Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day of Rest

It's Sunday night here at the Troops.

And in my heart of hearts, I certainly wish our Sabbath day was restful.

But it rarely is!

Even if I can keep the chaos under control through breakfast, early church, Sunday school and our traditional "left overs" lunch. . .

even if I can sneak in a short nap after everyone does their kitchen jobs. . .

at some point, it hits me. . . 


School.  Appointments.  Schedules.  Meal planning.  To do lists.  It overwhelms.

And to be completely honest (as I always try to be), we don't typically THINK about school all weekend.

Until Sunday afternoon.

So then commences the rush:  homework, assignment tablets signed, notes gone through, checks written (it's always something).

Restful?  Not really.  But it feels GREAT to get everything in order for a brand new week.


Today I stayed home from church with my coughing choir.  The Coach didn't want to sit through church with a bunch of hacking kids.  As if we aren't distracting enough, in church, already!

Thought a nice batch of spice muffins would taste good.

And they did.

Then Son #1 came home and happened to mention he was making cookies for his "Life Skills"  (that's home ec for us old folks - and yes, girls AND boys take it) class tomorrow.  (I took pictures, which I'll post later - I'm on the lap top right now.)

And they tasted good, too.

Then. . . we noticed those over ripe bananas in the fruit basket. . .

So a batch of banana bread was soon in the oven.


Do you eat breakfast for dinner?  We do.  Most Sunday nights.  Tonight's dinner made me think of a "Jon and Kate plus Eight" episode we watched where she told how much food it took to feed them a homemade pancake breakfast.

I wasn't impressed.

We do it every week here.  Except with bigger kids.

Tonight they wanted waffles. YUM!  That, along with turkey bacon, scrambled eggs and grape juice was quite a feast!


There isn't a lot of "blogging" time here.  You know that.  I post less and less often - and miss it terribly.

But I did take some time tonight, once our week was organized, to work on Mrs. Troop and fix some of the links (recipes) and such.  Hope it works better for you.

And please, if you ever have a problem with a link or can't find what you're looking for here, just let me know.  You can always e-mail me:

I promise I'll get to it before Little Man turns 18.



Good night, All!  Happy Sunday!  

I'm going to post that banana bread recipe for you this week.  You'll love it!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday. On Friday.

I seem to be getting into some awful habits here at Mrs. Troop.

Like not posting.
For days.
I have ideas.

Mostly at night when I'm trying to sleep and the kid's coughing keeps me awake.

But in the morning when I'm bleary-eyed and faced with another overwhelming day?


Can't remember a thing.
But there are always things to be thankful for, right?

And as I sit here waiting to see what will happen in the Spring Snow Storm of '09

. . .and Coach is bringing home the kids

. . .it seemed like a good time to take a stab at it.

Except I haven't done the breakfast dishes, yet.

And it's 4:30 in the afternoon.

Or folded today's two loads of laundry.

Or started the Tortilla Soup for tonight's dinner.

(thunder rumbles in the distance)

Know what I'm grateful for this week?
That God's mercies are new every morning.
That even though I'm not the best mom (or sometimes even a GOOD mom), He still offers the grace I need to obey Him and love on my kids.
That I have a faithful husband. Who may (on occasion) tire of my neediness (although he'd never admit it), but loves me, still. Thank you, Jesus!
That I have wonderful, amazing, smart, talented kids (they didn't get it from me!).
That Summer is coming. And fast. Because we're tired here.
That my Aunt from CA is here for a visit. (smile)
That we don't have any plans for tonight during the snowstorm. Except soup. And maybe some popcorn and hot chocolate during the OU basketball game.
That Little Man's pink eye is cleared up. Even if he did have the worst day of it on his BIRTHDAY, Tuesday. (I promise I'll post pictures. Promise. You won't believe how bad his eyes were. Seriously.)
That he weighed 26 pounds at his 2 year check up, yesterday. We've taken to calling him the "Thin Man"
That you can watch "Instant Play" movies on Netflix for free (if you subscribe) on rainy afternoons.
That they have "Holiday" with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn.
That even though I plan to stop drinking Diet DP in the near future - I haven't, yet.
That there is gas in the car.
Food in the pantry and fridge.
Clean laundry (yet to be folded).
A warm house, in spite of the cold rain falling outside.

And you know what? I'm thankful that Spring WILL come. It will. I've felt like we've been teased something awful and then thrown back into Winter. But it won't last. It will be warm, again. The kids will play outside, again. Someday soon.

And OH OH - the Coach's grass is coming up in the last part of our yard we've been working on. Very exciting.

See? My attitude is changing, already. Works every time.

Blessings on each of you - my blogging friends - may you have a weekend filled with precious times together as a family. Warm. Safe. Filled with the Love of Christ.

Happy Friday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday at the Troops

Happy Monday, All!

The cobwebs have taken over the "writing" section of my brain.
Wait a minute. . . yep. . . still there.  Oh well.

