Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On the Road Again

Hello, friends!  The cat is officially out of the bag.  After many prayers and tense days, we have finally moved Bill out of the house.

Jacob and Alissa were so excited about helping.
Jacob carried the sheets and Alissa carried
the comforter.
Well....we sort of moved him out.  :)

Look how tall my baby girl is getting!  She is
growing right out of all of her clothes!
Perhaps I should back up and explain a little.  For quite some time my husband, Bill has been considering leaving his well-paying job with great benefits in order to drive for himself.  There were many reasons for his considering the transition, and, quite frankly, it made me very nervous.  Since leaving my own job last year as a public school teacher, I have been very convinced that this is exactly where I am supposed to be, and I have never once regretted my decision.  My leaving my job, however, also meant that I was leaving my salary.  The thought of Bill leaving his job that afforded me the ability to stay home made me quite queasy.  It took a lot of prayer and Bill convincing me that it was a sound choice.  As with every major decision in the last several years, God has laid out things in such a manner that I knew He was in control, and He was going to see us through.  The several weeks it took to actually secure the truck while Bill was out of work pushed my faith and patience to the limit, especially the final few days.  I had to pray and ask forgiveness many times when I gave in to the temptation to complain or think negative thoughts rather than praise God for His promises and blessings.  I continually had to tell God I knew He had a reason and plan for all the delays and problems we kept facing and that I was going to praise Him anyway.

The time was finally right and we were finally able to bring the truck home the evening before yesterday (8/20/12)!  We spent the day getting the truck and Bill ready to go out.  Boy!  I didn't realize what a job it would be!  The most exciting part was moving Bill into his new truck and getting the inside ready to go.  The children and I couldn't wait to help.  We jumped out of bed, gobbled breakfast down, and got busy.  I don't even know if we brushed our hair!  LOL!

This is the truck before the children and I got to work.

This is what it looked like when we got through.

There really isn't a permanent dip in the mattress.  It is a
memory foam mattress.  I had my knee in that "dip" while I
was making up the bed.  It hadn't had time to come back to
it's original shape before I snapped the picture.

Okay, so it's not much, but it's a truck.  There is only so much that can be done.  :)  We were just excited to make it cozy for Daddy.  At his request, we are working on a picture of us for him to put on his shelf.  Unfortunately, at the time of this post, it was/is not ready.  We finally, after taking two online courses last night (8/21), finished up a good bit of the preparations last night around 10:00.  We spent all of today (8/22) finishing everything.  He got his call today that his trailer is ready.  He is heading out first thing in the morning to pick it up, and he'll be on the road again!

Yes, the temporary stickers don't look too great.  He can get
permanent decals at a later time.
For a while, Bill will be having to take my computer and our wireless Mifi with him.  I won't be on the computer much, my friends, but I promise to catch up as quickly as I can when he is able to come home.  Please, keep us in your prayers.  He will have to stay on the road for a while in order for us to make up for all the work and paychecks he's missed.  God has been SO good, and He will continue to provide.  Getting used to handling everything on my own again will be hard, but I will adjust.  It has been nice having him home the last few weeks.  I've kind of gotten spoiled with his help and attention.  Now, I may have to learn how to work the lawn mower, and I will have to figure out how to function without communicating with the outside world at any time I wish.  Thank goodness fall is on the way and the lawn will be going into a dormant state!  lol!  On a more serious note, anytime a spouse is away from home for an extended time, the separation is hard on each partner.  I already cry just thinking about watching him drive away.  I almost hope the children and I are not here when he leaves.  Somehow, it's not as hard.  I've watched him drive away once before with neither of us knowing when he would be back.  We both confessed later that we cried like babies when we were each out of sight.  Thankfully, this time I have my babies and animals and home to keep me busy.  I just pray for God's grace and wisdom to carry us through. 

I love you guys, and until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sewing Day

Sometime last year, after posting about my fall activities such as making butter and baking with my children, I had a friend tell me that all I needed was a kapp, as in an Amish/Mennonite prayer kapp.  Little did she know that my journey had only just begun at that time.

In my journey to find a church home, I have found my way to a church that I adore.  It is a non-denominational church, but it still holds to many of its Mennonite ways.  The first time I visited, I was invited to join the ladies' sewing group when it started back up after garden/canning season started slowing down.  I have been so excited about going, especially after catching brief glimpses of the quilt on the frame in one of the rooms!

Today was the day!  I couldn't even make myself go to bed last night I was so excited!

This is a picture of some of the ladies working on the quilt.  I didn't work on this one.  I think maybe I need some more practice.  Can you imagine the new girl making a mess of their work?  Yikes!  :)  Did I mention I simply adore these ladies and church?  :)  I simply think I have found a piece of Heaven on Earth!  Each time I walk in, I feel like I have found home.

Alissa helped me with knotting the yarn I stitched on the comforter I felt comfortable working on.  It didn't take long for her to lose interest.  She wanted to go play even though a couple of her friends wanted to stay and help.  Perhaps one day she'll enjoy it.  :)  I can't wait until next month to go back!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

Well...the chicken is all gone!  :)  The chicken I cooked last week has been completely consumed!  It lasted through three meals last week (in the chicken noodle soup) and two meals this week (in the chicken pot pie soup and the chicken pot pie).  It served us well.  :)

After making the "soup" last night, I was inspired to turn it into a real pot pie tonight.  I prepared my pie crust and rolled it out to fit as well as I needed in my baking dish.  The trouble is that I have terrible luck with my pie crusts.  They mix up perfectly and hold together perfectly.  When I try to roll them out, however, they stick to my floured rolling pin and my well-floured counter.  I always end up peeling chunks of rolled out dough off the counter and pressing the bits of pieces into my baking dish!  grrr...  The craziest part is that they are as flakey and yummy as can be when done, lol!  Anyway, to make the pot pie I first mixed my pie crust and divided it in two.  For each half, I formed the dough into a rough round form and flattened it a bit.  Then I wrapped each flattened round in plastic wrap to chill in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.

