Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I have no pictures. I was putting this together at 6:30 AM yesterday morning and my camera never crossed my mind. Then, we were able to share dinner last night with an incredibly wonderful friend (we've been friends for over 20 years) and talking was the main order of the evening, so no pictures in the bowl or anyone joyfully eating it, either.

However... click this link. Take that recipe. Go. Cook.

It is THE most delicious soup I have eaten in a long, long, long, long, long, long, time. Ours ended up with the consistency more like stew but then I started it on low at 6:50 AM and cooked it until about 7PM last night.

It. was. amazing.


Sunday Strength

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

~2 Corinthians 1:3-5


Love With Ice Cream On Top... Part 2

The table centerpiece (the adorable little ice cream trucks I purchased online here):

The Sundae Bar... stocked:

Toys for the kids:

This is where we kept the "extra" toppings:

Taking out the pinata:

The kids all wanted to wait until after the pinata to make their sundaes. None of us grown-ups could figure it out but... ok....

It would be like me to forget to mention something. See those cute cones in that pink & aqua bowl? Found them here (but it appears they're sold out of them now...). They were a HUGE hit and I was told they were incredibly sweet. I didn't get brave enough to try one but those who did LOVED them!

And last but most definitely not least - the ice cream cone and popsicle clip art? I found at my most favorite graphic artist's blog. Tricia-Rennea has become my go-to person for everything. She is uber-talented and I love her stuff. My big regret is I didn't take any close up pictures of the sundae bowls or the place cards I used to label all of the sundae toppings. ::sigh:: However...you can go here and see the clip art I used. As always, a ginormous thank you to Tricia!


Love With Ice Cream On Top

(bunting printed here)

You have NO idea how much I wish I could make a living by planning parties! They are a TON of work but every second of it is worth it when people come to my house and have a good time. Every time I throw a party I say "I'm not doing this again" and then a little bit of time passes and I actually get an itch to throw another one. It's in my blood...

This time we were celebrating an adoption. My friend has chosen to be a single mom, adopting her daughter from the foster care system. Her daughter is 9. It is such an exciting time for both of them and it's exciting for those of us who have known my friend's heart to be a mother for many, many years. It's a match made in heaven - literally.

The guest book, with decorations, set up just inside the front door. I was giddy when I stumbled across the ice cream cone shaped notebook. Literally giddy... That pink ball you see in the blue bowl is a styrofoam ball wrapped with a lei that's been glued in place.

I put a few pictures of the actual adoption day around with some amazing quotes I found online:

It was an ice cream sundae and Italian soda party. SUGAR!!!! Wahoooo!!! The kids we tossed out back and they chased each other around. I made the pinata this time and it actually stood up to some pretty strong whacks from the kids. Alas, one child (mine - poor guy... he'd helped me make it, too!) didn't get to hit the pinata because its weak spot was found just a bit too early. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, though.

The pinata in progress...

The finished product (instructions found here):

What I almost never want anyone to see...What it looks like when I'm in the process of getting myself - and the party - put together:

Pom Poms I made and hung from the ceiling in the family room and living room. My friend's new daughter took them home after the party to hang in her room. I was thrilled she liked them enough to want to use them to decorate her room. Actually, she and her best friend took them and each ended up with three. Hopefully they hang for a LONG time in each girl's room!

That's it for this post. I'm going to have to do another one with pictures of the pinata smacking, the full sundae bar and folks having fun. This post has already gotten far too long!


Sunday Strength

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'..."

~Matthew 25:31-40

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


In the news...

A couple of days I ago I heard about the preacher in Florida who has proclaimed September 11, 2010 national burn a Quaran day.


That was my first reaction. I'm not Muslim and I believe Islam is a lie but honestly? Burn a Quaran?

What the hey for?

And then? Tell me... when. When in all of Christ's ministry did He resort to something so incredibly disrespectful to those who did not believe Him?

Yes - He overturned the tables in the Temple but keep something in mind there - that was in the Temple. God' House. HIS Father's house. NOT the house of another religion's God.

When, when, WHEN did Jesus every try to ram the truth down someone's throat? Think of the rich young man He met on the road. The one who asked what he needed to do to get into heaven and left very sad when Jesus told him to sell all of his belongings and give the money to the poor.

Did Jesus chase after him?


Did Jesus burn his house to the ground?


Jesus gave the young man the truth, the tools and information he needed to make a decision. That young man made his decision and Jesus... let him go. No chasing, no screaming, no pounding him for not accepting the truth.

I get the frustration, I truly do. I am so incredibly saddened and overwhelmed by the tragedy of what it means to continue following Islam. I ache for those Muslim's who die Muslim and have to stand before God. I hate to hear of another young man killed in Afghanistan. It is painful to read of people kidnapped, killed and tortured in the name of Islam. It makes me angry that people treat each other this way, are so mind-boggling cruel to one another and use whatever excuse makes them feel they're justified in perpetuating their evil.

But...would I ever be so disrespectful as to burn something - on purpose - so incredibly important to them?

Not in a million years.

I'll pray for and take every opportunity I am given to share Jesus with everyone I meet. I will speak the truth and I won't speak it anger. I will do my best to be a shining representative of God's glory. I fail - a lot. I have to remember that I generally can't really do that job all that well.

BUT...He can do it through me. I don't need to and it's not about me, anyway.

I understand the pastor is giving "serious consideration" to General Petreaus' words. I pray God reaches this pastor before this grievious event can occur.

I pray this pastor remembers...

Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (More popularly known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) and their words to Nebuchadnezzar before being tossed into the fiery furnace:

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." ~ Daniel 3:16-18

...even if He does not...

