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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Getting back to thankful Thursday this week, I am thankful for our new baby daughter, Hannah Elizabeth. Our sweet little Valentine baby. (click to read the full birth story)

* I am thankful for a safe labor and delivery. I am so thankful that even though it was a surprise delivery at home with paramedics, everything turned out just fine. God placed us in the care of just the right people that day.

* I am thankful for a healthy baby. Full term pregnancy but not past the due date (yay!), 7 lbs 6 oz baby. No complications, praise the Lord!

* I am thankful that she is able to nurse beautifully (unlike my son Eli who never could "get it"). It makes our life soooo much easier, and I cherish the bond we already share.

* I am thankful that Hannah is fairly "easy" baby. She only wakes once in the night and goes back to sleep right away, so I'm already getting pretty good sleep. She doesn't cry too much and is just overall very content.

* I am thankful for a speedy recovery. I'm feeling great and in these first two weeks we've already been out a few times.

* I am thankful for my wonderful husband who has been a HUGE help during the two weeks he has off of work. He's been so great playing with Eli, taking care of Hannah when she's fussy, and helping out around the house.

* I am thankful for the safe travels of my parents who came for a few days. And I am thankful for all the help they provided while they were here. I am especially thankful we are all still healthy, even though both Mom and Dad got a short flu bug while they were here.

* I am thankful for the snow last week. Even though it's already gone now, it gave us a fun activity for Eli and we sure had fun.

* I am thankful that Eli's been so good around the baby and such a trooper with all the changes. I know there is a lot more to come when Daddy goes back to work and I'm on my own, but something tells me Eli will be OKAY.
Hannah is such a sweet addition to the family. We are so blessed!

For more Thankful Thursday visit Iris at Sting My Heart. Thanks for coming by, and have a great week!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One week

This is just a check in now that Hannah is one week old today! We're doing really well. She's a very good baby--nurses really well, rarely cries for long, and sleeps well. She's had a couple nights of a 5 or 6 hour stretch between feedings. I'm still awake every few minutes though checking her every sound, so I'm still quite exhausted. We have to make up those feedings during the day though, so she eats every 2 or 3 hours, but that's okay. That's infancy. She's gaining weight well and is back up to her birth weight already, now weighing 7 lbs, 6.5 oz (she was 7 lbs 1 oz when we checked out of the hospital). So that was encouraging to know she's been eating enough.

Eli's great as a big brother. Most of the time he just goes about playing like he normally would, since Daddy's home to help out so much. He likes to point at Hannah and say "Baby!" and tell her "Hi!". He's very gentle around her and pats her blanket. It was a little rough the first couple of days home but every day continues to get a little better. We're trying to get back to his routine and structured activities. Kevin's been so great about doing most everything with Eli. Changing his diapers , playing with him, and feeding him at meal times. I'm not supposed to pick Eli up for two weeks (as I recover) and I don't have the energy to get down and play like I wish I could. So, I very much appreciate all of Hubby's help during these two weeks he has off.

We've been blessed with meals provided by church ladies and now my parents are here until Monday so we appreciate all their help as well.

We've already been out to run errands as a family so that was fun to enjoy a bit of normalcy. Tomorrow I have an errand to run with my mom. It always makes me feel better to get back out again. So that's our one week update, thanks for all of your prayers during this transition time. Enjoy a couple pictures of our sweet baby girl...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here's the story....

THE Birth Story
Hannah Elizabeth
born February 14, 2008

Thursday came and early on I sort of felt like it wouldn't be long until Baby came. Not very often but occasionally throughout the day the Braxton Hicks contractions would feel crampy and I'd feel pain in my back. But it definitely wasn't labor, not yet. It was just a clue that something would be happening sometime soon, as in the a day or so maybe...

