Categories
Christianity Culture Home Schooling

What is Your Calling?

I’m so often conflicted by needs that arise around me. Who isn’t, right? There are dozens of worthwhile causes that tug at my heart and conscience.

Church Steeple in Country FieldI’m blessed to be a part of a true body of believers at church. We have a gazillion committees to ensure that all goes off without a hitch. It’s very awesome to be a part of a healthy and active whole.

But I’ve always struggled with the feeling that I’m either doing too much or not enough. Too much, meaning that my family is feeling neglected, or not enough, meaning I love volunteering for everything until it all collides at once and I wonder, yet again, why did I sign up for this?

In all honesty, my calling is as wife and mother, first and foremost. After God and family, my calling is homeschooling. I really don’t believe the church should rely heavily upon young mothers. Period.

Yes, people believe stay-at-home moms have much time on their hands, or they like to believe this. I’m not saying people at my church believe this, it’s just a fact of life that when most people work outside the home, they have little time or energy to devote to extra stuff. Especially when they’ve got kids enrolled in little league, soccer, music lessons and high schoolers with hectic schedules of their own.

It all boils down to: everyone is busy. Maybe we’re all too busy on our own agendas and not the Lord’s? Or maybe the church has its hands too full with programs to notice that the workers are stretched thin. That said, I’m so thankful for the ladies on the education committee at my church…they truly have their hearts set on serving and desire the children in our church to be getting real teaching, not fluff.

Back to my dilemma. Because there are so many committees at my church, and so many willing women and men, you’d think every job would be covered and then some. But new opportunities continually spring up like leaks in a hundred year old farmhouse during a thunderstorm. These are worthwhile activities. With so many hands already full, I feel guilty keeping to home and hearth.

Bottom Line: My husband likes me keeping to home and hearth.

Our culture likes to ask, “What would Jesus do?” Well, prayer is always right on in any situation. Jesus had a work to do, and He did it. What work has God given you to do? What is your calling?

Holly at Seeking Faithfulness made a profound statement the other day. She said,

“Instead of making a shallow difference in the lives of many, I pray to make a monumental difference in the lives of a few.”

What is your calling?

Categories
Cooking and Food Mega Cooking

Chicken Crescent Bundles

My husband is a true cowboy in all areas, meaning: Beef is his first favorite among meat choices. Here in our mid-western corner of “bovine” country, it’s not uncommon to have cattlemen that refuse to eat chicken. Yes, even to rudeness. Thankfully my dh is not that way, because I happen to love chicken. My point is, dh rarely asks for chicken dishes and he occasionally asks for this one. It’s from my friend Jana, who sometimes comments here. Super recipe. Another one for you, Andrea!

Chicken Crescent Bundles

  • 3 small or 2 large chicken breasts (4 cups worth)
  • 2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 6-8 oz cream cheese
  • 4 TB butter melted, divided
  • 1 TB chives
  • garlic, pepper–just a little
  • seasoned croutons
  • 2 TB milk

Cut up cooked chicken and mix with cream cheese, chives, seasonings, and 2 TB butter and 2 TB milk together in large bowl. Seperate crescent rolls into 8 rectangles, pinching seams. Put 1/3 cup chicken filling on middle of each rectangle, close dough around chicken pinching ends together. Brush w/remaining butter and sprinkle with crumbs.

If freezing, you can wait on the butter/crumbs or not, your choice. I freeze them on trays, and once frozen I dump them into freezer bags. This way they’re frozen with no chance to stick together in the bag.

Bake at 350*F for 25 minutes if fresh, 35 minutes if frozen.

Jana, remember the first time we had these together? You’d just driven 10 hours to visit me, and we had a big 4th of July gathering at Pastor Woody’s house. We’d not decided about attending, unsure whether you and the girls would be up to it after the long trip…but you not only were up for it, you had this great recipe. We threw it together and got so many compliments on it at the potluck that night.

Great memories!

Categories
Cooking and Food Mega Cooking

Chicken Tetrazzini

Another mega-cooking favorite, posted here for Andrea, who is cooking ahead in anticipation of her second baby’s birth. This particular recipe is from my friend Laurie. Friends are the best cookbooks, you know.

Each batch makes 12 servings; this is an easy one to triple.

Chicken Tetrazzini (3x, 2x, 1x)

  • 1.5, 1, .5–16 oz package spaghetti (I use angel hair pasta)
  • 3.75, 2.5, 1.25 cups–finely chopped onion
  • 9TB, 6TB, 3TB–margarine or butter
  • 1.5, 1, .5–cup chopped green pepper
  • 16.5, 11, 5.5 cups–cooked, diced chicken
  • 12, 8, 4 cups–grated Monterey Jack cheese*
  • 6, 4, 2–10.75 oz cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 3, 2, 1–10.75 oz soup can milk
  • Salt and Pepper

Break noodles in half, cook as directed until al dente, drain. Saute onions in butter. Thoroughly mix onions and remaining ingredients with spaghetti. Put mix in containers (to freeze) or pans (if baking immediately), according to meal-size preferred by your family. If freezing, I just double bag family meal-sized portions in gallon freezer bags.

To serve: Thaw and place in baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350*F until bubbly, about 30-40 minutes.

I have an earlier post on mega-cooking which explains the column format above (3x, 2x, 1x). I tried to format it like that for this blog, but it was a mess. It’s just an easy reference for me when planning grocery lists. I can decide if I want to double or triple without thinking too hard about it!

*For shopping purposes, 12 cups cheese=3lbs

Categories
Cooking and Food Mega Cooking

Homemade Pizza Pockets

Here’s another favorite. This one comes from my friend Cara, of the “homeschool mommies mega-cooking days”… My favorite thing about this recipe is how quickly the dough rises. You can’t beat this recipe for taste and ease of preparation.

