Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday again. . .how come the weekends don't last any longer???

I have to admit that last week. . .I'm not sure what I was thinking! ALL the meals were tomato based!!! I may have a few too many of those around! So I did change Thursday's CP meal to a Chicken Alfredo--which I will post this week! We will really have Sloppy Joe's this week, though! Ah. . .still have a little of this planning stuff to straighten out in my head!

Monday- ham steaks, herbed noodles, carrots

Tuesday- Shepherd's Pie (if I am ambitious enough! and get home from work in time. . .and the kids let me cook a little. . .otherwise it is Hamburger Helper!)

Wednesday (S&S)-Baked Potato Soup, salad

Thursday (CP day)- CP Chicken Alfredo, noodles, veggies

Friday (OAMC)- um. . .leftovers?

Saturday's Snack-Caramel Toffee Squares

Sunday- eggs, bacon and toast

For the Snack. . .these are my husband's favourite squares. . .and he will actually make them himself! And we may eat them within two days of making them. Yah, we are gluttonous that way! I never thought to take a picture until. . .they were already half-eaten! Mmmm!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Words from Wednesday (Devotional)


During the summer months, I used to wake up early in the morning to walk—a choice I made based on the example of a good friend of mine. It gave me some alone time, some exercise and some uninterrupted time with God. Since starting school, I haven't been able to do that—I just can't wake up that early! But I have started walking to and from school to compensate. Me, my backpack and my iPod.

One of my favourite parts about my walks so far, have been coming home. On a few occasion, Opa has taken my kids out to walk and meet me. I can't even describe the feeling I get when I see those two miracles walking towards me. Now not to offend any parents of my students who are reading this—I love your children! But after a day of work (and sometimes a long day of work!), to walk towards two children who I can call my own, there is no greater joy to me! I love their looks of surprise to see me appear so close to them and their big smiles when they recognize me—and the way they run to me and hug me and want me to lift them up for some snuggles! They have so many stories to tell right away . . . and sometimes they just want to hold mommy's hand now.

I think of how God must feel each time we turn to Him. And I think of how often God is calling us to Him. In Matthew 4:18-19, Jesus sees his future disciples and says, "Come, follow me." And they do. In Matthew 11:28-30, He says, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened. . ." God calls us in relationship with him in Isaiah 1:18-19: "Come now, let us reason together. . . if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land." The Psalms also speak of our response to come to God. Psalm 95:1 says, "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord" and verse 6 says, "Come, let us bow down in worship. Psalm 100 tells us to "come before him with joyful sounds" (verse 2b) and to "Enter his gates with thanksgiving" (verse 4).

I am thankful that God asks me to come to him. I am thankful that I can come to Him in a way similar to the way my children come to me. I am so glad I can come to him in whatever state I am because He loves me and cares for me. And I am thankful for his promise to me that He will come again. (Revelation 22:12 & 20)

Other verses to read: Revelation 22:7-21

Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well. . .last week was kinda a flop. Didn't eat so much that was on the menu plan. And the joy of it all is that's just how it goes sometimes.

And why did I ever think I could pull of teaching full time, cook for my family, to actually BE a family, take a MA level course (yes, with two late assignments to start of the course--I feel like a GREAT student!), this, that ,and the next thing. . .I think it was just one of those weeks. Quite obvious since most of my blog entries are just my plans for eating well. (My secret to survival is the cookies 'n cream ice cream stashed for the evenings!)

This week I'm feeling a little bit better about pulling it all off . But it is only Monday! ;) Did I mention that my mom made me supper again?!?!?! I could definitely get used to this!!! I mean, I am so incredibly THANKFUL for her generosity! And she tried a crock pot recipe that I don't think I would have because of the ingredients, but I LOVED it!!!

Monday-Chicken Milani (mom added veggies like potatoes, green beans and baby corn), Garlic bread

Tuesday- Chicken Enchiladas (didn't make it last week, but did make a bunch of it on Sunday for future meals, so. . .we are good to go today!), corn

Wednesday(Soup and Sandwich Day)- Sandwich-maker Pizza pockets (better go and buy some bread before today. . .)

Thursday (CP Day)- Sloppy Joe's

Friday (OAMC)- Mostaccioli Casserole (cuz I've still never tried this yet!)

Saturday's Snack- Salsa (see below!)

