Monday, December 27, 2010

'Twas The Week After Christmas . . .

'Twas the week after Christmas and everywhere I turned
Boxes and clutter and new toys were strewn
The stockings had long since been tossed in the corner
Along with the fruit and the nuts no one wanted

The children were nestled in front of TV
While arguing over who gets to play the PS3
And Daddy in his hoodie and I in my jeans
Had just figured out what the instruction manuals mean

When in the kids room there arose such a clatter
I rolled off the couch to see what was the matter
Away to the bedroom I crawled like a slug
Wondering what in the world's this green stuff on my rug?

I had to stand up to turn the light on
When I discovered the entire light bulb was gone
When what should I see but the kiddos, red handed
With broken toys and movies right where they were standing

They all looked at each other for one short little minute
Then all pointed and stared and shouted "HE did it!"
Lots faster than snails, now, my fury it raged
As I looked at the now-broken video games

"Now I can't believe your irresponsibility!
I have a mind to throw it all to the hillbillies!
To the corners with you - in the kitchen and hall!
Now GO take your punishments - dash away all!!"

The kids ran like you-know-what - They'd never seen me so mad
I think they finally realized it was IT I that I'd had
I looked at the broken plastic shards on the ground
Picked one up and eyed it, then sighed with a frown.

NOT beating them had taken me quite a bit of refrain
After all - $400 down the drain.
As I hung my head and I turned around,
The youngest pranced into the room with a bound.

"Mama," she said, the tattle tone was quite clear
"Mama," she said, "Randy broke the reindeer!"
That was the straw - that was it - that one there
I finally decided I just didn't care

Let them brake it ALL said my head
After all, you can't take it with you when your dead!
Then my son came into the room, looking shameful
With a cut on his pinky that appeared quite painful

On top of the broken toys - video games and cars
I now had to spend Christmas vacation in the ER??
And then, something hit me - a spark big and bright
What exactly was I EXPECTING this night

Everything that could possibly go wrong - well, it did
From breakfast to dinner to husband and kids
It dawned on me that I had been the one in the wrong
Focusing on everything droll and long

Going into debt, toys and games, gifts abound . . .
Those were NOT what this time was about!!
I have a whole family home for a holiday
This is NOT the way I want to spend it - no way!

I decided right then and there I would change
My attitude would no longer be grumpy or mange
We ran to the car, blood springing from wounds
And I smiled as I figured out what I would do

As we drove to the ER under cold winter's might
I screamed like a loon -

Hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Week!
Blessings to you all!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas From The SuperMom Blues!

It's Christmas Eve!
Some people have snow on Christmas Eve.
(we did last year)
This year - we're having thunderstorms.
No worries, though, because this Christmas is proving to be one of the best ones yet.

I've gotten (most) of the baking done.
I've gotten (most) of the presents wrapped.
I've gotten (ALL) of the blessings I could ask for.

Right now as I listen to the pitter-patter of the rain tumbling over my roof and windows, I am excited over the prospect of listening to my children sing joyful Christmas carols tonight. I am anticipating fighting them on going to bed so that Santa can finally make his appearance (by the way, do you follow him on Twitter?). Tonight we will be watching his route on NORAD, and I will delight in my children's giddy anticipation after a day filled with cookies and candy and their Granny's good food.

I will snuggle them, and read to them both The Christmas Story and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas as we drink hot cocoa. We will set out three of the prettiest cookies for Santa along with a mug of hot chocolate, and a few carrots for the reindeer. Then I will tuck them in and wait to hear them snoozing before I and their father make all of their Christmas visions of St. Nicholas come true.

Tomorrow promises to be another amazing day filled with blessings untold. My children's joy and wonder at the Magic of Christmas will make my heart leap and bring a smile to my face. Being able to finally give my Dear Husband something he will enjoy this year is also something I look very forward to. Spending time with family - some of whom we don't get to see very often - is going to be so wonderful.

But Christmas isn't just about the giving, and the feasting and the visiting.
This Christmas, above all things, I will be thinking of a tiny baby. A small young child that was brought into the world for one purpose - the salvation of all.

Thank you, God, for giving us the most precious gift we could ever receive in your Son.
Thank you, Jesus, for fulfilling the Father's will and blessing the world with the gift of Salvation.

Blessings to you all,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Adam!

