Wednesday, October 30, 2013

WFMW: Praying Scripture

I probably spent more time than I should have deciding what to write this week.  There are so many things that work for us.  I could write volumes of tricks we have for laundry, cooking, chores, teaching, working with youth, living in Texas with a heart buried in Zambia...the list goes on.  But what I'm being taught in the past weeks and I'm sure in the weeks to come is what is working for me right this moment.  It's what's important and taking my breath away daily.

What's working for me right now is praying Scripture.  Have you tried this before?  Do you use Scripture to mold your prayers regularly? I've done it before, but not daily, not like I have been the last couple of weeks.  It's amazing y'all.  I don't know why I've waited so long to start.  God's Word is living and useful in all situations.  (All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Our adult Sunday school class has been reading Bill Hybel's Too Busy Not to Pray.  I've been reading Beth Moore's Praying God's Word.  Between both books, I'm learning how to turn God's own words into the cry of my heart to praise Him, to confess sin, to draw close to Him, and seek freedom from the things that want to hold me down.  I'm growing.  I'm seeing God's face.  I'm falling in love with my Savior all over again in fresh new ways.  

Honestly, if someone had suggested trying to pray using Scripture from time to time before reading these two books, I would have found it difficult and unfulfilling.  After reading and learning how to make my time effective, I think I'll use Scripture to form prayers much more often.  I like that the books gave me structure and lists of Scriptures to use for various situations.  That made me feel comfortable enough to venture out and begin finding my own verses to pray for different topics.  It's good to be brave!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

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Sunday: Church

Monday: The second loaf from Meatloaf two weeks ago...I love that this recipe makes double so I can freeze one for later!

Tuesday: Eggs and Bacon

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Fall Festival at church

Friday: Kitchen Closed!

Saturday: Kitchen Closed!

Weekend Shenanigans: San Antonio

Sami's Shenanigans

My weekend began on Wednesday after work when my friend Emily and I left on a road trip to San Antonio.  Emily teachers 6th grade language arts at another school in our district, and she was on the team with me that wrote the new GT curriculum back in the Spring.  Our social studies coordinator asked the two of us to go to the TSSSA (Texas Social Studies Supervisors' Association) conference to present the curriculum.  First of all, any time teachers get a change for a business trip, we jump on it!  Second, I love San Antonio.  Third, I adore Emily; she's a hoot!  Fourth, I'm proud of what we wrote, and I am super excited about opportunities to share it with other teachers.  All of that combined made for a great two days away.  Emily and I received phenomenal feedback from our presentation, and it looks like we'll be taking it to TMSA in January.  Woohoo!  We also squeezed in time to tour the Alamo, explore the fancy Menger Hotel where we stayed, and cruise down the River Walk.  Fun!


Saturday morning was back to the real world when I met up with two friends to write priority standards for our curriculum.  The writing part isn't really fun, but the being with friends part is!  I am so blessed to have a district full of amazing teachers!

While I yelled off my head at the Aggie football team (ie, screamed at the TV), Isaac was replacing the ridge caps on our garage roof.  I'm not particularly thrilled at the idea of him walking around on the roof, but when the ridge caps look like this on the left:
and they should look like the one on the right, it's time for action.  The shingles don't look bad, but the corners were just plum worn out.  Now it looks like this:

We spent the evening at the park with the dogs.  We played too hard to remember to take any pictures, but Aggie Belle was such a sweaty, hot, lake water mess that she put herself in the tub the second we returned home.  Apparently fun was had, but the girl knows when she's dirty!

Sunday was a rainy, perfect day of worship.  We played hard with our crazy middle schoolers last night and then watched 8 people who have accepted Christ as Savior be baptized.  Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WFMW: Viber

Y'all, if you travel overseas even once, or if you have family that does, you need an app called Viber.  We love it.  Viber allows for texts, calls, and video and photo sharing over wifi or data if you have it.  There are other apps similar to Viber, but we had the best quality and ease of use with it.

