Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Menu Ideas

With each season our menu changes.  My goal remains the same through the seasons, provide the most nutrient dense food for what our budges allows that tastes great and can be made while managing a large family.  Here are the items on our menu this week and the recipe for the delicious kabobs we had for dinner today.

Breakfast-Smoothies, eggs and toast, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, granola, french toast

Lunch-peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna salad, hot dogs, garlic pasta, chicken and salad, paninis

Dinner-Fajitas, thai noodles, kabobs, chinese burritos, fish, sausage grill packs and grilled chicken thighs

Beef Kabobs

1.5-2 lbs Top Sirloin, cut in cubes
1/4c teriyaki sauce
1/4c soy sauce
1/4c honey
3/4 olive oil
2T lemon juice
2T sherry (I use red wine)
1.5 tsp. grated ginger root (I use powdered ginger)
bamboo skewers
assorted grilling vegetables (mushrooms, par-boiled red potatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, yellow summer squash etc.)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Place cubed beef in gallon size bag.  Mix remaining ingredients up to the skewers and pour over meat.  Marinate over night.  Soak bamboo skewers for several hours before you are ready to assemble the kabobs.  Wash and cut up vegetables, toss with oil and seasonings.  Assemble kabobs.  Cook on grill approx. 5 min per side.  These are great served with rice in place of potatoes and fresh melon.

Chore Cards

One part of my goal every summer break is to get our chores ordered for the year.  I teach the children their new chores and then help to implement a new schedule while we have a break from school.  Every year I try something a little different one year it was a chore chart they could  mark on.  Another it was a door hanger they could use for reference.  This year I created a card system.  This is my favorite one yet.  It has a detailed description of each chore, is reinforced for much use, and pretty!

The first step I took was to write down and establish what chores I wanted done on a daily and weekly basis and at each meal.  Then I typed a detailed description of each chore.  In an effort to make these strong, cute and interchangeable I glued the description to two sided thick paper and covered them with packing tape.  I really wanted to run out to the office store and laminate them, but remembered we still have an excess of packing tape and used that instead.  I punched holes in the corners and made name tags to go with each stack of chores.  My handy husband had several different clips to keep them together.  Now I just need some hooks for them and we are set.
I know my day and home run much better with order.  My hope and expectation is that these will help us to stay on track and running smoothly.  When our home is in order I find our family is more prepared for spur of the moment company and there is a sense of peace and order.  The work of training and maintaining chores is worth the effort!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Getting to Know God's Character

I've started a new focus on reading through the Bible with the purpose of slowing down to meditate on the details.  I have been astounded by how the Lord has opened my eyes to new revelations of who he is.  As I read through Ephesians chapter 5 this morning the descriptive words jumped out at me.  As I listed them in my journal I was tempted to view them as a list of words I need to apply and grow in.  But, then I was overcome with a thought that was so superior to self-improvement, the idea that these are words that describe God's character first.  As I marveled at how God is perfectly worthy, humble, gentle, patient, righteous, tender-hearted and forgiving my focus changed.  I don't want to improve I want to be renewed!  If I change my gaze from the improvement of self to looking at the greatness of my Lord and his character will there be room for self-improvement?
I grieve for the lost time I've spent trying to change what the Lord created, trying to conform to a standard that was not His.  How often I have exchanged the freedom of my God and King that was bought for me with the blood of Jesus for rules, self-improvement, earthly standards.  I pray that no longer would this pharisee like bond hold me.  It is true just as cynicism is easier than hope, rules are easier to follow than to search and seek truth in all it's tremendous greatness.  At some point my mind became dull to the hunt for truth's treasure and wanted to settle for a to do list.
If my gaze is to change I am certain all the details of servant-hood will fall into place.  I won't need to fret about each rule being followed.  They will work themselves out when the focus is on the right prize.  I can be certain that this is the uncomfortable walk, that the boundaries are outside of my comfort zone and the truth and beauty are stretching and overwhelming.  Yet what excitement and joy lie in the challenge of seeing my God in increasing wonder and awe.