Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Job Interview

The weeks since I have started my classes have been very busy. I have already taken three tests over 8 chapters - this only after three weeks of school! It has been an intense, but very exhilarating experience!

I have been trying to get a job at the hospital since I arrived here in Georgia. It has been very difficult to get my foot in the door. I am happy to say that I have been granted a job interview there this morning! God is opening so many doors of opportunites lately - I pray that all goes well with the interview and I will be on my way - one small step towards my dream!

I welcome any prayers that you might offer up for me today. I want whatever I do in this new journey I am venturing into to be in God's Will for me - not my own! It is only in HIS strength that I will be able to stand! This job can be very intense and I will need all of HIS help I can get if this is His plan for me.

I will update this as soon as I return...

Update: I got the job - God is so good! I will be starting my orientation on August 10th! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes. I appreciate it so much!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Don't Want To Go Through The Motions

Take me all the way Lord!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rachel's Message For All Women!

The video that I have for you today may take some time to watch, but I highly recommend it!

On March 4, 2009, a woman named Rachel Barkey, had an opportunity to share about her hope in the midst of terminal cancer. What began as a small talk to her church women’s group became an event attended by over 600 women and was an experience that left many with a desire to discover more about Rachel’s journey and faith.

This is the video of Rachel’s talk at the Women’s Event hosted by Westside Church at the River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond, BC, Canada on March 4, 2009. It is 55 minutes in length.

Rachel lost her battle with cancer just a few short weeks ago. She poured her heart and soul into this - her last speech. It is VERY worth it to take the time to watch as she has some VERY wise words about what we should focus our energies on while here on this earth.

I hope you take the time to watch - it is life changing - as Rachel meant it to be!
Blessings to you,

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Foodie Friday - Timesaving Tips Part 1

Special thanks to Designs by Gollum for hosting this fun event! To view other great recipes stop by Gollum's for some mouth-watering fun!

I am sooooo glad it is Friday! It has been such a busy week for me. I have been busy this week preparing meals for wonderful neighbors/friends who just had their second baby. They are a couple who have been blessed with much so they are not in need of any more baby things, but what they WILL need is the gift of meals so that mom can put her full concentration on her new little bundle.

I wanted to make them two dinners for their first days home with baby. After discussing with them what would work best, we decided on this menu:

Meal One:
Caesar Salad
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
Lemon "Poke" Cake

Meal Two:
Chicken Fajitas
Spanish Rice
Old-Fashioned Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Because I work during the week until 5:00 pm, I knew it would be hard to get it all done in one day - so I used some of the meal preparation techniques that I used to employ when all of my kids were at home. When making meals for a large family, I used to do a LOT of freezer/batch cooking. It saves a lot of time and when jobs are broken up into a series of small steps over a period of time, it isn't such an exhausting endeavor.

I thought that I would share some of my ideas with you today!

As I have told you before, I am a list maker. I HAVE to write all of my plans down or I find myself running in circles. Writing out a list keeps me on track and helps me to break everything down into a series of manageable steps. To make all of this when working full time AND going to school - it would be too much work to do it all in one evening! Breaking it down into steps over a few days made the task easier and not as overwhelming.

My first day of baking consisted of making the spaghetti sauce for my Lasagna. While doing so, I made an extra large amount and froze the extra sauce to be used for spaghetti at a later date.

The second day I prepared the Lasagna. I made two - one for our family and one for our neighbors. It didn't take very long to prepare two so I now have a lasagna in my freezer for an evening when I don't feel like cooking or for a school night when I am pressed for time. If you are counting, that is now TWO meals in my freezer - with very little extra effort on my part.

I made the lasagna in the aluminum pan so that the family could throw it away afterwards and not have to worry about getting containers back to me.

When I have bananas that are too ripe, I will stick them in the freezer (still in their peels) to be used at a later date. Bananas ripen so quickly during the summers here - I hate them to go to waste and this way I can make banana bread whenever I want to. I took some bananas out of the freezer in the morning and put them in the refrigerator. When I got home from work they were thawed, and ready to make into bread.