When we were in Zambia, we could have bought calling cards and used them to call home.  But calling cards are expensive in Africa for just a few short minutes of talk time.  However, we have wifi at House of Moses, so once the babes were tucked in at night and the house was (somewhat) quiet, we'd go to the room with the best wifi signal, fondly nicknamed The Phone Booth.  We could both call home on our phones since we had downloaded the Viber app.  Mom could receive our calls
anywhere she was Stateside.  It was awesome to have clear phone calls with our family and friends.  We told our Sunday School kids about the app, and they sent us texts and even a video of them from class one day.  Y'all, I love being in Zambia, but little glimpses of home, of what was waiting for us when we returned, were pure gold for us.  We also used Viber when my parents were in Europe FOREVER this past spring.  Yay for them, depressing for us.  Ha. 

If you have some trips planned, take Viber with you!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

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Sunday: Veggie Beef Stew

Monday: Ravioli

Tuesday: Pearland

Wednesday and Thursday: I get to go on a business trip!  Teachers get them on occasion!  Isaac will have some leftovers for his dinners!

Friday: Halloween Party

Saturday: Chicken Parmesan Soup

Weekend Shenanigans

Sami's Shenanigans

This weekend was so much slower for us than we've had lately.  It was a treat!   And, the stress the past few weeks from the furlough is over, so we could really relax!!  Thank You, Jesus!

Friday night we babysat the silliest, sweetest almost 10 year old triplets (2 girls and a boy) and their 4 1/2 year brother.  It was an evening full of Uno, Sardines, playing the piano and having  talent show, and Nerf gun wars.  And Isaac and I still managed to catch up on two episodes of Duck Dynasty before our friends returned home from their date night.  I'm not positive, but Isaac and I might've had the better date night.  :)

Saturday morning came waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too early.  Each year, I get up insanely early one weekend in October to stand in this line...
....for tickets to FBC's Celebration.  This year Isaac was sweet enough to go with me.  Tickets go on sale at 8:00, but we get in line about 6:30.  My family likes a certain row of seats, so we get their early so we can reserve those particular tickets.  The people at the very front of the line got there this year at 4:30.  Ugh.  It's always a fun time of chatting with strangers, talking about Christmas, and making new friends.  This year included hot chocolate handed out by the music minister of FBC.  What a treat on one of Houston's first cool mornings!

The rest of Saturday was spent baking pumpkin ginger bread and pumpkin snicker doodles, watching the Aggie lose, enjoying a long walk with the dogs, and cuddles on the couch catching up on The Middle and Last Man Standing.  

We had a beautiful morning of worship followed by taking some in our middle school class to a local nursing home to lead their worship service.  These kids are amazing!  They put their nerves aside to speak with the residents, sing for them, and one of our dear girls can preach so well!  We love these kids and their awesome families!

How was your weekend?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

My friend Leighann shared this recipe with me a couple of weeks ago.  She had made a batch to share, and they were fabulous!  I made some yesterday, and had to share the recipe too.

For the cookies:
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:

1/2 cup sugar (I used green sugar sprinkles to add some color)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Whisk together to blend. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars on medium speed until well combined. Next, still on medium speed, beat in pumpkin. Then, add the egg and vanilla extract.

Lastly, add in the dry ingredients. Beat until combined, but do not over mix. Cover the dough, and refrigerate for one hour, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the sugar coating.

Scoop dough (approximately 2 1/2 tablespoons) and roll into a ball. Roll the dough ball in the sugar mixture, and place on the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Take a drinking glass with a flat bottom and moisten with water. Dip the glass in the sugar mixture, and use it to flatten the dough balls. Re-sugar the glass as needed.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove when the centers of the cookies have set. Let cool on the baking pan for approximately 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

I love pumpkin, and I love gingerbread.  When I stumbled upon this old recipe last week, I couldn't believe I'd never tried it before.  Yesterday was a no plans, relax and watch football, cool weather kind of day, so I baked up a storm.  This recipe is amazing!  Not really healthy, but so, so yummy!

