Friday, November 30, 2012

The Last day of November

I am glad to see this month go. Sometimes November can feel so desolate.
Not that I couldn't find reason to give thanks. There are many blessings in my life that I am so grateful for; but the honest truth is that the thought of counting my blessings this month made my mind stray to the things I am so sad about.
The things I struggle to understand and accept.
The things I am not thankful for.

I read in scripture to "give thanks in all circumstances" and I will choose to do so. (It says IN, not FOR...right?)  However, it does not come naturally to me.

Weighing heavy on my heart...
our fathers' failing health--one's mind is failing, the other's body is failing
a friend who has cancer--with three children and a wonderful husband who still need her
a friend who just lost her husband in a terrible tractor accident--how does a mother with four young daughters go on?

I am grateful for this verse that I have prayed, cried, whispered, memorized, printed, shouted, and shared:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

The hope I have is in Christ...the promise of joy to come to those who know and put their trust in the work He did on the cross.

Pray with me, a prayer that December helps us all turn our hearts to Him.

That we can anticipate His coming and rejoice in a Savior.

That I can be a LIGHT in a dark world, and share a bit of Jesus in my words and love towards others. "That I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Five--November news

1. A few weekends ago Brandon, Ryan and Meggan went to Missouri for youth deer season. Ryan and Meg were hunting for the first time, and Ryan killed a doe. It was fun to get to see a picture of the boys together with Ryan's first deer shortly after it was killed. (We weren't in the same state--love phone cameras and texting!)
Earlier this week, Meggan had a chance to get her deer--with Brandon again. He is earning major big brother brownie points!

2. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Ellyn's senior football banquet. She is sad to say goodbye to Ballard football. She has made so many great memories working on the sidelines as a manager and cheering from the stands with friends.

Then & Now (first game 7th grade and  last game 12th grade)
3. Ryan made honor band and recently had the performance. It was a great concert of 7th and 8th graders. He spent a lot of time preparing for the audition and learning the music. We're really proud of him for putting in the time it required. (Shame on me for not taking my camera!)

4. We have had several evenings this month to take care of our native friends while their mom worked.
This little girl just couldn't stay awake any longer...

5.  We had the last of the 4 fall birthdays--Brandon turned 20. It's a busy time of year with four birthdays within 3 weeks, but it's fun to combine celebrations. We took him to Hickory Park for the traditional bbq/ice cream family meal and bought him a tool box for his truck. We spent part of his birthday weekend doing fall clean-up in the garden, yard, and garage--so nice that he never minds helping outside with yard work.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I am actually looking forward to dragging out the Christmas decorations this weekend--I've been ready to start for a couple of weeks. I can finally play my Christmas music without being hassled...then again, probably not.
Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For the Love of Bread

Are you gathering your Thanksgiving dinner recipes? Don't forget the bread!

My recipes are easier to gather since I made my Thanksgiving dinner recipe book a couple of years ago.

My two favorite bread recipes would be perfect (and easy!) for your Thanksgiving dinner.
 One is old (one of my mom's favorites) and one is new (added to my recipe book last week).

Mom's No-knead Refrigerator Rolls
*allow minimum of 2 hrs 15 min before serving

In a large bowl stir together until dissolved:
2 pkgs. dry yeast
2 c. warm water

Add and stir into yeast mixture:
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt
3-4 c. flour

Add and stir into flour mixture:
1 egg
1/4 c. oil

Stir in 2-3 c. more flour. Dough should be slightly sticky.

Form the rolls 2 hours before baking.
Cover with a towel and let rise till double (approx. 1 hr. 45 min.)
Bake 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes 48 rolls.

This dough can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use. Cover the bowl with a towel and punch down the dough when necessary.  I mix it in the bowl I want to store in the refrigerator. Take it out and shape the rolls whenever you're ready. I have used this dough for cinnamon rolls and crescent rolls, but I usually cut it into equal pieces with a pair of scissors and make rows in a cake pan with the balls of dough.


This honey wheat bread is from one of my favorite bloggers, Edie at Life in Grace. The first time I made it, I made another batch later the same day! Edie posted a video and very thorough directions for making the bread. She explains it in a way that is very easy to understand if you've never made bread before.

Honey Wheat Bread --makes 2 loaves
* allow minimum of 2.5 hrs before serving 
In Kitchen Aid mixer:
2 c. warm water
 1/3 c. oil
1/3 c. honey (make it easy--use the oil measuring cup) 
start mixer on low and add:
1 T. yeast
1 t. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour 

When the above are mixed together, start adding all purpose flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and does not stick to fingers when touched:
approx 5 c. all purpose flour  

Knead for 5-10 minutes (I am going to try kneading in my Kitchen Aid next time, but Edie kneads by hand). Oil the mixing bowl and put dough back in, cover and let rise 45-60 min. until double. Shape into two loaves and place in greased bread pans. (I use metal Nordic loaf pans.)
Cover and let rise another 45-60 min. until dough is at top of pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. This bread slices better if allowed to cool completely. It is still soft the next day when stored in plastic bags.

I am serving both breads this week. I will make the dough for the rolls the day before but shape/bake them on Thanksgiving. The honey wheat bread is perfect to bake the day before, cool and store in ziploc baggies until ready to slice and serve for the big meal!

If your family is like mine, there will be no bread left over. Enjoy these easy and delicious recipes!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mexican Delight

I grew up eating this skillet meal, and I still love eating it. My family loves it too--everyone.
The recipe orginally came from my best friend's mom from elementary school.

Mexican Delight
2 lbs. hamburger, browned and drained
1/8 t. garlic powder
2 t. cumin
2 t. chili powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 T. sugar
2 cans tomato paste
4 cans water (tomato paste cans)
1 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. quick rice
Fritos corn chips
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
sour cream

Stir all the ingredients into the browned hamburger and mix well.
 Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Serve over corn chips and top with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and salsa.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ellyn's birthday--Part 2

Ellyn requested a special gift for her 18th birthday:
She asked to go sky diving!

Yes, she's my crazy, dare-devil daughter!

Byron worked out all the details and coordinated the schedule for the jump. Ellyn was required to be 18 to jump and the weather had to cooperate. We had some beautiful weather this past week (especially for the last week of October), and they were able to go the day after her birthday.  I have no desire to go sky diving, but she has a dad who likes to try new things, so he went along with her. They had a great time! Ellyn is already talking about the next time she can go, but Byron is content with the one-time experience.

Here are some pictures of the sky diving experience for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy birthday, Ellyn

Yesterday was Ellyn's 18th birthday.
She is a senior and the school year is going very quickly.
She holds such a big place in our family--she is vibrant, opinionated, fun-loving, strong-willed, energetic, passionate, full of life. We love her so much! I am excited to see what amazing things she does after high school, but I still can't help but want this time to slooooow dooooown!

She asked for a special 18th birthday gift.  Something I would never choose for myself!
More about that gift tomorrow...

For now, these are a few of my favorite senior pictures: