Monday, September 3, 2012

Pinterest Chef

So with my love of Pinterest, or obsession as my hubby would call it, I am determined to try new recipes this school year. As I progress, I will be posting pictures, progress and family reviews (the most reliable critics!!) I  tried two new ones a week over summer break, most were winners :-) Some really stunk!

I was inspired after watching Julie and Julia. Food, trial and error, dining parties, mmm. I know what I like but would like to better understanding what flavors work well together and how to experiment safely, without having to attend the Cordon Bleu!

Got one we need to try? Have tips and tricks to help? Feel free to post one or email me: manytradesmom@gmail.com

The goal is one new meal a week, key word is goal. Remember...busy moms =many tasks.

Once I can make that a habit, we'll see where it takes us. Here's to happy eats! Moms with many hats...hats off to you!!
My next one is a chef's hat! :-)

Blessings!
-Susan
Phil 4:13


Monday, July 9, 2012

Chef

Have you ever planned a fantastic new recipe for a family dinner, only to find it boo'd by the family? Yea, me too. I even had times when I prepared an "adult" meal and a "kids" meal.  Cordon Bleu for us, chicken nuggets for the kiddos.  Or if I was on a special weight-loss plan, it was "mommy's diet meal", then the "daddy meal" followed by whatever sounded acceptable to the children. That certainly did not last too long. Too much work, not enough strategic planning.


So this summer's bucket list includes trying three new recipes a week. To accomplish this task without the usual grunts and groans from the youngin's, I made a point to include them in the planning. So we sit down weekly with my favorite cookbooks (Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray) and the entire family select meals that look or sound appetizing. From there we create shopping lists and I only purchase what we planned that week. 


Now I know that there are those of you for whom this is old hat. But in our house, this is quite a new experience. We'd been stuck in a nutritional rut for far too long, eating the same rotations of meals every week and the grocery list rarely varied. 


But by taking the time to include the entire clan on our new flavors for the week, not only have we been enjoying tasty new entrees and side dishes, but we've created a new family tradition of meal planning. If you've never tried this, give it a week and see how different your meals become. We are eating more veggies and (gasp) are even using the fine china!! 


An added bonus is that with this "Eat Sheet" for a shopping list, I find that I am spending less at the grocery store!!


Some have been huge hits, like the steak Alfredo pasta and the barbecue chicken spinach salad with strawberries, while others have not. The pork loin schnitzel with boiled cabbage was a "good effort", a.k.a. "nice try Mom, but yuck!"


Research has shown that families that regularly sit down and eat dinner together have children who are less likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol, smoking and sex. It has even been shown that teenage daughters have better bonds with their dads when this family ritual is regularly scheduled. (Family Dinner Info)


We've seen a difference in not only our eating habits, but our time together. After prayer, our son reminds us to each "tell us about your day" and everyone shares. These are the sweet moments of our busy day. These are the days I will cherish always.

So plan together, pray together, and enjoy each other!

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Many blessings & happy eats!
~Susan


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Faithful

When I was in college, I majored in Media Arts, with an emphasis in video production. I was quite happy with the projects I created in my 20's and looked forward to a career in media. But God often has other plans. Soon after graduation, I became engaged to my high school sweetheart, and by our 1st anniversary I was expecting our first child. Work was what I did to pay the bills so we could enjoy a comfortable life together. Soon Faith lead us to a new state to be nearer to my husband's family, and two years later Faith led us to our hometown and state to be closer to both our families. No jobs, no place to live, just our Faith that God would provide. 

Out of Faith, a total reliance upon the Lord, have come many great blessings in our life. It led my husband into a stable career, me into a career in education, us through a miscarriage, to the gift of a second child, through the loss of family and friends, and so many other changes. 
How do people maneuver life without Faith? 

There are times in your life when you end up someplace you thought you needed to be, only to find that God may have had other plans. Being open to see His plans is where Faith is elemental! I thank God for my husband, my family and dear friends who help remind me my spiritual foundation, the Faith that I have in Christ Jesus, is secure. I've heard and read so many inspirational scriptures and thoughts. "When you are feeling down, God is up to something." "If God brought you to it, He will bring you through it." 
Amen for that!! 

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." 

Philippians 4:13 "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." 

So as I continue on this journey of Faith, I created this video.  It may be amateurish (had to ask my teenager a couple of technical questions!), and a while since I've done anything like this, but it was SO lovely to have completed it. I take NO credit for any of the photos, just the order in which they appear. :-)
I love contemporary Christian music, especially that of Avalon, this song in particular. I am inspired to be a better Christian and person when I rely on Faith and look beyond my own understanding. Thankful, humble, blessed...and Faithful. FULL OF FAITH! I praise the Lord for the work HE is doing in my life & thank Him with my whole heart for the people in my life who are faithful & loving... 
"God is good...All the time...No matter what."

God Bless,
Susan

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pinster

It's Summertime! We work all school year long to get to these few precious days. So in my family, we are bound and determined not to waste them! These days of scheduled and unscheduled fun, mystery and memories. My sister started the summer off by planning themed-weekly activities. That's what happens when you are in a family of educators!! Sports week, cooking week, drama week. Kids are having a ball!


