Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Prayer and Photos

We have our weigh in and church tonight.  But before we go there, we have some errands to run and need to stop at the funeral home.  My sister in law's father passed away this week.  My heart has really been breaking for her.  She was close to her dad and helped to take good care of him.  I am praying the Lord comforts her and her family with the same grace He granted us when we lost daddy.  Please remember the Newsome family in prayer.
I had a family photo shoot with a family Monday and had a great time.  They were so funny.  The mom and dad were hilarious and their four children a very fun challenge!  But I must say we did get some beautiful shots. 
I also had a shoot with a little foster girl in our church.  I can't post her pictures, but they are so good!  I wish I could share them with everyone.  She was so cute and at the early age of seven, she knows how to pose and cheese for the camera, that's for sure! 
While I was photographing her, we noticed a very old, large tree, standing all by itself in the middle of a freshly cut field.  So after a few shots on a hay bell, we walked down to the tree.  I noticed there was poison oak vines on the tree so I told the little girl not to touch the tree, and to just stand a couple feet away from it. Her "mama" spotted one lone poison sumac standing close to the tree.  But she didn't touch that either.  She did some poses and we got some nice shots of her.  But when we were finishing up, I looked down and realized we were all standing in poison sumac.  Nice.  Needless to say, we all showered and washed our legs good when we got home.  I got a text from the "mama" today saying that she and the little girl are great.  No itchy rashes.  And that goes for me too!  Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me...and them.
I have a senior shoot this weekend and then I'll be spending all next week in editing and then next weekend, I'll photograph a wedding.  I'm looking forward to that.  I love weddings.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday's Menu: Manicotti and Cherry Lemon Sun Drop Cupcakes

I was trying to think of something to call my regular Monday blog posts, since I'll be trying a new Pinterest recipe for my family each Monday.  I saw someone online call theirs Menu Monday.  I liked it, but didn't want to copy-cat it.  So this is what I have.  For now. 

Today I fixed Manicotti.  I have never tried to fix it before.  My family isn't one for a lot of Italian dishes.  But this one sounded like something they would enjoy.  And enjoy they did!  They loved it.  There was nothing left this week.  My men devoured it. 
We are also not one for marinara sauce, so I used a jar of prego instead.  Not to mention I added more cheese. 
Here's the recipe:
One box of Manicotti noodles
one 15-16 oz tub of ricotta.  I had a brain burp in the grocery store and accidentally purchased cottage cheese.  Which worked well this time.  Next time I'll do the ricotta. 
1 lb freshly grated mozzarella
3 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese
Two large eggs
1&1/2 Tbs dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 recipe of marinara sauce.  Or in my case, a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Cook your noodles as directed on package. 
Mix the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, and pepper together well, and divide it evenly, stuffing each shell.  If you've never stuffed a manicotti shell, simply place one end in the palm of your hand and use a spoon to stuff the shell from the top.  Lay each stuffed shell, side to side, making a single layer in your 9x13 pan
This is where my extra cheese came in.  I placed a very small layer of cheese on top of the noodles, covered the layer of noodles and cheese with my sauce, and then a heavier layer of cheese on top of the sauce.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cheese is brown around edges and bubbling. 
Serve with salad and garlic bread or your favorite sides.
OH!  I forgot to say that I added cooked ground beef to my mix.  But you can add anything, really.  Pepperoni, sausage, chicken.  Or no meat at all.  It's your dish.  Fix it the way your family will love it.
For those of you who like Marinara sauce, here is the recipe for that:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28 oz) cans crushed Roma tomatoes (I prefer Contadina brand)
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, simmer 20 minutes (This can be done while preparing the manicotti filling and pasta).
This recipe and others can be found at Cooking Classy with a Sprinkle of Fancy.

