Saturday, March 31, 2007

A day full of blessings...


Today was a busy but wonderful day. We spent it at a Christian Leadership Conference at a large church here in New England. What a spiritually prosperous day we had! We were especially blessed by the general sessions with Dr. Sam Horn. What an encouragement they were!

We were also challenged and encouraged by practical, helpful, edifying workshops we attended. The congregational singing was a blessing, the special music was a treat, and the fellowship was wonderful.

All in all, a truly blessed day. Nothing got done on my writing challenge, but that's okay. This was a day well spent, recharging our spiritual batteries.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 32


Another good day for writing, although it was a busy day with quite a few interruptions. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 4 daily devotional pages.

* Planned the next 3 pages I'll write.

* Did a bit of Internet and encyclopedia research.

Pages still to write: 84

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 33


Even with plenty of other things to do -- phone calls, grocery shopping, cooking a meal for my folks, etc. -- I did manage to get a lot of writing and research done today. Here's what got done:

* I wrote 4 daily devotional pages today.

* I did quite a bit of Internet research.

* I planned the next 5 devotional pages I'll write, and selected Scriptures for them.

Pages still to write: 88

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 34


Wednesdays are always a tough day because I spend a good bit of the day out of the house. However, by God's grace I managed to complete some writing tasks today as well:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages

* Did quite a bit of Internet research

* Planned the next 4 pages I will write and selected Scriptures for them.

Pages still to write: 92

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 35


Today was busy, with people stopping by for various reasons. I spent the entire afternoon cooking & baking to share a meal and some goodies with friends who recently had a baby. Some of the muffins and cookies I baked will be consumed by Mr. T, of course!

I did manage to accomplish something on this challenge, though:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages

* Decided on the next 3 pages I'll write, and selected Scriptures to use

* Did quite a bit of Internet research

* Found a helpful source in a magazine

Pages still to write: 95

Monday, March 26, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 36


Today was an extremely busy day. With everything else going on, it was after 9 p.m. before I finished my writing stint for the day. No relaxing time this evening! Here's what got done:

* 3 daily devotional pages written

* The next 2 devotional pages planned, and Scripture selected to use

* Some Internet research

That's about it!

Pages still to write: 98 (and oh, how happy I am to see that number drop below 100!)

Menu Plan Monday for March 26


Monday again! I have a few repeats this week because of meals that didn't get used last week. Here's my menu:

MONDAY: Three-Cheese Enchiladas, 3-Bean Salad

TUESDAY: Garlic Lime Chicken, Potato Salad, Herbed Carrots/Green Beans

WEDNESDAY: Italian Sausage Subs, Potato Salad

THURSDAY: Almond Chicken Stir-fry, Bow Tie Pasta, Asparagus Stir-fry Vegetables

FRIDAY: Spicy Beans & Rice, Cornbread, Cole Slaw

SATURDAY: New England Fish Bake, Winter Blend Vegetables

SUNDAY: Beef Stew, Whole Wheat Bread or Rolls, Dessert (potluck dinner at church; haven't decided on a dessert recipe yet)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 37


Even on a busy Sunday, I managed to find some time to write this afternoon! I'm happy to report that I got a few things done:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Planned the next 2 devotional pages I'll write and selected Scriptures for them.

Pages still to write: 101

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 38


Although today was a day filled with other activities, I did manage to achieve my writing quota for today. Here's what I got done:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages

* Did some Internet research

* Selected Scriptures for the next 2 devotional pages I'll write

* Planned an activity page

Pages still to write: 104

And for dessert...


Here are the dessert recipes I used last night when we had friends over. The Apple-Cranberry Crisp would be great with vanilla ice cream, but we didn't have any on hand. What I did have was some homemade Caramel Pecan Ice Cream, so I used that. The flavors were very nice together.

