Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Testimony

This last week we went to Silver State Baptist Youth Camp with the teens from our church and the Pastor and his family.  Throughout the week we were preached to 4 or more a day, played, hiked A LOT, and ate a lot of camp food.  It was exhausting and exhilarating all at once.  It was the hardest (a 4 year old and a 2 1/2 month old) week of my life and the best week of my life.  Even managing those two during messages I still was taught so much and God really grabbed a tighter hold on my heart and I feel like there are some changes I will be making.  I will probably share those with you at a later time in a post.  However, we came back and shared our testimonies with the church and it was powerful!  The Holy Spirit was definitely visiting that night!  Those teens spoke from their hearts and I really believe it was needed.  I am SO proud of them for having the courage to share thier messages at such a young age.  So, here is my testimony that I share with you.

I accepted the Lord as my Savior (by accepting that He died on the cross for my sins, that I am a sinner and there isn't anything I can do to earn salvation for myself, by believing that he is the Christ, and then by calling upon Him to come into my heart and save me from my sins and myself) when I was 5 years old on the top bunk of my sister and I’s bunk bed with my Dad praying with me.  I was raised in a Bible believing home with God fearing parents that taught us how to live for God.  As I grew older I made a choice to rebel against my parents and God, going far from what I had been taught.  I emphasize the word “chose” because these teens are choosing to go to a Bible camp with other young teens and sit under the preaching of Gods word and that should be an encouragement.  I wish I had made that choice at their age instead of rebelling. 

In 2005 after 10 years of believing I could control everything in my life and walking away from God and my parents love and advice, I made a different choice.  I chose one Wednesday night to go to Treasure Valley Baptist Church by myself.  I knew where to go because my parents had taken me there when I was younger (Proverbs 22:6 - Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.)  I sat hidden in the back, not really looking at anyone.  The pastor began to preach and started with Jeremiah 33:3 (Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.) and I don’t know what he said after he read that verse - God was bringing me back to him, my heart was breaking.  I find it fitting that so many years later on the day I am going to give my testimony that Pastor Swenson preached out of that same passage. 

Not long after that as I was driving down the interstate (a drive I know that God took over the wheel), I cried out to him saying, “I can’t do this anymore on my own.  My life is yours.  Please help me!”   Imagine how much easier this would have been had I never made the choice to walk away.

Over the next year I began dating Mike (my now husband).  One night we were having a discussion about God, in which I was trying to tell him what I believed, I said something I had never said.  I told him that God came first in my life and if he couldn’t accept that then I was going to have to walk away. 

Fast forward to today.  I have been blessed with what I do not deserve.  I have a loving husband that serves the Lord.  I have two beautiful children that never thought I would have.  I have a wonderful relationship with my parents. 

Camp is not just for kids and teens.  Every message preached can be applied to an adult’s life too.  I was convicted by many of the messages.  One in particular about what it is to be a true, godly leader will help me just to be a better mother as well as a leader.  I am so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see the changes in our teens, both on their faces and in their actions as they listened daily to the messages.  The preaching was honest and true and the spirit shared between everyone there was refreshing. 

During one of the messages, Numbers 32:15 was read (For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.) These teens are our next generation of Bible teachers, Preachers, and Christian moms.  If we are not faithful to God, and they do not remain focused on God, then what about the next generation?  They need to learn to lean on God to make decisions based on faith and not just on sight like I chose to when I was younger.  Life is so much fuller when you are in the will of God.  There is a peace and security that can’t be found otherwise.  Thank God he loves us and takes us back even after we have gone astray.  He loves us even though we are unworthy. 

My hope and prayer is that these teens lives will be lived in a way to be a blessing to others as they serve God.  I Peter 2:15-16 (For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.)

If ever you want to know how I came to accept Christ as my savior, please contact me or read the verses listed HERE.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Favorite Bread Machine Whole Wheat Bread

I have been using this recipe now for quite some time.  It started out as a recipe I found online and then with a few tweaks has become our favorite wheat bread recipe.  It makes a great PB&J sandwich as well as a delicious egg salad sandwich! 

Whole Wheat Bread
Started in the bread maker, finished in the oven


1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/4 cup honey (preferably local)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Add everything to your bread maker in the order posted.  Choose the dough cycle (mine takes about 55 minutes.)  After it is done in the dough cycle, take it out, punch it down and put it in a greased pan (I use PAM baking spray – it’s my favorite!)  Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm spot (I use the top of the oven as it is preheating) for about 20-30 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes with a pan of water on the bottom rack.  Take it out and keep it in the pan for 5 -8 minutes.  Take it out of the pan and turn it on its side to finish cooling…or eat it warm!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

OAMC - Once A Month Cooking (Freezer Meals)

I want to start by saying that the recipes we are using are not your grandmothers recipes.  We are not just making mushy, frozen casseroles.  This time around we did all chicken recipes (because it was on sale) and some can easily be adapted into different types of meals.  Also, a lot of these recipes state a number of breasts that for our smaller family and smaller portions (chicken breasts are fairly large these days in a package) could make two meals rather than one.  Below are the recipes with a few of my own pictures. 