I also tried a dessert I found on Pinterest.  The original recipe was Mountain Dew Cupcakes.  But since I do live in the original SUN DROP capital of the world, I decided to make Cherry Lemon Sun Drop Cupcakes.  My kids went nuts over these.  And if you have small children, this is PERFECT for them to make for their class parties, etc.
Here's the recipe:

1 box of cake mix
Twelve oz of your favorite soda
Mix well, pour into cupcake liners, bake at 325 until done. (I never use paper liners.  I always spray my tins and the cupcakes just pop right out. 
I liked this because you can do away with the eggs and oil.  Which takes about 400 plus calories out of the cupcakes as a whole.  I must tell you, though, the cupcakes will be very moist and "tender."  So handle them with care!  lol 
When they came out of the oven, I immediately removed them to cool and while they were still hot, I brushed the tops of them with the cherry lemon Sun Drop. 
For icing, I made my own.  There was a recipe on the site but it called for five cups of confectioner's sugar and two sticks of butter.  Really?  I just made a glaze with a fraction of the confectioners sugar, a little bit of the cherry lemon Sun Drop, a drop or two of lemon juice, and a little 1% milk.  Yeah, it's definitely a sugar fix if you have a sweet tooth needing satisfaction. 
I think Monday's Menu was a success this week.  Now what to make for next week? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week Three of School

Week three of school is over.  Fifteen days complete, one hundred sixty-five to go.  Hannah passed her first Trigonometry test with a 97%.  How awesome is that??  And Harrison is doing equally well.  Speaking of Harrison.  Math is not his finest subject.  I was turned on to a website that is terrific for tutoring your child in math.

It is called Math with Larry.  He literally takes your child to the very beginning of math and works their way through high school.  He strongly suggests this method he uses, in hopes of filling in gaps where they have apparently missed something along the way.  So we've been doing this about a week now, along with his regular math lessons, and so far it's working pretty good.  If you have a child that needs some tutoring or if you just want to make sure they're "getting it" give the site a look.

We've been working on RUSH displays the last couple of nights and I'll be leaving here shortly to work again.  It's been interesting to watch the youth work on their displays and the ideas they come up with.  Lord willing, we'll be completely finished today and ready to set up tables for the church family tomorrow night.  We'll be doing soup and sandwiches again this year.  I had planned on taking potato soup, but decided a pot of chicken and dumplings would be good.

The house is so quiet this morning.  The children have already left for bus ministry, Bruce is delivering some bananas to my mom, so she can make some of her famous banana bread, and I am home all alone.  At least I thought I was until, just now, I heard Justin sigh in his sleep.  It scared me.  I thought I was by myself.  LOL

I just finished my bowl of cocoa puffs.  Yes, I did eat a bowl of cocoa puffs.  There's 100 calories in 3/4 of a cup.  It's Saturday.  I splurged and had something sweet for breakfast.  So shoot me.  I'll have cheerios tomorrow.

Y'all have a blessed day!  I'm going to.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ten Pounds Down!

So last night we had our weigh in.  I reached my ten pound goal for this thirteen week cycle and we still have a few weeks to go.  That's a total of twenty pounds all together.  If I can make five more pounds before it's over, I will be so thrilled and then on to my next goal.  :D

RUSH night is this Sunday night.  I'll be working at the church the next couple of nights as the youth get their displays ready.  I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with in their projects.  Lots of pictures to post after Sunday, I'm sure!


Monday, September 17, 2012

New Recipe Monday

Who loves Pinterest?  Yeah, me too.  There are so many DIY projects on there I want to do.  Lots of crafty ideas for children I can share with friends and teachers.  And recipes.  I'm a recipe junkie.  But I rarely fix anything new because, like most men, my husband likes to stick with what he knows is good, if you know what I mean.

I decided we would have New Recipe Monday.  So now he knows there will be a new dish on the table come Monday.  He'll be ready for it.  LOL

Today I fixed Cheesy Chicken Lasagna.  It turned out good.  The children said it is a definite keeper and Bruce had seconds and even took the last square to work.  So it is officially in the recipe book.

Here's the recipe:

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna
2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk (not fat-free)
1 (1 oz) pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I recommend reducing it to 8 oz to 12 oz)
1 1/2 to 2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to 2 C mozzarella cheese, grated
Cook the chicken and noodles first at the same time. Once noodles are done–rinse in cold water and set aside (it keeps them from sticking together). Combine evaporated milk (don’t use fat-free version) and Ranch dressing in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Stir in chicken and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes (don’t do any less), stirring frequently. Layer half of lasagna noodles, poultry sauce, and cheese in well-buttered 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
When I cooked the evaporated milk and Ranch together, it tasted like Alfredo Sauce.  If you don't like Alfredo Sauce, you might not like this dish. 

We visited with my mom today after Bruce and Justin left for work.  We had a good visit.  She seems to be doing better.  We also visited with Barbara O' for about ten minutes.  She looked tired so we didn't stay long, but we are thankful she is on the mend.  Hannah and Harrison made homemade applesauce and we took her some of that.  I hope she enjoys it.  If you like applesauce, it is so easy to make.  This is what we do:
Homemade Applesauce
3 lbs Granny Smith Apples
3 cups of water
1 cup of sugar (The recipe calls for one cup, but you can do this sugar free or add sugar to taste)
1 TBS of lemon juice
(The recipe does NOT call for cinnamon, but we like to add cinnamon to taste)

Core and peel apples.  Cut in small pieces, making sure there are no seeds, and place in large cooker.  Cover with the 3 cups of water. 
Cook on high until boiling.  Turn down to med/low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes.
Pull from burner and mash with potato masher.  There will be some small chunks of apples visible.
Add sugar and lemon juice, mix well.
Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes on medium.
As it cools, it will thicken. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Marshmallows. Who Knew?

I sing Midnight Cry with our choir backing me on chorus.  We haven't sung it in a very long time... like years...but Brother Johnny was determined for us to do it.  So at choir practice I ended up completely losing my voice.  It was gone!  After choir practice was over, Mrs. Janet told me to come with her to the fellowship building, she knew a remedy.  Imagine my surprise when she pulled a bag of marshmallows from the cabinet.
Turns out that marshmallows were originally made for sore throats.  Who knew!? 
I admit I was skeptical.  But I ate a few, just the same.  Brother Johnny walked into the kitchen and he was also very skeptical.  Kind of laughed it off.  I told my friend, Tammy, that if I handed her the mic she was going to have to sing.  Thankfully, she was willing.  :D
But amazingly, when it came time to sing, I was able to sing the song with no problems at all.  When it was over, Brother Johnny looked at us and said, "Bless God...I gotta get me some marshmallows!"  LOL
Thankful the Lord allowed me to sing it tonight and that HE touched my voice.

Had a great service tonight.  I was in nursery this morning, but even over crying babies I heard the announcement that one of our newlyweds were going to have a baby.  I am so excited for them!  Praying that all goes well for this little family.
RUSH night for SIGMA is next Sunday night.  They'll have three days to get their decorations up.  We'll see how this plays out.  In the past, they've always had a couple weeks.  But there's a reason it's called "rush."  So rush, they will.
Another month and a half and our country makes a HUGE decision on who the next presidency will belong to.  I am really afraid for our nation.  And I agree with what Alan Keyes has been quoted to say:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Week Two Down

Week two of school is completed. 
I spoke to the company I ordered Harrison's books from and they just shipped some things that were on backorder.   So he'll be two weeks behind in Social Studies.  But it's ok.  I have a plan to catch up. 
180 days down, 170 to go.
Bruce and Justin are working and Harry is spending the night with a friend.  So it's just me and my girl tonight.  We're enjoying a quiet evening at home.  Me, pinning things on Pinterest.  And Hannah is reading a book Mrs. Rebecca brought to the house yesterday.  After a day of school and typical Friday errands, it's nice to have some quiet. 
I'm worried about all this nonsense going on in the middle east.  Bunch of savages wreaking havoc over there.  Supposedly over... "the film."  I don't buy it.  It was planned.  And I'm sick of the liberals shouting what is going on is this film maker's fault and should be charged with murder.  Him charged with murder?  Ummm, how 'bout we charge the savages actually committing the murder? 
Last I heard, the first amendment to the US constitution is still in affect.  If the libs have it their way, we'll have no freedom of speech.  Unless, of course, we agree with them on everything.  In that case, we can say whatever we want.  It's pretty much like that now.  Ridiculous.

I'm not an Obama supporter.  At all.  I really want him OUT of the White House.  But I don't see it going to happen.  Conservatives are sick of the GOP and are split.  If the conservatives that have decided to vote libertarian this year would give Romney a try, I believe we'd have some long awaited hope and change actually take place.  I'm not a great Romney supporter either.  But I'll take Romney over Obama any day.  At least he isn't trying to totally turn us into a socialist country.  And that's exactly what Obama is doing.  If he were the only man running, I'd write in Mickey Mouse.  After all, if Acorn can use Mickey Mouse to vote, he's eligible for presidency.  Right?
I saw this picture today on fb and got cracked up.    

Tell the truth... you do it too.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Had a shoot this weekend with Brandon.  He just turned sixteen and is a total trip.  First thing he asked me is if he had to smile.  I told him for a few.  So when I told him to smile, he would.
Had a good time taking his pictures and can't wait for them to be finished. 
My calendar is filling up for this month and October.  I love fall pictures.  The colors of the leaves are wonderful.  Looking forward to all of them!
We had our first SIGMA meeting last Wednesday.  We have two teams this year and they have been divided so we're looking forward to our upcoming RUSH night and what they're gonna be doing for that.  This year they're gonna have a very little window of time.  Much less than in the past.  Which I like better because they actually have to rush to get it done.  They always do a fantastic job.  We'll have fun.
School is going great so far.  Six days down, one hundred seventy-four to go.  My senior has some ideas floating around in her head about what she's going to do after graduation.  I'm not sure she's ready to tell the world, so I think I'll keep that under my hat until she is ready.  Planning on doing some senior pictures with her soon.  I want to do some for each season.  That'll be fun.
Harrison is getting along great in both school and SIGMA so far.  I hope he doesn't slack off anytime soon.  He has a tendency to do that.  Start out strong and then blah.  LOL  But he seems to be more focused than usual.  Maybe that's a good sign.  I'm looking into some field trips to do with him in the near future.  Have a few ideas in mind.  We'll see if they come to fruition.
Justin sang The Star Spangled Banner today up town at an event honoring those that died in 9/11.    He is working at a job that he is thankful for, but is patiently waiting for his former employer to give him a call back for a full time position.  This Saturday he will be with his junior fireman, repelling from a building at the fire academy.  He's asked me to come take pictures.  So, Lord willing, I'll be doing that Saturday morning.
Weigh in tomorrow night and church!  Hope to get out to another night of the Cleveland County Baptist Camp Meeting before it comes to a close this weekend.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Abortion is Wrong. No Matter the Reason

