Archives for March 2013

Those dresses

Awhile back I mentioned finding dresses at the thrift store for our daughters to wear to a banquet put on by some of the ladies in our church.  Here are my lovely girls in their finery.  Much fun was had by all that evening!

ZLidya (547x800)

Zey (545x800)
ZeryLidya (800x647)

And in case you’re interested in what I decided to do about my clothing dilemma earlier this week, I decided to go with the grey top. And then I went to the thrift store and found a necklace and earrings for $5 to go with it. Thanks for all the votes– it was really fun to read all your feedback!

Prize-winning chili for a crowd

Chili (1)Need to make a huge batch of chili for a church gathering or a family reunion this summer?  I found this recipe on GenXFinance.com and tweaked the recipe to serve to 80 people at our church camp last year.   If you’re not sure this is enough to feed your large group, spend a few extra bucks and buy a few extra cans of tomatoes and a few more pounds of hamburger to boost the volume just before serving if needed. Scroll down to see the recipe  scaled down to serve just 20.  This chili recipe has lots of meat and is very hearty.  People gave it good reviews at camp last summer.

Prize-winning chili for a crowd

Yield: 80 servings

Prize-winning chili for a crowd

Ingredients

  • 12 lb crushed tomatoes
  • 8 lb Brooks Chili Beans
  • 4 Green Bell Peppers
  • 2 Poblano Peppers
  • 20 cloves Garlic
  • 4 large sweet onions
  • 5 lb zesty hot sausage
  • 5 lb ground beef
  • 10 lb Round Steak
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Chili Powder
  • Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • Ground Coriander
  • 2 T. Salt
  • 2 t. Pepper
  • Cumin

Instructions

  1. Chop peppers and onions into relatively small and manageable pieces. Mince garlic. Throw everything into a HUGE bowl. Chop the steak into about half inch cubes. Take the roll of sausage and break it up into pieces with your fingers adding it into the bowl as you go. Do the same with the ground beef.
  2. To the meat, onion, and pepper mixture, add 2 T. kosher salt, and 2 t. pepper. Then add ½ cup Worcestershire and 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke. Thoroughly mix everything together. Cover the bowl, and put in the refrigerator at least 4 hours and overnight if possible.
  3. In a huge skillet brown the meat in at least 6-8 batches. Each batch will take 7-10 minutes. Don’t cook so long that the liquid all boils away. Put browned meat into two large 18-quart roaster ovens. Add beans and crushed tomatoes evenly to both roasters.
  4. Now it’s time for the seasoning. Start with about 3/4 cup mild chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce, and 2 tablespoons of both cumin and coriander, dividing the spices appropriately between the two pots. (If you'd like, you can cook cumin and coriander in a bit of oil first to smooth and mellow their flavor.) Top it off with a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Give it a good stir and see how it tastes. It should be pretty mild at this point.
  5. After adding the first round of spices, add a little more of each, with the chili powder being the primary ingredient, and add just small amounts of the others. Keep doing this until the taste and amount of heat is right for you. Then simmer 2-4 hours. This long and slow cooking process really gives the meat a chance to become very tender, and all of the flavors and spices to come together.
  6. Serve with corn chips (the kind you can use as scoops) or serve over rice, potatoes or pasta. Freezes and reheats beautifully, though spices will mellow after freezing. Be sure to serve with extra Tabasco for folks who like their chili on the spicy side of life.
  7. For more affordable recipes, check out Mary's cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week
http://owlhaven.net/2013/03/13/prize-winning-chili-for-a-crowd/

 

 

If you don’t have quite that many people to feed, here’s the scaled-down version that should serve 20 people.  And keep in mind this freezes beautifully.

  • Prize-Winning Chili for 20

    Prize-Winning Chili for 20

    Ingredients

    • 3 lb crushed tomatoes
    • 2 lb Brooks Chili Beans
    • 1 Green Bell Pepper
    • 1 Poblano Pepper
    • 5 cloves Garlic
    • 1 large sweet onion
    • 1 lb zesty hot sausage
    • 2 lb ground beef
    • 3 lb Round Steak
    • Worcestershire Sauce
    • Tabasco Sauce
    • Liquid Smoke
    • Chili Powder
    • Ground Cayenne Pepper
    • Ground Coriander
    • 2 t. Salt
    • 1/2 t. black pepper
    • Cumin

