May 31, 2012

90 Day Bible Reading Challenge Begins Tomorrow

I am SOOOO excited about beginning the 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge and can not wait to begin!  I'd love to have more join with me.  I have one friend who already began the challenge, and one who is starting with me tomorrow!  Would you like to join?  Just let me know by commenting at the bottom or on my face book page.  Here are a few ideas to help this challenge be more effective to you:

1.  Begin with prayer.  Ask God to show you Himself through His Word.

2. Do not rush through the reading.  This really isn't about being able to say "I read the Bible in 90 days."  I want to make sure that everyone understands this.  Take the time to really soak in God's Word.  Each day, try to find one application from God's Word that you can carry with you the rest of the day.  My own personal goal is to write out one verse to carry with me through the day.  I would also like to try to list out the attributes of God as I see them in His Word.  You make your own goal though.  On the other hand...

3. You cannot analyze every verse and be successful in this challenge.  It will take a good hour to hour and a half to read each day.  This challenge isn't meant to be an in depth Bible study.  It is meant to provide you a quick, successive reading of the entire Bible so that you can grasp the "big picture" of all that God's Word has to offer you.

4. Set aside a specific time or times to fulfill your Bible reading.  My own times are during my morning quiet times and during my kiddos' afternoon quiet times.  Don't forget that Saturdays and Sundays are also included in this plan!  So, plan for reading times on weekends as well!

Here is the link to the 90 Day Bible Reading Plan that I will be using.  I'm so excited to begin this new challenge, and I will be praying for those of you who are joining me.  Let's be faithful stewards of our time this summer, and use it wisely to grow closer to Him!  

On a totally different note....I finished my kitchen curtains...well, for one window!  Someone who flies by the seat of her pants occasionally forgets to measure the window before purchasing the material.  That said someone stood at the counter for a good many minutes estimating and calculating and overall looking like she probably did not really have a clue as to what she was trying to do.  Said someone finally took the plunge and purchased the material and was literally inches short of having enough and so then had to go buy more material yesterday.  Yep...that's so me!!!  I LOVE the curtain I finished though!  It is so cute and exactly what I was looking for.  It adds so much pop to my kitchen, and believe me, I need a lot of pop to motivate me in my kitchen!  Here's a picture of my finished product! :)

Sorry about the bright spot in the middle.  Said person is not a very good photographer! :)  Not too shabby with the curtains, though! :)  

Today is catch up day for me!  We have had so much fun this last week, and I still have much to tell you about.  But I will save it for later.  I have lots of laundry to catch up on and plenty of housework calling my name.  Tomorrow is Mr. A's birthday, and then most of Saturday we will be celebrating at a wedding.  So, we still have much left to accomplish in this week!  

I pray you have a wonderful day celebrating the little things in life!   Don't forget to begin the 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge tomorrow!  Praying for you!

May 28, 2012

A Weekend Away

Well, for a family who was supposed to stay at home and get settled into a really good routine this summer, we are not doing so well!  The Mr. was offered a sweet deal for a job over the that paid for the family to tag along.  So, we quickly packed up and took off for an unexpected getaway.  Can I just's been fun, but I've decided that trying to keep up with five kiddos in new places is stressful and exhausting.  We have this one particular problem...our kids are used to being outside and running and shouting and playing and shouting and rough housing, and did I mention shouting, for hours every day.  Being cooped up in a hotel room is definitely not our family's ideal.  I've been waiting this entire weekend for the hotel desk to call and let us know that someone is complaining about the noise level on the third floor!  The Mr., on the other hand, sits back and laughs at them, riles them all up, then kisses me good bye and wishes me luck for the day!  

