Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Home Pick

Now that everyone has their grills up and going it's time to start thinking about summer menu planning.  Lots of people have their grilling likes and dislikes, but I say you can't really go wrong with grilled chicken.  The dilemma in our home has always been finding a delicious and easy marinade.  There are tons of marinades out there and we've tried a bunch of them.  This year I struck gold early and found McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb.  It's great tasting and, according to my hubby pretty easy to do.

So as you're figuring out some summer meals consider giving this a shot.  It has my recommendation!

~ Carrie ~

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vacation from what?

To do lists and suitcases.  Yep, you guessed it.  We’re hitting the road soon.  Vacation?  No, not really.  In fact, I will hardly see my husband all next week as he is one of the directors of a one week Christian youth camp that we’ve been involved in for many, many years (check it out here).  We will have a few days over the Fourth, but other than that it’s mostly ministry for our family… but that’s okay with us because we know that this is exactly what God desires us to be doing with this week.  A week of actual vacation probably wouldn’t even feel right, at this point! 

These days my mind has been consumed with thoughts surrounding our being away.  “I can’t forget to pack that.”  “I need to get that at the store before we leave.”  “How many diapers do I need to pack for 10 days away?”  You get the picture.  A lot of people do this.  But one question that I asked myself just today and I would challenge you to ask yourself was this:

What am I vacationing from?

Vacations are a very personal thing.  It’s my time to do what I want to do.  But where does God fit into our vacations?  In a recent blog post on personal fulfillment, Carolyn Mahaney says something that I believe is very applicable to these thoughts on vacations. 

“Our culture is constantly telling us to find our life; that we’re the center of our world, and as such, we need to take care of “me” first.

But when I’m the center of my world, my world becomes very small—because I’m the only person in it. When I try to find fulfillment in anything besides loving Christ and serving Him, I will only end up more frustrated and completely unfulfilled.”

Vacations or extended breaks from everyday life are important.  Trying new things is great.  Resting is necessary.  But, as Carolyn says later on in the same article, the goal of learning new things should be “to glorify God with our gifts,” and the goal of resting should be “to strengthen us for service.” 

My encouragement to you (and myself) is to not waste your vacation by vacationing from God.  Find physical and emotional rest, but continue to be spiritually challenged – whether it’s by attending a church near your vacation destination, having an extended time of prayer while basking in a particularly beautiful part of God’s creation, or setting up your beach chair and (instead of picking up a summer novel) opening up the Good Book for a while. 

Next week I’m looking forward to going to the beach with my son, shopping with my mom, and hanging out with some friends that I don’t see often enough – lots of really fun stuff.  But, since it is a camp week, for me (and many others) the highlights of the week are the evening services.  Without a doubt, whether Jadon allows me to stay for 10 minutes or an hour, it is a truly beneficial time for me. 

As you begin your countdown to your own vacation, don’t leave God out of your plans. 

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)

Night or day, at work or play, He’s not just a part of my life, but He is my life. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just an ordinary week…

Since I haven't been super consistent with my blogging lately, I thought I would do a quick catch-up on all of the ordinary 2-year old things that have been happening lately.  Nothing surprises me any more.  

In a little over a week he has managed to scrape his elbow and wrist, skin both knees twice, get two splinters, and have at least four bug bites massively swell up (one of them being on his face). 

Jadon picked up another phone while I was on the line.  I realized it and turned to look for him and there he was standing in a doorway with the phone… in nothing but his diaper and socks. 

PB&J with pickles… (Yuck.  I had to look away during this one.)

On an overcast day, Jadon and I were talking about the weather and the color gray (because that was the color of the sky and also happened to be the color of his shirt).  I asked him if it was going to rain, to which he replied “yes.”  I asked him, “How do you know it’s going to rain?”  He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face, so I said, “Because the clouds are…”  “Wet,” he quickly replied.  Logical, and not completely inaccurate. 

Jadon played hide and seek with his blue bouncy ball.  Thankfully, he won. 

Jadon was so excited to go to a local steakhouse that has cows out in the front of it.  We often drive by it, but rarely eat there.  As we pulled into the parking lot he saw the cows up close.  As we walked through the parking lot he exclaimed that we were going to the barn (it was actually the restaurant).  Thinking that was very cute reasoning I said, “Yeah, it’s sort of like a barn…”  Little did I know what the result of my confirmation would be.  As we walked inside and made our way to our seats, Jadon went from saying “barn” and “cows” to screaming “barn” and “cows” at the top of his lungs, due to the realization that this was not actually a barn that we were visiting.  Thankfully after a brief visit to the cows out front he was ready to deal with the reality that the “barn” was actually a place to sit and eat lunch. 

