Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Fruits!

Look what Josh brought in from the garden yesterday!!!!  I'm so excited!  And I bet my sister hasn't even planted her garden yet!  ;) 

Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. 
For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. 
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house:
thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
~Psalm 128:1-4

Enchilada Lasagna

Since Lainie twisted my arm (LOL!), I am going to post the recipe for the Enchilada Lasagna that was a big hit at my house last night!  Here it is:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I used 2 pounds)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can enchilada sauce (I used mild)
1 to 2 tsp ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (4% milkfat)
3 cups shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend
8 flour tortillas, cut in half (I used whole wheat)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain grease.  Stir in the diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce and cumin.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat; simmer uncovered for ~20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine egg and cottage cheese; set aside.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Layer ingredients in this order:

1/3 of the meat sauce
half of the shredded 4-cheese blend
half of the tortilla pieces
half of the cottage cheese mixture

Repeat layers.  End with the remaining meat sauce and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Uncover, and bake 10 minutes longer, or until bubbly.  Let stand for ~15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Credit:  This recipe is from the June/July 2010 issue of Taste of Home; however, I changed the wording slightly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

With being out of town the previous weekend, I didn't get a chance to plan my menus for last week, and it did make my week a good bit more harried!  So, I was determined to get a plan in place for this week!  I am a little late posting it, but here it is:

Sunday -- Chicken Cacciatore, Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread

Monday -- Enchilada Lasagna (from June/July issue of Taste of Home), Tossed Salad, Orange Slices, Chips and Salsa 

Tuesday -- Parmesan Tilapia, Orzo Pasta, Summer Saute (zucchini, yellow squash, vidalia onions, and red bell pepper sauteed in olive oil and butter)

Wednesday -- Eat at church/Leftovers for those at home

Thursday -- Baked Pork Chops, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, Carrots

Friday -- Poppyseed Chicken Salad (from June/July issue of Taste of Home), Baked Potatoes with sour cream

Saturday -- A Family Cookout to celebrate Taylor's birthday!  Hamburgers and all the fixins!

What's on your menu for this week??  Click here to see more menu ideas.

We just finished eating the Enchilada Lasagna from TOH and it was Delicious!  All of the children agreed that I should make it again, and I definitely will!  In fact, I can't wait for lunch tomorrow to have some of the leftovers!  :)  Here is a picture of it to tantalize your taste buds!  Let me know if you want the recipe and I will post it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Price is Right!

Today on our way home from church, we spotted a bookcase and a desk sitting at the end of someone's driveway waiting to be claimed.  **FREE**   As soon as we got home, the boys quickly loaded up in the truck and went back to "adopt" the abandoned furniture.  Josh had been watching the classifieds for a desk and Taylor had need of the bookcase!  Praise God for His provision!

Hmmm . . . is it just me, or it does look like Josh was enjoying directing the work while Tay and Joe provided all of the muscle????   ;)

Disclaimer:  Please ignore messy garage and admire FREE furniture!  :)

Now, we just need to figure out where to put our new acquisitions!

Tappy Saturday

Saturday morning at 7 am, I slipped out of the house, leaving the rest of the family snuggled in their beds, and headed north 2 1/2 hours to attend a T-Tapp workshop. 

I was excited about meeting a fellow homeschooling, T-Tapping mother, Anita (front row, right), and looked forward to learning ways to improve my form to increase my inch loss.

Here is a picture of the workshop participants after T-Tapping for three hours!!!

I'm surprised any of us were still standing!!!   The first two hours weren't too bad, but that last hour was a real Killer! 

Here is a picture of T-Tapp trainers Kristen and Kathy, who were the ones responsible for our torture who helped us take our form to the next level!

They did a great job, and none of us left with a muscle unworked!!!!    :)

Here is Kristen's T-Tapp success story and here is Kathy's.  Every time I think it is hopeless to reshape my body and am tempted to give up, I always go back and read Charlotte's story!  Now a trainer, she is definitely my Inspiration and my Hero!!!