    Instructions

    1. Dice peppers and onions. Mince garlic. Throw everything into a big bowl. Chop the steak into about half inch cubes. Take the roll of sausage and break it up into pieces with your fingers adding it into the bowl as you go. Do the same with the ground beef.
    2. To the meat, onion, and pepper mixture, add 2 t. kosher salt, and 1/2 t. pepper. Then add 2 tablespoons Worcestershire and 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke. Thoroughly mix everything together. Cover the bowl, and put in the refrigerator at least 4 hours and overnight if possible.
    3. In a huge skillet brown the meat in batches. Each batch will take 7-10 minutes. Don’t cook so long that the liquid all boils away. Put browned meat into a large crock pot. Add beans and crushed tomatoes.
    4. Now it’s time for the seasoning. Start with about 3 tablespoons mild chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce, and 2 teaspoons of both cumin and coriander. (If you'd like, you can cook cumin and coriander in a bit of oil first to smooth and mellow their flavor.) Top it off with a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Give it a good stir and see how it tastes. It should be pretty mild at this point.
    5. After adding the first round of spices, add a little more of each, with the chili powder being the primary ingredient, and add just small amounts of the others. Keep doing this until the taste and amount of heat is right for you. Then simmer 2-4 hours. This long and slow cooking process really gives the meat a chance to become very tender, and all of the flavors and spices to come together.
    6. Serve with corn chips (the kind you can use as scoops) or serve over rice, potatoes or pasta. Freezes and reheats beautifully, though spices will mellow after freezing. Be sure to serve with extra Tabasco for folks who like their chili on the spicy side of life.
    7. For more affordable recipes, check out Mary's cookbook Family Feasts for $75 a Week
    http://owlhaven.net/2013/03/13/prize-winning-chili-for-a-crowd/

 

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For more recipes, be sure to check out my blog post listing 98 Family-Friendly Recipes

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My favorite Created for Care session

My five Organic Girl Winners: 10- Kelli 26-jenny 31-Julie 59-Taylor 63- Sherrie Blair.  Send me your addresses, ladies, and I’ll get your coupon headed your way.

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Carissa Woodwyk at Created for Care in JanuaryOn Saturday morning I was blessed to hear the testimony of Carissa Woodwyk, an adult adoptee who came home from Korea at 3 months of age. She is now a counselor and a momma of two.  The goal of her talk was to be the voice of the adoptee to all of the adoptive mommas in our group.  Here are some of the main points she made.

What the adoptee wants most is to be wanted, loved, needed and pursued.  This is a normal human need, and one that is fulfilled naturally when a child is born into a healthy nurturing family. The brains and hearts of adoptees were derailed, however.  This is true whether the child came to a new family at 2 months or at 10 years.  Adoptees need their parents to fight for their hearts; except due to the loss in their lives, the child’s heart often hides behind a wall.

We as adoptive mommas experience the joyful part of adoption– we’re waiting for a precious little one, and experience great joy when that child enters our family.  But it’s important to remember that for the child there is a devastatingly sad side too– the story of the child’s relinquishment.  Children weren’t created to be given away.  And the happenings that lead children to need a second family are rooted in great loss and sadness.

Adopted children constantly live in the tension between the happiness of the adoptive-parent side of the story and the sadness that led them to be relinquished in the first place.  We as adoptive parents need to be aware of the tension that causes the child.  They’re carrying a lot.  The human body can’t hold it all.  It will be expressed somehow.  (My post here touches on this.)

We adoptive moms want to fix life for our kids, to heal their hearts and stop them from feeling ongoing pain related to their story.  But we can’t do it for them.  Adoptees have to do their own work, experience their own healing.  Some of this healing may happen in childhood, but often some of the healing doesn’t come until adulthood.  Moms need to create a space to heal.  We need to offer our kids a voice.  We need to remind kids that their hearts are worth fighting for.

Another important piece of this is how we moms respond to our wounded kids. Very often when parenting wounded children, a mom’s own issues will also be triggered.  We’re all wounded people living in a wounded world. Sometimes our own brokenness will impact our child’s.  Thus the adoption relationship is a two way street.  When lived with transparency and humility can be a transformative journey for everyone, moving together toward wholeness.  The child is vulnerable, but not voiceless.  We need to show our children Jesus.  But first of all we need to listen to their voice. We also need to be willing to be changed ourselves, even as we support our children in moving toward emotional wholeness.

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I was blessed by the reminders Carissa shared in this session.  Through all of it a song kept coming to my heart.  May you be blessed by it as you parent your precious ones.

Stitch Fix- my first fix

I’m back from Created for Care! Wonderful weekend and I’ve got some posts planned to process some of the highlights of what I heard— good stuff. But that’ll take a bit of time to write, so today I’ve got a poll for you. There’s a fun company called Stitch Fix that quizzes you about your style choices, size, color preferences, etc, and then puts together a whole box full of items that you can then try on and decide if you want to buy or not. One ‘style’ session is $20, but that $20 credit can be put toward any or all of the items in your style package. And if you decide to buy every item in the package, you get a 25% discount on the whole thing.

I suspected this service would be a little too spendy for tightwad me, but I was intrigued by the fun of trying things on that someone else picked, and decided to try it out just once. My style package came today and included 3 blouses, a sweater and a pair of earrings. The earrings (I’m wearing them in every picture below) are adorable— love, love, love them. But there’s no way on God’s green earth that I’m paying $48 for a pair of earrings, so they’re definitely going back. I am sorely tempted by a couple of the items of clothing, but am having a hard time trying to decide which is best on me. They range from $48-$68, so I will definitely NOT be buying more than one item.  I thought it might be fun to ask your opinion– what do you think works best on me?

