Monthly Archives: March 2011

Feeling inadequate?

Great post from Stacey at Not for profit, but for JOY!: GOD, can’t use you?

The next time you feel like GOD can’t use YOU, just remember…*

Noah was a drunk

Abraham was too old

Isaac was a daydreamer

Jacob was a liar

Leah was ugly

Joseph was abused

Moses had a stuttering problem

Gideon was afraid

Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a prostitute

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young

David had an affair and was a murderer

Elijah was suicidal

Isaiah preached naked

Jonah ran from God

Naomi was a widow

Job went bankrupt

John the Baptist ate bugs

Peter denied Christ

The Disciples fell asleep while praying

Martha worried about everything

The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once

Zaccheus was too small

Paul was too religious

Timothy had an ulcer…

AND Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!!
God can use you to your full potential.
Besides you
aren’t the message,
you are just the messenger.

Chili update

The chili turned out pretty well, as a matter of fact.

I remember now, that chili powder intensifies in flavor with long cooking. Know how I know?

I remember making chili one time. I added the chili powder, tasted the chili, thought maybe the chili powder had lost its oomph, so I added more. Tasted… and added more. And maybe more.

After the chili had simmered, I tasted it again, and it was CHILI!!!

(Not chili, which is what my family eats.)

It must have been acceptable, as the whole crockpot was cleaned out at the shared meal. I had a bowl, myself, and found it a little sweet to my taste. Must have been the tomato paste. Next time I’ll drain the beans and not have to add the tomato paste.

I was going to take a picture of a bowl of the chili, topped with shredded cheddar, chopped onions, and sour cream, except that there wasn’t so much as a bowlful left.

Next time: the recipe for “Kid Friendly Chili”!

Throw-it-together Chili!

Made chili for tomorrow’s shared meal at church. I didn’t have the ingredients for my usual “Kid-Friendly Chili” recipe (will have to post that later; it’s past my bedtime and I shouldn’t even be posting this!) so I sort of went by guess and put together a pot of chili on the stove, then transferred it to the crockpot to cook on “low” overnight, let the flavors blend. We’ll see how it turns out.

Anyhow, here’s what I had on hand:

1 lb. (about 2 c.) dried kidney beans

Did the quick-soak method. (Wash beans, pick over, put in pan and pour in 6 or 8 cups hot water, bring to boil, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let sit an hour. Pour off soaking water, add more hot water, and simmer 2 hours.)

Did you know that dry kidney beans can be toxic when cooked in the crockpot? Evidently the slow cooker doesn’t get hot enough to cook away the toxins. Since I didn’t have canned beans, I cooked dry beans on the stovetop. They didn’t require a whole lot of attention, so I got a few things done around the house while they were soaking, and then simmering.

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 small onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped (I might’ve added more, but I’m low on garlic)

Sauteed these together, breaking up the meat. Since I pulled the ground beef out of the freezer just before I started cooking, I put it in a pot over medium-low heat, covered, and occasionally went back to turn the meat over and break it up a bit. As soon as it was thawed and starting to cook, I added the onions and garlic. Once the beef was browned and the onions were translucent, I added…

1 TBS chili powder (might have been more — I poured out the last of a jar of “Mexican chili powder” into the pot. It looked like maybe a tablespoon, less than two, probably)

1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Stirred the spices into the meat-onion-garlic mixture and let it simmer together for a minute or two. Then added the tomato products I happened to have on hand.

28-oz can crushed tomatoes in juice
28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
(I sort of mashed these up myself)

Then I added the cooked beans. I probably ought to have drained the bean broth, but I didn’t. (Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.) The bean broth, more than I realized, made the chili watery, so I added a large can of tomato paste, my mom’s favorite tomato-based-sauce thickener.

Middlest was my taste tester. She found it rather bland. Since it’s simmering in the crockpot overnight, I’m not going to correct the seasoning until morning. I don’t remember if chili and cumin intensify in flavor over long cooking, or if they diminish, but I don’t want to take the chance of overseasoning the chili.

Will let you know how it turns out!

What’s your favorite chili recipe?


I am so, so, so, so glad that it’s Friday today.

Got over what felt like the start of a bad cold in record time, with megadoses of Vitamin C and garlic. Still lacking energy.

Am so glad to have found clams at Trader Joe’s! No MSG or other additives, so homemade gluten-free clam chowder, here we come! I have to admit I’ve missed clam chowder. Got a good recipe to recommend?

