Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks, Chocolate Cake and Soup

So we've been loving the holidays.

We went to the tree lighting of a quaint little town we live close to. It was fun and nostalgic and a not too cold night. We ate some pretzels and rode the Carousel to end the evening.

And then a few days later it turned a little colder and rainy and it was time to break out the soup recipes. So I made this.

Potato soup with bread bowls. Nothing says get into my tummy on a cold and rainy day like a combo of potato's, cheese and bread.

This year I got to host Thanksgiving for my family.
I was so giddy.
I was never able to do this before because of the size of our dining room and table. But here we have room to spread out so have it I did.

We fried us a turkey. It was also a first. And I liked it. Especially the fried parts. :/ But seriously I would recommend it. Thaw your turkey completely. Rub it with whatever seasoning you like, plus Tender Quick. We fried it in Peanut oil for 1 hour. Fair warning: Peanut oil is like Gold. You will pay for your oil. But you can reuse it again if you want to fry anymore throughout the season.

I had fun finding natural centerpieces. And branches that we used for our Thanksgiving Tree.

We made name tags with some spray paint, raffia, and Clothes pins.

And Candy that was so simple it makes me cry!

These are rolos on top of waffle pretzels. Simple and Cute little turtles. Just place the rolo on top of the pretzel. Melt in a 200 degree oven for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and place pecans on top. They are something else.

And these little gems...well try to stop eating them! It's a hugs kiss on top of a waffle pretzel. Melt in oven at 200 degree for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and top with another.
Much easier then dipping pretzels and I think they are just as good.

The place we are temporarily staying in happens to have an indoor basketball court. It's very fun. So the uncles and nephews went out after the turkey had settled to burn off some of that pumpkin pie. Well the little one did get a few shots before the boys started playing.

It made me sweat just watching them.

Look at that form! I think I compulsively yelled "You're Hot" about right here.

I may have yelled out a time or two when I thought my son was being unfairly beaten up. It just slipped out. I don't know what else to say. I'm sure my 14 year old man child was proud.

You can see it was all very serious.

Kami and Megan watching and smiling from the "bleachers".

Grandpa even got in for a quarter. Watch out for his wicked hook shot.
We grew up on basketball . My brothers played this all the time. It is still the sport I know and love to watch best.

Lauren and Malaina snuggled in trying to stay warm.

And then my funny guy turned 12 over the weekend.

Next year he will officially be my 3rd teen.
Can not believe that.
But this year he took an interest in the banjo. Last summer he had been looking online for one. I stored that away in my bank of things I keep stored somewhere in my brain. And that's what we ordered him. Although I know nothing about banjos I think they're fun to listen to. So have at it preteen. Teach yourself every instrument. I would be deeelighted!

He requested Chocolate cake.So this is my amateur cake.
Trust me it tastes ALOT better then it looks.

Chocolate cake with a chocolate fluff filling and chocolate butter cream icing.

Is your mouth watering?

Do you want the recipe?

How about I give you a Cake already baked?

Yes I'm going to give away a free Chocolate cake today.
Just because I can.
And want to.
But you must live local for this giveaway since I wouldn't know how to ship this without making a big mess.
So unfortunately if I can't get to your house in a 1/2 hour you can't win today.
:( Sorry!

Just leave me a comment and I will pick a winner next Tuesday, December 6.

Have a wonderful day and Good Luck!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I am Thankful to the owner

When it comes to Thanksgiving I think we can all look at our lives and say...
"We have much".
I'm not just talking stuff.
I mean we have so many riches it is beyond compare.
The kind of riches that no one can put a dollar amount on.
It's like looking into a Huge Box of priceless jewels and realizing what is really in the box.

My greatest riches are the little people that I am raising.
And the man that I said "yes" to.
I look at my heritage and the family that I came from as being a gem in my treasure box of jewels.
I think of my friends past and present that have each dropped a pearl into my box.
I think of simple things,
Like a ride in the car with a boy who is fast turning into a young man. His young mind trying to understand the world in ways that I am still trying to comprehend myself.
Or the admission from the little one as she helps make the food that "when she grows up she wants to be a lunch lady..so she needs practice in the kitchen." A reminder that I am still her hero...No matter what I do.
As I hear the sound of music coming from each room...Children practicing piano,guitar,drums...and Rap?
The accumulation of sound and breath and joyful praise makes me pause and say.
I am Rich.
When I sit with a friend and chat I know that I have been given a gift.
When My guy says "I'd pick you all over again". I realize that I am cherished and loved even though he knows my weak spots like no other.
This makes me feel like I am the richest gal on earth.

