Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tantilizing Tuesday - Fruit Soup

I have been wanting to try this recipe ever since I read about it on the blog, Just Another Day in Paradise (which is totally awesome all-around, by the way). Anyhow, I got the ingredients for it yesterday when it was still hot and summery, but made it today when it has overnight turned rainy and fall. I think this would likely be a far better summer soup, but it was still pretty darn amazing.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 4.5. I was expecting the 'broth' to a bit thicker, but the taste was really refreshing. My kids are taking some to Mima's house tomorrow to have for breakfast, and I plan to have some as well. Quite nummy, and healthy as well!

Fruit Soup
1 1/2 c. water
1/3 c. sugar
5 T. minute tapioca
9 oz frozen orange juice concentrate
3 c. water
5 oz. frozen blueberries
5 oz. frozen blackberries
3 c. sliced strawberries
4 large oranges, sectioned (if you, like me don't know how to secion an orange, check out this tutorial... it was actually lots easier than it looks!
3 bananas, sliced

1) Combine 1.5 c. water, sugar, and tapioca and heat over medium high. Bring to a boil and, stirring constantly, cook until thick and opaque.

2) In a large bowl, mix OJ concentrate, remaining 3 c. of water, and warm tapioca mixture. Whisk well. Add berries and oranges.

3) Chill until ready to serve. Add bananas right before serving.

Monday, August 30, 2010

MTM meets FHE - Feeding 5,000

Today we took it a bit simple here with our MTM meets FHE. We had our dinner, read our Bible story, and talked about the lesson. Today we learned about when Jesus fed 5,000. The kids thought that was a LOT of people and were pretty amazed by the whole story.

Muffin Tin contents: Watermelon heart because Jesus loved the people so much, cinamon and tortilla Jesus (or as Tabby said, "Gingerbread Jesus"), bread, lots of goldfish (we didn't quite reach 5,000), and apple and cheese people.

On a side note, I have no idea why my picture is crooked - I can't get it to face the correct way!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - The Creation

Today's Sunday School lesson (as well as one of the talks in church) was on the Creation. It really is phenomenal when you think about it. Creation is SO vast. Every once in a while I look around and think that with all this amazing stuff around us (and in us) how can anyone *not* believe? Here's a montage of some images I found that really remind me of just how amazing His creation is...

Scrappin' Saturday - Card Craze

So, I was going to do a scrapbook page, but decided instead to work on getting caught up on my book cards that I am *way* behind on. Each month Laura and I read a book and create a card based on the book. We have little albums of these cards, starting about 5 years ago. Well, I'm over 12 months behind on my cards!!! Yes, its a shame, I know. So I started working on them. I got several done, but then I couldn't remember what other books we'd read! Once I figure that out I'll get some more done!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Family Fun Times Friday - All You Need is Each Other

Sometimes there's nothing quite as nice as just relaxing together as a family. Today I picked the kids up a bit early from school and they played outside while I fired up the BBQ. We had a nice dinner out on the porch and then watched Pippi. Good times, just the 3 of us... It was a good reminder that you don't need a lot of activities or things to make a good time - you just need each other.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thinking Cap Thursday - iTunes U

So, this post is more about learning about learning, rather than just learning. (Uh...does that even come close to making sense?!) Anyhow, my step-mom recently told me about iTunes U. It is a huge collection of lectures, information, videos, etc. from universities and other educational institutes. The best part? Its totally, 100% free. Yup! Just click on the iTunes U link at the top of your iTunes store, and pretty soon you'll be knee deep in stuff to learn about! One of the ones I saw had 12 1-hour lectures, lecture notes, and an entire textbook! Seriously, that's as intense as taking a college class! I spent a good hour browsing today, and I'm downloading some things on bipolar children, something called the Hope Project, and next I'll probably grab some lectures on Greek mythology! Sooo cool, and what a great way to keep your brain in shape! Maybe next Thursday you'll be hearing about what I've learned so far! Keep those thinkin' caps on!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday - Surprise!

So here is what made me SUPER happy today... I drove up to my house and what did I see on my front porch?

What's that?!?! Could it be?!??
Oooooh yes, it most certainly could be. It most certainly IS! The book I've been waiting months to be released, that I've had preordered for weeks...its finally here, in my possession, just waiting for the kids to go to sleep so I can read!

