Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.  A church in my area has 3900 blue and pink flags in their front yard, representing the number of babies lost each day to abortion.  It really makes me think about what each one of those children could have been.  It also makes me mad that those women truly thought they had no choice, or that they didn't consider their actions before they chose.

As someone struggling with infertility, it absolutely astounds me that someone would willingly give up the chance to have a child.  I saw this video a few months ago, and it really spoke to me.  I thought I'd post it here.

Please pray for mothers and babies today!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Lindsay has a wonderful post on her blog about not letting healthy living become an idol in your life.  It is a wonderful, biblical discussion, and it really spoke to my heart.

I am all about "real food" and organic products, etc.  However, about two months ago or so, I realized that it is completely impossible to eat this way and use these things 100% of the time.  I was completely convicted about the "evils" of  processed products, and would feel very guilty if I ate something that wasn't on the "good list."  It was getting in the way of our tithes to the church, it was getting in the way of our budget, and it was getting in the way of my life.  It became an obsession, and therefore turned my thoughts from God.

So I'm slowly trying to calm down about things.  If I make a casserole that has canned soup in it, I won't die immediately.  If I realize that real laundry detergent works better than the natural kind, and is about $4 less expensive, then that's what I'll do.  I can't let frivolities get in the way of giving myself to the Lord.

Thank you Lindsay!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Puppy Antics

Please look at this animal.  She is hilarious. 

Yesterday, I was at the grocery store, and picked up one of these humongous rawhide bones for her.  She's not had one in months, and she just LOVES them.  She becomes 100% obsessed with it, even before I unwrap them. 

Last night, she was loudly chewing it in our room, and so Colby kicked her out.  So then she proceeded to prop the bone against our bedroom door, and gnaw as hard as she could, banging on the door the whole time.  I swear she does these things on purpose.  Colby took the bone away and put it in our closet.  So this morning, before she went outside, she went to get her bone, and TOOK IT OUTSIDE WITH HER.  Of course, she then left it out there.  And we weren't about to go get it, since it was FOUR DEGREES this morning.  No thanks, Piper.

Of course, she's gotten it back tonight, and we've been able to amuse ourselves by watching her chew this ginormous bone.  Love this dog.


I tried to get a picture of her carrying it through the house, but she's too fast for me.

Just so you know, she also "hides" her bone in the house.  I stuck my hand under my pillow one night and felt something weird.  And, yeah, there it was.  Thanks Piper.  I'm glad that our bed is just one giant yard where you can hide your things....

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Years Resolution

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

This year, I only have one New Years Resolution.  To get closer to my Lord.  Back during the summer, I was praying daily, reading my Bible semi-regularly, and going to church every Sunday, except during our Disney vacation.  Then, after my miscarriage, I just quit.  I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened.  I went back to work, got busy, and worldly, but much less important things took over my life. 

I need Jesus.  There are days where I long to be in His Word, where I long to talk with Him, and for Him to show me the way. If it weren't for His amazing Grace, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

This Christmas, I really reflected on what it meant for God to give His Son to us.  As I thought about my baby in Heaven, I realized how hard it was for me to give my baby to God, and how much it affected me.  How much more did it affect my God to give his only son, just to be tortured, and die a horrible death, taking on the sin of the entire world? 

So I resolve this year to spend more quality time with Jesus.  To rest at His feet.  To let Him lead me in all I do.  To know Him better.

"This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'"
--Jeremiah 6:16

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Save the Drama for Your Mama, This is Theatre Class!

It will NOT stop snowing in Western NC!  It has pretty much snowed every day this week.  We've gone to school Monday, and today, and it looks like we won't go tomorrow.  As much as I love snow days, I'm directing two plays for Drama competition in March, and we MUST rehearse!!

Speaking of which, anyone who says they dislike middle schoolers doesn't know what they're talking about.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these kids.  My degree is K-12, so when I was in college, I had to observe and intern in all three grade levels.  Loved elementary schools.  Uncomfortable with high school.  HATED middle school.  (Probably because I hated it so much when I was in middle school.) So, when it was time for me to student teach, of COURSE, my advisor placed me at a middle school.  I loved it from the first day.  I was hooked from then on out.  When I was offered a job in my hometown teaching Drama at the two middle schools, I couldn't believe it.  God really does have mysterious ways...

My favorite grade is seventh.  Sixth graders are babies, like elementary schoolers, and eighth graders are "too big for their britches" as we like to say.  But I really like them all.  I wish I could tell you all of the hilarious stories that I have from over these past seven years.

And yes, they have problems.  And HORMONES! But most of them have tremendous hearts.  I've seen it come out of them so much when they find something they're passionate about, like the Holocaust, or anti-bullying, or treating everyone equally.  And you wouldn't believe the hearts many of these kids have for Jesus.  They passion that comes across their eyes when they're telling me about their church, or helping someone less fortunate, or sticking up for someone who's being picked on.  Amazing.

