Nov 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Fun

My sweet bloggy friend Edie posted a Thanksgiving meme and I am joining in. I know Thanksgiving is almost over, but this is the first chance I've had to sit, let alone get on this computer!

So anyway, this looked like fun, so here we go:

1. Which do you like better: cooking at your house, or going elsewhere? Cooking at my house, using my super duper awesome dishes that my totally awesome God provided for me this year!

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird? Frozen because I always buy it waaayyy ahead of time.

3. What kind of stuffing? My Grandma taught me to make the cornbread dressing (not stuffing) which is why it is the BEST. [Well, this is just weird, because this is actually Edie's response, but it's really just perfect for me, too.]

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie? Pumpkin Pie. I had never had sweet potato pie until I moved to Georgia, 6 years ago. No, I'm not kidding.

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing? Absolutely the point! I love turkey: sandwiches, dumplins, sandwiches, soups, sandwiches, casseroles, salad sandwiches...

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu? Dressing, green bean casserole, or Grand Marnier Sweet Potatoes.

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock? Yeah, but we had a 23 pound turkey, so I only save part of the carcass.

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier? A maid.

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour? We usually eat around 2 pm, so I do as much as I can the two days before. I make my pie crusts, cornbread for the dressing, and spice leaf cookies two days beforehand.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring? Side: Grand Marnier Sweet Potatoes; dessert: pecan pie or chess pie

11. Is your cranberry sauce fresh or canned? Ocean Spray, baby.

12. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu? Dressing with giblet gravy. Nothing like it.

We had a great Thanksgiving Day today: family, friends, fellowship, and food...who could ask for anything more?

I'm also thankful, by the way, for my very special blogging friends. You guys mean more to me than you will ever know this side of heaven. I have been encouraged, uplifted, and inspired by you. Thank you, from the depth of my soul.

Nov 25, 2008

Cooking, Cooking, Cooking....

I love Norman Rockwell pictures. They are usually so cozy and old fashioned, with expressions from people that I can usually relate to.

Anyway, things are really getting cooking down here in the fact, I just overheated my cast iron pan and the smoke detector sounded. Everybody else is in bed already. Oops.

Well, I think that was Divine Intervention...and He is telling me I really shouldn't be on here. So I'm gonna post my Thanksgiving Day Menu and scat. Just in case somebody can't sleep tonight until they know what I'm serving for dinner. Lookin' out for ya.


Garlic Dip with fritos
Cream cheese and pepper jelly with crackers
Pumpkin Dip with ginger thins


Turkey and giblet gravy
Grandma's Old Fashioned Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole
Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole
Grand Marnier Sweet Potato Casserole
Cauliflower and cheese
Cranberry sauce
Pumpkin rolls


Pecan pie
Chess pie
Pumpkin pie
Spice leaf cookies

I never really noticed how much we're really into dips and casseroles.

What about you...what's on your menu? C'mon, I really need to sleep tonight...!

Nov 23, 2008

I Feel a Little Like a Thief...Almost

I love me a good deal, y'all. And the one thing I like about shopping is finding some steal that I can feel good about paying our hard-earned money for.

I enjoy the thrill of looking for the best deal for the best quality. And when it fills a need for our family, it's like I've hit the jackpot! You know, if we like...played lottery.

So I share this in all earnestness and enthusiasm...because this deal made me almost feel guilty.


But I got over it in about 30 seconds.

DH and I love the holidays. We really love the holidays. By holidays, I am specifically referring to Thanksgiving and Christmas. And more generally, I'm referring to November 1 through January 1.

We have a lot of fun and meaningful traditions that we do for each. For example, for Thanksgiving, we have a glass jar that I put out on November 1. I buy a special, pretty pad of paper (not sticky) and put that inside the jar with a pen. From the first of November until Thanksgiving Day, we all have been writing on a piece of paper something that we notice we are thankful to God for. We don't sign them, we just write what it is, fold it, and drop it in the jar.

We've been watching it slowing fill up through the month, and on Thanksgiving Day, after dinner, we will gather together in the living room and take turns pulling a piece of thankfulness from the jar to read aloud.

After the day is over, I collect all the papers in a plastic baggie, write the year on it, and seal it up to store in our desk. Talk about leaving a legacy! I can't wait to peruse through them in about 10 years with my grown and/or almost grown kids. Wow. The last 10 years went pretty quickly.


