Saturday, June 27, 2009

My amazing grandma

Today was not one of my favorite days but it was a day I knew nonetheless was going to come. My grandma (my twin) died this week and it has not been an easy thing for me to deal with. It is true that grandma has not been herself the last 6 years since she had a stroke but every once in awhile you would get a glimmer of the silly and fun grandma that she used to be. One thing she never did lose was her love and caring for her family and what a family she had!

I know that my desire to have a family and take care of others comes from my grandma! I am so glad that she has passed on what I believe to be her best traits :)

There are so many amazing memories I have of time with my grandma, I spend a great deal of my childhood at my grandma's house. We were so close and so much alike that we called ourselves twins and we would sign our birthday cards with our combined age (we are currently 102 years old!)

I remember many days spent in my grandma's kitchen. My grandma loved to bake and I definitely have acquired a love of baking from her. I don't like cooking so much, but I love baking. I used to spend lots of nights over at her house (sometimes by myself and sometimes with my brother and cousins) and we would always make a big breakfast and set the table really nice for breakfast. I remember almost weekly going home with grandpa and grandma after church and we would make big Sunday dinners and I would set the table and help grandma as much as I could. We would make animals out of bread dough and bake them and my grandma was ALWAYS baking cookies and always had a full cookie jar. The neighbor kids would stop by daily to get a cookie from her and my grandma always had cookies and cold ice water for the mailman during the summer months.

I remember many different Christmas celebrations of time spent painting Christmas bulbs with grandma. I remember painting a Christmas bulb when I was really young where I somehow spelled the word JOY backwards. We hung that on the Tree of Remembrance for my brother John at our funeral home every year and I just got it back a couple years. I think it may need to go back on the tree this year in remembrance of grandma.

Grandpa and Grandma didn't have very much money when we were kids growing up and I have to say that never stopped us from having fun. She would save all of her grocery boxes and we would play grocery store. We would pretend their bed was a boat and pretend to go fishing off of it. We made a huge dollhouse out of shoe boxes and painted the walls and made furniture out of cardboard for the people. Or my favorite thing of all time - Grandpa would water his garden during the day and then that night we would go out with flashlights and dig worms!!!

There are so many great memories I have of my time with grandma and I hope that I can pass some of these traditions onto my kids and grand kids someday!

My grandma had an amazing story of perseverance for her life. She had 2 open heart surgeries, a stroke, a heart attack and is also a cancer survivor. She lived to see a milestone a month ago that most people will never see - 60 years of marriage! I want a lot out of my life that she was lucky enough to have. I can't imagine how amazing it had to be for her to watch her family grow! She had 5 kids, which grew into 14 grandchildren, which grew into 22 great-grandchildren (the latest being born a couple weeks ago with 3 more great-grandchildren on the way right now!) She also had 8 brothers and sisters and 31 nieces and nephews! Wow! What a heritage huh? That is the most important thing for me to pass on in my life - I want to continue this amazing heritage - I am just sad I was unable to do so before grandma's passing. I know she would have loved to see one of my babies!

What an amazing women and she will be missed by so many people! She is someone I will always strive to be more like and I can't wait to see her again someday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Adventures in cooking!!!

Today was my first attempt at freezer dinners. Peter and I have been working really hard trying to pay off our debt and after almost 6 months of eating beans and rice for dinner I can't really stomach the stuff anymore. I started doing some research about cheap meal plans and I came across a lot of information for making a bunch of dinners in bulk and freezing them and how that is a really good way to save money. There are several books out with recipes for cooking in bulk and freezing so I picked one up last weekend and decided that today would be the day that I attempt to make a bunch of dinners. I also thought about how nice it would be to not have to come home and figure out what to cook every night. Just take the food out of the freezer the day before and put in the oven when I get off work.

I have to admit I was very nervous about trying to cook this much food. A lot of the recipes call for you to under cook things a little bit so when you recook them they will be just right. I have a tendency to overcook things. I can officially say that I made it through without burning anything!!! Not entirely sure about "under cooking" everything though.

My kitchen already for me to make a mess!!!

The fridge with food prepped and ready to go:

I'm not even joking: Juno wanted to watch me cook apparently and she hates laying on the hard wood floor so she pulled my blanket off the couch and pulled it into the dining room so she could see what I was doing. Is she smart or what?

First item on the menu: 5 dinners of Baked Ziti

Next up: 2 Lazy Man Lasagna's

Things did get a little hectic for awhile trying to cook several dishes at one time and not having pots big enough to do the full serving so I had to cook it twice and then trying to keep dishes washed throughout the process so I always had the tools handy that I needed.

