"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

January 30, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

I remember reading in How to Win Friends and Influence People being that we shouldn't judge others and the reason given was that even the Creator of the Universe has decided not to, until the Appointed Day. So why do we do it now? 
(I think that will preach!) : )
1 Cor. 4:5
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each ones praise will come from God." 


Romans 14:4
"Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

So very glad that He is more than willing and able to make me stand.


January 29, 2013

Comfort food in the extreme

I've never been a fan of baked macaroni and cheese. I've never found a recipe I liked. I HAVE always been a fan of Kraft's though. LOL -I'm pretty sure that I ate it everyday of my high school career. (lets hope yellow #4 doesn't cause cancer for my sake) ; )
But I have daughter who LOVES baked mac and cheese! When our elderly neighbor makes it she always sends some over for her. Guess what? Tonight I made some and she declared it better than the Cracker Barrel's. That's high praise indeed!
I followed a recipe I saw online and then I added some more things to it, like BACON (because everything is better with bacon) and Panko bread crumbs (because they are the best!). I also had to take it out of the crock pot and put it in a 13 x 9 pan before serving to give it the illusion of being baked. -My boys are suspicious of things that come from my crock pot. They groan and tease me when I use it, which is OFTEN! Amen! Love my crock pot!

You probably already have a fabulous baked mac and cheese recipe, but since I don't, I'm going to post it here, lest I forget.

I think I'll call it:

 Almost Baked Macaroni:

Boil one box of elbow for 6 minutes. In a medium saucepan, heat 6 T. of butter and 2 cups of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of Monterrey Jack until melted. Grease crock pot and pour in noodles, and cheese mixture. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper, and 3/4 cup of sour cream and 1 can of cream of cheddar soup. Cook on low for 2 1/2 hrs. Bake some bacon on 400 for 20 minutes. (I have decided that I will never fry bacon again in my life if at all possible) Cool and crumble on top of mac and cheese and sprinkle 1/2 of Japanese bread crumbs on top.
 Enjoy! My family sure did!


January 24, 2013

Doing the right thing was never so... confusing

We have a handicap placard that hangs from our rear view mirror that belongs to my brother-in-law and WHEN he is in the car, we park in handicap parking and are oh-so-thankful-for it.
Today, he wasn't with me, so I was trying to park in a regular spot, when a parking attendant/security guard told me I couldn't because I had 'a handicapped sticker.' He said I had to park in a handicap space.
I explained about my BIL not being with me and that none of us in the car, at the present, are handicapped so I wanted to park in a regular space.
He said it was because of the placard. I showed him how I can take it down. I think that made him more mad. He actually threatened me with a fine, if I parked in a non-handicapped space.
How weird is that?! It gets weirder though...
He said I had to park in a handicap space. I said that seemed dishonest since none of us are handicapped. He said it was dishonest that I had a placard at all and that I should have to park there 'as punishment.'
Punishment? Really?
(the handicap parking lot at the community college is far away from the admin building where I was headed...hence the punishment, I guess)
~I think this wins the weirdest conversation award!~
Since he threatened to fine me if I parked in a regular spot without the placard AND then threatened a fine if I parked in the handicapped parking and wasn't handicapped,
I ended up (nicely) driving away...
Wow and wow.
As if care giving already doesn't have enough weird, hard things happening daily!

My apologies if this post doesn't make any sense.
Trust me, it didn't in real life either. ; )


January 22, 2013

What our 'Olive Plants' are up to these days

It seems like there are so many different seasons in parenthood. Once in awhile I like to capture what our kids are up to, so I can remember each of these seasons.
In this season, our older boys seem to be gone A LOT and it is like we are this new little family of 4 which still seems odd but really fun.
This is also the season of care-giving since my hubby's brother is living here for several months at a time  each year. So a lot of the time, we are actually a family of 7.
(I try not to mention the crazy/painful things that happen on the blog regarding this care-giving adventure, but God is faithful and that pretty much sums it up)

Andrew is our movie guy and he's memorized all the movies that have won Best Picture for the last 30 years, if not more. He is a walking movie encyclopedia! -It was so cute one day when he said he wished he had a friend who he could discuss the Best Picture (of such and such a year) with, that would actually know what he was talking about! lol -Pretty sure he hasn't found that friend as of yet though, bless his heart. It is his goal to see all the films that have won Best Picture, except that when you are only 13, you aren't allowed to see a lot of them. : ) In honor of his passion for movies, I'm going to have a little Oscar's party. (and Pinterest has the cutest ideas to help me out) He's already figuring out how he can do two days worth of school in one so that he can sleep in the next day. lol

Joy has always been artistic and she decided she wanted to try painting with oil paints and asked for some for Christmas. We literally did not see her the whole day after Christmas and she's been painting in all her free time ever since. She's sooo talented.

