Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Monday, June 2, 2014

Friends, Food, and Fun!

A couple weeks ago we had some of our friends from church over for a long over-due gathering!  We had dinner at one of their homes last April (2013) and since then one of the couples got pregnant and just had their baby, and we now have two children, so it took us over a year to reunite--and it felt so good!! (Hehe... I had to.). So our little group had grown from 6 adults with two kids to 5 kids!  What a blessed year and so much to catch up on!

Since we all have families of our own, these gathering with friends --or any other for that matter--is extra special.  So, I decided to make the table setting casual but elegant to reflect just how special this time together was.

I used my new dishes that I am in love with!  Almost 10 years with our other "everyday" dishes, and surviving about 7 moves, let's just say they have more chips than a Lays bag!!  The new dishes are elegant and yet simple.  The cream color goes with everything well, and we bought them at my favorite store Home Goods!  Hurrah for a good price!  I used cream and yellow cloth napkins along side.

Mr. Cozy bought me some gorgeous roses that I put in the silver pitcher as a simple centerpiece.  I placed the arrangement on a cut glass platter to anchor it and add more antique feel that I like so much.  I kept the candlesticks we got for our wedding on the table, but forgot to light them.. Boo.  In the small lotus dish there you see an herb butter for the rolls or corn on the cob.

The kid's table was kept colorful and easy! Disney paper plates and paper napkins on our little card table.  It was pretty cute!  I think it makes the kids feel big when they get to talk amongst each other at their own table.  (Granted the ones seated were just 2-6 years.)  The new baby slept through most of the meal, although I did get to hold her quite a bit!! I love babies... Preciousness!

I used an old vintage runner passed down from my husbands great grandmother as a simple table dressing.  It's actually supposed to be used on a fireplace mantle, and that's why it's asymmetrical. It reminds me of the handmade linens we saw while in Switzerland! 

It was a beautiful evening outside, and good thing since Mr. Cozy was grilling the food!  He grilled the BEST chicken and corn on the cob in the husk.  What a good man:). I cannot wait(!) to give you this marinade recipe next.  It's just so delicious and more flavorful than any I've had.  Marinating in this for 2 hours tastes like you have all day long.  Yummy!

I also made The Pioneer Woman's baked beans, which were divine!  I am a baked bean fan and every summer gathering in my family requires good homemade baked beans.  These sure fit the bill!  No simply heating up a can of pork and beans around here.

Also, another personal favorite, PW's mashed potatoes..   Oh my gosh!  Cream cheese.  Need I say more!?

I've ran out of pictures, but i also made PW's rosemary rolls which my mom introduced me to. YUM!!!  Molly brought a delicious fresh strawberry-spinach salad to round out the meal.  We made Ninth Street House tea (also known asHouse of Grace) to drink and coffee for after dinner.  For dessert I made my Strawberry Shortcake Trifle, which the recipe is on the blog already.  Always a winner!

Anyways, we had such since night laughing and sharing stories and food, drinking coffee and passing around the baby.  It's so very nice to be reminded I can still have people over for dinner despite the sometimes craziness of being a mom. I felt like a real friend again, hahaha. (Does that make sense?)  This was the first "big" dinner we've put on since having the children, and it was a good feeling!  The kids loved having friends come to play with, so everyone was happy!  They were all so cute together.

I went to bed that night feeling very joyful and satisfied with a full heart.  New memories with friends as an entire family. A sense that our life is settling back into more a good groove a year after getting the children!

hope to post some of these yummy recipes here soon... Especially the chicken marinade.  I hope you all are having a beautiful start to summer, too! Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

His Mercies Are New

I absolutely love writing in the solace of the morning, so here I am again...

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'  The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait patiently for the salvation of the LORD. "
Lamentations 3:22-26

This scripture was written by the prophet Jeremiah during a very hard time for the Jews.  A time that was filled with tragedy and sorrow.  In the midst of what is known as a rather depressing book in the Bible, he pens these words of hope that come out of his heart from God.  

These words of life and hope are what the prophet chose to meditate on amidst otherwise very dark times!  I had this verse on my mind this morning, because I'm so thankful for new mercies every day, but as I read deeper in the chapter, it's amazing to see how such peaceful words came about in a time devoid of peaceful circumstances.  That same inner peace is what I am accepting from God, and that is truly a peace that passes all understanding!  

