Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another Soy Free Favorite

Cream of Mushroom Soup

8 ounces fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons onions, chopped
1 -2 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 -3 tablespoons flour (separated)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup light cream or 1 cup evaporated milk (I usually use milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cut the mushrooms into slices.

Melt butter in large frying pan. Add in onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until onions are soft.

Blend in 2 T. flour and stir. I used more

Add in the chicken broth and heat until slightly thickened while stirring frequently.

Stir cream with additional 1 T. flour and seasonings. Add in cream to soup. Heat to thicken while stirring frequently.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Hannah has had headaches and fainting spells for a long time. She went through every test that could be taken. After hundreds of dollars and countless doctor's appointments she was still constantly dizzy and randomly fainting. Someone suggested she look up different diets and menus for people with headaches, specifically migraines.

We cut out lots of different foods and finally found that the biggest culprit is soy and cured meats. She has been some time without fainting, feeling dizzy or debilitating migraines. She had dropped a few pounds (which is not good for her) but her weight seems to have leveled off again.

It was harder than I thought it would be to cut out soy, but once we got used to it, it isn't so bad. The first thing that I learned was that vegetable oil is actually soybean oil. And an olive oil bottle that says contains pure olive oil doesn't actually mean that it's 100 percent olive oil, it means that there is some olive oil in it but that there also may be some soybean oil.

I have appreciated her attitude about the whole thing. When she is in public she tries not to make a big deal about any food that is served. If she can't ask discreetly and politely about the soy, she doesn't eat. (Usually, there is the fresh fruit option.)

I have learned how to cook healthier and have expanded my recipes. The most useful is- I always have a bottle of this available. It's actually really good in chicken salad and on sandwiches.

Italian Salad Dressing

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic salt, onion powder, sugar, oregano, pepper, thyme, basil, parsley, celery salt and regular salt. Store in a tightly sealed container.
  2. To prepare dressing, whisk together 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Grace-Filled Family Relations

There are just some seasons in life that one of the family members will need more help or attention than others. Sicknesses, schedule changes, school options, friendships, yes, even bad decisions will throw the kilter off of the family dynamics.

What are we to do? Flog the one causing the upset to the apple cart? How about tar and feathers? That leaves terrible images. (The John Adams BBC movie comes to mind at that moment.)
Rachel extending great grace about 2007.

No, we have to remember, we too, need a little grace.

The person who has to load the dishwasher may not have time to load or may not even be home when it's time. What are going to do? Save the dishes for her? No, extend a little grace. What if we have to always load for her? Keep extending grace.

The questions get trickier as the family grows up and gets older. The situations get harder to navigate.  Do we stop extending grace? No, there's plenty of grace to share even when we're old.

Are we planning ahead of time to show that kind of love to one another?  If we aren't then we will fall back on whatever way we resort to "get someone back." For example, she didn't do her dishes yesterday, I'll leave mine today. Then tomorrow, it'll show her, she'll have double the work.  Is that the way we really want to see our families work?

The division of chores are tiny example of how a family works.  But they can be a huge indicator of where the family stands with one another. The smaller children obviously cannot scrub huge pots and pans. Would you allow the older ones to leave them for a three year old? Obviously not.

Now take that to a bigger real life issue.  What would happen if the older children were constantly taking advantage of the younger? That sets them up for a life time of abusing others. Or the instances of calling names? A light-hearted "dummy" could set your child up for years of berating, belittling and looking down on others.

Back to the family, our family... As they grow older some of our girls have been able to do other things outside of the home more than others.  Gifts and preferences surface that they may have that are more helpful in some areas more than others.  One of our girls happens to to be better at cutting grass than the others. She is the obvious choice for grass cutting when it's time for that and the best duster gets that job. Dusting isn't always the most fun job, but that's what has to happen at the time.

But what about when one needs more sleep and time to study than another? The jobs don't line up equally, but grace is still needed.

