30 November 2010

Recipe Review: Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Emphasis on BIG...and chewy....and delicious! And I'm sure fattening too, but let's just ignore that one.

I made these cookies tonight and they are probably the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. After reading over some of the reviews and suggestions, I decided to let my eggs come to room temperature and let the melted butter cool a bit. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and they are yummy! They are very chocolaty, which is fine by me, but it wouldn't hurt them to have a few less chocolate chips.

Warning: they are HUGE. I can be a bit of a cookie monster and I couldn't eat a whole one alone (my husband was happy to help out). This pan usually holds at least 15 regular size cookies, but barely held 8 of these cookies.

They are so big they seem sort of "gourmet", so I'm thinking wrapping a few in a cellophane bag with a pretty ribbon would make an excellent gift for the holidays. Sort of like this, but with a BIG ribbon because that's how we do it in the south!

29 November 2010

Meal Plan Monday

After a wonderful week away visiting my family, I'm back home, caught up on laundry, the Christmas decorations are up, and I'm back to meal planning! We have plenty of meat in the freezer and a lot of leftover Honey Baked Ham (yummy!) in the fridge, so I tried to build our menu around that.

Monday: Ham & Cheese Quiche
Tuesday: Lasagna & Salad
Wednesday: Asian Chicken Wraps
Thursday: Turkey Breast (in the crockpot!)
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: French Dip Sammy's & Fries
Sunday: Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

My freezer will get stocked with an extra quiche, 2 extra lasagnas, leftover turkey, and leftover soup. Having freezer meals ready during this busy holiday season, as well as for several of my expecting & new mommy friends will be great!

Check out other meals plans at OrgJunkie.

22 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know these wishes come a bit early, but my Little Man & I are enjoying most of the week with my family while my mom has a few days off. Not only am I excited to spend a few days with them, but I'm helping Mama clean out & organize a few closets and their "hoarder room" (named by yours truly). Today we cleaned out two SUV loads - one to Goodwill and another full of trash. YAY!! It feels so freeing to clean out & get organized!

Take some time this week to really think about all you've been blessed with this year, even through the trials and tribulations life can bring. I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

13 November 2010

Miscarriage: Moving On

This post may not be a very popular opinion. Maybe that’s because someone is not ready to move on. I’m just sharing my experience and what God has taught me along the way.

After the initial shock and devastation of a miscarriage, a process of healing must take place. I believe that healing process takes everyone down a different road. However, I believe the final destination must include moving on.

Moving on does not mean forgetting. Moving on also does not mean discounting your loss. That loss is REAL.  I will always remember both of my miscarriages (I have had another earlier loss since my first) and the dreams I had for both of those babies being added to our family. I will always mourn what could have been.

I refuse to be paralyzed in place. I will not waste months of my life wishing for what could have been because it will not be. I am still a wife to a loving husband, a mother to the sweetest, cutest two year old on the planet (yes, I’m biased), a daughter, sister, friend…I have responsibilities here that I should not overlook or neglect.

These thoughts had been resonating in me for a while, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. It became crystal clear when I finally returned to my study on Ruth this morning. It was about ending a period of mourning because God had something new ahead for me. I wondered, “How are my feelings of mourning over my miscarriage affecting me and what God has in store for me?” What am I missing out on because I have a stronghold on the past?

The author of my study, Kelly Minter, brought forth this scripture, which was spot on. “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19.

Kelly wrote “My simple hope is when God has held us, healed us, and lifted our heads, that we’d be ready to move forward with Him; and though our hearts may always ache, we won’t stay in our mourning clothes forever”. AMEN!

The lyrics to this song describe my current feelings almost exactly. I am still waiting on the Lord, hoping to provide another child to our family. However, in the meantime I still want to worship & serve Him, not wasting a moment.

“While I’m waiting” by John Waller from the movie, Fireproof
I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am hopeful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it is painful 
But patiently, I will wait 

I will move ahead, bold and confident 
Taking every step in obedience 
While I'm waiting 
I will serve You 
While I'm waiting 
I will worship 
While I'm waiting 
I will not faint 
I'll be running the race 
Even while I wait 

I'm waiting 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
And I am peaceful 
I'm waiting on You, Lord 
Though it's not easy 
But faithfully, I will wait 
Yes, I will wait 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve You while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting 
I will serve you while I'm waiting 
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

This is the third of three posts about my miscarriage experience. Here are my first and second posts.

11 November 2010

Miscarriage: The Aftermath

Since my miscarriage my mind has been swirling with thoughts, prayers, anger, disappointment, and many other feelings. I have tried to bring myself back to God and trust Him. This post contains the truths in which I have reminded myself of in recent months.

Just two days after my D&C, our MOPS Coordinator and good friend of mine, emailed our Steering Retreat packet. In the packet was the Scripture Psalm 139:10, which is our verse for the MOPS year. She sent the entire passage so we could have context. God’s timing of this passage being brought forth to me was sheer perfection. Every word reached the core of my soul. I’m including it in its entirety below because it was so important to me. Emphasis added is mine.