Oops! I didn't take a picture of the banana bread! Here is the yummy recipe though:

Old Fashioned Banana/Chocolate Chip Bread
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup coarsely mashed bananas (2 small bananas)
1 cup (6oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Stir together sour cream and baking soda and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients until dry ingredients are well blended. Do not over mix. Divide mix into 3 greased mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes.

This is the very best banana bread! It is so moist and VERY rich! You will love it - So fast to make too!

The next morning I worked on preparing my bread dough. I have a KitchenAide mixer. It is by FAR the best investment we have ever made for our kitchen. This wonderful "servant" helps me so much! Making bread can be so tedious when having to take the time to knead it for 10 minutes. With a KitchenAide mixer, I can use the bread hook attachment, and go on to do other things while the mixer does all of the hard work.

After mixing, I grease a bowl and place the dough in the refrigerator for the first "rise". This saves me time and when I got home from work, I took the bread dough out and formed it into loaves to rise while I prepared the rest of my meals. Making homemade bread can be time consuming because of the amount of time it needs to rise but if you do it this way, and prepare the dough in the morning and let it rise while you are preparing your dinner for the family, you can enjoy fresh homemade bread any day of the week - not just for special occasions!

I just LOVE the smell of homemade bread don't you?

Speedy Whole Wheat Bread
2-1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsps salt
3 pkgs active dry yeast
2-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg white, beaten

In large bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour,salt and yeast; mix well. In a small saucepan, heat water,honey and margarine until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F). Add warm liquid to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in whole wheat flour and an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

On floured surface, knead in 1/4 to 1/2 cup all purpose flour until dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. If you have a KitchenAide or stand up mixer, use your bread hook to do this part for you! Place dough in a greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Place bowl in a pan of warm water; let rise for 15 minutes. OR *This is when I put the bread dough in my refrigerator instead - to take out later that evening. I can then finish the rise process while I make the rest of the meal.*

*If you are letting bread dough rise in the refrigerator - take it out later and let it rise for 15 minutes over a pan of warm water to bring it back to a warm temperature.* THEN....

Grease large cookie sheet or a 15x10x1 inch baking pan. Punch down dough several times to remove all air bubbles. Divide dough in half and shape into two loaves. Place both onto greased cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, make three 1/8 inch deep slashes on top of each loaf. Carefully brush loaves with egg white. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size - about 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover bread dough. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown and loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; cool on racks for 1 hour or until completely cooled. I like to cover with a towel to help soften them.

Yummy! Your house will smell wonderful! This makes good bread for sandwiches too.

Next Friday I will share part two of these meal preparations. I hope you will join me NEXT time - I will share my chicken fajita and spanish rice recipes and prep tips with you then.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How Can I Keep From Singing Your Praise

I encourage you to stop by and visit all of the participants of Spiritual Sundays. Such an uplifting way to spend a Sunday! Read a variety of wonderful devotions, Bible passages, and listen to edifying music while praising the Lord on His special day of rest for your soul. A special thank you to Charlotte and Ginger for organizing this awesome event for us each week!
Today I want to share with you a song that makes my heart sing every time I hear it! This week has been a week of discovery for me as I began my first week back to school. The Lord is teaching me every day that I need to keep Him in the driver's seat in my life and I am so glad that He is there! I look at things so differently when I look at life through the eyes of faith. It is so easy at times to be discouraged or scared - but when you look at everything through the eyes of faith - God is there to guide you every step of the way!
I heard this wonderful song on the radio the other day while driving home and knew I wanted to share it with YOU. I shared it with everyone that day as I shouted this song of praise from my car as I drove merrily along. *giggle*
It is one of those songs that make you want to sing loudly with outstretched hands! I hope you feel the joy of God's love for you today - His beautiful and amazing love!