Kevin and I didn't have any plans for Valentine's Day this year because we never knew if we'd be having a baby or not. But in the afternoon (around 4:00) we decided to go out for dinner (with Eli of course). During dinner I started having very mild contractions, probably about 15 minutes apart. I realized it was probably labor but very early on, so we just continued with dinner and took our time. After dinner (5:15) we went to the mall so I could walk around, as walking is good for labor. Contractions were picking up but still just fine. It felt the same as the early labor contractions I had with Eli all night long. Then (around 7:00) we went home to give Eli a bath and put him in bed. Contractions probably upped another notch and were more frequent, every 3 minutes-ish but still manageable, and I just continued pacing around the house moaning through the contractions. At 7:30, once Eli was in bed, Kevin and I started tidying up the house for the sitter. 8:00 we turned on one of our TV shows (I'm still pacing around the house, moaning. Contractions are only 30-40 seconds long but coming every 2-3 minutes). 8:15 I decided to hop in the shower. Not relaxing and I'm feeling pretty miserable. 8:30 I finish with the shower, get those toiletries packed into our hospital bags, and start crying of the pain. It's getting bad so we decide we're going to call the doctor anyway, even though they had told me to call when contractions were 1 minute long for an hour, which they weren't. They were still only 30-40 seconds. 8:45ish we called the doctor who said to go to the hospital. But as soon as Kevin hung up the phone, labor was over-the-top and I was full-out screaming in pain. I was feeling the urge to push, or go to the bathroom, I wasn't sure which. And before we knew it part of the placenta was starting to come out! So Kevin ran to the neighbor's who is a nurse, and she came over immediately with nursing sheets and blankets and got me laid down on the floor while Kevin called 911. The fire station is only 2 blocks away, so a fireman and the paramedics were there in no time, and in about 10 minutes the baby was delivered right there on our living room floor. 9:17 pm.

The cord was wrapped around her neck twice and it took awhile for her to start crying. But no one was panicked (except maybe Kevin and me) and she was out just fine. They got her toweled off and me onto a gurney and baby Hannah and I were off to the hospital to finish delivery (of placenta), get stitched, check vitals, and recover, while Kevin waited at the house for the baby sitter to come stay with Eli. Through the whole labor Eli was just upstairs sleeping in his crib. I saw (via the monitor) him sit up sometime in the middle but then he went right back to sleep despite all the screaming, commotion, and flashing lights.

It was a long and bumpy ambulance ride to the hospital. It was just uncomfortable since labor still felt unfinished for me. But Hannah and I had a warm welcome when we arrived at the hospital emergency room, and they all clapped for us. It was very neat. And the paramedics gave us a little teddy bear as a keepsake. Kevin arrived at the hospital about 30 minutes later with all our bags and gear. And then we were able to settle into our room for the night.

Eli's labor lasted about 20 hours. I labored at home all through the night but even still we were early when we went to the hospital in the morning and had to walk around the hospital and wait in triage for quite awhile before ever getting fully checked in for still a long day of laboring. I definitely did not want that to happen again, so this time I stayed home for as long as the contractions were manageable (I planned on having an epidural). But somehow everything with Hannah's labor just progressed sooo quickly there was no time between when the contractions were "too hard" and when she was coming already! And the water never did break until her head was coming out, so it was just all fast on its own and a complete surprise!

And there we have it! Little Hannah Elizabeth was born at home on Valentine's Day!

(check my last post to see more pictures)

Baby is here!

Hannah Elizabeth
7 lbs, 6 oz
19.5 inches
February 14, 2008 9:17 pm

It was a VERY fast labor and ended up being a surprise home birth! Kevin, our neighbor who is a nurse, the fireman, paramedics, and Eli upstairs sleeping in his crib were all there for the speedy delivery. It was crazy but God was working through all of the situation, and everything turned out just fine. We were then taken to the hospital to get cleaned up, check vitals, and recover. We're all fine and home now! Baby is very mellow, nursing well, and healthy! More details on the labor story are sure to come, either tonight or tomorrow probably. But I at least wanted to post the news and share some pictures....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prayers for the Sick

We're now only 4 days from my due date and everyone at our house is stricken with sickness this week. Monday both Eli and Kevin had a yucky tummy bug. Tuesday and Wednesday Kevin's been much better but Eli's had some nasty, runny poops. God gave me the strength to get through those rough first days when I was cleaning up vomit and poop, but now today I'm feel pretty yucky with nausea, and Kevin's still not up to par. So... pray that we are well again SOON! I'm not worried though. I trust that Baby will not come until God knows we're ready and healthy. And even if we're not, He'll give us the strength for labor and the infant will be protected by mommy's antibodies. But still, pray we're all better soon! We're getting anxious to meet Baby Girl!