Happy Christmas Adam!!
That's right, I said Christmas Adam!
Don't know what Christmas Adam is?
It's a family tradition in my Dear Husband's family.
The night before Christmas Eve is Christmas Adam
(you know, because Adam came before Eve . . ?)

In the past, we hadn't really done much on Christmas Adam, but this year we are having our annual Cousin's Christmas party (another family tradition) on this night.
Maybe we'll start a tradition of Cousin's Christmas on Christmas Adam and call it Cousin's Christmas Adam! Okay, well, that didn't go over (humorously) as well as I had planned.

One other family tradition we have is the annual Gag Gift giving at my parents house on Christmas Eve. We'd always done gag gifts (usually it was only one of us being the recipient every year), but when I got married and we had to figure out all these Christmas celebrations, Christmas Eve became my parents' night. And we have the BEST time.

We go to the traditional Christmas Eve candle lighting service. THEN we eat Non-Traditional Christmas food (no turkey or dressing or ham HERE - more like shrimp and lamb or steak). Play Non-Traditional Christmas games (have you ever played In A Pickle or Smart Ass? FUN!) and, of course we give Non-Traditional Christmas gifts - for example, gifts of the past have included:

A water gun
Silly hats
Fun card games
Silly bubble bath
Humor books
Bathroom books
A singing catfish that drove everyone batty

I wonder what we're getting this year?

We have so much fun with each other and enjoy every second. It's all about family, and that's what's important this time of year.

If you don't have any fun, Non-Traditional Christmas traditions yet - let me encourage you make some up this year! If you DO have some, feel free to share in the comments section! I would love to hear some of YOUR traditions!!

Blessings to you all!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Angels Among Us

The other day I picked my six year old's brain for blog ideas. The first one that came to her mind was "Angels, Mama! You have to write about angels!!"

Bless her.
She has such a gift.
No, not just because she mentioned angels.
You  see, my daughter has this unbelievable Faith in God. I like to think that I have helped with that, but at the same time, I'm not sure I've helped much. I think it's all her.
She talks about God all the time.
She makes up songs about Jesus: "Oooohhh, I love Jesus, He loves me, He's my Beesssst Freeeiiiinnnnd!"
As off key as they are, I know they warm Christ's heart as much as they warm mine.
So when she mentioned Angels, I know that it was something that came straight from her warm fuzzy heart.
Because I believe her to be one.

Now, don't get me wrong, my child is NOT perfect.
She throws temper tantrums that would rival Janice Dickenson, Dustin Diamond, Gary Busy and Varuca Salt - all in one.
She's been known to lie. A lot, actually.
She teases her little brother, torments her older brother, and gets into things that she has no business getting into even AFTER we tell her time and again NOT to get into it.
But then, she turns around and says something so amazing:

"Mama, Jesus loves all of us, did you know that?"
My six year old has a witness' heart.

If you look hard enough, you can see Angels all around you. That person that let you get in front of them on the road during rush hour . . . The sister that helps you out when you least expect it . . . The check out girl that called after you after you forgot your $20 cash back . . . The old man sitting in the mall, smiling as he watches everyone pass . . .

Even a little child, reminding you what your faith is all about.
Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Leftover Chicken Enchiladas

Once again, I am linking up to Mother of Pearl it Is for Tasty Tuesday!!

These enchiladas were (in my opinion) the best I have ever made. And I've made a LOT of enchiladas! I used  a lot of leftovers for this. We buy a LOT of double decker taco kits - you know, the ones with the cheese sauce pouch and the flour tortillas AND taco shells? Well, I always use two kits (six people . . . you need two kits . . .) but never need both packs of taco seasoning and cheese sauce they come with. I always save them, but never know what to do with them . . . UNTIL NOW!! I also used leftover chicken from a chicken that I roasted and froze a few weeks ago. 

Now, because of the sheer volume of ingredients and steps, I do not have pictures today. Please don't let that discourage you from trying them! They are a little time consuming because of the steps, but I promise you they're worth it!!!

Preheat over to 400

For the Sauce:
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 C milk
1 C shredded cheese (I used a mexican four cheese blend)
1 pouch cheese sauce from a double decker taco kit OR 1 C velveeta
1 oz cream cheese

In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for about a minute. Whisk in the milk. Using a wooden spoon, stir the sauce until it starts to thicken. Continue to stir until it coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and add all three cheeses, stirring until melted. Add salt and pepper, if desired.