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  • In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs; beat until smooth.

  • Add water and beat until well blended.
  • Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and clove.
  •  In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder.
  •  Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed.

  • Divide batter between prepared pans.
  • Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jam Night

I've sung in choral settings for most of my life.  There are few sounds that fill me up and overwhelm me like a well blended choir in 8 parts with a full symphony.  I love getting to be a part of that each week at our church. I'm not sure there's anything that could convince me that this isn't the way I personally worship best.  There are so many talented choral composers, modern and from decades and centuries past, whose lyrics and music help me approach the throne of God in real ways. 

However, I enjoy more modern styles of music too.  Worship bands defined youth group worship when I was a teen, and I enjoyed the music immensely.  As an adult, there simply aren't as many opportunities for me to worship with a band leading the experience since I'm in the choir and Isaac plays violin.  Again, I don't want to change that.  Our choir and orchestra are beautiful and work hard to bring glory to God in music.  Our chamber choral group is special and incredibly talented.  There's a part of me that misses worship bands from time to time though.

A few of my friends are in our worship band at UBC.  Once a month, the band hosts Jam Night for musicians to learn new songs and just jam.  One of my friends asked me to go on Thursday because she was afraid there might not be any female vocalists in attendance.  I was in the middle of score keeping my school's volleyball game and was about to approach working a 12 hour day.  My gut instinct was to say no.  As I started thinking about it, I decided I needed to go. 

I'm so glad I went.  Another friend in the band, Jessica, was there, and she encouraged and taught me the whole time.   Band singing is so different from choral singing, and I have a lot to learn.  It was a treat to be able to sing songs I love with no one judging or caring about mistakes because all anyone cared about was making music and worshiping the one true God.  Beautiful.  They asked me to come again next month, and I hope I can!  Even if I don't sing next time, it'll be a special to just listen. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Old Fashioned Meat Loaf

This is a child-hood favorite that Isaac now enjoys with me!

2 lbs ground beef
3/4 C uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 C ketchup
1/4 C milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

1/2 C ketchup
3 T. brown sugar
2 t. mustard

~Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.  Shape into 2 loaves to fit loaf pans.  Places pans in an over and bake at 350* for 40 minutes.

~Combine the Sauce ingredients in a small bow.  Spoon over meat loaf after the 40 minutes.  Bake for another 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

WFMW: Cookie Continents

Another teacher friend had the idea several years ago to have the students use sheet cookies to demonstrate the location of well-known physical features.  She told me about it over the summer, and I tried it this year with my students.  The kids formed groups of 3-4 kids.  Each student had to pick 3 physical features from the assigned continent, put the feature on the cookie using something edible, and then research 3 facts about the place.  They will spend lots of time this year learning details about the landforms and how people live on or near the landforms, but this was a super fun way to learn some basics.  The kids had to get creative finding edible, tasty items that at least somewhat represented the landforms they researched.  I'd liked watching them get creative in their work.  We had a different continent get presented a day, and I spread them out over a few weeks so we weren't getting sick of cookies or on constant sugar highs.  I only did this with my GT classes, but I might try it with my regular classes next year.  Obviously, some of the kids did better than others, but for the most part, the continents are all recognizable!






North America:

South America:

Cookie Continents work for my classroom!

Travel Tuesday: Grand Cayman

Allie has me hooked on her Travel Tuesday link-up.  I love remembering old trips and dreaming up new ones.  It's getting harder to think of places I have been that haven't already made an appearance in the blog.

We went to Grand Cayman on a cruise with Isaac's family for our 2nd anniversary.  I thought it was a beautiful island!  We walked around the capital city of George Town before exploring the turtle conservatory.

Then there was a little stop in Hell, truly it's name, before heading out to a beautiful sand flat to swim with wild sting rays.  It was a beautiful day!  The rays were so gentle and friendly.

Now that we're certified scuba divers, I know Grand Cayman will be on our dive list.  It's stunning, and I can't wait to see what's further down in the crystal blue water!
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