Weekly Memory Verse

Review verse...

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I'm just doing review for several weeks because I need it AND because baby is coming very, very soon! If you'd like to join me this week with Philippians 4:6, sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Feb. 11

I wasn't going to post a menu this week because I'm hoping to have our baby this week! (trying to self-induce Wednesday evening if she's not here by then), but here we go anyway, with easy stuff of course...

Monday - Italian chicken (chicken breast marinated in Italian dressing, broiled in oven), Suddenly Salad, Lisa's sweet potato casserole (recipe below, just because it's freezing today and sounds so good)

Tuesday - pancakes, bacon (since Kevin's been on shift work and we haven't had breakfast together in awhile)

Wednesday - pizza

Thursday - Valentine's Day - potato soup (real exciting, I know)

Friday - spaghetti


RECIPE- Sweet Potato Casserole
my friend Lisa made this when we had Thanksgiving together and it was sooo yummy I had to ask for the recipe!

3 c. mashed sweet potatoes
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. melted butter

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. melted butter
1 c. chopped pecans

Combine first 6 ingredients and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until hot and browned.

UPDATED: I ended up rearranging the menu because Kevin had an upset stomach today, so I made my first attempt at potato soup with NO RECIPE (just some basics from my mom since she used to make this)! That is very unlike me--I always need something specific to follow but it turned out VERY yummy, so I thought I'd do my best to share, though I didn't actually measure anything...

Creamy Potato Soup

3 potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1 cup half and half (could probably sub milk just fine), until soup consistency
3-4 Tbl butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
a few shakes of dried parsley and cilantro

Cook the potatoes, drain, and mash with mixer. Mix in butter and half & half. Add in salt, parsley, and cilantro, to taste. Return to stove and heat through.

Have a great week, friends, and hopefully you'll be hearing news soon! More menus HERE.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 138

I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
before the "gods" I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
When i called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.

May all the kings of the earth praise you,
O Lord,
when they hear the words of your mouth.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.

Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the
anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O Lord, endures forever--
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Just wanted to share an update from today's OB appointment.... I am 1 week + 2 days from the due date, and right now I am 2-3 cm dilated. The cervix is soft but still long (not effaced). And the baby has dropped and her head is right there! It was very encouraging to hear! It doesn't mean she's coming tomorrow or anything, but at least I know my body is getting ready! Hopefully in the next week we'll get to meet Baby Girl!

In you case you were wondering...

I haven't been posting new Family Focus Friday topics. I have only a few blog readers and get little response on these "discussions". So instead of putting so much time into a post every week, I'll post as ideas come to me. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Since I just started another round of the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge hosted by Speaking from the Heart, this week I'm especially thankful for my husband.

I am thankful for Kevin's hard work. It's the week before my due date and here he's just been put on shift work (5am-5pm, 7 days a week). He's put in 2 weeks leave for whenever baby comes, but it sure makes for long days leading up to it. It's the Navy so of course we didn't know about this schedule until yesterday, so it's put a damper on appointments and plans. It also means long days for me with Eli and little "couple time" or "family time" we might try to enjoy before the addition of a new baby. Yet Kevin hasn't complained at all. And I'll just be extra encouraging and supportive through this challenging week. I AM thankful that he's still on days though instead of nights this time!

I am thankful for Kevin's friendship. We have a lot of fun together and enjoy just hanging out, whether it's playing games, watching a movie, or running errands.

I am thankful for Kevin being such a good dad. He's so great with Eli. He loves his little boy so incredibly much, and it's such a blessing to see. Not all dads are like that, so I am very thankful for who Kevin is.

I am thankful for Kevin's strength as the leader of our family. I don't know what I'd be without him.

I am thankful for Kevin as my companion. Through parenting I've come to realize how patient this man is, so much more so than I. When days are hard he knows how to handle things calmly and with control. He offers comfort when I need it, and he's there to share the load. I love him.