Following her lead, we created a family "bucket list" for the summer. What are we going to do, go, try, explore??? A day at the beach, going to the public library, trying three new recipes a week, having "unplugged" days, trying new family fitness activities...there's not a minute to lose.


What inspired us? This new phenomenon of Pinterest. Yes, this is a shameless plug. And I'll admit it...I am a Pinster. Here, people from all over the world share wonderful recipes, activities, projects, favorites, things we love, and we pin, pin, pin!! The old days of clipping activities from magazines and attaching them to the fridge with a magnet are gone in this digital age. With a quick "click" I have saved what I see on my digital corkboard. Yes, there is much that I would love to have, to own. But I have learned that there is also so much inspiration and words of wisdom. Activities to create memories for family and friends. Encouragement for and from others. 


What's been refreshing has been the quantity of Spiritual Pins. God is everywhere on the internet!! Even in the places where we covet pretty gardens, or amazingly beautifully decorated homes, God's word and scripture "Pop Up" and are posted, some with lovely graphics, or others in simple phrases and scripture, to remind us HE is Ever Present!! Everywhere. At all times. God is with us. Even in those secret places.


These messages, these pins, remind me that I should NOT long for what others have...but for what He has given. What we have, the ultimate gift of His Son, is more than we could ever earn. It's a gift. We don't have to pin it, save it for a rainy day, wish or long for it. He is there, waiting for us. And when we accept it, humbly and graciously~we are blessed...eternally. I rejoice that other Pinsters like me seek and share that message. Still going...still growing. :-)


So off I go - to get off the internet, join the kiddos, and appreciate the day God gave us.


"This is the day that the Lord has made...Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"


Now go enjoy this day :-)
~Susan



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Busy

I love to read. Someday I'd love to write. But right now life is busy. Too busy. Is there ever enough time to do all that you have to, need to, want to? The answer is simple...Nope. God gave us a finite time on this earth and we all strive to make the most of, don't we? I'll admit, I've been busy. Too busy to finish the two manuscripts I've started. Too busy to completely finish the fiction and nonfiction books that fill my home, and my Amazon wishlist. Too busy to put my health first. Too busy, sadly, to maintain meaningful connections with dear friends and family whom I miss and love. Is that an excuse? My busy details keep me from following through on important priorities? No. Just a sad current reality. Can I just say, "Grrr!!!"?!?! My busyness angers and frustrates me so.

But as the daughter of a pastor and teachers, a life-long seeker and student of the Word through both the worst of seasons and best of seasons in my spiritual life... I KNOW we were meant for more than this. More than living this life from post-it note to post-it note, from list to list, day by day. God gave us a purpose, so are we SO busy we could even recognize and truly follow our God-designed purpose? Have we been so busy that we have a clue what our purpose is? Honestly, I don't know. I don't have my answer...yet.

I am painstakingly learning that busyness is keeping me from what I feel spiritually compelled to do. Be a good attentive wife; a creative and more involved mother; a caring, available and compassionate sister, daughter, friend; and a leader who practices servant leadership with the pursuit of excellence at work.  Pieces exist in those areas, but not the full package.

So I ask...Where is the balance in life? Is it even possible to do it all??  Have you found out how??  I am constantly seeking. And here's the great news-  I am seeking by studying the Word!!

Recently, I have been finishing a  womens' small group Bible study and I am impressed and humbled by the knowledge and insight these amazing women have. The are just as busy in their own lives, and yet I desire to have their level of wisdom and understanding. It has been such a new "quiet-mind" time for me, calming to be silent within myself from the endless lists by observing and listening. And a much needed realization that when I slow or stop all the "busy" of life, God fills my time, my thoughts, my heart. It's hard to be still because I will busy myself, primarily my mind, with...everything. Technology, social media, movies, keeping the house, organizing the kids, balancing work goals with personal ones. Even tried to use goal reminder apps for my computer and smartphone with daily email reminders. "Oops! Too busy right now to do that which I am reminding myself to do"...what is THAT?!? 'Why do I do the things that I hate?"

Thank God for his Holy Spirit who whispers to me in those hair-pulling frustrating moments!! I am learning, and stubbornly relearning, that sometimes, MOST times, the BEST lessons in life come from the quiet times. The un-busy times. When we can be still, listen, and learn. Then we find, or at the very least get a glimpse of, our purpose, our calling. Then we can prioritize. Then we can let go of some of our list of have to's, need to's and want to's...and take care of HIS to's. Amazing is HIS grace and patience with our flawed selves! When we stray, HE guides us back. More than all the busyness...I desperately crave THAT! That close tight relationship when HE and I are in constant communication. My prayers are never ceasing.  That practice calms me, brings clarity, and renews my heart. Thank the Lord!!! As my family says, "God is good, all the time, no matter what!"

So I am chosing to be more busy, with the Lord! Amen friends?!

BTW- read the book of James. :-)

~Susan
Phil. 4:13