APPLE CRANBERRY CRISP

3 cups chopped unpeeled apples
2 cups raw cranberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup sugar

TOPPING:
1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup canola oil

Combine the apples, cranberries and sugar in a 9” square baking dish or a 2-qt. casserole dish. Mix thoroughly to blend; set aside.

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly; spread evenly over fruit layer.

Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until the fruit is fork-tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

This is a wonderful dessert to make in the fall when apples and cranberries are both fresh. But it tastes good anytime! I’ve adapted this recipe from the original to make it healthier and lower in fat and sugar.


CARAMEL-PECAN ICE CREAM

14 caramels -- Kraft®, Brachs®, or whatever
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Melt the caramels and marshmallows in the milk. (Original recipe said to use a double boiler. I don’t have one, so melted them in a bowl in the microwave. It worked fine.) Set aside to cool.

Gently but thoroughly fold the cooled caramel mixture into the whipped cream. Add the pecans and mix gently. Pile into a plastic container (I used a Rubbermaid® Take Alongs™ bowl with cover).

Freeze 8 hours or overnight. The original recipe didn’t specify how long to freeze it before serving, but I found that 4 hours wasn’t long enough. The ice-cream was still delicious but definitely more like soft-serve.

Yield: 1 pint.

I doubled the recipe to make a quart and it worked just fine. This is a very delicious, easy homemade ice cream. We love the fact that you don’t need an ice cream maker to make this!

A wonderful cole slaw recipe!

Here is the cole slaw I served with supper last night. What a nice taste of spring it was!

CABBAGE & PARSLEY SALAD

2 cups chopped (not grated) cabbage
1/2 cup parsley florets
Sweet onion to taste, thinly sliced in rings*

Dressing:
3 Tblsp. cider vinegar
3 Tblsp. sugar
2 Tblsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the cabbage, parsley and onion in a salad bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour dressing over veggies, toss well, and let stand, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

* Original recipe called for a medium sweet onion sliced in rings. I only used a couple of tablespoons of quartered, thinly sliced sweet onion. I just don’t care for completely raw onion in salads (not even sweet onions) so I poured boiling water over the onion pieces in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes or so, then drained off the water and rinsed the onion with cold water before adding to the salad bowl. The onion flavor is important to the recipe, so I didn’t want to leave it out entirely.

This is a very delicious cole slaw! The parsley adds such a fresh-looking and fresh-tasting element. I found the original recipe in Cook & Tell, my favorite cooking newsletter.

Chicken Pot Pie


For our guests last night, I planned a 'comfort food' meal which we all enjoyed so much. I thought others might enjoy trying these recipes. I'll start with the main course:

PRIZE-WINNING CHICKEN POT PIE

1 3-lb. chicken OR 3 lb. chicken breast (I usually just use 3 large bone- in chicken breasts)
1 onion
2 stalks celery
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas and carrots, cooked
1 c. frozen baby onions, cooked
2 large potatoes, cooked and cut in cubes
1/3 c. margarine
1/3 c. flour
3 c. reserved chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Pastry for 9” 1-crust pie

Place chicken, 1 onion, and celery in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour until meat is tender. (Tip: When using the bone-in chicken breast, I often just throw them in frozen and the cooking time is still plenty for them to get done--I usually simmer for the full hour.) Note: This time, I cooked the chicken breasts a day ahead in the crockpot -- didn't add water, celery or onion, just sprinkled with Montreal Chicken seasoning and cooked on several hours on High.

Strain off broth into a bowl and place in refrigerator until needed. Remove meat from bones in large chunks. Discard bones, onion, and celery.

Place meat in a 13”x9” pan with cooked peas and carrots, baby onions and potatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add flour; stir until bubbly. Gradually stir in 3 c. reserved broth (with as much fat as possible skimmed off) and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Pour gravy over meat and vegetables in pan.
Top with pastry which has been rolled out to fit top of pan. Cut several slits in pastry.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes at 350º.