For more Thankful Thursday visit Sting My Heart.

Husband Encouragement Challenge: Day 7

Day 7: Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!...for riches certainly make themselves wings..." Prov. 23:4-5

"That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries." Proverbs 8:21

Money is the root of much marital discord. Ask yourself, "Am I being negative toward my husband in the area of finances?" Determine not to speak evil of your husband in this area. Discover ways to encourage and help him instead.

Does your husband handle finances wisely? Does he make good financial investments, based on biblical principles? Does he have a budget? Does he make wise decisions about purchases - checking many sources before he buys? Is he a good steward of his money before the Lord? Let him know how much you appreciate his strengths in financial matters.

If he is weak in this area, encourage any good decisions that he does make. Perhaps you can help him, if he's open to the idea, by organizing financial files or providing other practical assistance. Or, if he wants you to handle the finances, ask for his input before you make decisions that will affect him.

Ahh, finances. This has definitely been the root of much discourse in our marriage. I'm an organizer, planner, and a saver and can be quite disciplined in this area, while my husband is very lax and maintains a "go with the flow" attitude. As long as the account doesn't go negative, he's comfortable. We have tried several different approaches to finding balance and agreement, and I'm still not quite sure what it is we need to do.

I've mentioned this a couple times now, but a few months ago I handed over the budget to Hubby. I found that my discipline and saying No to things and such were causing a lot of stress in our marriage. I often felt like I was "mothering" him ("If it's within your $20 allowance, you can get it. Or save up until next month..." ) instead of following him. So I asked Kevin if he, as the head of the house, would like to be in charge of the finances instead. I was letting go of something I very much liked having control over and putting my trust in my husband (and God!) instead. It was a great act of submission for me. And now I can say my opinion, when he asks, about something but follow up with "...but it's your decision. If you think that's best then I will follow and support you." This choice has helped our marriage.

As of this past week I've decided to create my own budget for the purchases just I am in charge of: Groceries, Household Items, Personal Care, Baby Stuff (diapers/wipes, clothes, misc), and Extras (like clothes and books). These do cover a majority of our purchases, yet I won't be monitoring dining out and fun moneys and all the misc. We'll see how it goes...

Kevin is responsible. He is wise. He's not going to let us go poor. And he does have the self-control and discipline to say No when he needs to. He's flexible and doesn't want money to rule our life. He doesn't just go buying anything and everything, and there are a lot of times he has to go without and make do for the family's sake (i.e. tools!). He wants us to be happy and when there is a need, he makes sure we're taken care of, regardless of what the budget may say. And for that I am very thankful. I believe there is a lot in this that we are teaching other, and through our years together we will find a good balance.

Go to Speaking from the Heart to join in on this challenge! It's not too late and it will bless your marriage!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Husband Encouragement Challenge: Day 6

Day 6: "...Whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31b

Do you recognize and appreciate your husband's creativity? Or do you criticize and demean his efforts? Instead of negativity, determine to be positive. Perhaps you can help your husband see that his efforts are an opportunity to glorify God.

Is your husband the "creative" type? Does he have any artistic gifts? What is that special "knack" he has? Affirm him for his handiwork - a hobby, music, gardening, tinkering with cars, working with wood, etc. Remember: Even if he doesn't measure up to your standards, praise his efforts. If your budget allows, buy him a book or magazine that will continue to encourage his special skill or talent.

If you have a hard time finding his "creative side," understand that men's creativity sometimes is related to their work. Find something he does to make his job run more smoothly or something he does that adds value to his work...and let him know that you have noticed. Make his day...Praise his accomplishments in public, while he is listening.

Kevin is wonderfully creative and it's one of the many things I love about him. He's great at fixing anything and finding solutions, and often times he comes up with a cheaper way to "make it work". And I love that. I love that it doesn't always have to be according to book. He's willing to just play around with whatever's laying around to create some contraption. Like the way he suspended a floor fan from the ceiling to help something dry. Or how we have a tarp hung up as our "ceiling" in our unfinished basement. Or the many ways he gets his Jeep repaired without the use of expensive power tools. He never just gives up. And when something's wrong, I know I can count on him to fix it! That's my man!