 

1. Long Peach Cardigan
PeachCardi

 

2. Grey Lace Top

GreyLace

 

 

3. Navy Houndstooth Blouse

Houndstooth

4. Pink Long Sleeve Blouse

 

Pink

 Click here if you’d like to try Stitch Fix for yourself!  It’s a lot of fun!

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Sunday

My heart will sing no other name: Jesus

Quick note from Created for Care

I only have a minute to write here, but I wanted to mention that here at the Created for Care conference we were blessed to see an advance screening of STUCK , one of the two movies I blogged about the other day. SUCH a good movie. If you have a heart for children in need of families, I hope that you’ll find a way to get to see Stuck when it comes out in theaters.

Our birthday boys

Last night we had a double birthday party, for Josh who is turning 15 and Ranger who is just one! We are so blessed to have these boys in our lives!

Organic Girl giveaway

 

Last week when a big-ol box came in the mail, my kids all gathered around excitedly.  When I opened it to discover three boxes of meticulously packed salad greens, they may have been a little disappointed.  OK, I’ll be honest– a couple kids even groaned. But I was delighted.

In my ongoing quest to eat better, these triple-washed organic salad mixes fit right in.  Organic Girl is a California-based company that prides itself on the quality of their salad greens.  I got a chance to try out three of their varieties,oincluding the one on the left,  and liked them all.

Here’s your chance to try them too!  Today I’m giving away FIVE coupons that will allow five of you to try Organic Girl greens for free. Organic Girl will also throw in recipes for creative ways to use those lovely greens.

To enter the drawing to win one of the five coupons, comment below and tell me your favorite kind of salad.  For a second entry, go like Organic Girl  or Owlhaven (or both!) on Facebook and come back and tell me in ANOTHER comment that you did so!  I’ll pick a winner next week after I get back from Created for Care!

Getting better at yes

“No, why?” was my thoughtless response when my son asked me if he could buy a football helmet.  I was pretty darned sure he hadn’t developed a sudden interest in football, and I couldn’t think of another reason for him to need one.  But when I realized I’d said no before even asking for an explanation, it reminded me of other times I’ve thoughtlessly said no just for convenience’s sake.

It’s a self-protective mechanism, really, a response to many children asking me all sorts of things all day long every single day.  In just the past day or two, along with the mysterious helmet request, kids have asked to go the library, and to the midnight movie.   Two kids wanted sleepovers.  A couple of others wanted to play games. There were hankerings for pizza, cookies, and root beer floats.  One kid wanted to skip the biology test, and another wanted to take his test two days early.  And those were just the requests I remember.

Nearly every request takes a chunk of time out of my day. In interest of keeping the chaos manageable, I’ve gotten into the habit of saying no to most ideas that deviate from our usual daily plan.

But somehow that helmet request made me question that habit.  Yes, it’s simpler.  But it’s not  fun for the kids.  In the case of my son and the helmet, my response shut him down without hearing what was on his mind.  And that’s the last thing I want to do.  I want to be a listening mom, and as much as possible I also want to be a ‘Yes’ mom.  I’ll never be a pushover — it’s just not me.  But I’m going to try to get better at the ‘yes’ word, even if the thing will inconvenience me or make a mess or cause me to rearrange my day.  Sometimes the yes will need to be, ‘yes, after dinner’ or ‘yes, let’s go on Saturday’, but I want my kids to be able to remember that word coming out of my mouth.

I went back and asked my son about the football helmet request. His reason?  His 17yo sister is doing her student driving now, and he’s feeling nervous and out of control while riding in the car with her.  Hm.  Kinda sounds like the way I feel when my kids have ideas for ways to spend my day. I guess there are lots of times in life when we need to relinquish control and trust that God has our life in His hands.  Wish me wisdom and discernment as I try to say yes more often!

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3 things

I’ve got several random odds and ends floating around in my brain today to tell you about.  First, I’m honored to be featured today at 3 Things For Mom where I’m sharing a truth, a tip and a find. The idea for the website is a lot of fun– be sure to check out some of the other posts too!

The winner of the Veggie Tales video is Sarah, commenter #44.  Congrats, Sarah!

I’ve done a fair number of giveaways in the last month or so.  When they start stacking up, I always wonder if they’re something you all still like, or if maybe you’d rather I just skip them.  I do try to review things that I think will be interesting to you. What do you think:  are you all still enjoying giveaways?  Would you rather see fewer of them?

This week I’m packing and looking forward to a weekend get-away to the Created for Care retreat in Atlanta.  Are you going?  If so, give me a holler. I’d love to say hi!  As much as I adore my precious family, I do also love these little getaway weekends.  This time around I was able to use frequent flyer miles, so my plane ticket was a grand $10.  And since I’m speaking on the Friday night mom-panel and helping with one other breakout session, my hotel room was covered too.  I’m feeling very spoiled and am very much looking forward to chatting with other like-minded mommas.

Now I’m off to make some casseroles for when I’m gone this weekend, wash some clothes so I can pack, and figure out the details of a joint birthday party for  our 15 year old Josh and our grandbaby Ranger, both celebrating birthdays this week.  Hard to believe it’s already been a year since this little sweetie was born.