Friday, October 28, 2011

perfect pairing paring knife

I needed a new paring knife. Have you ever just suddenly noticed that all your kitchen knives seemed to have dulled simultaneously? I mean really dull. As in "I'd rather use a butter knife to cut this apple" dull. But then it hit me! What about sharpening??

So in the same trip to a favorite store, we found an inexpensive knife sharpener, and, since I had knives on the brain, a new paring knife!

But I'm really just writing this post to bring your attention to the descriptive paragraph on the back of the knife package. The one that starts with "available."
So what food is this knife supposed to coordinate with??

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins with just 2 ingredients (yes, 1 is pumpkin.)

I know she didn't! Oh, but I did. I gave in to the recipe that's burning up the pumpkin pages of Pinterest. They're usually just called 2-ingredient muffins, and they were - amazingly - pretty darn good. I was skeptical. I mean, how can you truly enjoy a muffin that has neither eggs, nor butter??

Here are the two famous ingredients. A yellow cake mix, and a can of pumpkin.

I wondered if it would be wet enough to mix well? And with the help of my hand mixer, it was! This coloring is a little more mustard yellow that it was, really.

I filled up some greased mini muffin tins. It was kind of like working with frosting. But something about mixing those 2 ingredients caused the batter to be really fluffy and airy. It was pretty cool.

And it made 60 mini muffins!

They puffed up so pretty... baked at 350 for 9 minutes. To quote one of the little girls from Despicable Me... "it's so fluffy I could die!"

You'll want to let them cool for a minute before you pry them out of the muffin tins. Then dust them with powdered sugar. I've also heard cream cheese frosting is another great way to go... I think I shall try that next time!

One other thing I might try next time is add more pumpkin. I was hard-pressed to even taste the pumpkin-ness of the muffin. But it kinda didn't matter.

Happy baking!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A little Seattle

Some mornings there's just nothing better than having a bit of the Great Northwest right here in my kitchen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

friendly link-back

Hey, my friend, Lauren (of Only From Scratch) made a favorite recipe of mine this weekend and posted it as part of her...


She has a fun blog of recipes and homey stuff. You should check it all out! But check out the recipe for Sunday Morning Rolls, {thanks, Jenny!} at the very least. : )

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

What if?

I don't usually post about difficult things. No, painting furniture and keeping house are not as difficult as what I'm about to write. But we need to know it. We need to do it.

This article is for wives. All wives. Young, old, newlywed, or married forever. As a wife of only 5 years, I realize that I don't know everything. Not anywhere near. But I do know God. And I've seen His ways work. And I've seen man's way (women's way) fail miserably. I've seen it in my life and I've observed it in others. I'm talking about marital and relational success, friends. And all I really want to share here is a challenge. A whole list of questions that have been swirling around in my mind for a few months and growing by the day. I've abbreviated it here. I promise!

What if... I could listen - really listen - to my husband's thoughts, plans, and dreams?

What if... I could accept the fact that they might not be going in the same direction that I want to go?

What if... I could completely die to my desires even though I think they're so right? And can justify every little thing about them?

What if... I could accept the fact that I don't know everything? In fact, I know very little and cannot see into the future even one minute!

What if... My husband might actually be more right than me? (How is that possible, right?) 

What if... I stopped seeking counsel from friends and the world and learned to listen to God on my own?

What if... What I think is such a great thing to do with my life actually isn't as great as setting it aside and learning to really love my husband? What if that's greater?

What if... I could put my whole heart into whatever my husband wanted us to do? And like it!

What if... I learned what it meant to lay down my life for others? (Not talking about death, here. That would actually be easier than this!) 

What if... simply making my husband happy was my only real goal?

What if... I could trust God enough to work through my husband to complete God's will and purpose in my life?

What if... Trusting God to work through my husband is God's will for my life? 

What if... God wants to fulfill my desires, but it has to come through me laying them down, first?

What if... I could be content and at rest with what God is doing through my husband?

What if... I could once again be my husband's best friend and cheerleader? Like I was when he fell in love with me?

What if... I could learn to be patient when I don't see things happening quickly enough for me?

What if... I could teach my children by my example, not my words, what it means to trust God and not man?

What if... I trusted God enough to get out of the way and let Him do His perfect work?

I am absolutely not here to tell anyone what to do. I hope and pray it isn't taken that way. But I can tell you what has worked for me. That's my testimony, my witness of God's power, truth, and faithfulness.

As soon as I lay my own strong, stubborn, and determined will aside, that is when I see God actually move in and through my husband (and in me!). And that's true in every area of my life, too. The secret for me is getting out of the way.

