Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dinner in a Pumpkin

     This is my second year to make "dinner in a pumpkin" for my family and staff. I wanted to share this fun recipe, because it is a creative presentation and could become a fun family tradition. I know there are several recipes out there and you can modify to fit your taste. Keep in mind I made this for forty and not four, so my quantities were a little bit different.

1. You start out with a round pumpkin that you cut a good size hole in the top and clean out. The kids (aka our staff) love helping with this part. (Save those seeds, season them with a little curry, roast them for about 20 minutes and have a great snack.)
2. Next, you just follow the recipe below. I modified by leaving out the water chestnuts and I know a good add on can be almonds. Also, it's a nice touch to baste the inside of the pumpkin with butter and brown sugar before you put the mixture in.

Enough to feed an army!
On a stovetop cook:
1½ lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1-1/2 cup  cooked rice ( I used 2)
1 can sliced water chestnuts (drained)
1 green pepper
1 red pepper

3. Fill the pumpkin with the mixture and cook at 350 for about an hour or until the pumpkin is very tender. 
It will look like this. And be sure to get a bite of pumpkin with each scoop. Enjoy this Halloween tradition!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Our girl is growing.

    A couple posts ago, I shared my anticipation of change this fall. The fall is upon us and our 4 year old is changing in amazing ways everyday.  I wanted to give you a few updates on these changes we're experiencing and how the good Lord is carrying us after the summer we had. 

1. Homeschooling
      I am LOVING it! Becca and I sit down three times each week in the middle of our busy home and the busy boys and work through the "Rod and Staff" curriculum that came highly recommended to me. As a proud mother and now teacher, I can say I have a smart cookie on my hands. We laugh, we pray, we count, we trace, we color, and we learn together. I taught 4th grade for 4 years and I love getting back to what I feel I was created to do and I LOVE teaching my little girl. I am learning she is afraid to fail, she loves order, and she has a strong desire to do it just right. I am daily thankful that as she learns how to write her numbers, I am learning how to teach, love, and nurture my little girl. 
     Now, as picture perfect as it sounds, please know that as we sit at that sweet little school table in the middle of our small double wide, there are little boys in the back ground shooting off nerf guns, turning crayons into guns, and turning themselves into guns. There is yelling, screaming, laughing, crying, and every other human emotion that a 3 and a 2 year old make very loundly. But, it works! I was told that, but I hesitantly believed that Becca and I could get anything accomplished with her little brothers around. We are making this a part of our routine and it does work! Today, I am thankful for the change that homeschooling brought and I will keep you posted on our journey.

2. Reborn

  Becca and I drive in together every Monday for her 45 minute ballet class. (So, yes I drive an hour and a half one way 3 times a week now.) The boys are babysat and we have a "girly" day each week in town. Last week, as we were still on the dirt road, Becca was asking about her grandparents and what has happened to Daddy's Grandpa. I told her that he had died and was with Jesus. She also remembered that this was what happened to our baby girl, Lucy Hope. There was a quiet pause and I heard from the back seat, "Mommy, I'm scared to die." I asked her about that and then explained why I was not scared to die, that I actually look forward to being with Jesus and not suffering anymore. 
     I shared my faith with my 4 year old. I told her about my hope even for my dead baby girl that the good Lord has given me. I will see her one day.  All by herself, she asked how she could have that. I explained that she can pray a prayer and accept that Jesus died for her and has forgiven her sins so that she could go to Heaven. I told her that we could talk about this more with Daddy that night if she would like. She promptly announced, "Mommy, I need to do that right now!" In the middle of that 9 mile dirt road, my little girl became clean. She pronounced Jesus as her Savior and we celebrated. She had lots of questions and that's all we talked about the entire way into ballet.  (That day, she was a "cushion" several times instead of a "Christian")
    I curse that drive some days, but I love that the Lord appoints that drive for our family. I was incredibly sad about saying good bye to our 4th child, but the Lord knew that her short life would bring eternal life to our first child. Once again, He reminds me these children are not mine and that He is good.
We did celebrate her "spiritual" birthday that night!

3. Riding
    This girl loves to ride a horse and now she is old enough to go out on the trail by herself. Last week, we had a few little girls as guests out here. Becca really hit it off with a couple of them.  She became that teenage girl to me who came to me each day and would ask if she could go ride with her friends. This actually came out of her mouth, "Mom, everyone is going." Becca, you are 4 not 14!!!! But, I just can't get over the change that comes with her independence. It was a great week and I am learning to embrace that change. But, I am learning as her mom that I have to change with her. This is what I desired this fall...change! And change is here. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


     How have you let me go this long without introducing you to Jack and adding him to my "Family" tab? I will begin this introduction by pointing out the most "special" characteristic of Jack...he is now walking!!!!!!  Yes, he is my 23 month old that is finally using the muscles in his legs that the good Lord gave him. This does say it all about Jack. He came out the womb without a care in the world. He is the happiest, easiest, funniest baby and has been so from day one.

      Jack was born November 23, 2009 and was in the NICU for two weeks. I still remember watching those sweet nurses mess with his hundreds of cords and telling Tony that we have a sweet boy on our hands. He slept through the night steadily at 8 weeks and he is the reason I knew I wanted a fourth child. He makes my days easier. His smile and his silly faces make us all laugh constantly. As you can see from the pictures, his hair could not be any lighter and his eyes any darker. Strangers comment regularly about his unique look. His hair usually is sticking up in all directions and it fits him just right. 

      Jack continues to grow and develop at a slow but steady rate. He is now attempting many words and lets out a "pterodactyl" scream to let us know that he is happy or mad about something. Yesterday, I was able to drop him off at the nursery and he had graduated since he is now using his legs in life. He was able to do his first "art project", where he had colored two hand puppets of Bible characters. I tried to take them out of his hand so that he could hold mine and that "pterodactyl" scream soon followed. He held them for the next hour. He was so proud! I love this little man and I thank God for his joy and care-free outlook on life everyday. I know he has all ready made me a better mama.

Here are some Jackpot highlights:

I can't believe my baby is almost 2 years old! He is a blessing in our lives everyday!