To all my coworkers - if I'm a bit incoherent tomorrow, its probably because I was up all night reading.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tantilizing Tuesday - Maple Glazed Salmon

Tonight's new recipe - taken from allrecipes.com, with a few of my own alterations... I served mine with cous-cous, carrots, and grapes.

On a scale of 1 (uck) to 5 (awesome-ness!) I would rate this dish a 3. The fish flavor was a bit strong, and there wasn't as much maple flavor as I'd like. I was pretty neutral on it, although, both my kids really liked it.

Maple Glazed Salmon
3/4 c. maple syrup
3 T. soy sauce
2 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs salmon

1) Mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
2) Line a pan with foil. Place salmon in foil and cover with glaze.
3) Marinate salmon for 8-10 minutes each side.
4) Cook salmon in foil packet at 425 for approximately 15 minutes, or until it can be flaked with a fork.

Monday, August 23, 2010

MTM meets FHE - Noah

Here's our first Muffin Tin Mondays meets Family Home Evening posting (although we've been doing them for several weeks now). The kids really love this tradition, and look forward to all aspects of the evening - the fun dinner, the Bible story, and the activity. Tonight we learned about Noah. We had 'rainbow' dinners, which was a bit untraditional, as we didn't eat out of our muffin tins. We just ate out of the liners! We read the story of Noah out of their children's Bible and talked about God's promise in the rainbow. We did two crafts. One was a ribbon rainbw, which honestly turned out rather dorky. Then we did rainbow rocks. I'd seen the idea on the blog eighteen25, and it was really cool! I wish we'd had more rocks - I think we'll do this craft again someday! The kids now have a visual reminder in their little rocks of God's promise. Another MTM FHE success!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Making a Home for God

Let me start this post off by saying that I missed church today. To make matters worse, this is the third Sunday in a row that I have missed church. I started out the day feeling a bit spiritually empty. I’ve been feeling this way lately, like I haven’t been hearing or feeling God as much as I want to.

I was also feeling very overwhelmed this morning because of the state of my house. It had been spiraling downward for the entire week, and looked like someone had detonated a bomb inside, sending toys, clothes, and dishes flying everywhere. Just looking around made this already drained momma sink into a funk that bordered on depression.

When I was a teenager, my mom used to tell me that the way we presented ourselves to the world was a representation of how we were on the inside. If this is true (and I believe it is), then my internal self must have been feeling disorganized, scattered, and…well, dirty. I was reminded of the saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” From the looks of my house (and the feelings in my spirit), I wasn’t doing so hot on the Godliness scale.

So, I decided to spend my Sunday cleaning. At first I was conflicted, because I’d already failed to make it to church. I didn’t want to also fail to keep the Sabbath holy. Then I was reminded of a conversation I once had with an elder, who told me that the Sabbath should be anything we do that brings us closer to the Lord. You may wonder at the ability for cleaning to bring me closer to the Lord, but I swear…by the time my laundry was folded and I had the dishes in the dishwasher, I was humming hymns and my soul felt uplifted.

This got me wondering…is cleanliness really next to Godliness? Is there doctrinal truth to this?

In the book “Eat, Pray, Love,” author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks extensively about the similarities between the different world religions. While there are many differences among them, most major religions from Islam to Buddhism, from Native American spirituality to Christianity, share the same major concepts such as love, compassion, and service to others. Amazingly enough, when I researched it, the major world religions also have common ground when it comes to cleanliness.

Be it in the body, the home, the mind, or the soul, religions world-wide advocate for being pure and clean. One Hindu text, the Srimad Bhagavatam, states: “Penance, cleanliness, compassion and truthfulness [tapas, s'auca, dayĆ¢, satya] are the legs that established the age of truth.” Buddhism stresses the importance of personal purification and cleanliness. Native American sweat lodges are often used for spiritual cleansing. They also, by their very nature, are a form of physical cleansing, as the body rids itself of toxins through sweating.

Further, Islam focuses strongly on the aspect of cleanliness. As Islamic-world.net states, “Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness, in both its physical and spiritual aspects. On the physical side, Islam requires the Muslim to clean his body, his clothes, his house, and the whole community, and he is rewarded by God for doing so… While people generally consider cleanliness a desirable attribute, Islam insists on it, making it an indispensible fundamental of the faith. A Muslim is required to be pure morally and spiritually as well as physically.” The Qur’an requires cleanliness, stating: “Alla loves those who to turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean” (2:22).

In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah says, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:16). In Ezekiel 36:25-26, it says, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

In Doctrines and Covenants, the Lord said, “Let all things be done in cleanliness before me” (42:41), and “Set in order your houses; keep slothfulness and uncleanness from you” (90:18).

