could use such and such.”  I don’t argue with her, because she obviously knows much more about cooking than me!  

Every once in a blue moon she will still cook something that’s not so great.  Truthfully, it’s only happened two or three times since I’ve known her.  Earlier this year she cooked this soup that was terrible.  I mean it was a nightmare!  I tried so hard to choke it down, but she could see my face.  I looked like I wanted to vomit!  It had some Mexican mystery vegetable that tainted the whole soup.  We were at a point in our relationship where I could say, “That was quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life!”  Were big jokers and have a dry sense of humor.  So we say stuff like that in a very serious tone of voice, then we look at each other and just bust out laughing!  I was secretly looking in the pot for any weird ingredients like ‘eye of newt’ or ‘toe of lizard.’ 

People learning to cook, don’t get discouraged!  Even the best mess up once in a while.  Just don’t tell your wife, “This primordial ooze you’ve concocted gives a physical embodiment to Montezuma’s Revenge” the first time she cooks a meal; unless you want that meal to be your last!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Submission, Leadership, and the Wooden Boulder Incident

I got these verses and wisdom from Paul Washer in a sermon entitled “Recovering Biblical Womanhood”.  If you read what I write and then listen to the sermon you will find much that is verbatim what he is saying.  He says it much better than I could, so why should I try to put my own spin on it?  I’m typing it out because I know people are more likely to read this than listen to an hour long sermon!  Thanks Paul :)
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=8611170490


Submission
1st peter 3:1-7 (verses 6&7 from Amplified)

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].  7 In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]

Both man and women were created in God’s image and both have an equal standing before God. 

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. 

The different roles they play in the marriage have nothing to do with a lack of equality.  When the bible says the man is the head of his home and a wife is to live in submission to her husband, it doesn’t mean that the wife is less than her husband.  If you think it does, then you’ve just destroyed the Trinity.  Because did not the Son submit to His Father, so does that make the Son less than His Father?  If you say yes, then you have just committed heresy.  The Son submitted to His Father, yet the Bible says the Son and The Father are one and they are equal.  So my wife and I are one and we are equal.  Yet we function in different roles.  Men and women are different and we were made different by our Creator. 
My wife submits to me, yet I treat her better than I treat myself.  I place her needs above my own, and therefore she places my needs above hers.  Everyone wins!  Husbands, if your wife doesn't love you enough, it's your fault!  "We love him, because he loved us." 1 John 4:19.  The church was won by that love. Jesus loved us first and from his great love, we love him in return.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.”  Wives should submit to their husbands, but I think a husband’s love for his wife is a prerequisite to a wife truly submitting to her husband.  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.  Even the perfect wife is going to have major issues submitting to a childish, self centered boy, who lives for himself.  If a wife looks over and she sees a man with God’s word imprinted on his heart, and he lives that out in their relationship, and he puts his family first, and the woman sees that he sacrifices friends, hobbies, everything for the sake of blessing his family.  A woman will follow a man like that, who is selflessly giving himself away to his family.  See, again the responsibility falls on men.  Just like at work, if you are a boss.  If the men under you mess up, the big boss doesn’t go talk to those men, he comes and talks to you!  Your men messed up; they are under your authority.  It’s the same way with a family.  The man is responsible.  Wives, quit elbowing your husband’s now!

Spiritual Leadership
Men are supposed to be the spiritual leader of the home.  I try my best to do this, but honestly a lot of the time my wife picks up the ball when I have dropped it.  Men are usually more independent.  I’m thinking I have my own spiritual life handled.  My wife should handle her spiritual life too, right?  Not necessarily.  Even though your wife may be very Godly she was not created for that.  She is a woman who can grow before God in her own right without us, but she was also made to grow with us and under our guidance and under our example.  And when we neglect that, we are neglecting something very important.  The fact that men and women were made by God to be different.  Why did he make us this way?  Because marriage is not ultimately about marriage, marriage is ultimately about us representing the relationship between Christ and the church.  Can the church grow independently of Christ?  No, it cannot.  Women were created to grow with their husbands.  That doesn’t mean he lords it over her or he knows more than her, but she was just made for that reason.  You leave her alone or think that she can make it on her own which is often times my sin, you will mess up the whole thing that Christ is trying to do. 

