Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How I Cook

It all started with the mashed potatoes.

Thursday night I made Oven-fried Drumsticks, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and carrots with Ranch. I made a large batch of potatoes because I wanted to use the leftovers to make Easy Shepherd's Pie on Friday. Delicious.

Saturday was Jason's party. I knew that I would want the day free for cleaning, not cooking, plus I needed a meal for Sunday, so first thing in the morning I put a ham in the oven to bake for a couple of hours (it was only seven pounds). I also put the ingredients in my bread machine for Buttery Bread Machine Rolls. I've found that it's best to do these at the same time because the heat from the oven will help the dough rise when it's time to form the rolls. These were both ready by lunch time and we noshed on ham sandwiches as needed throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Monday I pulled the ham out of the fridge and cut all the meat off, dicing it into small cubes. I noticed that I still had some Cheesy Mashed Potatoes left (wow, I did make a large batch). Looking over my recipe for Heavenly Potatoes and Ham, I decided that the leftover potatoes would make a good substitution for the potatoes and additions in the recipe, so I mixed together the leftover potatoes, leftover ham, and most of a can of cream of mushroom soup. I topped it with cheese, then bread crumbs, then pats of butter. It was awesome! I served it with leftover Jello from Jason's party and carrots with Ranch.

I also had enough ham cubes left for another meal. That went into the freezer.

Monday night I pulled out my Crockpot and a pound of beans and soaked them overnight. Tuesday morning those beans were drained, put back into the Crockpot and combined with the ham bone, cumin, chili powder and chicken bullion. I made homemade flour tortillas and rice. I served it with, you guessed it, carrots and Ranch and leftover Jello.

Tonight I took the leftover beans and made Texas Style Skillet, substituting extra beans for the ground beef. We ate these with the leftover homemade tortillas and, surprise, corn and grapes.

I had enough left over to make a batch of enchiladas sometime, so the leftovers went into the freezer for another day.

Tomorrow I am making a turkey. I think I'm going to make stuffing, then use the leftovers to make Farmhouse Chicken, er turkey.

And that's how I cook. Trying to make sure that I use everything up, and trying to work ahead as much as possible. I do make out a menu, but use it as a guide, not a must. I adjust as needed when I see other options with the food that I have on hand.

Want to come over for dinner?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Courting and Dating

Jim and I have ideas about how we want dating and courting to look for our children, but we haven't set forth specific rules as of yet. I do think we need to make our expectations clear soon though, so there will be no confusion when the time comes.

I loved this post from Raising Olives about what dating and courting will potentially look like for their children as this mirrors a lot of what we hope for ours.

I loved this paragraph from a book I just finished reading: She squeezed his hand, and he wanted to hug her right there, but too many people would see, and he would do nothing to mar her reputation. Even if rules of courting were all but gone in these more modern times, he'd rather follow the old ones and be safe. (p. 277, Winter Promises, Martha Rogers) Funny thing, "these more modern times" were 1890!

That's exactly how we feel. This world has so relaxed the rules of dating and courting to such that anything goes, public displays of affection are uninhibited, much less what happens in private!, and dating is often divorce practice, as Pastor put it the other day.

I want better for my children. I love it when we attend a wedding and know that the "you may kiss the bride kiss" is their very first kiss. Such purity. Such innocence. Such safety. Give me to old ways.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today is Jason's 4th birthday!

This little guy is such a miracle. There was a time in our lives when we thought that we would never be in a position, financially, spiritually, physically, to ever have another child. I yearned for two more children, but it seemed like that yearning would not be met. I am so amazed by God's mighty hand and how he truly did restore unto our family the things that the locust had eaten. I am so blessed to be the stay-at-home mother of FOUR children now, and Jason was a major part of the restoration process.

Jason has been learning about birthday parties from his older siblings, so there was no way that I could get by this year without giving him a party. So we invited a handful of his friends from church to come over to our house for a casual party after prayer last night.

We had playdough for the kids to play with, coloring pages and crayons, balloons thrown around the playroom for them to kick, and bubbles to blow on the back porch. It was a lot of fun for them without requiring too much effort from me (you know I'm not the crafty mom type).

We served nachos, Sis Katie Heuer brought a fruit salad, and Sis Hannah Lee brought jello salad.

I made a two layer funfetti cake (still have half left!). Here is Jason getting ready to blow out his candles.

Sis Teresa Sesma brought cake pops. She's in the cake pop making business and is ready to take your order. I can vouch that her cake pops are delicious!

Jason received a t-ball set from the Heuers.

He received a working drill set from the Lees.

And a cars playdough set from the Kashs.We had a wonderful time of food and fellowship and we stayed up way to late talking. But it was good for us all :) We don't do it nearly enough. Thanks to our good friends for helping make Jason's little party special.

This morning I was making breakfast when Jason stumbled out of bed and to the lazyboy. Jim quietly went into the garage and brought back a brand new bike, which he casually set down on the floor and just left. It was funny to watch Jason slowly wake up and realize that there was a new bike for him! We teased him a little that the bike was only for a little boy who was turning four today and did he know anyone who fit that criteria. Finally we left him alone and next thing I knew, he was on the bike.

We went to my dad's for dinner after church. He got some money from then and also from his Caldwell grandparents. Jim used the money to buy Jason the new cowboy boots that he's been begging for. I'm not sure where he got it into his head that he wanted boots, although lots of the boys are wearing them now, but he kept saying it for quite some time. Finally Jim took him to Saba's and got him some spiffy boots. He loves wearing them.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

What time did you get up??

