Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pork Fillet, Stuffed and Wrapped

Mighty good dinner
 We all have our different approaches to grocery shopping and menu planning. I suppose it's just a matter of finding what works best for you. Your resources, as well as your priorities, whether budget or convenience or health is most important to you, surely all play a part in what method one employs. For me, this is how I roll:

Every week, I buy the foods that are cheap, either with coupons or sales or both. I fill in the rest (milk, produce, etc.) at Aldi's. Then I look in my cupboards and freezers and plan what to do with all of it. My primary reason is obviously to save money, but there are other advantages, namely variety.

Typically, different foods go one sale from week to week. If ground beef is on sale this week, it probably won't be next week. Therefore, switching up our menu repertoire is automatic.

I had a few pork fillets in my freezer from a good sale a little while ago. Normally, I would just season, or maybe marinade and bake. Easy and good. But I happen to have a copy of one of Julia Child's cookbooks right now, borrowed from the library. Reading all these fancy gourmet recipes left me longing for a little more flare in tonight's dinner.Though not following the recipe at all, I stole ideas from the beef wellington mentioned in The Art of Mastering French Cooking, Volume 2,

I had two short pork fillets, which I slit open longways and pounded thin so I could stuff. I do this often with chicken breast. Using wax paper to prevent guts from splattering all over my kitchen, I whack the fillet to a uniform thickness. I seasoned it with McCormick Montreal steak seasoning, which is a peppery spicy flavor. Salt, Pepper, Dried red pepper flakes... you get the idea. Then I plopped about 1/3 cup of stuffing:

Stuffing (I really don't measure but I'll estimate as best as I can):
1/4 c. each chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot
salt and pepper
1/3 c. parm cheese
1/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. broth (I used beef.... is it against the law to use beef broth in a pork dish?)

In a skillet, I melted about a Tbs. butter, and added about a Tbs. of olive oil. Over med. heat, saute the veggies a few minutes, then add bread crumbs and broth. This create a mushy stuffing. After cooking bread crumbs and broth a few minutes, your veggies are pretty tender. Add cheese, stir and turn off heat. Let cool to handling temp. while you get violent on your meat.

Roll the pork around the stuffing and secure either with kitchen string (easiest) or toothpicks. Keep track of how many toothpicks you use so you don't kill someone!

Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season the tops. I used paprika, 'cause I like it. You use what seasonings you like.

I had done the previous steps in the morning so I put my fillets in a baking dish, covered and refrigerated. At least an hour before dinner time, put it in a 375 oven for 35-40 minutes. (I let mine sit at room temp. for a little while before cooking.)

At least 2 and a half hours before dinner time, make a simple pastry dough. You need the extra time so the dough can rest in the fridge for a good hour or two before being rolled out.

Julia Child's Pastry Dough:
3 1/2 c. flour
2 sticks chilled butter, unsalted
6 Tbs. chilled shortening
1 egg plus ice water to equal 1 c.
2. tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

Cut butter into 1/4 in. pieces. Mix butter and shortening into flour on moderate speed until it looks like course meal. Take care that the butter doesn't get warm. If the kitchen is warm or it starts to melt at all, refrigerate for a while and resume later. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix into flour mixture only until incorporated. As soon as dough clogs blades, remove onto wax paper. Form a dome, wrap tightly and refrigerate for 2 hrs or more. May be frozen at this point as well.

After the stuffed pork is cooked (you don't want to wrap it until it is already safe to eat) and the kitchen string or toothpicks have been removed, remove pastry from fridge and roll half of it to cover the fillets. The other half will make a great pie shell later in the week. =) The half I used for tonight was rolled into a big oval, cut down the middle and one half was used for each fillet. My fillets had been cooked and sitting on the counter for about 10 minutes so they were warm but I could handle them without burning my fingers. Wrap the pork fillet in pastry, brush with egg wash and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, until pastry is golden brown.
Let them rest for a few minutes until your husband gets off the phone with the IRS and then carve with an electric knife and dig in. =)

I doubt any one will closely follow this non-recipe recipe, but maybe it will give you an idea of your own. Look at what you've got on hand and think of a new way to put it together. I'm pretty sure everything tastes wonderful and looks divine when wrapped in pastry.

And, since I referenced good ol' Julia Child, I am suddenly and unexpectedly, a devoted fan. I never saw her shows and was never interested in her books but after cracking it open, I'm hooked. I actually have no desire to learn French cuisine, but Mastering the Art of French Cooking is so much more than a collection of French recipes. It's a book teaching techniques and methods of cooking. The objective was that a regular American house wife would be able to confidently prepare anything, with the knowledge to swap out ingredients to suit her tastes and resources. So despite the fact that truffles will not be found in my kitchen and tripe will never be a dish I serve (or eat... ever) I'm really learning a lot reading through the book. Volume 1 was checked out of the library so I settled for Volume 2.... I'm eager to get my hands on the first! I do need to put butter on my shopping list first....


Bible Quiz 3 Anwers

1. In order to be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven, you need to be _____________.

humble as a little child (Matt. 18:4) or servant (Matt. 23:11)

2. Who did Jesus call the greatest man born of a woman?

John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11)

3. Fill in the verse: "And now abideth ______, _______, and _________, these three; but the greatest of these is __________."

faith, hope, charity....... charity (1 Cor. 13:13)

4. Job was the greatest man in the east. How many yoke of oxen did he have?

500 (Job 1:3) or latter end 1,000 (Job 42:12)

5. What is the greatest among the herbs?

mustard (Matt. 13:31-32)

The winner is....... Missionary Mama in the Making! Elisabeth also had the correct answers, as did some facebook-ers who played along. Ya'll are smart! =)

I hadn't thought about the fact that #4 would have two answers, or that #1 had two as well. Not trying to be tricky on you!

Thanks for playing! Missionary Mama, please send me your mailing address: kaytemccoy@yahoo.com


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bible Quiz 3 ~ Gotta prize for the winner!

1. In order to be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven, you need to be _____________.

2. Who did Jesus call the greatest man born of a woman?

3. Fill in the verse: "And now abideth ______, _______, and _________, these three; but the greatest of these is __________."

4. Job was the greatest man in the east. How many yoke of oxen did he have?

5. What is the greatest among the herbs?

To re-cap the rules:
Since I have no way of monitoring whether or not you look answers up in your Bible, it is obviously allowed. If you're looking to challenge yourself, try answering without. Either way, cracking open that big black book (or brown, as mine is!) is never a bad thing. I use the King James version, so will be referring to that for correct answers.

The first person to enter the correct answers is the winner. This week, I have a prize for such a person:
I'll announce the winner on Tuesday, as well as allow every one's comments to be visible. So be ready to email me your mailing address if you suspect you're the winner winner chicken dinner!!!

This is an enjoyable book, and was fascinating to contemplate. I'm always a bit skeptical about "coming back from Heaven (or Hell)" stories but this one was really an encouraging account and just a good reminder that there is a real place, one which is so spectacular we can not even comprehend it, waiting for us one day. The book was sent to me from a dear friend and I've loaned it out to share with a few people and want to pass it along for someone else to enjoy.

If the winner happens to be outside of the US, I will try to send the prize to you. If it costs a million dollars to ship (or anywhere in that ball park) I'll need to do something else for ya. But I will do something.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"In His Steps" Ladies Luncheon

Banner / Cards on Each Table
Today, our church held a Ladies' Luncheon, with the theme of "In His Steps". We had almost 50 ladies come, and we had a great time. We ate a delicious meal... chicken malainiase, rigatoni with marinara, meatballs, greens, rolls and salad. For dessert, each table had a taramisu cake on a pedestal. My only disappointment over the event was that (once again) I didn't not think of pictures until the end. =( So sad about that. The decorations looked so pretty. I had even written "TAKE PICTURES" on my notes but... I was just too distracted. So here are a few to give you an idea:
 The cakes had molded pink chocolate high heels placed around them, with a super cute pink high heel on top. Here, obviously the heel was removed and the cake sliced up for serving. So use your imagination to picture what it originally looked like.
 The banner closely resembled the cards (pictured above, which were held in cute shoe photo holders on each table).
 And a giant 5 ft. tall pink high heel.
Also on the tables were favors at each seat: small clear high heels filled with pink candy, tied with either a pink or black ribbon and a verse attached:
 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth. Psalm 86:11

After dessert, we had a group of sisters sing 3 beautiful songs centered on the theme of walking with the Lord:
Nothing Quite As Sweet
Each Step I Take
All the Way

The Weber Sisters did a lovely job. As they sang, one played the acoustic guitar and another played the violin. So pretty!

I gave away several prizes. Again, I wish I had pictures of the prizes; they were fabulous. For the highest high heel, a lady won an adorable apron that read "I'll Cook for Shoes". For the biggest shoe size, a lady won a copy of the book, In His Steps, a lady who happened to be wearing a pink shoe won a very cute tape dispenser in the shape of a shoe, and the lady with the oldest shoes on (which I was second place for!) won an under-the-bed shoe organizer. Then, I drew 2 random names: one won another copy of In His Steps and the other, who happened to be my mom, won the cute little shoe themed box from which I drew names.

Then we watched a sweet video made for the special moms of Harts Hill Baptist Church. This video was also shown on Sunday morning on Mother's Day. At the luncheon we also watched the blooper reel (which I did not upload to YouTube) and I gave copies to the moms with children in the video.

After one of our wonderful church ladies shared a testimony about the difference the Lord has made in her life, the Weber sisters sang one more song: Thirst for God

At this point, I introduced our terrific speaker, Mrs. Amy Vassak. Mrs. Vassak is a pastor's wife. Her husband and her began the Northeast Baptist Church of Danbury, CT 17 yrs. ago. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her better and to hear the encouraging lesson she brought to us. I think all of us were helped and challenged in our personal walks with Christ.

I think the event turned out well. I myself enjoyed it and usually, I don't say that about things I organize! But with good food, great music and a funny edifying speaker, what else really matters? ;) I really hope to have more special events for the ladies in the future,



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Enjoying "these" days

We're having a nice hot day here. I'm loving it... flip flops and light clothes. I love dressing Leila in some of her cute summer dresses, letting her soft rolls get some air. Her bare feet making their way into her mouth. Three separate times today, as I ran some errands with the girls in tow, I got remarks like "All yours?" or "All girls?". Almost every time my husband and I attract attention for our little brood of cuties, we get the same admonition: Enjoy those days. They go fast.

And they sure do. It's amazing that Maddie is the tall 4 year old little girl she is. And Eden... she's hardly a baby anymore. Leila was JUST born. I still have her hospital bracelet on the kitchen window sill.

I do try to consciencely enjoy these precious days of cuddles and owies and naps (love those actually...) and story books, ponytails, sippy cups, baby dolls, and w's instead of r's. It does go by so fast.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reasons why I could never do a reality tv show

Besides the fact that no one would watch it.

1. The way I look and sound for the first at 20 minutes of every day.

Not to sound mellow dramatic, but I often feel as though I am very slowly dying from sleep deprivation. Ok, that sounds quite mellow dramatic. It is my honest feeling though. And it is my excuse for the frightful way in which I begin each day. Usually, a bright eyed Eden sneaks into my room, after finally getting too bored playing on her own for however long it has been since she got up with the chickens, puts her little face 3 inches from mine and she begins: "Hi Mommy. Can you get me some ceweal (cereal)? I wan (want) frosted mini wheats. Do you have frosted mini wheats? Can you wook (look) downstairs for frosted mini wheats? Can I have owen wooose (orange juice)? Can you put owen woose in the pink cup?" and on and on she goes, while I try to pry my eyes open and stumble to the kitchen, grunting responses to her.

2. "Kate" does not rhyme with "three".

3. Sing along books. We have this one, and another similar to it. They are great and I love them:

there's just one problem with them:

I can actually carry a tune. An average voice, but I can a carry a tune. These books, however, are all made in the worst possible key for anyone. So as my kiddies and I crowd on to the couch and they take turns picking which song Mommy will squeak or croak (there is no in between) through next, I am so glad that no one but my children can hear me.

4. Pajamas. Me and my children go to bed each night looking homeless. It's true. Although matching sets/cute night gowns do exist, by that particular point each day, I've stopped caring about matching and cuteness. You see, we most definitely match during the day, with hair bows, socks and shoes that "go" as I we say. But by jammie time, I just can't care anymore. So the girls put on whatever. If it's clean, I'm good with it. Sometimes I'm good with it even if it's not clean.

Now that I think of it, even if we did wear our cutest jammies, I don't want anyone to see them. Although apparently by the assortment of plaid and sports themed flannel I often see there, PJs are perfectly acceptable to wear to WalMart.

5. We're weird. I suppose that is what the attraction to reality TV is... a display of oddness that is more common than we dare think. But I'd rather keep our particular brand of weirdness private. Well, not completely private.. I am blogging at this very moment about it, aren't I?. But writing it as opposed to watching it still gives me control over what exact acts of strangeness I share and what we just keep to ourselves. Like I wish I could have done when Maddie announced to every person standing our church foyer that she has warts on her hand. Ewww. Oops. I just shared that again.

That is all. 5 important reasons.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bible Quiz 2 Answers

1. Who stole the accursed thing?


2. Who was the beloved disciple?


3. Name the 1 of the 12 spies that gave a bad report of Canaan.

Any one of these names: Sammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur (think I just found a new nickname for my husband... maybe I'll try it out next time he's being negative? ;) ), Nahbi, Geuel.

My spell check is going hay wire over that list!

4. What book of the Bible starts: "There was a man in the land of Uz."?


5. Where was Samuel buried?

In his house in Ramah

Both Marisa and Beth had the correct answers, but Marisa got them in about 23 minutes sooner than Beth. Good job, gals! =)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Say WHAT???

The laundry. It goes on and on.

The nerf guns do too. You'd think, without any sons, I'd have a nerf weapon free home. But my husband is a life long nerf gun commando, and the girls need to be able to defend themselves against his foam darts flying through the living room.

Being blessed to have a washer and dryer in my basement (ie. no laundry mat, no scrub board at a creek) I do laundry almost every day. I like to keep the beast under control. And plus, if I don't, my house smells like urine.

Urine is not a nice smell.

Typically, I fold and hand the girls small piles to put away. Most of the time, this is no problem. One benefit of doing laundry daily is that the piles of folded clean clothes stay pretty small and manageable for a 3 and 4 year old. Occassionally, though, the laundry routine doesn't appeal to them. And today was one of those days.

