{Cooking . . . for the Glory of God}

So, you may remember when I wrote this post about how The Pioneer woman changed my life!

Then, I gave you links to four recipes and that was it.  Sad.

So, here I am with some more favorite recipes!  None of these are original to me, but I love trying new recipes I find online and I always feel better knowing that someone else has made them and enjoyed them.  Here are some tried and true and some new favorites!

Pioneer Woman Lasagna

Chicken Pot Pie (My husband’s favorite and paired with the Better Homes and Garden Deep Dish Pot Pie crust)

A delicious (and gluten-free) dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake

These breadsticks!

Also, here are a few things I do to make cooking a slightly more involved meal a bit easier:

  • Prep ahead: I will sometimes cook chicken needed for a recipe in the crock-pot (I start in the morning and it is ready when I need it later. Likewise, veggies can be chopped at an earlier and more convenient time or cheese can be grated ahead of time.
  • Casseroles, lasagnas, and other one-dish meals can be made ahead of time and re-heated at dinner time.  In fact, many of these recipes are better once they have had a chance to “firm up” prior to being eaten.  So, I will sometimes cook them during nap time.
  • Keep the dishes clean:  Cooking is so much less stressful for me when the sink is empty.  I know I won’t be adding to an already overwhelming mess!  A clean sink also leads to many more spontaneous baking episodes than I would otherwise indulge in!

So, how has your cooking been going?  Are you asking your husband for suggestions?  Are you willing to cook what he wants, not just what you want?  Even if it doesn’t meet the diet, budget, or tastes you prefer?  Are you trying new things?  Have any favorite recipes to share?

Remember, you can (AND SHOULD) cook for the glory of God!

{Insta-Love}

It’s friday! Hooray!

It’s been a great day so far.  Our kids slept ’til 7:15, so we ignored our alarms and slept in until 7am.  It was epic!

Then, the girls and I met up with the cousins for a fun walk down a local bike/walking trail.  We hung out at a playground on the trail before heading back.

Afterwards, I drove the girls down a backroad and we stopped at a little winery/farm for a picnic lunch while peacocks and friendly dogs roamed the grounds.

It was a lovely morning.  Now, i’m hitting the afternoon slump, but trying to finish strong with laundry folding and maybe some fun outdoor time for the girls.

It’s leftover homemade chicken-pot-pie for dinner and Strawberry Buckle for dessert and the girls are dancing to Worship music as I type this up.  Sorta a lovely day, I’d say.  I mean, I haven’t showered, but oh well!

How has your week been?  Here’s a peek into what we’ve been up to lately via instgram pics.

I love instagram and I just ordered my first Chatbooks filled with insta pics.  Here is a free code for you.  Simply download the app and it creates a book for you (you can edit it for which pictures you’d like to include).  It takes about 5 minutes and shipping is free as well!

CODE: MEKNX9VM

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This girl LOVES to read!  It is the only way I am surviving her early departure from naps.  She will “Read” for an hour and lately has been into reading abridged classics that have a few black and white pics here and there.  Seriously.  She isn’t even three!

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A rare occurrence of dual and simultaneous naps led to this beautiful painted front door.  I love it!

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My youngest brother came into town so we triple dated with him and his girlfriend as well as with my other brother and his wife.  It was a blast!

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I feel like holidays are so much more meaningful with children since we are trying to teach them the meaning of each holiday and Christ’s significance in each holiday.  Easter was a wonderful day and these girls in their Easter dresses was a sweet sight.

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Bible story reading is a nightly event (We use the Jesus Storybook Bible) and even Ellery begs to sit on daddy’s lap.

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It rained!  For one day, but still: rain!  So, we lit some candles and played classical music and left the lights off to keep it cozy.  I sorta liked it.

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I often wonder what she is thinking as she surveys the view. I hope she always delights in creation.

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One of Addie’s favorite views is the mountain that she can see from our bedroom window.  We finally hiked it and she was ecstatic!

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We babysat the cousins and I honestly felt like four kids was easier than 2. The three older ones entertained each other the entire afternoon and then it was mac ‘n’ cheese for all around the kiddie table outside.

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We’ve been doing some very informal pre-k activities around here and for fun I pulled out this book from the 1800’s.  She absolutely loved it and had me read page after page to her.  I loved how the stories weren’t “dumbed down” and how they taught useful things such as how to row a boat!

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A friend’s birthday party and sisters = sharing dessert.  So sweet.  Makes me wish I had a sister!

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Oh, this toddler of mine.  I have absolutely no idea how she got on this bed and have not witnessed her repeat the skill.  So, the mystery remains.

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How was your week?  Has your friday been a good one?  We have tons of plans for the weekend, which include a possible bike ride, watching some hardcore dragster tractors race, attending an African drum concert and a few yard projects as well!

Happy Weekend!

{Still}

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I had to call our health insurance to confirm some bills the other day.

As I sat there reviewing the dates of service with the man on the phone, my eyes skimmed their descriptions.

They were all for the two babies we lost.

These three bills were filled with a story of loss and I realized that it still hurts.

I choked out a goodbye to the man on the phone and tried to take a deep breath.

After all, we still want another baby.

I am fearful.  I am fearful because I do not know what God’s will is.  Does he want this next baby to make it to our arms?  I don’t know.  Does he want me to get pregnant?  I don’t know.