Many people want to know why Christians feel it is wrong to murder the unborn.  As Christians, we are followers of Christ and God's Word.  God is against abortion.  Therefore, the Christian will/should be against abortion as well. 
What about someone who is raped?
This is a common question.  I heard a friend answer this one best.  A very small percentage of abortions are made because of rape or incest.  So instead of killing a baby...a life that has not yet been established, a life that can be taught and loved and raised to fear the things of the Lord and live by his Word...kill the rapist instead.  Let's stop putting him up in a jail cell for us to feed him and take care of him until his time is up and he's out again to prey on other women and girls.  And if killing them seems heartless to you, then let's fix it so they can never rape another victim.  You can work your imagination there, if you like. 
I know what you're thinking...  well that's not very Christian.  Listen, God is for justice for the innocent and judgment for the guilty.  "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe" is His law. Ex 21:24-25
But someone who has been raped, having to carry a child full term and then deliver is like being raped all over again. 
Nothing is like being raped all over again, except being raped all over again.  Yes, carrying that child full term and delivering that baby would be very painful emotionally and physically.  But there is NOTHING that will ever lessen the pain of what that poor mother went through when that little child was conceived.  There are so many couples that want to adopt but can't because the price of adoptions are so high.  Someone posted a statistic, I'm not sure how close it is, but it was something like $300-$1,000 for an abortion and $30,000 on average for adoption.  That's a shame.  And as Christians, it is our DUTY to reach these women and help them through this very emotional and hurtful time in their life, showing them the love of Christ.  He is the GREAT PHYSICIAN and can heal them emotionally and physically.  If the government wanted to help, they could offer an equally affordable solution to an unwanted pregnancy than abortion.  They could help find homes for these little ones instead of helping them find their way to a dumpster in some back alley.
But if abortions aren't legal, they'll just find someone unqualified to do it for them, risking infection and even death.
Yep.  That's what would happen.  But you know what?  That goes right back to being responsible for the choices we make.  The choices we make dictate the life we lead.
The majority of abortions are made by women who have made bad decisions, having sex outside of the marriage bed.  Yes, married women have abortions also, but I'm saying the MAJORITY of abortions.  The government has given solutions to our problems instead of making us reap what we sow.  Our society is irresponsible.  Instead of relying on God and His Word, we have become to rely on self and what WE want and government handouts.  People generally think twice about their decisions when there are consequences to follow.  Living life by man's rules of live and let live, never works good for man.  But following God's rules and His ways, always works... 100% of the time.
Bruce and I were thinking the other day and came to realize that we have nine nieces. All but two of them have become pregnant out of wedlock.  We are SO thankful that they made the right decision to choose life for their unborn child than death.  We have some precious little ones in our family because of that and they have enriched all of our lives.  We would LOVE to see them marry the fathers of their children and get involved in their local church, serving the LORD together as a family. 
 I think of all the terminated pregnancies and little lives that could have become something in this world, yet were ripped and torn away from their mother's wombs and literally thrown in a dumpster somewhere and it breaks my heart.
I don't hate women who have abortions and for the most part, I agonize for them.  I've known two women who have had them.  One had multiple abortions, but was gloriously saved after she had them and has gone on to be a fighter for the unborn sharing her testimony to other women considering that same decision.  I also know one that was never the same after hers.  She struggles with it on a daily basis because she feels guilty.  But Jesus can forgive her and heal her in that area, as well, if she'll just let Him.  And if you are reading this and you have had an abortion, struggling with the thoughts of it day in and day out, there is hope for you too.  God loves you and He will forgive you.  Just pray and seek Him.  He will show Himself to you in prayer and through His Word.
Abortion DOES stop a beating heart.  It is murder.  Legal, premeditated murder.  A choice to take the life of an unborn child.
You would be surprised at how many people do not know or understand what partial-birth abortion is.  Go ahead... look it up.  It is the cruelest form of LEGAL murder I have ever seen.  People on death row get more compassion.
Abortion is murder.  Murder is a sin.  God will judge.  And He will not only judge those that partake in it, but also those who turn their backs and close their eyes to a nation that allows it.
But what can we expect from a nation that desires a platform who boos God's name?  He is not wanted in our society, just like these unwanted children.  The children can not judge those who take their lives.  But God can. 
And He will.
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" 
Isaiah 55:6 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Booing and Crowing

(KJV)John 13:38

Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
"It doesn't matter who wins or whether or not the winner is for or against God and Israel...God WILL keep his promise to Israel." ~~JRO~~

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Birthdays, Labor Day, and First Day Back

We had a pretty busy Labor Day weekend, filled with lots of family, friends, and laughs.