Sunday (BFS)-Pancakes. I tried omelets last week cuz we had too many eggs and no bread in the house--what a disaster. The candy bribe for dessert helped, but my kids didn't think a bunch of whipped-up fried eggs passed for a good supper!
So. . .Salsa
My SIL gave me her recipe for Chicken Enchiladas and it came with this Salsa Roja recipe. I've used this for more than just this recipe, and with the abundance of tomatoes this year, I've needed a few different things (aside from regular Salsa to make). I don't put so much for chiles in. . .I have kids who want to eat still!
5 small dried chiles, crumbled
3 T. boiling water
1- 3/4 c. canned tomatoes (we used fresh and added more water)
3 T. tomato paste
4 T. oil
2 onions (we used 1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground cilantro
1-1/2 T wine vinegar
1 t. sugar
Place chiles and boiling water in a blender goblet or food processor. Drain tomatoes, reserving the juice and add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Blend until smooth and pour into a jug. Heat oil in a small skillet and saute onions and garlic until soft. Stir in the blender tomato mixture, the reserved tomato juice, cumin, cilantro, vinegar and sugar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with tacos, enchiladas, meat, poultry and fish dishes. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.
(I could probably can this but haven't yet. . .)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Words from Wednesday (Devotional)

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

There has been a joke among our family (started by Opa and my son) that Daddy drives too fast. That he drives like he is in a race car. And like many jokes, there is some truth to it! Last weekend, while in the Jeep with the whole family, my son was being his usual loud self. (Yes, for all of you who know him, he is VERY loud around us!) He was being loud about how Daddy was driving like a race car and going to fast. I think the noise and everything was getting to Daddy and he, over the noise and jokes in the vehicle, told everyone to stop talking. And everyone did—probably more out of shock than because anyone was listening to him. After a moment, Daddy told my son that he was sorry for using his loud voice. Then he asked my son, "Do you know that I still love you?" My son said yes right away. Daddy asked, "How do you know?" My son answered, "Because you said so."

I had to smile at that. . .

Then Daddy asked, "Do you love me?" My son answered yes. And it was quiet for a while, until my son piped up again, "I love you because you said you loved me first, Daddy."

I had to smile even more at that!

I wonder how we would answer if someone posed the question to us: "How do you know you love someone or that someone loves you? Perhaps your husband? Your mom? Your kids? What about God?"

I suspect we might get tied up on the reasons, the love languages, and the ins and outs of our daily lives with the person we are talking about. But like the children's song says, "Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible tells me so." I am constantly humbled by the child-like faith of my son. It was that easy for him to say, "Daddy, I know you love me because you said so." He didn't need any long explanations or proof or examples and verses to back up every detail. He simply trusted. And when he wanted to give a reason for loving, I heard the words of 1 John 4:19 being echoed. "We love because He first loved us."

1 John 3 and 4 speak a bunch about God's love. A "note" in my Study Bible said that only those who are to some degree like him can truly know God. The Bible shows over and over again that God is love—through is words, actions, deeds—in his very essence. Creatures and humans are not capable of loving, except that God loved first and showed us how to love each other. I see the words of verse 16 come to life in the comments my son made, where it says, "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."

This week, I think I am going to just reflect on the simple truth that God loves me—He told me He loved me. And I can rest in His love because He loved me first . . . and always. This week I will savour the simple words of the song my kids love to sing most at bedtime. "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Today was the BEST cooking day ever! It's true. . .it was even a crock pot deal! It was the best because. . .my mom did it for me!!! Yep, not only is she the sewer of cute dresses and caregiver for my adorable children, she also made my family supper today! And. . .EVERYONE ate it and loved it!!! I am truly blessed!

But here goes the rest of the week that I will have to cook:

Monday-Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice and salad (Yes, I even convinced her to give me the recipe to post here!)

Tuesday- (I'm gone=Meet the Teacher Night). . .left-overs

Wednesday (Soup/Sandwich Day)-Bacon & Apple Grilled Cheese

Thursday (CP Day)- Applesauce Chicken (I'm trying to decide if I had made this one before. . .and because I am too lazy to check, we'll make it on Thursday and see if we remember if we liked it or not!)

Friday (OAMC)- Enchiladas (we have a few tomatoes to use up!)