So anyway, back on track: we love the holidays. And we love to have people over for the holidays, too. Which gets me back to my original purpose of this post: steal of a deal.

We have a family of 7 coming over for Thanksgiving this week, which I am so excited about. However, in the area of dishes, I have enough of the everyday china that my grandmother gave me when we first got married, but it's blue and yellow and green. Very "spring-y." Then I have our regular dishes that have roosters on them, but I only have a place setting for six.

And our budget is stretched, to say the least.

What was I to do? I'll tell you what I did: I prayed. I asked the Creator of the Universe, the One Who Sees all things, good and bad; the One Who is eternal, and knows how many hairs are on my head today; the One Who has already done way more for me than I could ever provide me with some new dishes. Yep.

And you know what? He cared. He listened. He provided. He's so good to me.

Get this:

I asked Him if it was His will that I spend money on new dishes, then for Him to just let me find what would work for the fall, be inexpensive, and then provide the money. If not, then I was okay with that, too. Shortly afterward, I had the idea to check with Garden Ridge Pottery online to see what they have.

Turned out they don't offer shopping online, but they post their current circular on their website.

Lo, and behold, they had a teensy, weensy picture of some dishes that were on sale...a whole set for $7.99.

Yeah, that's what I said. No way.

But I had to find out. The sale was to end the next day, so I needed to go check this out. I stopped by five other places just to make sure I wasn't going to get a better deal somewhere else, because come on, this was too good to be true.

I pulled up to Garden Ridge and prayed one more time. Lord, it's all up to You. I want what you want. I don't want to spend money where you say I shouldn't, so please lead me.

Here we go, You and me, Lord.

I walked back to the dishes section of the store. My eyes were constantly scanning for piracy waiting to be had. And then I saw them: Boxes of autumn-colored dishes with raised embellishment around the rim. Exactly what I had in mind.

Each box contained a 20-piece set...for exactly $7.99. I couldn't believe my eyes.

So I bought three sets...$120 worth of dishes (retail) for $24 bucks! Deal of the century. Our God knows how to delight His girl!

Nov 18, 2008

REBEL-UTION! The Modesty Survey

Okay, I know I haven't been around in a few days, and this is really cheezy to post someone else's words on your blog when you've been away. In this case, however, the words they used were SO compelling that I thought I would just leave them the way they are and include a link.

If you have teenagers, know any teenagers, or have children who will one day be teenagers, then you have GOT to check out this website! I am absolutely blown AWAY by these teenage boys and the Rebelution they have started.

Oh how I pray for my boys that they will have this kind of integrity and courage as young adults!

The following is straight from their website: has launched the results of their massive Modesty Survey! Over 1,600 Christian guys have answered questions on everything from glitter lotion and lip gloss to swimsuits and skirt slits! It's everything girls have ever wanted to ask guys about modesty, but were afraid to ask!

For guys, it's really interesting to see what other Christian guys think! Most importantly, the survey is presented as a resource to help Christian girls (and guys), not a list of legalistic rules, and it is accompanied by the Modesty Survey Petition (which tons of guys have signed) which encourage young women to focus on the heart, not the hemline, to honor their parents, etc.

The results were released on St. Valentine's Day as a gift from 1,600 Christian guys to all Christian girls -- and I can't think of a better one! Now the survey is being endorsed by people like Shaunti Feldhahn ("For Women Only") Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Revive Our Hearts), CJ Mahaney (Sovereign Grace Ministries) and Shannon Ethridge ("Every Woman's Battle")!

Go check it out:

But also make sure you spread the word to all your friends. We want as many Christian girls (and guys) as possible to see this, so forward this on!

P.S. Guys, they are still accepting signatures for the Modesty Survey Petition, so this is an opportunity for you to still share your voice on the topic of modesty!


Nov 10, 2008

Fall Into Flavor...Again!

WOO HOO...two in a row! Linda, aren't you proud??

If you have no idea what I'm talking about: Linda over at 2nd cup of coffee has brilliantly started a blogging carnival for every Monday during the fall season. Go check her out at the end of this post!

So for today, I am going to share my favorite recipe for Apple Dumplings. Or as we say here in the South: Apple Dumplins.

Allow me to precede this exceptional recipe with one statement:

These are the best apple-anythings I ever tasted in my life. Ever. Bar none. The best.

Can I be more clear? Excuse me while I wipe my salivation. That's a nice word for drool. It would be shame to short-circuit my keyboard on my beloved laptop computer.