We have had a lot of fun though.  We went swimming in the indoor pool which was FREEZING!!!  I'm proud to say that I lasted an entire hour!!!  We took the kiddos to Chuck E. Cheese!  It was so cute watching the kids spend their coins.  They had seven each to spend, so the Mr. and I stressed to them that they didn't have many coins so choose wisely the games they wanted to play.  They walked around for an entire half hour trying to decide what they wanted to do, and then it still took them an hour to spend their coins because they didn't want to "waste them."  I was kind of impressed! :)  Who would have thought that four kiddos with only 30 coins could have so much fun for so long?  Last night, we took them to their favorite restaurant...ready for this?...CRACKER BARREL!!!  This is awesome because it's one of my favorites too!  Then, we went for another swim in the subzero pool. 

The entire purpose for coming has been for the Mr. to drive a semi and work a booth at bicycle races.  No, our family is not into bicycle races (the Mr. wants to make sure that is clear :) ), although they have been fun to watch.  He does side jobs for the company sponsoring these races, and so we have been able to go to the races and watch them.  The kids love being at the finish line, and let me tell you, even though we don't know one racer's name, my kids are cheering for them like they are best friends...cowbells, horns and all. If you ever need a cheering section, call my kids!  By the way, if someone offers your kids a knapsack full of free stuff at a bicycle race, walk away quickly.  I think everybody gives away cowbells, and if you will spend only 2 minutes with my kiddos and cowbells, your stress levels will quickly begin to rise as well!  

Pause here for a humorous story:  Mr. G was ringing away on the cowbell at the race, and the Mr. and I had had enough.  The Mr. told Mr. G to put it away.  Some guy walks up and begins to tell the Mr. about how this is a bicycle race and cowbells are a part of it.  Then, he walks a few feet away and starts talking to someone else.  So, the Mr. told Mr. G to go stand close to the guy and ring his cowbell.  After a couple of minutes, the guy looks at us with the most annoyed expression.  The Mr. waved and smiled....and told Mr. G to put away the cowbell. may not want to offer the Mr. too much advice.

Miss E, who enjoys all things performance, has thoroughly enjoyed watching the races and has become completely enthralled with the awards ceremony.  If this child does not become some kind of performer or director, I will be amazed!  Mr. A follows his Dad around everywhere, asks lots of logical questions about how things work and pitches right in with whatever job Dad is supposed to be doing.  We always receive so many comments about hard he works with his Dad.  He did have to sit in the semi for a little while while the Mr. was taking care of a few things.  The Mr. was interrupted from his work by someone who was looking for him to let him know that his "little boy" was hanging out the semi window hollering for him!  (Are you beginning to feel my stress?)  Apparently, Mr. A had a burning question about something he had seen and wanted to ask the Mr. about it "before he forgot."

Well, last but certainly not least, Miss M also had an experience.  As a little girl, I always walked in my sleep...a lot!  I've always wondered if any of my kiddos would do the same.  Up until now, none have, but alas....The second night we were in the hotel, I heard the latch click on the door.  I was dead asleep and almost rolled back over and talked myself into thinking it was someone else's door.  But, Miss M let out the slightest whimper, so I jumped out of bed, ran out the door, and found Miss M sitting in the middle of the hotel hallway with this dazed look on her face.  I called her name, but she never moved.  I finally went out in my PJ's (thankfully remembering at 2:30 AM to prop the door open) and picked her up and tucked her back into bed.  We made sure to latch the top of the door last night.

I would tell you about the newbie, but honestly, there isn't much to tell.  He is the most easy going, laid back, smiley-faced little guy.  He does nothing but eat, sleep, poop and smile....and for that, I am beyond thankful!  So, this is what a long weekend at a hotel with 5 kiddos and a crazy Mr. is like.  You know, we get all kinds of weird looks.  (I seriously never have to do a head count because there is always someone else walking by counting my kids for me!)  We get lots of criticism and a ton of "Good for you's" (with the look that says, "You are beyond insane!")!  But I am so thankful for the family God gave me.  It isn't perfect, and the truth be told, the Mr. and I are always trying to find that balance between letting kids be kids and obedience and responsibility (it seems especially elusive right now!)!  I remind myself, though, that I want my kids to love our family and to love the life God has given them.  So, I can stress the entire time and turn this family into quite the impressive little army who has no creativity or humor, or I can relax a little, enjoy the ride, and let my kiddos explore this great world and all that is in it. 