In God's eyes, my husband and I are not two people anymore, but one. God joined us together forever. I finally learned to stop striving and pulling and pushing against my husband because of what I thought would be best for us! And I have found more rest and peace and joy than I ever thought possible. And my husband feels the respect and love he so deserves. And he also feels the freedom (and God-given pressure) to seek God's will for us. He's not supposed to sit back and let me get the plan from God! And yet, as soon as I decide that I need to take over or nothing will get done...that's when I quench the work of the Holy Spirit and literally shut my husband down.

Have you noticed that to be true for you, too?

I know I will fail in this again. Probably several (hundred) times in my lifetime. But at least I'm aware of it. And by God's grace, I will choose to get back up and keep walking. In His steps!

I haven't added a related Scripture to every point in my list. Because like I said, it is a list of questions, of challenges... just to make you think. If they are not of God, I pray fervently that they won't alight in your mind. But if any of these words are righteous and trustworthy, I also pray fervently that they will stick... and stick tight. I'm not here to debate doctrine and opinion, this is just my blog with my thoughts.

I don't know that the world has seen much of this sort of commitment to marriage and utter trust in God. We wives are the hearts of our homes and we desire our homes to be the best they can be, right? I believe the key to unlocking that potential for success in our marriages and families is actually very simple: let it go. I think that if we wives would step up to the plate, and put into practice the things that God is placing on our hearts, we would see a revival in our spirits, in our children, and in our marriages.

At the very least, it can't hurt to try.

"...Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; 
but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
John 12:24

But I know God and I know He is faithful. As soon as we step out in faith trying desperately to obey Him with our lame efforts, He lights our path and holds us up and gives us the grace to keep trying, to keep walking, to keep loving. And He promises fruit that remains! It doesn't feel good to die. Dying hurts a lot. There is real pain for us to walk through in this life. But God is there. And the promise is there. Death (of temporary self) produces life (future fruit)!

I love the scene from Indiana Jones where he has to step out over the abyss and he can't see the next step! He can't see it until he takes it. It's such a great visual for me in my relationship with God.

===== disclaimer =====

Please hear this, I am not advocating becoming a doormat to your overbearing husband. Not even a doormat to your gentle and loving one! God didn't make us to disappear into our husbands never to be seen or heard from again. He did, indeed, give us dreams. He gave us desires. He gave us our personality! And I don't believe His goal is to squash any of that. He took 2 and made 1... 50% of each. Don't become someone else.

This isn't a diatribe on "submission" or "authority." I know all of those arguments and points of view -- I've been there and seen that! And this isn't that. I know women who sink their lives into the worst kind of submission thinking they're doing the right thing and it's so painful! I'm not talking about that, here. I'm basically talking about not being selfish, and being open-minded enough to realize that I might not always be right! *gasp*

This is simply me being who I am and allowing God to work on me to make me better! I will always be myself. I will not make an idol of my husband. I will love God first, husband second, and kids third, by God's grace.

This is my blog, my opinions, my thoughts. I'm not foolish enough to think that my life will or should look the same as anyone else's or that theirs should look like mine! But there are certainly a few unchanging principles of God that are the same across the board, wouldn't you say?

===== end disclaimer =====

Imagine with me a woman who is ready to give up because her husband won't go to church no matter how she begs and pleads? Imagine that she truly believes they are both going in such opposite ways that a divorce is the only option. What if she decided to just give it up and do what her husband would like to do on Sundays? Give up her way and go his? Imagine her husband noticing this real heart change in her and asking where it came from...and then wanting to know more because God was softening his heart because of it. My God can do that!

Can you imagine a wife who feels secure with her husband's current paycheck and benefits and her pressure in this area is forcing him to stay in a job he hates and that sucks all the life out of him? What if she just backed up? What kind of blessing is she cutting off? She may never know if she doesn't let it go.

Can you imagine a stubborn young wife who just wants to raise her babies near family, and so, feeling that there is no other option, her husband tries to please her by moving across the country even when they couldn't afford to? Now imagine a few hellish years in that place (and in that marriage) as there are no doors open for the husband and he is not humanly able to adequately provide for his family.

Can you imagine what would happen if that young wife would just get out of the way and let God have His way? And what if she'd done it sooner? What if God was working through her husband but she couldn't hear it because of her great desire? Can you begin to imagine the joy and peace and love that would spring up in her marriage and family if she just figured out how to lay down her life for them?

I can imagine that one. That's my story.

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling 
and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 
to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. 
Jude 1:24

Thursday, October 13, 2011

mirror, mirror, on the wall...finally!