Weekly Memory Verse

This week's review verse:
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.

Review from Philippians

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--
think about such things.

If you'd like to join in on this week's memory verse, sign your name below. May it be a blessing to your life!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Husband Encouragement Challenge: Day 5

DAY 5: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Another way to describe the positive side of this "30-Day Encouragement Challenge" is by using the word "edify," which means, "to build up." Negative comments only discourage and tear down. Positive comments encourage and build.

Do you edify your husband before others, adding to his value in their eyes? This is especially important to other family members.

Do you praise your husband to his relatives, and yours? Does your husband's mother know how much you love him? How about your dad? Perhaps you can drop a word of praise into a conversation or letter. Be creative in letting your relatives know that you respect your husband, love him, and support him - in spite of whatever flaws and weaknesses he may have.

Another good verse I like: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

Last time doing this challenge I determined that I was going to make it a point to say something positive about Kevin every time I talked on the phone with someone. Somehow work it into the conversation. But since then, I haven't really done that. Soo... we're going to start again!

Let me just say... yesterday during the day I half-jokingly told Kevin that I wanted him to prepare me a bubble bath, complete with music and candles. Last night when I went to start my bath, as soon as he heard the water running, he came up and finished getting things set up for me. Complete with relaxing music and candles surrounding the tub. He then escorted me to the lovely prepared bathroom with me in a robe and slippers as like the spa. It was very sweet. And ahh, a nice, warm, relaxing bath at 9 months pregnant was just the ticket. Good work, hubby!

Go to Speaking from the Heart to join in on this challenge!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Husband Encouragement Challenge: Day 4

As I mentioned on DAY 1, this time doing the challenge I am focusing on these three goals, as I continue reading You Can Be the Wife of a Happy Husband:
  1. Focus only on my role as a spouse and not my husband's.
  2. Trust God to work in Kevin's life.
  3. Love Kevin unconditionally, accepting him as he is.
I'm going for more of a heart change than behavior change during these weeks. You see, there are specific areas in my husband's life I would love to see change, and for the three years we've been married, I kept thinking I could just encourage him in the right direction. Make suggestions, buy books, drop hints, and sometimes it was just an all-out heart-melt (where I actually told him how I want things to be different), all on top of prayer of course. But God's been making me realize (especially through this book, wow!) how much I really just need to love and accept Kevin as he is and let God do the work in him. It's not even my responsibility! What a weight lifted off me!

Here are some very encouraging passages from the book...

"Do not assume responsibilities that are your husband's alone. Realize that there are needs in his life that you cannot meet, such as his need to make Christ the Lord of his life or his need for acceptance and approval by others in business and society. Your main job is to comfort, encourage, and support your man when he is with you. As you plant and water your mate's life with praise, it is God's job to make it grow and bring an increase. "(44)

"Don't push him; just believe in him, and you will begin to experience a deeper, closer relationship with your man." (39)

"You and your husband will be contented and free only when you quit setting unrealistic goals and stop expecting him to be who he is not. Allow God to conform your mate into his image rather than trying to conform him in the image you have for his life." (49)

"Make it a habit, when you have the desire to change something about your husband, to ask Christ to show you your faults." (52)

Author Darien B. Cooper draws out the encouragement written in Philippians 4:4,6-8....
Rejoice in the Lord always....Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus... Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
What great verses! These have been some of my memory verses, yet it wasn't really until now as I put them in the context of marriage that I realize how power they really have!

For DAY 4 of the challenge we are to think on our husband and his work. Let him know that you are glad he is a hard worker. Take opportunities to praise his diligence and resourcefulness to others.

Kevin's job is definitely one thing I don't take for granted! He is such a hard worker and great at what he does! Because of him, his work ethic, his leadership, his values for family, I am able to stay home with our children! And what a blessing that is! I don't always see him off to work (as he leaves at 6am and I'm just now getting in the routine of getting up earlier), but we do always greet him with a warm welcome when he comes home. When he's on a night shift, I make sure he has plenty of snacks, food to eat, and coffee to get him through the long hours. I try to keep the house quiet while he's sleeping during the day. And on his days off, I make sure he gets some real time off for himself while Eli and I go out of the house for awhile. And on occasion I do thank him for working and for being the provider for our family. He's a good man!