You know you got up early when look out the window at the bright, sunny sky, sigh contently and think proudly of all that you've accomplished that day, then look at the clock and realize with a jolt that it's only 7:30 in the morning.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Something I never dreamed would be part of my thoughts:

Mopping will only take 30 minutes and it will make me happy.


Took Katelyn for an orthodontist consultation today. I was sure that the ortho would take one look into her mouth and see dollar signs, and maybe he did. But, I was pleasantly surprised by his advice: He recommended taking out four of her baby teeth that are not coming out on their own (this is apparently a normal thing in my family) and then coming back in a year.

Wow, really, that's it?

I'm sure that when we go back in a year that the dollar signs will start to shine, but I'm thankful that we have a reprieve for right now!

Oh, except she is having four teeth taking out on June 12. Gifts, cards and soft foods would be appropriate.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Typical Conversation with Jason

I was ironing tonight's church clothes while having the following conversation with Jason, who will be four on Sunday, btw:

I'm gonna get an iron when I get big. I'm gonna iron the clothes for the mommy. I'm gonna get a baby.

Right now?

No, when I get big! Do I have to get married to get a baby?

Yes, you need to get married first.

Okay, I'm gonna get married.

Right now?

No, when I get big. Me and Justin aren't big yet.

(Picks up a hanky lying on my side table.) I'm gonna get hankies when I'm big because I'm gonna be the daddy. And I'll make the offering. Maybe I'll get an iphone when I get big. I'm gonna wear a tie tonight.

(Side note: every stop to think about what technology might be like when OUR kids are adults? Scary.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I have been devoting 30 minutes a day to Deep Spring Cleaning. I finally feel like the baby fog has lifted, that I finally have time and energy to do more focused cleaning, and I am loving the results as our beautiful home starts to sparkle again.

Not everyone in the family is quite so thrilled though:

"Mom, what did you do to the refrigerator?"

"I cleaned it."

"You ruined it!!!"

Guess he's not used to the clean.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Justin!

Justin William Caldwell
March 13, 2010
01:30 A.M.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Baby Boy! Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reward: Missing Pacifier

I have no doubt that when we move out of this house we will find no less than 10 pacifiers that have thus far been declared MIA.

Where on earth do they disappear to???

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thoughts from Moriah

Yesterday my journey through the Bible took me to Genesis 22, the story of Abraham and Isaac's journey to Moriah.

This story is often used to preach and teach about Abraham's willingness to sacrifice everything, even his son, his only son Isaac, to the Lord.

However, as I was reading the story I was struck by something else.

5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

6And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

7And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

8And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Abraham took his son with him to worship.

In verse 7 Isaac asked his father "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Isaac knew what the requirements were for a burnt offering. He had been trained by his father the proper way to worship.

Our children will not know how to pray, how to serve the Lord, how to worship, how to read their Bible, how to go into the house of the Lord unless we, their parents, train them. Have family devotions. Take them to church every time the doors are open. Have them kneel and pray with us during pre-service prayer. Encourage them to praise and worship during the service, and to listen and respond to the preaching. Accompany them to the altar during altar service.

This is definitely a work-in-progress in our family, but as I read of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice, I also read of his training of his son. And I want to be willing to do both.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Worshiping in Secret

Justin loves music and will dance and shout "Amen!" when he hears good Holy Ghost music.

However, should you accidentally look at him while he is worshiping or try to sing along, you get a big "STOP!" and an ugly face.

So, look away, look away.

Monday, March 5, 2012

THE BEST turkey ever!

Okay, I just made THE BEST turkey ever!

Here's what you do:

Make a rub, using this recipe, doubled.

Rub it all over your turkey.

Place the turkey BREAST SIDE DOWN in your roasting pan. This is opposite what you usually do. However, doing it this way allows the juices to flow down into the breast, making it flavorful and moist rather than dry.

Place the roasting pan in a preheated oven at 325 degree.

Roast the turkey for about three hours, basting after the first hour, then every thirty minutes. Use the juices that are accumulating at the bottom of your roasting pan.

After about three hours, if you are brave enough, flip your turkey around so that the breast side will get brown. This is not necessary, though, and may be impossible if your turkey is too big :)

Continue roasting and basting until your turkey is completely done.

Remove from oven and allow to sit for awhile.

When you carve the turkey, dip each slice into the juices at the bottom of the pan.


Couple of quotes from Bro Green's Sunday school lesson

"You can not travel from mountain top to mountain top without first going through the valley."

"If the valley is where the battle is fought, then the valley is where the battle is won."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Science Fair

Katelyn and her board.
For her 3D item, she built a Lincoln Log house and covered it with snow.
She had Lego guys outside making a snowman.

Last night was the Annual GCA Science Fair.

This is such a fun night. Each student does some kind of science related project/experiment and displays them for viewing and voting. Some of the high schoolers, especially, really go all out. Last night there was a flying fiery lantern and fireworks, just to name the most spectacular. Lots of other good stuff, too.

Katelyn's class had to do a board on a storm. Katelyn choose to do Snowstorms. The board had to be decorated nicely, include at least 8 facts, some charts, and a 3D object. We spent $33 on her board and a snow kit (which Tyler is currently playing with). She decorated it all herself and did most everything else herself, too.

She did not win an award this year, but she showed very well. I'm so proud of her!
Katelyn giving her presentation to the judges