And friends, I could go on and on and on…

It seems to me that cleanliness, then, is no small issue. No matter the religion or belief system, the importance of being pure in heart and physically clean is stressed. This makes sense.

God is a God of order. He is not a God of chaos or disarray or disorganization. And this God of order created us too! In His image! To be in union with Him! Wouldn’t it make sense then, that if He is a God of order, and if He craves cleanliness, that we would innately do so too? Moreover, God is perfect. He is pure and blameless; the complete antithesis of dirty! If we are striving to be like Him, it seems we would strive to be clean.

Moses 6:57 says, “No unclean thing can dwell in the presence of God.” Where is God to go if my house, my heart, my soul is not clean for Him? How am I supposed to commune with Him if I have not prepared a place?

We have been called to be stewards and caretakers of this earth, of this creation (another universal concept across religions). This means we are to keep the earth clean, to help it run smoothly, and to maintain a system of order across it. If we are to do this with the earth, then it can only be expected that we should do this in our own homes as well.

And if we are to do it in our own homes, you best be certain we are to do it in our hearts and spirits too.

You may think it strange, but I am looking at my laundry in a new way now. I am looking at my housework as a way to show God I care enough to create a home where He is welcome. I am showing Him that I respect his commandments. I am creating a space where I can be with God. My house is becoming an outward expression of what I hope my heart is…welcoming, inviting, and full of room for God to come in, take a seat, and start talking.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Start Living...

Here's what I have planned for you! Starting on Monday, August 23rd, this is what you can expect to find on this blog!

MONDAY: Muffin Tin Mondays meets Family Home Evening (aka Kid-Portioned Bible Stories)
TUESDAY: Tantilizing Tuesday (New recipe each week!)
WEDNESDAY: Wonderful Wednesday (Something from my day that made me happy)
THURSDAY: Thinkin' Cap Thursday (Let's learn something!)
FRIDAY: Family Fun Times Friday (An activity to do with the kidlets)
SATURDAY: Scrappin' Saturday (A new page each week!)
SUNDAY: Spiritual Sunday (Something to uplift)


My blog needs a makeover. No, let's be broader here. *I* need a makeover. In every sense of the word. I need a physical makeover. I need a spiritual makeover. I need a makeover of my life. Its not a bad thing, no heartaches or catastrophes. Just a deep realization that this is not all I want out of life.

It started like this...one night as I was laying on the couch watching some low-budge movie off of Netflix, I sighed. Nothing was wrong, and even given the budget, the movie was half-way decent. But there I was again, one more night, laying on the couch watching a movie.

I have an entire armoire (plus a plastic tote, plus a rolling cart, plus to sets of drawers - yes, its bad) of paper-crafting supplies. Yet, aside from gifts, I cannot remember the last time I did scrapbooking. I can say with certainty there has been none in the last 3 or 4 months. Granted, its not as fun to scrapbook now that I don't have Zack to come home and show my pages too. But what about ME? I've forgotten the joy of creating something beautiful out of scraps of paper and glue.

I have a whole notebook of recipes I have been collecting (and continue to collect - I'm a sucker for food magazines), yet have wearing out the same tried and true few with the excuse of "its no fun when the only people you're cooking for are four and five." Granted, that's true. They have the same reaction if I make mac-n-cheese for the 3rd time in the week, or if I spend two hours on a home-made stew and bread. But what about ME? I've forgotten the joy of cooking a delightful meal for my very own tastebuds.

And then there are the other things like reading my scriptures, doing Bible story each night with the kids, excercising, keeping my house how I like it, etc that seem to have just fallen by the wayside.

I am superb at planning. Its a natural gift. I can set goals, plan things, lay everything out, and have the BEST intentions. But when it comes to follow-thru, well, I kinda suck.

So, I'm making this blog my accountability. I'm going to pretend I have readers out there that are depending on me. That want to read what I write and are somewhere out there saying their own little cheer for me. Heck, maybe I do have those readers! If not, maybe by the end of this adventure, I will.

Here's what I'm going to do. I will post something every night. And every night I will do something that makes me feel a bit better about myself. Every morning I will wake up a little earlier (I may have to disable my snooze button!) to read my scriptures and to work out (you can track my weight loss journey at my new blog, MILF in the Making).

I am going to stop being, and start living.

And I'm taking YOU along for the ride.