Remember back when I painted my blue highchair? Well that very same week I decided to use up whatever paint was left in my 2 spray cans...

to transform this big, black oval mirror I'd found on craigslist for 5 big ones:

So I grabbed up all the readily available scrap paper. That day we seemed to have a lot! And I taped it haphazardly down to protect the glass. Lucky for me, it's an older mirror, so I was able to slide paper between the frame and the glass for great coverage.

Then I started spraying and the cans were sputtering. It wasn't the best job of painting, mind you. It was just desperate. "Oh, please squirt out just a little more!" I begged as I turned it every which way and kept shaking it every few seconds.

When I was done (rather, when the paint ran out), I was left with a pretty well-covered frame! I just decided that I would choose which way to hang it based on how much black I could kinda see through the blue...and I also just decided I wasn't going to care, cause I'd rather have it up now than have it perfect. What a crazy I am.

Because then it proceeded to wait by my dresser, leaning against the wall for WEEKS, I tell you! before I got around to picking up these hanging wire and eye hook things. : )

Ah, "picture hanging set." That's what it is. Well, new materials always make me excited to start, so I dug in right away!

First, I determined where I wanted the cable to begin and end and how much slack I needed. No science, here, I just eyeballed it and decided it looked good. I played with the length of the wire to make sure it wouldn't peek above the mirror when the weight of the mirror hung from it. Make sense?

Then I screwed in the little eye hooks by hand. Ouch! I grabbed some needle-nosed pliers to help me with the final tight turns.

I just threaded the wire through with plenty of extra to twist around and around like a twist tie.

A small transformation, but a wonderful one! It just makes so much sense to have a mirror over my jewelry box so I can watch where I stick my earrings...

And the mirror is on the wall opposite the window wall, so it really lights up the room by reflecting all the natural light! I love it. This corner is just about perfect, now. I love the balance the round mirror brings to everything else that's so square. And oh, how I love fresh flowers!

And then the three frames (and the silk peonies) were moved to the other wall for the time being.

This was my secret: make sure you have an adorable "helper" to make the job go faster. : ) Well, slower, really.

And from my previous master plan post, here is the updated to-do list for this room. As you can see, I still have a ways to go, but crossing off two items in one post sure feels good!
  • faux wood blinds
  • curtains & curtain rods
  • something green on the window wall - palm tree? (got one! wait til you see it!)
  • new bedding, bedskirt included
  • make or buy nightstands
  • table lamps
  • replace ivory corner chair
  • move trio of frames
  • round-ish mirror for above dresser
  • tv cable removed / hidden
  • hardwood floors! (dream list, probably not actual list)

Do you have a dark-ish wall or corner that a mirror would do wonders for? Do it! Bonus points (I don't know where the points come from or what you could use them for...) But bonus points to anyone who can tell me they see any black through the blue paint! Don't look too hard.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Veggie Cheese Soup

Well, dear readers, I've got some fun projects on deck, but it's been hard to find the time these past couple of weeks between two sick little girlies, root canals for mommy, and their daddy being under the weather, too! Everyone's recovering nicely, now, and I'm ready to write again.

Let's start with this yummy soup that I've made twice recently. The girls even love it! Which is a plus for me... My 2 year old isn't picky, she just doesn't love food like I do. Like my husband does. Like my second-born does. Maybe she's the more balanced of all of us, but if she isn't scarfing food, I'm convinced she's not okay.

So let's get to the recipe, already!

Veggie Cheese Soup
recipe adapted from Taste of Home online


1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
3 or 4 small red potatoes, cut into bite-sized cubes
3 cups water
4 chicken bouillon squares (or use 3 cups chicken stock instead of the water & bouillon)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 bag frozen California-blend veggies (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower)
1/2 cup ham steak, cubed
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed


• In a large non-stick soup pot, coated with cooking spray, cook onion and celery over medium heat until onion is tender.

• Stir in water and bouillon (or chicken stock) and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

• Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup water until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Return to a boil and cook and stir for 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened.

• Stir in cream of chicken soup til blended. Reduce heat; add frozen veggies and ham.

• Cook on low until veggies are tender. Stir in Velveeta cubes until melted.

Note: You can actually omit the Velveeta and it still tastes great! (But who would want to??)

I do apologize that there is no photo, but it's so good, it gets gobbled up before I can take one! Just so ya know, it ends up looking like a broccoli cheese soup as far as color and texture. It's just way better.

Do you have a favorite soup recipe to share? Do tell! Were the Cali-blend veggies a new discovery for anyone else?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...