And Yet...
Somehow it's easy to believe I own it.
Like I deserve it.
That somehow I must have everyday what I have today.... always.
But I know in my heart the truth.

It is not mine to keep.
It is mine to enjoy.
Like a borrowed car or the rental I live in.
I am not promised that tomorrow the owner will not say..
"I must have it back".

The challenge to me becomes
"What does my response look like When He chooses to have what is rightfully his"?

Will I as Job say... "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord".
Or am I little more like that wife of his?
The one who said (In my words) Job, this is ridiculous! God is not the good God we thought him to be...Let's not talk to him anymore. He is not to be trusted.

Ahhh that I would be as Job. Who doesn't sin with his lips. Who praises God in the storm. Who blesses the Lord when the sun shines and when it rains.

May I have that kind of spirit this Thanksgiving and everyday.
One that holds loosely to all he has given me to enjoy.
It is His.

I am his.

And he is in control of it all.

I am thankful today that He is a good Father. He takes care of his children. And if you are his....
You are the richest person of all.
Because the owner who's loaning it to you...
He owns it all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dreaming about the future...

I have been thinking about some things lately.

Things like...
~What do I want my house to say when people walk through the doors.
~Where should I set my antique cabinets.
~Will my old furniture work in my new house.
~I wonder if our house will close this week....WHAT!!!! It's still not closed? I assume that's the response you had because that's a pretty typical one I get these days. Yes, it's been over 30 days since we were told we must move out because it was going to close by October 15. And we wait... And we pray. And we try not to think about all that we could have saved. And we try to learn whatever it is that we are supposed to get in this process.

So that's that.

But back to future planning.

I have been weighing all the decisions that comes with building.
And the most important is.

How does my building honor Jesus.
How will he be glorified in this?
I really think he can be.
I just want to remember it's his house. What does he want it to look like?

Creating something out of nothing is so exciting. I can't
even imagine how the Creator must have felt when he had this canvas of nothingness and just BAM there it was, a star here, a waterfall there. How he must have stood back
and smiled as it all took shape!

So I want this home to be just another way people
are drawn into relationship with him.

And as I look at picture after picture of magnificent homes I try to remember it's his, what would he want?

What is my motive in what I choose?

I think hospitality and a warm inviting environment is top. What makes someone feel like coming in and propping up their feet? How do I show gracious warmth in my spirit and home?
Our previous house had a front porch. We LOVE front porches!
There is something so perfectly peaceful and yesteryear about sitting there drinking tea and watching the world go by while chatting about the day with a friend.
I have been trying to figure out my style.

Cindy Mandernach eclectic laundry room

I think I would have a chandelier in every room if it were socially acceptable.

I am an eclectic styler. Which basically means I can mix and match anything I want and call it style.
I don't fall into just one category. Cottage is lovely! It's just if I'm not building a cottage it may not work.
I love Pottery Barn.
I think barn stuff is cool.
I like unusual, and often nontraditional.
But then again I like straight lines like mission style.
It's all very complex.

Does this door say "Howdy" and "how are ya" or what? I like!

And of course you know I like fixing up old things.
Isn't this fun?
It may get kids to actually wash their hands!

The verdict is still out on the kitchen...Black, Cherry, Distressed cream, Dark Maple. We are leaning toward changing it up a bit with several woods and stains.

I think the mix is yummy! The floor could be darker. And the lines on the cabinets are a little too fancy.

I know I am drawn to soft color and dark woods. I love mixing wood and mortar together...whether its bricks or stone.

That floor is perfect!

As I ask people who have built what they would do different. From like 98% I have heard...I would change my laundry room.
Rie eclectic laundry room

So I ask how?
More space. Or some have advised Square it off instead of a walk through. I'm trying to figure out how I can do that on our plan.

I think cream colors and wrought iron is fantastic!
Vintage Cottage eclectic laundry room

And we will most certainly have a mud room.
For mud. And other stuff that falls off my kids.
Pantry eclectic entry

HELLOOO pretty room!!!
Dreamy Whites eclectic dining room

I am crazy about this room.
However,I am not crazy about the ladder. It looks like a big fat accident waiting to happen. And really maybe they should have just put it away after they were finished painting the ceiling.

I think faces of people I adore on a wall are the best art money could buy!
Photo focal point wall in new living room eclectic living room

And my sweet little one came down crying again this morning because she misses her play house :( Awwwh baby! Daddy will build you another one!
play house traditional kids

I think this space below is cozy and dreamy!
I'm just sayin'
Montana mix eclectic living room

I could totally make myself at home here!
Montana mix eclectic living room

It's so much fun to dream...

