Saturday, December 25, 2010

God's Greatest Gift

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Luke 2:7-12

Friday, December 24, 2010


Like these concrete bookends? You can buy them from my friend Lisa at AbundantLifeDesigns. Check out all her awesome concrete creations!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Decorating Cookies

Yesterday Aunt Shell came over to decorate cookies with us.

Getting started with a steaming cup of cocoa...

Noah enjoyed cocoa in mommy's special tea cups, but didn't want any marshmallows floating in his.

Joey also got to use a big boy cup and he didn't even spill!

The only cookie Joel decorated. He put all the candies on, then pulled them off and ate them, then ate the cookie.

Shell created some masterpieces. :-)

Some of Andrew's and Mommy's finished cookies.

Aunt Shell's cookies.

Can anyone spot Noah's cookies? :-)

Thanks for making us cookies and coming over to play Aunt Shell!!
Love, the boys

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Living in the Light

The emotion these people show when they received God's Word written in their own language is overwhelming. One view commented that we as Americans have the AUDACITY not to read the Word so readily available to us. Remember the treasure we have been given and read it!

Monday, December 20, 2010

What's Cookin'

Mon~Chicken tortilla casserole, corn, carrots, applesauce, salad
Tues~Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, green beans
Thurs~PW's Beef Enchiladas, salad, chips n salsa
Fri~Pizza, salad
Sat~Christmas dinner-french bread, green bean casserole, dessert
Sun~Spaghetti casserole, broccoli, bread

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas with the Blue Grandparents

Tonight we went to my parents house to open gifts. We are celebrating a bit earlier since my mom and Michelle are both working the days around Christmas.

Andrew and Noah both were more aware this year of what was going on, thus the huge grin.

Can we say EXCITED?

And their favorite gift of the night...glow stick guns from the dollar store!

As the boys grow older, we hope to continue to teach them the value of giving. Its hard to communicate to little kids that it is more blessed to give than receive. This week the boys and I hope to bring some goodies to the neighbors. I read them the Christmas story this week from Ramsbottom and hope it made an impact on them.

GR Children's Museum

The boys and I headed to the GR Children's Museum yesterday with a bunch of their cousins. This was Joel's first time there where he was actually able to play. Noah like the car at the entrance the best while Andrew liked the bank the best. Not sure when we'll be back since admission is crazy expensive (Auntie Alice finagled a deal for us!), but the boys had a lot of fun.

The museum was featuring rescue personnel. Here the kids are being water rescuers. Maybe Coast Guard is the technical name?

The ball pit was a big hit with Kaiya and Jayden and all the kids. Auntie Alice got some cool air shots at this exhibit.

The picture of concentration. Notice the tongue?


Joey with Bob's hat.

Noah thought this hat looked like Bob the Builder's.

The kids all loved this part of the museum. There was a kitchen, restaurant area, grocery store and bank, complete with a drive up teller window.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Here's a recipe for a quick treat to bring to holiday parties.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Make one 13x9 package of brownie mix as directed.

4 T butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
3 T milk
1 t peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring

Beat filling ingredients together and spread on cooled brownies. Place in the refrigerator to harden.

2/3 c chocolate chips
3 T butter

Melt chocolate chips and butter for about 1 min in microwave. Mix until smooth and spread over mint filling. Chill to harden. Enjoy!

Adapted from here.

Life's Journey

Some of you have read the story in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. There’s a point in that story where Edmund, Lucy, and Caspian are on a voyage from Narnia, headed east, toward Aslan’s country at the end of the world.

At one point, their ship, the Dawn Treader, anchors near land, and they all go ashore. Some of the sailors are tired of the long journey. They want to stop and spend the winter there where they are and then head back west and return home to Narnia in the spring. They’re told that if they stay where they are, every evening they will be given a feast fit for a king. That makes them even more reluctant to press on eastward toward Aslan’s country.

Then Reepicheep speaks up. Remember Reepicheep, the valiant talking mouse? He expresses his determination to keep pressing on no matter what. Here’s what he says:

My plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle [small boat]. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws, and when I can swim no longer, if I’ve not reached Aslan’s country, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.