We are just amazed. It must be such fun to realize God's gifted you to do something you didn't know about sooner.
Softball season starts soon. I took her to the batting cages on Saturday. She had to ask me to stop cheering and giving advice. LOL She's sweet like that.  My advice turned out to be a little dangerous when she tried fast pitch...I'll spare you and me the painful details. ; )
The girls she's been teaching dance to performed at Talent Night on Friday to In Christ Alone (Adam Young's version) It was beautiful!!!

Nate is still working at his internship in an audio/video repair store. He's been able to get our PA fixed and this keyboard fixed for free and of course, learn how to do it. He's needing to find a paying job here pretty soon though. (kiddos in our family have to have jobs to save for insurance and a car before they can get drivers license) He is dual enrolling at the community college and enjoying it.

Zac gets up before the sun to work mornings at Starbucks on the days that he doesn't have school. He met Derek Jet*r at work this week!!! He just found out that he made the Dean's List for his grades last semester. Woohoo! Proud of my home school grad! He did an 'outreach' sponsored by Starbucks on Saturday. It was at a laundry mat in a really rough part of town. (apparently even the police don't go to this area when there are gun shots, yikes!) They paid for people's laundry to be done and handed out free Tide pods. Pretty cool.

That's about it!

January 16, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

Andrew was reading 2 Corinthians chapter 8 to the family last night, and it struck me what a GREAT
'Mom verse' (as I call them)
that verse 5  is.
The context is of course, about giving, but who GIVES more than a mom?! : )

"...but they first gave themselves to the Lord and then to us by the will of God." 2 Cor. 8:5

I'm not the sweet mom I want to be when I haven't 'first given myself to the Lord' each morning. It really is a MUST, before I start engaging our kids and 'giving' myself to them.
 -And since they don't all 'go' to school it is a long day of giving!
Can I get an 'Amen' Homeschooling Moms? ; )
Time with Jesus makes all the difference! 
When the kids were really young, and things in our day started to spiral downwards, the first thing they would ask was "Did you pray today, Mom?" Ouch!
Now they are all teenagers and they say, 'Mom, I think you need a nap." LOL
So, I'm preaching to myself today. I never want to forget the importance of my quiet time! : )


January 10, 2013


 I need to check my Facebook

Hmmmm...I cant' see it

That's better!

Uh oh! Here comes Mom.

What?! I AM doing school!

Hmmm, I know some others who need to get back to their school work too!
; ) Thanks for the laugh, Joy and Andrew!


January 9, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word

I'm picturing this scene this morning and remembering that this is the God I get to speak with daily/hourly/minute by minute. What a privilege! 

"And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God,
and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was 
completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire.
Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace and the whole 
mountain quaked greatly
And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder
and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him by voice."


January 7, 2013

The weekend and we are all back together

We've been missing Nathan all week. 
He went to IL with M's family. Our house is really quiet when he's away because he normally goes through our house singing and when he isn't singing then he is playing his keyboard or ukulele. When he came back Friday night and our house was immediately full of music once again. : ) 
He's been singing songs from Les Miserables ever since he arrived. Love that guy!

They had a fun time sight seeing in Chicago.

Here he is sledding for the first time in life. : )

               And here are he and M rolling down hills without sleds:

They visited Wheaton College while they were there. This happens to be the college they want to attend at the moment. 
Nathan loved getting to see Tolkien's desk on which he wrote The Hobbit:

And they also saw the wardrobe that was Lewis' inspiration for The Chronicles of Narnia!

I'm a wee bit jealous! : )

Saturday we celebrated Zac's 20th birthday party:

 I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted to because I was busy making people play party games! : )

 Guess who made the cherry fall?
We love you Carlos!