Eden clearly did not want to stop playing long enough to take her stack of clean undies to her drawer. With a very serious, drawn down face and raised eyebrows, and with her hands emphasising each word, Eden said, "Mom, I can not do everything awound (around) here."

Say WHAT???

About a year ago, I recall Maddie making a similar statement. Is this phenomenon common for all children to make the same claim of child labor?

Oh, honey child, you don't even want to know the plans I have for you! HA! There is a reason I had all daughters: this house keeper is planning an early retirement!

Of course, I did not tell her this. I simply put the stack of undies in her hands and gave her a love pat on her tushy, sending her down the hall to do "everything around here".


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bible Quiz 2

So here we go again. Let's see if we can work the kinks out this week; I've got a prize in mind for next week.

To clarify some things:

Looking answers up your Bible is not cheating. Breaking into my house, searching through my desk to find the 3 x 5 card with the answers on it is cheating. Please refrain.

The official winner is the first person with the correct answers. I will not publish comments until I post the answers, either Monday, or Tuesday... we'll see how many participants we have before I decide.

Put your answers in the comments! I suppose if you're really shy, just answering in your head is fine too. But you'll deprive me the joy of seeing how many are playing along. Which is fine. Do what you want. Except break into my house.

Of course, last week I told you that my husband usually picks questions for our Sunday School opening with a theme in mind. And so naturally, this week... there is no theme. He went free style on us. It's okay. We'll be all right with random questions, won't we?

Here we go: Quiz #2:

1. Who stole the accursed thing?
2. Who was the beloved disciple?
3. Name the 1 of the 12 spies that gave a bad report of Canaan.
4. What book of the Bible starts: "There was a man in the land of Uz."?
5. Where was Samuel buried?


Friday, May 20, 2011

Sharing the inspiration

I've been inspired lately from a few blogs and wanted to share a some favorites with you.

T'Time Challenges at Raising 4 Princesses is a feature to encourage us busy moms to take a few minutes and focus on our kids. Maria, or her guest contributors, provide a simple, oh-so-doable prompt to help us Take The Time. I love it and I need it. I'm a totally task oriented person and taking a minute to do something simple, like teach my kids a knock knock joke, can all too often seem like a distraction from my "real" work, when in fact it is exactly just the thing I ought to be doing. You'll like T'Time; they are easy and fun.

The Brown Eyed Baker is the reason why my stomach will never ever be flat again. These peanut butter oatmeal creations and these amazing chocolate chip cookies are completely worth it though. My husband is exceedingly glad that I have discovered this blog because I've been whipping up cookies like it was my job. Which according to him, it is. Seriously... whenever I intend to have a serious discussion with Seth about what my priorities are... whether I should take on a new project, or something like that, he always seems to throw into the conversation that I should make more cookies. He doesn't really mind clutter. All the clothes dirty? Who cares. Cereal for dinner? Fine. As long as there are cookies, he's happy.

Parents Say "No, and that's the end of it." is the title of a recent post on Journal for Women. I wish I could make a thousand copies and pass them out to parents as they shop for or with their daughters in the mall. I do not know if would make anyone change their mind. But it should.

Joy Unspeakable is a new blog (to me). It's a wonderful insight into the life of a missionary adjusting to a new field. She also has some great looking recipes that I plan to try. I have tried her Pizza Pockets and I'm pretty sure I was the coolest Mom on the block that day.

Probably my favorite thing about blogs is the ability for missionaries to keep in better contact with friends and relatives or just America a bit easier. I imagine it's a blessing to them, but it is for sure a blessing to me. Two of my wedding bridesmaids are, or have been, foreign missionaries, as well as several others friends of Seth and I. I hope I can say this without offense, but sometimes, in our churches we put missionaries up on pedestals and think of them as some sort of "Super Christians". As if the sacrifice of leaving home and country and doing without so many things is easier for them because they are a different breed of Christian than you or I. Do you know that sometimes missionary families, when visiting churches, sleep on gym floors because, after all, "they are missionaries... it's better than a hut." Or that sometimes care packages are sent with things like already used tea bags... because, after all, they are missionaries and can still get another use or two out of those bags.

Do I admire missionaries? Absolutely. I truly believe in my heart that if God called, we would go without hesitation... but they HAVE. While I think they're are heros and I love them, I think they are regular people like you and me. Okay, well I may not be "regular" but you know what I mean. They like microwaves. They like Super-WalMarts. They like safety for their children. They like medical care if needed. They like attractive homes. The missionary wives I know in tropical locations were not born with any great appreciation of giant cockroaches, and spiders the size of lobsters. I'm pretty sure they don't like 'em, just like I don't like 'em. My point is that I greatly appreciate blogs as a window into the day to day lives of missionary wives. They have highs and lows, just as I do. Imagine that! And sometimes, it's a good reminder to count my blessings and just quit griping. Perhaps most important of all, we get to know specifically how to pray for our missionary friends. Pray for their children. Some of the places in which they are called to minister are dangerous. Their children need our prayers.