Ephesians 5:22-28
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 2Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[
b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Submission works both ways, I submit to my wife too!  She is my most trusted counselor.  If we are not both in agreement on something major we will discuss it until we are in agreement, then we will proceed.  That doesn’t mean we talk about every little thing we do.  There has to be a level of trust for each partner to operate autonomously and we will convene on the major issues.  If my wife and I are not in agreement on a major issue, a red flag goes up.  Ok, let’s postpone that decision if possible.  We can pray together and talk about it (pay attention men) more until we come to unity.  If the decision has to be made and we can wait no longer, as the head of my family, it’s my job to make that decision.  If I’m right and my wife is wrong I don’t gloat over her.  If she is right and I am wrong she doesn’t gloat over me.  Husbands WILL be judged more severely than wives.  If he is wrong, do not gloat over him, but be broken-hearted because he will be called to account for those wrong decisions he has made.  You need to be praying for him (and for the leaders of our country).  Even though your husband may make decisions nonchalantly because he doesn’t have the fear of the Lord, or just doesn’t know any better, you need to pray for him.  When he makes a wrong decision you need to be a blessing to him.  It’s a hard thing. To whom much is given, much is required.

If my wife has a better way to do something than me, we’ll use her method.  Of course, I’m usually right.  Sometimes I don’t think her idea is good and I’ll try it my way and I’ll fail miserably.  Then I’ll try it her way, just so she will be quiet… and it works, much to my dismay.  And vice versa of course!  Part of being human is that no one is ever right all the time.  I’ve only made one mistake so far...  I thought I had messed up, but I was wrong! HA!

So once upon a time I was making wooden blocks for our children to play with.  Side note: foam blocks are better and cheaper.  The blocks I made are beastly.  They should probably be called wooden boulders instead of wooden blocks.  I mean if you drop them they probably break the house’s slab!  So anyway, the time has come to paint the blocks.  I had been thinking about this off and on for longer than I care to admit.  I ruled out putting a screw in to them and suspending each block. Because I’d need to fill the screw hole with lots of paint, or wood putty and I really didn’t feel like doing that on every block.  So I was about to build this elaborate ramp with sides on it.  I was going to place the blocks on the ramp, pour the paint over the blocks and let the paint drain back into the paint can.  That way very little would be wasted.  I was trying to explain my brilliant idea to my wife, that took me a quite a while to figure out.  She simply said, why don’t we paint half the block, let it dry, then turn it over and paint the other side.  I just sat there dumbfounded.  I still don’t really know what to say.  Her idea was incredible, so obvious.  Needless to say we did it her way and we both still laugh about it!

Asian Green Beans Tutorial

I love green beans. They have to be my favorite vegetable. Anytime we go to a Chinese buffet, I always beeline to the green beans. This isn't exactly like what you'd get at the buffet but it's really good and easy and a perfect side for Teriyaki chicken.


Asian Green Beans

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs of fresh green beans
1 1/2 Tbs sesame seed oil
2 Tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Step 1 

Cook green beans in a pot of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Then plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Then remove from ice water and pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2

Heat sesame oil over high heat, add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry for about 1 minute.

Step 3

Add the green beans, cook for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Cook about two minutes until sauce begins to thicken and coat the beans.

Step 4

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup Tutorial

Actually, this isn't much of a tutorial because it's so easy and quick that I only needed to take one picture. At any rate, one of my daughter's treats for completing her chores is a glass of chocolate milk. She gets to enjoy her favorite beverage for every 10 stars she gets on her chore chart. When the time came to actually pay up, I had no chocolate syrup in the fridge so I found a recipe to make my own. This is Alton Brown's recipe and definitely a keeper!

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups water
3 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs light corn syrup or honey

Step 1

Whisk all ingredients together in a large pot over medium heat until the sugar and cocoa powder is dissolved. Pour into jars or a bottle, refrigerate. Since nothing in this recipe is perishable, I expect this to last weeks, even months, in the fridge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Taking Requests and Answering Questions

Virtuous Husband here!

Today I’m going to try my best to answer two questions I received on my wife’s blog.  I thought this was going to be easy, but I got some very serious questions!  Now for the first question.

How do I help my husband be a stronger spiritual leader? He is a believer, but he just hasn't taken a leadership role.

