Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tad's Latest Sermons

Want to hear Tad's latest sermons? He preached the AM and PM services on January 10, 2010.

Click here to go to our church's website
.

Then click the "media" tab at the top.

Click on one of these two sermons:

All Things Under His Feet - Hebrews 2:5-8

Honor and Suffering - Hebrews 2:9

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weirdest Pregnancy Craving Yet...

I haven't had very many pregnancy cravings yet (mainly just aversions!), other than an occasional craving for cake or Hot Tamales (which I can hardly blame on being pregnant). Today, however, I had a very strange craving. Around 2:30 today, all that I wanted to eat in the world was food from Liberty's Reber-Thomas dining hall... or as we used to call it, The Rot. (Yes, we know it looks like a Chuck E. Cheese.)
So strange, huh? I'll be honest... all I did for four years was complain about college food. But today all I could think about was the awesome salad bar, deli wraps, cheesy quesadillas, chicken sandwiches, and double-chocolate brownies. But it's not like we could drive all the way to the 'Burg today, so we went to the next best place...

Golden Corral! haha. We had a BOGO coupon, so it only cost a little bit for the two of us.

The roads weren't too bad once we got onto main ones. We're home safe now and planning on staying put the rest of the night!

Snow Day

We're enjoying a nice dusting of snow here today.We probably have an inch or snow, but there has been lots of sleet on top of the snow.
It's very icy! We're staying inside where it's warm!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crockpot Lasagna Recipe

I'm pretty sure this recipe made enough to feed an army! (Should have invited company over.) It turned out really well, so I'll share the recipe with you. Let me know if you make yours a different way!

Crockpot Lasagna

Brown ground beef (I used 1 lb.) and drain. Add chopped onion and garlic. Add cans of tomato sauce (I used three). Season with basil and oregano (fresh or dried). Simmer on low.

Place a ladle-full of sauce in the bottom of your slow cooker. Make sure the bottom is covered.

Break uncooked lasagna noodles to fit in crockpot and layer over the sauce.

Spread ricotta cheese over the noodles. On top of this, layer fresh spinach and other veggies as desired (I'd like to try mushrooms next time).

Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

On top of this, pour more meat sauce.

Continue layering in this order (noodles, ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, sauce) until you reach the desired amount of layers. End with noodles.

Over all, pour 1/4 cup of water (I put the water in an empty tomato sauce can and swished it around before pouring over).

Cook on high for 4 hours (or less). You may need to push the top noodles down towards the end of the cooking time if they are curling up or too dry (yes, it's okay to open your crockpot to do this).

Top individual pieces with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.

If you make this in a 6.5 qt. crockpot like I did, expect this to feed 10-12 people!

Week Thirteen

Well, here I am at the end of the first trimester/beginning of the second trimester!

I have been feeling much better this week (I only threw up once!) and I think soon I will be able to go off my prescription medication. In fact, I haven't taken any yet today and I feel great! I'll admit, I had my doubts (back when I couldn't keep down water, etc.) that this day would ever come.

Our little egg's ears are developing and soon will be able to hear us talking to him/her! He/she is also developing teeth and vocal cords, and is about the size of a peach!

Very thankful to the Lord for a safe pregnancy so far!

Want to compare last week's photo with this week's? Click here.

A Postmodern Building

I'll admit, I stole this post from Justin Taylor's blog (one which Tad and I both frequent). However, we both really thought it was worth repeating!

It's from an address by Ravi Zacharias, a wonderful scholar, author, and man of God (whom I had the privilege of meeting several years ago!).

I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.


He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”


I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?”


He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.”


I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?”


He said, “That is correct.”


I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?”


All of a sudden there was silence.


You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.

What's for Dinner?

I am using my new crockpot (story here) for the second time this week! Wednesday I made a beef roast made with a cup of coffee, if you can imagine that. I used a recipe from my (VA) church's secretary, Tammy! (Tammy, if you're reading this, we loved how the roast turned out!)

Tonight I decided to make crockpot lasagna, which has always been a concept that intrigued me. It's pretty fast to throw together, since you don't have to cook the noodles beforehand. I pieced together a few different recipes, but the one I borrowed most heavily from came from A Year of Slow Cooking. I used Tad's mom's pasta sauce recipe instead of jarred sauce. (It's soooo good! I definitely licked the spatula...no lie.)

If all goes well with the lasagna, I'll post the recipe and pictures later, though I can't imagine that this will be the prettiest of dishes...haha.