And though no missionary has asked me to say this: please, keep your used tea bags state side.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Do we have birthdays in Heaven?

Today is my mother law's birthday. But I'm not sure if we celebrate birthdays in Heaven. I somehow doubt it but can't be sure.

There is so much about Heaven we don't know. It's a fascinating subject to me; I could read and ponder it all day. Mostly though, I think we'll just have to wait and see what exactly is awaiting us when we get there. All I know for sure is that it will be good. And that our loved ones who are there now are thrilled to be there.

When our loved ones leave this crummy world and start enjoying Jesus' presence, it changes many things for us here, doesn't it? Holidays take on new meaning. Christmas, Mother's Day.... all have slightly sad undertones. It's good to remember those who are missing vital people around those occasions. And let it motivate us to cherish the ones still in our company all the more.

When sadness creeps in, I remind myself that my babies and my mother in law and all the other people dear to me that are in Heaven are really celebrating. What we have here is just a shadow of things to come. Our family gatherings, however busy and fun, can't hold a candle to the gathering of the entire family of God we'll enjoy one day.

What a glad reunion day that will be!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bible Quiz 1 Answers

Okay so not many takers on this quiz. You either didn't want to leave your answers in the comments for fear you are wrong. Or it's just a dumb idea and you don't want to play. So I'll take my ball and go home. Wait... there is no ball involved.

Either way, here are the answers:

1. How many friends came to comfort Job?


2. How many men were in Gideon's army?


3. How many altars did Balaam tell Balak to build?


4. How many chapters are in the book of Daniel?

5. How many lepers went into the Syrian army's camp and found it empty?


So how'd you do? Some were easy... or at least would be easy if you've seen a few Veggie Tales videos. =) Some were hard. All easily found by looking it up in your Bible. Except. #3, which was a little obscure. It's in Numbers 23:1.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Your opinions, please...?

 When my handsome hubby and I tied the knot almost 7 yrs. ago, we literally had no furniture. I don't mean we had little furniture, or furniture we didn't like. We had NONE. And we really didn't care.

Obviously, we bought a mattress right off. Sleeping on the floor didn't appeal to either one of us. It was actually comical though, as we set out that day with Seth's parents to mattress stores. Neither one of us had any idea what anything other than gas and convenience store coffee cost. Pre-marriage we had either lived at home, or in college dorms with "lovely" 2 in. thick pads they called mattresses, which were part of our room and board. So we put little thought into just how expensive mattresses and any other kind of furniture would be. Lugging home our motel quality, full size mattress, we came to realize that would could never afford convenience store coffee again.

Well we got over that conviction pretty quickly! And we still have that same mattress. It's fine. Except that my husband's arms are 5 ft. long and end up jabbing my in the forehead most nights. Anyway, this post is not about mattresses or coffee. Although I would like some coffee. And a new mattress.

After I began working a part time job, I started scouring the paper for used pieces of furniture. I soon found the quality three piece oak set we have used ever since. I love our table... with 3 leaves, we can seat a crowd. The buffet is handy as well, folding up when not being used to serve the fancy foods like pigs and a blanket and chips-n-dip that I use it for. The china cabinet pictured here... is well.... a china cabinet. I don't exactly own any china, or have any use for it. Not knowing what else to do with it, I requested some pretty dishes for a birthday. My husband knew it was one of the (many) unpractical, un- useful decisions I would make, and later regret. But because he knew I'd like them, he bought me the {thankfully} inexpensive set we keep in the china cabinet. We never use them. Ever. Because they are not dish washer safe. Because when we have company, I resort to paper plates, or my washable indestructible every day Correlle dishes. Because I only have service for 6. Because our company isn't the kind that require impressing with fancy wanna-be-china dishes from a china cabinet.

I do keep glass serving dishes in the cabinet, which actually do occasionally come out to be put to work. And since Maddie has been doing pre-school, I keep her school things in here. But for the most part, it's a giant waste of space. In the beginning of our married life, wasted space was okay. It was better than a bare wall. But now we have stuff... and kids. And kids' stuff. My husband's practical nature has slowly penetrated my soul and I crave more function out of all this space.

All of that to say: What should I do?

I have already boxed up the "fancy" dishes, and with Seth's whole hearted approval will sell them. I've considered removing the glass doors and simply using the shelves as... shelves. School stuff, craft stuff, books, etc. All in cute containers that match the room. I had already painted a shoe box for such purpose, which lasted less than a day before someone.... I suspect a certain red head... used it for a stool and put their little foot right through it.


Maybe I should sell the whole cabinet, separating it from it's siblings (the table and buffet). Something feels wrong about that. But maybe it's not wrong. Maybe I could sell it for enough to buy an entirely different thing altogether... a bench to provide a place to take off shoes when we come inside? Here in upstate NY, we do the whole Mr. Rogers thing and remove shoes as we come indoors. Because 9 months out of the year, it's snowy and muddy and leaf-y and yucky outside.