For the filling:
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 c frozen seasoning blend (chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery), thawed
1/2 can chopped green chilies (more if you like it spicy)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 packet taco seasoning
1 C cheese sauce (recipe above)

Heat the olive oil and melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the seasoning blend and chilies. Cook until onions are softened and translucent. Add chicken and cook until heated through. Add the taco seasoning and cheese sauce and combine well. 

For the enchiladas
8-10 corn tortillas
1 recipe filling
1 recipe cheese sauce
1 can mild red enchilada sauce
1 C shredded cheese

Heat the tortillas in the microwave until soft. Fill each tortilla with about 2 T of filling and roll tightly. Place seam side down in square (8x8 or 9x9) baking pan that has been prepared with cooking spray. When all are filled and in the pan, pour over remaining cheese sauce and spread evenly. Top with red enchilada sauce and cheese. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

*If you don't have the time or the will to assemble them enchilada style, cut up the tortillas, mix them in with the filling, turn out into the casserole dish and top as the directions suggest. The cooking time is about the same!*

Don't forget to visit Mother of Pearl It is for more Tasty Tuesdays!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday - Minutes Matter!!

Making your home sing Mondays

Happy Monday everyone! 
Don't forget to head over to MomsTheWord to learn how you can make your home sing!

What can you do in ten minutes?
Yes, I know it says "15" minutes . . .
Use your imagination

I am looking at my house right now groaning because of the mess. Okay, granted it's not TOO bad. In truth, it will only take me about an hour to fix - less than that if I put my kids to work!

So often I hear people groaning over the same issues - "but the mess is SO big!" or "I CAN'T do it alone!"
All I have to say is:
"No it's not"
"Yes you CAN"

How do I know?

All it takes is ten minutes

In ten minutes you can:

Quick Shine a Sink

Straighten up a bedroom

Wash Some Dishes

Fold some Socks

You can also:

Vacuum a room
Clean out a refrigerator
Unload AND load a dishwasher
Clean a bathtub AND a toilet
Sweep a floor
Quick-mop a floor
Quick-Dust a room

There are countless other things you can do in ten minutes - make up your own list!
If it all seems overwhelming, just grab a timer - a kitchen timer, the one on your oven or microwave, or even on your phone - set it for ten minutes and dive in! You'll be surprised at what you can accomplish!

Blessings to you all!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Letters of Intent . . .

I have been waiting to do this for a while now - been saving up my LOI's for weeks!!
If you have a Letter of Intent that you've been waiting to write, hop over to visit Foursons and link up!

Dear 14 year old son:

I am aware of the changes you are going through. It's a rough time for all of us. For you, because of the confusion that is puberty, for Little Sister because she the recipent of the brunt of all your frustrations, and for us Grown Ups because we have to be mediators, referees, and sometimes "unfair". Know that over the next few years you will do some things that you will regret. We will say some things that we will regret. There will be fights, battles, and wars over issues like curfew, homework, and privacy. Also know that we WILL search your things when we feel the need, we WILL ground you when you deserve it, but also that we WILL love you forever and always be here for you.

When you leave chocolate out, I WILL have to confiscate eat  it.
Dear Sisters of Mine:

Thank you so much for being there for me and caring for me. You are my best friends and I love you more than words can say.

Dear Other Drivers:

Please learn how to use the following:
Stop signs
Speed Limit signs

It will make me feel a whole lot safer,
Dear Six Year Old Daughter

Please refrain from screaming at me and slamming the door when you are upset. You are not 13 yet.
Dear Three Year Old Son

When we take cookies, we eat them. If we do not want them we do not take them. Cookies are not for smashing into the floor or the couch. Neither or crackers. Or chips. Or grapes, raisins, cereal, scrambled eggs, or ham sandwiches.
Dear 13 year old Daughter

No, you may not have a cell phone. We will further discuss this in three years.

Jen aka Momma aka Crazy Lady (with a hat)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Spirit of St. Nick

I remember like it was yesterday.
It was early one Christmas morning.
I thought for SURE I had beat everyone else up.
I was certain to get my stocking first!

I wasn't the first one up.

There, at the stockings was none other than my mother.
Filling them.

Now, I don't remember my reaction or what my mother told me.
I don't even remember feeling all that surprised or heartbroken.
All I remember is knowing one thing for sure.
Santa wasn't real.

