Saturday, January 23, 2010

I can only imagine

It's a long video, but so sweet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 year old pics

We were very late in taking Elsie's 2 year old pictures, but we finally did it when Mimi was visiting. She loves pictures, so it always encourages me to take the kids in! Some day soon we are going to use the best photographer EVER, but for now, we will do this. They turned out really well, capturing her personality to a T. Sorry they are so small. Here's a link for anyone that wants to see them bigger... LINK

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Here's a sweet little moment captured last week before church...

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Elsie's prayers right now are pretty darn sweet. Tonight, she prayed, "I pray mommy, I pray daddy. I pray Ariel, I pray daddy-prince. I pray milk. I pray baby Jesus. I pray Donalds (McDonalds), I pray ice beam (cream). Amen." Actually I eventually have to cut her off because she could delay bedtime for hours with her prayers (and water requests, and "I'm wet" problems, and many other antics she has up her sleeve. :) Oh, and at the dinner table, she wants everyone to stop eating so we can pray again at least 4 times during the meal. Cute.

Jenna is pretty special as well. She really isn't a fan of ritual prayer, like the bed time one or the pre-meal prayer. But she is great at the spur of the moment prayer. She will always volunteer when something needs prayer. She will always pray for forgiveness once her heart is ready. As much as I sometimes wish she would pray a good bed time prayer, I am thankful for how she is. So instead of making her pray a bedtime ritual prayer, right now I just pray out-loud for her at night in bed. I try to always pray truths from the Bible about her, and pray for her walk with the Lord, for her relationship with her sister and others, and for her heart to be drawn daily to Jesus.

Lord, I pray you would capture my children's hearts completely, and that they would follow hard after you all the days of their life.

The fact that God is so personal as to listen to our joys and concerns is so amazing. And the fact that He cares deeply for them is humbling. And the fact that He knows what is best for me is comforting.

Christmas 2009

I keep meaning to do a post about Christmas but it has felt too daunting a task. There is just so much to write about! But I will try to summarize now so that I have some memories recorded.

We had a WONDERFUL Christmas. The kids were so happy and thankful for what they received, and loved every moment of the holiday.
Most memorable moments:
1. First gift that Jenna opened at my parents house was a rake. She LOVED it. She kept checking to make sure she knew just where it was, and asking if she could rake at home. She also loved every gift that she opened after the rake, was patient to watch her cousins open gifts, and was very thankful to those who blessed her with presents.
2. Elsie was asleep while the kids were opening so she got to open stuff later. One gift was a baby doll, and she was thrilled! She wanted it opened up right away, and then wanted to wear the baby in it's back pack for quite a while after. She has quite a bounce in her step and so that baby was bouncing right along with her. It was a funny site to see.
3. The kids all made ginger bread houses, listened to my mom read a couple christmas books, and played and played and played together.
4. Eric's mom was able to come stay with us for the holiday. it was so fun to have her here, the kids loved it. And Eric and I loved it too! But we all really missed Poppa, and of course Keri and Jason too.
5. Jenna and all the sprouts sang "happy birthday Jesus" at church, along with a few other songs. It was precious.
6. The other great moments were caught on video and you can enjoy them too :)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Crock pot recipes

From Shauna: Pot Roast
Pot orast fry all sides in a pan 1st then place in crockpot on low if all day high if u need it sooner, put a package of onion soup mix, ajus sauce a cup of water and a can of cream of mushroom soup salt and pepper and garlic, cook till falls apart add carrots and potatoes 2 hours before serving mmmm yummy always a fave we use leftovers and make sheperds pie(u can put a whole onion in also)

From Megan: Hearty Steak and Tater Soup

1 lb. beef boneless round steak
1 lb. small red potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices (4 cups)
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T. beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 cans (14 oz) beef broth
1 can sliced mushrooms, undrained
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup flour

1. Cut beef into 1x1/4 inch pieces. MIx beef and remaining ingredients except water and flour in slow cooker
2. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours
3. Mix water and flour in small bowl. Gradually stir into soup until blended. Increase heat to high. Cover and cook about 30 more minutes or until slightly thickened.

This is a hearty soup and very tasty. It's a nice soup on a cold winter day. Serve with some hot sourdough bread and a salad and ta-da! Great meal with leftovers for lunch all week long.

From Megan: Mexican Pork Slowcook

3-4 lbs. pork (I use a lean cut - still turns out tender)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 can green chili peppers
2 cans pinto beans (with most of juice)
1/2 cup water

Put all in slowcooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours (stir every once in a while).

Use a fork to break up the pork - it should just fall apart. Wrap goodness in a flour tortilla with some sour cream and fresh pico and enjoy! You can also serve it over some brown rice.