There are many examples of running a household that come to mind that prove the need for a family to help each other and show extra grace. As I'm writing, I'm thinking of even more life issues that occur outside of our home. Issues that have required extending grace when it wasn't the desire of the heart. Grown up issues that aren't really to be shared publicly but in our family setting, reveal the heart.

As adults emerge in a home, their problems and issues get bigger. They need the same grace that was poured on them as little ones crying over a broken dish or toy. Whether it's a wrecked car, a family vacation upset, or a birthday party fiasco, we can keep loving each other because we know Christ. God only knows what is coming next!

Because we are sinners and saved by grace, we can decide now to extend grace. As our daughters get even older and have families of their own, there will be more opportunities to be faithful to that decision. How we respond to a sister "borrowing" our favorite shoes reveals the heart. Now is the time to change the heart.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Reason To Dress Modestly

And it isn't what you think!

I get it! Men (and boys) are visual. They see an immodestly dressed female and they lust. Well, not all men jump straight to lust, but in the Christian culture, that's the message that is put out there. All men see immodesty and immediately start lusting. Poor men, they just can't help themselves, so we women have all the responsibility to protect them from themselves. Notice the sarcasm? I know this is a problem and we need to recognize the problem, but I think we've gone over board with that line of thinking.

Besides, I have a news flash! Some girls are visual too, they may struggle with lust as much as men. But there aren't hundreds of blogs dedicated to telling men to cover their chests. Other than a few lone speakers, I rarely hear the message that some women think lustful thoughts when they see a handsome man showing off his carved chest. So men and boys, for the sake of your "sisters in Christ," cover up please!

Back to the reason to dress modestly....

Dressing modestly isn't about your "brother in Christ." It's about God! When you have a heart to honor God, you will want to please Him in every area, including your clothes.

It is a female's responsibility to do what she should to protect her "brother," but please, that "brother" isn't who she is dressing for.

When a girl gets dressed for the day, I can assure you that if her first thoughts are to be pleasing to God, then her clothing will reflect that.  Having a hemline measure is fine. A guide to go by helps to maintain the standard at a particular place, but it certainly has nothing to do with the heart.

Some of my girls balk at any discussion of modesty because the conversion has gone so over board. (yes, I know, their heart issue) They aren't hearing anything about girls' hearts. They just hear, "protect those poor guys who can't help themselves."

Lately, I'm trying to come up with a response to the girls when they moan about not being able to wear certain things. They want to discuss how it isn't fair that they can't wear what they think is a "cute" outfit because it might cause someone to stumble. My response to that, "Life isn't fair." But I want them to think more than about justice. I want them to think about honoring God.

If their line of thinking goes straight to, "Does this honor God?" Then, they never have to think about whether it's immodest or displeasing to someone else. And.... it comes back to the heart. What's in the heart is what they will be thinking.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Homeschooling Is Not My Savior

It's coming along slowly.
It is my job.  With the changes to our homeschool this year I have been reduced to tears and felt like a "newbie". Our girls will be meeting once a week with two other families. While commiserating on all that we have to do, my friend reminded me that every year school is difficult for the first few weeks. It takes a while to get back to the routine and adjust to the growing lives around us. I was encouraged to keep going.

I don't want our home and lives to be about homeschool, even though that's the way it has seemed lately. I want our lives to be about Christ. When others see us, I want them to think "Christ, godliness, holiness, servant-like, etc." It would be easy to give others the impression that we are that family that "home schools, has six daughters, the dad is a pastor, etc."

So with all the talk of the changes in homeschool and such, please remember that it isn't who I am, who we are, or what we worship.

This was not the way to start the year, a crashed chair on top of Abigail.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Food on Vacation

At the beginning of our "vacation" to Louisville, Ray sent the word out on Facebook asking the best places to go and eat - tons of responses! Louisville is known for food, and we enjoyed every meal that we had out. The Mussel and Burger Bar was probably my favorite, trendy and cliche', but still delicious food. I had never tried mussels before and loved them.