The following recipe is for a 1-crust pie and is the recipe I always use for pie pastry. Many people don't think they would like a pie crust made with oil. But we love it and it's much easier as well as healthier -- I use canola oil.

MOM’S OIL PIE CRUST
1 1/3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/3 c. oil
3-5 T. milk
Stir together flour and salt in a small to medium. bowl. Measure oil into glass measuring cup, add milk to oil. Pour milk and oil into the flour/salt mixture. Combine with a fork till it forms a nice ball of dough.

Take a wet dishcloth and wash off a section of your counter. Lay a large piece of wax paper on the wet area (so it’ll stick). Put the dough on the wax paper and lay another piece of wax paper on top. Roll out the dough to desired size and shape between the 2 pieces of wax paper. This works really well and saves you having to flour the counter!

Along with the chicken pie last night, I served squash, cole slaw, and cranberry sauce. For dessert we had apple-cranberry crisp with homemade caramel-pecan ice cream. Later on (maybe even today) I'll share the cole slaw and dessert recipes.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 39


Today was a busy day. We had friends over for supper and the evening, so of course I spent some time this afternoon preparing a nice meal and spiffing up the house a bit. I zeroed on on my writing this morning, though, and accomplished quite a bit. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did some Internet research.

* Planned what Scriptures I'll use for the next 3 pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 107

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 40


Today was a busy day, what with housework, grocery shopping, and cooking a meal for my parents. But thankfully, I did get some writing done too. Here's what I accomplished:

* Did quite a bit of Internet research.

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Chose Scripture passages for the next 3 devotional pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 110

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 41


In spite of its being Wednesday, always a difficult day for me, I managed to accomplish a few things on this challenge today:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did a bunch of Internet research.

* Selected Scriptures for some of the pages I planned yesterday.

* Figured out the next 2 pages I will write.

Pages still to write: 113

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 42


Today was a decent day for this challenge. Here's what I got done:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Planned what the next 3 devotional pages will be and selected Scriptures for them.

* Planned what 13 more devotional pages will be -- didn't choose Scriptures yet.

* Did a bunch of Internet research.

* Did a lot of reading.

Pages still to write: 116

My Favorite Broccoli Soup


I'd planned to make split pea soup for supper with those cheddar drop biscuits. Then I remembered I'd bought broccoli crowns last week, so quickly changed my plans. Split peas will keep for quite awhile, but broccoli will not. So here's what I made instead:

CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP

3 cups chicken broth
1 large bunch broccoli, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 bay leaves
6 Tablespoons butter
7 Tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
Salt & pepper to taste

In large saucepan or dutch oven, bring broth to a boil. Add broccoli, onion, and bay leaves. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until broccoli is tender.

Meanwhile, in another pan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return pan to heat and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is hot and thickened. Add 1 cup of the broccoli mixture to the milk mixture, stirring until well blended. Gradually add all of the milk mixture to the broccoli mixture in the dutch oven. Stir to combine well. Heat and stir until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This is our family’s favorite broccoli soup. I like it because it’s a little different from most broccoli soup recipes in not calling for cheese. That makes it a little bit healthier, too. The bay leaves in this recipe make all the difference to the flavor!

I have recently found that I can make this soup nearly fat-free by omitting the butter. I just put the milk in a quart jar, add the flour and shake until smooth. Then slowly stir this mixture into the boiling broth/vegetables and continue to cook, stirring often, until the soup is thickened.


This soup was yummy with the cheddar drop biscuits alongside. I don't think I've ever served them with this soup before. It made a great combination!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 43


Today was quite a good day for this challenge. Here's what I accomplished:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Did a lot of Internet research.

* Planned the next 3 pages I'll write, and chose Scripture verses for them.

Pages still to write: 119

Dutch Split Pea Soup


Hurray -- I found I had already posted this soup recipe sometime ago. A quick copy & paste, and it's back here for others to enjoy without taking the trouble to hunt for it. Happy soup sipping!