The dew is fresh and the air is still cool, as I'm here sitting outside on my patio in my PJs, (warmest) robe, with a cup of favorite dark roast Caribou coffee.  I've been talking to my Lord, and I'm thanking Him for the wonderful things I have in my life, and the promises He's fulfilled!  My marriage, children, house, my personal growth in knowing God, and so much more than I have time for now.

Thanking Him for carrying me in the times I couldn't lift my head from the fog of worries and fear.  When Psalm 91 was my air in the day, and blanket of security at night.

For the future and hope He has for my family that I have yet to know!  While there are crossroads we'll meet, and bridges to cross, the Holy Spirit will continue to comfort and direct us along the way.  There is not even one place we could ever go in our mind, or heart, or on the earth that is out of reach for God to meet us there.

I'm sitting in wonder at the incredible beauty that all my senses are soaking in! Just sitting in the small part of the world that He has given Heath and I to live.

admire the old yet strong, steady, heaven-reaching oak that stretches his massive branches up and into about 4 different yards surrounding us.  It has endured years of storms and change, yet keeps growing!

The flowers so delicately formed, so varying in color, so dependent on the water I give in order to stay fresh.

The squirrel families who chase or dance from branch to branch and tree to tree with all the energy my own two "squirrels" wake up with each day!

The chirps of birds in the neighborhood singing a song about something that invites me to want to be a part of.   Maybe it's the tune of their babies hatching or perhaps it's their own way of celebrating God's creation!  Either way, it's a lovely sound.

The once orderly patio that now parks a pastel pink tricycle and Spider-Man bike, is waiting for eager little feet to jump on and find roly-polies to play with. The stack of coloring books with a jelly jar of well-used crayons waiting for innocent hands to make their black and white pages come to life.  The crumbs on the table from last night's supper eaten on the patio.

There is no denying God exists, when we take a moment to truly look at what is going on around us.  He will not only open our eyes but fill our senses with new wonders every single morning, if we just ask Him to!  

Speaking of new, I'm crazy thankful that His mercies are brand new every morning!  My heart and soul (cup) can be filled over and over to overflowing and I can once again receive His joy, peace, hope, love, patience, forgiveness, grace, direction, & wisdom .....

New every morning, Friends!  The God of Wonder gives us new mercies!!  

Let us wake up and come to Him laying our doubts and trials at the cross, at His feet.  Let us accept His free gift of forgiveness, love and peace in order to live the life He has planned for us.  At His feet, freedom is found!  There are no limitations to God using a humble heart who is free in Christ and willing to serve Him!  

Today is --again-- a new day for me, and today I choose to accept the gift of mercy and peace!

My coffee is gone and though I could go on and on, my sweet ones are waking up!  Excuse me as I use my new portion of His love on my family this beautiful spring morning!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Beauty of Imperfect Traditions

This morning I'm reflecting on family and tradition, something our family in particular thrives on!  There is something I find so comforting about a long standing tradition, because we grow to look forward to it and love it so.

A wonderful example is one we always had of worshipping God together at church every Sunday morning, followed by the big meal perhaps homemade or a favorite restaurant,  and then the glorious nap.  

The birthday celebrations with family or friends involving a favorite meal and dessert followed by a nap (just kidding), more like good conversations on the front porch swing while sipping coffee.

The most classic are the various holiday traditions customized to your own family's liking.  If your family is close in spirit as ours is, they usually include the most magical memories and are always oozing of cozy aromas in a bustling house, favorite movies, reminiscing, and excitement that brings you back to the good ole days of childhood!

I particularly thrive in this sort of thing!  I love wholesome traditions!

But, God is helping me to grasp not so tight on the same things that I see needing be perfectly predictable, because the past several years there have been many changes in our life.  

I'm learning that although usually uncomfortable in the beginning, change can be a wonderful thing!  

Comparing to an iconic literary character on this, I would be like Jo March from Little Women.  Growing up I always wanted to marry, but other than that I wanted a very consistent, change-free life for myself and siblings!  (That seems so naive and selfish, come to think of it.)


Excuse my chuckling, but that was before I really asked the Lord what He wanted from my life.  For me, that was indeed a big change!