Another thought is to remove just the hutch part and leave the base cabinets (which I do use) and make that a sort of bench that isn't really a bench but we can put a pad down and sit on it anyway. A bench for the girls to curl up and and read a book?

I'm also considering (if I take the doors off but leave the hutch) covering the glass shelves with fabric so that it's not constantly showing finger prints or in other ways being damaged by the children as they get down their stuff.

I would love your input. I am definitely doing something with it. I need the area to be much more useful and earn it's keep. But I want it all to look nice too. Look nice but not look like it belongs in an 98 yr. old lady's parlor. Which it kind currently does. I'm embarrassed by that but I just didn't know what else to do with the thing! Please remember that at the time, I was a 20 yr. old newly wed who had never decorated anything other than a 3 ring binder cover. At least I knew enough not to decorate the cabinet with Lisa Frank stickers.

Any ideas? Thank you...


Living the good life

Warm sunny days have finally arrived in our neck of the woods. I am in agreement with my daughters that these precious days of clear blue skies and warm breezes should be spent out doors, soaking in every ray we can.

While I chase my fair skinned red head around with a bottle of sun block and floppy hat, begging her not to burn.

When we woke up this morning to beautiful, bright sun shine pouring in every window, our agenda was clear to everyone, even 7 month old Leila. Well, okay... maybe Leila wasn't in on the plan, but she certainly did not object to it either. Our mission: to eat, dress and clean house as quickly as possible to get outside for our customary walk around the neighborhood. When fair weather is present, we walk. Every day. While Seth is at school, or maybe we walk to school to meet him at the end of the day. Or maybe not until after dinner, with Daddy making the walk even more fun. On bikes with training wheels, tricycles, scooters, stroller or dress up princess shoes. Whenever, however... but we will walk. Oh yes. There will be walks.

This afternoon, before the current hiatus for naps, I sat in a swing on the church property while my playful infant happily slobbered a hair clip in my lap. While the older girls played with cousins, Grandpa and Daddy methodically mowed nice straight lines through the church lawns. And I basked in not only the sunlight, but also the fact that we live a good life.

I do not know what ministry life is for other pastors or assistant pastors and their families. I can not compare, nor would I want to. I did not at all know what to expect when marrying my young pastoral theology major. He probably did know what life he had been called to, since he grew up a pastor's son. I had a few misconceptions, and a few expectations that were correct but mostly, I did not know what life for us would hold. And largely, I still do not. The ministry is people... so whatever plans we may make, we're always prepared to drop them at a moment's notice. Outside of the school routine, I do not know what Seth's duties will be next Thursday. Only that today, it was taking care of some needs on the church grounds.

One of the notions I had thought life "in the ministry" held was that there would be little to no time for family. I do not know why I believed this... maybe I had heard it from other pastor's wives, or maybe I had falsely assumed the ministry would be as hectically busy as college life. But the truth is, I feel blessed that my children and I get to see Seth probably more than many husband's working to support their family. Sure, some seasons are busier than others. There are certain time frames throughout the year when Seth is gone before the girls wake up and isn't home again until after they are in bed. But the majority of the time, we have the tremendous blessing of spending lots of time together as a family. Seth usually eats lunch and dinner with us every day. Many responsibilities can be completed with some or all of us tagging along. Church needs toilet paper? Lets all go. The girls make good companions for driving an elderly person to a doctor's appointment, or sitting on his lap while Seth mows. Sometimes Maddie goes with him to plow in the winter, but usually that chilly task is done before they (or I!) am awake. I make a decent secretary when record keeping or media projects come up. And I don't have to worry about his secretary flirting with him (and I surely will be). The girls really enjoy going out on Saturday mornings inviting people to church. What 3 yr. old doesn't love ringing a door bell? (And have to be restrained from ringing it 7 times in a row?!) Our dining room table makes a perfect assembly line for everything from mailings to candy bags to sorting Sunday School material. Complain about Seth bringing his work home? NEVER. I love it. While obviously, many things must be done with us at home, and Seth at church or elsewhere, I feel as though it is not Seth in the ministry. It is the whole McCoy family.

It's a good life. No fat bank account. We will not likely ever own our own house, or even two vehicles. Two week long vacations to tropical locations aren't in the plans. But it's a good life. We lack nothing. I get to be a stay at home mommy. We witness God working in people's lives. We get to invest our time into eternal matters. We've even had the extra blessing of having our children's grandparents live nearby. But mostly, today I am thankful that there is no choice to be made between serving God or being "there" for our family. Duties never conflict. We get to do both, and (usually) have a fun time doing so.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bible Quiz

On Sunday mornings at our church, all the children and adults gather for what we call "Sunday School Opening". During this time before being dismissed to graded classes, we sing a few cheerful songs, hear the latest update from missionaries, pray for the missionaries and take up the offering for their support. We also play a quick round of Bible Quiz. Usually, about 5 questions, with one being specifically for the 11 yrs. and younger and one "bonus" question which will get you a slightly bigger candy reward. See the young man standing next to my husband? It's his job to run the fun sized candy bar to the first person with the correct answer. It's a lot of fun and you may actually learn something!