Spring Break was truly delightful!

Quick overview:

March family party for three
Our sixth turned SIX!
American Girl Doll from Grandmother and Granddad and has played with it ever since!
The Coach and the older kids annual camping trip (three days, two nights, three dads and 15 kids)
A finished sprinkler system in the back yard (that Coach, he's amazing!)
New grass seed all around
Cleaned out flower beds
Fresh paint in the boy's room
. . .along with rearranging and organizing, too!
Books started AND finished - so nice
School projects completed
Hair cuts for all five "men"
. . . and a clean house.

Along with plans to celebrate Little Man's SECOND birthday tomorrow!

(Hang on while I pick myself up off the floor.  He's my baby, you know.)

We had a great week, lots of FUN time together, lots of projects taken care of, lots of old movies watched and ice cream eaten - couldn't have been better!

Hope you enjoyed your Spring Break, too!

OH - and Daughter (#2) is now without her arm cast!  YEAH!  (She's WAY happy about it.  But asked me not to post pictures.  Phooey!)

Dinner is in the oven, kids are playing outside or doing homework.  Cake is baked for tomorrow and thunderstorms and tornadoes are expected tonight.

That's about all that's going on here.  What are YOU up to today?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Great minds think alike.

The other day I was talking to my friend over at Crazy Daisy (via e-mail or Facebook, of course, I can't remember which) and we realized we were both making Poppyseed Chicken for dinner.

Then talking to my friend at Magnificent Manager she was making the SAME thing for her daughter's birthday!

You haven't heard of it?

Well, because I love you. And I'm SOOOO generous. . . I'll share it. Just this once.

Poppyseed Chicken (my version)

Cook 1 C long grain brown rice (mine takes 45 minutes and makes 2 Cups)
Bake three or four chicken breasts (boneless and skinless, salt and peppered) for one hour.
(just a hint - I bake the chicken and cook the rice in the early morning - then refrigerate it until I'm ready to put the whole thing together)
Let cool.
Shred chicken and set aside.
Mix 2 cans of "Healthy Request" (or generic version of the same) Cream of Chicken,
1 C of reduced fat Sour Cream
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 t salt
and 1 T minced onion
Stir well and mix in chicken.
Spread rice in the bottom of a greased casserole dish (9x13).
Spread chicken mixture on top.
Melt 1/4 C butter in the microwave while crushing 1 roll of Ritz crackers (I use whole wheat) in the food processor.
Top casserole with 1/2 C shredded cheese (I use Colby Jack)
Mix Cracker crumbs into melted butter and spread on top of cheese.
Bake for 1 hour at 350. It should be slightly browned and bubbling around the edges.

And you're welcome.


Poppyseed Chicken

2 C cooked rice
3 or 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 C sour cream
1 T poppyseeds
1/2 t salt
1 T minced onion
1/2 C shredded cheese
1/4 C melted butter
approx. 30 crushed Ritz crackers

Spread rice in greased 9x13 pan. Mix next six ingredients well and spread on top of rice. Cover with cheese. Mix cracker crumbs and melted butter and spread on top. Bake 1 hr. at 350.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. Snow. Snow? Yes, snow. Today. Odd, isn't it? Something very strange about the blooming trees, GREEN grass and snow. Hmmmm.

2. Son #1's wrist IS NOT broken. Although we thought it might be. Thank heavens for x-rays and kind doctor friends.

3. Birthday parties.

4. Camping trip plans - the Coach and the five oldest - Saturday morning. They are so excited!

5. Spring Break next week. Ahhhhhh.

6. A warm, cozy home. That's "almost" picked up and and "almost" clean. That's about as close as it gets, Folks.

7. The most wonderful in-laws in the world - who are joining us for dinner tonight.

8. A quiet weekend ahead with only THREE kids. Wow.

9. Little Man's daily expanding vocabulary. Keeps us laughing! Newly added: Popcorn. Too funny!

10. Daughter is doing well with the new cast (last Friday). It's PINK. Covered in signatures of family and friends.

11. Books. Been trying to read more for fun. So nice.

12. Kids who LOVE to read. We have a big reading party every night. Daughter #6 is really getting the hang of it (she's 5) and everyone older than she is reads voraciously. Almost every night the Coach and I have to MAKE them quit reading and go to sleep. Wonderful.

13. Life is good. I'm really thankful for that. I don't want to take it for granted.

By the way, did you know that the wise men brought Baby Jesus, "Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh?" (as read by Daughter #5)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laugh or Go Crazy

We are reading through the New Testament together as a family.

The older five take turns reading. When it was Son #3's turn (he's 10) he started reading - I'll admit I was more focused on helping Daughters #5, 6 and 7 sit still (it's a great training time - ha!).

Until I heard, "And they were carried away to baby lawn."

Baby lawn?

What in the world?

"Son," I interrupted him, "What did you say?"

He repeated, "Carried away to baby lawn."

