Monday, October 31, 2011

Bacon in the Oven

One of the worst chores in the kitchen?
I'm injured every.single.time.

I don't remember who turned me on to 'frying' bacon in the oven, but several years ago,
someone did.
I thank you, whoever you are!

I guess I figured pretty much everyone knew of this lil' trick until recently when a few of my friends said they'd never heard of it & wanted to know how.
Thought I'd share it with all of you in blogland.
It's genius.

I use one normal-sized cookie sheet for one pound of bacon.
{No, I never make just one pound of bacon!}
I sometimes have to squoosh the last couple pieces on, but I make 'em all fit.

I lightly spray my sheet with cooking spray.
This ensures that none of the thinner pieces stick to the pan.

Bake at pretty much whatever temp you'd like, somewhere between 350-425, depending on
how quick you want the bacon to be finished.
I generally go for 375 for about 20 minutes.
We like our bacon a teeny bit chewy, so this is just about right for us.
As you begin frying it this way, you'll figure out just how long to leave it in for your desired level
of crispiness.

Remove bacon from pan & lay on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the grease.

No burns.No bacon grease splattered mess to clean.It's genius.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Finished Wall Collage

A month or two ago, I began working on a wall collage in our living room.
I even blogged about struggling creatively & wondered if I'd be able to pull off
this vision in my head.
{If you missed that blog, you can read it here}
Ya know, sometimes I'm feeling it ... & sometimes I'm just not.

I started with a couple pieces that would anchor the whole look & started building
from there.

All sorts of things were gathered from around the house to experiment with while
trying to find just the right look ... along with a few 'must-have' purchases.

And remember I said that I was tempted to rob one of my favorite accessories
from my bedroom wall?
Well, the chippy antique white piece on standing on the far right is the item in question ...
along with the one laying flat on the pile of goodies.
I'm not even sure what they are called ... corbels, maybe?
I think they are decorative pieces off porch pillars.
I actually have 3 of these that I bought an old barn sale & I absolutely adore them!!
I ended up using one of them in the living room & returned the other two back to
the bedroom.
Now, I can enjoy them in twice as often.

And then I found this, the piece de resistance!

Instant 'lurve' at first site!
I wasn't sure how or if I could incorporate this into the whole scheme of things in
my living room, but I sure wanted to try.

You have to know this about my decor, it's pretty masculine overall, with a few fancy,
frilly pieces here & there ... operative word being few.
I am a wife to a manly-man & a mom to three young men, ya know!
An abundance of pinky, lacy, & girly would not go over well in this house!

So, sticking a chandelier in the mix would definitely be stretching the creative curve,
but overall, it's all about creating the right balance ... & it worked!

Even the fellas gave their nod of approval!

The only new pieces added were the chandelier, the black frames on the left & right sides
& the two 'P' signs.

Ya, I'm not interested in changing this anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Slang Words

Until a few days ago, I guess I thought folks like me were a dying breed.

Thanks to good ol' Facebook, a post from a friend {& lots of comments that followed}, I found that I was in good company.
How refreshing that people not only feel the same as I do, but they were willing to speak out about it.

 Here's what the FB status said:
"Really think to use phrases like 'that sucks' ~ 'dang it' ~ 'heck yea' and others
are a poor choice from a champion believer!"

I found myself saying 'AMEN' ... & after pondering about this for a day or so,
I decided to blog on the topic.

What's with Christians using words/phrases like 'What the frick'   &   'H to the no'?
'Freakin' this & freakin' that'....yes, another overly-used phrase.
These words make the FB post that inspired this blog look pretty kindergarten, huh?!
Not words that I'd deem as the best choice for a believer.

I'll call them 'slang' words.
That's how I heard them referenced when I was growing up.
You know, words that aren't curse words, but are as close as you can get.
Words that almost sound like the curse word ... or start with the same letter as the curse word ... or rhyme with the curse word.
You know those words.

The dictionary defines 'slang' as 'language at its most informal, using expressions that many would consider to be grammatically imperfect and sometimes rude.'

How my MOM defined slang as we were growing up was finding a 'word' to say {that you could possibly get by with saying} that's realllly close to a word that you knew you'd never be allowed to say!

So, in essence, you weren't saying a bad word, but everyone knew what you were insinuating.

Well, my mom was a stickler on this!
We had a very few 'acceptable' slang words we could use {like rats, phooey, oh my word ... those were alright}.
She worked very hard to teach us the importance of being God-honoring with our speech.
She wanted us to be diligent in guarding our mouths & conscious of the words that we used.
I've often heard her quote this scripture:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  Matt. 12-36

The word 'idle' here {translated from the Greek} is speaking of words that are not good to the use of edifying nor are they words that 'minister grace unto the hearer' {Eph. 4:29}.

Shouldn't we as believers & followers of Christ be good examples in this area?

Seems today, in many areas of life, people desire to emulate the world, balancing precariously on that fine line of getting as close as possible, without going all the way.

I vividly remember a Sunday School lesson on this very subject when I was a young girl, taught by my pastor's wife.
Her convictions on this were just as strong as my parents' were.
She taught from Exodus 20:7.
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain."