And yes, whenever God blesses us with children, I would LOVE to stay home.  Some days I think I'm made for that.  But then I have a really, really, wonderful, productive rehearsal like I did today, and I just don't know...

I have such a heart for Theatre.  I was made to be onstage, or directing.  It is such an incredible experience to watch a sweet little shy sixth grader turn into a brilliant eighth grader, winning acting awards at competition.  I love these students.  It is an honor to be entrusted with their Dramatic education.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sad Snow Day...

It's snowing outside, so school was canceled.  I have literally been in the bed all day.

It's not been a good start to the New Year for me.  I took yet another negative pregnancy test on New Years Day, and saying that I'm discouraged or disappointed would be a huge understatement.  We've been trying for over a year (since Sept 2008) to have a baby, and we finally got pregnant in July 2009, only to have a miscarriage.  We had taken a couple of months off from trying before then, and were so, so excited that I had finally gotten pregnant. I was devastated when I didn't see that heartbeat at my first ultrasound.

Since I had to have a D&C after the miscarriage, we had to wait three months before we could try again.  So December was our first try.  I really, really thought that I'd get pregnant right away after our three cycle wait.  Everyone, including our OB told us that you're more fertile after a miscarriage, but I guess that's not true for us.  We thought we'd figured it all out.

I have gone back and forth about blogging about this, but I'm the kind of person who feels like I need to just get it all out on the table.  It makes me feel a little better to talk about it.

I know that God has a plan for us, and that we will get our miracle baby in His time, but I'm having some serious struggles with waiting.  I also know that there are people who've waited a lot longer than we have, but that doesn't make me feel better.  It just makes me feel even worse for those women.

At the end of the day, I still have hope.  I know in my heart that I am meant to be a mother.  I just wish it would happen a little sooner, and cause me a little less heartache. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cast Iron Cookware

If you know me at all, you know that I love, love, love, traditional/antique cooking utensils.  Especially cast iron cookware.  There are many benefits of using this cookware. 

First of all, since the cookware contains iron, that is deposited in your food, which is a good thing.  Second, if seasoned correctly and cared for, your pots and skillets will be totally non-stick, without a scary Teflon coating.  I read somewhere the other day about teflon, and how when heated to 500 degrees (basically preheating on high heat) the fumes will kill an exotic bird, like a parrot.  Yuck.  (On a side note, I just hate teflon/non-stick pans because you have to use plastic or wooden utensils only.  It's a pain.)

Here are some pictures of some of the pieces I've collected over the years.

A Dutch Oven with Glass Lid.  If you ever purchase one of these, buy one with a lid.

A skillet.  I have a three of these.  The size is determined by a number on the back.

A griddle pan.  It's like a grill pan, but with no ridges.  I actually don't use this one a lot, because it is really old, and therefore made for an older stove with burners that are closer together.This is the back of it, by the way :)

A griddle and a corn stick pan.

My favorite piece, the muffin pan.  It makes 11 muffins, which I think is so quaint, and it makes THE BEST muffins and corn muffins ever in the history of the world.  They are always perfectly browned on top and bottom.  I love it!


There are several different brands of cast iron cookware.  The most popular is probably Lodge, but I detest it, because their skillets come "pre-seasoned" and are impossible to season yourself.  I had a Lodge skillet that I sold because it never, ever, became non-stick, no matter how much I used it.

I recommend going to an antique store, flea market, or an auction, and buying either Griswold or Wagner pans.  They are the absolute best.  They'll say Griswold or Wagner-ware on the back.  If it doesn't, don't let anyone tell you that's what it is.  A real Griswold or Wagner piece will run $30-$50 dollars in an antique store, but you can find cheaper ones at auctions or flea markets.

Trust me, whatever you spend will be worth it.  Your great-grandchildren will still be using your pans. 

How to Season a Pan:
When you get the pan home, get a heavy-duty scrubber (I like the Brillo pads with soap in them) and scrub all the gunk off. (This is why Lodge pans are not that great; you can't ever get the store gunk off.)  If it looks pretty black, slick, and shiny, you can skip this.  If there is any rust or anything, you need to do this.

Turn your oven on to 400 degrees.  Coat your skillet with an ANIMAL FAT grease, such as bacon grease or lard.  Alternately, you can cook some bacon in the skillet, eat the bacon (yum!) and leave the grease.

Put it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the grease is all melted.  Then, CAREFULLY, with paper towels or an old rag, get most of the grease out of the pan.  Leave a good coating on it.

Put the pan back in the oven at 200 degrees for several hours. I usually just leave it in there and forget about it all day. 