Remember, I make several batches at a time with this–that’s why it’s called “mega-cooking”–so this recipe makes 4 batches.

Pizza Pockets

  • 2 batches of dough*
  • 2 lbs cooked sausage, or hamburger or meat of some sort
  • 1 pkg Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cans chopped mushrooms, or whatever toppings you enjoy. I usually add chopped onions, bell peppers and black olives to mine if I have them on hand…things my family usually passes on…

*Dough

  • 2 pkgs yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 5 cups flour4 TB oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Dissolve yeast
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients
  3. Knead
  4. Rise

Assembly Instructions for Pizza Pockets:

  1. Separate dough into 16 balls (I usually vary the sizes a bit and get more balls/pockets. I make small ones for my younger girls.)
  2. Flatten into circles with rolling pin
  3. Stuff with ingredients and fold dough over, sealing at edge.
  4. Cut two or three small “steam” slits across the top with a knife. If I’m making different varieties, I cut twice for hamburger, 3 times for pepperoni, etc.
  5. Bake at 350*F for 8-12 minutes, or till crust begins to brown.
  6. Cool completely, place in freezer bags, with bag of sauce separately.

To eat, you just stick the frozen pockets on a baking sheet, reheat them in the oven, and serve alongside individual dishes of dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce for each 4 pockets
  • seasoned with garlic powder, minced onion, and Italian seasonings to taste.

Mix well and heat before serving.

Categories
Cooking and Food Mega Cooking

Chicken Lasagna

In one of my mega-cooking posts, I mentioned that ingredients for Chicken Lasagna are always on my shopping list when chicken is on sale…and I’m finally getting around to posting the recipe, because more than a couple of you have asked me in the past for it, and I keep forgetting to deliver. Sorry!

So here it is:

Chicken Lasagna

  • 1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 16 oz bag California veggies*
  1. Combine soups, broth and garlic in bowl
  2. Layer noodles, chicken, veggies, soup and cheddar cheese
  3. Top with mozzarella cheese
  4. Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes
  5. Cool, wrap, freeze (or eat if you’re not filling the freezer!)

I always double or triple this, and freeze it in disposable aluminum pans. Thaw it the night before and you’re all set the next day for a hearty home-style feast.

For more tips on mega-cooking, and how my friends and I “get it done”, be sure to follow the link!

*I steam the veggies in a saucepan on stove till slightly cooked, and then chop them with my food chopper before layering them in. Personal preference!

Categories
Home Schooling

Homeschoolers: Incredible Deal on Math/Language Arts

Actually, this deal would be great for anyone with school-age kids! Head over to Enjoy the Journey, and take advantage of a Back to Homeschool Special of 4 math computer programs and 3 language art computer programs for only $4.50! 7 programs targeted for kids ages 6-13.

You have to order it through a webpage only available on the Enjoy the Journey site, so hurry over and check it out! Great deal for a great product!

I ordered it!

Categories
Book Recommendations Cooking and Food Family Ties

Celebrating Fall with Apple Cider Tea

One of my favorite homemaking encouragers is author and speaker Emilie Barnes. I have her small flip-calendar, If Teacups Could Talk, on a corner shelf above and to the left of my kitchen sink. I simply love the thing, having referred to it now for almost ten years!

Inside it, I found this gem of a recipe. If my current book ever gets into print, you may recognize this “apple cider tea” as a specialty of my heroine’s pastor’s wife. I think it’s a great fall tradition. And I know that August isn’t technically fall, but with school about to start, it feels like fall to me. And this year the orchard we usually visit lost all their fruit to the late spring frost. So we’ll have to celebrate fall differently.

I’m thinking this will be a good start.

Apple Cider Tea

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (2-in. pieces)
  • 2 tea bags
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • thin lemon slices (optional)

Put cider, cloves, and cinnamon in a medium-sized, stainless-steel pot. Cover and heat on medium. When the mixture is hot and steaming, add the tea bags and infuse until the apple cider takes on a light tea taste (approximately 5 minutes). Remove the tea bags and dissolve the sugar in the mixture. Strain the liquid into glass cups or mugs. A transparent slice of lemon may be floated on the top of each cup. Serves 5-6.

Categories
Home Schooling

Homeschooling: Organizing With Limited Space

Had a little time to do some homeschool browsing, and came across this little gem, thanks to Revka’s hat tip. You must visit Lindsay at Enjoy The Journey and be inspired at a photo and tip-filled post of hers all on homeschooling and how she stays organized without an actual classroom!

Her photo tour, complete with explanations, really blessed me, and the countdown is on! First day of school is rapidly approaching!

Categories
Weekend Kindness

BloggingToday at Weekend Kindness

Today is my middle daughter’s seventh birthday! I intended on getting this post up this morning, but alas, we’ve been having birthday fun instead!

I’m excited to be blogging at Weekend Kindness again. MInTheGap has rounded up a great group of writers, with the focus of the site being on relationship-builders. This week he’s introducing all of us, and I titled my intro: An Invitation to Linger. In it, I explained why I named my blog Home-steeped Hope, and no, it’s not because our home is nestled into a steep hillside, though that in itself is certainly true.

I began with this quote:

“Tea was once reserved for the upper classes who had time on their hands. Nowadays, it’s the opposite. We’re so busy that we take tea to escape from the pressure and the fast pace, especially when someone invites, ‘Oh, do come for tea…’ Now, you have an excuse to linger.” ~Gail Greco

And you’ll have to visit Weekend Kindness for the rest…