I suppose it's possible that they wouldn't have been as big of a deal to me had I had them before I made these. But as these were my first experience of Apple Dumplins, they are deemed The Best by me and all my household.

Okay, enough with the blabbering. But really, they're good. REALLY.

Apple Dumplins

2 to 2-1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. shortening
1/2 c. milk
4 to 6 Granny Smith or other cooking apples, cored, peeled, and sliced (I actually chop them in bite size pieces)
approx. 1/2 c. sugar, for sprinkling apples
butter, cut in small pieces


2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 c. hot water
1/4 c. butter, melted

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening (I used my hands) until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add milk, stirring to make a soft dough. Roll dough into a 1/8" thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 5-inch squares.

Place 3 to 4 apple slices on each square. Sprinkle each with 2 tsp. of sugar, a sprinkling of cinnamon and of nutmeg, and dot with butter. Moisten edges of each dumpling with water; bring corners to center, pinching edges to seal.

Place dumplins 1 inch apart in a lightly greased shallow baking dish (must have sides!).

Combine 2 cups sugar, 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg, 2 cups hot water, and melted butter. Stir to dissolve sugar. Pour syrup over dumplins. (It will look watery...don't be alarmed!)

Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve with syrup spooned over and vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
And believe me, you desire.

Nov 6, 2008

Treats and Traits Thursday -- Bright Morning Star

This week, there's been a particular name of Christ that has reminded me of His faithfulness, reliability, and the bright hope He brings to a lost and dying world.

I homeschool my kids, but we are also involved in a homeschool co-op that we attend every Thursday afternoon. We used to participate in the full program (which is twice per week), but honestly, with Minime's new subject load, we just needed to be home more than when we started in 2nd grade!

I teach one of the three classes he attends at co-op, which is the 5th grade Astronomy class (not to be confused with Astrology...we learn planets, stars, constellations; not signs, horoscopes, and superstitions). In Astronomy, we are able to study the solar system and outer space as all part of God's creation.

Last Thursday, we completed our unit on the planet Venus. It's the second planet from our sun, and it's also the brightest celestial body in our early morning or early evening sky (besides the moon, of course).

And since prehistoric times, the presence of Venus in the morning sky has always been known as the eastern herald proclaiming the dawn of a brand new day:

"Because of its appearance in the eastern sky before dawn, it was thought of as the harbinger of sunrise. The title Aster Lampros Proinos presents a powerful and beautiful image of the One who is also known as 'the light of the world.'" (Immanuel, Praying the Names of God through the Christmas Season by Ann Spangler, page 123).

So here it is:

Jesus, the Brightest Star in the early morning, proclaiming the hope of dawn, which in itself holds relief from the night and promises of newness of life. Thank you, Jesus.

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Rev 22:12-16

Artist's rendition of Venus in the early morning sky

Nov 5, 2008

Toys Worth Buying -- WFMW

This week's Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition: Toys That Are Actually Worth Buying (presumably for Christmas).

Big shocker here, but I won't be offering any Barbies or My Little Ponies. The only thing I know about girls' toys is the whole Bratz sensation...and the only thing I can say is that if I had a girl, I wouldn't buy them.

When Mini me was three, my uncle gave him a very small figure "8" wooden train set for Christmas. He played with that thing like you wouldn't believe -- it fed his little boy-brain that wanted to build and tear down constantly. So the next year, we invested a little more and got him a full set. We didn't see any need to spend the extra just to get a name brand (like Thomas), so we just got him one from Target that I think cost about $40.

That set, and later others, successfully developed in this child a love for trains and "designing the coolest track ever!" They still play with this set (Mini me is now almost 11 years old!) and we have since supplied them with other pieces of buildings, a train station with lights and sounds, etc. to add to it.

Sidenote: although the tables are kinda cool, we refrained from buying one. I'm really glad that we did refrain; most of Mini me's tracks have been some convoluted shape that would never have worked within the confines of a table!

At least for my boys, this has proven to be the most beneficial buy in many, many Christmases:

So make some tracks over to Shannon's Rocks In My Dryer for more worthwhile suggestions!

Nov 4, 2008

Trip to Kentucky, Numero Dose

Well, in the spirit of "Do Overs," I am going to post my new (but not new) slideshow.

See, here's what happened: I spent a lot of time creating this fantasic slideshow on the Rock You! website. When I pasted the code to my post, it showed me the wrong slideshow. I emailed the company, but got no response (to this day). So I then emailed a friend who has had the same problem, and she said hers eventually published just fine; maybe the spanish slideshow is just a filler until your post actually publishes the slideshow. Great! So I scheduled the thing to publish.