You are ready to use the pan!  It won't be instantly non-stick, you'll have to cook in it awhile.  I suggest cooking greasy foods at first in it to help the seasoning.

Care of Your Pans:
1.  After using, rinse with the hottest water your sink will produce.  You can use a scrubber, as long as it's not metal (like a Brillo pad).
2.  Let dry completely before storing.  This prevents rust.
3.  Do not ever, ever EVER use soap on your pans.  It will take off the seasoning.
4.  If you cook something acidic, like tomato sauce, and leave it in the pan too long, it may take off some of the seasoning.  Just season again, or cook something greasy next time you use it.

Enjoy your cast iron cookware! It lasts several lifetimes!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Supper

It's a Southern tradition to eat two things on New Years.  First, is black-eyed peas, because they bring good luck in the new year.  Second is collard greens because they bring money in the new year.  I haven't gone without eating these two things on New Years Day as long as I can remember.  I was born in March, and by the next January, I was eating table food, so I'm sure I had my peas and greens as a 10 month old.

Usually we eat roast pork, or leg of lamb with our greens, but this year, I decided to do something a little different.  We had shrimp and grits, collard greens, and Texas caviar.  If you've never had Texas caviar, it's basically a dip made from black-eyed peas. 

If you THINK you don't like collards, I BEG you to try this recipe.  Most people do not know how to cook this gem of a vegetable.  They don't cook them long enough, and they add too much liquid.

Southern Collard Greens: 

You need to get a big bunch of collard greens. One large bunch serves about 4-6 people, depending on what else you're serving (and who'll eat them, of course!) Then, before you wash them, strip them of their stems and chop.  I usually roll them up like a big cigar and slice them.  Please, please don't leave the stems on.  They are just tough and gross.

Put the chopped greens in a sink full of cold water, swish them around a bunch, and then drain in a colander.

Then, in a big pot (I use a cast iron dutch oven) put about a tablespoon of either butter or bacon grease, and fry up some salt pork, or bacon at med-high heat.  We bought a half-pig this year, and I had some uncured bacon (basically side meat) and I used that.

Fry until crisp.

Then, put in your greens.  You'll have to put in a few at a time, and stir them up to wilt them.  If you put them all in the pot at the same time, you won't be able to stir.

Then you're going to put in the following:
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (homemade or store bought, whatever)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (I use a natural sweetener like sucanat or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • Salt to taste (my chicken stock is homemade, and unsalted, so I used about 2 tsp.)
  • Red pepper flakes (just sprinkle on to taste; I probably used about 1/4 tsp or a little more)

Stir all that up and put the lid on.  Let cook on med-med/low heat for about 30-45 minutes.  When the greens are dark green, tender, and they've absorbed most of the liquid, they're done.  My hubby eats these with extra vinegar on the side.


Texas Caviar:
This recipe is a Rachael Ray, and I thought it was "delish."  I found the BEST tortilla chips to serve with this.  They came from Sam's Club, and they're whole grain, organic, and yummy!

You need:
  • 4 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained and cooled (I used a frozen bag, and cooked them about 30 minutes in about an inch of water.)
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced red onion (I used all yellow onion; just a big one)
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
You just mix everything together and then put in the fridge for 12 hours, or until you get tired of waiting, and open the chips. :)

Shrimp and Grits: 
This is really a breakfast food, but we always it for supper, ha ha.

First, you need to cook some delicious, creamy grits.  Now, usually, grits are just made with water, but these are outstanding. Ever since I found this recipe, I make grits this way.

You need:
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grits
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup half and half or cream, divided
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Boil the water and butter.  Add the grits and salt.  Cook on med-low heat, until they're creamy, and absorbed a lot of the water, about 10 minutes.  Then add 1/2 cup half and half, and cook 7-10 more minutes.  Add last 1/2 cup half and half and cook until done (about 5-7 minutes).

(Isn't this measuring cup pretty?  It's depression glass!)

Add cheese and stir until all melted.


Shrimp with Gravy:
You need one pound of shrimp for this.  I used the frozen, pre-peeled and deveined kind (DON'T get the pre-cooked kind-blech!) and defrosted them by putting them in a colander set in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes.  Pat them dry REALLY well after this.

If you have access to really good, fresh shrimp, then I am really jealous.

Put the shrimp in a bowl with:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp salt
Set aside.

Then fry up 1/4 cup onion and 1/3 red or green bell peppers with about 3T bacon grease (it really is better with the bacon grease!)

Add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a roux.  Let the mixture get golden brown.


Next, add 3/4 chicken stock and your shrimp mixture.

Cook just until shrimp are pink, and gravy is thickened.  If it's too thick, you can add a little more stock.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over grits.

We were two happy customers, let me tell ya!