Go to Speaking from the Heart to join in on this challenge!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Feb. 4

Notes from last week's new recipes:

The incredible chicken was super easy and full of flavor with just the three ingredients. I used chicken breasts because the store didn't have chicken pieces, so I'm not sure how that affected the cooking time. The only bad thing was that the brown sugar that got sprinkled onto the pan totally burned as it cooked. It didn't affect the chicken or flavor, but it sure smelled and was a mess to clean.

The easy enchilada casserole was tasty and gone the first night! Since I halved the recipe, now I just have to make something to finish off the enchilada sauce and tomato sauce this week.

I think I've made something like these before since I had grape jelly in the fridge and we don't usually use grape jelly, but the Easy Cocktail Weiners were easy and quick and yummy!

The Spicy Chicken Macaroni and Cheese was delicious but as the reviews said, it was indeed spicy! If I could figure out a way to easily use less green chiles, that would do the trick!

The Praline French Toast Casserole was like dessert for breakfast and surprisingly filling! This definitely makes it into my recipe box!

I ended up trying this recipe for egg drop soup instead of what I had posted last week. It turned out good, but we need some practice. I think we had too much broth with the egg and added it to the soup too quickly cuz it didn't have the egg pieces floating in the soup like we expected and it never thickened up much. It was good though! UPDATED: As I was writing the recipe onto a recipe card, I realized that I used 2 CUPS of water instead of 2 TBL so that would definitely be our mistake, and I'm excited to try again! I'm surprised it still tasted so good for being so overly diluted! Oops!


And for this week's menu! Now this week I'm trying for meals that require VERY few purchases!

Monday - kielbasa, cauliflower, peaches (didn't get to this last week since I forgot about Superbowl)

Tuesday - poverty meal (like goulash), garlic bread, broccoli (I'll actually make the full recipe on this one and freeze half for after baby)

Wednesday - chicken curry

Thursday - appetizer nite- quesadillas, oranges

Friday - grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, carrots, apples

Saturday - broccoli cheese soup, pears

Sunday - Italian grilled chicken, Suddenly Salad (hubby's favorite), fruit cocktail

Desserts of the week: fruit chutney and frozen strawberry salad (recipe below--this salad is sooo yummy, and I usually make it in the summer because it's like frozen yogurt/ice cream, but I'm in the mood for it now, so we're having it now!)

Frozen Strawberry Salad
from a church cookbook, I think?

1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen strawberries, thawed
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 small bananas, diced
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 (8 oz) container cool whip, thawed

Beat together cream cheese and sugar. Add strawberries, pineapple, bananas, and pecans. Mix thoroughly but gently. Fold in cool whip. Freeze. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

For more delicious menu ideas, visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. Have a great week!

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 119:33-40

Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Husband Encouragement Challenge: Day 3

Day Three: "...love suffers long, and is kind..." 1 Cor. 13:4 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

Yesterday was not a good day for the encouragement challenge. It started out okay-- we had a yummy praline french toast casserole breakfast (something I thought hubby would like) and then we went to a couple garage sales seeking wood for a project he's working on. But after that... not sure why, but I was really crabby and short-tempered the rest of the day. Every little thing I took personally and was offended. I think it's because I didn't get up early yesterday morning (Saturday) and I napped during Eli's nap, so I never had any time during the day to just BE in quietness with myself and God. So here I am this morning, up and at 'em during the early hours for a Sunday, sitting with my hot cup of raspberry leaf tea collecting my thoughts and preparing my heart for today...

So today with Day 3 of the challenge, I start fresh and re-commit to not saying anything negative to or about my loving husband.

