A Recipe Torn Apart (for its own good)

Since Luke wasn’t here for dinner, I decided to try a new recipe tonight- Kevin and Amanda’s Ham and Cheese Gnocchi, made with ham, peas, and potato gnocchi. It was okay, but ever since I made ricotta gnocchi, potato gnocchi just can’t stand up to it. I loved the colors the ham and peas provided; next time I make it I will probably do bacon, asparagus, and ricotta gnocchi. That will be yum!I’m going to post the revised recipe here for my future reference:

Asparagus and Bacon Gnocchi

1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon oil
2 cups diced onion
12 oz cooked bacon, diced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (don’t know yet what I will do with this, since gnocchi doesn’t need cooked)
1  1/2 cups water (ditto)
1 lb. asparagus, chopped and steamed
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 batches of ricotta gnocchi
2 cups shredded cheese (Swiss, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, or Pepper Jack)

Melt the butter and oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and golden brown. Add the bacon, asparagus, maybe just the chicken broth (but have some water on hand if looks too thin), cream, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste; continue to cook until just simmering.

Add the gnocchi and stir well. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and broil until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

This is what I am going to be working with. Wish me luck.

Waiting For Spring

Our book club meeting for this morning got cancelled, and just when we’d been pushing to get the book done, too. I obtained the book on audio from librivox.org to give myself a break this month, and with the thought that it would help us finish it sooner. It didn’t, though, and we were struggling all month to get through it. Sweet book, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sydney. This particular recording had all the information on the book before each chapter, so we had the title and author memorized before long.
Since there was no book club, I thought we would still go to town and do some grocery shopping, but the wind is still so cold and our driveway is still so icy and slippery. The van sits at the end of it by the mailbox, waiting for the warmer weather to clear the rest of the snow and ice.
Luke and Aliyah are headed to a youth conference this weekend. When he is away, meals and things are a bit more relaxed, and that part is nice. But, when he is away, I have the kids full time, and have to figure out how we all will get to the grocery store tomorrow.
Last week during my grocery shopping was the first time I felt like a lot of this was really pointless- I mean, I buy the same items every week! Luke has been getting canned goods and staples in bulk for some time now, and maybe that thinking has rubbed off on me a bit more, but as I walked through Aldi tossing thing after thing in my cart that I have tossed in there every week for forever, I felt tired. So, I am thinking about how I can better streamline my shopping. I’m not sure we can afford, or have the space, to shop only once a month, but maybe we should start taking steps in that direction.
I’m sure part of the tiredness is just being pregnant right now, and having to battle the weather any time I go out, even if I get to go out alone. Spring may bring some renewed energy and perspective, I hope.

I had a headache yesterday. I have noticed that sometimes it gets better if I just keep working through it, so even though I didn’t want to, after a nap I tackled our fridge and started cleaning it out. When I got to the frame that holds the drawers, I found where it was broken in the middle, which explained why the shelf bowed in the middle. When he got home from work, Luke made me a nifty support out of some dowels and a board that will just fit behind the drawers, holding the shelf frame up. Nice! Cleaning out the fridge is a gift that keeps on giving. Every time I open it and see its bright, shiny shelves, it makes me smile. Of course, they are nearly empty; we do need to go to the store…

Every Day Is An Adventure

Last evening was our night to go to Columbus for BSF. There was a forecast of freezing rain, sleet, and later on, snow, but Luke and I both thought we’d be okay to go down there and back before it got really bad. Wrong! We were only 30 minutes away from home when the heavens started shooting their icy and snowy blasts. It collected on the highway very quickly, making driving very difficult; at each exit Luke and I would look at each other with uneasy expressions. BSF hadn’t cancelled yet, though; we kept moving. Anna had to go to the restroom, a good enough reason to eventually stop at Cabela’s, which was right off of the Polaris exit. When I came back to the van with Anna, Luke told me that they had just cancelled BSF! Since we were already at Cabela’s, we all went in and walked around awhile. I tried on some hiking boots, but nothing felt good enough to buy. Luke looked at knives and guns while we girls went and bought some fudge. 2 blocks for $7, or 4 blocks for $14 and get 2 more blocks free! That’s how they get you- upon being presented with this special (that has been around since Cabela’s opening over a year ago and should technically not be termed a “special”), one immediately concludes that two blocks simply will not be enough fudge and look, we can get six different kinds for twice the price of two! Nevermind that two blocks of fudge were more than they had when they slid into Cabela’s just a half hour ago.
This morning the roads were not much better, and all area schools were closed. Luke attempted to go to his office, but only got as far as the next road up before he turned around and came back home. He did eventually go into work an hour or so later, as each hour that went by meant warmer and warmer temperatures and more melting snow. 38 degrees is supposed to be the high for today, and each day it will get warmer, so I expect plenty of mud by the weekend.

