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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

God Glitter

I am officially a Church Lady.  I have the bag to prove it.  Somewhere in between my first and second child I had enough required “stuff” to bring to church that I got a bag just to conquer it.  My current church bag has its own little resting place in my home from Sunday to Wednesday back to Sunday and I put the required “stuff” in there depending on whether it is a Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday morning or Wednesday night.  Once our baby is old enough to start going to Big Church her “stay quiet and don’t bug daddy while he’s preaching stuff” will be in there too.  But I checked and we don’t have to do that until she starts school.

So a few weeks ago I sat down in church, and reached into my church bag to get my Bible.  As I pulled it out it was covered in …….. gold glitter.  Yes, I realize that story could’ve gone much worse.  And just for the record my church bag has seen waaaaay worse than gold glitter.  I just don’t love glitter.  Confetti I get, but glitter annoys me.  The glitter covered my Bible and then my hands and then my clothes and stayed with me all day long.  If I tried to brush it off, it just reappeared somewhere else nearby.
This is the for real picture of my Bible.....glitter and all.
I was momentarily irritated by this until I realized that the glitter had come from a precious gift from my littlest daughter made for me during one of her classes at church.  She was proud of her gift and gave it to me happily, stuffing it in my church bag where she knew it would make it home.  Even the youngest among us knows the power of the church bag.

The bottom of my church bag.
That was over two weeks ago and my church bag is still full of glitter that clings to everything.  This Sunday, I just grinned and clapped the glitter off onto a friend sitting next to me.  I was reminded that the Preschool Glitter Days are very short-lived.  When you are in the middle of them they seem long and redundant.  But now that my oldest is about to start high school and the only glitter my middler uses is on her hair occasionally or what she can sneak onto her eyelids I am convinced more than ever to enjoy the church bag glitter days.

The way the glitter clings reminded me of the impact we can make on one another.  We were created to be present with one another.  The joy that a generous act or a thoughtful reminder brings sticks like gold glitter.  There’s nothing better than being loved by someone who really knows you.  I’ve been encouraged in my writing and parenting endeavors this week by old and new friends and family who give me courage to believe more fearlessly.  They know me and accept me and love me no matter.  This type of attachment sticks and reappears to strengthen; just like my church bag glitter encounters.

A couple of years ago I found a marvelous verse;
 “They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown.”  Zechariah 9:16

That’s what I want my life to be.  I want to reflect the truth of who God is, what He thinks and feels.  In the life of other people I want to be God glitter.  I want to be little sparkly reflective reminders of a God who is creative and loving and honest; a God who is good enough to give us glitter.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

M&M Birthday

Our youngest has a serious chocolate attachment.  Most kids like dum-dum suckers and gummy bears [and wild berry and/or red, purple, or pink skittles and Apple-O rings and sour gummy worms---oh, that's just me].  Not our Little One, she likes CHOC - O - LATE.  It has to be milk chocolate with no annoying fillers like peanuts or peanut butter or krispy bits of cereal or caramel or nougat or anything.  She inspects.....and nothing gets past her.  Plain M&Ms, Hershey's kisses, and Hershey's milk chocolate candy bars are her favorites.  So, we had an M&M Birthday party when she turned FOUR a few weeks ago.

I made her an M&M cake, her sister made all sorts of decorations and games.  Her grandparents, aunts, and cousins came over and we ate chocolate and got all wet.

Her cake is a combination of two ideas I've wanted to try; an M&M Kit Kat Cake and a yummy looking chocolate layer cake that is covered with all kinds of chopped up candy bars.  I made a two layer chocolate cake and frosted it with milk chocolate icing.  I covered the sides with Kit Kats, Twix, Hershey's bars and kisses and then put a combination of plain and peanut M&Ms all over the top....yes, she sniffed out the peanuts and wouldn't eat them.  It kinda bugged me that there was no spot for her name.  Originally I had planned to write out a message on the cake board but I got carried away with M&M tossing and covered the board with candies.  At the last minute I thought of using the back of a Hershey's Bar as a chalkboard of sorts for her name.  Yeah, I think it's cute.

This little girl is precious.....just the cutest most creative and imaginative darling.  She is so very loved.  I will never eat a Hershey's kiss without wanting to share with her.