SPLIT PEA SOUP

1 pound dried green or yellow split peas
6 cups water
4 cups chicken or beef broth (I use bouillon granules with water)
1 cup chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped 2 1/2 cups diced potatoes
2 large carrots, peeled & diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce

In a heavy kettle or Dutch oven, combine the peas and water. Bring the water to a boil, and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the kettle from the heat, cover it, and let the peas stand for 1 hour.

Add the broth, celery, onion, potatoes and carrots. Bring the soup to a boil; reduce the heat, cover the kettle, and simmer the soup for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The peas will disintegrate. If the soup seems to be overly thick (and it is supposed to be fairly thick), you can thin it to your taste with additional broth. Stir in the seasonings and serve.

Yield: 6 servings.


I had always seen pea soup as a real production, usually involving a ham bone and starting the day before. This recipe proved to me that it doesn’t have to be that way. You could add a small amount of diced ham or bacon bits if you wanted to, but it is by no means necessary. The soup even has a sort of smoky flavor without them. It is delicious just as it is. Corn bread is traditional with pea soup in New England.

I adapted this recipe from one in Jane Brody's Good Food Book.

Cheddar Drop Biscuits


Melissa asked for this recipe, along with the one for Dutch Split Pea Soup. I already had the biscuit recipe in a word processing file, so could easily post it here. Enjoy!

CHEDDAR DROP BISCUITS

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tblsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening (may use oil)
3/4 cup cold milk

Preheat the oven to 425º. Sift the dry ingredients -- flour, baking powder, sugar and salt -- into a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheese, then the milk. [I prefer to use canola oil instead of shortening. If using oil, do this: Stir the cheese into the sifted dry ingredients in the bowl. Then combine the oil with the milk and stir the combined liquids into the flour/cheese mixture in the bowl.]

Drop the biscuit dough by heaping tablespoons onto an ungreased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 425º for 12 minutes, until pale golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 15 biscuits.

These yummy biscuits are a great, easy way to fill out a meal that seems a little skimpy, be it soup, stew, chili, a main-dish salad -- or even breakfast.

Menu Plan Monday for March 19


Another Monday! I have lots of repeat menus this week because they didn't get used last week. I was sick all week and so we either ate takeout or I made easier meals that sounded better to me than what I'd previously planned. Here goes for this week:

MONDAY: May eat with friends; if so, I'm bringing Lemony Artichoke Salad. (If we don't eat with our friends, we'll have leftover Chicken Chop Suey from Sunday.)

TUESDAY: Dutch Split Pea Soup, Cheddar Drop Biscuits

WEDNESDAY: Leftover soup & biscuits from Tuesday

THURSDAY: Pork Chops with Scalloped Potatoes, Country Carrots, Coleslaw

FRIDAY: Fusilli con Carciofi, Salad, Italian Bread

SATURDAY: Garlic Lime Chicken, Potato Salad, Herbed Carrots/Green Beans

SUNDAY: Tortilla Enchilada Soup, Cornbread

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 44


In spite of its being Sunday, I got a good bit done on the writing challenge today. Here's what I did:

* Wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* Wrote 1 activity page.

* Planned, and selected Scripture verses for, the next 3 devotional pages.

* Planned the next activity page.

* Did a bunch of Internet research for future pages I'll write.

Pages still to write: 122

Sparing our words...


Watching what I say is an ongoing challenge for me. I pray about this often -- that the Lord will help me to stop and think and weigh my words (and sometimes even pray) before speaking.

Proverbs 10:19 is a good reminder.

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."

Concerning this verse, Charles Spurgeon wrote:

"How common is the fault of talkativeness. Men talk so much because they think so little. Drums make a great noise because they are hollow. One attribute of a wise man is within the reach of us all -- we can be quiet. Let us try it."

Thought-provoking!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 45


Today was a pretty good day for the writing challenge. Here's what got done:

* I wrote 3 daily devotional pages.