Looking back on it today, I wonder what my children will say when they find out Santa's not real.
Will they be not-surprised and shrug and move on?
Will they be heartbroken and feel betrayed by the years of lies and deceit?
Will they be resentful and come to hate Christmas?
Am I setting my babies up to be scarred for life . . ?
Of course I don't REALLY think that.
I don't think anyone's been scarred for life learning the truth about Santa Claus.
And the beauty of it is that we can teach our children to take over for us - to become little "Santa's" in their own way.
By teaching them that it's better to give than receive.
By teaching them that kindness and gentleness is always better than cruelty or violence.
And by teaching them to care for those that are less fortunate.

In doing these things, we can teach our kids that, no, Santa isn't real. But his SPIRIT can live on through us forever.

Because, you see, Santa Claus was a REAL person, once upon a time.
His name was Nicholas and he was a bishop in the city of Myra in what is now Turkey.
Nicholas stood up for his faith and was persecuted and eventually executed because of it.
We remember his devotion to charity and faith in the creation of Santa Claus.
You can read his whole story here, if you like!

So, in that respect, maybe "playing Santa" isn't quite so bad.
We are honoring the spirit and memory of an amazing man of faith that taught us all the spirit of giving.
So, go ahead and fill your children's stockings to the brim, and as you do, think of the Spirit of St. Nick!

Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

End of the Semester - YEA!!

Yesterday I finished my last final
This semester has been BRUTAL
Not only have I had two history classes - both with a ton of reading and papers
But this semester:

I've had to make two 100 mile trips to a gastroenterologist for my daughter
We've had five trips to our primary doctor
We've moved, having to clean TWO houses top to bottom (still working on unpacking)
We've had school troubles with two of the kids
I've had food poisoning
We've had tire problems

Now if I can do ALL that AND still pull a B in both classes this semester then I'll be a happy girl!!

I am glad it's over though, but looking forward to next semester. Next semester will (prayerfully) be my FINAL semester - I hope to be graduating in May!

I learned a lot this semester.
One of my classes was on the Renaissance and European Reformation.
Did you know that Galileo and Michelangelo wrote?
I had no idea!
Did you know that Martin Luther wasn't the only religious leader to preach against the catholic church?
I didn't know that either!!
I also learned a lot about other denominations - specifically the Mennonites and the Catholics.

The other class was Texas History.
Interesting - most of what I learned either a) contradicts some of what is taught in Texas primary and secondary schools and/or b) is NEVER taught in Texas primary and secondary schools!

It has been an eventful - and exhausting - semester, but it's been one of my best in a very, VERY long time!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Supermom Soapbox: Where's our Faith?

I was going to blog about cookies today.
I had a great recipe I was going to share with you.
But something compelled me to NOT post a cookie recipe.
Something was moving me to another message today.

I read from the book of Luke this morning.
It was talking about Elizabeth and Mary finding out about their pregnancies, and their husbands reactions.
For Zachariah, he was struck dumb because he didn't believe.
For Joseph, the Angel of the Lord admonished him for wanting to divorce Mary (I guess he didn't believe either . . .).

That made me wonder about what if this story were true TODAY.
Back then, it wasn't uncommon for a woman of Mary's age to be a virgin - in fact, it was expected!

But now, when young women are more and more losing themselves . . . well, if a young girl said she was pregnant and it was God's baby, there is no WAY anyone would believe her. (Thanks, D, for the inspiration on that one!)

Has the way our world has changed also changed our faith?

Maybe there's a reason we don't get visited by angels in our generation.
Maybe there's a reason we don't get burning bushes or flames hovering over our heads.
Would we really listen?

I think that society has ruined us as Christians. Really and truly.
We don't have the faith that we once had. We don't believe in miracles the way we once did. And we certainly don't give God the credit he deserves.

When we do, we get admonished by the atheists, the pagans, and the "agnostics".

A couple of years ago, Ben Stein wrote this. Here he was talking about how we tend to focus more on who we're going to offend than our own faith. And he's not even a Christian. He's a Jew.

When a Jewish man will stand up in defense of Christianity while Christians sit back and say "I just don't want to be offensive", well, I really think there's something wrong with that. Christians need to have the faith God desires of us. We need to defend the truth. We need to be the ones to stand up and say DOWN WITH POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

Today, if a young girl were to say she was pregnant and it was God's baby, her parents would punish her.
The media would scoff her.
Christians would shake their heads in disbelief because they wouldn't believe her.

