Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I can't believe it's already Thursday.
What a week.

1. That although Daughter's (#2) arm is broken, it didn't separate and will heal well. She's sporting a temporary cast up past her elbow. Next week she'll get a shorter, waterproof one.

2. That Little Man (#8) isn't running a fever this morning - he was yesterday.

3. For my mother-in-law, who came and stayed with the little ones while I took Daughter (#2) in for X-rays yesterday morning.

4. For my mom, who came and stayed with the whole crew while I took Daughter (#2) to get her cast yesterday afternoon.

5. For the Coach, who MADE me call the doctor yesterday and get on some medicine for this nasty cold/allergy thing I have going on. I feel better, already.

6. For gracious doctors and nurses who have helped us through this week. What a blessing to know who to call! And be taken such good care of.

7. For a good night's sleep. Everyone slept all night. That's a big deal!

8. That the laundry is all clean and mostly folded (thanks, Mom) - I should be able to get caught up this morning.

9. For the Elementary school play and Grandparent's Day at school today. The kids are excited! (Not sure how it will work out for Daughter #2, but it will be OK.)

10. For a Sweet Girl who is coming to watch the kids this afternoon so they don't have to miss their naps and I don't have to wrestle and "shush" them all through the play.

11. For the absolutely beautiful, Spring-like weather this week. Delightful. The kids have been outside constantly!

12. That I got the carpets shampooed on Monday. Just in time for the kids to track lots of dirt in all week. Oh well!

How grateful I am that God is the blessed controller of all things. And yet He cares for us and the details of our lives. Wow!

Leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are thankful for today. I can't wait to read it!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A word of encouragement. . .

"It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel --'HE careth for me.'  Christian! do not dishonor religion by always wearing a brow of care; come, cast your burden upon your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel. What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance.

"O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need. Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your opposition shall yet end your distresses. There is One who careth for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom shall give place to morning. He, if thou are one of His family, will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart. Doubt not His grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that He loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness.

"What a serene and quiet life might you lead if your would leave providing to the God of providence! With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all they concerns in the hand of a gracious God."

C.H. Spurgeon "Morning & Evening"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday - In Pictures

So much to be thankful for!
National Elementary Honor Society (Daughter #2)

Sweet Girls - whom we miss very much! (you, too, Cor!)

"Famous Crusader" day - they all went wearing their dad's number!

No more wallpaper! ("after" pictures to come)


Spruced up cabinets - my boys oiled every cabinet in the house last week!

Character Awards (Son #4 and Daughter #5) - Dependability

New short hair - even though it makes him look WAY grown up (and he wasn't happy about it, either)!

My amazing Coach - for Valentine's he took me to get a manicure and pedicure, dinner out and Starbucks after!

Giving thanks in all things. . .

Happy Thursday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweet Girls and Happy Birthdays

Yesterday was my oldest daughter's 12th birthday.

She's as sweet as can be. And although I'd love to tell you all about her (maybe someday I will), for today, I'm going to show you how we celebrated.

Started with Ear Piercing on Saturday:

Then lunch at the Tea Room with SWEET friends and Grandmother:

Family birthdays at my brother's house on Sunday - February is busy around here:

And our "birthday girl selected" menu dinner with grandparents last night:

Happy Birthday, Girl! You are such a blessing - we love you so very much.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Because an almost free meal is a good thing. . .

Tell me that you eat beans once a week.


Because if you don't - you are WAY missing out!

We are always trying to stretch the budget here at the Troops. Even if money isn't tight (which it pretty much always is), we have much better things to spend it on than FOOD, for heavens sake.

So about once a week I make a big pot of beans. The kids love them. The Coach loves them. They taste fabulous. And they are CHEAP.

Here's what you do:

Buy a pack of "15 bean soup" beans. (any type of beans is fine - but these are our favorite) And a package of light turkey smoked sausage. And make sure you have the ingredients on hand for cornbread.

The night BEFORE your bean dinner, sort through the beans, pulling out any stones or gross looking beans. Rinse them in cold water and put them in your crock pot (turned OFF). Fill with water until a few inches over the top of the beans.

The next morning, pour it all into a colander in your sink. Rinse with cold water. I usually put them back into the crock pot, fill with cold water, swish around and drain, again. Two or three times (this will reduce the "gassiness" of the beans).

After they are sufficiently rinsed, put them back into the crock pot and fill with water, again. The water should be three inches or so above the tops of the beans.