What are you making for dinner tonight?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our New Nest

It looks like before too much longer (a month tops, Lord willing!), we will be moving into a new nest! We are in the process of buying a house that we greatly look forward to making into a home. The appraisal went through this week with no problems so far, and the inspection is the next step before closing. We appreciate your prayers that everything will go smoothly during the rest of this process!

We are so excited to start feathering our nest. This mama birdie has lots to do in the next few months!

P.S. Sorry I don't have a picture of the house! They took the listing off the site before I could save the pictures.

Update: Here is a picture of the house that my mom (super internet sleuth) found!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby in Belly

Am I a total dork for wanting to wear this maternity shirt out in public now?It was a gift from Tad's parents! I reeeeaaallly want to wear it so people know I have a BABY in my belly!

Controversial Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad

You may have already heard about this, since it is literally all over the news, or you may be like me and rarely check to see what is going on in the world. I'm trying to do better about checking headlines at least once a day, as depressing as they sometimes are.

But last night I came across a story that intrigued me.

Focus on the Family has purchased a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl this year (fyi, last year, 95.4 million people watched the Super Bowl). The ad shares a story about Tim Tebow, Heisman trophy-winning college football legend. Tim Tebow and his family have been long-time supporters of Christian principles and the sanctity of human life, and they have used their own family's story as a testimony to others. Nearly twenty-three years ago, Pam Tebow was encouraged by doctors to abort her unborn son, her fifth child, but she refused, and gave birth to Tim Tebow. The ad is expected to share "one of their personal stories," said Gary Schneeberger, spokesperson for Focus on the Family.
The ad focuses on a theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life," according to Focus on the Family's January 15 press release. The ad never mentions the word "abortion," and centers primarily on Tim Tebow's story.

As of Tuesday, over 30 liberal woman's organizations have written to CBS protesting the ad. Terry O'Neill, president of NOW, stated that the ad is "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning."

CBS has found no basis for rejecting the ad, so they still plan on airing it as scheduled.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well, We Almost Adopted...

Last weekend when we were at Walmart, we saw a family giving away free lab/golden retriever mix puppies in the parking lot! (They looked similar to...more yellow than...the one above.) I got to hold one for a few minutes and he was so soft and squirmy! Tad took a picture with his phone, but it didn't turn out great. It was very tempting to adopt one and bring it home right then!

Could you have resisted?

Is It Really Winter?

This beautiful bush has been blooming outside recently.
It could have something to due with the 50-60 degree weather we've been having...
At any rate, this mystery flower has been making us wonder if spring is here!Anyone know what type of flower this is?

Update: My dad said it is a camellia... a very confused one, since they are not supposed to bloom in January...

To Save a Life: In Review

Tad and I went to see To Save a Life on Saturday afternoon. We had to drive 45 minutes to the nearest theatre that was showing it (since it was a limited release). If you haven't read my previous post on this movie, go here and read it before you read my thoughts here.

We are still deciding exactly what we thought of the movie. I'll start with some of the positives.

First, the film was very poignant, and at times, even gut-wrenching. Hard to watch sometimes (due to the intensity), yet so good. The filmmakers really got their points across in a realistic and professional way. At the end of the movie, you don't walk away wondering what they were trying to say; it is very clear.

Secondly, it was very well-done. Though this film had a small budget (compared to most movies), it still did not feel "cheap" in any way. The acting was some of the best we've ever seen in a Christian movie. This really gave us hope for the future of Christian film-making!

Thirdly, this movie will speak to many different audiences and age groups. We think many "youth group kids" would benefit from it, yet this is the type of movie they could bring their unsaved friends to. We, as youth workers, also found things from this movie that we could apply to our own lives and ministries.

Fourthly, we liked that the Gospel was not presented in a cheesy way. In fact, the Gospel is not presented in a line-by-line way at all. What I mean is, someone would not go see this movie and know everything that they need to know to be saved. However, they may desire to because of the way in which true Christianity is presented. When asked why they did not clearly present the Gospel message in the movie, the filmmakers responded with, "That's your job." As in, bring your unsaved friends to the movie and share the Gospel with them personally at the end.

Lastly, we liked the way they handled certain plot elements. We don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet, but there were some issues (life choices, decisions, etc.) that we thought were handled well at the "wrap-up" of the movie.

