Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessings

As we approach this Thanksgiving Holiday, I can't help but think about how different this year will be from last year, and how different last year was from all of the previous years.

At this time last year, I was preparing for the holiday knowing that it would be the last one I would share with my precious mother.   In previous years, Thanksgiving was always a time of  fun, laughter, music, and food.  Most of all food.  Last year, we had the food, and we had the music, and we had the special love for each other that has always defined our family.  For that I am thankful.

This year, I am trying hard to stay focused on the many, many blessings that God has bestowed upon our family, and not the loved ones that are absent.  Not only will my mother not be with us this year, but my middle son Caleb will not be able to be here.  He is blessed to be living in Texas close to his future in-laws, so I know that he will have a wonderful holiday, but he will definitely be missed here.

We are planning to have our usual Thanksgiving menu this year and because I want this holiday season to be a blessing to the little ones here, I am working hard to stay focused on just how much God has blessed me this past year.

Here are a few of the ways God has blessed (and is continuing to bless) me this year:

My family is healthy.

My daughter and her children are living with us at the moment.  I have the blessing of spending time with my grandchildren on a daily basis.

My Dad is also living with us now.  Even though his health has gotten worse, he is still able to take care of his basic needs and just needs someone to help with meals, medicines, and helping him not fall on bad days.  I am thankful that God has chosen to allow us the privilege of caring for my Dad.

Even though I will not be able to attend the wedding, because of caring for my Dad, I am so thankful that Caleb has been blessed with the precious young woman that will soon be his wife.  I am also thankful for her sweet family.

I am thankful that my daughter is engaged to a wonderful young man, that is very good to her and has accepted her children as his own.  He encourages the children's relationship to their "real" dad, while making sure to be there for them himself.  In some ways, he reminds me of my own husband and how wonderful he was with my children from a previous marriage.

There are really WAY to many blessings to name, but suffice it to say, I have been greatly blessed.  God is so good!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Menu Plan 11/11/12 thru 11/17/12

Well, after taking a look at the amount we have spent on groceries this past month I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to begin menu planning again.  Things have been hectic lately, but I can no longer use that as an excuse.   Here's our plan for the upcoming week:

Sun. - Pork loin, rice, gravy, steamed broccoli, sourdough bread

Mon. - Leftover Rice and Chili from the freezer, tortilla chips

Tues. - Meatloaf, peas, squash, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, cornbread

Wed. - Leftovers or soup made from leftovers :-)

Thurs. - Chicken Enchiladas, Salad

Fri. - Soup (Taco & Potato), cornbread and sourdough bread

Sat. - Leftovers

Breakfast - crockpot oatmeal, biscuits w/turkey sausage, cold cereal, yogurt, smoothies, fruit, pancakes

Lunch - leftovers, sandwiches, fruit w/cheese & crackers,  soup

Snacks - popcorn, fruit, cheese/crackers, yogurt

As always our menu plan is subject to change.  Hopefully, I will be able to stay on track and "shop" our freezer and pantry for a couple of weeks which will really help get our grocery budget back on track.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Morning!

Good morning!  I'm enjoying my coffee on the porch.  Pull up a chair and join me :-)

Hope ya'll have a great day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Lately I have been "re-learning"  how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  Here's a list of a  few of the things I have been enjoying lately:

uninterrupted prayer time
sitting on my porch in the early morning quiet
water pistols with the kids
watching hummingbirds 
"piddling" around in the garden
browsing through cookbooks for new recipes
a cup of coffee/hot tea
conversation with a friend
playing with my grandchildren
listening to the laughter of children

I am so thankful that God allows us the "simple" pleasures.  What have you been enjoying lately?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Strange, but it Works!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my family and I have had quite a few unexpected (and unprepared for) things going on over the last year or so.  As a result, our finances have become even tighter than usual.  AND as often happens, when things get tight, it seems like one thing after the other comes up that requires a cash outlay.  Well, we are in the midst of the one thing after the other cycle at the moment.  One of the "things" is the central unit in our home has gone out.  I had the "air conditioner repair guy" out this past week to check it out and it will take close to $600 to replace the part that needs to be replaced, which is totally out of the question for us at this time.   As a result, we have been trying to find ways to reduce the amount of heat we are generating in our home.  Some of the things we have been doing are: hanging all laundry outside (which we usually do anyway), using the crockpot more, have more cool/cold meals, keep lights off, and not using the stove except when absolutely necessary and then only in the early morning.