She blew out the candle and we sang and cut the cake and she sat at the head of the table eating the plain M&Ms off her piece.  After a few minutes she jumped down to go play with cousins.  When everyone left to go home and we began to clean up I picked up the leftover cake to take to the kitchen.....and noticed that every Kiss originally decorating the side facing her at the table had been carefully picked off. 

How I love her.

Friday, July 1, 2011

BBQ Chicken Super Spuds

Last week I made Chicken and Rice Casserole, which hangs out in the oven for an hour.  It raised the temperature in our house noticeably so this week I'm trying to steer clear of the oven (after all it is over 100 degrees outside). I decided to make a variation of a great crock pot recipe I found in Taste of Home magazine last summer.  Love that thing.  This BBQ Chicken Baked Potato recipe is really good, you can check out the original recipe.  I really didn't change much at all. 

Where I live we have this great little BBQ place that has a "Super Spud"....baked potato topped with chopped brisket, spicy sauce, American cheese and onions [only those that know me can appreciate how rare it is for me to find a chopped brisket topping I will eat....there is always too much of the unknown in the typical chopped brisket].  I luv them. 

When I tried this chicken recipe I renamed it in honor of my beloved beef super spud.  Yes, that is overly dramatic.  Even I realize it.  Two out of three of my kids liked this.....major happiness for me.  Again with the drama.  And I officially did not have to turn on the oven.  That's not dramatic.  It's super hot here right now.

When I make this for my family I half the entire recipe except for the BBQ sauce.  And this time I did my potatoes in the microwave to avoid using the oven.  They are definitely a little bit chewier that way, and no crispy potato skin.....but it still works.  You put so much yummy on top that you don't notice. 

I put one package of frozen chicken breasts [I mean completely frozen, I had to fight to get the little paper/plastic drainy thing off the bottom off the chicken] in my crockpot.  I topped it with the garlic salt and the sliced red onion, saving the other half for on top later.  Then I mixed up all the wet stuff including 1 cup of BBQ sauce in a 4 cup Pyrex and poured it over the top. This was about 9:00.  I turned it on high for about 45 minutes because I was a little nervous about the chicken being frozen.  Then I just left it on low for the rest of the morning and afternoon.  After about 6 hours I pulled out the chicken and set it aside.  Then I poured the sauce through a strainer to catch all the little yuckies and the onion pieces.  I used two forks to pull off any additional fat yuckies on the chicken and shred it up.  I returned the chicken to the crock pot, poured the strained sauce over the top and stirred it up good.  Then I just left it on low for a couple more hours, stirring and tasting occasionally - but not because it needed to be stirred and tasted.  I just had a hard time leaving it alone.  This is what it looks like....

I washed five medium potatoes and wrapped them loosely in paper towels.  I cooked them in the microwave for about 12 minutes - 3 in one batch and 2 in the next.  Cook for 5 minutes, squish to see how soft they are and then cook for 5 minutes longer adding a couple more minutes if needed.

To finish the potatoes, split them down the middle and squish the potato soft (you should salt and pepper them here).  Top with a big spoonful of chicken and lots of sauce.  Add grated cheddar cheese and a few chopped red onions if you like that sort of thing.

Well now I'm getting all kinds of could use this chicken in quesadillas or on a pizza with some pineapples or on a bun as a Super Sandwich. The possibilities are endless! 

BBQ Chicken Super Spuds
adapted from Taste of Home, August 2010
1 package chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 red onion, sliced into thick rings
1 bottle (18 ounces) honey barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4-6 medium potatoes, baked
Grated Cheddar Cheese and chopped red onion for topping.
Place chicken in a slow cooker; sprinkle with garlic powder and top with onion. Combine 1 cup of the barbecue sauce, salad dressing, brown sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken, shred meat and return to slow cooker.  Strain sauce and discard onions.  Pour strained sauce with additional BBQ sauce over shredded chicken, keep on low for 1-2 more hours. 
Serve over baked potatoes with cheese and onions if desired. 
One final note; the first time I ever made this I cooked it on low for 6 hours in the evening, shredded the meat and strained the sauce then kept it overnight in fridge and reheated in crockpot on high for about an hour the next morning to be ready for a lunch meeting.