Saturday we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday.  We took her to breakfast at a local restaurant called Grandma Hoyt's.  It's owned by some good people and they do all the southern style cooking.  So grits and livermush were on the menu.  Bruce's favorites.
While we were there we ran into Bruce's cousin, Allen.  We sat with him and had some really good laughs.  That guy is crazy-funny.  After breakfast, we took Marie back to her house.  We didn't do a sheet cake for her birthday.  Instead, we bought her this cute cupcake and some Klondike bars.  She loves a little ice cream at night.

Saturday evening, we celebrated the 50th birthday of a friend at church.  I haven't had that much fun in a long time.  There was skeet shooting, corn hole games, football games on tv, horse back riding, etc.  It was a blast.  They had bbq and hot dogs, and thanks to some other friends in the church we enjoyed some deep fried mushrooms, pickles, jalapenos, potato chips, oreos, and moonpies.  I promise I didn't enjoy all of that.  Just a few things and not much.  I wanted more though, I'll be honest.  Those mushrooms were yum-0-licious!  Anyway, we had a great time. 
Sunday was promotion Sunday.  Harrison moved up to SIGMA.  *sigh* I'm happy and sad, too.  I no longer have a child in the Patch the Pirate program.  But I'm excited to see what he does in SIGMA.  Hoping he is as motivated as his brother was and that the Lord will grow him Spiritually during these next six years.
This is also Hannah's last year in SIGMA before she graduates.  Another *sigh* moment.  Time has just flown by.  Looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for her.  She has been looking at colleges, so we'll see what happens there.  Exciting things on the horizon, no doubt.
Monday, of course, was Labor Day.  Bruce and Justin were both off work, so we slept in a little, then took a vote on what activity we were going to do for the day.  Each person wrote down an idea, then we drew two from the pile.  Then a vote was cast on the two.  Funny.... we ended up doing both. lol
We took them to Adventure Landing in Gastonia for a couple games of putt putt.
The kids wanted to find out what the giraffe found so great about those flowers.
"Big Daddy.  Lil' Hannah."
After our first round, we headed inside to cool off and play some arcade games.
 We put our tickets together and gave them to Harrison since he was the only one that really cared about them.
Remember watching the old Wheel of Fortune when they would "shop" with their money?  That's what this moment was like to me.  "I'll take a popper for a hundred tickets.  Vampire teeth for thirty-five tickets...."  It was funny watching him.
And to the winner goes the spoils, so they say.
We had lunch at chick-fil-a.  I had the grilled chicken deluxe on wheat.  It was pretty tasty! 
After lunch, we headed back over to Adventure Landing to start our second game of putt-putt.  But alas, the clouds could hold their rain no longer and on about the fourth hole, they let loose and showered us with buckets of blessings.  The rain felt wonderful. Judging by the clouds, we would have had a long wait to finish the game.  We decided to go on home.  On the way, we stopped and ordered take out for supper so we wouldn't have to go back out later, picked up some things at the grocery store, and headed home for a couple of movies.  We finished up our evening around 11:30.  It was a great day with my family.  Bruce often says on days like this one, "These are the times I live for."  And I agree.
Today, Tuesday, is our first day back to school for the 2012/2013 school year.  They were up at 7:00, did their chores, and were ready to start school at 8:00.  So far, so good.  Found a graphic calculator app for Hannah's Trigonometry on my kindle.  Worked great.  And somewhere between 2010 and 2012, we have misplaced an ABeka Physics book.  After searching high and low on bookshelves, totes, and under beds (cause you know, things end up under there sometimes) we came to the conclusion it was just gone.  I was able to find an updated edition, however, on Amazon and it was free using my Swagbucks.  I still love my swags.
Harrison woke up sick this morning with sinus issues.  Bless his heart, I've given him medicine but his nose is running like a broken faucet.  He's been able to concentrate on his work, though.  He just feels crummy. 
Other than that, it's been a successful day so far.  Praying for a successful year!