Sunday, March 20, 2011

A simple truth

God is good. Do you believe that? I mean really, truly, all-the-time believe that? As a Christian, this seems like such a basic, simple truth. And yet I didn't always believe it fully. It's a little humbling to admit that, but most of my life I have believed that God is good when things were going well. When it was easy to believe. When circumstances were just right. And then the rest of the time...I'm not sure what I thought, but it wasn't this fundamental truth. Sure, I knew it - in my head. But I didn't truly believe it in my heart. This past year I feel like God has taught me so much. He has been refining me, molding me into more of the person He wants me to be. He has revealed more of Himself to me, and helped me to really believe this simple truth. I feel like I have been falling more in love with God every day lately. I want to know Him more. And more. And more. And you know what? When I search for Him, I find Him! It's a promise He's made to me (and you), and it always holds true. And in searching for Him, and knowing Him more, I believe that it has finally sunk in - He really is ALWAYS good. He doesn't change. No matter what the circumstances, He is good. He is in control. I may not always understand why things happen - and that's okay. But I do know that I have this truth to hold dear to, to cling to; in good times and in bad I know that my God is good. And that He loves me. And you. And really, compared to that, what else matters?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Ok, I've found another super yummy new recipe!

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

8 oz. uncooked spaghetti (I used angel hair)
1 C. loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 C. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3/4 lb. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Cook asparagus according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine the basil, lemon juice, garlic, 1 Tbsp. oil and salt; cover and process until smooth.

In a large skillet, saute the asparagus in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Add the shrimp and pepper flakes. Cook and stir until shrimp turn pink. Drain the spaghetti; place in a large bowl. Add basil mixture; toss to coat. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Yield: 4 servings

This one also came from the 2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes book. It's delicious!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Learning so much!

As you know, this year I've been homeschooling my 4-year-old daughter for preschool. Because she has a December birthday, she still has another year before kindergarten. We're not sure what next year holds yet - if we'll be sending her to a Christian preschool or if I'll be homeschooling her again. For now, though, I am enjoying (almost) every moment of her schooling. Ellie has always been an amazingly smart little girl with an outstanding vocabulary. It has been wonderful watching how quickly she's learned things in school this year. She has almost all her letters down (recognizing them, writing them, and knowing what sounds they make). She can write and recognize letters up to ten, and can count to 29. She has an AMAZING memory, and learns her Bible verses so quickly and perfectly! She is very artistic, and the difference between her drawings at the start of the year and now is phenomenal! And just last week she began to learn to sound out words. She spelled and wrote three words all by herself! I plan on spending the summer focusing on teaching her to read, while we aren't working on other subjects. And the really great part is, she LOVES to learn! Now, we still are not sure whether we'll homeschool the kids or send them to school once they're kindergarten age. I have very mixed feelings about what would be best, and we are just trying to listen to the Lord and follow His guidance. But so far I love homeschooling, and I think I'd enjoy it for years to come!

Each morning we start school by praying, then saying the "Pledge of Allegiance" and The Lord's Prayer.

Ellie loves doing crafts. It's one of her favorite parts of school.

We are still working hard to get her into the habit of holding her crayons and pencils correctly, but she's always diligent in her work!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yum! Something new!

I sometimes feel like I get in a rut with food, and that I'm always making the same things. I try to plan dinners a month at a time, and it seems like each month's dinner calender looks pretty much the same. So the last couple months I've tried to incorporate at least a few new recipes each month. It's been fun trying new recipes, and really there haven't been a lot that we haven't liked. Last night I tried one that I think will be a new favorite for Jared and I (the kids weren't thrilled, but that's okay - I can just make side dishes that they will hopefully like). It was a Taste of Home recipe from one of my cookbooks from a few years ago (2006). The recipe was for Stir-Fried Basil Chicken. It calls for bok choy, and I realized yesterday that I had mistakenly bought chinese cabbage instead, but it still turned out really good! I thought I'd share the recipe with you (sorry - I didn't think to take any pictures):

Stir-Fried Basil Chicken

1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1-3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
3 green onions, sliced
6 tsp. canola oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 C. sliced bok choy
1 C. loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

In a large resealable bag, combine the water, soy sauce and sugar; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to cot. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a wok or skillet, stir-fry the onions in 1 tsp. oil until crisp-tender. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove and keep warm.

Drain and discard any marinade from chicken. In the same wok, stir-fry chicken in 3 tsp. oil for 4-5 minutes or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, in another skillet, saute bok choy in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Add onion mixture to chicken. Stir in basil; hear through. Serve over the bok choy.

Yield: 4 servings

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

P.S. I'm not sure how many people read or follow this blog, but I'm running short of writing ideas lately, and would love your comments about things you'd like me to write about. God bless!

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Done!!!!

That's right - my painting project is finally done. I have painted all the rooms in the house (except the laundry room, and I don't plan on painting it). We moved here almost 6 months ago, and it's taken me that long, but it's done! No more brown wood panelling or tacky-printed wallpaper. I really like how the rooms with the wood panelling turned out, and I'm not so sure about the rooms with wallpaper. I just painted over the wallpaper, and I think it would have looked better had I taken the time to remove the wallpaper.'s better than it was, and for now it's good enough:) I also got a little redundant with the colors, because I wanted to use up gallons that we had and not have to buy as much paint. But overall I'm very pleased with it. And I'm very happy not to be painting anything else for a long time!!!

Parker's blue room

Ellie's purple room

Our bedroom

The kitchen

The living room

Other end of the living room

The dining room (also the homeschool room)

Kids' bathroom

Our bathroom