"Could it possibly be Babylon?" I asked.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Such an Easy Habit to Break. . .

I think the bad habits are the only ones that are hard to break, don't you?

Ever noticed that it takes months to build new, good habits and only a day to be back to the old, bad ones?

Why is that, do you think?

I work months at eating right, getting up early to exercise, practicing being hungry, denying the flesh - all to lose weight and feel better.

And in one week of allergies/colds/broken arms and babies that cough through the night - I'm back to the old unhealthy habits. Sleeping until I HAVE to get up and eating whatever is there.


I used to wonder how it was possible to long for heaven. Life was so good HERE, how could we want to leave this earth?

Now I know.

The struggle to do right? It wears me out.

The battle against my flesh? Exhausting.

And although I look forward to heaven because I long to be with Christ and see those I love who have gone before, I must admit the biggest reason I long for it now is because it will be the end of the battle.

Not just my own personal battles, but the battle for right on this earth.

For freedom, for sacrifice. For people to see that it's not about THEM and who will give them WHAT, it's about the freedom to tell the world about Jesus and be the light in the darkness.

You DO know that's why the pilgrims came to America? They had missionary hearts.

It may not be long until we lose that freedom. The freedom to share Christ with our neighbors near and far. To speak out for truth and against evil.

But in heaven? The battle will be over. Jesus will reign on every level, in every realm and we won't have to fight anymore.

Maybe I'm just tired.

But heaven sounds better all the time!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, All! I'm so grateful that it's Thursday, this week. Seems to have been a long one, here at the Troops. Not sure why. Just long.

These daffodils are from my yard - aren't they pretty? I brought them inside so we could enjoy them all day long.

I realize that I'm strange, but did anyone else dream a lot, when you were young, about what life would be like? I did! I remember picturing a certain kind of house, a certain number of kids (at one point it was 14!), visions of a life that I hoped for.

And those of us who aren't so very young, anymore, know that life isn't exactly what we maybe dreamed of or planned.

But that's where I am incredibly blessed.

Because it's BETTER than I could have imagined.

I wouldn't have chosen the hard things. But they've made us stronger. And I wouldn't have chosen the struggles, but they've given the Coach and I a closeness we never would have had, otherwise.

And I'm sure as we continue this journey together as a family that there will be more things we don't expect.

But I know it will be more than I can dream of right now.

So. . .

Today I'm thankful that His ways are not our ways.

His thoughts not our thoughts.

Harder, yes.

Unexpected, absolutely.

But higher. And greater. And deeper. And more wonderful than we can imagine.

I think I've learned (at least in part) that it's not about the house or the picture-perfect life. Not about how many kids you have or how much money you make.

Someday, in heaven, I hope I can look back on this earthly life. . . and see it for what it is.

All for His glory.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just in case you are craving chocolate. . .

Years ago, a dear friend was at my house for lunch and we were craving something chocolate (I know you're surprised!). She suggested the brownie recipe on the Hershey cocoa powder container. And POOF, the rest is history.

I never buy brownie mixes anymore. These are WAY better. We generally always have the ingredients on hand. Which is a good and a bad thing, of course.

Now that I've experimented a bit, here is the very best way to make them.
(the depressing part is that I can type this from memory)

(which may have something to do, in a vague way, with the extra 15 pounds I'm carrying around)

(or not)

Here's what you do:

Melt two sticks of butter in a microwave safe mixing bowl.
Stir in two cups of white sugar.
Add four eggs, one at a time, beating between additions.
Two teaspoons of vanilla.
Stir in carefully 3/4 C of cocoa powder.
Measure out 1 C of unbleached all purpose flour.
On top of the measured flour, spoon 1/2 t baking powder and 1/4 t salt.
Add to chocolate mixture and stir.
Mix in 1 C of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Spread in greased 9x13 cake pan.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 min.
Take them out before you think they are done.
(in my oven, 25 minutes is perfect)


They are fine without the chocolate chips, but not as good.
However, you can add 1 C of nuts to this basic recipe. I use chopped pecans, but if you like walnuts, that's good, too.
You can also use white chocolate chips, instead of the semi-sweet. And nuts. YUM! That's what I did the last time I made them and they were fabulous.
Today, Son (#3) made them with Reese's pieces instead of chocolate chips. I'm sure they'll be delish!
Except that he didn't count before he made them and we only had two eggs.
And then he added soda instead of baking powder.
(I don't recommend that)

Anyway, you can stir in pretty much anything and these always come out delicious and rich and irresistible. (my favorite is 1/2 chocolate chips, 1/2 M&M's - but don't tell)

And that's all I'm sayin'.



1 C Butter
2 C White Sugar
2 t Vanilla
4 Eggs
3/4 C Cocoa Powder
1 C Unbleached All-purpose White Flour
1/2 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Salt
1 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking pan. Microwave butter to melt in a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in cocoa. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in baking pan. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Let cool before serving.

You're welcome.