There were some negatives of the movie, but they were mainly related to content which may offend some Christians. There is some language in the movie (according to the filmmakers, added for realism) and this could definitely offend some viewers. In addition to bad language, there are some topics discussed and other negative phrases used that also may not be appropriate for younger viewers. (All of these elements I am mentioning are discussed in full at Plugged In's review here.)

For us, the most troublesome part of the movie would be the sensuality, as displayed in some immodest dress as well as a scene or two which we feel would not be appropriate for many younger (or less culturally exposed) teens and adults. We know that many teens (even some Christians) are watching movies with much worse content, so we understand that the dress, etc. in this film probably would not shock them. We think that these teens would benefit from the positive elements of the movie (and would probably not bat an eye at the language, dress, etc. since they are exposed to that on a more regular basis at school and elsewhere). However, we know other families and teens who have made different choices as far as what types of movies and television to watch and so would find these elements not in keeping with their standards.

Because of these negative elements, we cannot give this movie our wholehearted endorsement. That's hard for me to say, since I loved so very much of this movie (and, I'll admit, cried through half of it).

We encourage you to use discretion as you decide for your family whether or not to watch it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sanctification

1 Thessalonians 5:23, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Things God is Currently Using in my Life to Make Me Sanctified

1) My husband. A gracious gift from God, my husband is used by God in my life each day to aid in my sanctification. I am so thankful for his love and his patience! He is an example of Christ's love towards me.

2) My pregnancy. The last few months have been challenging, with morning--err--all day sickness. The Lord has used this time to draw me closer to Him and to help prepare me spiritually for being a parent.

3) Being a pastor's wife. This is an area that God has been using and I know will continue to use in my life to make me more like Him. I am still learning what this role means, and what it means to truly be a support and a help to my husband as he pastors the youth of the church.

There are many more, but those are the three I decided to share publicly.

What is God using in your life right now to "sanctify you completely"?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fight Abortion through Adoption

One of the best ways to help prevent abortions is to adopt, or to support Christian adoption centers. Doing this is an instant way to change individual lives, and David E. Prince argues that it is "true religion" according to James. He wrote a very nice sermon/article on the Manliness of Adoption, discussing the great need for men of faith to rise up and take leadership on this issue.

Also, while at Liberty, I had the privilege of supporting the Liberty Godparent Home which offers a place for unwed mothers to live while pregnant and discovers Christian families who are willing to adopt their babies if they choose to give them up for adoption.

Clearly as Christians who have been adopted by God the Father, we can understand the plight of the orphaned. We were orphaned in a spiritual sense, without a true identity, and without an inheritance, but we have been given so much more. Adoption is one way that we can reflect the truths of the Gospel and demonstrate them to the world around us.

- Tad

Not Your Average "Christian Movie"

A new movie opens this weekend in limited theatres nationwide. It's another movie with Christian themes produced by a mega-church, yet this one doesn't leave you with the feeling that once you become a Christian, your football team is always going to win and your life and marriage will suddenly be restored to order.*

No, this is not your average Christian movie. To Save a Life, written by the youth pastor at New Song Community Church, tackles many issues, including drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, cutting, and suicide. (Because of these elements and more, it has a PG-13 rating.) However, according to Plugged In, "To Save a Life doesn't show dirt to get dirty, it shows it so you'll notice the paper towel that can clean it up."

I have not seen this movie yet, but I plan to. Why, you might ask, would I go to see a movie with such dark themes that doesn't have an easy resolution at the end? Because it is REAL. It is RAW. Real life - real Christianity - is not easy, free of persecution, and always bright and cheery. This movie addresses situations teens - Christian and non-Christian alike - are facing. Secondly, I support the intentions of the film-makers, and the best (only) way I can show Hollywood the kind of movies I support is by buying a ticket at the box office, particularly on opening weekend.

The makers of this film did not set out to make a Christian movie.

They set out to make a movie with Christian themes that non-Christians might actually WANT to go see. I respect this greatly, and I think that more Christians should be making movies with that in mind. You can read an interview with the filmmakers here.

I will post again about the movie once I have actually seen it, but for now, check out Focus of the Family's review here (contains spoilers) and go watch the trailer over here. Click here to find a theatre near you and purchase tickets.

*For the record, I did really like Fireproof, though the one thing I disagreed with was how they showed that his life seemed to get "perfect" once he got saved. This doesn't always happen! But I loved that movie and appreciated what those writers/directors/producers were trying to achieve.