Today, my youngest son and I took aluminum foil and covered the windows on the back of our house and two of the windows that get a lot of sun on the front of our house.  I know that sounds strange and is probably not something most people would consider, but it really doesn't look as bad as it sounds and it immediately lowered the temp a few degrees. Since we live in a mobile home, located in a sunny location in the south,  I think, that the appearance of aluminum foil on the windows is definitely something I can live with until we can get our unit replaced.  Hopefully, that will happen sooner, rather than later ;-)

Since I have not been feeling well the last several days, and am having a few "hysterectomy related" issues I am not going to attempt a menu plan as such, for the week.  We will most likely be having quite a few salads (pasta, potato, lettuce), sandwiches (pulled pork, chicken salad, ham, turkey, etc) on a variety of breads (homemade, hoagie rolls, hamburger buns, etc.), grilled meats and veggies, crockpot potato wedges, and fruit and veggie trays.

Hopefully, I will begin to feel better soon and can step things up a bit around here.  There are soooo many things that need attention in the VERY near future.

Hope ya'll have a great week!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Menu Plan for Week of May 6, 2012

I have been very slack on menu planning the past several months and it seems that everytime I think I will get back on track with it life happens.  This time it's in the form of a complete hysterectomy for me.  I had the procedure done this past Thursday and am starting to feel pretty good, although I'm still a little weak and tired.   

During the couple of weeks leading up to my surgery, Amanda and I decided to get busy and cook enough meals to get us through the first couple of weeks.  Here's a look at the menu for this week:

Sunday -  pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, and chips

Monday - Taco chicken bowls with rice, chips, and green beans

Tuesday - Meat Loaf, peas, mashed potatoes, cornbread

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Chicken Enchiladas and tacos

Friday - Italian Chicken and steamed veggies

Saturday - Hamburgers

Breakfasts - cheese toast, hot and cold cereal, fruit, and smoothies

Lunches - leftovers, sandwiches, fruit, and soup

Snacks - fruit, smoothies, cookies, peanut butter and crackers

Amanda has had her hands full the past week or so taking care of her family of little ones and also taking care of me and all of the men folks at my house.  She has become a very capable young woman and has been willing to serve her family without complaint.  I am VERY proud of her. 

I am also thankful for the willingness of my husband and sons to pitch in and help do whatever they can to make things easier for her (and me).  I am very blessed. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Moving Along and Menu Plan

Although I haven't blogged much recently life has been moving along at a pretty steady pace around here.  Recently, we've been tackling a few projects that didn't get the attention needed during the last year.  One of those projects was completely redoing our strawberry bed.  It had gotten VERY out of hand, so this year we have just rebuilt it and started over.  I have some beautiful strawberry plants blooming right now and cannot wait to pick the first berries out of our "new" strawberry bed :)

My Dad also ordered some pecan, hazelnut, chestnut and apple trees that we were able to set out last weekend, as well as the usual mulching, weeding, trimming, rebuilding, etc. and so on that never seems to cease.  That's a good thing though, since I have been battling bouts of depression since my mother passed away.  It's nice to have something productive to focus on. 

Besides working on our little homestead, I have been caring for my Dad.  He broke his kneecap two weeks ago and has been having quite a bit of pain with that and since he is a very stubborn and independent man, he is definitely not taking care of it as he should.   I am very thankful that my children are all close by and able to help keep him company. 

I've also been working on trying to clean my house a little bit, since we are expecting a visit from Hannah this week.  Needless to say, Caleb is VERY excited that his "bride to be" is coming for a few days :-)   We are all looking forward to having time to get to know her better and to hear about all of the wedding plans she has in the works.    Since Hannah lives twelve hours away we haven't had time to get to know her as well as we would like, so her visits are always special to us as we learn to love her more each time she comes :-)

It's hard to believe that BOTH of my older boys are engaged and will be married by year end!  I am very thankful that God placed Godly young women in their lives and I am so excited for both of them. 