* I wrote 1 activity page.

* I planned what the next 2 devotional pages will be and chose Scriptures for them.

* I planned what the next activity page will be.

It really helps to take a few minutes and do a bit of advance planning at the end of each writing session. Then when I sit down to write the next day, I know exactly what direction I'm going in.

Pages still to write: 126

Chiles Rellenos Casserole


Annie had asked for this recipe, and I finally found a moment to type it up. Enjoy!

CHILES RELLENOS CASSEROLE

2 to 3 cans (4 ounces each) whole green chilies, drained
4 flour tortillas (6-inch size), cut in 1-inch strips*
1 cup (or less) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (or less) shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs
3/8 cup milk
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
Paprika
Salsa

Grease or spray a 9-inch square baking dish. Cut along one side of each chili and open it up so it will lie flat. Place half of the chilies in the baking dish. Layer with half of the tortilla strips and then half of the mozzarella and half the cheddar. Repeat the layers. In a bowl, beat the eggs, garlic powder, cumin and pepper. Pour over the layered items in the baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake uncovered at 350º for 40 to 45 minutes, our until puffy and a knife inserted 2 inches from edge comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve with salsa.

* I had larger tortillas on hand so I used 3 10-inch ones. I cut them in half before cutting into 1-inch strips. I’m sure everyone knows that the easiest way to cut tortillas is with scissors.

This is adapted from Light & Tasty magazine and is most delicious! The two of us polished this off at one sitting. I had 2 1/2 squares of it (I had cut it in 9 squares to serve) and, well... you know who ate the rest. You may double the recipe and bake it in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish instead.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 46


Here's what I got done today:

* Some Internet research.

* Lots of reading.

* Wrote 2 devotional pages and started a third.

* Planned the next 2 devotional pages I'll write and chose Scripture verses for them.

Pages still to write: 130.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 47


I'm very thankful to the Lord for a productive day today, even though I'm still fighting a bad cold and had many other things to do as well. Praise the Lord, I did get my quota of 3 pages written, and even had time to do some further Internet research as well.

Number of pages still to write: 132.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 48


Wednesdays are never very productive for me at home, because I spend a good bit of the day out of the house. But I'm pleased to report some progress on the writing countdown:

* I chose all of the memory verses for the book and designed the page for each verse.

* I wrote another daily devotional page.

* I did quite a bit more research on the Internet.

* I noticed that I counted wrong and so I only need a total of 140 pages rather than 141 -- yes, a small thing, but exciting to me!

So a total of 4 pages got done today, bringing the grand total still needed down to 135!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 49


Wow, a lot of days have gone by since I started this challenge! And not a lot has been accomplished. I've been sick for a week with a bad cold/flu, and just haven't felt like spending a lot of time trying to think. My head has felt stuffed with cotton. However, I simply must get on the ball. 48 days left and 140 pages to produce means that I must now come up with 3 pages each day -- no excuses! Here's what I did today:

* Installed AppleWorks on my computer. Great improvement!

* Finished writing my first daily devotional page.

* Did a bunch of Internet research for more pages.

* Got an idea for the next page I'll write.

That's about it, but I feel as if I have a handle on this project now.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday for March 12


Lots of repeat menus this week because I've been sick and didn't cook the meals I planned. Here's what our week looks like:

MONDAY: Take-out pizza -- our house guests' treat

TUESDAY: Puffy Chile Rellenos Casserole, Breakfast Potatoes, Salsa

WEDNESDAY: Dutch Split Pea Soup, Cornbread

THURSDAY: Beef Stew, Baking Powder Biscuits

FRIDAY: Chicken Pie, Winter Squash, Coleslaw, Cranberry Sauce, Cran-Apple Crisp

SATURDAY: Fusilli con Carciofi, Salad, Italian Bread

SUNDAY: Tortilla Enchilada Soup, Cornbread

Friday, March 09, 2007

Challenge update...