Sanctity of Human Life

In honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday 2010 (January 24), I thought I would link to several good pro-life articles. (And today, as you may know, is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.)

- this article talks about how many abortion doctors who have seen ultrasound images of abortions being performed have turned pro-life. (Caution: while there are no graphic images, the descriptions written in this article are very graphic and may disturb some. I still encourage you to read it.)

- another article compiles a list of state laws relating to harming a pregnant woman and causing injury to the unborn child within her

- in Unstringing the Violinist, this author takes a critical look at Judith Jarvis Thompson's seemingly rational defense of abortion on demand

Tad is going to post (later tonight) another article he recently read which suggests one of the best ways pro-lifers can help bring an end to abortions.

Week Twelve

So I'm not even sure why I'm taking photos at this point... since I still don't look pregnant! I guess it will be fun to compare them all later and with future pregnancies. (And is it just me...or do I look less pregnant than last week?)

This is the last week of month 3! Whooo hooo!

I've been feeling somewhat better lately. I am on a prescription for my nausea, but that has also led to being on other medications for the side effects that the prescription has caused (I'm really not convinced it's supposed to work like this...).

I've had so many people tell me they were wearing maternity clothes by this point in their pregnancy, but I really am not there yet! I would like to be... but I think all the 1st trimester nausea has kept me from gaining the weight I am supposed to. Praying that I'll be able to make that up in the 2nd and 3rd!

Our baby is approximately 2.2 inches long and weighs half an ounce, according to Women's Healthcare Topics. This week, our baby's brain is starting to make hormones, and nerve cells are multiplying at a rapid rate. Our baby's kidneys are functioning this week, and he/she may start sucking his/her thumb!

Tad and I are so very excited about our baby arriving in August (Lord willing!). Pray for us as we are making decisions about lots of activities in June and July (traveling, church camps, etc.) and really need wisdom.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let Them Eat Dirt!

My mom just emailed me this article about children and our (American) culture of over-sanitation.

Here's the beginning of the article:

We all want healthy children, but did you know that children who eat dirt might actually be doing their bodies and long-term health a tremendous service?

Providing a healthy, clean environment for children is of paramount importance, but the over sanitation of childhood might actually be doing children more harm than good. The current germophobia with all its use of sanitizing hand gels, antibiotic soaps, antimicrobial kitchen sprays, germ-killing sanitizing wipes, pasteurized milk, irradiated food and antibiotic pharmaceuticals may actually contribute to a society plagued by autoimmune disease.


To read the rest of the article, click here.

Comments?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust Recipe

When we first got married, I just bought the pizza crust mixes from Walmart when I wanted to make a homemade pizza. But when we brought some whole wheat flour home from my parents' house, I decided to search for a healthier alternative. This crust is delicious and not very difficult to make. It does take more time than a mix does, but it's worth it!

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

1 cup all-purpose flour (note: I now use 2 cups whole wheat flour)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 pkg. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
8 oz. warm (110 degrees) water
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray (not usually needed if using an AirBake). Combine all dry ingredients, except whole wheat flour, in a large mixing bowl. Next, add liquids and gradually add whole wheat flour until dough mixture becomes stiff and hard to stir. You may not have to use all the whole wheat flour. However, if needed, you may add more flour to make the dough less sticky. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and set aside for 20-25 minutes, allowing the dough to rise. Empty dough out onto a clean, floured surface. Knead by hand 6-8 times, adding flour to the surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Roll into desired shape and thickness. Place rolled dough onto prepared pizza pan. Bake crust (by itself) for 5-6 minutes. Remove; top as desired. Continue baking pizza for additional 15-20 minutes (depending on crust thickness), or until crust is thoroughly done and cheese has melted.

P.S. Here are some of our favorite toppings (we don't use a sauce):
- cheddar cheese
- mozzarella cheese
- Italian cheese blend
- garlic salt (just a sprinkle!)
- fresh spinach
- tomatoes
- bacon
- chicken
- ham
- mushrooms- sauteed onions and/or red peppers

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Nursery Project

I have been working on my first project for our baby's nursery. I decided I wanted to go with a colorful, "little bird" theme, so I've been making little birdies to use in various ways! I might make a mobile similar to this one. The pattern I used was (slightly altered) from this one.

I am considering making a (very easy, beginner) quilt using the same fabrics, and I also want to try and make a bunting banner like this one here, also using these fabrics. Other plans include painting the walls a very pale blue (like Glidden Clear Blue Sky) and creating some art for the walls (love these!). Once we find out if our little egg is pink or blue, I may change the color scheme a little bit (add navy and yellow and leave out the pink if a boy; etc.).