If you're thinking about giving T-Tapp a try, there's still time to take advantage of one of the May specials:

Or grab a copy of Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes for some inspiring summer reading.  Now that I'm too sore to move, I think it would be a great time for me to re-read my copy!!   :)


Friday, May 21, 2010

Class of 2010 Takes Flight

Tonight was Sherwood Christian Academy's graduation.  It is hard to believe that this time last year Taylor was graduating.  Where does a year go??

This picture shows Taylor and his buddy, Pete.  They played basketball and football togther and shared many of the same classes during their sophomore, junior and senior years.

Can you see how proud Joe is of Abby, who was the Valedictorian for the class of 2010?   She gave the best Valedictorian address I've ever heard!  Congratulations Abby!

Abby and her brother, Jared.

Abby and her family celebrate her accomplishments!

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint."  -- Isaiah 40:31. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One Down, Nineteen to Go!

Bethany has been keeping herself busy wiggling and wiggling her three loose teeth and she was finally rewarded with a cute little gap in her smile!    Matt wanted to pull her tooth for her!  Isn't that sweet?  So, I wiggled it a couple times and gave it a good little push and then let Matt finish it off!  :)    Isn't that a priceless smile?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Every little girl dreams of being a bride.

And every little boy dreams of his first car.

Joshua's dreams came true today. 

Well, it may not exactly be his "dream car," but Josh did buy his first set of wheels!  It was a Big Day for him!  And for Alan -- to get one of those expensive under-25-males off of his insurance policy and onto their very own!!!!    :)

Here is his new car.  Don't be fooled by the fact that it looks a lot like a Honda Civic!   ;)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Celebrations and Catching Up

I am sorry for being MIA over here!! 

Last week was just Full to Overflowing!!!  We celebrated Mother's Day, my hubby's birthday, and our anniversary.  Then, we went to SC over the weekend to celebrate our former pastor's 80th birthday!   I also spent many hours on the computer putting together Joshua's high school transcript, designing and printing his graduation announcements, and designing and printing invitations for my parent's 50th anniversary celebration.  In addition, I took my MIL to the doctor and helped her with some errands, and accomplished a few other things that generally occupy the time of a homeschooling momma of many!  ;)

After catching up with dear friends and family this weekend, which was Wonderful, I am now home and trying to catch up around here!  I just hate that feeling of having a huge list of things that all need done at once!!  It is amazing how you can get so behind from just being out of town for three days!!  I have laundry to catch up on, many emails to wade through, the fridge to clean out and menus to plan and shop for, and of course, I want to catch up on my blog posts.  And wasn't I in the middle of a series on character or something??!??   ;)

I'll try to get caught up here by hitting a few highlights from last week!

I love this picture of me surrounded by my younger children, opening my package that came in the mail on Monday.  It contained my special Mother's Day present from the children -- the Pyramid Picture!  Did you see it??

This picture was taken Friday morning.  It shows what I saw when I walked into my bathroom --- a message on my mirror from my honey!!  Isn't he sweet and creative?!?

And here is a picture of Alan and me on our way out to dinner to celebrate 27 wonderful years of marriage!  After dinner, we went to Starbucks for coffee and uninterrupted conversation! 

Let me tell you ladies -- I have been so blessed!  No, my husband is not perfect, but he is a Faithful, Loyal, Hard-Working, Honest, Man of Integrity.  God blessed me far more than I deserved when He brought him into my life!!

Saturday morning we left for SC.  I took my camera with me -- but didn't take it out much!  I wish I had remembered to take more pictures while we were there, but I didn't.  I do have these two pictures of Bethany and Matt in front of my parent's house:

And this picture of my Dad and my daughter, Ashlyn, enjoying our delicious Sunday dinner.  My mom made Beef Burgundy, and it was scrumptious!