1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name."
5 Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!
6 He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
8 Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you-
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66
New International Version


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

W.I.P.(Work In Progress) Wednesday - Christmas in July

Because of my busy schedule lately, projects that I had hoped to work on have been put aside due to necessity. I have decided to pick up only those projects that I want to have complete by Christmas. For once I have decided to start these projects well ahead of time instead of unrealistically beginning them in November. ~smile~

While "Skyping" with my granddaughter the other day, she was proudly showing me all of her favorite toys. I am telling you - for those of you who are far from your loved ones - Skyping, or talking via webcam over the internet is the most wonderful invention! It is like sitting across the table chatting with your loved one! Thankfully I can enjoy my sweet Granddaughter and see her precious little face even though I am far from her. It is such a blessing!

"R" loves to show grandma all of her toys and we have long conversations about her beloved dolly that she got from her Auntie. I am going to make her a dolly dress from the pattern shown above. "R" has told me her favorite color is green.

Here are the fabrics I found to make the dress and apron with. The apron will be in the white with pink polka dots. I found some cute little pink heart buttons to use as well. It should be so cute!

I want to complete this stocking for my son "A" this year. He has been patiently waiting for one - I think it is about time I finish it while the poor boy is at home to enjoy it! He has a stocking - just not a homemade one. He has expressed that he would really like one made by me this year so that is what I will do! Really - I have the best of intentions - I just get so sidetracked! With seven children and a grandchild - it has been easy to do. There is always something pulling me in a different direction. I am showing this on my blog to hold my feet to the fire so I will get it done! :-)

It is going to be a cross stitch stocking. I haven't worked on counted cross stitch in years and I forgot how much fun it is! It takes SO long though - this may look like a meager beginning, but this is several hours worth of work. There are many colors in here already. Some of them blended together. My poor eyes are getting a work out! This is tiny!

Here is a close up. Because it is SO small, I can only work on this during daylight hours. I love to sit in the evenings and work on something while watching television with my hubby. He doesn't like many lights on while he is watching T.V. so I have only one lamp that is near my chair lit while I sew. With all of these slight variations in color that I have to work with, I usually have to put this project aside and pick up something else that doesn't require much light.

This is a fast and easy project and I LOVE the way they turn out! There is nothing like a cotton crocheted or knitted dishcloth for washing your dishes! They are SO absorbent and it is so satisfying to use them knowing that you have made them by hand. I have decided to make some for my daughters for Christmas. I am hoping to make a lot of my gifts this year. With the economy being what it is these days, we ALL need to scale back and look at what is REALLY important. My kids know that when I make something for them - it is made from my heart with all of my love put in every stitch! Because I am unable to be close to them at this time, I want Christmas this year to mean something more to them then something purchased from a store.

On the school front, I had my first day of class on Monday. My teacher is a practising Medical Doctor who teaches Anatomy/Physiology for future nursing students and doctors! He is so great at helping you to understand a concept. The class will be challenging, but looks so far to be fun. I have already had SO much reading to do and a test will be given every Monday. So far I am ahead of the game - but today I will start back to work after a glorious week off. I have been able to get so much done around my house this week. It is SO hard for me to go back to work!
Thanks so much to all of you who leave me such sweet and loving comments. Please know that I read and cherish them all and I will try to give you all a personal reply as soon as I am able. Even though I am not always able to comment as much as I would like to, I continue to read all of your blogs and hold each and every one of you in my thoughts and prayers everyday.
Blessings on your creative day today!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A New Journey

Today I start on a new journey. One that I have tried many times, but have yet to finish. I am starting fresh on that journey again - and THIS time, I truly believe God is leading me there.

I have had the dream to become a nurse for many years now. Slowly over the years I have been taking my prerequisites to apply for the Nursing program. I have three more classes to go before I can apply for the LPN Program. I have put my schooling on the back burner many times over the years so that it would not impact my family too much. I have only taken one or two classes at a time - so this has taken me a long time to get to where I am now! I am now in the season of my life where I can pursue this without too much undue stress on my family. I hope to become a nurse before I am too old - I will be in my fifties before I actually get my degree!