While the dough chilled, I reheated the pot pie "soup" from last night, and I preheated the oven.  When the dough had chilled, I rolled it out in vain.  Then I peeled it from the counter and pieced the pieces together in my baking dish.  :)  Can someone PLEASE help me with my pie crust before fall???  :)

Next, I poured in my filling that had been reheating on the stovetop.

With that done, I then rolled out the second, smaller flattened round of dough to fit just over the top of the filling.  I had better luck with that one for some reason, but it was still far from perfect.

The crust was brushed very lightly with a little melted butter and then placed in the oven.  My pie crust recipe said to leave it in the oven for 8-10 minutes, but mine was in the oven longer.  I left it and kept checking until the top was browned to my liking.

It may never win any prizes in a county fair, but it was so yummy.  My family was happy, so I was happy!  :)  Now, my penny-pinching, whole chicken recipe mini series has come to an end.  :)

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

It has been a wonderful week, but it has been a very busy week!  As you know, school for us started on Monday.  Bill is in the process of changing jobs, so we have been trying to get everything together for that change, including me trying to remove the embroidery from his Frito Lay work shirts.  We went to visit a friend yesterday, and Alissa and Jacob ended up spending the night with their friends. 

With Bill in the process of changing jobs, our budget has been quite tight.  Today, I stared at the cupboards trying to figure out what to prepare for supper.  Do you remember the chicken I had left from the soup I made last week?  I had it thawing, so I knew I would use it and and rice.  When I absolutely could not decide what to make.  I just shredded the chicken and threw it in the pot with the rice to cook.  I then thought I might make chicken and rice soup with vegetables in it.  I pulled out some frozen vegetables and threw them in too.  I added in some salt, pepper, garlic salt, dried parsley flakes, and Worcestershire sauce.  When I put back the frozen vegetables, the sour dough loaves were calling my name.  I pulled them out and heated them up after preheating the oven.  It was then I decided I would use the loaves as bowls and make the soup something similar to a chicken pot pie filling.  Please understand, I have never made chicken pot pie and had no idea what I was doing other than experimenting.  Luckily, I ended up being quite pleased in the end.  To the soup that was already cooking, I added two heaping tablespoons of AP flour dissolved in water.  Then I added a little more than a cup of milk and about three tablespoons of sour cream.  I added a little more salt, white pepper, and garlic salt for flavor. 

I wish I could take credit for baking these, but I can't.  :)
When the bread was done, I halved the loaves and hollowed them out to make bowls.  Then I ladled in the thick soup. 

My inexpensive meal felt quite rich in the end!  I even have plenty of soup leftover!  Everyone in the house liked it except Jacob.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Monday, August 6, 2012

First Day of School!

Today was the first day of second grade for my sweet, little Alissa Grace.  She has been doing some second grade work most of the summer, but I couldn't count the days.  I was excited to get back into a real routine.  She was worried the work would be too hard to understand.  Funny girl!  I think she was shocked at how easily she completed her work today.  We will "hit the books" pretty hard and heavy until November.  During the months of November and December, we will stray from the books to do Thanksgiving and Christmas lessons.  We did the same thing for her first grade year, and we both loved it.  It was our favorite part of the year.  I look forward to sharing with you some of those lessons.  My biggest goal for this year is to keep Jesus at the center of the lessons.  I want Alissa to see Jesus shining through me.

Last year, I started a fist day of school tradition of leaving a special pencil and a note from the teacher out on her workspace for her to find in the morning of her first day.  Of course, I did the same this year, but I was also able to add her own Bible.  It will be used for part of her lessons.  What a blessing to be able to teach and read from the Bible during our school day!

We had a really good day.  Alissa worked very hard, and she got done with lots of time left for fun activities with her little brother.  I hope she continues to enjoy our curriculum this year.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

It is August already, and I have been thinking about and looking forward to fall.  It has me craving the comfort foods of fall and winter.  The other day, I made chicken noodle soup.  My family loves it.  I normally make it in the cooler months, but I just thought it would be good when the craving for comfort food snuck up on me.

I started by boiling one whole chicken in chicken broth.  I like to use my own broth, but this time I used a prepared box broth without msg added.  While the chicken cooked, I chopped three cups of carrots and three cups of celery.

After boiling the chicken, I removed it from the broth and cut the chicken in half.
Don't worry if the chicken isn't completely
done.  It will finish cooking in the soup.  Of
course, mine was falling apart!

I put one half of the chicken in the freezer to use later and shredded the other half to use in the soup.

I strained the broth that remained after boiling the chicken to remove some of the fat.  The broth and chicken were added back to the pot.  Then I added in the vegetables and noodles.

I had to add a little more broth as the noodles cooked to keep the soup from being too thick.  Water can be used in place of broth if you wish.  You may want to add a little salt and pepper after adding either.

Look at that pure yumminess!!!  As soon as the noodles and vegetables were done, I served it up and smiled as the children inhaled it!

What comfort foods are you looking forward to?

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!