To be honest, I didn’t really know how to answer either question I was asked.  I’ve thought a lot about them, prayed about them, done research, listened to sermons, read the bible, and talked to my wife.  Pretty much everything I could think of.  I found several good websites on how to encourage your husband, some of them pretty harsh to women, but one thing stood out to me.  All these articles were being written by women!  It seems to me like this is a real need that women have and I believe God formed this desire into them.  More on that in another letter.
I got the next few scriptures and some of the text toward the bottom from a sermon by Paul Washer entitled “What a Man is Not”.

Genesis 18:19
18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him , so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

Abraham was the father of a nation and his descendants are innumerable, like the stars in the sky.  You would think God would have chosen him for some certain skill or ability that he had, but no.  God chose him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord.  That really shows you where God’s priorities are!

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Ok when I read this I feel really inadequate.  In reading & researching this, it hit me.  I’m not being the spiritual leader I’m supposed to be for my family.  I mean we go to church, most of the time.  We are careful what we watch on TV and what we listen to.  There is so much garbage out there, and it’s so easy to be desensitized to it.  My wife and I are both doing our best to grow; we still have a long way to go.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve both come a really long way, and it’s a testament to God for not giving up on us.  I’ve definitely done some good things as the spiritual leader in my home, but not as much as I should.  Whenever something was totally unacceptable I would stand my ground and say, no we are not doing this period.  There was once or twice, early on in our relationship where it caused a MAJOR fight, but I would stand my ground and not back down no matter what.  I didn’t yell or raise my voice, I just stayed as calm as possible and was unwavering.  In the short term, let’s just say it didn’t earn me any brownie points.  But, in the long term my wounds have healed up nicely (joking of course) and everything is great.  Now she is a Christian, thank God!  We are much closer on our ideas & views, so I don’t really see us having any huge arguments. 

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

The whole time my children are under my authority, in my house, I am to pour my life into them, do everything for them, teach them the scripture, lead them by example, and their responsibility is to honor me and obey me.  If my children do obey me, then I will be responsible on the Day of Judgment for the way I have led my children.

I am under God’s authority and I am putting my wife and children under the same authority than I am under.  I’m not going around commanding them, making stuff up on a whim, I have to follow God’s word.  Since I have to obey His word and His word has brought such a blessing in my life, in my house they will obey this word.

From what I read from women who have went through the same situation and the new burden on my heart to be a better spiritual leader for my family, I can say I feel the best way to encourage your husband to be a better spiritual leader it to pray for him.  Since he is already a Christian I think if he were to do some reading and find out what God expects of him, he would be more motivated to try harder.  I certainly am!  I’ll be honest, when I get home from work, I play with my kids and help get them bathed, but in some way I just shut down.  I’m tired, I’m ready to relax.  Every night I am always there to put them in bed and we all pray together as a family.  Which is good, but I’m going to try to do better.  I bought the girls a devotional where you read a story, then read a bible verse, and they repeat a prayer with you.  I’m going to do better about reading that, rather than let it gather dust on the shelf.  My wife has been doing better than me lately, she teaches the girls during the day and it really blesses my heart, I’m so, so thankful for that.  Like I said above, there is more to come on this subject, just stay tuned!

In your opinion, what makes a successful faithful marriage?

Let’s see what’s behind question number two!  This one really tripped me up too.  I couldn’t narrow it down to just one thing.  There are so many important components to a marriage, there was no way I could name one over all the others.  I started thinking about all of these different things and I noticed a pattern, they were all tied together in a web, with Jesus being at the center.  The key is to figure out how to get your eyes off of the storm, and onto Jesus.  As my old preacher would say, “You need to get under the spout where the Glory is coming out!”  Jesus makes a successful marriage.  If both partners have their eyes on Jesus, and are striving to be like him, and depending on him, a lot of your problems will go away.  They certainly did for my family.  When we started tithing correctly, God’s hand on our life started blessing us in such incredible ways.  Trust me, He can do more with nothing than you can do with 
everything! Here's a visual my wife and I drew up: 

I don’t know if I’m old or wise enough to say what makes a successful marriage on down the line.  But for now, keep your eyes on Jesus and don’t focus on the storm.  I think if you are both growing together in your faith as a couple and teaching your children about the word of God.  You are doing alright.  Just keep that up, and never stop.  If you are in the word, God will reveal to you anything you need to know.  In my opinion the most important thing in life is your family and teaching them the word of God.  Your children will tell their children stories of you, and train your grand children with the principles you are teaching them now.  James 4:2 You do not have because you do not ask God.  Pray for wisdom to know what to pray for!