When we moved to Georgia, I decided to wait a year before taking any classes so that I could claim residency status here and not have to pay out of state tuition costs. Recently I stepped out in faith and applied for the Hope Grant. God was so gracious and saw fit to award me with the Hope Grant and because of this wonderful opportunity, I will be able to go on with my schooling and become an RN - something above and beyond what I had hoped for! I have always tried to keep my schooling costs down for my poor husband. He has so much already on his plate, and I truly didn't want to add to it.

During prayer time with the Lord, I gave it all over to Him. I asked that if it was His Will that I continue with this dream to become a nurse, that He would find a way for me to continue because I wasn't able to do it on my own. I found out THAT DAY that my tuition was paid in full! God is so good!

My job in Washington was working with the Elderly - I have such a strong desire to continue with that work! Besides being a wife and mother this has been my greatest joy. It has been so hard not being able to find work here doing what I love, but I know that God has a plan for me and I need to be patient for HIS timing in all of this. If it truly IS His will that I pursue this - it will happen. I have given it ALL over to Him - I am okay with whatever the outcome. I will work as hard as I can to do MY part.

It is going to be a challenge because my time is going to be severely limited. I am first and foremost a wife and mother. My husband needs to be able to count on me to take care of my house and take care of his needs. My son also will require my time and energy. I pray for the strength to continue my work outside the home, care for ALL of my families needs and the brain power and time needed to finish my daily school work which will be substantial.

I am a list maker. It "grounds" me and makes me feel like I have more

control in my life. It is very frustrating to me to have thoughts of everything I need to get done floating around in my head, yet when I write it all down and prioritize it, it is manageble and I don't feel so stressed about things.

I will need to make meal plans so that I can have "freezer" meals available for my husband for the two evenings a week I will be in class. I will have just enough time in between my job and school to stop home and put a casserole in the oven before running off to class. With a plan this shouldn't be too hard to do - when all of my children were at home I did alot of batch cooking - where you prepare two or three casseroles at once - freezing two and having one for that nights dinner. Without a plan, my day will easily become too much to manage!!

I am so excited because my focus for this new journey has changed. Jesus is in the drivers seat and He will see me through!

The content of my blog will remain the same - I am STILL trying to make my house a home for my family. I am still trying to journal about my life for my kids who are far from me. I will continue to worship my Lord with my new friends through my Spiritual Sunday posts. I will still be crafting to preserve my sanity. I also will be checking in from time to time to see how my blogger friends are doing. I hope to be able to also share my new journey with you as well - that of my new life as a student!

My first class begins this evening. I am taking Anatomy/Physiology.

I'd better get back to making those lists.....



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Time Well Spent

Today was a rare day off for me. I actually have the rest of the week off and am enjoying every minute of it! I can't say that I have been doing much lying around as you see in the cute picture above - I have been playing catch up and getting a few things done around here.

Remember the dilemma I have been having with color for my dining room in this post? Well, I have been working on this room and I am excited to show you what I have done so far.

Say goodbye to the ugly original covering to this old chair...

And say hello to the new and improved chair covering! I am so proud of myself - this is my first attempt at doing this. It was super easy and VERY forgiving! I found a great tutorial here.

I am so motivated now to finish my window treatments for this room and put pictures on the wall. I will show pictures when I get that part done. For now - I am playing with the room arrangement.

Table arrangement with candlesticks... or...

(Wish I could find an interesting wine cupboard or something to store hubby's collection that you see in the corner - the garage maybe?

~Big grin~)

Table arrangement without candlesticks.

As you can see - Ginger is "helping" me by being directly underfoot throughout the whole process. She loves it when I am home all day and rarely leaves my side.

What do you think Ginger?

Blessings on your day today,

Kymber and Ginger