When it snows, make ice cream!

PicMonkey CollageIn Indiana, we have literally been snowed-in the house for going on 3- to 4-days and keeping four children entertained is always at the top of my priority list, even on the best of days!  As something new to try, we chose to make snow ice cream since we had over a foot of it on the ground and the result… A WHOLE LOTTA FUN!

If you do an internet search for a snow ice cream recipe, you’ll get a few variations but we choose to use what seemed to be a common recipe as well as what we hand on-hand in the house:

1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar (or a little less as we thought it had a bit too much)
4 cups of fresh snow

Stir together the first 3 ingredients and then add in the snow and stir, stir, stir some more to mix it all. Serve immediately before the snow starts melting!  You will never get a “compact” ice cream but it will still be loose like snow.  The kids added strawberry syrup and sprinkles too it and was completely amazed that they were eating snow that tasted so yummy!

Candy Corn Cloth

Is this not the cutest dishcloth I finished knitting last night!?  This is a very easy and cute pattern that is fun to make AND just in time for Halloween TOMORROW!  Nothing like cutting it close.  I’ll save it for next year though, as I might actually use it as a table decoration with something Halloween-ish placed on top of.  You can find the pattern over at Yarnspirations by clicking here if interested!

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Pizza Calzone

Do you ever find one of those recipes and you think to yourself, “why haven’t I ever made that”?  I came across Pizza Calzones the other day while spending hours time on Pinterest and found this recipe for calzones here and just knew that I had to make these.  I knew I had bread dough in the freezer and so pulled those out to thaw/rise and used that instead of traditional pizza dough.  I won’t repeat the recipe as you can go to the site to see that but it’s definitely worth a try.

I made two — a plain ol’ cheese one for the kiddos and then a sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms (sauteed first), and cheese for the second one (pictured).  After we wrapped them, I then spread melted butter on the top of them and sprinkled Italian seasoning, which really gave the crust a nice flavoring.

What I really liked about this recipe is that BOTH were completely gone after dinner, and I realized next time, I’ll need to make three of these — 2 cheese and 1 meat, as my 4 kiddos demolished the first cheese one.  The second thing I liked is that one of my boys had a blast helping me in the kitchen with these by rolling out the dough, spreading the fillings and making the braid with the strips as the gal in the original recipe did.

Look at this yummy goodness…

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Go. Bake.

When did this happen?

Do you ever have those moments in your life when you are doing something and you think “how in the world did I get HERE”?  Here at this exact moment in your life when you have four kids and your putting one on the bus in the early morning, hoping and praying he has a good day and listens well.   Or when you are walking back to your house, looking at your neighbors well-kept yards and flowers, with a little pep in your step, so that you can go wake up the brother and sisters to get them going for the day only to do it all over again and put them on another bus and praying for them as the big orange rectangle takes them away.  And you think to yourself, how did I get HERE, at this exact moment, with four kiddos, a cat, a dog and a house in the suberb?

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It’s these kind of days that when you are in the thick of it, you just want them to be over, for the weekend to hurry up and get here so that you can grab an extra hour of sleep before you start the day filled with soccer games, football games, a birthday party squeezed in and then dinner.  When three kiddos all yelling “mom!!!” and fighting each other or needing a band-aid and a kiss, or upset about what a friend said to hurt their feelings, that make you want to lock yourself in the laundry room to give a good cry (true story) before you come back out to face them all again.

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It’s the kind of days when your neighbor’s daughter who is 22, comes home to visit, from where she moved after college to Kansas, and you think, I remember when we had those parents over for a cookout and she stood in our garage singing Brittany Spears when she was 10!  It’s when you look at her and think it’s gone, in the blink of the eye, all those years are gone and HERE is where you are.  Moving through life, taking all these little daily moments for granted and HERE is where life has brought you.  To the days where the kiddos still need you to talk openly and excitedly about their first crush on a girl in their class, to want you to still kiss their boo-boos away and who still need a 3rd drink of water before falling to sleep.  It’s HERE where you fall into bed at night utterly exhausted from the day, thinking that you would love to look at the new magazine that came in the mail today but you are just too tired.  It’s HERE where God has put you exactly where you supposed to be at this exact moment in your life, no matter how many times you think that you can’t do one more day by yourself while the hubby is at work, no matter how many tears are shed thinking that you are failing as a mother and the feeling guilty over the yelling that just happened, God has his hand tucked safely in yours and is watching over you.  He’s got this.  He’s got this.

