Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Minnesota Wild

Kidlet One and Favorite-Son-In-Law gave a fun Christmas present to each member of our family. We each received a ticket to a Minnesota Wild hockey game. The Wild had been on a losing streak but the night we attended, they won!   We just never get sick of hockey!

The game was played in the Excel Energy Center...

Kidlet Two, Kidlet Three and Kidlet One all in a row...
Kidlet Three and Kidlet One...
Kidlet One and Favorite-Son-In-Law...
The Husband and I...
Intent on the game...or NOT...
The game...
The Wild win!  A 4 to 3 victory!!!
Even Charlie Brown loves the Minnesota Wild.  See, Charles Schultz, the cartoonist behind Charlie Brown, was from The Frozen Tundra so Charlie Brown and Snoopy can be found in several places here.
Here was my favorite sign of the night.  A message just for me:  HOCKEY MOM!!!
The next video could possibly make you sick to your stomach.  If I could edit a video, I would have edited this one because I seemed to wave the camera all over the place and NOT in a smooth motion.  However, you do get to see the sing-a-long during the Wild game.

We had amazing fun together.  If you've never attended a professional hockey game, be adventurous and check out a game.  They sure are fun.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Entertainment During a Doctor's Appointment

 How does a 14-year-old
 Keep himself entertained in a doctor's office?
Let me show you how...
 Very ingeniously...
With intent...
 With motivation...
 Very much effort...
 Using scientific skills...
All in about 15 minutes!  We didn't have to wait long but the time sure went fast with Kidlet Three entertaining The Husband and I!

Finding entertainment in a doctor's office is amazing!  Leave it to Kidlet Three to find something fun to do.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ultimate Chicken Fingers

A recent supper of homemade french fries (baked), broccoli and Ultimate Chicken Fingers was enjoyed by Kidlet Three and I.  If you'd like to try a healthier version of chicken McNuggets, give this easy recipe a try.

2/3 cup Heart Healthy (Gluten Free or Original) Bisquick
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. paprika
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 T. butter, melted

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with foil.  Spray the foil with cooking spray.

Mix Bisquick, cheese, salt and paprika in a 1-gallon resealable bag.  Dip half the chicken strips into egg; place in bag of Bisquick mixture.  Seal bag and shake to coat.  Place chicken on cookie sheet.  Repeat with remaining chicken.  Drizzle butter over chicken.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning after 6 minutes.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

These are actually fun to make and eat!

Friday, January 27, 2012

They Won!

Kidlet Three's team won the game last night.  For the most part, the players behaved and, Praise God, no one got hurt!

Now, on to the weekend hockey tournament where, believe it or not, the two teams could face each other again.  Back to my praying position I go!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Big Game

Tonight is The Big Game.  The Big Hockey Game.  When Kidlet Three's hockey team was formed last fall, an equally talented team was also formed.  One team is called The Red Team and the other is The Black Team.  Boys that have played hockey with each other for years are now playing against each other. 

The first time we played The Black Team it was a very, very close game and Kidlet Three's team won by one or two goals.  But, many boys got hurt during the game because it got physical.  These boys tend to get aggressive when they are playing against friends.  There is a penalty in hockey called "charging".  This means a player skates with intent more than three steps toward a player who doesn't have the puck.  And the charging player body slams the other player.  That happened to Kidlet Three in that game.  He was charged and ended up with the wind knocked out of him and with bruised ribs.  He missed school for a day and we spent money at the doctor with x-rays and a chat with the doctor.  All because a hockey player was frustrated that his team was losing.  And Kidlet Three happened to be in his way.

Side note:  I understand the need to check in hockey to get possession of the puck.  That is part of the game.  There is a fine line, however, between playing the game and having intent to hurt someone.

Well, the second game of the season happened in a tournament after our team had played three games of hockey and our boys were pooped (Frozen Tundra language for tired).  The other team had played two games and skated better so they won.

Tonight is the play-off game.  Here it is at 6:30 in the morning and I woke up praying about this game already.  I just don't want anyone to get hurt.  I want to watch a good game of hockey and not watch Testosterone-Filled Boys flailing each other around like rag dolls. 