To Remember

My verse memory has taken a nose dive. Last year I thought it would be neat for the kids and I to memorize Psalm 51. We got about halfway through it together, then I worked on a few more verses, but still can’t say it in full. It embarrasses me that I cannot seem to find the time to memorize Scripture, yet can find time to do all sorts of things that don’t matter. But, no wallowing in guilt today; I want to move forward. Maybe I will devote the weekend to finishing Psalm 51, but I definitely want to commit the following gem to memory soon:

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Back when we only had four and Noah was little, I was into names and their meanings, so I worked at locating a verse for each kid that highlighted both their first name’s meaning and their middle name’s meaning, if I could find one. Noah means ‘comfort’ and his middle name is Christian, so I wanted a verse that brought out not only the comfort to be found in God, but the work of God in the life of the believer. I think the above verses are an excellent example of that. Recently after the death of a friend’s son, I was looking at verses about comfort, and rediscovered this verse in 2 Thessalonians after reading through the first chapter and seeing verse 11:

To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,

I like how Paul praised the Thessalonians for wanting to do good, for wanting to make a difference in the lives of those they met. Paul noticed, and we know that God noticed, too. Anyway, that ‘good work’ stands out to me in 2:17 as the goal of the Christian, once he or she has tasted of His divine comfort. Doing the good God has planned for us to do helps us to move forward in a time of grief, or anytime, for that matter.

I made up a little song back in the day, for Noah, to help us remember these verses:

May Noah be strong in every good work

May Noah be strong in every good word

Noah Christian

Jesus loves you

May He comfort you and give you hope

I Am My Beloved’s…

The petals are lovely, so soft, so sweetly fragrant. So much more grace than I deserve.
He sat looking at his laptop screen, checking email this morning before work. I glanced over his shoulder to see the top line of his inbox list- 1-800-FLOWERS. He flinched a little, like he’d just realized I was looking at his screen, too, and flipped to another window. For a split second I had the thought, did he get flowers for me, or did he get flowers for someone else? After some more seconds, and gratefully only seconds later, I had another thought- it was probably just an advertisement. I mean, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow; this is prime time to be getting the attention of lovers everywhere. But the initial thought shamed me greatly. He has never given me any cause to doubt that he loves me madly. Why was that thought there? And why, while I was ironing his shirt for work, did I start adding up all the people he knew that I didn’t? It could be over a hundred, as far as work-related acquaintances go. He travels in so many different educational circles and there is no end to the different connections he has within and without each one. I was grateful for the second thought, though, the one about it just being an ad. So grateful, because it meant that though I still have a long way to go, God’s word is making its way to my heart. Verses like

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

are invaluable to me when I am in danger of letting my mind run away with a fear or any wrong thought. God is so good to convict me sooner, get me on a right path sooner, back in His light sooner. I wish I could never leave.

The roses are beautiful, varying shades of yellow, pink, and red. They are a gift from my beloved. He tells me they were much cheaper if he ordered them delivered today, instead of tomorrow, something that makes me chuckle through my tears. I do not deserve these flowers, but every time I look at them I will remember God’s word and His grace.

These Are The Days Of Elijah

At least, that’s what I’m going to start calling him. We’re down to two names for the baby boy, and the other one I even have trouble pronouncing. Elijah was on our list last time, too, but Kenan just seemed meant to be his name. Did I admit here already to having the kids flip a coin for Kenan’s name? It was between ‘Kenan’ and ‘Elijah’. Heads won.