We got home about 3:00 Monday afternoon and hit the ground running!  As soon as we unloaded the van, Alan went to work; Taylor left for a job interview; Josh went to teach a swim lesson; and I took Matt to his last baseball game and end-of-the-season team party.  His team lost against the first place team in the second round of the play offs, so his season is over.  He had fun and learned a lot about baseball.  This picture was taken a couple weeks ago when he caught a fly ball that flew into right field and landed *unexpectedly* right into his glove!   :)  His catch made the third out, which ended a troublesome inning and contributed to his team's narrow victory by just one run!  Therefore, his coach awarded him the Game Ball!  :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Precious Pyramid

Look what just arrived in the mail from my daughter, Ashlyn!!!  A slightly belated Mother's Day gift from all of the children!! 

So, this explains what they were doing all that time they were gone "hanging out together" during Ashlyn's last visit!   :)

Isn't this incredible???????  

bottom row -- Josh - 18, Taylor - 19, Joe - 16, Tiffany - 24
second row -- Chris - 14, Ashlyn - 22, Hannah - 13
third row -- Luke -11, Matt - 7
top row -- Bethany - 5

Menu Plan Monday

Here I am again with my second week of menus! 

You are probably wondering how I did last week?  I actually prepared 4 out of the 7 menus I had planned!  For the remaining nights we ate leftovers, ordered pizza (for an impromptu family celebration), and one night, we were scattered in different directions and those at home just scrounged around for something to eat!  :)  Such is life in a big, busy family!  :)

Once again, I planned my meals on Saturday for the week, starting with Sunday.  Here are my plans for this week:

Sunday:  Mother's Day Meal -- Grilled Salmon, Orzo pasta with butter and parmesan, Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon, Honey Glazed Carrots, Rolls, and Pound Cake with Sliced Strawberries

Monday: Broiled Greek Shrimp, Spaghetti Squash with butter and parmesan, Tossed Salad (I wasn't able to make this last week because I wasn't able to purchase the shrimp.)

Tuesday:  (Baseball game) Crockpot Sloppy Joes, Carrot and celery sticks, Birthday Cake (Alan's birthday!)

Wednesday:  Eat at church/Leftovers for those at home

Thursday:  Skillet Curry Lime Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Tossed Salad

Friday:  Out to dinner with Alan for our anniversary!!  :)  Order Pizza for the kids!

As you can see, we have a lot of celebrations this week!  :)

Click here to see more menus from other moms.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Celebrating Mother's Day

I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day!  I sure did!  It was an absolutely Glorious Day here -- Sunny, Blue Skies, High around 80 degrees, Low Humidity (for South Georgia!).  I even took a 2-mile walk this evening, just to enjoy the pleasant evening . . .  and to burn off some of the calories I consumed earlier in the day!  :)

We had a fun time together as a family -- celebrating Mother's Day and also my husband's birthday!  (His birthday is Tuesday and our anniversary is Friday -- we believe in packing in the celebrations over here!!)  :)

I was blessed to receive the usual sweet child-crafted Mother's Day cards, some nice little gifts, a thoughtful phone call, some sweet text messages, and even a few, fun Facebook messages. Modern day technology has multiplied the way our families can say, "I love you!" 

Of course, the quickest way to a Mom's heart is to back up those sweet words with some action, and there's no place like the kitchen to demonstrate a little love!  ;)

After church, everyone set to work unloading the dishwasher, setting the table, making the tea, etc. 

I love this picture of Joe and me working together on the roasted bacon-wrapped asparagus.   It took a long time to wrap all the bacon strips around the asparagus spears!  But, it was worth it!  Those things were DeLish!!

Alan and Josh are the masters of the grill and worked their magic on the salmon.

Here is the finished meal:  Grilled Salmon, Orzo pasta with parmesan, Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus, Honey Glazed Carrots and Yeast Rolls.  It was pretty yummy~

I don't know about you, but I love to see big, macho guys who aren't afraid of a little dishwater!  :)  Thank you Josh and Joe for cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes!

After the kitchen was cleaned, we turned our attention to the pile of gift bags before us!!