Add: Minced onion (fresh is great - the Coach doesn't like "pieces" of onion, so I use minced), garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.
(of course you can add carrot, celery, etc.)

Turn crock pot onto high and stir. Leave all morning.

Around lunch time (you can start it on low with all of the ingredients if you'll be gone all day), reduce to low and add the sausage (I cut it into small, kid-friendly pieces, first).

Cook on low until dinner time, adding more salt as needed (salt is what gives beans flavor).

About thirty minutes before dinner, mix up some cornbread and pop it in the oven.

That's it!

(And here is a tip. We like THICK soup around here. If you add too much water and the bean soup is too thin, just take the lid off of your crock pot for awhile - it will thicken right up. If it's too thick, just add a cup or two of water!)

Tastes good. Good for you. And extremely economical. Doesn't get any better!
I can smell them cooking right now - and since it's going to be a busy day, I'm so glad I already have dinner taken care of!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In a stroke of genius. . .

Those of you who know me IRL (you know, "in real life") already know that I've been a bit overwhelmed, lately. So much so that the Coach made me promise him something. That I wouldn't take on anything "extra" for two weeks. In the interest of keeping some kind of sanity in this house, I agreed.

However, the list, it's long. I'm pretty sure we've been behind on things around here since Little Man arrived. And he's almost two (gasp). No matter how many things I say "no" to, I'm not going to get it all done. There's no way to do that. So I enlisted some help.

My kids!

Now you already know they all have regular jobs. They help out a lot. The house stays relatively clean and orderly - mostly. So the daily things - not so much a problem. The weekly/monthly/yearly jobs? It's been awhile.

I started to make a list:

1. Lemon Oil all kitchen/bathroom cabinets and woodwork.
2. Shampoo carpets in living areas.
3. Organize toy baskets in playroom
4. Hand scrub dining room floor
5. Mop kitchen (this should be a regular job around here. But I'm keepin' it real. It's been awhile.)
6. Move all eight "birthday books" to larger binders.
7. Date and put pictures in order for albums.
8. Clean out "craft" cabinet in sunroom.
9. Dust baseboards and ceiling corners.

It goes on - I'll spare you the rest.

So you can see why I don't have any hope of actually DOING all of these things.

I attached a "price" to each job - what I'm willing to pay the kids for doing it well, thoroughly and as instructed. Then a chart, to keep track of who has done what and what they have earned. When something comes up that they want (it's all about Playmobil around here, right now), they have an amount to spend and I am the "bank".

So far - so good. The motivated kids are working hard. The house is looking better.

Only Daughter (#7) has had to be reminded that there is not "price" for regular jobs (like brushing her teeth, for instance). But she's excited to earn some spending money, too.

And the Coach? He's worried. Thinks they might earn all of my grocery money. I told him we can do without food for awhile if we have a clean house.

After all, it's all about priorities.

Oh, I jest.

Sort of.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday from the Troops!

Been awhile since I've done a TT post and BOY do we need it here, today.

People (you know who you are) are always saying how "positive" and "encouraging" I am and how I always "find the bright side of things" (no, I'm not making this up).

And it's time to be honest.


I'm just sayin'.

If I WERE thankful all of the time and DID have a positive outlook? Thankful Thursday wouldn't be so very necessary.

It gets my head back where it should be. "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

So now that I've told you the TRUTH. Here we go:

1. That it's Thursday. Because technically that means tomorrow will be Friday and WHEW BOY am I ready for Friday.

2. A great basketball season for Son #1. Tonight is his last game. He's learned, grown and improved a lot! Fun to watch.

3. For my Coach. I know I say this, often. But it can't be said enough. Truly. He's an amazing man. Patient (that is mighty necessary because I am somewhat of a challenge). Wonderful daddy to our kiddos. Works hard (wait until you see the kitchen walls!). Loves me unconditionally. I don't have to love him unconditionally (even though I do) because he's WAY easy to love and live with.

4. My parents safe return from Mexico. I'm grateful they are such a part of our daily lives. But I really miss them when they aren't here! And the lunch at Chick-fil-A? Mighty nice.

5. Safety. I'm pretty sure our guardian angels have done double time this week. Praise the Lord for His protection.

6. Nice weather. A blessing to have the kids able to play outside a lot, lately. Since the ice storm it's been positively Spring like. In fact, Saturday it reached 70!

7. That we survived. Because some weeks, I'm not sure we will. But we do. And God is still on His throne, still in control. Still loving us and working in us for His glory.

Happy Thursday, Friends!