Yes, I married the love of my life, which was answered prayer.

After just a few years we moved away from our entire family... to the city!   I'm a country mouse, remember?

Albeit, we stayed in Kentucky, but 3 1/2 hours away might as well have been halfway across the country!  No one in our family has ever moved away like this!

Of course that came with everything a big move involves: new church, friends, work, grocery shopping, zip code, neighborhood and insecurities.  This is the beginning of the real change God was doing.  The one inside myself!  My comfort zone had been obliterated, minus my husband by my side.

He was in medical school which meant I worked a lot to compensate to the investment my hubby was making.  My mom has always been blessed to be a "house wife", so me being the breadwinner for several years was a big difference.

Getting back to where we were...

These days, other than Christmas (praise God), our traditions have had to be much more flexible in order to remain.  I can't be at all my siblings and parent's birthdays or at every Easter and Fourth of July celebration, bonfire, or wedding, as much as that hurts.  One year, my husband worked on Thanksgiving so we didn't see family at all that year!  I wouldn't have dreamed such a thing 10 years ago.

Before this sounds like a pathetic pity party, let me explain.  It gets better! God always has worked things out for us to have our most important traditions, but we've learned to get creative and become flexible!  Any growing family understands this concept, but if you haven't just take it from me, it'll make life much easier!

That particular Thanksgiving, no we didn't go home, but the weekend before when Mr. Cozy had a day off, my family came in, and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for the very first time ever!  Mom helped by bringing some of the food, but I cooked a turkey for the first time among other new dishes.  It became a memorable celebration we'll always talk about!  On Thanksgiving day that year I decided to actually get out all my Christmas decor and decorate the house.  No reason to mope around!

This goes for many birthday celebrations, too.  The exact day doesn't matter a bit, and yes sometimes my brother (who now lives in Chicago) can't fly in, or Papa (who works out of town a lot) may not be able to make this time, but it's okay!  Life goes on, so I don't want to be left crying over all the "imperfect" traditions when there is still much to celebrate!

This brings me back to the present.  Last Sunday was Easter or Ressurection Sunday, and my groom had to work all day and night long on that particular day.   So on Friday night, our own family of four celebrated together at our house-- Easter egg hunt and all!  The day didn't matter a bit to the kids, and if anything it just extended the holiday.  That way as parents we could still have festivities in our own home!  It was great fun!
Mr. Cozy encouraged us to go back to my parents house for the rest of the weekend since he wouldn't be around anyways.  He didn't want for the children to miss out a thing.  (He's a wonderful Daddy!)  I decided to do that, and I'm so glad we did!  My brother and Papa (my dad) wasn't able to come in either, but it was me and the kids, my sister and Mom.  We had the best time!!!! Being our children's first Easter with us, it was a very special one!!!

We came in Saturday evening to find the front porch ready for a beautiful, country Easter dinner.  

Fried chicken, homemade coconut pie, and all!

My favorite kind of food!

Mom took the time to make the setting relaxing and casual, but oh-so beautiful and serene as we indulged in fresh cut corn, cheesy potatoes, rolls with strawberry butter, and the likes.

Sometimes with a sweet little pea on my lap!

Of course sweet tea with lemon was in order-- and the children just loved their little bunny mugs to drink from!   They were big stuff! Hehe

They had their own precious table and chairs set for them.  It's one my parents have had since I was 5 years old.  If only that small wooden table could talk!

The kids had fun playing with Grammy (Mom) while I caught up talking with my sis.

The next morning I woke up and went to relax with warm cinnamon coffee in my robe on the porch before the kids awoke.

breathed deep the fresh country air, hearing only birds chirping and the warm breeze blowing in the baby leafed trees.  

I can feel God more when I'm outside,  it's something about being surrounded by His creation that surrounds me with His love!  But especially on Easter morn.

What lovely memories we made, although not our usual Easter traditions with some family missing, it was the best celebration I could've asked for!  I am so in love with my children, and was so proud of them at church.  I wanted to stand us and praise him the "charismatic" way in that small, sweet Baptist church. ;)

never tire of hearing the gospel message and being surrounded by my family in the church pews.

The beauty of the day was birthed from the calm in my heart.  