I’m also looking for a recipe for an overnight crockpot tater tot breakfast casserole. If I find one (or the one I make up tonight turns out to be a success) I’ll post it.

It’s been rainy and sunny by turns. We’ve seen some remarkable rainbows over the past few days, all mostly in the late afternoon, making them very low in the sky. You have to make an effort to see rainbows, that time of day. They’re easily blocked by buildings and trees.

Just like some days you have to make an effort to count your blessings. It’s too easy to see the obstacles, interruptions, and frustrations, and let them clutter your thoughts, especially late in the day.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Start counting: What are you grateful for?

It gets easier with practice.

TOS Crew: Apologia’s Who is God?

If you’ve used Apologia’s elementary-level science books (the Exploring Creation with Zoology series), the format of the new Who is God? will have a familiar feel.

Who is God? is the first volume in a planned four-volume set aimed at teaching children (ages 6-14) about worldview in general, and a Biblical worldview in particular.

The book is hardcover. The pages are large (8-1/2 x 11″) and colorful, punctuated with illustrations. The ten lessons share the same carefully organized format, allowing for quick and easy lesson planning. Each lesson is designed to take about two weeks, though you may find yourself spending more time on a lesson, or less.

Each lesson is organized around a theme (“What is God Like?” “Why Did God Create Me?” and “Is Jesus the Only Way to God?” for example), with two related memory scriptures per lesson (one for the theme, one for a related character quality covered in the lesson).

A lesson starts with “The Big Idea,” giving a brief review of what you studied earlier, together with an introduction of the lesson’s theme and objectives. To accomplish those objectives, you might read a story and do activities (hint: the S’Mores Clusters in Lesson 6 are delicious! They’re the perfect accompaniment to the camping-themed story in the lesson). You’ll find interesting facts set apart in boxes, which tie this worldview/Bible study in with other subjects in the curriculum. There are points to ponder and discussion questions, along with notebooking prompts and vocabulary words.

As a matter of fact, free notebooking pages and other supplemental materials are available at the Apologia website. The website and password are provided in the introduction to the book. There’s so much at the website! I love the teacher helps that nicely summarize the lessons, activities, and discussion questions, highlighting important points.

Online helps also include printouts to help you build a “House of Truth” which is a graphic representation of what you’re learning. There are also links to online Bible versions, Bible study tools, worldview and apologetics resources, and media reviews (books, games, movies, and television).

The text is written to the student. It’s designed so that you can read the book aloud together with a younger student (our 12yo still loves to work this way), or gather all your family for multi-level study, or give the book to an older student for independent study.

Scripture verses are mainly set in the NIV (though other versions are also quoted — I noticed the ESV among them), International Children”s Bible, and New Living Translation. The authors encourage users to use their family’s own preferred Bible version for Scripture memory work.

Our 14yo thought the text “simply written, but charming.” Our wiggly 12yo enjoys the story-telling and activities, though sometimes has a little trouble sitting through the teaching sections. The text is conversational in tone, rather than textbookish, which is a help with younger children and short attention spans.

To get a better idea of the book, you can see the Table of Contents and download a sample chapter at the Apologia website.

Who is God? is available at the Apologia website for $39.

To read more TOS Crew opinions of Who is God? please click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were given a free copy of Who is God? for private personal use and review purposes. No further compensation was involved.

Bird feeder news

A pair of nuthatches has been visiting the suet feeder pretty regularly. They look a lot like this picture from National Geographic (click on the picture to go to the site). They’re so funny! Sometimes they hang upside down on the suet feeder or on a branch by the feeder while they’re eating.

Dog update!!!!

I am so happy to be able to report that the lab tests came back negative.

No cancer.

May I repeat that?

No cancer.

It was a massive infection, and her toe was so messed up that they were sure it was cancer, but the biopsy results say not.

Memo to self (Giant Schnauzer owners take note): Keep the hair around toes trimmed. Giant mops may look cute, but they’re not good for seeing problems, possible foreign bodies, thorns, that sort of thing. Keep toenails trimmed (even if it makes the dog grumpy when you’re doing it) so they don’t break off and lead to infection.

Since the weather has warmed up, the dog is now shaved all over. I should have taken a pic of her with her “poodle” look (or maybe more like “sheep”): rear legs shaved halfway up, front legs shaved in a band around the middle of the legs — she really did look somewhat poodlish in front and sheepish from the back, like one of those Looney Tunes sheep, all fuzz on top and skinny legs sticking out below.

On the other hand, we’re just so relieved to put all the past weeks of anxiety and anticipated grief behind us…