It is The Big Game.  Little do the boys know I've already invited God's Heavenly Host to fill the arena and to be on the ice all day long.  I've asked God to allow those Heavenly Beings to remain there as bumpers for the boys so that no one gets hurt.  And I'm praying for the referees to have eyes to see any penalties.  And that the coaches would consider this Just A Game and not a revenge game.  Included also in my prayers are the players and the parents.

God told us we could ask Him for anything.  So I do.  I love that about Him.  He is so interested in everything and every part of our life.  Even hockey.

He is amazing.  Tune in tomorrow to find out the score of The Big Game.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moms in Prayer

I belong to a group called Moms In Prayer.  The group used to be called Moms In Touch.  Here is a quote from the founder of the International group:
“Yes, Moms In Touch has changed its name to Moms in Prayer International! Don't you love it? The name clearly and simply says what we do. We pray! No explanation is needed. We believe this new name will bring greater unity worldwide.”— Founder / President Fern Nichols
Two times a month our little group meets to prayer, out loud, for each teacher, staff, and student at the school where our children attend.  We don't just pray for our own kids.

We realize that there just may be kids and families at that school that don't have anyone praying for them.  So, we open the student/parent directory and we pray blessings over each and every student and their parents. By name.  We pray for each one of them by name. 

I totally believe in this organization and I totally believe in the power of prayer.  Unfortunately there have been many physical fights in the Kidlet Three's school this year.  Since our little group started praying through the directory and at each and every meeting we pray for peace in that school, I haven't heard reports of fights.  Praise God.

Moms in Prayer.  We might as well be called Mighty Warriors for the Kids In Our City! 

If you would like to join a group in your community, or if you'd like to become more familiar with the group, click the link here.  Moms in Prayer International.  This is an amazing opportunity.  And you are never too late to join.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Don't Chase Blessings

Copied from Starting Your Day Right. Devotions for Each Morning of the Year by Joyce Meyer.

Blessed is the man whom You choose and cause to come near, that he may dwell in Your courts!  We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.  Psalm 65:4

Instead of chasing blessings, we need to chase after God.  If we chase God, He will chase us with blessings.  That is why the kingdom of God is sometimes called "the upside-down kingdom."

God's economy doesn't work the way we think it would.  First is last, and last is first.  If we want more, we are to give away some of what we have.  To be great in God's kingdom, we must serve the needs of others.  And if we want blessings, we must get our mind off of them.  God knows what we want and what we need.  He wants to give us blessings that we haven't even verbally asked for.

I love what Joyce Meyer wrote for my January 19 devotion.  The only thing we should be chasing after is God.  Amen.  Period.  I have heard people say we are going after such and such anointing/blessing.  Ouch!  When I hear that it is like a sword pierces my very spirit.  Our energy should only go toward chasing after God and not His blessings.

Dear Ones, let us hold each other accountable for what we are pursuing. 

Don't chase blessings. 

Chase God!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Silly Boy

Kidlet Three had an x-ray today.  As we left the house for the appointment, I felt The Nudge to go back and get my camera.  That All-Too-Familiar-Nudge that I know I need to be obedient too.  So I grabbed the camera and off to the appointment we went.

As we sat in the waiting room, Kidlet Three started making faces to entertain me.  It was at that moment that I knew why I was to bring the camera.  With the flash turned off, Kidlet Three entertained me as I snapped, snapped, snapped multiple photos.  It was quite sometime before he asked me if I really was taking pictures or just faking it...Silly Boy!!!!

For your entertainment, here is My Silly Boy in the x-ray waiting room on a Saturday morning...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peace and Justice

Traffic was moving slowly.  It gave me plenty of time to stare at the bumper sticker for several minutes.


I let my thoughts wander about the words peace and justice as I continued to creep forward in the traffic. 

Eventually I made it to the stoplight in the left lane of the two-lane road.  The light turned yellow just as I was approaching the intersection so I stopped.  The car next to me sped up and went through the intersection as did the car behind it.  The second car definitely went through a red light. 

Still musing on peace and justice I sat waiting for the light to turn green.  When it did, I cautiously moved forward only to have one, and then two, three and then a fourth car making left turns pull right in front of me.  The first and second cars got through the red light quickly but cars three and four caused me to have to slow down.  Something came over me.  I thought of that bumper sticker and the word justice

Suddenly I wanted justice for their wrongdoing.  I decided to not slow down.  Car three barely got in front of me and I was not going to let car four sneak in.  I kept going.  Car four was going to get stuck in a traffic jam and I was going to get justice. 