Often with these challenges I begin to feel like I am the one who is putting in all the effort for marriage. But in my reading yesterday I read these encouraging promises I want to share with you:
When you follow God's plan for your life, you will be rewarded fourfold....
1. As you trust Jesus Christ to help you understand your husband, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover what a wonderful man you married.
2. As your husband begins to respond to your loving admiration, he will express appreciation and love for you.
3. God will give you inner peace and stability when you live to please and obey him and not yourself.
4. You will receive rewards in eternity as you faithfully trust and obey Christ.
Already this morning we had a little situation with Eli who woke up at 6:25 (30 minutes before he's allowed out of his crib), threw his blanket out, and stood there screaming. I had just gotten up for my quiet morning and Kevin was still sleeping. In order to not teach Eli that throwing the blanket out is okay, we let him just be upset for awhile. And during this time, Kevin got up! (this is a big thing for him. he's a deep sleeper and doesn't usually even hear when children cry) and came downstairs to sit by me with his cup of coffee. After several minutes he went up, gave Eli his blanket back, and rejoined me. He was the one to get up and take initiative, and to sit by me at the table in the quiet of this morning (besides Eli screaming)... that was nice.

It just might be a good day.

Go to Speaking from the Heart to join in on this wonderful challenge!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Husband Encouragement Challenge: Day 2

Day Two
"...through love serve one another." Gal. 5:13b

Today, find some way that your husband is serving you or your family. Does he help around the house? Take care of the car? Fix things that are broken? If your budget allows, give him a new, small tool with a big bow attached. But make sure he doesn't think it's part of a "Honey Do" list!

Maybe your husband's not a handyman, but does he run errands for you? Let you go first? Take care of you when you are sick? Help you make decisions? Praise him for his willingness to serve others. Let him know that you see his unique service as a great strength.

Kevin is AWESOME when it comes to serving the family! He is a very involved dad and helps out all the time with Eli so I can run errands, cook dinner, or just have a little break. He helps clean up the kitchen every day, occasionally prepares meals or goes to the store, fixes things around the house, keeps up with computer updates, maintains our vehicles, and does other heavy-duty jobs. Whatever I ask of him, he's quick to do with a willing heart, and for that I am so thankful! He's a great man!

To join in on this challenge go to Speaking from the Heart.

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's Back! Husband Encouragement Challenge, Round 2

Speaking from the Heart is just starting Nancy Leigh DeMoss's 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge, and though I've done this challenge before, I thought I'd hop on board and follow along best I can as we wait for Baby's arrival.

The rules for the next 30 days:

1. You can't say anything negative about your husband ...to your husband...or to anyone else, about your husband.
2. You must say something that you admire or appreciate about your husband...to your husband...and to someone else, about your husband!

I also just started reading the book You Can Be the Wife of a Happy Husband by Darien B. Cooper, so this time doing the challenge, I'm going to incorporate what I'm reading there. I just read the first chapter of the book last night and already here are my three focuses for this month:

1. Focus only on my role as a spouse and not my husband's.
2. Trust God to work in Kevin's life.
3. Love Kevin unconditionally, accepting him as he is rather than trying to make my values his values.

"The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
so he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
all the days of her life." Prov. 31:11-12

The end of that first chapter and right in line with what this challenge is about, the author challenges me to ask myself, How can I comfort, encourage, and do other good things for my husband? And because I'm a person who likes specific things I can actually do, here is a list of things I'm going to work on/do:

* Take more interest in Kevin's interests. Ask him about Jeep stuff and his computer box project.
* Change dinner plans to have chicken wings for Superbowl since he requested it.
* Get up 10 minutes earlier so I can see Kevin before he leaves for work. (which means being showered and ready for bed before 10:00pm)
* Create a budget for my own household shopping. (A few months ago I handed the budget and finances over to my husband since I was being too controlling about it, and since then it's relieved some battles as I've learned to submit to his decisions. But as an organized person and the primary shopper for our family, I'd really like to have some sort of budget. So I think I'll make up something that covers household/food items only to relieve some of that financial stress, especially with the budget about to change with the addition to the family.)
* Ask for a break when I need it rather than grumbling and being crabby and wishing someone would magically recognize my needs.
* Recognize the times I do say something negative and apologize immediately.

So there are my goals as we kick off this challenge for ROUND 2!