After a visit from an aunt of mine, the next day Jadon was asking where she had gone.  Andy replied that she had gone home to work.  Jadon said, “Oh, work at church.”  Andy said, “No she doesn’t work at a church like Daddy.  She… hmmm…”  How exactly do you explain to a 2-year old what a CPA does?  Andy says, “She’s counting money.”  He seemed satisfied with that answer and throughout the rest of the day spoke several times of his aunt who was “home counting money.”  I fear that in a few years we may be revisiting this conversation in a new light when he hears the story of the moneychangers and Jesus in the temple. 

As he’s beginning to understand his… ummm… bodily functions a little more, Jadon’s had some interesting comments when preparing to have his diaper changed.  Two of my favorites in the last week or so have been the following:
            Jadon: “Mumma, I pooped.
            Me: “Oh really?  You did?”
            Jadon: (pause, thinking) “No.  Just gas.”  (walks away)
            Grammy B: “Come on Jadon.  We need to change your diaper.”
            Jadon: “Grammy, I poop.”
            Grammy B: “You pooped?”
            Jadon: (pause, thinking) “No.  I poop later.”

I was washing dishes while Jadon was playing at the table and overheard him say, Oscar, are you in there?”  Confused, I looked over at him to see that he was looking inside a container of green play-doh.  Makes perfect sense. 

With the warm temps finally here, we’ve entered into ice coffee season.  Jadon has observed Mommy and Daddy making ice coffee so much that he’s taken a liking to it as well.  Thankfully, Jadon’s ice coffee is quite easy to make – chocolate milk with an ice cube.  

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  Hope this made you chuckle!

~ Carrie ~ 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day Home Pick

Do you feel like Father's Day is kind of sneaking up on you this year?  Well, I certainly do (hence today's Home Pick).  If you're like me and you really can't afford that new pick-up, sports car, motorcycle, four-wheeler, man cave, or front row tickets to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals then you may want to check out some of my suggestions and the links at the end.  Since none of these things that I listed is an option (and my husband knows it), then try to let some of his more simpler (and cheaper) interests guide what you give or do for Father's Day.  

The Car Lover
  • Tickets to a car or monster truck show
  • Attend a Touch a Truck event (Sure it's for kids, but dads love it,too!) 
  • Find a place to go that has bumper cars or a mini race track
The Sports Lover
  • A night with his buddies to watch his favorite team
  • Some type of sports equipment (basketball, baseball glove, wiffle ball and bat, ladderball, sky ball, etc.)
  • Mini-golf, driving range, or batting cages
The Outdoorsman
  • Go on a hike (maybe some place he's never been)
  • Go fishing together (or arrange for him to go with a friend)
  • Have a campfire in the backyard
The Technology Geek
  • New video game (and the privilege of playing it before anyone else)
  • XM or Sirius Radio subscription
  • Replacement items such as screen protectors, cases, new batteries, ear buds, or Bluetooth earpiece
  • A iTunes or Best Buy gift card 
Any Dad
  • Breakfast in bed
  • His favorite meal/restaurant
  • A picnic at a park
  • A movie night (that isn't a cartoon or a chick flick)
  • A back rub
  • A week off from his least favorite chore (mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, etc.)
  • A picture of his beautiful family
  • Something made by his children
If you're willing to tap into your creative or crafty side then you may want to take a look at the Father's Day ideas on the Family Fun and Kaboose web sites.   

Have fun planning a great day for all of the father's in your life!  

~ Carrie ~

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Perfect Timing

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in 
the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  
 Ecclesiastes 3:11

Before my husband and I were even dating (we were still in the “just friends” phase) I was very impressed by his timing.  Although we initially met at a Christian camp, since we lived several hundred miles away from each other much of our early friendship began through email correspondence and online chatting.  It amazed me how he always had a timely response to my emails or appeared online just when I wanted to chat with him.  (I later found out that this was all because he was quite taken with me from the very beginning of our friendship.  He was attempting to keep our lines of communication open as often as possible.) 

Even after we began dating (yes, his plan worked quite well) I continued to find his timing to be impressive.  He would suddenly appear at my dorm with a rose to celebrate another month together.  I would find cute notes he left in my car while I was working.  He’d whisk me away for a surprise date to a carefully selected location.  Or even just a phone call at the perfect time. 

Okay, so he doesn’t have perfect timing, but he does pretty well – even after many years of being together.  Our anniversary was yet another opportunity for him to display his timing abilities – to which I am incredibly grateful. 

Thinking about this concept of “perfect timing” ultimately carried my thoughts to God and His perfect timing.  It also led me to ask the following questions: What does it mean that God’s timing is perfect?  Does perfect timing always result in good things?