But no...the woman in car four gave me the finger and continued moving forward and almost hit me.  Now my blood was boiling.  I blared my car horn, shook my head at her in disbelief as she stared at me (giving me the finger).  I let her pull in front of me and I yelled at her.  Oh, I yelled loudly in my car.

Car four pulled into the right lane and was stopped in traffic.  My lane continued moving ahead and it didn't take long for me to catch up with the Car-With-The-Bumper-Sticker.


There it was again.  And this time, I felt sick looking at it.  Because I had just sought justice and I certainly was not feeling peace.  I had tried making someone "pay" for going through a red light and my actions were not peaceful. 

My peace didn't come until I confessed, out loud, to God what I had done.  Justice belongs to God and not me.  After I asked God to forgive me, right there in my car, peace flooded in. 

What if we all started living with justice as our goal.  Oh icky, what would this world look like?  I am still so embarrassed at my actions and how I allowed myself to get sucked into mentality.  How about you?  Are you living with this need for justice in your heart?  I'd challenge you to really examine your life and see if you truly are peaceful.  I just don't believe that self-seeking justice can and will bring peace.  Let me know your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spaghetti Sauce

I haven't made this recipe for Spaghetti Sauce in years.  Tonight, however, Kidlet Three wanted spaghetti and I had no bottled sauce.  It was quite a shock to look on the lazy susan and see that there was no Prego, Ragu or any brand spaghetti sauce.  Good-Old Betty Crocker came through again.  Somehow I remembered this good recipe and I just happened to have all of the ingredients we needed. 

2 cloves garlic, cut into halves
2 T. olive oil
2 cans (16 oz. each) whole tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 T. butter
1 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. dried basil
Dash of pepper

Cook and stir garlic in oil over low heat.
Cook until garlic is brown.  Discard garlic.
My boys won't eat chunky spaghetti sauce.  Nor will they eat onions if they see them.  I blended onion and all of the tomatoes until smooth.
Stir the tomatoes into the garlic-infused-oil, along with the butter, salt, sugar, basil and pepper.
Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, 40 to 50 minutes.
I cooked farfalle noodles, browned ground beef and made a wonderful feast for The Boys.  A big ladle of sauce was added to the noodles and beef and then topped with shredded cheese.
If you are looking for an amazingly quick spaghetti sauce, check this recipe out.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Greek Salad

J and B brought this salad to a recent gathering of our small group.  After one taste, I wanted to grab the bowl and just go hide in another room and eat the whole thing.  It is refreshing and delicious and it has cilantro in it. Anything with cilantro in is a hit with me.

The big picture at the top was taken on Christmas Day.  Yes, I served a Greek Salad as a part of my Christmas meal.  Many of my family don't appreciate olives so I served the olives on the side.  Here is a very easy, low-calorie, delicious salad.

4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and cut into chunks
1 small purple onion, peeled and chopped
2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped fine
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 cloves garlic
2 T. dried oregano
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
2/3 cup pitted black olives
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Place first six ingredients in serving bowl.  Rub the oregano between your hands and sprinkle over the vegetables.  Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over the salad.  Add olives.  Toss gently.  Season with salt and pepper.

Calories 96.  Calories from fat 52.  Protein 4 g.  Carbs 7 g.  Dietary fiber 2 g.  Sugar 3 g.  Fat 5 g. 

I was craving the salad again this week.  I peeled two tomatoes and part of a cucumber and added the rest of the ingredients.  It made a delicious lunch at work.

Oh I hope you find this salad as amazing as I do!  Enjoy!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dancing with Stars...NOT!

Kidlet Three is 14-years-old and is in 8th grade.  As he was going to bed last night, he started begging me to write him an excuse out of phy ed.  He is very athletic and phy ed is usually his favorite class.  It took a little coaxing before he would admit that the class is starting to learn ballroom dancing. 

I couldn't help it but I laughed and laughed that he wanted to skip ballroom dancing class!  

From a young age I've danced with Kidlet Three in the house.  He has a great sense of rhythm and is a good dancer.  At wedding dances, he has always been the kid that is on the dance floor all night long! 