Mum Mum seemed to like her new gown and robe set.

Isn't this a sweet picture of her??

After Mum Mum and I opened our Mother's Day gifts, Alan opened his birthday presents.   I love this picture of him wearing his special party hat that Bethany picked out for him at the Dollar Tree!

Isn't this a cute picture of Alan and little Bethany?

Alan received a Giant beach towel  . . .

A little jar to help him save for retirement . . .

A Get Smart Again DVD from the kids, because he introduced them to that hilarious cold-war-era spy series . . .

And a couple shirts from his mom, who said that she noticed "his shirts were getting a little shabby!"   We all got a good laugh out of that comment!  :)

Then it was time to serve dessert.  I made pound cake and topped each piece with some sweet, sliced strawberries.  It was really good!  After dessert, it was "downtime" for all!  :)

I'll end this post with a couple pictures of me and the girls.  Unfortunately, we were missing Ashlyn, back in SC, and the picture of me and the guys just never materialized!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Teaching Character in the Home -- Step 4: Recognizing

I don't know about you, but I've enjoyed my focus on character this week.  The past few days we've discussed:

The next aspect of teaching character that I want to discuss is learning to recognize various character qualities in action.

One way to do this is to study how each character quality is displayed in the world around us.  We know from Romans 1:20 that God's character and attributes can be seen clearly in His creation.

Many times we are oblivious to this -- either because we are ignorant about the habits of various creatures, or because we are ignorant about the attributes of God.   When it comes to seeing God's character displayed in His creation, there is nothing that compares with the Character Sketches books published by IBLP.  These come in three volumes, and explore how various character qualities are revealed in the world of nature, as well as in the pages of scripture.  They are also beautifully illustrated and provide an excellent vehicle for the detailed study of various animals.

Another aspect of recognizing character is learning to be alert to the manifestations of the various character qualities (or their opposites) in situations we encounter throughout the day.  When out and about with our children, we have many opportunities to discuss situations that occur and encourage them to discern what character qualities were shown (or not shown) by sales clerks, disgruntled customers, police officers, children in a store, people waiting in line, drivers, and so on. 

Of course, we don't want to do this in a judgmental way, but simply to teach our children what various character qualities look like in action, and what the consequences are when they are demonstrated and when they are not.  The best way to really make our character instruction stick is to take advantage of such teachable moments.

We can also do this with our children by requiring them to keep a character journal.  I did this for a period of time; however, it was one of those good ideas that eventually fell by the wayside.  Recently, one of my older daughters shared with me how she vividly remembered a time when she did not show responsiblity, and the problem it caused!  At that time, I had five young children and it was her responsibility to pack and/or check the diaper bag before we went on an outing or an errand.  We were all excited about going to the brand new library in our town, and even though I reminded her of her job, she said she got busy playing and failed to prepare the diaper bag.  While we were enjoying the lovely new library, the baby had a "blow out" and it was everywhere (including on the brand new carpet at the library!).  I was not a very happy mama when I discovered that the diaper bag was EMPTY!  Not a diaper or wipe in sight!  I had to attempt to clean the baby and the brand new carpet  with wet paper towels from the bathroom, and we had to leave the library early with red faces and a bare-bottomed baby!!!!  When we got home, I made my daughter write about this incident in her character journal.  Apparently, that cemented it in her memory, because I had long since forgotten this incident, until she reminded me about it.  She said it has been a lasting lesson on learning responsibility, one which she shares with others!!

In addition, it is wise to teach our children to recognize when their siblings demonstrate good character and to praise them for that.  The natural tendency is to notice and report on those times when their siblings demonstrate bad character -- no instruction is needed to get our children to do that!   Tattle-taling seems to come naturally!  Instead, we want to train our children to look for the good things that their brothers and sisters do and share that. You might provide a time at the dinner table where children can share a positive character quality that they observed being demonstrated during the day.  This helps to create a positive atmosphere and binds the hearts of your children together. 

In the next post, I am going to talk more about praising for character.
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