2 Timothy 3:14-17
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Ok I have to give God glory.  I honestly don’t know where all these scriptures are coming from, they are just appearing in my brain and somehow they all tie into what I am saying!  I mean what HE is saying!  What a great day!

Here are some websites that relate to helping your husband become a better spiritual leader from some women who have been there and done that.  I sincerely hope these help you in some way.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Louisiana Foodie Gift Box Giveaway!!

To celebrate reaching the 3,000 fan milestone on Facebook, I've decided to giveaway my favorite Louisiana food products! With these items, you'll be able to enjoy Gumbo, Jambalaya, Etouffee, Beignets, and more in the comfort of your own home! Most of these items can only be found here in Louisiana. I also will be throwing in a Louisiana cookbook!


The list of items include:

A box of "Cafe Du Monde" Beignet Mix
A box of "Kary's Roux" Bisque Mix
A box of "Ragin Cajun" Jambalaya Mix
A box of "Bruce's" Southern Style Bread Pudding Kit
A "Louisiana Purchase" Jambalaya Microwave Meal
A bottle of "Dat-Dip" Louisiana Dipping Sauce
A container of "Tony Chachere's" Instant Roux Mix
A container of "Community Coffee" Instant Cappuccino Powder
A bottle of "Tony Chachere's" Injectable Marinade Kit
A jar of "Savoies" Old-Fashioned Dark Roux
A package of "Community Coffee" Cafe Special Ground Coffee
A container of "Slap Ya Mama" Cajun Seasoning
A container of "Tony Chachere's" Creole Seasoning
A package of "Southern" All-Purpose Batter
A jar of "Bootsies" Etouffee Sauce
A bottle of "Tabasco" Pepper Sauce
A bottle of "Zatarains" Pure Ground Gumbo File
A bottle of Local Wildflower Honey
A box of "New Orleans" Shrimp and Crab Boil
A package of Gumbo Spoons
A Louisiana Cookbook- "Talk About Good"- often called the Cajun Cookbook Bible. You can see the reviews of this cookbook HERE.

Enter below using the Rafflecopter entry form and GOOD LUCK Y'ALL!





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cranberry-Dijon Pork Tenderloin Tutorial (FREEZER MEAL)

This another one of those "gallon bag wonders" that take about 2 minutes to assemble and get into the freezer. Then, when your ready to cook, just thaw in the fridge overnight and pour the contents into your crockpot, cook on low for 8-10 hours. 

Cranberry-Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

1 can of whole cranberry sauce (not jellied)
1 package of onion soup mix
1 (3-4lb) raw pork tenderloin (or pork roast)
2 Tbs Dijon mustard

To assemble: Label the Ziploc bag. Combine all ingredients in the bag and freeze.


To reheat: Thaw overnight in the fridge. The next morning, pour into your crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours. No extra liquid is needed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cloud Dough (Kid Craft)

Today was another rainy day. It's been raining so much, the ground is mushy. It's a  nice break from the heat we've been having but after a week of rain, the walls start to close in on you. Especially when you have two small, energetic, loud kids. This craft comes together in seconds. You can make it with ingredients you already have in your kitchen and it will keep your kids busy for a good bit- and produce a mess that's easily vacuumed up. But if you're worried about the mess, put them in the tub with a pan of this stuff and let them go nuts.

Cloud Dough

Ingredients (This recipe is enough for one child).

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oil (any oil will work: olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil...even baby oil)

Step 1


 Mix the flour and oil together. Done. That's it. I put the Cloud Dough in a 9X13 baking pan and gave June some discs, plastic cookie cutters, seashells, pretty much anything she could bury and dig up. This dough is silky soft and holds it shape much like damp sand. It's not greasy or wet, just fluffy. Once I was done playing with it, my hands were silky smooth.



June loved this stuff. She played with it 3 times, each time for over an hour. When Daddy got home, she couldn't wait to make him "pies" with her Cloud Dough.

Store this dough in an air-tight container. I'm not sure how long it will stay good for. I'll keep an eye on it and let you know. =) Have fun!

Banana Pepper Rings (Canning) Tutorial

I love pepper rings on my sandwiches. I even craved them when I was pregnant and would eat them straight out of the jar. I often find that once my garden starts producing peppers, I have more banana peppers than I know what do with. This is a fast and easy canning recipe to make your own Banana Pepper sandwich rings.