You can't tell from the pictures, but the underbellies of the birds are made out of different fabrics than the tops. The underbelly of each bird is made with the same color fabric, but the other pattern.As always, I love using my Crate and Barrel ruffled cake pedestal... timeless and season-less!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy Chicken Lo Mein

I found this recipe in an old issue of Real Simple. (I hit a huge magazine sale at the library last week and picked up every back issue of RS I didn't have... for less than the price of 2 new issues!)

It is a great (cheap!) recipe for either lunch or dinner and can easily be adapted with different vegetables, etc. to suit your tastes. The best part... you really don't have to measure! And it's definitely "double-able" for more people!

Easy Chicken Lo Mein

Ingredients
1 pkg. chicken ramen noodles
about 1 Tbsp. canola oil
about 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use two small or one big)
one small onion, sliced like you'd slice an apple, and separated into "petals"
one or two carrots, sliced in discs
a green veggie, if you have one on hand (green bell pepper, broccoli, etc.), cut up
extra soy sauce, if desired

In a saute pan, heat oil, soy sauce, and half of the seasoning packet from the ramen noodles (save the rest for the next time you make this recipe). Cut the chicken into pieces and saute until starting to brown. (You may add more oil and/or soy sauce as needed.) Add the vegetables (you may want to stagger the cooking of the veggies, since onions take longer to cook than already-cooked leftover broccoli). In the mean time, cook the noodles (try not to overcook). Once the veggies have all cooked, drain the noodles, toss into the pan, stir, and serve immediately. Serve with additional soy sauce on the side, if desired.

I recommend eating all of this at one meal, since in my previous experiences I have not known ramen noodles to store well in the fridge.

This recipe generously serves one hungry husband and one pregnant wife. :)

Menu Monday

Well... this is the first time I've actually planned out menus since before Christmas due largely to my pregnancy-related nausea. This week we are eating out of the pantry and freezer, utilizing the things we already have on hand!

Breakfasts:
eggs, grapefruit, cereal, oatmeal, cinnamon rolls

Monday
Lunch: Chicken Lo Mein
Dinner: leftovers

Tuesday
Lunch: soup, whole wheat bread
Dinner: chicken fajitas, tortilla chips, salsa, fruit

Wednesday
Lunch: homemade whole wheat pizza, fruit
Dinner: pork roast, mashed potatoes, green beans

Thursday
Lunch: pulled pork sandwiches, french fries
Dinner: cheese and spinach egg scramble, toast, jam

Friday
Lunch: ramen noodles
Dinner: Tad's parents coming!

Saturday
Lunch: burritos, chips, salsa
Dinner: lasagna (with Tad's mom's spaghetti sauce recipe), garlic french bread

Sunday
leftovers

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week Eleven

This is the first time I'm posting the obligatory "baby bump" shot. I know I look unhappy in this picture... but I'm really not! The ones we took where I was smiling looked stupid. :)

So, we took this photo after dinner... meaning I don't feel like I look this pregnant on a day-to-day basis. I'm excited to soon have a baby bump that is more pronounced! Still wearing regular tops and pants just fine.

I'm not sure what else I am supposed to talk about in these posts....

Symptoms: nausea (though it is improving due to my amazing SeaBands, pictured above, and the prescription I am currently on), fatigue (though I have been sleeping better at night due to my new body pillow), food aversions, and sensitivity to smells (can't walk into Bath & Body Works!).

I feel like I am on the verge of getting some of my energy back. I hear most people feel better towards the end of their first trimester.

I started working on a project for the nursery already. I'll post about it soon!

Thanks for your continued prayers for our baby and for us.

Haiti Disaster Relief

I know many people are already posting various organizations to which you can donate funds toward Haiti Disaster Relief, but I still wanted to share this with you.

This morning I received an email from a church (Iglesia Bautista Evangélica de Macorís) I worked with on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in spring of 2008. (For those of you who aren't great with geography... Haiti and the Dominican share the same island.)

Here is part of the email they sent:

Though the need is unprecedented in Haiti, a network of Dominican churches and missionaries are cooperating in order to execute a well-planned relief effort. While our hearts break for our neighbors, we are encouraged to see Dominicans stepping up to give, to volunteer assistance, and spearhead a Christian response.