God hasn’t promised us that the journey will be easy, but He’s promised to go with us. He’s promised to go with you wherever you’re going into the battle today. He’s promised that one day prayer will be praise, faith will be sight, every tear will be dry, and our journey will be rewarded.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss, ROH Dec 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's Cookin'

Mon~Chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, salad
Tues~Pancakes, bacon, fruit (for daddy and boys)
Wed~Bean and cheese tostadas, salad
Thurs~Chili, salad, cornbread
Fri~Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Sat~Christmas with my family
Sun~Beef and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, green beans

I actually have the whole month of Dec planned. I may start doing that again in Jan since it makes it easier to grocery shop for two weeks at a time and keeps me out of Meijer, saving us money. :-)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

60 photo cards for under 5 bucks!

Check it out here!

I think you actually get free overnight shipping also. I already ordered my cards, but I ran out so I'm going to do this deal too.

Update 12/14 AM: Not exactly sure what their idea of overnight shipping is. I ordered them on Thurs and as of Mon I have still not received them. Maybe this afternoon.


I think impatience is one of my besetting sins. I become frustrated so easily with the boys lately. Today I prayed for patience, was tested with spilled milk, spilled yogurt, loud kids and I failed. I became impatient. Thankfully, we serve a patient God.

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15

And so I will keep praying for patience and remembering verses like these:

My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen slow to speak and slow to become angry for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:19-20

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cinnamon Bread

So, so good. Make it. ASAP. And omit the raisins if you're funny about things like that in your bread like some members of my family are. :-)

Oh, and its very good with gobs of butter or gobs of this icing.

Need a new winter coat?

Check out this deal at I paid $19.07 for the above coat.

(I don't know how to get the pic bigger. I'm computer illiterate like that. :-) )

Monday, December 06, 2010

What's Cookin'

Mon~Making Swiss steak with pork chops (from Andrea's recipe), carrots, mashed potatoes
Tues~Baked chicken pieces, rice, broccoli, french bread rolls
Wed~Spaghetti pizza for church potluck
Thurs~Pizza with the E's for mom's bday
Fri~Pancakes or something easy for daddy and the boys, mommy may not be home
Sat~Tacos, salad, fruit, chips
Sun~Leftover beef and mushrooms, egg noodles, green beans

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Notable Recipes of Late

Here's a few links to some good recipes I've tried lately:

Supreme Strawberry Topping~I made this with 2 cups of frozen strawberries and added a little cornstarch water to thicken it and then put it on top of my no-bake cheesecake. Yum!

Chocolate Frosting~Put this on chocolate cake a few weeks ago. I love how it turns out smooth. I have another recipe that I use because I love the taste, but it turns out a bit grainy. This is perfectly smooth and tastes great too (and super easy!).

Crusty French Bread~I found this recipe when reading Rachel's menu plan. I skip the egg yolk brushed on top and rub butter on it after I take it out of the oven. I place the loaves on a cooling rack and lightly cover until cool. We had this with pea soup this week and it was delicious. The cat liked it too, she climbed on the counter and destroyed a loaf! The cat will be moving to Grandpa's barn soon.

Missing Menu Plan

I fully intended to post my menu plan this week, but all of a sudden its Saturday! So instead I'll share a super yummy meal I made this week. It actually turned out to be pretty economical also.

Beef and Mushrooms over mashed potatoes

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c beef stock
1/3 c red wine (I used more beef stock)
1 envelope onion soup mix
1/2 t pepper
1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms
2 lb roast

Whisk together first five ingredients in crockpot. Stir in mushrooms. Add roast and turn to cover. Cover and cook on low about 8 hrs or on hight about 4-5 hrs.

My roast was very lean so after it was thoroughly cooked on low for about 6 hours, I sliced it thin and put it back in with the mushroom gravy and put it on high for another 2 hrs. It was very tender after that. I made mashed potatoes with yellow potatoes and served the beef and mushrooms with that. We also had homemade bread and carrots. Very good! And we had enough left over for another meal.

So what was the cost?
Mushroom gravy ingredients~2
potatoes~33 cents
Carrots~50 cents
Bread~40 cents (not too sure about the price, but can't be much)
Total: $7.23 and have enough beef for another meal

Friday, December 03, 2010

Must Read: Rick Warren Interview

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California .

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life?

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity..

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life..

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.