WELL, my DH stayed home for a bit this morning, so I didn't check my blog until 7:30 am or so. Some of you had commented already; including one dear friend asking if we speak spanish fluently! Well no, we really don't.

So I sent another email, sent a message to their online "live chat" (which was OFF line), and after searching for a phone number on their site for some time, called their offices...which had NO ONE to answer the phone.

Go figure.

So Smilebox is now my internet hero. (I have others, but those are either God, or people...this one is just a website). Anyway, they saved the day for me.

At least I hope so. As I am typing this, I haven't actually published it yet. :-)

Click to play Trip to Kentucky
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Trip to Kentucky

So my mom was here for 10 days for the first time in four years. Yep. Four years. Usually we go home (she lives in Texas) at least once a year, but I had told her we most likely wouldn't make it home this year. So she did what any self-respecting Mamaw suffering from grandchildren withdrawals would do: she hopped on a jet plane and came to see us!

We also have some friends who are much further along in life than we are. She and I worked in women's ministry together for a while and got to develop a Christ-centered relationship through that. Even though she and I don't get to attend church together anymore, we still have that sweet bond that joins two believers together and nothing can separate...even time away. She and her DH have spent the last couple of decades saving up money and furnishings for land and to build a cabin in Kentucky, which is where their roots are. (Talk about inspiration!) Both of them grew up within just a few miles of their property, which they call Twin Oaks.

Their dream all those years was to build a cabin in which their children (and now grandchildren) can congregate for the holidays and reunions, etc. They have a large family, so the cabin needed to be accommodating...and boy is it.

My friend (I'll call her Penny) and her hubby are so gracious as to allow people (including our family) to visit their cabin when their family isn't using it. My DH built a few things for her kitchen, including a pot rack

and a bea.u.ti.ful shelving unit that is mounted to her cabinet

So couple that with the fact that this is our third time to stay in this glorious cabin, and you have a small sense of ownership on our part! It's like a home-away-from-home for us. Really, it's more like a heaven-away-from-reality. Yeah, it's like that.

Anyway, while we were there, Brown Eyes celebrated his 8th birthday, and even though he hasn't had his "party" with his friends and all, he (and we) had a ball. Enjoy the show:

[EDIT: Apparently Rock You! has some serious issues, because we are not a hispanic family, but that's the slideshow that was posted here this morning. I have an email into them to see if we can fix el problemo.] :-)

Nov 3, 2008

Fall Into Flavor

Okay, y'all. I don't really believe that there's anybody who reads my stuff that doesn't know about Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee, but just in case one of you may have inadvertently missed her post about "Obamaman," you absolutely MUST go read it. And send it to all your friends. I promise at least one out-loud laugh along with a minimum of one eyebrow raise.

But then you should come back here, because I have a second link to Linda for her Fall Into Flavor carnival. Or meme. Or whatever. Does anybody know the difference between the two? I haven't figured that out yet.

Pitiful as it is, I haven't participated in this wonderful {insert preferred bloggy term here} except to read other people's contributions. I really don't know how some of you get to post as often as you do! But I am loving reading them and posting as often as I can.

Anyway, here's my first-ever offering for Fall Into Flavor:

Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing

6 boneless pork loin chops (1" thick)
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pkg. (16 oz.) Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing mix
1 or 2 cans apple pie filling (I like lots of apples, so I use 2)
ground cinnamon, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

In a skillet, season chops with salt and pepper, and brown chops in oil over medium high heat.

Meanwhile, prepare entire bag of stuffing per directions.

Spread pie filling into a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Place the pork chops on top; then spoon stuffing over chops. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.


Nov 2, 2008

Diaper Cake

There's a brand new phenomenon in baby showers.

I didn't know this, and maybe it's not as new as I think it is, but last week I was visiting Tiffanie over at Our Life, and saw her version of the apparently wildly popular (unbeknownst to me!) Diaper Cake.

Have you heard of these? Maybe it's just been too long since I've been to a baby shower. I was clueless until about a week ago! Well, in good bloggy etiquette, I asked permission from Tiffanie (who is as sweet as pie) to use her idea. She of course said she didn't mind, and in fact even gave me some instruction, so here is my creation:

This is the most pink that has ever been in my house at one time. I'm just sayin.

So have I just been completely in the dark on this one, or what?