Just a note to say I haven't done much of anything with any of my challenges the past few days. A nasty cold has really hit me hard, and I haven't felt like doing much. I did complete a couple of handmade birthday gifts and got a really good start on a third one, and I think I have completed all I want to for the March decorating challenge as well. And that's about it! We have company coming on Sunday -- sure hope to be feeling better by then.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Life in Order Challenge, Day 4


Sunday night I came down with a cold which by now really has me in its grip. Consequently, I didn't accomplish much today except:

* A wonderful time of devotions

* Ate right all day

* Drank plenty of water

* Got quite a bit done on my Sunday School lesson

* Did some preliminary work for 3 handcrafted birthday gifts

* Did some scrubbing in Zone 3 -- used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on fridge & microwave

And that's about it. I did spend a couple of hours at my parents', changing sheets, doing some laundry, dishes and cooking for them.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Life in Order Challenge, Day 5


Today was a fairly good day as far as this challenge is concerned:

* Had a wonderful devotional/prayer time.

* Exercised.

* Ate healthy all day.

* Accomplished Kelly's Mission for Zone 2 -- the kitchen.

* Finished outlining this week's Sunday School lesson.

* Did some ironing.

* Wrapped some birthday gifts.

* Got my grocery list made for the week.

* Kept up with my daily routines.

There may be more, but I have a cold and it's been a busy day going to and from the hospital for Mr. T's testing, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that not more got done. Still, life is falling back into order, so I'm happy about that!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Zipping into Zone 2


This evening after supper (which I ate by myself, Mr. T being restricted to liquids for the next few hours) I had a few minutes to work in Zone 2, the kitchen. After all, how many dishes need to be washed in a situation like that -- liquids for him and microwaved leftovers for me? I had them done in no time and still had a sinkful of nice soapy water to use for Kelly's Mission -- the one where she has you cleaning the countertops and moving things like microwaves, coffeemakers, etc.

While the small appliances were away from the walls, I also cleaned the backsplash (which in my kitchen is made of mirror tiles). Then I scrubbed the canisters with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and cleaned a large glass churn (full of white lights) with Windex. Things are looking nice in Zone 2 tonight!

Life in Order Challenge, Day 6


Today was a good day. Here's what happened:

* Wonderful time of devotions this morning.

* Healthy eating all day long.

* Drank plenty of water.

* Finished reading a chapter in Body Clutter.

* Got some work done on my Sunday School lesson.

* Exercised.

* Planned menus for the coming week.

* Spent 15 minutes or more in Zone 2.

* Did some decluttering in my craft/gift storage areas.

That may be about it...

Menu Plan Monday for March 5


Monday again! This is a very special Monday -- March 5 -- for it is the birthday of two of my grandchildren! Sarah is turning six today and Sam is turning three.

This looks like a very different week, menu-wise. Mr. T is eating a clear liquid diet in preparation for some medical tests tomorrow, so I'm not planning much of anything for supper for Monday and Tuesday. Friday we may be having supper guests or maybe not, and Sunday we'll be having friends come for a visit of a few days and haven't decided yet whether to use the crockpot or take them out to a favorite restaurant. But here's my attempt at a menu plan:

MONDAY: Potato Cheese Soup (leftover from last Friday), Cornbread (leftover from Sunday)

TUESDAY: Maybe leftover soup and cornbread; depends on how Mr. T is feeling

WEDNESDAY: Pizza Frittata, Breakfast Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes

THURSDAY: Macaroni & Cheese, Herbed Carrots & Green Beans, Coleslaw

FRIDAY: Chicken Pie, Squash, Coleslaw, Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry-Apple Crisp

SATURDAY: Fusilli con Carciofi, Salad, Wheat Italian Bread

SUNDAY: Either eating out (Chinese food) OR Chicken Chop Suey (crockpot recipe from Patty's Pantry), Salad, Ice Cream, Cookie/Candy tray (goodies from freezer)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A busy weekend


It was a busy weekend!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to a women's Bible seminar at a church in Massachusetts. What a wonderful time it was! Wonderful Bible teaching from several different speakers, incredibly edifying music, and great fellowship with other ladies made it a special, special day. I was blessed to be able to reconnect with some dear friends while there. It was very uplifting and a great encouragement.