Several church leaders have been working together since the earthquake to assess the situation and what can be done. As we want to respond with compassion we also want to be wise in how we help. Unfortunately, millions of dollars and countless man hours will be spent worldwide in trying to bring relief, only to find the effort derailed by criminal activity and poor management due to the enormity of the crisis. As much as is possible, we want to avoid this scenario.

By this weekend, we will have a strategic understanding of where our help will be the most effective. We are striving to network with a local church and missionaries who minister among these affected Haitians. We are also checking into a couple of refugee areas along the border that will allow us to personally minister to the injured. Next week a team representing several Dominican churches and missions agencies will be going to help minister to Haitians affected by the earthquake.

To read more and to make a secure donation, please click here.

Lemonade Recipe

When cleaning out the fridge last night, Tad and I discovered we had about six lemons. At the risk of sounding cliche, I decided to make a batch of homemade lemonade. (I know, not exactly a January activity, but it's gotten up to the mid-50's today and I felt like celebrating! Also, I have pregnancy-related cravings for all things sour!)

I found a recipe here which I followed almost completely.

This is the basic ratio, and it makes 6-7 cups of lemonade.

Ingredients
1 cup sugar (if you like less-sweet lemonade, use 3/4 cup)
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (I used pulp too) - will need 4-6 lemons (I used 4 small and one larger)
3-4 cups cold water (I used 3, but you may need 4)

Heat the water (1 cup) and the sugar in a saucepan on the stovetop until the sugar has dissolved. While it is heating, squeeze the lemons to yield one cup of juice. Roll the lemons firmly against the counter top a little bit before you cut them in half and squeeze. Strain out seeds and pulp, if desired (I like pulpy lemonade).

Combine the sugar-water and lemon juice in a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of very cold water to achieve desired dilution. Add more lemon juice if too sweet; add more sugar if too sour.

Chill until cold and enjoy!

Image courtesy of Corbis

In Praise of Good Customer Service

I definitely find myself complaining a lot about poor customer service, both at stores I visit, and companies I call (how hard is it to speak to a LIVE PERSON?).

Today, I was pleasantly surprised by some excellent customer service I received, and I just wanted to share it.

I vowed that this week I would finally get out my crock pot and start using it. I haven't felt well enough to cook much at all since our little egg came along, so I thought I could at least try some simple crock pot meals.

I was given a BEAUTIFUL crock pot as a wedding gift, and when I pulled it out of the box today I couldn't believe how big it is! It's 5.5 qts., and I think it might be the biggest one I've used. Anyway, I filled it up with my raw chicken and other goodness, plugged it in, and nothing happened.

I called Crock-Pot(R) and spoke with a customer service representative. After a few questions (about model number, etc.), she told me that they were going to replace my crock pot because it is still under warranty. However, the crock pot I have is out of stock. SOOOO... they are sending me a nicer, bigger one (6.5 qts.!, pictured above) for no extra charge! And it's programmable, so I can set it to come on at a certain time later in the day. Very cool! She asked me if I thought it would be too big, and I was like... I want to have a big family... so it'll be fine. :)

Thankful for God's provision for our family in this way!

P.S. If any of you have great crock pot recipes you would like to share, please let me know! Can't wait to try them out when my new crock arrives.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


We love you! Have a wonderful birthday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our Exciting News

On Monday I picked up this frame from Motherhood Maternity so that I could display our ultrasound picture from our doctor's appointment last week. Yes, we are expecting a little egg to hatch in our nest in August! We are thankful to the Lord for a healthy pregnancy so far. Trusting Him for the care of our little one, whom we already love dearly!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Jam 2010

Yesterday we took the youth of West End to Winter Jam 2010 in a city about 2.5 hours away. It was a really good concert and we got to hear a whole bunch of great artists (my fav's were Tenth Avenue North, Michael Tait-now lead singer of Newsboys, and Third Day). And, for only $10 at the door, it's a really great deal! Tony Nolan presented the gospel message and a lot of people made decisions. They also promoted Holt International and encouraged people to sponsor orphan children in foreign countries and possibly even consider adoption.

Check here to see if the tour is coming to a city near you.

Vintage Ball

I realized that I never posted any pictures from the Vintage Ball that Tad and I went to on New Year's Day. We had a great, though short, trip up to VA and back.

Here are a few of the best shots!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My cute hubby

Andrea sent me this video she took during the children's Christmas party at church last week. Enjoy!

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