I'm sure there will be many dreams that never touch reality.
But that's why we dream.

And since I've started this post we got word that our house on 24 is scheduled to close tomorrow at 3 o clock!
And that my friends will be a very good dream come true!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am blessed

We are entering the season that helps us pause to think about the bounty of the harvest. The history of our country.
Reflections on our blessings.

And I, Like you, feel blessed.

And I want to reflect on it because honestly it's just too easy to see hard and injustice and forget about how my life has been blessed because of injustice.
I have not been treated as I deserve. And that my friends is something to be thankful for. For if it had not been for a merciful God, I would be far from him. If it had not been for his unconditional love I would be lost without hope.

So today I am thankful for an "unfair" God who doesn't give me what I deserve.

And I'm also thankful for boys that are running around acting like baboons. Who challenge my rules. Who kiss me good morning and good night. Who make me laugh harder than anyone else. That means they can move their bodies, show compassion, have a funny bone and can think outside the box.
For girls that spill nail polish or ruin my stuff. Who giggle and talk too loudly with their friends. Who ask me questions about life and relationships. This shows me they are creative and carefree. They are developing friendships and learning how to relate.

I'm thankful for difficult people to love...because it makes me aware of how much I need Jesus. I can't love them without his help. And He knows I have been difficult to love and still he loved me even to death.

I'm Thankful that he gives me this promise in Isaiah 43.... "WHEN I pass through the waters he will be With me. And WHEN I pass through the rivers they will NOT sweep over me. When I walk through the fire I will Not be burned." The word When indicates we will all face high water and fire but He will be faithful to walk through it with us. That is indeed a high praise.

I am grateful for the love of my life who works hard for his family. And I'm grateful that I could have a disagreement with him yesterday after I came home from a funeral because that means he's still here and alive and we could continue to practice forgiveness towards each other and I still had his warm feet to keep me cozy as I slept.

Today I am grateful for the harvest... For Apples and hot cider. Pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes with cinnamon and butter. For creamy mashed potatoes with some Sweet Corn. All blessings that come right from the earth.

I can't help but feel lighter in my spirit as I think of all I have been given.
For shelter and food. For laughter and friends. For the Church and His Word.

When I start adding it all up it's hard to stop.

Yes, there is no doubt, I indeed have been blessed.

Have you stopped to consider what your blessings are?

I'd love to hear how you feel blessed today.

Home I just want to go home

I wake with a stretch and a humph as I roll over to look at the time. I can feel my surroundings aren't familar and realize even as my eyes are barely open that I am away from my home.I smell campfire on my clothes remembering where I am.
As I roll back to center I murmur.." I just want to go home". And then the thought hits me like a thundering thud.

I'm not sure what home looks like anymore.

And I say aloud..." Although I'm not sure where home is".

Are Hard.
And Messy.
And sometimes Adventurous.

They never seem to be what I dream them to be.
I am a romantic to the core. I want to be joyful. I want to think of positive. And lovely. But far too often life is nothing like that. Sometimes we are dealt things that are not pretty to gaze on and we must in Faith believe there is something larger that we can't see. Something that is far reaching and preparing us for future hills and valleys.

As a child I knew nothing of hard. Life was cake. And I had all my needs met and most of my wants. I didn't worry about bills,death,disease,housing and relationships. I just lived. And my problems were tiny although they seemed big to my little brain.
I keep wondering how God looks at us.
It's hard to be us.
He knows it.
Because he formed us.
And he recognizes our eyes see here in front of us. And that's why he tells us to trust Him. And believe. To walk by Faith.

But really to God our problems are tiny. In light of his knowledge and understanding my momentary troubles are easy peasy for him.
And while I wait for him to clear a way.... I will praise.

And believe that he knows exactly what my real home looks like.
I think he may just be working on it right now. And it's going to be more beautiful than I could ever in my most romantic mind imagine.
I am trusting that he has my life figured out and when it jogs left instead of right I can follow the path knowing it's for a greater purpose.

And As I hear of the death of another saint I can't help but feel a bit of envy. They have finished strong and have now gone on to their final and ultimate home where there will be no more tears and disappointments. And we are left to mourn the loss of a loved one.
But while I'm here I want to live with the hope of a new tomorrow. A brighter day. Believing there is a place where I will finally be home.

And it will be grand.
I just can't wait to be home.

editors note....Tonight we mourn the loss with our friends and our family as they say farewell to their sweet loved ones.

What are you here for?

