I’m back!

Interesting how things change over the period of 1 year. Last year I was sitting here worried about what I would be doing with my allotted time. I was very selfish.
During 2012, I learned many life lessons that I thought I had already learned. Sometimes I need a refresher course.
Speaking of courses, I enrolled in college and am now starting my second semester. Excited? Of course. I am currently a Pre-Nursing student!! YAY for me!! I also completed my first semester with a 3.33 GPA. Nice work, Vicky, Why, thank you!
As I was saying, I learned and re-learned many life lessons last year. The most important lesson was to appreciate those that we have in our lives because we are never sure how long they will be with us.

  • I also learned that life isn’t always meant to be taken seriously (no one gets out alive anyway).
  • Laugh more. Love deeper. Yes, now I’m starting to sound like a corny country music song. Oh well.
  • I also learned that lots of foods are bad. Very bad.
  • There’s more than 1 way to eat spinach. And my daughter LOVES raw spinach.
  • Making a salad can become a bonding moment, if you let it.
  • I learned that silly girls never truly change, they just grow a little older.
  • Did you know for every 1 gram of Mac-n-cheese, the FDA allows 1 bug particle in it? Gross. (BugFest was VERY informative.)
  • There is a crater on the top of the moon. ( I thank my beginner astronomer for that.)
  • I do have a limit on my patience, but it’s much farther than “my patience is wearing thin!”
  • If I like it, my girls will too…based on how enthusiastic I am.
  • Cancer sucks. No matter who has it.
  • Explaining death to an 8-year-old and 9-year-old is never easy.

I also have had my faith challenged and some of the things I’ve always thought to be truth called into question. I’ve had to analyze what I know to be truth. In some cases, the truth I know has never been more certain. In other cases, I’m left in doubt.

I’m not going to try to pile on “resolutions” because I know that I won’t keep them. I do have a few goals I would like to reach this year. Like get to an ideal weight. That would be nice. I’d like to bring my book reading goal back. I don’t know if I can do 1 book a week, but I can try. I also don’t know if I will actually blog daily. Probably not. Maybe once a week? That’s possible.
There is one thing thought that I would like to somehow bring back. I’ve lost some motivation. Perhaps it became boring and mundane. I don’t know. But I would really like to get back out and pick my photography up. It was so much fun and I enjoyed it.  I think my current camera frustrates me. It’s slow and can’t take all the photos I would like. I want a new one. Hmmmm…..

 

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Cherry Crisp

INGREDIENTS:

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional!) 
1/3 cup melted margarine
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish. Pour pie filling into the dish, and spread evenly.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in melted margarine. Spread over pie filling, and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2012 Allrecipes.com

S’mores Cake

S’mores Cake

 

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 lb graham crackers, finely crushed or 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp vanilla
Marshmallow Buttercream
1 – 13 oz jar of marshmallow creme
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs milk
Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tblsp butter
2 tbsp corn syrup

Instructions

Graham Cracker Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of two 9″ round cake pans and spray the sides with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add yolks, one at a time and beat until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and graham cracker crumbs.
  4. Add the graham cracker mixture alternately with the milk to the creamed mixture until completely mixed.
  5. Add the vanilla.
  6. In another bowl stiffly beat the egg whites and fold them gently into the batter.
  7. Pour the batter evenly into the two separate cake pans. Bake for 25-27 minutes.

Marshmallow Buttercream

  1. In a medium bowl cream the butter and marshmallow creme together.
  2. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time adding a tblsp of milk when needed to thin it out slightly.

Chocolate Glaze

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl along with the butter and heat in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted.
  2. Stir in the corn syrup.
  • Assembling the Cake
  1. Allow the cakes to cool completely. Slice a thin layer from the top of each cake to flatten it, if necessary.
  2. Place one round on a cake platter. Place strips of wax paper underneath the edge of the cake.
  3. Spread an even layer of marshmallow buttercream on top. Top with second cake round. Trim the sides of the cake, if necessary, to even out the sides.
  4. Spread the marshmallow buttercream evenly over the entire cake, setting 1/4 cup aside for later. Place immediately in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
  5. Top with chocolate glaze. Chill to firm the chocolate then garnish with the extra marshmallow buttercream, 8 squares of chocolate, and some extra crushed graham crackers.
  6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

  • Notes

It is best to slightly freeze the cake rounds to make assembling the cake easier. I froze mine for 1 hour. I also recommend using dark chocolate for the glaze because the cake and frosting are very sweet. The dark chocolate helps to balance that out. Best served chilled.

BudgetGourmetMom.com

Tres Leches

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
  6. Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
  7. Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

Recipes

I’ve decided to add a new “folder” here on my blog for recipes. These aren’t going to be super hard or expensive recipes that are near impossible, but just some of my favorites, or some I want to try!