Banana Pepper Rings

Ingredients

15-20 banana peppers
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 clove of garlic (per pint jar)
1 tsp canning/pickling salt (per pint jar)
1 tsp vegetable oil (per pint jar)
3-4 pint jars and lids, sterilized and prepared for canning

Step 1

Wash the peppers. Slice, remove seeds, discard stem ends.

Step 2


In each sterilized jar, add one garlic clove. Pack jars with pepper slices. (I added half a seeded jalapeno to my jars for heat).

Step 3

In each jar of packed peppers, add 1 tsp canning/pickling salt and 1 tsp vegetable oil.

Step 4

In a sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil.

Step 5

Ladle hot pickling liquid into jars, leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Remove any air bubbles and add more liquid as needed.


Step 6 

Apply lids and bands, screw down to fingertip tight. Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Cool and store. Check back after 24 hours to make sure the lids have sealed.

Monday, July 9, 2012

10 Reasons To Start Freezer Cooking

1) Save money by buying in bulk: When I go "BIG" grocery shopping, I make my list of meals by looking at what's on sale when I go shopping. If chicken is on sale, I use more chicken recipes for that month. Buying the chicken in the biggest packs costs less per pound than buying smaller packs.

2) Spend time with family in the evening instead of standing over a hot stove EVERY NIGHT: My husband gets home around 5pm. Instead of trying to rush getting dinner ready before he gets home during the "witching hour" when my kids get a little clingy or missing out on spending time with him once he is home, I can just take a thawed dinner and toss it in the oven. Then I can focus on him and our family. I find it easier to spare several hours ONCE a month, than finding an hour EVERY NIGHT to get dinners ready.

3) On the days you're sick or injured, dinner is taken care of: I threw my back out a few months back, it was so nice to not have to worry about dinner. Freezer meals are easy enough, that even my husband can cook them.

4) In times of great stress or grieving, you don't have to worry about dinner: Freezer meals were especially helpful when I brought my second child home from the hospital. I had an 18-month daughter and a newborn. The last thing I had time to do was cook. I had breakfasts, lunches, and dinners ready to go before I gave birth to her. I didn't cook anything for a month, yet we had home-cooked meals at every meal.

5) When you are out of town, your family can still have home-cooked meals: If you are called away on business, or a family emergency, you can take comfort knowing your family is eating nutritious meals and not McDonald's every day.

6) When a loved one is sick or stressed, giving a home-cooked meal is as simple as taking one out and handing it over: When a friend is injured or coming home with a new baby, or just needs a little comforting, you can take out a meal and hand it over with instructions on reheating. They can put it in their freezer for use at a later date, or reheat that day for a warm, loved-filled home-cooked dinner.

7) Destroy your kitchen once or twice a month, less dishes to do each night: When you think about it, the majority of the dirty dishes are from preparing the meal. Dirty a bunch of dishes at once, and then each night you use a freezer meal, you'll only have to wash the baking dish and plates. Less work for you after a busy day.

8) Cut down on weekly (or daily) trips to grocery store and don't come home with unnecessary purchases: It's very common to run to the store for groceries and without meaning to, you come home with a ton of ingredients and no "meals" then you end up going to store to pick up extra groceries and coming home with stuff you don't need.

9) After a vacation, coming home to a stocked freezer means you can take your time unpacking without running to the store for groceries: After our 10 day trip to Florida, I was so exhausted from the long car ride and well, the vacation with two small children, that I was happy to come home and have meals ready to go. I DID NOT want to get back in the car to go to the store. Ever.

10) Invest in your families health, cut down or eliminate the need for processed frozen foods and fast food/take out: When a meal is as easy as "take out to thaw in the morning, throw in the oven in the evening, and eat" it's hard to justify the high prices and high calories of "convenience foods" at the local grocery store and fast food joints.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cajun Pecan-Crusted Catfish Tutorial

This is a quick way to jazz up a white-fleshed fish. I use catfish but this would work with Tilapia, too.

Cajun Pecan-Crusted Catfish

Ingredients

2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs dry bread crumbs
1 Tbs dried parsley flakes
4 catfish filets

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, and thyme.

Step 2

In another bowl, combine the pecans, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley flakes, and 1 Tbs of the oil mixture.

Step 3


Place the fish on a greased baking sheet and brush with oil mixture. Then spread the pecan mixture evenly over the filets.

Step 4

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.