But . . .
What if it were true?
You see, God saw fit to send a messenger to Zachariah and Joseph - they learned their errors and realized they were wrong.
Would He do that today?

I'm off my soapbox now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday!

Hello dah-links!
It's time for another Making Your Home Sing Monday, hosted by my friend Nan over at Moms The Word!
Making your home sing Mondays

Let's talk about a topic on everyone's mind right now.
Not just any shopping.
CHRISTMAS shopping.

You know, Christmas shopping is hard enough, but when you add in the economic rut we're all in right now, it kinda puts a damper on things. Let's face it - America just doesn't have the funds to support the Christmas our children want.

And this is kinda a problem.
Two reasons:
1) What is society teaching our children that they feel they have to have more, bigger, expensive toys that think FOR them?
2) If our children want more and more and more, what are WE teaching them about Christmas??

So this year my husband and I have made a decision. We will be buying a few new toys for our children - nothing amazing, nothing huge, nothing overly expensive. But everything else - and I do mean EVERYTHING has come from thrift stores!!

Let me give you an example:
We went to a thrift store in our area. I found for Jacob a bag of Duplos the size of my abdomen (and I have a pretty big abdomen, let me tell you)
- about $200 worth mind you - for - ready?? -
12 DOLLARS!!!!
Can you believe it???
We also found a rock tumbler for my oldest daughter, a game for my oldest son, movies for the youngest ones, a Bob the Builder memory game for Jake, a leather jacket for Ronnie, a white elephant gift for family christmas, a combined bananna keeper and fruit bowl for me, and a few other things.

If I had bought this stuff at wal mart I would have spent WELL over $300.
Wanna know our total thrift store buy?

Needless to say . . .
I think we are thrift store-ing everything from now on!

Do I feel like I'm cheating my children?
I am giving them something they will love, use and cherish.
I am also teaching them something very, VERY important.

Christmas isn't about the newest, latest toy on the market.
It's about three things:
A sweet little baby given to the world as the ultimate gift.

I feel good about this life lesson I'm giving them.
If you haven't finished - or even started - your Christmas shopping yet, let me encourage you to visit your local thrift store (or three or four!!) and see what you can find! You just might be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Be Blessed

One of my biggest downfalls is that I try to do everything myself. And I do mean everything. From cooking to cleaning to child rearing to school (I finish my BA in May). It is VERY rare that I ever ask for help or that I even ACCEPT help. This kind of irritates some of the most important people in my life - namely my husband. So it is something that I've been working on. When we try to do it all ourselves, this can be harmful to us in so many ways. We get stressed, we get exhausted, we get depressed, and often these things make us sick - literally - with an array of different physical problems.  Sometimes it's important to ask for help.

As it is in our earthly lives, so it applies in our spiritual lives. I personally  find it hard to stop and ask God for help, and then ALLOW him to help. As a result, I am not ALLOWING his blessings to flow. Because of this, I am stressed, exhausted, depressed, and have been sick - both in the physical and the spiritual sense.

Yesterday, God gave me another one of His "kicks in the butt" as I like to call them. I wasn't allowing Him to take control, so He forced it upon me in a blessing that I did not expect. At first I was angry - why did this person do this when I didn't even ask for or need the help. Then, I prayed about it. And I realized that God touched this person's heart on my behalf. He told them that I needed something. They rose up and answered the call, and I am so glad they did. 

It has taught me that I need to allow God to take control in my life and I need to ALLOW the BLESSINGS to happen instead of trying to take control myself. I need to stop and ASK for help. As my anonymous (to you all) person told me in a message "The opposite of pride is the virtue humility - and we grow when we humble ourselves to ask for help. So, know that we would never judge you . . . but would be more than willing to answer the call."  This touched me in a way that I never imagined. You see, this person - who has been a blessing in my life for more years than I care to mention - never fails to send me just the right message when I need it. God has a way of getting to me through them.

God loves it when we stop and say "I can't do this". Maybe He's a bit of a control freak, in fact. But I, for one, am so glad he is. Because only when we stop and say "I need you, Lord" can our relationships with him grow.

God's blessings to each of you!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Two New Fun Recipes the Kids Will LOVE

Tasty Tuesday Time!
This week I decided to link up with Tree over at Mother of Pearl It Is for her Tasty Tuesday post. She has a great blog, and I encourage you all to go over there RIGHT NOW and visit!!

