Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yummy Tasty Dips

Today I am participating in BooMama's DipTacular '11. I encourage you to visit her blog to get lots of new dip recipes. There is sure to be loads of cream cheese and deliciousness just waiting for you! Here are a couple of my favorites:

Cheese Ring

1 lb sharp cheddar cheese (grated and allowed to soften)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 small onion, grated (if using a strong onion you may want to just use half)
1 cup mayo
1 jar strawberry preserves

Combine all the ingredients except the preserves. It works best if you mix with your hands. The heat from your hands helps to mix everything together. If you have a circular mold, you can put it in it. (Be sure to spray the mold first) I usually just free form a circular ring on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrig. Let it get good and cold. When you are ready to serve place the strawberry preserves in the center of the ring. Serve with your favorite cracker.

When you eat it, be sure that you get the strawberry preserves and the cheese in the same bite. Be ready to do your happy dance because your mouth is going to go crazy! Yummy, Yummy!

Shrimp Dip

1/2 stick butter
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb boiled shrimp, chopped

Cream butter, cream cheese, mayo, Worcestershire, lemon juice and garlic salt. Add onion and cooked shrimp. Refrigerate before serving. Serve with your favorite cracker. Very tasty!

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Day Mama Lost Her Mind...

If my kids wrote in a journal, this would probably be the title for today!

I do not know what happened to me, but whatever it was happened in about 2.5 seconds. I had a very busy day. This morning I had to go to the grocery store. I am not an extreme couponer by any means, but I do try to use them and save money. I made my list last night but this morning it took me over an hour to get my coupons together.

It was one of those days when everything you try to get done just doesn't work out. I get to the grocery store and as I gather my groceries my mood starts to shift. Do you know how expensive groceries are now? And then several items that I was going after were gone. I finally get all my stuff and head to check out. My cashier wasn't really enthusiastic about being at work today. When I pulled out my coupons that really did not excite her.

When I get home I look over my receipt and notice that my cashier did not give me credit for one of my coupons which was $3. I was headed to an appointment so I decided to go back by the grocery store. Then I go to another grocery store to get some meats because they were too expensive at the first store. This time my children are with me, which just adds to the fun of going to another grocery store.

We finally got home and then the meltdown started. Like I said, I don't really know what triggered it other than having everyone calling my name and asking me for something all at once. Then my husband walks in the door and his lovely wife greets him with her head spinning! Good Times!

I did have enough sense to go and have a little time out in my room to get myself back together.

Then it hit me. I got up in such a rush with my To Do that I did not start my day with the Lord. The reality is that I didn't really include Him in any part of my day. Oh sure, I listened to Praise and Worship music in the car but my mind was going ninety to nothing focusing on everything but the Lord.

I was so focused on what I needed to accomplish and my circumstances that I did not even think for one second that I have access to the Presence of Almighty God. I don't have to go through my day alone...I don't have to let my busyiness over take me...I just need to keep my eyes focused on Him.

I am very thankful for the newness that tomorrow brings. Thankful that tomorrow can be different.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Preparing for Africa

Last night we met with others going on the trip to Africa. It was great to see who God had brought together for the trip and you just know that a special bond will be formed between us. We did not get to meet everyone going, as some live out of state, but we did meet some of our fellow travelers.

I am a planner and I like (okay I NEED) details. This meeting helped me so much. We are going to be gone for 9 days, returning on the 10th. We are only packing in carry on luggage because our suitcase space will be used to bring over supplies. I will be honest and tell you that when I first heard of this that I struggled a little bit with it. We learned about the packing a few weeks ago. I know that the supplies are desperately needed but it was at first a little hard to wrap my brain around packing for 9 days in a carry on. I get it now and I am excited about the challenge to see how much I can get in my 45 linear inches I am allowed.

The preparations for this trip have been a huge lesson in selflessness. It is not about me and what I'm wearing or what I look like. That is so opposite the message we hear in this country. I have to wear tennis shoes and socks with my skirts or I can opt for hiking boots. That is a style that I never venture out in around these parts. I was also told there is no need for makeup. They said we will get so dirty from the bus rides (red dirt dust blowing in the windows) that we'll need to wipe our faces off when we arrive at the orphanages. They shared a funny story of arriving at an orphanage and one of the children saying "look they are orange people." Their new color was all from the bus ride.