More thought is going into his arrival than his name right now. Luke has a campout scheduled for the same weekend, which of course he would love to go on. Is it wrong to pray for a baby to come early?

Luke and his mom are discussing/dreaming up ways to continue the house-building. The money for adding another house to this one has been a lot slower in coming than we thought, which leads me to wonder if we need to rethink our goals. I have thought for a while that we (meaning he) should finish the basement with a couple bedrooms; hey, we already have this structure, why not make it as efficient a property as possible?

We are just coming out of a long period being homebound. Our children’s Wednesday night program was in full swing, complete with Valentine’s Day cupcakes and candy. There is still quite a bit of snow, but the roads are basically clear, and our driveway, while always difficult when snow covered, is now manageable for even the van. Sunday we got more snow than was forecast, and Luke was unable to get the van up the driveway when we got home from church. Monday after work, he attempted to move the van, and got it stuck right at the road off to the side of our driveway. He had to leave for Trail Life, so couldn’t do much more and was pretty stressed about not getting it out for tonight’s trip to church. I went out after dinner that night with a shovel, thinking I could maybe get some snow out from under the van and make the way smoother. Luke seemed convinced he’d gotten it in a ditch, but I was elated to find that the van was still on flat ground, and only snow, not ice, needed removed. It was invigorating, working at the snow in the last minutes of the day as the sun was going down. A beautiful pink sky. Once each tire was free and I was fairly certain Luke would have no trouble backing out onto the road, I went back inside for some hot cocoa. When Luke got home, I could see the two sets of headlights at the foot of the driveway, meaning he was giving the van another try. The boys piled in the door a few minutes later, boasting that Daddy got the van unstuck! Luke came in with a much lighter step, telling me he had thought the snow might be crunchier now that it was dark and he was glad he gave it another try. I smiled to myself, realizing that he didn’t even notice that there wasn’t any snow under the van. That’s ok. I enjoyed every minute of that service project, and loved being able to find out firsthand that the van wasn’t in the ditch. My crown’s in Heaven for this one. Hee.

Who Needs Power?

I should work, but I don’t want to work when the house has become this quiet. Luke just left with most of the older children, boys to a hike and girls to a drink date with their aunt, and the others are sleeping. I have big plans of making up some cookies, bread, bars, and muffins today, but we will see what actually results. Maybe just pizza dough- not a total loss of a day then. 🙂
Our power went out one night a few weeks ago as I was just getting pizza ready for the oven. It was preheated, so I thought they might still bake up okay, just maybe take a little longer. It ended up being a half an hour without electricity, but felt like an eternity! And the pizzas didn’t ever get past the gooey crust stage during that time, much to the children’s dashed hopes. So it was good I could stick them back in after the power was on. They were nice and toasted then.
This past Tuesday morning, I went to print something and found the printer wasn’t working. After checking the plug, checking the piano (on the same circuit), checking all around that corner for what might be wrong, Luke looks up from his computer and says, “The power’s off!” This was an even bigger deal this time (even though pizza was not involved), because it was -3 outside (Luke was already home for the day because of this). I hadn’t started breakfast yet, so Luke fished out his camp stove to boil some water for oatmeal. It was a surprise to see some of the children eating it, as they might have turned up their noses at oatmeal on a normal morning, but…power outages and camp stoves change a lot of things. We ended up having the electricity back, then out, then back, then out, then back to stay, all the while Luke fully prepared to do more to provide for us and help us survive this bitterly cold day. The thermostat never went lower than 67, even after the longest span without power, a testimony to Luke’s good insulation of our home. Later, I was working in the kitchen and feeling really hot, so I looked to see what the temperature had risen to once we’d had electricity for a few hours- only 69! It’s amazing what a body can get used to, and then feel hot at a temperature that is usually too cold! We keep the thermostat at 72 most days.
Whew! Summer will be so welcome this year! I already have hopes to get us out on the first nice days this spring.