First of all thanks so much for all your kind messages. Jason and I got away over the weekend with 3 other couples Relaxing,laughing, telling stories and laughing some more and also having some time of serious discussions of how we can pray for one another. It did wonders for our spirits. Your sweet words of encouragement and prayers meant so much as well!

This morning as I was still blinking sleep from my eyes I scrolled down across my Facebook page to see what had happened over the last 24 hours in the lives of those people I call my Facebook friends. It's odd how this social media site has linked me with people from my past, present and some I hardly know. I like it most days. I am inspired, humored, unmoved, and sometimes troubled as I read down through my home page. It's such a Hodge podge of ideas and feelings swirling around in cyberspace.

But today..

I was moved.

By a link to Francis Chan's video on eternity.

And I realized once again how God can use anything including social media to proclaim truth.
I wanted to share with you what one of my FB friends shared.

Over breakfast the kids were spell bound as I repeated this example. It drives home the point that what happens here is but a blink of an eye compared to how and where we will spend the rest of our lives!

I press on toward the prize...Not looking behind or around me is my goal. To be invested for a higher purpose.

How about you?

Do you know where you will spend eternity?

Jesus made a way for us to spend it with him forever.
If you don't know how I'd love to share with you his truth.
Message me and I promise to respond!

Hugs to you in cyberville!

Unmerited Favor

It's still dark and my mind is focused on all that lays around me. I want my anxious thoughts to be still. I pray, "God it's yours I am laying it at your feet."

The children gather around the table with bowls of marshmellowy cereal. Our time of reading is from the book of Titus.
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. He saved us, NOT because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.

"Kid's", I say, "this is grace. Grace means getting something we don't deserve. And this tells us that while we were still sinning and doing horrid things Jesus came and freely showed us kindness. We don't deserve any of this but he gave it anyway.

Can you understand what that means?

Let me give you an example."

I shared with them a very raw and difficult example of something happening to us at this moment.
"We need to give as much grace and mercy as we have been shown".
It made the little one instantly well up with tears. This decision effects her very much. I held her and cried with her.
It went against my son's sense of justice and anger was shown.
I still am weepy as I type.
God has once again given us the opportunity to live out the very thing that we read. Not just hearers but doers of his Word.

Father today...
I am thankful that you count me worthy to be tested and tried. May I come forth as gold. Not to my glory but yours O God. You are the one who unselfishly and freely laid down your life while I was deeply entrenched in my sin. You are the one who showered your mercy on me while I didn't deserve it. You are the one who pours your Holy Spirit out. You are the one who is preparing our hearts for eternity with you. I want to live my life for you alone. You know what's best for us and we trust you today.
May it be as you desire.

Craftiness and other news

We had several big events over the past few months.

2 Birthdays and a wedding in the family.

We got to celebrate Jalen's birthday over labor day at a water park in Cincinnati. It was HOT and a perfect time to be in the water. The rest of the weekend we spent at Ikea(heart heart) and hanging out.
Where J thought he should be the door greeter and tour guide for his brother in law. And anyone else who would listen....That man is crazy!
Allen seemed quite impressed and decided to stay.
I think I love this kitchen. What do you say? Think my new kitchen should be black or will that date too quickly?
This girl hit sweet 16 last week.
Time you are stealing away too quickly!!!
And my oldest brother's son got married in the past couple of weeks...
New happenings for my family. First nephew to say I do.
This is my dad, brother and his son.
And we love his pick for a bride. She is the sweetest!
So we celebrated again this weekend with a reception for people who couldn't make it to the out of state wedding.

Several months back I got this brainy idea to make them a coffee table with an old window that would lift up so it would be similar to a shadow box.
When we sold the house and started packing I kind of gave up the idea thinking maybe I'll just give them a pretty plate.
Yesterday when I woke up at 4 with J getting out of bed I said...
"Hey I printed out an idea of how that table could look..it's down on your desk".
And do you know what that fantabulous guy did?
He went out and built that table!
With stuff from his shop that we didn't want to move :)
The only problem was... We liked it so much we thought maybe a pretty plate would still be an okay gift :)
I printed out some black and whites from the wedding and put them on display. But they can put whatever they want in there.
Just one more way to reuse old windows.

In other news...
We are starting the great move.
Today and the next 2 weeks.
I will be glad when these weeks are done.
This next weekend we will be having a Gigantic moving sale. If you know where we live come take a looksee! Tables, chairs, hutches, all kinds of household items. Out grown clothes and toys. I think Jason may have some things on there for men too!
You won't want to miss it! :) :) :)
O happy day!