Stress … the new pressure cooker

HA! I made you think I bought a new pressure cooker! I have one, and oddly enough, I have yet to use it. I bought it at a garage sale LAST YEAR for $5. They only used it once or twice (which, in yard sale terms, means at least a dozen or so.) Anyway….

I’m talking about life. The normal day-to-day activities that tap and chip away at your strength and defenses until you’re weak and tired and you get bombarded with the big stuff.

I told hubby about it earlier. It’s not even stress from being stressed! It’s just pressure from knowing I should know things that I don’t know about. Our house, my family, our future…. I don’t know, neither does he nor does anyone else. Status quo. Wait until…….when? I don’t know, but wait until then.

Last Sunday, our pastor made a great illustration about marriage. He compared it to a fort. That fort’s now under siege. The fort’s enemy won’t send a HUGE attack at first. They will try to break the walls by sending small attacks that could take days, weeks, or even months!

He didn’t mention how a fort would survive under that kind of attack, but I do know that in marriage, the best way to stand is by supporting each other.  In Ephesians 5, Paul writes:

 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and He is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” (Eph 5:22-29 KJV)

 

Oftentimes, we read this passage and say “Yeah! Spouse – you’re supposed to be doing this!” or “Hey!! S/He’s not doing that!”  That’s not what we should be doing.  When it says “Wives, … ” that is meant for wives, not husbands. Husbands don’t need to be worrying about what  their wives should be doing. They need to worry about “Husbands, …”  and vice versa.  When we do what we’re supposed to be doing, it’s the other person’s responsibility to do what they are supposed to do.   It’s a circle!  It’s easier to do something for someone else when someone else is doing something for you!

Some things that are happening in my life right now that I don’t have much idea about. That’s stressful for me, but I know my husband’s taking care of it. I trust him to handle it appropriately. There’s nothing I can do for it anyhow. So, I ask questions.   🙂

 

I’m not a hater! by Mary

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve neglected my blogging. In fact, I’ve neglected it so much, I had to reset my password here because I had forgotten it.  I have some things I need to update and write about, but first and foremost, I want to share a response a great friend of mine posted on facebook today. I’ve been wanting to say these very same words for a long time, but she puts it so eloquently.  Without further ado:

I’m not a hater!

I  was in for a real shock yesterday. I went to read an article posted by one of my Facebook friends, and found out that I am, apparently, a “hater”. According to this article, because I am a Christian conservative, I not only hate gays, but I hate Muslims, President Obama, black people, women who want to do whatever they want to with their own bodies, immigrants and labor unions. I love war, and I just want America to spend the money to be in a war, not necessarily to win said war. Oh yes, and I like torture. I hate liberals, moderates, and those who disagree with my Conservative dogma. Wow. I even demonize everyone who is not rich, white, or in a heterosexual relationship with a submissive and obedient wife. I am truly a horrible person by this writer’s standards. I wonder how the writer came to these conclusions. Certainly some of it has to do with people like those who belong to Westboro Baptist Church, Harold Camping, and Terry Jones. The rest, I’m sure, is a product of Liberal media. But what you don’t usually see, or hear, is what the Christians are doing when people like Terry Jones want to burn the Qur’an, or when Westboro Baptist Church protests a soldiers funeral. You don’t hear of the millions of Christians who want to tell you the truth against the words of Harold Camping. You just assume because they call themselves “Christian” that we’re all like that. But you wouldn’t dare say that because someone is a Muslim, they’re all hell bent on taking over airplanes and flying them into buildings. That would be politically incorrect and offensive.

I guess I’d like to set the record straight.

First of all, I don’t hate gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, or trans-genders. Do I disagree with their lifestyle? Yes. Is that my right (as of today) as an American? Yes. Do I have a right to bully them, disregard them, treat them at a lower standard then anyone else? No. Do I have a right to tell them the Good News of Jesus Christ? Yes. Do they have to listen? No. See, that’s the great thing about America. We are a melting pot of many cultures and diversities. And we have the right to agree or disagree on any number of subjects.

I don’t hate Muslims, though I respectfully disagree with what their religion believes. And the majority of Muslims respectfully disagree with the Christian religion. As American Muslims, do they have that right? Absolutely. I don’t hate our current President, although I disagree with a majority of his politics and beliefs. I don’t hate Black people, and don’t believe them all to be on food stamps. I want people who live in oppressive countries to come and find the freedom of that oppression in America. By golly, I even welcome them. As long as come here legally. And while I’ve learned in the business world that unions can be destructive to the business side of things, I think they stand for workers rights, so I don’t hate them either.

But I haven’t talked about the touchiest subject yet. This subject, I believe, has divided the country more than any other topic.