After studying God’s Word and spending time in prayer I don’t think that I have the answers to these questions.  God’s timing will always be something that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around.  The past few weeks have brought some interesting challenges my way.  Although I’ve continued to see God’s faithfulness in my life and my family, God has allowed me and some who are close to me to face some unexpected events (not good things).  Despite these situations that I would not have chosen for myself or others, God has allowed me to see how in the past 2 years (probably even longer) he’s been preparing me for these challenges.  This doesn’t mean that weathering these storms will be easy for me or others involved, but it does mean that I have even more of a reason to rest in God’s faithfulness and perfect timing. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Matters of Marriage

I thought today I would include a thought (a reminder to myself mostly) on the purpose of marriage from John Piper that is probably something I should say to myself every day.

"...(T)he most foundational thing you can say about marriage is 
that it is the doing of God, and the most ultimate thing you can 
say about marriage is that it is for the display of God."  
( By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Today I would like to say Happy Anniversary to my parents and parents in-law who have both celebrated 30 years of marriage in the last week.  They are the strongest examples of godly marriages that I can think of, and certainly have been and continue to be a great influence on both me and my husband.  We celebrate our 5th anniversary at the end of the week and their celebrations certainly help to inspire us to continue in our work to "display" God in our relationship.  

~ Carrie ~ 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Can't Help But Laugh

You know those moments as a parent when you just can't help but laugh at your child - even when he/she is being less than obedient?  My husband is more prone to bust a gut when one of these moments comes along, but I too have had several of these moments since becoming a mom.  Earlier this week, my husband and I both had a moment like this that took the cake.  

It was nearing supper time at our house, which often seems to be a difficult time for our son - whether he's trying to grab a snack from the pantry, whining to help "cook", or wanting to play outside 5 minutes before we're ready to eat.  On this particular evening, Jadon had a HUGE meltdown in the kitchen.  Over what?  Honestly, neither my husband nor I remember!  Whatever it was, he was not at all satisfied with the situation and went into full 2-year old tantrum mode.  (I apologize for not mentioning that parts of this story are downright scary...)  

My husband, Andy (bless his heart), was the one dealing with the whole issue, as I was an innocent bystander simply preparing dinner for my family.  After a couple attempts on Andy's part to deal with the issue, Jadon was quickly whisked away for a time-out in the nearby hallway on the bottom step (to collect himself and then talk it out with Dad).  Time-out was served, Jadon was still fussing (but not all out crying), and Andy attempted to have the "what did you do wrong" conversation, but before he could hardly get a word out the tears (and anger) came flowing again.  Time-out part 2 began (which was almost worse than before).  Andy and I stood in the kitchen waiting for the tantrum to fizzle out (again) when all of a sudden, in the midst of his tears and sniffles, we heard the two words "Holy God" being sung over and over again.  In the midst of an aggravating situation, Andy and I were suddenly consumed with joy and laughter at the thought of this particular song coming to our son's mind in the midst of an unhappy moment for him.  This song was "The Gospel Song".  Think of it like a newer "Jesus Loves Me" - a simple tune primarily intended for children.  The words of "The Gospel Song", however, strike a little deeper - which is why we often sing it to our son.  (Click here to listen.)

Holy God, in love, became
Perfect man to bear my blame
On the cross He took my sin
By His death I live again

This is a favorite song of Jadon's, and one of several songs that we usually sing with him at bedtime.  Never did we expect him in the midst of a major meltdown to begin singing this song.  At that moment, Andy and I could not contain our laughter (although we tried).  After getting most of the laughs stifled and wiping the happy tears from our eyes, Andy then went to deal with our completely settled down 2-year old, who was still sitting on that bottom step.  He was ready to recognize his poor choice and apologize.  (Dinner ended up being fine, too!)  

Although a reminder of the holiness of God was not exactly needed at that moment, God used it to bring peace to our home (at least for that moment), and gave Mom and Dad a good side-splitting laugh that everyone needs every once in a while!  

~ Carrie ~

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Home Pick

This is my first ever food home pick.  My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years, and I think it's accurate to say that my cooking has come a long way.  Even still, I like simple recipes that are easy to put your own twist on - and still taste incredible.  That's why this week's home pick is... 

A Trifle!

There are so many trifle recipes out there. (My recommendation is to go to and search for "trifle").  What's so great about a trifle?  It's a good dessert for any season, any time of year, or just about any occasion.  A trifle can be put together using a variety of simple ingredients.  

Basic trifles need 4 basic ingredients:
  • Something cake-like - any kind of cake (chocolate, vanilla, spice, pound, etc.), brownies, or cookies
  • Pudding
  • Filling - any kind of crushed up candy bar, fruit, or nuts
  • Whipped Topping
That's it!  It couldn't be much easier.  My husband has even put this dessert together (and he has a fairly strict no-baking allowed rule that he's typically glad to abide by)!  So impress without the stress.  Make a trifle for your next dinner get-together.  

~ Carrie ~