Saturday, November 28, 2009

All Aboard!

Today was the perfect day to board the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and spend some time in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So, indeed we did. Here's our day in pictures...

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad...

All Aboard...

Two pretty cute passengers...

Cuyahoga River

Hiking through the park...


We love Grandma!

Every kid needs a train whistle...


Cuyahoga Valley National Park...

Ready to head home...

Abby's ladybug...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tips for Practicing Self-Control...

I would say that self-control is one of the Fruits of the Spirit that I am most lacking. Of course, it's my own doing, thus the name "self"-control. I am so easily swayed and tempted, specifically in the areas of shopping and food! So, if you read a few posts back, I'm trying again this year to practice self-control when it comes to my Christmas preparations. I've enlisted the help of my husband, who is as frugal as they come. We've made our list, checked it twice and are sticking to it! Going into this prepared will make all the difference. Of course, using the magnanimous pile of catalogues as fire kindling will help, too...

Now, when it comes to the food...maybe these questions will help:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Goodness Gracious!

Jason and I escaped tonight and headed to the movies. We intentionally chose the late show so that we could stop in at Toys 'R Us, which opened at midnight, to pick up a couple of things on our Christmas list that were on sale for Black Friday. Needless to say, we walked in, turned around and walked right back out. Heavenly day...who really needs something that badly? The store had been open a whole 20 minutes and we could barely get in the door. People were packed in the aisles like sardines with their carts filled beyond capacity. The lines for checkout were enough to make anyone need an anxiety reducer of some sort. Goodness gracious!

On another note, the movie The Blind Side is a great movie. Go see it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Give Thanks!

Thankfulness. Oh, how important this one word is. No matter how hard our day, our week, our month, our year or our desert is, we must always be able to find at least one thing for which to give thanks. It is in that moment, we know all is not lost.

I hope that wherever you are in your journey today, you are easily able to list a few things for which you are thankful. I pray that you are able to dwell on those things today, thanking the very One who has given you life and to whom you are precious!

family. friends. pets. home. clothing. food. school. jobs. Jesus. music. laughter. books. children. neighbors. church. relationships. heritage. freedom. talents. sunshine. health. community. rain. hugs. grandparents. growth. prayer. love. trees. water. hope. tradition. faith. Heaven.

For all these things and more, I give thanks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting ready!

The turkey is defrosting and I'm headed to the store to buy the remaining ingredients for our turkey feast on Thursday. I wonder if I should just fast today and tomorrow to get my belly ready for the mass intake that's coming. I could go easy on myself this year and just skip ahead to the pies, but nah, I wouldn't want to offend the cook. Oh wait, I'm the cook!

Obviously, I was outvoted and we will not be heading to Fresh Market to pick up our lunch. Everything will be made in my very own kitchen again this year. This will be the third year that we have been completely responsible for Thanksgiving. I just wish there was a way to speed up the cooking process and slow down the eating time. The hours of slavery are easily conquered by the minutes of eating. But, it will be so yummy and all the people I love most in this world will be sitting around my table.

We will have to be careful in regards to our Thanksgiving conversations this year. I recently learned that my Abby is afraid of pilgrims. Somehow, she groups them in the same category as Santa. Santa is not a welcomed figure in our house. In fact, she has declared that if Santa gets sick this year and can't come to our house, that will be ok with her. Yesterday in the car, we were talking about pilgrims and Jason showed her a picture of pilgrims. She was not impressed at all and asked if they would be coming to our house. Grandma explained how the pilgrims lived a long time ago and are no longer alive today. Abby's response: "Well, thank goodness they're dead!" We love our Abby...she keeps us in stitches.

So, what's on your menu this year? Here's ours...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yummy Chicken Pot Pie

My friends, there is absolutely no reason to wait to try this recipe in your own kitchen. It's delicious and easy to make!

Yummy Chicken Pot Pie
(from Allrecipes)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9-inch) unbaked pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425.

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. (While sauce is simmering, shred chicken with two forks.) When sauce thickens, remove from heat and set aside.

Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why, Lord?

I admit it. I am struggling. I will start by saying that I consider myself to have a strong faith. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and I believe that it is true, cover to cover. I believe every word that God says in his Word and I believe that He loves me so much that He sacrificed His own Son to be my Savior so that when he sees me, He sees His Son in me. This makes me His child and there is no other Father for me.

Now, that being said... I question, I struggle, I misunderstand. I am limited by my human understanding. I am not on the same level as God Almighty and therefore do not have the omniscience He does. I constantly remind myself of this. I do not see things as He does. I do not know His plan, I only know my desires.

I have the same questions as the next person. Why is cancer taking loved ones from families on a daily basis? Why do children get sick?

This weekend, a family in our neighborhood tragically lost their husband/father. He was out jogging and died suddenly, just about four blocks from his home. He leaves behind a wife and three children under the age of 6, with the youngest being 1. His oldest son is in my son's kindergarten class, which is how I know of this family. It is heart wrenching to say the least. And I don't get it! Why, Lord?

In times like this, I have to cling to what I do know. God is sovereign and He is above all. He is omniscient; knowing everything: the beginning, the middle, and the end. His plan is a perfect plan and only seems imperfect because of my limited understandings. He loves His children because the Bible tells me so. His plan for me is to spend eternity with Him and He provided the way when he gave his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior for my sin.

While there are many things I question and don't know, I do know the end of the story. While the rest of the story at this point is fuzzy details and many times, painful ones at that, I will cling to the end of the story, the day when there will be no more pain, no more tears, no evil, no cancer, no sudden deaths. For, in that day, I will be with Him and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The countdown begins!

As I glanced at the calendar this morning and counted the days until Christmas, my heart rate began to rise a bit. There are simply 43 days left until Christmas! How is it here again so soon?

And, again this year, I want to make every effort to keep this Christmas from getting too big and focused on the materialism. (Yeah, can someone tell me how to explain that one to my kids?) Several years ago, I heard a great idea from a friend. They give their kids 3 gifts for Christmas just as 3 gifts were brought to Jesus after his birth. Sounds simple enough, right? However, I've been trying to do this now for umpteen years and haven't succeeded yet! Someone help me here!

In our traditions, the presents from Santa are not wrapped and are set up and sitting out waiting for each kid's delight and squeals. The presents from Mom & Dad and family are wrapped under the tree. As I attempt, yet again, to stick to my 3 present goal, and the catalogs are surpassing their quota in my daily mail, it's already giving me a headache.

So, if you are like me and you haven't begun to plan for your kiddos, nieces, nephews, grandkids, check out this website. This catalog has awesome gifts, not your every day Target toys. (...not that there's anything wrong with Target...I pay their light bill for sure!)

Happy shopping!
(& if you have any ideas to help me stay in control, I beg you, post them here!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Time Flies

I can't believe it's actually been two months since I last blogged. The Curtis Crew is alive and well and busy as bees. Speaking of bees, aren't these cute?

We had a great Halloween. Our street was very busy and we gave away every last piece of candy! Emily & Ben made it to every house on the street (with a porch light on, of course) and Abby made it about halfway before she said, "I want to go home and eat my candy!" Check out my little goblins...

Emily, the bzzz-eutiful bee...

Never fear, Ben Lightyear is here!

Abby, the busy, busy buzzing bee...

This year, Jason and I joined in and dressed up (sort of)... Jason was a cowboy and I simply wore a witch hat. Most people thought Jason was wearing the clothes he must have worn every day while in Texas.

Here's the entire Curtis Crew in our duds....

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays and getting back to blogging. Grandma is coming in a few days and we are more than excited!

So, here's the question of the day...Fresh Market turkey dinner or homemade all the way? Hmm...