I want to put it in another perspective first. Let’s say there is an owner of one male horse and one female horse. The male and the female do what God created them to do, they mate, and the female horse becomes pregnant. Well, the owner can’t afford to feed a third horse, so he decides he’s going to kill it, while its STILL IN THE HORSE. The organization PETA finds out about this and is outraged! How inhumane is it to kill a baby horse! The owner should have been more responsible and not allowed the two horses to get together, not make that cute little baby horse pay the consequences! How is that right? The owner is brought down in front of a judge and charged with abuse of an animal, is no longer allowed to have animals and must give over the rights of the parent horses to the SPCA. We can’t do that to animals, there are laws against that. But why is it ok to do that with a human? Oh, I know the arguments well. It’s a woman’s body, she has the right to do what she wants, blah blah blah. Except here’s the problem. Though the baby may be IN the woman, it is an entirely different entity. And if most of America didn’t believe that, then there wouldn’t be laws such as a murderer being brought up on TWO counts of murder for killing a mother and her unborn child. Before the woman even knows she’s pregnant, the baby (notice I don’t use the word “fetus” or “blob of tissue”) has a beating heart. It has hands with cute little fingers and feet with tiny toes. It has a nose, and a mouth, and I say again, it has a beating heart. My cat’s heart is beating. If I killed one of my cats, on purpose, I’d be brought up on charges. It was ALIVE, its heart was beating. Do you not see the hypocrisy of this? I believe abortion is murder. I believe that if a woman doesn’t want to become pregnant, then she shouldn’t have sex, or at the very least be responsible and use protection. Oh, and just another tidbit of information, a side note if you like. The woman who started Planned Parenthood? She and Adolf Hitler were “on the same page” as far as beliefs. Planned Parenthood has done all sorts of stuff to try to block out that part of history. Look it up. Her name was Margaret Sanger.

I don’t love war. I don’t want our soldiers dying. I don’t like it. In fact, I hate war. But when extremists come to OUR country, fly airplanes into buildings, plant bombs in car garages, in shoes, or any number of other places, I don’t believe having a “sit down” over tea will solve the problem. You don’t negotiate with terrorists because it doesn’t work, and they don’t care. Torture? Nope, I don’t like that either. But if said terrorist knows when the next bombing of 3000 Americans is going to happen, I’m not against it either.

See, this is where I get confused about our country. We cringe at the thought of torture, as we should because it really is deplorable, but then cry out in rage when we didn’t do enough to stop a terrorist attack. A mountain lion with cubs kills a single mother of 2 children, and more money is raised to help the CUBS then the CHILDREN. We send millions and millions and MILLIONS of dollars over seas, when our own homeless population is astounding. We ignore the helpless vets who fought for our country, but save the goats (or any other animal) being slaughtered in such-n-such country. We’re ok with illegal immigrants coming into America taking jobs (illegally) while an American born man, who, by the way, is willing to do the same work, can’t find the job because its taken…illegally. Our businesses go over seas because the tax rates are SO high, its cheaper for them to have employees over seas. But here in America? Let’s tax them to the highest amount, so they have to lay off workers, not hire anyone only because the business is just trying to survive… What is wrong with our Country?

And while I’m on my tangent, I might as well talk about the separation of Church and State. We really need to learn our history better. Take a class about how European settlers came to the Americas and why they did. When you find out WHY they did, go back and read our Constitution. No where, not ONE place, does it mention “Separation of Church and State”. If you read it all correctly it says “freedom OF religion” not freedom FROM religion. There is a big difference.

One more thing before my closing statement. I don’t agree with gay marriage. But I also don’t agree with heterosexual people getting married and divorced over and over and sometimes over again. So if a law came along and said that people had the right to marry and divorce as many times as they wanted to (and really, although its not a law, its pretty much the way it is right now anyway), and I got a chance to vote on it, I’d vote against that too. Marriage is not disposable. How did I learn that? By divorce. But I amended it. I repented of it. If your marriage is broken, FIX it. It sounds judgmental, I know. I also understand that in some circumstances it simply isn’t possible to stay married. Even as I write this, I think of my wonderful brother who went through a painful divorce and is still paying for it, literally. Sometimes the person you married turned out to be someone different that wasn’t evident during the dating or engagement period, as I believe was the case with my brother. But if you believe in the institution of marriage, don’t abuse it.

My final note. My God, my Teacher, my Friend Jesus did not teach me to hate. He taught me to take the plank out of my own eye first. He taught me to love. He taught me that He died for EVERYONE, not just those we pick and chose. The love that He has taught me is nothing like earthly love. It goes far beyond that. It goes to the very heart and soul of a person, to love them when no one else does. To touch the untouchables, to reach the unreachable, and to see the beauty in His creation. We cannot pick and chose what we want to believe in the Bible as Thomas Jefferson did. We are to “rightly divide the Word of God”, which means to study it, to fully understand its meaning before we start spouting it off. At the end of the day, at the end of my life, I am accountable to God alone, just like everyone else. I will not hold to this worlds values, but to Gods. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one enters into Heaven except through Jesus. Get to know Him. He’s one of the good guys.

So to those of you who say I’m a hater, I will have to respectfully disagree.

Mary