I have two recipes for you this week, and ironically, have tried neither of them out yet!! HA! That's okay, though, because I know they'll both be fantastic!

Recipe #1 - Creative Pancakes!!

This first recipe is an idea I stole from IHop. They have a new kids pancake meal on the menu called the create-a-face pancake. My kids had it a few weeks ago, and LOVED it! The concept is simple - use fruit and yogurt to make a face on your pancake. My version is not as simple as driving to a restaurant and placing an order, but it is a bit healthier!

Cooking spray, for cooking the pancakes
2 cups whole wheat pancake mix
2 eggs
1 1/4 C 1% or skim milk
2 T vegetable oil or melted butter
2 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 T Cinnamon or Nutmeg
1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Toppings Suggestions:
1 banana, sliced
1 box raisins
1 tube Simply GoGurt for each child
2-3 strawberries, sliced
whipped cream

Combine pancake mix, milk, oil or butter and sugar in a large bowl until well mixed. Add brown sugar, cinnamon/nutmeg, blueberries, and nuts and mix until well combined. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 c batter onto pan and cook until dry around the edges and bubbly on the surface. Turn and cook an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until browned on the other side. If needed, keep warm on a plate by covering with foil and a tea towel until all pancakes are cooked.

Now the fun part!
Put one pancake on a plate for the kids. Give them their choice of toppings, encouraging them to get creative! Use the Go-Gurt for hair or a funny smile, use raisins for eyes or a mouth, strawberries for rosy cheeks, etc. Or they can paint a scene on their pancake!

*note - Use scissors to snip a small corner off the Go-Gurt package rather than ripping the top off like usual. This will give the children greater control over "drawing" with it!*

Recipe #2- Deep Dish Ravio-Pizza!

Okay, so I haven't tried this recipe . . . YET, but I will be making it this week. And I have made deep-dish pizzas before. This is an idea I got watching the kids eat their canned ravioli last night, and we are excited to try it! It's not the healthiest I've done, but it's fun, and the kids will have a great time helping with this one! *bonus - this recipe makes two "pies", so if you don't need both, wrap one up for freezing after assembly!*

Cooking spray for prepping the cake pans
2 rolls refrigerated pizza dough
1 26.5 oz can spaghetti sauce
1 1 lb package frozen ravioli
1 package sliced provolone or mozzarella  cheese
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Spray two 8-in cake pans with cooking spray. Cook the ravioli according to package directions. Drain. Toss with 1/2 the sauce. Remove dough from packages and spread on the bottom of the pans, bringing it all the way up and over the sides. Cover the bottom with slices of provolone or mozzarella. Pour the ravioli on top of the cheese, about 2/3 the way up the pan. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle tops with parmasean cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbly and crust is slightly browned. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes (15 is better!). Cut into wedges and serve with a tossed or Cesar salad!

Have fun with these two this week, if you try them, let me know how they work out for you!
God bless you, everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making Your Home Sing Monday!

Dishes. I loathe doing them. It is a loathing beyond any loathing I have ever felt before. If I never had to do dishes ever again in my life, I would be a happy girl. I am thankful for my dishwasher, because I couldn't handle doing them by hand every. stinking. day. Unfortunately, I like to cook. Even more unfortunate is that I like to eat as well, so by that deduction, dirty dishes are an every day evil. Therefore washing them is an every day evil. But, I have devised a plan so sneaky, so crafty, so delicious that I will never have to spend any longer than five minutes at a time doing dishes. And I am going to share this plan with you, my dear followers.

First, always start with an empty dishwasher. Train your kids to put the dishes away one they've cooled off enough to be handled. Or ask your husband if he would do it for you. If it's first thing in the morning, you might have to do it yourself. DO NOT PANIC! Make it a game. Use a timer. You can do it in less than two minutes if you set your mind to it.

Second, unless you have a fancy-schmancy $2500 dishwasher from Lowe's, you will have to make sure the dishes are scraped free of leftover food. Have your family do their own dishes after they eat - do NOT allow them to NOT do this!! (don't forget to do your own, as well!) Make sure that all pots and pans have also been freed from their food. Do this RIGHT AFTER you eat - ask for help - make it family time! This should only take about 2-5 minutes total per meal.

Third, use a sprayer to rinse your dishes immediately after being scraped. This will work in the style of a power-washer and get the rest of the ooginess off the dishes before they go into the dishwasher. Done at every meal, this should only take a couple of minutes at a time. HAVE YOUR FAMILY DO THEIR OWN!