What good sports are friends are!

Our favorite game: Rhyme and Time!
Zac wanted tortilla bowls to put ice cream in. (thank you Pinterest for helping me out with that!)

I sprayed both sides of a flour tortilla with cooking spray and then sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on one side and placed them on the bottom of a muffin tin. They cooked for 8 minutes at 425. We filled them with cookies and cream ice-cream and chocolate syrup. : ) They were a big hit.

Today, TWO of our kids headed to college! This is Nathan's last semester of high school and he is dual enrolling at the community college that Zac is attending. Yay! And it is FREE. Gotta love free college credit. I only had to buy one book since Zac was able to give him the other one. So, $140 for 6 college credits isn't bad right? ; ) Whoo-hoo!

I seem to be constantly reminded lately that it is hard to let your kids grow up but it is exciting.

January 4, 2013

New year and new paint = a new look

The fresh paint job inspired me to spruce things up a little around here.  : )

Living room before:

And after:

We used to have this verse taped to a tiny TV when we were newlyweds. Years ago I decided to make it look a little better ; ) and framed it and it has always hung next to whatever TV we have had.

Because of our 'massive gift' we were kind of at a loss as to where to hang it because there wasn't really any room left. : ) But then we felt the conviction of what it says and hung it smack dab below the TV even though it looks a little odd because it is always a good reminder. Amen!

Kitchen before: (during a December birthday party last year)

And one this year:

And the kitchen after:

Hubby the painter is SOOO glad I am over my 'green  phase'

 Zac gave me this cute glass vase that his girlfriend had filled with candy for him a year ago or so.
I saw some DIY twine ball tutorials on Pinterest and made some since I already had twine. They are apparently big bucks to buy at Pottery Barn.

 Let me say I LOVE TWINE! But there is totally cute twine and there is ugly twine, in my opinion. The cute kind costs an arm and a leg! : ) But since I already had it, I was a happy camper and made these twine balls for $2. (thank you Dollar Store) Yahoo! Then I bought the other decorated balls at Ross. (a bunch of them were $5 and you can't even buy the plain Styrofoam balls for less than that at Michaels)

So there they are:

Pinterest also had a cute idea for what I could do with a bunch of my antique books. I LOVE antique books!!!!
 Tie them together with TWINE! So I did! Have I mentioned I love twine. ; )
Hubby thought one stack of books was cute but he's not so sure about 3.  But I always tend to overdue a good thing! : ) (evidenced by more cute balls on the coffee table)

I would never  have shown my baseboards to the world expect that now they have fresh paint. LOL! And I LOVE fresh paint way more than twine! ; )

I had this vase and found these ....what are these? Cute grassy, swirly, straw things! And they found a home by our front door. They must have some kind of scented oil on them, because they smell great when you walk in the door.
So, this week, we finished painting, I 'put away Christmas,' had fun decorating and I certainly didn't get on this thing nearly enough to balance out all the Christmas/birthday goodies I ate!

Speaking of birthdays! Tomorrow we get to celebrate Zac's! He'll be 20! Whoo-hoo! : ) Love that guy! What a blessing he is to us!


January 2, 2013

Wednesdays in the Word and favorite reads of '12

It's the 2nd! And a great time to renew our goals to spend daily time with God in the Word and prayer.
What devotional books do you love?
What Bible reading plan works for you?
I'd love to hear!  : )
The Bible reading 'plan' I love is the 6 chapters a day program from various sections of the Bible. One chapter from the: Pentateuch, one from the 'history' books, one from the prophets, one from the poetry books, one from the gospels and one from the epistles. Not too complicated like some reading plans and it is never boring. : )
I don't always get it all read in my morning quiet time and I miss a day or two all together when life gets crazy, but I keep plugging away at it because:

"The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.” ~John Piper
Sooo true!

Besides the Bible,
 here are my FAVORITE reads of 2012 which were all SO spiritually inspiring and life changing and blessed my socks off. And I'd love to hear your list!

One Thousand Gifts

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Historic Campaign to End Slavery

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Kisses from Katie

Any suggestions for 2013?.
And Happy New Year!


January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Blessings on your New Year! : )

"You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance." Psalm 65:11