I'm sure this isn't the first time I've mentioned how much I love chocolate, but The Hot Chocolatier has a new location in Chattanooga and still the best hot chocolate around.
Nord's Bakery is famous for its bacon donuts, beautiful cookies and extremely low prices.  This place was on everyone's list of places to go in Louisville. When we got there at around eleven in the morning the glass cases were nearly empty because they don't bake all day. We didn't get to try a bacon donut but the things we did try were yummy! and cheap. And the coffee shop next door was pretty good too.

Fried Oreos. That's all that needs to be said, right? Driving around Louisville one afternoon to find an out of the way place to eat that wasn't a chain, we stopped at this pizza place. It turned out to be one of the places several people had recommended to us. At first, it looked like a place that you would get mugged and not where anyone would want to be after dark. But it turned out to be great fun. We ate pizza inside of an old Cadillac turned food booth.
While in Louisville we drove over to Indiana to visit the acclaimed Schimpff's Confectionery.  We enjoyed a candy making demonstration, tour of the museum, a banana split and delicious hot off the belt cinnamon red hots and lemon drops.

Abigail loved Wild Eggs' breakfast. It certainly lived up to it's name for having the best breakfast in Louisville. And as a bonus, our server was the brother of a friend we have in Georgia.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


So here's a thing to smile about -

Coming home from church Wednesday night, Abigail says in her sweetest, most sincere voice - "Mommy, I'm sorry it's darking outside after church."
Me - (I wasn't sure where that word came from, but I was assuming she meant that it got dark, so I went with that.) "It's okay, it isn't your fault that it's darking."
Abi, with more emphasis, and great sadness - "But I wanted to say sorry cause it's darking. I didn't mean for it to be darking after church."
Me, trying to make her feel better about this sad occurrence - "Well, you don't have to apologize, you didn't do it. God is the one who made it dark."
She was getting upset that I wasn't accepting her apology and very serious about it by this time - "But I said I'm sorry, I wanted to say sorry!"
And I wasn't sure if I should forgive her but she wasn't planning on backing down for her apology - "Oh, okay, I guess I forgive you?"
Abigail was satisfied - "Okay."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Date Your Daughters

Do what it takes to spend time with your children alone. One on one visits with them mean a lot, now and in the years to come. One of the girls told me that some of her favorite childhood memories will always be of us going to the grocery store alone together. So fight the urge to run errands alone because you need some free time or want to get done quickly. In the long run, it's worth the effort to grab a hand and leave the rest at home. (Of course, don't leave them alone if they aren't old enough.)
Ray has always taken the girls out for a birthday date to the restaurant of their choice. As they have grown, he has gone to so many places, from Waffle House to Ted's Montana Grill and everything in between. The older they get the more they realize that Waffle House is NOT the best place to go. He has found out many great things about the girls that he wouldn't have known if our whole crowd had been with him. Their dates always seem to end with him spending too much at Barnes and Noble.

This past Summer, Mary and I went down to Agnes Scott College to hear one of her favorite authors speak. It was really fun! Even though the feminist, liberal agenda was evident, we got to talk about things that were said and enjoy each other's company. (And Mary got two free books.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Guess It Was a Vacation After All

Since we decided not to go on a vacation this year we went to Louisville, Kentucky with Ray.  He has to spend a week at Southern Seminary every so often in seminars while he works on his doctorate. While he worked and studied we spent lots of time playing. The girls researched lots of really fun places to visit in the area.
Carmichael's Bookstore
The Lincoln Birthplace National Park
Sunset over Lousiville
The Coolest Tree in Louisville is at the library
21c Museum Hotel 
Falls of the Ohio State Park
Cutie Patootie with a Balloon
Creation Museum 
Camel Riding at the Creation Museum
Shakespeare in the Park
Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nashville Fountain

This fountain was very tempting.
There is only one way for this to go.
Completely free to play!