Only she didn't stop there ... & it was the rest of the lesson that impacted me the most.
As children, we are often told not to do something because it's bad or not nice, without a
thoroughly explanation of why.
In her lesson, she had a list of 'slang' words with the breakdown of what they meant
& from where they derived.
Every single word was derived from or was a euphemism for either God or a curse word.
It was surprising & very enlightening.

I decided right then & there that those words would never become a part of my vocabulary.
Not only did I adopt this as a personal principle when I was young, I have trained my children this same way.

Here are additional scriptures that elaborate on this subject:

Eph. 4:29  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Eph. 5:4   Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Col. 3:8-10  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Scripture says we are in the world but we aren't to be of the world.
We aren't to look like them, act like them, or talk like them.
There should be a distinguishing difference ... a 'city on a hill, light of the world'
kind of difference.

Psalms 19:14 says it best & is one of my favorite scriptures.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

I am so thankful for the Godly training I had in this area.
I want to daily be acceptable in the sight of the Lord.
I want to be a good representative for Him in my speech, my words, my actions,
& attitudes.
And as my FB friend wonderfully put it, I want to be an example of a champion believer!
What's a champion believer?
It's a believer who keeps getting back up!
Are any of us perfect & without fault?
No, not one.

Now, with all this being said, please do not think that I am looking down on you, frowning with shame, if some of these words are a part of your regular vocabulary.
That couldn't be further from the truth.
I am not your judge on this matter ... & the thoughts shared on this blog are my opinions.

My hope is that this may challenge you today to think about the words you use
& to examine them in light of the words of scripture.
May the ways in which we live our lives always uplift & magnify the name of the Lord!

Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Pear Smoothies Comin' Up

Every now & then, we have some fruit that's about one day away from the trash can.
Of course, I can never let that happen.
I always come up with a way to use it!

Ordinarily around here, James is the resident smoothie maker.
This time, however, I came up with these pear fruit smoothies & they were a hit!

Here's what I rustled up from the fridge to toss in the blender with the pears:

5 peeled, seeded pears {the only exact measurement in the whole deal}
pineapple chunks & juice - about 1 c. in all
vanilla yogurt - a cup & a half or so
coconut syrup - a splash
orange flavored, sugar-free drink - enough to make smoothie the desired consistancy
ice cubes - 6 or 8 will do the trick

An easy & healthy tropical treat in a matter of minutes!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Fall {Christmas} Tree

I've always wanted a Christmas tree in my kitchen.

I've had trees in pretty much every other room in the house.
Several years ago at our last house, I had a tree in the living room,
family room, & every single bedroom {4}.
That was when my kiddos were just lil' guys.
I'd sure like to know where all that energy came from!
These days, I do good to get up my 1 tree & the decor on the lower level.
Poor upstairs just has to do without.

But, back to the tree in the kitchen, I've just always wanted one in there ...
decorated with gingerbread & small kitchen utensils.
And I have the perfect spot for it ... I just never got around to buying the tree.

Last year on black Friday, I found the perfect tree & a sweet deal ...
& the tree came home with me.
It was the perfect addition to my kitchen.

When the Christmas season ended, I decided that instead of cramming
the '1 piece' tree back into the box, I'd leave it out year-round.
I have several artificial trees & plants throughout the house anyway ...
what's one more, right?
It sat in the corner of our living room, completely unnoticed ... until I moved it back
into its spot in the kitchen in September.
Yes, September.
I decided that I was going to have a 'fall' tree!
This is my 1st time to decorate a tree for anything other than Christmas ...
& I totally love how it turned out!

The decorations are minimal, just a few sunflowers that I picked up for 50%
at Hobby Lobby.
I removed the stems, hot glued 2 leaves to the back of the sunflower, added
a twine loop for hanging them on the tree ... and viola, sunflower 'ornaments'!
I stuck in a few fall leaves, raffia, ribbon & a scarescrow on the top to finish it off.

I had a couple yards of some fall-colored thick cloth that I placed around the base
& I added a small bale of straw {Hobby Lobby} with another scarecrow sitting on top.
James' granny gave us an interesting-looking gourd that was the perfect addition,
along with a basket to hold Cooper's accessories { his collars & a cloth that we use to clean off his paws after he comes inside}.

Here's the view from the top of the steps.
{Overlook the crock-pot, pitcher of tea sitting on the stove, the dishes in the sink,
& the crooked towel hanging on the stove.}

Now, in just a few short weeks, it'll be time to replace these fall decorations with
Christmas ones.
The fall season seems to go by quicker than any of the others.
I'm ganna enjoy it every last minute that it's here.

A Fall Song
by Ellen Robena Field

Golden and red trees
Nod to the soft breeze,
As it whispers, "Winter is near;"
And the brown nuts fall
At the wind's loud call,
For this is the Fall of the year.

Good-by, sweet flowers!
Through bright Summer hours
You have filled our hearts with cheer
We shall miss you so,
And yet you must go,
For this is the Fall of the year.

Now the days grow cold,
As the year grows old,
And the meadows are brown and sere;
Brave robin redbreast
Has gone from his nest,
For this is the Fall of the year.

I do softly pray
At the close of day,
That the little children, so dear,
May as purely grow
As the fleecy snow
That follows the Fall of the year.