Saturday's Snack-Applesauce Cake

Sunday (BFS)-Cinnamon French Toast & Ham

So. . .did you notice a theme? Last weekend was making applesauce time! (In between a wedding, a baby shower, a dinner, a church party, etc. . .not sure how it all got done but it did!)
We have a few apples left, and a few containers of applesauce. . .so I searched for a cake to use on a nice Saturday morning coffee break (which are quite foreign to me right now! But if I make it, they will come, right?) The side suggestion about spreading with butter and replacing the allspice with cinnamon looked like a good one. . .I 'll let you know how coffee time goes on Saturday!
BTW--this week (or maybe weekend,) is going to be a salsa-making one. . .don't ya just love harvest time???
p.s. Did I mention that I love my mom???
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Monday, September 7, 2009

School is lurking. . .just around the corner. . .

Tomorrow it all starts. . .

Menu Plan Monday

Well. . .I'm posting a little after supper, but today's supper was an easy one. But also one my kids love. And when my kids love supper, the whole family is happy!

Sorry to disappoint this week with few links. I just couldn't find all these recipes on the web!
Tuesday-BBQ Chicken and Potato Bake (I got this recipe from the AirBake pan I make it in. Pretty much a hash brown mixture with chicken breasts and BBQ sauce on top)
Wednesday- Spaghetti Bake with Salad--A recipe from my friend Hilda. Great for OAMC kind of thing.
Thursday (CP Day)- Creamy Chicken Stroganoff, rice, corn
Friday (OAMC)- out with the family. . .probably Salmon on the BBQ
Snack Saturday- Apple Salsa (see below)
Sunday (BFS)- Oven Omelette (we have too many eggs!)
So. . .for the Salsa. . .I posted the link. I make this pretty much exactly as the recipe says (minus a jalapeno or two!), except that I generally add more apples. And I don't use tart apples. Your basic grow on the tree and make applesauce kind. (I honestly don't know what kind I use. They are from Uncle Bud and Aunt Linda's farm and they don't know what they are! They grow, there are tonnes, and I am VERY thankful to be able to get some each year!) I've made cinnamon chips from pita bread to go with it, but we also eat it with grilled chicken or with fajitas. See how great it looks:

Well, happy cooking. This week is the first teaching week for us teachers, and we have a pile of apples to make into applesauce. I think my time will fill up pretty quickly this week!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Words from Wednesday

The Masterpieces I Will Soon Meet

It's just about the beginning of a new school year—the bulletin boards are up, the school supplies are labeled, and the lesson plans are being looked over. I'm just about ready to welcome all the new, eager children into my classroom. Just about ready. . .

I work with a man who was telling me once about his schedule. I noticed him at school early and asked him about it. He matter-of-factly told me he needed to come to school quite early in the morning to prepare for the day and also to pray. He went on to tell me that he split his class into five groups, and commits to sitting in each of their desks and praying for each one in the morning. Each week he prays specifically for each student that he will influence in the course of the year.

Now, this isn't a new idea by any means, but just not an idea I have specifically adopted—until now. Don't get me wrong—I pray for the students in my class!!! I feel called to do that being a teacher. But as this fresh year is upon me, I feel a deeper sense of privilege to be teaching them. And I feel a calling to pray for each of them specifically, especially after I read one small verse in the Bible. It ends a paragraph and a section, but spoke louder than the other verses surrounding it this time I read it.

Ephesians 2:10 (New International Version)
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I was reading up a little bit on this verse specifically, and some translations use the work "masterpiece" instead of "workmanship." I teach a little art and use some of the great artists of the past and study their "masterpieces." As a class, we look at their creations, ask questions and discuss what we love about them, and then try to copy it (or a part of it).This made me think about how God looks at us each and every minute of each and every day. He studies us with that same intrigue, with that same interest, with that same wonder, but He also does all that full of love and grace and compassion.

If that is how God sees me and my students, I want to do the same. I want to follow His example and see my students through His eyes—as the masterpiece He created in Christ Jesus, and to some degree enable each of them to do good works—God's works—to bring Him glory.

I am committing myself this year to spend time once a week thinking about and praying for each of the masterpieces God has put it my range of influence. I am encouraged by the words of Colossians 4:2 (Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.) and James 5:15-16 (Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.) I am excited to see what God will do through this time spent with Him for my students.

You can do the same, even if you are not a teacher. Choose people in your sphere of influence or people who may influence you (your kids, your group leaders or group members, your pastors, your child's teacher (please—I would love that!!!), your friends, your colleagues, whoever it may be) and commit to praying for them on a regular basis at a regular set time. See what God will do through this time spend with Him for others.

Other verses to reflect on:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
~Psalm 139:13,14

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~Colossians 3:12

*Photo Credit: taken from