So having him NOT want to dance, is funny.

At 10 o'clock last night, in our pajamas, I taught him the box step.  He caught on right away.  I told him he would do fine in phy ed, tucked him into bed and we all went to sleep.

This morning at breakfast he started in begging me to pull him out of phy ed.  Oh boy!  I reassured him that the 45 minutes of dancing torture would go quickly.

As he ran out of the house to catch the bus, I yelled after him what I say every morning:

I love you!
Have a good day in school!

This morning, Kidlet Three's response to me was:
I love you, too!
Pray for me at 12:40 because that is when phy ed starts!

I almost fell off my chair!  He hasn't asked me to pray for anything specific for a very long time.   You can bet I was praying for him at 12:40 p.m.
School is over at 2 p.m.  I called Kidlet Three's cell phone at 3 p.m. and he answered his phone saying:

Hi Mom!  Ballroom dancing was really fun! 
The teacher asked my partner and I to demonstrate because we figured it out right away!

Isn't that cute!  When I got home from work he grabbed my hand and taught me the dance he learned today. 

We won't make any sort of a spot on Dancing with the Stars but we sure had fun laughing and giggling in the kitchen!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Heart Hurts...

My heart hurts tonight after reading this story:  startribune

I don't know this family and we don't live in this city but I love hockey and my heart hurts for this boy.  Kidlet Three heard about this boy and was pretty shook up when he was telling me what happened.  I then went to the website and read the story.  I am shook up, too.

Kidlet Three has played in some pretty rough hockey games.  I know how these "checks from behind" happen.  Players are taught that these "checks" are wrong yet so many of the players try to sneak the check in.

The Husband and I pray with Kidlet Three before each hockey game for protection.  We actually pray for both teams that they will play a fair game and that protection is there for both teams.   Yet God gives all of us "choice".  And despite our prayers for protection, players can choose to "check from behind" and now there is a life that is changed forever because of a choice.

Oh, my heart hurts and the tears are flowing for a boy and his family I'll never meet but I know their lives were changed in an instant.  Please pray for them with me.  And pray for the boy that gave the "check". 

Amazingly sad tonight...just pray.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Pajama Tradition

The holidays are filled with traditions. Most families put up a Christmas tree. There are the traditional cookies that get baked. In my family, the Passed-Around-Pajamas are a tradition.

You can read about the beginning of the tradition HERE. That will get you up to speed.

Basically, Dad bought Mom The Pajamas for a Christmas present more than 10 years ago. Mom snuck them in my take-home box so I was stuck with them. The following Christmas I wrapped them up for my mom, again. She and I have gone back and forth giving each other those pajamas in a variety of crazy ways. A couple of times we deviated from the Christmas tradition and gave them at a different time during the year. As in the time I celebrated my 25-year anniversary at the work place and someone handed me a gift to open during the recognition party. It was the pajamas. My mom had sent them to a co-worker asking that I be given the box during our celebration! Oh that was embarrassing!

The Christmas of 2010 my mom hid the pajamas in my house. As she and I were planning my brother’s 50th birthday party we thought it would be fun to give him the pajamas. When I asked my mom if she was going to give him this famous gift she just giggled and said “haven’t you found them yet”? I hunted and hunted but couldn’t find where she had hidden them in my house. She finally gave me enough clues and I found them in between the box spring and mattress in the guest bed. 

To surprise my brother I stuffed those pajamas full of newspaper. I enlarged a nice photo of my brother’s head until the picture was almost life-size. The “head” was cut out and glued onto a paint stick and the stick was shoved into the stuffed “body” of pajamas. It looked like a human! I drove Mr. Pajama Man to my brother’s city. Going into his place of business after hours, I set up Mr. Pajama Man in my brother’s desk, hung some signs and left town. The next morning when he arrived at work, he was quite surprised and speechless to see he was now the recipient of the pajamas.

Thankfully, Brother Al kept the tradition going this year. He wrapped those pajamas up in a very nice box for…! The one that started this whole Pajama Tradition finally was the recipient of the gift!

I wonder where they will go next….

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Impossible Pumpkin Pie - Gluten Free

This recipe was given to me years ago by my mom.  My youngest brother had diabetes and this recipe for Impossible Pumpkin Pie is sugar-free so it became the recipe we used.  When Kidlet Three was diagnosed with diabetes, I started making this pie, too.