I think I will take a quick nap before the rat race begins again.  Don't forget to take the time today to tell our soldiers thank you for their service to us.  Teach this to your kids, too!  As our family is out and about today, we will be stopping to say thank you to the soldiers we see, and we'll try to make sure Mr. G doesn't bring the cowbells along.

May 24, 2012

Patience, Prayer and the Sewing Machine!

We are getting back into the swing of things here at our place!  I am glad to be settling back into a routine and am finally able to enjoy all the little things we accomplished in our home these last couple of months.  I have one more project left, and I am going to attempt to accomplish it today.  However, much to my dismay, it involves a sewing machine!!!  Yes, peoples, I am going to pull out the sewing machine and attempt to sew some very simple kitchen curtains.  I have looked and looked and looked for the "perfect color" in the stores and have given up.  So, today's them myself!  This is monumental for me because I'm doing it while the Mr. isn't here to help me out of my jams!  (Believe it or not, he probably does a better job than I do at sewing.  He sewed the zippers on my bridesmaid's dresses!)  A true test of Christ-likeness will take place here today! I avoid the sewing machine at all costs because it usually ends up being a comedy show for the Mr. (who laughs while I mumble under my breath, slam things around, talk rather loudly to an inanimate object, and finally stomp away!!!)!  I guess we'll see how it can tell I'm procrastinating, can't you?

This month in my quiet times, I have been reading the book A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus by Elizabeth George.  It is a very simple read, and there aren't a lot of new thoughts in it, but it has given many wonderful reminders of the Savior I am supposed to be like as I live out my every day life.  As if God knew what I had planned for the day, what chapter do you suppose I should read but the one entitled "Patience!" (I love God's sense of humor!)  This chapter pointed out the advantage that prayer brings when faced with the need for patience in a situation or with other people.  Many times, we speak or act before we even think...much less before we take the time to pray.  I was reminded today that I need to spend more time praying and less time reacting.  As we go through our days, let's make sure we stop and pray before we speak.  Those few seconds of prayer may save us from a lifetime of regret.  If you're looking for a simple read, you may want to check out the rest of this book.  It has definitely challenged me to be more like Jesus.

Well, I do believe I have procrastinated long enough...I'm off to pull out the sewing machine.  I'm being my usual idealistic self and hoping this will be quick and painless.   While I exercise much prayer and patience at the sewing machine, I'll wish you a day filled with blessings and laughter and love!  

May 21, 2012

What's Been in My Week and on My Heart!

What a wonderful last few days we've had here at our house!  I'm so thankful that I am blessed with a family that I actually enjoy having around!  As crazy as that sounds, I think it is becoming more and more unusual.  My parents and 3 of my brothers and sisters were well as my Grandpa and his wife!  We did a little sightseeing, some game playing, threw in some shopping, had lots of snuggle time and LOTS of Mountain Dew!  For me, one of the most special times was watching my Dad baptize my little girl...well, she's almost 9, but the older she gets, the more I think she'll just always be my little girl!  My mom, sisters, Miss E and I also enjoyed a crafty morning and finished decorating some picture frames for my Family Fun Hallway!  I can't wait to hang them up this afternoon!  I also loved talking with my PawPaw (aka Grandpa) who told us all kinds of stories about his life growing up.  He told us about a rolling store (who ever heard of such?), his sister holding onto the back of the car while he and his Dad were driving through town to the barber shop (I think she got into some big trouble for that one!), and how they used to have washday on the ranch!  I wouldn't mind going back to those days if I could take my washing machine...and my dishwasher...and my indoor plumbing...maybe I better just stay in 2012!

