I love being a mama.

I adore my three kiddos.

I enjoy having a girl and two boys.

I have a great time playing and roughhousing and cuddling with my little guys–boys are so much fun!

But I’m finding that there’s something very special about having a daughter…

She’s like me.  While many of her personality traits come from her Baba, I’m seeing that she and I are similar in more ways than I once thought.

She’s emotional, she’s independent, she’s a people-pleaser, she likes to look pretty, she enjoys taking care of her brothers, she loves to help cook and bake.

Surrounded by the pervasive influences of a self-absorbed culture, I hope and humbly pray that I will consistently teach and exemplify to her the character traits that are pleasing to the Lord.  While I would obviously be happy if she grows up to be beautiful and smart (and a good cook!), my number-one desire is that she will be a woman after God’s heart.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  {1 Peter 3:3-4}

{This post is part of the Raising Homemakers Link-Up}

Abby

I mentioned last week that one of my favorite dishes to take to a potluck or cookout is “Cornbread Salad.”  It’s a bit of a stretch, calling this dish a salad, but it does have some fresh veggies in it.

And it has dressing.

And bacon.  Mmmm, we love bacon. 🙂

I’m not sure where I got this recipe (was it Taste of Home, Mom?) but it’s always a winner.  It can easily be modified if you have eaters of a pickier nature.  I also like that it can be assembled a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to serve.

Cornbread Salad

1 (16 oz) pkg cornbread mix

1 (1 oz) pkg ranch dressing seasoning (I’ve also just used my own seasonings–garlic, onion powder, lime zest, and salt)

1 1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. mayonnaise

2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained (I’ve also used chili beans)

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 c. chopped bell pepper

1 c. chopped green onion

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

2 (11 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained

5-7 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Prepare cornbread according to package directions.  Cool and set aside.  Whisk together ranch seasoning, sour cream, and mayonnaise; set aside. 

Crumble half of the cornbread in the bottom of a large serving dish. (I usually use a 13 x 9″ pyrex dish.)  Top with half the beans.  Layer beans with half the tomatoes, bell pepper, and green onions.  Sprinkle with half the cheese, corn, and bacon.  Spread half the dressing over the top.  Repeat layers; cover and chill.

Abby

 

If you’ve never been to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, you are missing out!  Yesterday we made our first visit of what will be many over the next year, as my parents gifted us with a family membership.  It had been more than two years since we’d visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo–the last time Hudson was there, he was a tiny newborn!

Now he’s a giraffe-feeding two-year-old. 🙂

Calla enjoyed feeding the giraffes too, but they weren’t quite as aggressive with her as they were with Hudson!

Boulder LOVED watching the animals just as much as his older siblings did…

{I’ll leave the rest of these photos un-narrated since they pretty much speak for themselves.} 🙂

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Abby

This morning I read from a Charles Spurgeon devotional…

‘These were the potters who lived there in the king’s service.’ (1 Chronicles 4:23)

Potters were among the ranks of manual workers, but the king needed potters, and therefore they were elevated to royal service, although the material upon which they worked was nothing but clay.  In the same way we also may be engaged in the most menial part of the Lord’s work, but it is a great privilege to do anything for the King; and therefore we will play our part, hoping that, although we live among the pots, we will soar in the service of our Master….

Dwell with the King and do His work, and when He writes His chronicles, your name shall be recorded.

{Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening}

And then this afternoon, I sat down for a few minutes to read a chapter of a Sally Clarkson book…

The minority of mothers who choose to devote their lives to nurturing of a godly heritage by focusing on their home as the center of life find themselves unsupported and unaffirmed by a culture that does not value their contribution.  The hard, daily, repetitive work of making a home a haven, providing healthy meals, correcting and training little ones, and constantly cleaning up messes is perceived as menial labor instead of the stuff from which godliness is built…

For it is in finding God and submitting to him that we will find the purpose and meaning that he he designed us to experience.  As we learn to fulfill the design for which we were created, we will find the love, peace, and freedom that we long for.

{Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity}

The words “menial” and “labor” stood out to me in both of my readings, probably because I’ve been feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed this week by the occupations of wife, mother, and homemaker.  I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but there are times when the repetition of washing the same dishes, cleaning the same floors, changing the same diapers, breaking up the same fights, doing the same laundry, and wiping the same dirty faces over and over and over again starts to make me feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m losing my mind. 😉

How encouraged I am to be reminded that even the most menial tasks are considered worthy by God, and it is a privilege to serve Him in my job as a homemaker.  And I’m not just a servant of the King…I’m His daughter.