I am also fearful of my fear.  Fearful of what it will be like if I am able to get pregnant again.  Will I be full of anxiety the first fifteen weeks?  Will I be terrified every time I have to use the bathroom.  Will I be worried about everything I eat and do and feel?

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Ultimately, I trust God’s plan.  It’s the not knowing that is difficult for me.  If I could just know now that all will be well or that we would lose another one, it would be so much simpler.  I could prepare my heart.  I could rejoice or sorrow.

But, I don’t know.  So, I am taking it moment by moment.  Giving each thought and fear to God as it arises.  It is not easy, but really what else is there to do?  I am so thankful that God is in control and not me.  I am so thankful that the survival of any future babies does not depend on me, but on my Lord.

Because, truth be told, it still hurts.

But, you know.  The longer He makes me wait, the more patient I become.  Oh, the tears still come and every now and then I break down and hubby has to soothe my tears.  But, there are lessons in the waiting.  I am growing closer to God through this trial.  I am learning so much and I hope I will take this lessons to heart and that they will change me for the better.

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This verse really spoke to me the other day and if you are waiting and wondering like me, I hope it will be an encouragement to you as well:

 

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{Why we Often Choose to be Martha}

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My friends were going to be stopping by in twenty minutes for a quick visit.

I hadn’t seen them in months!

I had just sat down for some Bible study time when I got the text that they were coming.

I had a choice.  The girls were both napping (a rare occurrence) and I had twenty minutes.

I looked around at my untidy house and I thought of my visitor’s immaculate home.

Then, I made the wrong choice.

I got up and started tidying up.

My conscience niggled at me.  They don’t care if there are some toys out and papers on the counter. They probably won’t even notice the mess.  You are choosing Martha!  What do you think God would have you do: meet with Him or clean?

Yet, on I went with my tidying, ignoring the thoughts that were convicting me.

My friends came.  We had a lovely time and the second they left my daughter awoke from her nap.  Gone was any chance for a quiet time.

Why do we so often choose to be Martha, when Christ himself declares that Mary, “has chosen what is better” ? (Luke 10: 38-42)

The problem lies within 1 Samuel  16:7 “For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Isn’t it the truth? Even without intending to, man looks at the outward.  We notice clothes and home decor and Pinterest-worthy parties because they are right before our eyes.  We are bombarded with visual reminders of who people are through their social media streams and we often forget to consider the heart.  To consider the people themselves.

Because of this, we often judge ourselves based on these same principles.  We look around and see the outward.  We see the messy floors or the un-vacuumed rug and forget about the time we spent studying the word or the hours spent playing with and caring for our children. We judge ourselves by outward appearances and that judgement dictates our decisions.

We believe the lie that we will feel better if we wash our dishes than if we read our Bible.  Actions and a clean counter are so much more measurable than a heart connected to Christ and a mind filled with His word. We want to show people how “good” we are through our tidy rooms, not our Christ-filled hearts.

That, my friends, is pride. Those things done in quiet are not often seen.  The spiritual growth you feel might not be noticed.  And so, in an effort to have others think well of us, we reach for the quick reward and for the obvious.  We reach for the outward, like Martha.

“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

Look at me, Lord. Look at how hard I am working.  Look at what a servant I am.  Look at how much better I am than my sister.

There is one problem, Martha.  He is looking, but with the eyes of God.  He is not looking where our human eyes look.  He is looking deeper.  And, you know what?  Your serving isn’t bad!  God calls you to serve.  But, you are doing it with a wicked heart.  Without joy.  With jealousy.  Filled with pride.

So, women, let’s chose what is better.  Let’s stop choosing Martha.  Even if it means people will leave your home talking about the mess (Which they won’t because I mean, really, think about it.  How often have you gone to a friend’s house and even noticed, let alone cared, if there was a mess?) choose what God wants for you.  Choose to clean up your heart first.

Jesus promised that if you do, “It will not be taken away from [you]”. Dishes and laundry will pile up again after you complete them, but your spiritual growth and the development of your character will steadily grow as you spend time at the feet of the Lord.

{Freshly Picked Moccasins – Review and Giveaway}

Baby shoes have always been a challenge for me in the first year.

My girls have small feet and often couldn’t keep the “newborn” size shoes on their feet until after 6 months of age.

So, when I purchased my first pair of Freshly Picked moccasins, I was ecstatic!

First of all, because they were adorable.

Secondly, they were incredibly easy to get on baby’s feet and they actually stayed on because of the elastic ankle!

Finally, they were so soft and incredibly durable as well. I am definitely a fan for life!

 

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That’s why I was thrilled to be asked to review a pair of Freshly Picked moccs for you all!

I was excited to see how the moccasins would work on my now walking toddler, and let me tell you that they are just as amazing. They are durable for walking on any surface and are easy for toddling ones to walk in.  They also clean up very easily!

So, basically, I want them in every size and color for my children.

So easy to get onto squirmy baby feet (with or without socks) and even work on rough terrain.

Plus, the cuteness! They are so versatile and can be worn with anything: casual clothes, adorable rompers, fancy tutus, you name it!

Pictured are the Birch moccs and I love that they work for either gender since I know that they will last for more than one child!

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You are in luck because today I am giving away a pair of FRESHLY PICKED moccasins of your color and size choice!

**The winner for the giveaway can not have won any other giveaway including a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days. Must be a U.S. resident

Simply comment with your favorite FreshlyPicked moccasin color! I am coveting the Aruba moccs!

Good Luck!

// Giveaway will run through the 8th and the winner will be announced on Thursday! //