27 August 2011

It means...

We are officially starting our second week of school on Monday! Yippee! I think we all were ready to go back to the school-swing of things. This time of year always brings with it changes. Some good, some not so good. But that's okay - we'll take it all!

For me, it means....

...we are forced into a routine. I love it!!! I love going to bed at the same time, getting up at the same time.... Just put me in a rut and I'll be happy! :)

...cleaning out closets! Why do I love getting rid of stuff? I love getting hand-me-downs and giving hand-me-downs! The moms in our church are great about passing stuff around and helping each other out - it makes me smile when I think about it!

... planning for Daniel's birthday. When I noticed that some of the milk in the grocery store expired AFTER his birthday, I knew it was time to kick it into high gear. Why do I always procrastinate these things?

...my flower garden and mini-vegetable garden have gone to pot. Travis and I sat on the swing and found ourselves both staring at the ugliness that we call a flower bed. We both agree we need to do something. Actually, he implied that I need to do something. Sooo...

Image taken from Google Image
Hmm. I like this look. Maybe I can talk my brother-in-law to helping me copy this look. If I try it by myself, we'll still be looking at ugliness this time next year.

... thinking about Halloween costumes and Christmas. Don't ask me why planning a birthday party intimidates me, but I'll start making notes about costumes and gifts. I'm thinking maybe a zebra in a tutu for Addie (I can picture it; that's all that matters! :D), and, if the boys have a say in it, then it's Star Wars costumes for them. Christmas means that International Delight will have Vanilla Spiced Rum creamer back in stores (!!!), and I need to start thinking of a better place to hide presents (because of this incident).

Well, enough for now. It's past my scheduled bedtime!

17 August 2011

Attention Kroger Shoppers

If you shop at Kroger, then there's a good possibility that you have a boneless pork loin in your freezer. Kroger puts them on sale for $1.99 at least once a month it seems. And while I do love a good pork roast (with Aunt Sue's being our very favorite around here - you can find it in the Hilltop cookbook), it's also become necessary to find other ways to serve pork. Especially if you have a pork loin hanging out in your freezer on most days! So please let me introduce you to a good recipe for pulled pork sandwiches. It's easy and my kids clean their plates when we have it!

2 1/2 T of dark-brown sugar
1 T paprika
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin (I love the stuff, so I add more.)
1 t black pepper
1 boneless pork loin, about 2 lbs., trimmed
1 cup chicken broth (or throw a chicken bouillon cube in a cup of water and microwave it)
2 T cider vinegar
2 T ketchup

Stir together 1 T of sugar, the paprika, chili powder, cumin and pepper. Put the spices on a plate and roll the pork around in it. Save the spices that do not "stick."

Pour the chicken stock in a crock pot, put the pork in, and pour the leftover spices in with them.
Cook on low for 8 hrs., or on high for 6 hrs. Remove pork and cut into large chunks. While the pork is cooling, ladle most of the juices into a sm. saucepan. Stir in remaining sugar, ketchup and vinegar. Cook on med. for about 2 minutes. Use your hands to shred the pork, and then mix in the sauce. Use a slotted spoon to place the meat on (sesame) buns.

These sandwiches pair well sweet potato wedges or the Ore Ida sweet potato fries (which are yummy, by the way).

12 August 2011

Simple picture, simple choice

Sometimes the simplest pictures can have the most impact. Such as chubby little baby feet. Is there a simpler picture of vulnerable, sweet new life? Then there's the image of a long green snake writhing and twisting its way through blades of thick green grass. Is there a better picture of age-old enmity, deception, and danger?

In I John 2:1 and Revelation 12:10, God uses two words that create an illustration of what takes place before Him in Heaven. In Revelation, the Bible calls Satan the "accuser of the brethren." John Phillips points out that in this case, Satan doesn't have to do what comes naturally to him: pervert the truth to spew out lies. Unfortunately, he has only to stand before God and tell the truth about us.

However, I John gives us a very crucial detail of what is taking place on the other side of the throne room. Christ, who sits at the right hand of the Father, the Judge of all the universe, presents Himself as our Advocate. He knows the truth about us. He sees our sin. But he has made himself our substitute. He became our Righteousness and is the believer's constant Advocate before God.

Knowing I have an Advocate with the Father, despite my sin and despite my failures, is so very comforting. What a relief to remember that there is One who stands in my stead and defends me against Satan's accusations.

But while this picture brings comfort to me, it also brings conviction. For when I accuse, am critical, or fault-finding with others, I am being like Satan, the Accuser. What a horrid thought! How often have I found myself so quickly seeing someone's faults or assuming I know the motive for their actions?

But there is another way. When I seek to forgive and forget, or choose to overlook a fault ("love covers a multitude of sins"), I am like Christ, my Advocate. In Feminine Faces, Clovis Chappell states "Satan is supreme in his mistrust of men, Jesus is supreme in his faith. Denied, betrayed, crucified, he tumbled the responsibility for his church upon human shoulders and declared that the gates of hell would not prevail against it." How wonderful to know that God extends grace to the humble, using those who are malleable, despite all their deficiencies, flaws, and failures!

The picture of Satan railing for judgment against believers while Christ so graciously advocates for them simply illustrates the choice that I have. Who will I be like? The Accuser or my Advocate? Will I seek judgment or extend grace? It may not be a simple action, but it is a simple choice.

***This post is linked to Inspired to Action's Motivation Monday

02 August 2011

Cousin Fun

The cousins came to visit from Oklahoma. And according to my kids, summer fun doesn't get much better than this. All the cousins at Grandpa and Grandma's house, trips to Marbles Museum and the beach, ice cream sundaes, and catching lots of bugs. And, of course, a good fight or a good cry here and there just to let off some steam - the method chosen depending on whether the participant catches bugs or wears bows.

So, here's some pictures of our cousin fun.

This picture is rather true to life.

Savannah and the water. This activity ended in two soaked little girls and the end of our day at Marbles!

Addie in the mini-garden at Marbles.

The boys and duck races.

Colton, Daniel, and the Cricket. Daniel longs for the day when he'll have his own pet. So he tries to satisfy his longing with pet bugs. It's really sad! :D

Some cousin love.

More cousin love.

And Addie's had enough.

All in the same evening, from crying to laughing so quickly!

The next few pictures deserve a little more explanation. We went to the beach for a day. And being the spontaneous women that we are (hahaha! if you know me), we took off without checking the weather. The ocean was the roughest I have ever seen it, and we experienced what felt like a mini-sandstorm! But we were not to be deterred! We made those kids have fun! Okay, so not really. The girls weren't so thrilled. But the boys couldn't have cared less! They had fun playing at the very edge of the ocean, while I looked on nervously; playing in the sand; and throwing our belongings at the twenty-odd seagulls that tried to attack us as we ate lunch. On a positive note, we got a kick out of being the lunchtime entertainment for our fellow beach bums. It definitely gave us something to laugh about!

At the end of the day, Thomas tried to get away from the flying sand.

Calling it a day!

Now, we'll have to start planning our Fall version of Cousin Fun! Suggestions welcome. :)