The steadiness of our family remains despite distance.  

Tradition is all well and good, but true celebration and heartfelt love will run deep nonetheless!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My "Family" Blog

God is so good!  He has given us two children who have turned our world upside-down while filling our cups with laughter, silliness, joy, innocence, dancing, singing, stories, imagination, crumbs, and --yes-- chaos! 

But He has also used them to inspire change within us resulting in more patience, humility, discipline, maturity, conviction, compassion, integrity, trust, and beyond all of that LOVE in our own lives.

Being a parent has convicted me to step up to the plate (or cup) that God has filled brimming full in my life, as I strive be the person I want my children to become .....

If you want to read the rest of how God has been working on since I've become a mommy, or if you're more interested in my family life or walk with God, I would love for you to welcome you to my other blog!  We started it about a year ago when we were finishing our homestudy in the adoption process.  If you wonder why my recipe posts may be thin over here, it's probably because I'm over there writing about my family!  

Bringing Home Baby C is the name and the link is in my profile!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Christmas Photos & recipe for Yummy Classic Molasses Cookies

This shouldn't come as a surprise to you, but one of my favorite things about Christmas is the nibbling of cookies, candies, cakes and every wonderful confection the season brings!  It's the one holiday that we all can agree to indulge without guilt, and I think it should be that way!  I mentioned in my earlier post (on my fun Christmas facts) some of my favorite desserts and candies of the season.  They include my mom's peanut butter balls and her fresh coconut cake that we endearingly call, the snowball cake.  Others are my own raspberry linzer Christmas tree cookies and easy toffee cracker candy.  This year I've added two new favorite that will definitely become tradition next year: Martha Washingtons (aka coconut-pecan bonbons) and these super soft and chewy molasses crinkles!

really can't say enough about how wonderful these cookies are!!!  

They are an old fashioned recipe, which guarantees deliciousness, and a simple one at that!  Ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves, marry with molasses to give one of the most Christmas-y tasting cookies there is!  They're rolled in sugar before being baked to give them a sparkly crinkle finish that I love.  Gingerbread boys are so fun and cute, but these cookies have a similar flavor that is way chewer and--in my humble opinion--more scrumptious!!

Classic Molasses Cookies
Recipe from, The Yummy Life

2 c. All-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 c. plus 1/3 c. white sugar, divided
1 egg, room temp
1/4 c. molasses 

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside.  In a medium bowl, with a mixer on low speed, blend together the melted butter, 1 cup of sugar, and egg until smooth.  Stir in molasses.  With mixer on low speed gradually add the flour mixture; mix until completely combined.  This is important:  Cover and chill dough in fridge for 1 hour.  I actually refrigerated this dough for about 48.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough into walnut sized balls, roll each ball into (the 1/3 c.) sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are cracked, but the center is still gooey.  I usually take out almost underdone to make cookies very chewy!

Serve these detectable molasses crinkles with a hot cup of frothy French press coffee or any other deeply rich coffee that will stand up to this rich cookie!  We gave my mom a French press for Christmas, so on Christmas Eve we had an extraordinary cup of coffee to accompany molasses crinkles and other treats! 

It was special to sit in the cozy sunroom, sip our coffee from pretty cups, and relax with family in the afternoon before dinner!  Sigh .... I miss Christmas already.

Here are some of Mama's confections!

Here's the snowball cake with fruit salad, and homemade egg nog (sans alcohol). Delicious!!!

.....  Here, take a peek with me at my very favorite Christmas "Sweets".

Over the river and through the woods to Grammy and Grandpapa's house we go!

Happy birthday, Jesus!!

Mom's Christmas Eve Breakfast!  

We all stayed the night and awoke in their cozy country house to a light dusting of snow outside and the smell of biscuits and gravy, country ham, fried apples and cranberries, (and more) wafting from the kitchen.  We loved it!!!  Thank you, Mom!

My Sister Love

Our little beauty.

Our little cowboy!

Praise God!  4 Generations!!


Our family's tradition of Grandad reading The Christmas story from Luke.

Christmas jammies

My favorite Christmas blessing for the past 12 years. ;) xo

We've had a very joyful year, and it ended with a magical Christmas!!! 
Happy New Year to you and yours, and may you "taste and see that the Lord is good".