Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012 was my due date.  I'm remembering a sweet little life who never got to see this world.  I know my baby is waiting on me in Heaven and I can't wait to meet him/her one day.  I find great peace in comfort in knowing that my Lord and Savior has a plan for everything.

Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things. -Ecclesiastes 11:5 

By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.  -Hebrews 11:11

I began writing this post at the beginning of the week, before the horrific, evil events in Newtown, CT on December 14th. But as I'm remembering a life lost in my own little world, I cry out for those who lost their precious little children and family members in a senseless, evil act. How do you even wrap your mind around something like this? You can't. As an elementary teacher, I simply can't imagine the horror that they felt. I begin crying everytime I read stories or watch the news. May we never forget the names of those lost. May we never forget the courage and the boldness of the school administration and teachers as they tried to protect those little babies.

My prayer is that this will bring our country to it's knees, open our eyes, and bring revival in America. We need Jesus. No doubt about it. Only He can save and heal the broken. There's evil in this world and there has been since Adam and Eve.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -Psalm 34:18

Butternut Squash Soup

This may be my new favorite soup.  If you've never tried it, do yourself a favor and take advantage of this seasonal squash.  It's easy to make and so rich, buttery and savory.  I adapted this recipe from The Italian Dish.

Butternut Squash Soup

Photo courtesy of The Italian Dish

-3 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 cup chopped onion
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp chopped fresh sage (about 3 leaves) or 1/2 tsp of dried sage
-2 to 2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
-1/8 cup sherry
-4 cups chicken broth
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1/3 heavy cup cream
-salt and pepper
-4 ounces pancetta, chopped
-feta or goat cheese

**I roasted my squash at 400° for 15 minutes to soften it up.  Otherwise, it is very hard to dice**

1.  Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and sage and saute one minute.  Add squash cubes and saute 5 minutes. Add the sherry, broth and cayenne pepper.  Cover and simmer on low for about 25 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little skillet until nicely crisped.  Drain on a paper towel.

3.  Puree soup, either with an immersion blender right in the pot, or transfer to a food processor or blender. Return to pot and stir in cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4.  Serve in bowls with bacon and feta or goat cheese on top.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Wrap-Up

I feel like I start out every blog post by saying something about how it's been so long since I last posted.  I hate to admit, but this has definitely been put on the back burner for me.  I'm working on changing that!  I've got a little down time right now (I really should be grading papers, but my brain says no), so I figured I'd blog a little bit about what we've been up to!

November FLEW by!  I can only imagine what December will be like.  We spent the weekends of November doing a lot of visiting.  Although busy, it was so enjoyable.  Some friends invited us for a weekend stay at their beach house and it was awesome to just get away for a short break.  My mind needed the vacation!  My daddy's birthday was also in November.  He wanted a buttermilk chocolate cake so that's what he got!  I hadn't made one in almost a year and this one turned out great.


I've also been keeping up with my goal of making one soup a week for winter.  I made a butternut squash soup that was ah-maze-ing.  I had never made it before or eaten butternut squash, but it was so full of flavor.  I'll be posting the recipe soon.  Last week we just had white bean soup - a tried and true easy favorite.

Thanksgiving was spent in Arkansas and we had such a good time.  I ate waaaay too much, we played games, went shopping, drank a ton of coffee, laughed excessively, went out to the farm, rode 4 wheelers and shot skeet (not I) much fun.  I always look forward to our trips up there.  I wish we all lived closer.  I cherish those times though.  I guess it makes it that much more special.  Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving.

Our little family on Thanksgiving Day

J and I riding 4 Wheelers

My SIL and BIL riding 4 wheelers

The girls
My hubs and my sweet MIL
Me, MIL and SIL.  Love them.
Family is such a blessing.  I don't have any pictures with my folks since we weren't with them for this holiday.  I'm making a mental note to take lots of pictures at Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, can you believe it's that time of year already?!  2012 has flown by.  I've been reflecting a lot on what this year has meant to me.  It hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies but I feel more joyful than I ever have.  My faith has grown exponentially.

We put up our tree this weekend along with a few other decorations.  Because my hubs is in a Christmas concert at our church, this weekend was consumed with rehearsals...we'll have to finish the rest of our decorating this week.  I love that he wants to be apart of helping me decorate our home for's the little things. :)

I opened my planner to December and felt my heart jump when nearly every day has something written on it...this is such a busy time of year!  But I'm making a vow to do everything with a joyful heart.  I know I will fall short, but I'm going to try my hardest.  This holiday is the greatest gift of all and I want to reflect that in my works.  I've made a daily to-do list so I don't feel so overwhelmed.  On it for this week...Christmas cards and finish decorating inside and outside.  Next week I'll tackle my baking.  OH!  One more thing and I really hope you'll join me in doing this.  I'm reading scripture each day of December to prepare my heart for Christmas.  Here's the version I'm using.  It's so important to remember what Christmas is really all about...the greatest gift of all...our Savior.

Have a wonderful week! XO