Heath's "bride to be" only lives a half hour from us so we have had the opportunity to really get to know her and she has been such a blessing to our family.   I LOVE the fact that she is willing to pitch in and help around the homestead and has great ideas to share. 

My boys are so blessed to have future mates that are so well suited to them.   As a mother, that means so much.

Well, I guess I have rambled on in a disjointed way long enough.  I guess I'll share our tentative menu for the week.  So here goes:

Menu plan for week of 3/11/2012 - 3/18/2012

Sunday - The band was in Arkansas so I didn't cook

Monday -  Taco soup with tortilla chips

Tuesday - Roast, potatoes, carrots, salad, bread

Wednesday - Chicken pilaf, salad, bread

Thursday - ham, potatoes, green beans, biscuits

Friday - chicken strips, crockpot potato wedges, baked beans

Saturday - Caleb's birthday so he gets to decide :-)

Sunday - Bar-b-que Chicken, crockpot sweet potatoes, peas, salad, and cornbread

Breakfasts - hot or cold cereal, fruit, smoothies, muffins

Lunches - leftovers, sandwiches, or soup

Snacks - peanut butter crackers, fruit, popcorn

Well, I guess that's it for now.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goal Setting

In January of last year I made a list of goals for myself that I felt sure I could reach by the end of the year.  The fact is I did reach quite a few of them before things got so crazy around here, but there were others (not all of them posted) that I did not reach and I realize now that in the grand scheme of things the goals I set really were not all that important anyway. 

The only problem for me is, that without goals, I tend not to accomplish much.  So, although they be a little late getting posted, here are my goals (at least some of them) for this year.

*Continue to draw closer to God (He is my comfort and strength)

*Spend more time in God's Word

*Be sure to let the people I love, KNOW that I love them

*To be more compassionate to others that are facing trials

*Be more of an encourager to those I meet everyday whether they be close family or mere acquaintances

*Continue to exercise and try to lose the 10 pounds I wanted to lose, but didn't this past year

*Continue working on our little homestead (more chickens, bigger garden, etc.)

*Enjoy my family more every day, because we never know how long we will have them

I'm sure as time passes my list will grow longer, but for now these are the ones that I plan to focus on.  I haven't taken time to read many blogs lately, but I'm looking forward to "catching up" with my blogging friends.  Hope everyone is having a great week.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back on Track

After a long and stressful eight months I finally feel as if I am getting back on track.  Ferrell has been able to focus on school a good bit the last two weeks, which is something that we have not had much time for in the last eight months.  Thankfully, he is disciplined enough that he has plugged along in spite of my absences and distractions. 

Today I am cooking big pots of dried beans for the freezer.  I had intentions of canning them, but decided this morning that I'm still not up to doing that.  I am, however, working on a few other things for the freezer which is something that I haven't taken time to do in months and I am really missing my freezer meals. 

Amanda and I went and took inventory of  Mama's freezer this week and found that there is quite a bit of stuff that we will be able to use for our families.  Daddy is thrilled that we will be using the things in the freezer, because he knows that he won't be cooking that much and really hates to see it all go to waste.  Since there were a couple of hams and a turkey in there I will definitely be including those items in some upcoming menus.  If I ever actually get around to planning a menu again :-) 

Well, I still haven't gotten back into the swing of blogging so I guess that's all for now.  Hope eveyone is having a great week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sheltered in the Arms of God

   by:  Dottie Rambo and Jimmie Davis

I feel the touch of hands so kind and tender
They're leading me in paths that I must trod
I have no fear when Jesus walks beside me
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God

So let the storms rage high, the dark clouds rise They won't worry me,
For I'm sheltered safe within the arms of God:
He walks with me, and naught of earth shall harm me,
For I'm sheltered in the arms of God

Soon I shall hear the call of Heaven's portals
"Come home, my child, it's the last mile you must trod";
I'll fall asleep and wake in God's new Heaven
Sheltered safe within the arms of God

This is a beautiful song and has so much meaning to me.  I guess I sort of claimed it as my theme song for the past several months.  Things have been tough around here since June, but it's such a comfort to know that God's comforting arms are holding me up and through each and every trial that we face.  There is NO WAY that I would survive without Him.  Praise God!