This recipe is from my mom-in-law and it is really yummy. Be warned, it makes a TON of food (obviously, since you use 4 pounds of pork). Good flavors, so yummy, super easy!

From Jessica: Slow-cooker Beef Brisket

Makes 6 servings
Prep: 15 min, Cook: 8 hrs

2 medium onions
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (2-3 lb) beef brisket
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder (I have never actually added this and it still tastes great)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Toppings: Shredded Mexican cheese blend, sour cream, salsa, lime wedges, tortillas

1. Place first 3 ingredients in a 6 qt slow cooker.
2. Trim fat from brisket; cut brisket into 3-inch pieces. Rub brisket pieces evenly with 2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder and place on top of vegetables in slow cooker. Top with 1 cup cilantro.
3. Cover and cook on HIGH 6 to 8 hours.

Hope you guys enjoy this one. This makes for an easy and fast dinner.

From Leah: Braised Cranberry-BBQ beef sandwiches
Alright, so I've been trying a new crockpot recipe every wednesday this fall and have had lots of 'good-but-not-great' type dishes. SO, alas, I will resort to sharing one I've had a long time....that we LOVE. Snag your cranberries while they are cheap before the holidays pass!
Here is the LINK

From Natalie: tater tot Casserole
Tater Tot Casserole... This one is super simple. It may not earn an award for the best looking dish when done but it sure is tasty and my kids and husband really like it!
1lb Ground Beef; 1/2 t salt; 1/4 t pepper; 2 T minced onion (I do a little more but we are onion lovers here) 1 Can Green Beans; 1 can Cream of Chicken; 1 c grated cheddar cheese; 21 oz package of tater tots.
1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Crumble raw ground beef in bottom of crock pot and salt and pepper
2. Layer the remaining ingredients on top in the order that they are listed above
3. Spray the top of the tater tots lightly with cooking spray to keep moist during cooking
4. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours

This recipe is written for a dutch oven, but I've always made it in the crockpot. Works great!

From Carrie: Pulled Pork
It is pulled pork in the crock pot. You can use whatever cut of pork you want to. I use pork butt. Season it with salt and pepper to taste, add 2-3 tbs of wine or beer if you have it on hand if not that is fine. Add your favoritate bbq sauce and 1-2 cup of water. I also add about 3 tbs of brown sugar. Cook it on low for 5-6 hours. It will just pull apart when done. It is a real crowd pleaser. I love how it makes the house smell. You can serve it on buns or alone. It is so easy.

From Bronwyn: Taco Soup
("cans" refer to the regular 15 oz. cans)

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 onion (chopped)
1 package of ranch dressing mix..DRESSING, NOT DIP
1 package of taco seasoning mix
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans
1 can black beans
2 cans cream style corn

Brown the beef and onion. Put in the crock pot and add the remaining ingredients. DO NOT DRAIN ANYTHING...just open the cans and pour them in. Add a cup of water if necessary. Cook on high for 4 hours or so...

Serve with corn chips and sour cream.
Yum yum!!!

From Elyssa: Thai Chicken
2 1/2 lbs of chicken
1 cup salsa (hot or mild)
1/4 cup peanut butter (i like it chunky!)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
Hot cooked Rice
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Put chicken in crock pot. Combined salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger. Pour over chicken.

2. Cover; cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.

3. Serve chicken over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.

From Kari: Crockpot Zuppa Toscana{like from Olive Garden}
4 sliced bacon-cooked and crumbled
1 Package mild or spicy ground turkey sausage
1 lg onion- diced
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 T olive oil
5 russet potato's cut lengthwise in half , then into 1/4 in slices
2 cans chicken broth -or bullion with water enough to make 32 oz
5 cups water
1 t ground black pepper
16 oz fat free half and half

Brown sausage, garlic and onion with olive oil in pan until cooked and onions done. Put in crockpot with all the other ingredients except for the half and half. Cook on low 6 hours or high for 4, or you can cook on stove top for about 30 min, until potato's are tender. Add half and half raight before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh bread!

From Emily: Chicken n' Dumplins
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 (10 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough

Place first six ingredients in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
Cover, and cook for 3 to 4 hours on High. Reach in with a couple of forks and shred chicken. Then place the biscuit dough (seperated into biscuits) on top and cook for another 2 hours. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

This is a super easy recipe that is so yummy on cold days! It's also easy to add your own variations. I usually end up with a lot of leftover "soup" so I will usually through it into a pie crust the next evening for chicken pot pie! :)

Ok... this is more a "throw a bunch of stuff in the crock pot" rather than a recipe, but will do my best to specify quantities. :) All these are estimations and you could definitely adjust quantities if they don't seem right.