I am blessed.

Abby

***If you have an extra minute, please visit Springs Bargains…I’m posting for Carrie today, and I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think!***

I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the USDA’s unveiling of their new dietary guideline symbol, MyPlate.

Oh, you haven’t?

Hmm, interesting…I haven’t either. 😉  To be honest, I didn’t know about it until yesterday.  As a nutrition graduate and former dietitian, I feel like maybe I should care more than I do.  But considering the government’s less-than-stellar record at giving us good nutrition advice, I didn’t get my hopes up about their new symbol.

Many registered dietitians are saying that this symbol is more user-friendly and applicable than MyPyramid, and I have to agree.  I was still working in the nutrition field when MyPyramid came out, and I never considered it to be very helpful.

So, MyPlate is easier to understand at a glance (whereas MyPyramid required an in-depth look at the government website for a decent explanation) and I DO like the recommendation that fruits and veggies should take up (at least!) half of your plate, but I think MyPlate still has several drawbacks.

First of all, not everyone eats a separate food for each food group.  It could be difficult to apply MyPlate to meals like casseroles, stir-frys, or soups.  I know that in our family, meals with a separate protein, grain, fruit and veggie only happen once or twice a week.

Second, MyPlate doesn’t include fats and oils as part of the meal.  Obviously, fat is present in some proteins and dairy products, and fats and oils can be added to grains and/or veggies…but I think healthy fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet and should be emphasized in this nutrition symbol.

Also, the general dietary guidelines included as part of MyPlate (check out the MyPlate website to see them) are okay, but I’m not really impressed.  The “switch to fat-free or low-fat milk” guideline really gets me riled.  As Michael Pollan emphasizes in his books, the “low fat” craze in America has gotten us nowhere health-wise, and if anything, it’s only contributed to poorer health in general.  But that’s a whole new rabbit trail…

Maybe I should write a post sometime entitled “Abby’s Dietary Guidelines.” 😉

What do you think about the new MyPlate?

Abby

 

 

I’m not usually a fan of cake-like cookies.  I prefer cookies that are chewy and dense, and if I want cake…I’ll eat cake!  But these cookies are the exception.  They’re light and fluffy, and the combination of pineapple and butterscotch is surprisingly…well, perfect.  I just think of them as mini-cakes. 🙂

I’ve had this cookie recipe in my recipe box for probably ten years, and I have no idea where I got it.  If anyone knows where the credit should go, please share!

Pineapple Scotchies

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 c. flour (I used half white, half whole wheat)

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 8-oz cans crushed pineapple, drained

1 c. butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375F.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture and stir until smooth. 

Stir in pineapple and butterscotch chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls approximately 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake 11-12 minutes in preheated oven.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields ~4 dozen cookies

AMAZING.  I hope your family enjoys these cookies as much as we do!

Abby

It’s the last day of May and I think (and hope!) that warm weather might be here to stay.  We’re supposed to have temps in the 70s this week.  (Woohoo!)  I tend to get a little giddy when summertime comes around. 🙂

We had a fun weekend with friends and family…and lots of food!  (I’m putting myself on a sugar fast this week.)  I got to experiment with several new recipes and pulled out some old favorites as well.  I’ll try to post some of them here, soon-ish.

Sunday afternoon we walked around with some friends at Territory Days in Old Colorado City.  I wasn’t terribly impressed, but it WAS free!  I have to admit that I really enjoyed people watching.  And it was sunny and warm!  All I need is a little sunshine to make my day.  (I’m pretty easy to please.) 🙂

See that red scab on Boulder’s forehead?  He had a run-in on Saturday with a couple of concrete steps, poor guy. 😦

Territory Days was a little too much for the kiddos…they were completely tuckered out by the time we headed back to our car!

We spent Memorial Day at my parents’ house.  Nearly 30 folks = TONS  of food!

I told you there was a lot of food! 🙂

See that pyrex dish next to the hot dogs?  The one with grated cheese all over it?  That’s Cornbread Salad…one of my favorite dishes to take to a potluck.  I need to share that recipe!

We had a great time with our family and friends.  We’re so thankful for the freedom we enjoy here in America…and we’re even more thankful for the freedom we have in Christ.  We have much to celebrate!

Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Abby