Fourth, after being sprayed, dishes should IMMEDIATLY go into the dishwasher. Again, HAVE YOUR FAMILY DO THEIR OWN. When the dishwasher is full, put soap in and run it.
*note - we have pans that can go into the dishwasher, if you'rs are not dishwasher safe, delegate a different family member every night to wash pans by hand*

Now, have you noticed one particular point here in my wicked little plan? I don't do the majority of the work. My family does!! 
*insert maniacal laughter*

Making your home sing Mondays

Don't forget to go link up to the wonderful Nan's Making Your Home Sing Monday meme at MomsTheWord!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Scripture . . . The Book of Isaiah

For the last couple of days, I have been reading Isaiah in my daily bible reading. I know that many people think that with it being the Christmas season, I might want to be in John, or Mark or Luke, reading about Elizabeth and Mary and the angels that spoke to them. But no, Isaiah is really the place to be.

There is no other book in the Old Testament that has as many prophecies about the coming of the Christ child than Isaiah:

7:14 (NIV) Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

9:1(NIV) Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan

9:6 (NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

53:5 (NIV) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 

53:9 (NIV) He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

53:12 (NIV) Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

These are just a few of the dozens of prophecies about Christ in Isaiah. Why is this important?
Through Isaiah (and other prophets), God was preparing the Way for Salvation. God realized that humankind was incapable of salvation on their own, so he made the choice to intercede on our behalf. God came to earth, first as a child, then as a man, with the sole purpose of sacrificing himself for the good of all man. 

How much must he love us to do this? I am so humbled to think about it. 

I encourage anyone that reads this blog today to peek into the book of Isaiah and see what I'm talking about. Throughout the book, Isaiah is admonishing the Israelites, but in the midst of the scolding there is a message of love, hope, and salvation.

Happy Sunday, everyone.
God bless you all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

She's Baaaaa-aaaack!! Back with a message!

Wow, it seems like forever since I've been writing. I've missed it tremendously. Between schoolwork, moving, cleaning, family raising, etc, it just seems I didn't have the time anymore! But I have made a vow that I will MAKE the time - at least once a week - to sit down and blog. Why? Because I miss it, and I miss my followers (most of whom I follow back!).

We've moved! We left our rent house (which we pretty much hated) and moved into a nice 120 (almost) year old home. There is a lot of history in this house, from a lot of families. Most recently, my husband's family. His grandparents bought this house in the 70's and it's been in the family ever since. We are blessed to be here - rent-free - and we believe the utilities will be a lot lower as well. Those two blessings will enable us to repair our credit and save up some money. It will be nice to be debt free.

Christmas is coming - YEA! I love this time of year. I'll love it even more when we get the Christmas decorations up. The music, the decor, the movies . . . the COOKIES! I have made a promise to myself (and my kids) that I will try MANY different cookie recipes this year. Of course I've already made a batch of my I-wish-they-were-famous chocolate chip cookies. Next - snickerdoodles. Then gingerbread, sugar cookies, candy cane cookies, and Kissy-Thumbprints (thumb prints with a Hershey's kiss instead of jam). Yes, 'tis the season for sweets in the DeMoss house!

Speaking of Christmas, this brings me to a very important message - What is Christmas about?

For many people this year, Christmas is going to be hard. They will scramble and go into debt to make sure their kids get a "good Christmas". But what makes a good Christmas? Is it the gifts? Is it the mountains of food piled up on the table? Is it the decorations, the music, the movies, the cookies?

No. Christmas is about three things - memories, family, and a tiny little baby that was brought into the world to atone for man's sin.

We, as a society, teach our children that Christmas is about how many toys Santa brought, or how many candy canes Billy can fit into his mouth, or how many cookies did mommy bake (yes, I am guilty of this as well). But we should be stepping up to teach our children "in the way they should go". This year, for example, my kids will get one or two okay gifts - nothing overly special or fancy - from "Santa". The rest of the gifts (three gifts to represent the Magi that visited Christ) will be used items from a thrift store or from yard sales. We want our focus this year to be on the REASON for Christmas. They'll get tons of other stuff from their grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It's our job, as parents, to teach them.

I urge you to this year focus on the Christ Child this season. Teach your children about the blessing of grace and salvation, teach them about charity and giving.

This is what the Lord commands of us.