Friday, December 2, 2011

How Great Thou Art

This morning I have had O Holy Night on the brain.  Like, cannot get it out of my head.  So I went to You Tube in search of a good version of it.

Now, in all honesty, I am picky about O Holy Night.  It has to be sung RIGHT.  Don't do it if you aren't gonna do it well. I know there is a version out there somewhere with someone mocking the power voice necessity and it torks me off just a smidge.  Do NOT go there y'all ... just don't!

I also don't like the mamby pamby versions where they stay at the same intesity through out ... no. Fall on your knees needs to BRING me to my knees.  Bring it. Go big or go home.

Yeah ... I said I was picky.

Anyhoo ... I found a video of Carrie Underwood singing it ... and if she is doing it ya KNOW it is gonna be done well.  Just sayin.

BUT, I could not find one of her doing the verse that was in my head:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name, all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of praise is grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His Holy Name.
Christ is the Lord, oh praise His name forever.
O night divine ... O night, when Christ was born.
O night divine ... O night ... O Holy Night.

But, what I DID find was this.....

And suddenly, there in my living room with babies playing underfoot, little girls attempting to be ballerinas, Barbie singing in the background and the craziness of daily life abounding, it all became still.  I watched as some of the greatest names in country music, hands raised and tear filled eyes, jumped to their feet in praise. And not praise of Carrie Underwood, but praise of our Lord.

And it was in that moment that I went to church.  Here in my living room, for 5 minutes and 12 seconds, it was just me and Him.

And it was beautiful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Open Doors

In our quest for a new home, we have seen some doozies.  And I DO mean DOO-ZIES!

Remember the picture I posted asking for your ideas to help make it "pretty"? Well ... it woulda taken alot more than paint and landscaping.  It seems that, on one whole side of the house, they kinda forgot the duct work for heating and air.  And they may have even forgot the plumbing.  If I had been able to get INTO that bathroom, I could tell you for sure, but since it was full of junk and there was no way to even enter it, it shall remain a mystery.

We've also seen serious water damage, sinking basements, buckling floors and entire walls falling down.

It has been scary.  But such is the journey when you are looking at older homes and foreclosures.

So, imagine our surprise when we discovered a development of new homes - like "we will build it for you" new homes - in our price range!!!  And, believe me, I know what you're thinking - "they're gonna getcha on all the ad on's", right?  Not so much!  The price includes granite countertops throughout, flooring of choice, sod in the yard, a sprinkler system and a FULL (including washer and dryer) appliance package.  WHAT?!

Soooo, we went, we saw, we fell in love...  (and, when I say WE fell in love, I mean ALL OF US.  Hattie and Sophie picked their bedrooms, even told us what color they want them, and Soph claimed the jacuzzi tub (also included!!!) in the master bath as her own.

And now, here we are.  We are sorting out the details, looking at our options, trying to secure financing (we are looking for a VA loan and they are harder to get on a construction loan) and praying.  Praying for favor with both finances and timing and praying that we will follow and remain in God's will for our family.

We are praying that we would find open doors - possibly even some neon signs and arrows pointing us through - if it IS His will ... and tightly closed doors if it is not.

If you would be willing to JOIN us in these prayers, we would be honored.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fun With Our Mini-Chef

We were asked to bring a couple of deserts for Thanksgiving dinner and, since there were already a couple pies, we opted for cheesecakes.  

Hello Happy ... cheesecake is one of my love languages, so I was a happy girl!

So, we got up bright and early on Thursday morning - mainly because Sophie does not understand the word holiday and was out of bed at her usual 6:45.  This is something we are working on.

Knowing her love for the kitchen I decided to let her help me make the cheesecakes.  She was EC.STA.TIC.  Seriously, so very happy.  And, because I have the strange little notion to pull a Julie and Julia kinda thing and blog my way through The Pioneer Woman's cookbook, I decided to practice food blogging with my favorite mini-chef.

So... here we go.

Classic Cheesecake

(NOTE: We didn't make a crust, we used a store bought, pre-made kind, but here it is in case YOU want to)
1 1/4 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Melted butter

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well. Press against bottom and sides of prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350. Place on wire rack to cool.

2 (8oz) packages regular Cream cheese
1 (8oz) package fat free Cream cheese
1 1/4 cup Sugar (or Splenda *I use just a tiny bit more if using Splenda)
4 Eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice
pinch of salt

Place regular and fat free cream cheese together in large mixing bowl

Add sugar (or Splenda)

add salt

add lemon juice

Mix together until creamy - scraping bowl as needed

Add eggs one at a time

Beat until smooth and thoroughly mixed

Pour filling into pie crusts (we filled two regular pie crusts, if making your own crust you MAY be able to do it in one - put you would need something bigger than a standard pie pan)

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes - until filling is slightly firm to the touch.  Cool to room temperature, cover and chill for at least 8 hours. 
*NOTE: ours only chilled for about 4 hours and it was fine, just not as firm as it maybe should have been.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
(This is Paula Deen's recipe and it is borrowed from the Food Network, y'all!)

3 (8oz) packages Cream cheese at room temperature
1 (15oz) can Pureed pumpkin
3 Eggs plus 1 Egg yolk
1/4 cup Sour cream
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground cloves
2Tbsp All-purpose flour
1tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add pumpkin (our can was a 20oz-er so we measured out 15oz)

Add the spices

Add the flour

(flour is "spill-y" ... make sure you don't miss any! this made me giggle!!)

Add vanilla and eggs & yolk

Mix until smooth then pour filling into crusts (again, it took two standard pie crusts)

Pose for A-stinkin-dorable photo op. *NOTE - this may only work if  you are as cute in your PJ's as our sweet mini-chef!!)

(seriously, I could eat HER with a spoon!!!)

Lick as many surfaces as possible!!

Bake for 1 hour at 350, until slightly firm to touch.  Place on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

So, OK, I have no pictures of the finished project ... or the fact that they were set outside in the 40 degree weather (yes, we are SOOOOOOOOOO Little House On The Prairie up in here!) to chill because there was no room in the fridge. 

Have I have royally messed up my first venture into food blogging by not having a finished project?  I promise it will never happen again ... please forgive me.

I can tell you they were pretty ... and pretty yummy. 

Sophie really did do most of the work too.  We did help her with the measuring and the placing in and removing from the over (duh), but she didn't need a whole lot of help.  My girl has some baking skillz!!!  And, she was SO proud of her sweet self!  And that pride is mutual - we were proud of her too!