They didn't need to do or say anything to defend God because God is God, regardless of who thinks or does what. They were simply going to ignore the golden statue that King N required them to worship. No disrect to the King, just a simple living out of what they knew to be the truth.

That furnace said a great deal to that King.

Pounding someone over the head, telling them that what they believe is of the devil, they're going to hell and to burn something so important to them isn't going to have them listen to your message.

Jesus had to have felt a little frustration a few times in His ministry. Perhaps He still does. That did not excuse Him to sin on top of sin. This event, if it takes place, will be an event formed of pride and pride is a sin.

How I pray this pastor humbles himself. Let the world see Jesus through him instead of allowing satan to win that battle.

What will you be doing on September 11th? I think I might set aside a good number of hours to pray. It seems we're not doing that enough.


Crockpot Chicken Adobo

People who have incredible ideas and then share them always amaze me. I am so grateful to them for sharing and it's one of the biggest draws in blogs (which you are probably already aware). Also, sharing blogs found is one of the great things about having a blog.

That's what I'm doing today with this most recent recipe I tried. Stephanie O'Dea decided to use her crockpot every day for a year. She's had some amazing recipes come from that time and she lets us know how she changed them, whether or not they worked for her family and little tricks to try to make the recipe all it can be. She shares many of those recipes and experiences on her blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.

She's still using her crockpot and has published a cookbook. That's another thing I love about blogs and creative people with amazing ideas. They are often able to capitalize on what they've come up with and to me that is the best of all worlds. People should be able to earn money by doing those things they love.

And so I come to the Chicken Adobo recipe.

It was soooo yummy. The chicken came out tender and juicy with such an amazing flavor, I can't begin to describe. This recipe is, most definitely, not just a keeper but moves to the front of my favorites list.

I will strongly suggest you follow Stephanie's advice in the post: put the chicken together with the marinade the night before. The longer that chicken soaks in all of those awesome ingredients the better.

My sincerest apologies for not having pictures of the finished meal. By the time that time came around, I had guests, study was going to start soon...there wasn't time for the camera. Trust me, though - it was YUMMY!

I'm a huge fan of the crockpot and since we host Bible study here in our home on Thursday evenings, I'm always looking for yummy dinners to try out in the crockpot. We feed a few of our fellow Lifegroup-mates on Thursdays, as well so the crockpot has the added feature of being able to cook for a large amount of people without my having to do a ton of work. It is the best company-server in existence, I think!

I hope you give this recipe a try. Enjoy!

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


Random Stuff

I was toodling a bit around blogland Friday night. Catching up with some blogs I haven't checked out in a while. Whitney, at Whisker Graphics, had posted this list from her mom on her site. You can read her post here (tells you she's not sure where her mother found "The List" but she's sharing it) but I've copied the list. I thought some of them were pretty entertaining and oh so very true. Like Whitney, I bold those lines that I relate to the most.

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary? (To this I will eternally say yes...the art of actually physically writing things such as letters, etc. should never die although I'm afraid they are starting to lose their appeal)

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. (Are you reading this Seattle Times?)

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

21. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear get dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

29. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’ll bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

30. My check engine light has been on for three months now and nothing’s happened. I’m starting to think that my car is just an attention w***e.

31. I don’t understand the purpose of the line, “I don’t need to drink to have fun.” Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they’ve invented the lighter? (I just have to go with because (1) flint & sticks are cheaper and (2) they don't make your breath stink...)

32. Sometimes I pretend not to remember details about people because having a good memory apparently equates to creepiness.

33. My GPS says “Estimated Arrival Time.” I see “Time to Beat.”

34. Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart”, all I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart”.

35. My keyboard needs a removable crumb tray like my toaster.

36. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

37. I wish it were appropriate to say to a complete stranger, “Excuse me, would you like me to show you how to discipline your child?”

38. I never understood why the Lions and Cowboys always get to play on Thanksgiving. Shouldn’t the Patriots play the Redskins, and then steal their stadium afterwords?

39. Double-Stuffed Oreos should just be called Oreos, and regular Oreos should be called Diet Oreos.

ahhhh... the wit some people were born with and those of us who weren't are left sitting here wishing we were.

And - not to be forgotten - Happy Labor Day, everyone. If you know a Union member, thank them for bringing us the weekend. And the 40 hour workweek. And paid vacation. And sick time. And...
Enjoy the day!


Sunday Strength

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.

Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.

~Psalm 32:8-10


Yummy and Easy (but beware the side effects)

My husband loves chili cheese dogs. They aren't high on my list of things I want to eat. However. When I found this recipe, I thought I'd please his inner child and see how they turned out.

In a word? Delicious.

You should try to use pretty good hot dogs (we used Oscar Meyer Angus Beef Franks) and as yummy a canned chili as you can find (not that there really is such an animal but...I tried). I went for Nalley's Walla Walla Onion chili with beans.
The recipe calls for 2 cans of chili with beans (but I used 3 - I found one can didn't cover the bottom of the pan very well), flour tortillas, hot dogs and 8 oz. cheddar cheese.

You take a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and cover the bottom with one can of beans. I covered it with a can and a half. Then, you roll each hot dog in a tortilla. I added some of the cheese in there with the hot dog. Place the rolled tortilla, seam down, in the pan on the beans. Then, cover with other can and a half of beans and cheese. Cover the whole pan with aluminium foil, bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and... voila! Heartburn in a pan.

But yummy heartburn.

I served it with a salad so I could feel a *little* bit better about the oh so incredibly NOT healthy dinner I served.

It's fast. It's incredibly easy and really, really good. So...in a hurry? Need a filling meal? Don't mind the potential for ah.. ummm... the beans to create music later in the night? Go for it.

You won't be sorry, that's for sure. (I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. I remembered this time!)