Probably the most uncomforable bit of information that I gleened was that there are no real bathrooms. Just picture more of a hole in the ground. But most of the time you just go in the wild. Ladies let that sink in for a second. I was cautioned to put bug spray everywhere! I'll be honest and tell you that tonight I thanked God for my bathroom. I am so very spoiled.

Then we learned more specifics of where we are going each day and that put everything into perspective. One day we will be traveling by boat to an island and visiting what we were told were the poorest of the poor. The children at the orphanage where we are going do not have their own rooms like my children. They do not have the luxury of sharing a room or even have a bed. These children have to sleep in the grass.

They sleep in the grass where bugs are crawling and animals are roaming...and there they lay.

I just keep asking how I am suppose to see that with my own eyes and survive? How am I suppose to see beautiful little children who must sleep in the grass and then get back on the boat and leave? How can I be concerned with bathrooms and clothes when there are children who have to sleep every night in the grass?

I do not have any answers. I just trust that God will give me the strength to survive such an experience. I know I will never be the same. How could anyone be the same?

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Busy Weekend!

We have had a super busy weekend. We had a yard sale this weekend to try to offset some of our expenses for our trip to Africa.

I spent the end of last week cleaning out and gathering stuff for the yard sale. In the process, I cleaned and organized our bonus room which is the kids playroom. I also had lots to do in my daughter's room. Let's just say that she has a hard time parting with items.

I took my camera to snap a few pictures at the yard sale, but we were so busy I did not get the chance. We opened the garage at 7:00 am and someone was already waiting. We weren't planning on opening up for business until 7:30, but our first customer just couldn't wait. It drove me a little crazy, but they did buy a lot of stuff.

God blessed us tremendously! We had picked an amount that we were hoping to make and God blessed us by far exceeding what we had dreamed up. We are so thankful and give Him all the glory for providing everything we need!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nothing Like A Little Reality!

Just in case some of you were wondering, I am still alive and kicking! I have enjoyed a busy summer with family and friends. Lots has happened in my life over the past few months and I look forward to sharing some of the details with you in the coming days. Probably the biggest news item is ...


I can hardly believe it myself. In my last post I mentioned that the Ugandan Thunder Choir came to my church and I mentioned my desire to go but I really had no idea that that little desire would become a reality! I will share more details about that soon.

Last night something overtook me in the kitchen. I whipped out my apron and started working away at dinner for my family. This was no usual weekday dinner. I was going Sunday lunch style. I decided on a menu of cubed pork tenderloin, homemade gravy, homemade biscuits, butterbeans, rice and corn. I have never made homemade gravy before. I have watched my mother make it occasionally but all my attempts at it have not turned out so well. But last night I felt optimistic and ready to conquer gravy.

I don't know about you but the apron just does that to me. It makes me feel all kitchen superhero-ish. I think I need to start wearing one more often.

I browned my meat in a skillet and then once that was done I removed it from the pan and started to work on the gravy. I did not have a recipe and every time I watched my mom make it she just threw in a little of this and that. So now was my time to see if I could get "this and that" to work out for me. I browned the flour and ran to get the milk and water. At this point I thought I had burned it but I pressed on and added the liquid. And all of the sudden I heard the hallelujah chorus and this appeared before my eyes....

a pan of delicious homemade gravy!

I was practically dancing around the kitchen. I just knew that my family was going to be all "oohs and ahhs" when I sat their plates down. I sit my daughter's plate down and this was her ooh and ahh, "It looks like someone threw up all over my plate and I'm not eating this!"

I fought the urge to liken my delicious food to their works of art they bring home from school asking them how they would like it if I said it looked like someone threw up all over it and that I wasn't hanging it on the refrig... HA!

Oh the joys of being a mom!

I wouldn't give anything for it even if they don't like my gravy!

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