What I don't really understand is why someone would name this pie "Impossible".  Like maybe it is impossible to screw up?  Or it is impossible to not eat?   This is the name that was on the recipe when my mom first made it and the name continues on today.

This year I changed the Impossible Pumpkin Pie to make it gluten free.  It didn't change the taste and this was the pie I served at our Christmas meal.  It doesn't have a flaky crust like you would expect on pie.  The whole pie is the custard but Gluten-Free Bisquick holds it together.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend well:

3/4 cup Splenda
1/2 cup Bisquick
2 T. olive oil
1 can low-fat evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
My food processor was full to the top when I was done "processing".

Spray a big 10" pie plate with cooking spray.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie pan.  The pan will be full!

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  

This is what the baked pie will look like:  Cool the pie and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 
An amazingly easy pie that is creamy and delicious all by itself (although what is pumpkin pie without Cool Whip, right)?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Presence (and I am chatty)

 I am in a chatty mood. Maybe I feel chatty because I've been on vacation from my Outside-Of-The-House job for over a week. Or maybe it is because I've been in the house with two males and they don't talk as much? Whatever the reason, I filled my coffee cup before I sat at the computer and I intend on sipping my coffee and chatting with you.

Speaking of chatting, I drove to Prairie Woman's home on Saturday. She lives in between a corn field and a pig farm waaayyy out in the country. I believe I arrived around 10 a.m. and we sat at the kitchen table chatting. As women are able to do, we chatted while five of her seven children roamed through the room. We chatted while her oldest daughter made lunch for the little kids. We chatted through multiple cups of coffee and while munching on her homemade Pumpkin-Rice Flour-Chocolate Chip-Flaxseed muffins. In our chatting mode, we covered topics from: gluten-free spaghetti sauce, funny Christmas presents, politics, salsa dance classes, God, foster care, crocheting, and I’m sure a whole lot more. When we finally got to the place where we both took a breath and sat back in our chairs, I looked at the clock.  It was close to 3 p.m. and I hadn’t moved out of the chair for five hours! It is true. We could talk that long because we did it.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting a few of the highlights from my Christmas week. I can tell I have been on vacation because I feel so relaxed and peaceful. I’ve done some cleaning, finished a crochet project, and even started reading a book. The Husband and I celebrated the New Year by having dear friends D and B over for supper. They even brought the soup! I made homemade bread and we sat around the table nibbling on warm bread with cheese, and chatting. They left just at 11 pm but The Husband and Kidlet Three and I sat up watching the Times Square Ball drop at midnight.

Time out…I need to go fill my coffee cup again. Do you need a refill? Did I tell you I have a turkey roasting in the oven? The aroma of baking turkey fills the air and I can’t wait for the mashed potato-gravy-stuffing-and-turkey meal I have planned for later.

I’m back. My favorite Max Lucado ‘thoughts for the day’ calendar had this inspiring and challenging message the other day. I want to share it with you because one of my desires this year is to know and acknowledge God wherever I am. Because He lives inside of me (I’ve asked Him to be my Lord and Savior) and because He is omnipresent, He is always with me. But sometimes I forget or I don’t pay attention. Or I allow myself to get focused on ‘things’ and I miss Him.

In my chatty mood this morning, I share this with you to ponder and mull over for your own life:
“The upright shall dwell in Your presence.” Psalm 140:14

Lazarus was three days dead in a sealed tomb when he heard a voice and…saw Jesus…. God had followed him into death. Peter had denied his Lord and gone back to fishing when he heard his name and…saw Jesus cooking breakfast. God had followed him in spite of his failure.

God is the God who follows. I wonder…have you sensed him following you? We often miss him…. But he comes. Through the kindness of a stranger. The majesty of a sunset. The mystery of romance. Through the question of a child or the commitment of a spouse. Through a word well spoken or a touch well timed, have you sensed his presence?
His Presence is all around us. Would you like to join me in asking God to help us “see Him” and His Presence more in 2012. If you don’t talk to God much, that is okay. Whisper it right now…God…I want to see You and know You are with me.

You and I are going to be amazed at where we see Him and how we see Him in these next days! Get ready!