The next items I made where:

1 bag for spaghetti

1 meal of meatball sandwiches

2 meals of Salisbury steak

3 meat loafs

2 meals of sweet and sour meatballs

1 chili day meatballs

2 days of meatballs with noodles

For a total of 19 beef dishes!!!

Then I moved on to my chicken dishes which were:

4 meals of Tex-mex chicken that you serve with tortilla chips

and 4 meals of chicken broccoli:

I finished my day long cooking with 2 meals of a broccoli ham bake:

and 4 servings of scalloped potatoes and ham:

We have a grand total of 33 meals in the freezer!!!

It was actually kind of fun. I do enjoy cooking and baking but it is difficult to muster up the energy after work to enjoy cooking!

For 33 dinners we spent a little under $150! I figure with most of the meals I will have leftovers for lunches too. Now I just hope that everything comes nicely out of the freezer and tastes great!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yes, I'm gonna talk about the weather! (and other randoms)

the last few weeks have been busy.

For Memorial Day we had a BBQ at my grandma's house. My grandma has a lot of squirrels that she feeds in her back yard and Peter enjoyed taking pictures of them.

This week we finally made one of Jezzie's softball games. Peter snapped some pictures of Jillian at the game. She is something else. She spent the whole game running around with all the little boys. We've always known that with her personality her daddy is going to have his hands full and she is definitely a little flirt. Good thing her daddy's a police officer!!! She is a little cutie though!

Jezzie is proving to be quite the little softball player! I couldn't believe how competitive people can be at a kids softball game, but that was pretty funny. My dad has been working with her and has been telling her that she needs to tell her coach to pitch it inside for her. So she was yelling at her coach "pitch it inside" when she was up to bat.

She hit every time out there!!!

Then the crazy storm hit last night. It was gorgeous when I got off of work yesterday but within 30 minutes I had a funnel cloud over my house. I saw my neighbors outside looking up and then they ran and got in their car, and I did look up and see something that looked like a funnel cloud but I didn't really think it was one. My dad sent me this picture last night that he took from my grandparents facing toward my house so apparently it was probably a funnel cloud.

I would post pictures of our yard but the weather is crummy and I want nice pictures of the yard to share. We have put a lot of hours and sweat into just the basics of making our yard nice, like mowing and pulling weeds but it is finally paying off! All of our neighbors have commented on the nice job we are doing - the other owner did not take care of this place at all. It is a nice home, it just needed work and we are really happy with the place! We still have a lot of weed pulling left but we are getting there!

Conversations with the big man!

It seems like whenever I go through a long conversation with God he tends to give me songs as part of his reply. For example, when Peter was laid off and I was majorly stressing he gave me "King of Glory" which I posted about a little ways back. Lately I have been having further conversation about worries I have. It seems like where we currently are and where we want to be are years apart. I tend to get frustrated waiting for God to direct things in his time. One thing I have always known better then to pray for is patience and so I have purposfully avoided ever praying for that. Apparently I am going to get my share of patience one way or another.

So I will admit (because it's my blog and I hope that it's okay to) that I have had my frustrations and doubts about God listening to me lately. So I was releasing this frustration on God and he gives me this song:

Building 429

I was standing in the pour raining
One dark November night
Fighting off the bitter cold
When she caught my eye
Her face was torn and her eyes were filled
And then to my surprise
She pulled out a photograph
And my heart just stopped inside
She said He would have been three today
I miss his smile, I miss his face

What was I supposed to say
But I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain
and His promise remains
He will be with you always

He was living in a broken world
dreaming of a home
His heart was barely keeping pace
When I found him all alone
Remembering the way he felt
When his daddy said goodbye
Fighting just to keep the tears
And the anger locked inside
He's barely holding on to faith
But deliverance is on its way

'Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain
and His promise remains
He will be with you always

Friend I don't know where you are
And I don't know where you've been
Maybe you're fighting for your life
Or just about to throw the towel in
But if you're crying out for mercy
If there's no hope left at all
If you've given everything you've got
And you're still about to fall
Well hold on, hold on, hold on

Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
Always, Always
He will be with you always
He will be with you always
He will be with you

Then I also am reminded of a verse that I have gotten many times from him: "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:24-25

There's that dang patience talk again. For the most part I just type on this blog as more of a personal, and yet very public diary of the happenings in our lives so that I can come back years from now and see what we were up to in 2009. It is just nice that I can also keep friends and family up to date on what is happening. So more then anything this post is a personal diary of where I am right now, but I am sure we all could use this as a pick me up - because seriously we all have stresses and things that we are waiting patiently on.