Coconut Chicken (found here)

Lemon Glazed Chicken - found in "Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer" by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, & Bonnie Garcia
I don't have a small chicken pounding tool...so, this was my pounding/flattening tool!

Grilled Honey Lime Chicken - found in "Don't Panic More Dinner's in the Freezer" by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, & Bonnie Garcia
Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts (found here)
Shredded Slow Cooked Buffalo Chicken (found here)
Chicken & Bean Burritos (found here)

Cranberry Chicken - found in "Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer" by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, & Bonnie Garcia
Placing bags in bowls helps when putting in liquid ingredients can help.
Pizza Dough & Sauce - recipe link posted in previous post.  The sauce goes a long way, and when I split the dough it is enough for 3-4 personal size pizzas.
This is how happy he is on Homemade pizza night!  He loves making his own.

Shredded Chicken Taco Meat - My Recipe

8 Trimmed Chicken Breasts 
1 package Chicken Taco Seasoning
1-2 small can diced green chilies
2 c. chicken broth
Place all in slow cooker for 6-7 hours on low.  Shred chicken using the mixer method or forks.  I prefer the mixer method (There is a PIN on my Pinterest board - follow me - that shows how to do it!)  Then divide into four portions and place in quart size freezer bags and freeze.

These are the books that are mentioned above.  

(I have not been asked or paid to mention these books.  They are just books that we used this time and they have great recipes!)

I have linked up this post to the Little House Living Recipe Exchange HERE...go check it out!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Freezer Meals, New Moms & Babies

This week has been a week of getting it done.  No choices, find joy in it all, love the weather good or bad, and DO NOT sit down....you may just take a Cinderella nap!  I won't bore you with all the details, but I will highlight a few.  We had a baby shower for my friend Natalie (my favorite recipe is the meatball recipe on my PINTEREST board, 

had a garage sale for our Youth Group at Gethsemane Baptist Church (at which there was some modeling),
The boys trying to sell the workout equipment!
My husband modeling a belt to try and sell it!
celebrated and remembered on Memorial Day by attending a Flag Raising and ended up in the local newspaper,  
 and then the rest of the story (yes, that does sound a little like Paul Harvey) is below.

This week chicken was on sale at Fred Meyer for $1.88/lb.  Definitely not the lowest price we have seen, but cheaper than we have seen for a bit.  I also happened to be OUT of chicken.  So, I think (I shouldn't do this sometimes) that I should buy up and make a bunch of freezer meals.  My dear friend, Natalie Messano, also likes to make meals ahead of time.  She is due any day and will need some easy grab recipes, so I call her up to see if she wants to take on 5-6 recipes, and I will take 5-6 and then we will swap recipes.  Yes, she does!  We decide to shop on Wednesday and then cook on Thursday. 

I started some of the chicken baking on Wednesday night, while I was making dinner, before church.  Thursday morning I decide to jump right on it and start trimming chicken for another recipe, shredding chicken (in the next post you will see the easiest way to do this), and warming up the crock pot for another recipe.  I decided to check in with Natalie who texts back and says, "What about a huge change of plans?!"  I said, "You better be having a baby!"  She was going in to the hospital and dropping off her son, Carson, at my house!!  YAY! 

Thank goodness for my little Noah who loves to play with Carson.  As he played with Carson I worked on the recipes I was in the middle of, started lunch for the kids, partially cleaned up the kitchen, started load number two of the dishwasher and nursed the baby.  We then went out front so the kids could ride bikes, and then back inside to eat the most nutritious lunch ever - Mini Corn Dogs, Tater Gems & Pears.  As they napped/had movie quiet time, I finished up the mornings recipes.
Hanging out in Noah's room!
Natalie had her beautiful baby that night around 8:45 pm.  What a blessing!  What a miracle!  Noah could not wait until the next morning when he was able to see her!

What a beautiful mommy!

Look at the dark hair!!
Friday afternoon during nap I decide to work on some more recipes and start some pizza dough for HOMEMADE PIZZA NIGHT!  Our family favorite recipe was posted on this blog (here) a long time ago.  I made double so that Natalie could have this later as well...new moms need easy things to pull out of the freezer...that don't taste mushy and casserol-y (I know, totally NOT a word!) 

Natalie had also purchased a bunch of chicken that was now just sitting in her fridge.  I took over her finished ones from the recipes that were already completed, and pick up her chicken to work on some more recipes.  Today, Saturday, two more recipes were completed during morning nap while Noah and Daddy mowed the back yard.  As you can see throughout this post....new moms desperately NEED nap time to happen in order to get things done.  Use it to your advantage most days and take naps yourself the other days. 
Little Charlotte napping...
All in all, as of today, we have 7 different completed recipes (most of these double per family) for a total of 16 plus meals for each our families. 

In the next post I will share the recipes, with my fun pictures, for you to try!  Thanks be to God for the energy as moms to power through what is necessary to keep the family running and joyful!