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. -Psalm 139

All I could think was, “Even there” in the depths of my despair, when my hopes were crushed, You were there. Your hand guided me and held me close.

About a month later, I ran across a post from a blogger about her three miscarriages and what she had learned. These words resonated in me so much that I copied them into a document on my desktop so I could open them, read them, and remind myself of these truths.

“We don’t trust in what God will do, because we don’t know what He will do. We trust in who God is.” This sentence really hit home and I’ve repeated it to myself almost daily for months. It is what I believe, even if it’s not what I want out of my own sinful, selfish ways. God is good and I know that, but I cannot trust that he will provide more children for that is not a promise he has made to me.

“I came to realize that God really was the Good Shepherd, and that even though I could not understand why He did what He did, God had a plan for my life, and it was good.” This has been a comfort. I know that God’s plans are far greater than mine, he has proven that time and again. Even though this is an extremely painful time in my life, I know that there are great things to come, even if it’s not what I originally planned.

“I will trust you with my family size, even if that size is smaller than what I think is best.” This has been the hardest to swallow, yet a truth I need to remind myself of. I want more children. I desperately want more children. At least one (hopefully two!). However, it may not be in God’s plan for us to have more children and I’ve been talking to myself about that. 

This is the second of three posts about my miscarriage experience. Here are my first and third posts.

09 November 2010

Miscarriage: The Event

Miscarriage is something no one wants to face, yet around 25% of pregnancies end that way. At least that is what I was told when I had my first miscarriage earlier this year. I was 10 weeks along, it was a “missed miscarriage” and I had a D&C because my body had somehow missed the message that this baby wasn’t going to be joining our family.

I was uneasy about that entire pregnancy from the moment the word “Pregnant” popped up on the digital test. I was fairly guarded with the news, even after we saw a little flickering heartbeat the day before we left for our beach vacation. That’s where God’s protection comes into play. God put my fears to rest when we saw that sweet little heartbeat. In the back of my mind I still thought something might be off due to a discrepancy in fetal age, but I tossed that aside and enjoyed a glorious week at the beach with our family and close friends. I dreamed of what it would be like the following year with a 4 month old and a 3 year old. I was thrilled to be adding to our family. I am so thankful that God provided us that week free of worry.

A week after we returned from the beach, it became clear that this baby was no more. The devastation I felt when the Ultrasound Tech told us the horrible news was like a swift, crushing blow. I have never had tears flow so fast, so hard, or so long. Yet, God was there. He surrounded me with an amazing husband, family, and friends who knew when to give space and when to hold close.

The following day a D&C was scheduled. A D&C is a fancy name for an abortion. Abortion. That word stung. The last reason I wanted to be going to the Women’s Center at the hospital was to get rid of a baby, nevermind the fact that baby hadn’t been alive for almost two weeks. I was a complete mess that morning, scared, tearful, and knowing when I came back home I would no longer be with child. A child I desperately wanted to add to our family.

However, something amazing happened when I came into recovery. A complete, divine peace came over me. God blanketed me in only a peace that only He can provide. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:7

As they wheeled me out and my husband went to get the car, they left me right there with all the new mom’s and babies also waiting to be picked up. I thought to myself, this should make me want to scream, but instead I only had peace. Don’t get me wrong, I still had sadness, but I had happiness for them and the joy they were about to experience. I didn’t want their babies, I just wanted mine. I knew that baby would never be one I could hold in my arms here on Earth, but was assured that God would provide and protect us.

Note: I am not going to go into much detail where my husband is concerned, mainly because I cannot adequately describe the amazing man, husband, and father he is, but I do not want to discredit him and his support through these trying months. Without him, I’m not sure how I would have made it. I am so thankful God blessed me with him - He knew exactly what I would need in a husband.

This is the first of three posts about my miscarriage experience. Here are my second and third posts.

03 November 2010

Car Play Mat

My Little Man came into a zillion Hot Wheels cars recently when his generous uncle passed on his entire collection. Honestly it's too many cars for one little boy, but he does love them so I've been trying to come up with fun things for to play with aside from the real track that he can pull apart but not put back together yet (which means I'm stuck doing it!). 

I've seen several tutorials for take-along car mats, which are cute, but wasn't quite what I was thinking. Then, I ran across this tutorial for a car play mat and instantly knew this was the one! I already had plenty of felt (remember?), so I got started tonight. 

So far, so good. I think he's really going to enjoy it when it's all finished. I'm going to include special places to him like our house, a barn with some animals, preschool, church, the park, etc. 

The tutorial said everything was hot-glued. I hot glued the binding which was enough to make me decide to sew everything else. The gray road & garage pieces are just laid out, not permanently attached yet.

I'm thinking this could be one (of hopefully 5ish) handmade Christmas presents this year. It's one of the goals!