Often after a day like this, I'll come home with no idea what supper will be. This time the Lord inclined my thoughts toward leaving something all ready in the crockpot. That worked out so well! It was such a blessing just to have a hot meal all ready. Then after supper I quickly prepared ahead what I would need to take for today's potluck lunch. The kitchen was clean by 7 p.m.!

Today was a busy day at church... teaching Sunday School, then attending the morning service and enjoying a potluck lunch together. After lunch, we had our "evening" service at 2 p.m. We do this the first Sunday of every month and it's always a highlight of the month to have that precious fellowship together over a meal.

Yes, a busy weekend... but a truly blessed one.

March Decorating Challenge, Day 6


A busy weekend meant I got very little done on any of my challenges, except that this afternoon after church we did finally get the Valentine/winter tree taken down. It looks odd without the tree in the living room now! My daughter pointed out that it has been there a quarter of a year, so no wonder it seems funny without it! We also got some better storage in place for the many toys that were threatening to overtake the living room.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Life in Order Challenge, Day 9


A different day, but a good one. Here's what got done:

* A good time of devotions.
* A bit of decluttering and organizing. * Exercising. * Eating healthy all day.

* Reading some in Body Clutter.

* Filling in the body clutter chart.

* The beginning of a schedule for next week.

* All of my family/friends' birthdays transferred to a perpetual birthday calendar.

* The crockpot already loaded and in the fridge for tomorrow night's supper.

* Cornbread already baked for Sunday's potluck.

That's probably about it!

Writing Countdown Challenge, Day 60


Today I found quite a few helpful websites for the research for this summer's kids' devotional book. I also began the actual writing of the first devotional page. It's always an encouragement to actually get this far and begin the actual writing.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Life in Order Challenge, Day 10


Another good day! Here's what happened:

* Had a wonderful devotional time this morning.

* Added a new page to my prayer journal.

* Ate healthy all day.

* Exercised.

* Went for a nice long walk.

* Did some journaling and kept up with the body clutter investigator.

* Read part of a chapter in Body Clutter.

* Did some decluttering and threw some things away.

* Spent 15 minutes working in Zone 1.

That may be about it for today!

March Decorating Challenge, Day 9

I did quite a bit today toward this challenge:

* Took down my Valentine cards and red/green ribbon board, and changed to the neutral ribbon board and St. Patrick's Day/early spring cards.

* Took the hearts & red plaid ribbon off the front-door wreath.

* Took the sparkly hearts and heart ribbons off the dining room chandelier.

* Changed the Valentine centerpieces on the table and island for more spring-y ones.

We're supposed to get a couple of feet of snow tomorrow, so I may be sorry I did this!

A bit of poetry for the month of March


Here is a bit of poetry that speaks to me every March when I post it on my ribbon board:

from The First Spring Day


I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one;
Sing, robins, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring...

The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come;
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.

Christina Rossetti

Life in order challenge, Day 11


I forgot to post this last night, so I'll do it now. Yesterday was another wonderful day for this challenge. Here's what happened:

* A great time of devotions

* Good time spent on Sunday School and writing project preparations

* Some journaling on the Body Clutter mission for the chapter I'm in

* Healthy eating all day long

* Exercise

* A nice long walk

* Drank plenty of water

And probably more, but that's all I can think of right now. I'm giving myself some added incentive with this challenge -- for every day I do well in these important areas, I'm allowing myself to post on my Christmas blog. It's something I really enjoy and wouldn't otherwise take time to do, so it makes a great reward!