That's a little of what has been happening here.  My family left right around lunch time, and now we are preparing for the Mr.'s parents to arrive here this afternoon.  They "migrate" here for the summer, and we are looking forward to spending some time with them!  

This week, I hope to begin getting us back into a routine.  The house projects are all finished.  We have some outdoor projects we would like to work on, but for the most part, I think we are going to use this summer to work on self discipline (in the parents and kiddos).  Our goal this summer is to slow down and focus on the important things in life: our personal relationships with Jesus and our relationships with each other and others.  I think that we humans get so caught up in what the world expects from us that we forget what God expects, and our family is guilty too!  I encourage you to take some time this summer and evaluate your lifestyle.  Are things crazy?  Is your relationship with Jesus the most important thing in your life?  Do you even have time for a quiet time with God each day?  We make time for the things we believe to be most important.  According to the way you have spent your time this last month, what is most important in your life?  I's not pleasant to ask questions like that, but it is necessary.  So as our family digs in and begins working in this area, would you like to join us?  Like-mindedness and accountability make these goals so much more achievable and sustainable.  I'm praying that as we begin our journey this summer, it will open our family up to some amazing and radical changes, and that we will become the family who lives out their Christianity in such a way that it will be able to do nothing other than point others to Jesus Christ!  What is your prayer for your family this summer?  God can do so much more with people who are willing and open and full of faith.  I pray that I will become that kind of person!   I have a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of me, but I know it will be worth it all when I reach Heaven and finally see my Jesus! 

May 16, 2012

A Late Tummy Tempting Tuesday!

Hi!  Just thought I'd leave you with a quick recipe!  This is one of my favorite company recipes because all the prep is done ahead of time, and it looks and tastes like you worked fabulously hard on it (even though you didn't)! ;)  Hope you're able to try it out soon!  I'll not be around for the rest of the week - not that I've been around much anyway lately... I am looking forward to my family arriving this evening and spending time with them!  LET THE SUMMER BEGIN!!! :)


1/2 cup olive oil 
3 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried minced onion
2 tsp. fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp. ground mustard
2 pork tenderloins (1 lb. each)
2 lb. small red potatoes, quartered

In a small bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients.  Place the pork in a large shallow baking pan.  Drizzle with 3/4 of the herb mixture.  Toss potatoes with remaining herb mixture. (I also add more salt to the potatoes at this time.) Place around pork.

Bake, uncovered, at 375* for 40-45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160* and potatoes are tender.  Let pork stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Yield: 6-8 servings

May 14, 2012

90 Day Bible Reading Challenge

I'm just gonna be honest here.  I really have nothing too inspiring to write about...haven't had anything for a month now.  I find cleaning my house from top to bottom fairly uninspiring! :)  But, I do have plans for this summer...some big and some little.  I thought I'd share one of them with you today, and see if you would like to join me.

I have heard of several people in the last year who have read through the Bible in 90 days, and I have tried it before but was interrupted by pregnancy with the newbie!  I love the idea, though, and so many have talked about the wonderful perspective it adds.  So....I'm going to try it again, and I would love for some of you to come along with me.

Please understand that in order to do this you will need to read approximately 12 chapters each day which, depending on how quickly you read, could take anywhere from 1-2 hours each day - 7 days every week.  It is a big commitment, and I'm not sure that I will even be able to stay on target the whole way through, but I am determined to try and to stay as close to 90 days as possible.  I may not finish in 90 days, but I will finish!  Again, my ever present motto: I may not accomplish all of it, but I will accomplish more than if I had never set a goal at all.    

Down below, I have attached a 90 Day Bible Reading Plan which I will be following.  Take a look at it and see what you think.  I will be starting June 1.  For me, summer is easier because I'm not so consumed with homeschooling.  I do understand that this may not be the best time for you.  So, if it isn't, maybe bookmark this calendar and save it for a time when it will work.  If you would like to join me in this challenge, leave a comment below (or on my face book page for those of you who catch my blog from there).  If no one else joins, that's OK.  I still plan on posting each Friday a little bit about where I am and what I am gaining from the experience in hopes of being accountable and encouraging others to take up the challenge when they can.  I am looking forward to it and cannot wait to learn and grow this summer as a result of this challenge! 