I thought it might be fun to allow my blog readers an opportunity to test their Bible knowledge! So the plan is that every Sunday afternoon, I will post the Bible quiz questions that my husband asked the church earlier in the day, replacing the 11 and under questions with another adult appropriate question. Put your best answers in the comments and I'll let you know the correct answers on Monday.

Prizes? Maybe... the wheels in the head are turning. For now, be rewarded with the satisfaction that your know your Bible. Unless anyone would like to volunteer to run candy out to my readers....? =)

So here we go... your first quiz. Typically, my husband picks a theme for each week's quiz. This week is numbers:

1. How many friends came to comfort Job?
2. How many men were in Gideon's army?
3. How many altars did Balaam tell Balak to build?
4. How many chapters are in the book of Daniel?
5. How many lepers went into the Syrian army's camp and found it empty?


Friday, May 13, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...


A big no-no

I did a bad thing.

A dumb thing.

I wanted to wash the nice fluffy pillow mattress topper that we keep on our bed. I know the tag says "dry clean only". But I'll tell you a secret: I wash many things that say "dry clean only". Only suits and wool coats actually make into my car and to the dry cleaners. Most other things... I just put them in the machine on gentle cycle, line dry and hope for the best. So many of my girls frilly dresses say "dry clean" only and seriously, I'm just not gonna do it. I've actually never run into a problem with this cheap...uh....lazy....uh..resourceful.... method.

Until now.

As I shoved the mattress pad into the washing machine (while water filled the basin) I quickly realized I was on my way to a catastrophe. As soon as water came into contact with the pad, it began to expand. As it bloated before my eyes, I began to envision myself telling my husband that I had broken our washing machine trying to save $25 or however much it would have cost to just dry clean the dumb thing. I'm no mathematician, but $25 to save a $700 appliance? Yes. Worth it.

By the time I arrived at this genius conclusion, the pad was mostly soaked and rising like bread dough. I turned the water off and tried to pull the pad out of the machine. This was no easy task. It was exponentially heavier wet than dry. I finally freed the entire pad from the machine. Now what? I'm getting wet holding onto it but the concrete floor of my basement, where my laundry machines are hooked up, is no place to set a wet, white mattress pad. I resign myself to the fact that I shall be as soaked (but hopefully not as bloated) as the mattress pad and hug it to my body to keep from dragging it as I climb up the stairs. The best solution I could think of was a rope stretched across our garage, which we used to dry swim clothes in the summer. I drape the wet and now oddly lumpy pad over it.

Then I went back to the basement and hugged my washing machine and promised to never try another stunt like that again.

So now... I am the not-so-proud owner of a misshapen, lumpy and still dirty mattress pad. I've called a couple dry cleaners and they apparently, do not clean mattress covers. Hmph! Don't they know that the tag says "dry clean only"!!!

What should I do? My mattress is so... not fluffy. We should have all just stuck to making mattresses out of hay.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday, Eden Grace! ♥

I can hardly believe my tiny 6 lb. 8 oz. baby girl is THREE. She was just born. Seriously... can we slow this ride down a bit, please?

No longer a fuzzy headed bundle of squishable softness, she is an enchanting angel possessing all the charm that poets have ever written to describe little girls.

Since the guest of honor is a lover of all things pink and princess-ish, a castle cake was required. Sadly, it got a little droopy. =( Guess I didn't build it up to code. Seth did a structural analysis for me and determined that the layers weren't level enough (the corners weren't touching; I filled it in with frosting. Looked good last night...) So lesson learned: must have VERY flat, level layers.

We do not always have parties for our children's birthday... we always celebrate but sometimes with just simple cake and ice cream and gifts after Sunday dinner. Eden's last birthday, we had just moved into our homes, and Maddie's last birthday came directly after Leila's LITERAL birth day, so it has been a while since we had a PARTY. And even this party wasn't elaborate. As the kids get older, I would like to do more... Seth however draws the line at renting the bouncy tent. ☺

Anyway, we had simple (easy) fare: baked potatoes and/or nachos with an array of toppings to choose from. Nacho cheese, chilli, chives, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese and butter. 'Cuz butter should always be offered.

Eden is a wonderful birthday girl. She adores every gift, squealing with delight as each is presented. She cheerfully lets her sister or cousins help her unwrap. She seems to relish being the birthday girl and it is really fun to watch.