From Christina: Pulled Pork tacos + soup broth
1lb pork shoulder
1 large canned tomatoes
1 large dark beer (or any beer really - or you could leave it out if you wanted)
2 beef bouillon cubes
4 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
red pepper flakes - as much as you want to make it as spicy as you want
corn tortillas
optional ingredients: chickpeas, raisins, cilantro

Put all the ingredients except for the optional ones in the crock pot, making sure you add enough water to fully submerge the pork. I've always cooked this on low, pretty much all day. (Pork is recommended to be cooked till the internal temperature reaches 160degrees). At the end of the day, remove the pork and shred it with a fork. The pork will be tender and mild flavored, and you can add any or all of the optional ingredients - or anything else you feel like really. Serve with yogurt/sour cream, hot sauce, and onions and a squeeze of lime (and anything else) in corn tortillas.

Don't throw out the broth that the pork was cooking in! This makes an amazing soup broth that can be frozen and used later, or the next day. I've used it both in the crock pot over high heat or over the stove. I add potatoes, carrots, onions, and browned italian sausage to the broth and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Then add tortollini and cook till it's done and you have meal #2!

From Jenn: Lentil Soup:
2 cups lentils, rinsed
56 ounces stewed tomatoes, canned
4 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
8 cups chicken broth

1.Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
2.Cover; cook on Low 8-10 hours or High 4-5 hours.
3.Remove bay leaves before serving.

This is super easy!! It's fun to play with the spices to change things up. I usually use red lentils, but any kind will work. Also, using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes is good. Or, if you don't want to use potatoes at all, I've substituted mushrooms.

From Faith: Texas Taco Soup
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
3 T minced onion
1 can corn, undrained
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can tomato sauce
water (about 2 cups)

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Stir together all ingredients in slow cooker. Add enough water for the consistency of soup you'd like (less water=chili, more water=soup) Cook on low 8-10 hours. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

This is sooo good and my whole family likes it! I got this from Brenda Abelein when she shared at M2M a couple years ago. It's super easy too..all you're really doing is opening up cans:) (lots of them) I also like these kinds of recipes because you can substitute whatever you want. Oh and I drain and rinse all the beans. Not sure if you're supposed to, but I like to.

From Faith: Chicken and Corn Chowder
2 T butter
1 1/2 lb chicken cut in cubes
1/2 c chopped onion
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 small carrots, sliced
2 c fozen corn (I have used canned)
2 c cream of potato soup
1 1/2 c chicken broth (I use bouillon cubes)
1 t dry dill weed
*1/2 c evaporated milk

In a large skillet, melt butter. Brown chicken. Transfer chicken to slow cooker. Add onions, celery to skillet, saute 3-4 minutes. Add onions and celery to crock pot along with carrots, corn, soup, broth and dill weed. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender.
*during last 10 minutes, stir in evaporated milk.
Serves 8

I like this because the dill weed gives it a very distinct flavor. It's yummy and smells good good good! My family likes it as well.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Bible Read thru

Last year Eric and I did a Bible read through together, and yesterday we both finished the Bible (actually the Bible 1 1/2 times) in a year. It was so great to do it, and to do it together. I thought I would share the link to the one we did, and a few other links that someone out there might enjoy.

The read thru we did took us through the entire Old Testament once, Psalms twice, and the New Testament twice. You read about 4 chapters a day, each chapter from a different part of the Bible. For example on January 1, you read Genesis 1/Matthew 1/Ezra 1/Acts 1. The nice thing is that you aren't spending months just reading 2 Chronicles or Numbers. You read them for months but at the same time you are reading Hebrews and Psalms or something. In a year you can read the Bible 1 1/2 times! Here is a LINK to a number of plans, this one is called M'Cheyne.

A more challenging plan is found through my college professor, Grant Horner. He has a plan where you read 10 chapters a day, from 10 lists that he has made. You read parts of the Bible over and over, and other parts only once or twice in a year. It isn't a year long plan but I think that in a year you would get through the Bible about 5 times. You can read all about it if you want - the facebook page is called Prof. Horner's Bible-Reading System. If you can't find it, let me know and I will invite you through facebook.

Anyways, there are lots of other plans out there. I just thought that since it is the New Year, I would give some links in case anyone was interested. If you do want to read the whole Bible, don't just start in Genesis and finish in Revelation. I mean, you can if you want but it is a hard way to go. Try a plan that keeps you in the New and Old testament all year long.

**EDIT** By the way, HERE is a link to the one that I have chosen this year. It flies through the OT and goes slowly through the NT. It goes through the Bible in a year, 25 readings a month, allowing for 5 days to either read/study something else or catch up or skip a day. I am always reading something else or needing to study a chapter for teaching Sunday school so this flexibility helps a lot.