Knitting for Charity

I finished this baby/toddler blanket last night to go to a local orphan or to another country on a mission trip through our church — my first charity knitting project! Before I turn it in to our church, I plan to pray over it for the wee one receiving this blanket to know they are loved.

This was such a simple way to show my kids how to have compassion for others in this world.  It took me 5 weeks of on/off again knitting in the evenings and they would ask several times who it was for or if I knew who it would go to. From these questions, I was able to have conversations with them about showing and expressing love to those they may not even know or ever meet.

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Pattern can be found here:  http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90371AD.html.  The design on this one is just really hard to see but there are “rows” in which they alternate and almost looked raised. It would look better with a solid color of yarn but I was able to use up yarn I had in my stash for this.  Super easy pattern!

How To Serve Others

For many years, I served in the children’s ministry because in having four children of my own, I “knew” children — it was something I could do easily.  However, as time went on, because again, I DO have four children of my own, I came to resent the Sundays where I knew I had to go in and serve in the nursery or classroom.  My church “time” was and still is, time where I can connect with God, get rejuvenated for the week ahead and have some quiet time understanding God’s word.  When I served in the nursery or classroom, this rejuvenation was being stripped of me.

I turned in my notice to the church and let them know that this was no longer for me at this stage of my life as my “heart” just wasn’t in it anymore.  And then I did nothing.  I didn’t serve.  But as God instructs us in the bible, we are to serve others and that nagging sensation came back in which I knew I wanted to do “something” to help others.

What does the bible say about serving others?

Acts 20:35:  In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Proverbs 11:25:  Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

1 Peter 4:10:  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

My family belongs to a “big” church and by “big”, we’re talking about 3,000 attendees to our main location each Sunday.  This does not include two off-site locations that are growing at leaps and bounds as well.  So as you can imagine with a big church, there are many families or persons in need when times arise — both good and bad.  Surgeries, birth of a baby, death of a spouse, etc.  In these times, the church likes to help out in easing the burden of fixing meals and they have a team of women that they reach out to fix a meal when a need arises.  I found a way to serve. This is something that I usually do about twice a month on average and it’s something that I can do from the comfort of my home — cook.  It takes usually less than 30 minutes to drive to the home, drop the meal off and offer a few words of encouragement or simply introduce myself and see if there’s anything else they need.  Better yet, I usually take one of my children with me so that they too can have compassion for other people instilled in them by watching me serve as their example.

I know that for some of you reading this blog entry, you don’t have a church home and maybe have no interest in doing so, but you don’t have to in order to serve others.  I had a good friend who has three children and was horribly sick over this past Thanksgiving holiday.  A neighbor and I split up a Thanksgiving menu, went in together on a turkey, and then both our families carried a full meal down to their home so that they could still enjoy the holiday without the stress and my friend could stay in the comfort of her bed knowing that her family was still enjoying a meal and time spent together. I was already cooking for my family and so cooking the additional food wasn’t an extra burden — it took very little extra time but yet  the gesture went so far!  And again, our children were so excited about being able to care for someone in need, that we all agreed that we would seek out another family in need of a Thanksgiving meal this coming holiday.

I believe that there are so many opportunities to serve others in our daily lives with just small gestures of kindness.  Cooking for me, is a simple act.  For others, it may be going to a nursing home and spending time or simply mowing the lawn of the older person that lives next to you.  LOOK for things to do and you’ll be amazed at how both you and the person you are serving are blessed!