For now, I'm off to finish up my girls' wooden letters that we are painting/decorating with their names!  So far, they are super cute, and we are hoping to hang them tonight!  Happy Monday to all of you! I hope you've taken the time today to remember that God loves YOU and to count all the ways He has shown you this love!

90 Day Bible Reading Plan  FYI: It is in bookmark form so that you can print it out and keep it in your Bible.  It is a little difficult to read on the computer screen, but once you print it out, it isn't too bad! 

May 11, 2012

Two Special Moms

Sorry to have been so MIA here lately.  We have been busy on top of busy this last week, but it has been a satisfyingly good busy to see so many things being marked off that ugly old to-do list!  We still have several major yard projects that we would like to do, but we are going to save those for next month.  I think we have been able to do all of the inside projects. Now, I just need to catch up on the laundry...I see another marathon in the near future! UGH!

I could not let Mother's Day pass by without saying a special "I love you" to my Mom.  I'm so thankful that God gave me a Mom who put her family before herself.  My mom had six of us heatherns, and I really don't ever remember her raising her voice or complaining or asking us to give her a break! :)  I do remember her swatting me on the behind with a hairbrush a couple of times, but I'm sure it was much deserved! :)  My Mom is the most patient person I know.  I always think of her when I'm about ready to go AWOL!  Every day that I am a Mom, I appreciate my Mom even more.  I realize how much she sacrificed so that she could help me become who I am today.  I'm so thankful that my Mom chose to go above and beyond what society expected from a mom, and instead, lived by what God expected.  I love you, Mom, and I'm so glad God gave me to you!

I also cannot let  Mother's Day go by without saying a special "thank you" to my Mother-in-law!  Just like my Mom, she devoted her time to raising six other heatherns, and one of them turned out perfect...well, almost! :)  He's perfect for me in every way, and I can't imagine my life without my sweet Mr.  I'm so thankful for the time that my MIL invested into her him, teaching him, loving him.  Without her, I would definitely not have the Mr. I have today, and so I say a big thank you.  As I am raising my sons, I am often reminded that I am investing my life not only into them, but also into the lives of their future wives.  I pray that my influence will be just as lasting and as sweet as my MIL's has been! 
By the way, I also have to mention that I have the greatest Dad in the world who sent me the sweetest Mother's Day card that made me cry....just like he does every year! :) Happy Mother's Day to all of you mommies out there!  I pray you have a wonderful weekend with your family.  Take the time to count your little blessings!  They are everywhere and in everything if we'll only look.

May 1, 2012

Ham with Apple Raisin Sauce

Another gorgeous sunshiny day here, and we are crossing things off the to-do list!  I am so happy to be almost done with all this house stuff!  I think by tomorrow at lunch, I will have crossed off all the yuckiest of chores and will only have a few, not so bad, ones left...YAY!  I'm hoping that by Saturday we will have one sparkling clean, organized house.  And can I just say one more time.... I LOVE MY KITCHEN FLOOR!!! Okay...I'm done! :)

Time for another Tummy Tempting Tuesday Recipe.  Here's a recipe that makes you look like a fancy schmancy cook....even if you aren't! :)  (I love these kind of recipes!)

Ham with Apple Raisin Sauce

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 large oven roasting bag
4 medium tart apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups apple juice
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 boneless fully cooked ham (about 6 lbs.)

Shake flour in the oven roasting bag.  Place in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan.  Place the apples, apple juice, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon in the bag; mix well.  Place ham in bag.  Close bag.  Cut 1/2-in. slits in top of bag.
Bake at 325* for 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 140*.  Let ham stand for 10 minutes before slicing.   Serve with sauce.  Yields: 16 servings.