Birthday parties really demonstrate the differences between my two older girls. Eden, as you can see in the pictures, is having a blast being sung to. If this was Maddie, she would be buried in her Daddy's neck at this point, wishing that everyone would just leave their gifts and go home. Or at least stop looking at her! Even Maddie was telling me today how funny Eden was while we sang to her. "She wasn't scared at all!' Maddie laughed. "I know!" I agreed. "Maybe when it's your birthday next time, you won't be afraid either?" To which Maddie laugh and said "NO, I probably will be." Hmmmm. I don't get it.

By now, I have (finally) cleaned up all the mess of a birthday party with 10 children enjoying birthday cake and ice cream. Eden has tried on every piece of dress up clothing and accessory. The tricycle has been assembled and named a motorcycle. (Eden has decided it was too hard and gave it to Maddie... just don't tell Grandpa.) New markers have made their marks on my dining room table (thank you, T for getting washable ones!!!) Naps have been taken. Eden's new lip gloss has been (liberally) applied to everyone except Daddy and Leila, though Eden repeatedly offers to let Leila be "pretty" too. Frosting has been washed from the door knobs throughout the house. Daddy is working and I must get the frosting washed off the bodies and hair of my girls so that they can be clean for church (and Mother's Day!).

Happy Birthday, Princess Pinky! I love you and thank God for you.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ol Yeller and Baby Scheduling

Cooking, cleaning, cuddling, coloring, crafting (a little), couponing, church.

These are the activities that fill my days. ☺

My husband went on a 2 day trip to a men's conference last weekend. I usually really hate my husband being gone over night. I can hardly sleep. This time went better than in the past, for a few reasons I believe:

- I made no plans to get extra projects done. I don't know why I do that anyway. When half of the parenting team is away, why even hope to accomplish extra? The girls and I went to a local (expensive) indoor playground to use a gift certificate. The rainy day (and equally gloomy little girls missing their daddy) made for the perfect day to enjoy that treat. We also rented Ol' Yeller and cuddled on the couch.

- I refused to let my mind go into those horrific what-if's of being home alone at night. I turned the humidifier on high so that every creak of the house didn't cause my heart to skip a beat. I also took the advice of a friend and quoted Scripture to myself as I lie in bed. God hath not given us the spirit of fear....

When Seth returned, he brought me this lovely ladies' devotional. So far, I like it immensely.

Leila has welcomed her first tooth. It looks very cute. She is trying her best to sit unassisted and has begun rolling playfully on the floor. We've finally gotten some hearty belly laughs out of her. Truth be told, Madison has the gift of making Leila laugh. We're also (finally) settling into a somewhat regular nap routine.

A word on routine/scheduling babies: If I ever want to generate comments on my blog, the key phrase of "baby scheduling" seems to do the trick. ☺I've come to realize that scheduling a baby means different things to different people. Some envision a mom wearing a stop watch around her neck, withholding nourishment or comfort until the typed out schedule stuck on the fridge (or the baby book) dictates that it is time. Maybe for some that is how it is. But not for me. When I say "baby schedule" what I really mean is a steady, mostly consistent routine. Waking up, eating, taking naps and going to bed roughly around the same time every day. Don't you usually eat or go to bed about the same time every day? I don't look at the clock to figure out what my baby needs. But a "general this is what we usually do" helps me to plan ahead, and know that gee, Leila is crying and it's 10am. I just fed her, so by George, I bet the girl needs a nap.

I own and gleaned some help from a BabyWise, which is a book about parent directed baby care. I agree with the underlying philosophies of the authors: that babies need parents (two of them). But I don't really follow the suggestions strictly. For example, Leila usually is nursed or cuddled to sleep, as were my other girls. I completely see why the authors, and many parents, are adamant about lying baby down groggy but still awake. I'm not opposed to that by any means. Nursing just usually knocks her out when she is tired, or in the case of most evenings, Seth and I enjoy snuggling with Leila after the older girls are put to bed. It's not usually intentional... she just always falls asleep. So we put her in the crib, and we cuddle with the only people still awake: each other. ♥

And I never let a hungry baby stay hungry. Nope. Got milk? Why, yes I do. With a routine, however, I almost always can count on a good 3-4 hours before Leila will be hungry again. Exceptions occur, obviously. My girls were generally big time sleepy heads as newborns. So I put great effort (especially with extra sleepy Eden) to get a nice big feeding in so that I wasn't nursing every hour. By a month or so old, I felt confident that they wouldn't need me for long enough to run to the store or sit in a church service, for example.

So there is the Kayte philosophy of baby scheduling. You were dying to know, I'm sure. =)

The older two were in a steady routine very early. It was easy and they seemed to naturally welcome it. Leila has as well, except for naps. She's been all over the place with naps. I do believe she thinks that, at 6 months, she doesn't require naps. Which of course she does. We've taken to calling her "Kittty Kat" because she is the queen of cat naps. It's like she just doesn't want to miss any of the action. She loves people and wants to just visit all day long.

I like visiting too. But I must pull myself away from virtual visiting now. Have a wonderful day!