Grandma’s Recipe Box

 

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One of my Christmas gifts this year was this recipe box, which belonged to my grandma and is full of her well-loved recipes. Many of these recipes are signature dishes for our family, iconic features of holiday meals and family gatherings. They represent more than just delicious culinary creations; these recipes represent memories, and the warmth, love and safety of home.

I’ve written before about my troubled childhood and growing up with an addict mom who suffered from mental illness. Because of this, my grandma was a significant maternal figure in my life. While we still lived with my mom, my dad had visitation every two 1134f234-b6a0-4704-aefc-c8f71e3a0c77weeks, and we would often spend those weekends with him at grandma’s house. Those weekends were always full of the best parts of family – laughter around a table, sweet aromas wafting from a much-used kitchen.

It was in her home that I learned many of the values that I hold dear now – the importance of faith, how a good meal made with love can cover a multitude of sins and that true wealth is not a big house with many possessions, but rather the small things of a warm embrace and a kind soul.

It was my grandma who taught me to cook. Having been raised on a farm, her culinary style was Southern to the core – comfort foods like homemade dumplings and dressing. To this day, the aroma of celery and onions cooking in chicken broth harkens memories of grandma’s kitchen at the holidays.

However, grandma’s recipe box shows that there was more to her than just the Southern farm girl. One of her best dishes was a cake based on a mixed drink – the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. Just like her recipes, grandma was tall glass of sass and spirit – and she taught me to be the same.

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So, back to the Christmas gift – it was given to me with a caveat: I get to have the original recipes, but only if I type them up to distribute among the family. This is achievable enough – typing up a box full of recipes is no big deal for someone who types 90+ wpm (expert typist is on my resume) (just kidding). However, to make the task more enjoyable, I’ve decided that one of my goals for 2017 is to not to just type through the recipe box, but bake through it as well. I want to make every single one of my grandma’s recipes. When I’m in the kitchen, making one of her beloved dishes, I feel close to her, and I want those memories of a warm home full of love and laughter to be the trademark of my home now.

As I work through the recipes – I plan to share them on the blog, and I hope you’ll come along on this journey with me through grandma’s recipe box. I’m definitely not a foodie, so there probably won’t be styled pictures of succulent sweets posed just right with the best lighting. There’ll be messes and probably some failures. But, there’ll be bittersweet joy and love as I honor the gift I’ve received and my grandma’s memory.

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We’re moving for the 7th time in 5 years – and you’ll never guess why!

We're Moving

 

In my last couple of posts, I mentioned that there were some life happenings that had put blogging on the low end of the priority list. We’re now at a place where we can share the big news: we’re moving. AGAIN. The clickbait title wasn’t a joke, in our (almost) 5 years of marriage, we’ve moved 7 times. Some of those were just into different houses in the same town, but some of those were big, interstate moves. This move is one of the latter.

Some of you may know, my dad had a lung transplant six years ago. During the recovery, there were severe complications that led to an additional 6 months in the hospital. I was studying for my Master’s in Virginia at the  time, and I packed up and moved back to OKC to live in a hospital hotel for the latter part of the hospital stay. I wrote some thoughts about that experience here and here (and here).

My dad’s quality of life has never been fully restored post-transplant. The long stay in the ICU debilitated him physically in a number of ways, primarily in the form of painful neuropathy in his legs and feet which make walking unbearable. While he can walk, the severe pain coupled with shortness of breath make it very difficult to do. He spends most of his time in a wheelchair. Over the last 5.5 years since his hospital release, he’s been fairly healthy. He had one scary episode where his gallbladder had to be removed, but he’s had stable health for the most part.

However, we learned in May that he has chronic rejection in his lung. There is no treatment or cure for it, so it will steadily decline in function until it’s no longer viable. There is no prognosis for how long that might take, but they say the average survival rate after the onset of chronic rejection is about 2.5 years. We are praying for more, and we accept that God is in control of the number of my dad’s days.

In light of the diagnosis, Ryan and I decided we need to be closer to him to provide encouraging support and to help with his care. Even though we moved to OKC just a year ago, we feel this is important and right. So, we are moving to Bartlesville at the end of the month! Ryan has accepted a job offer there, and he starts August 1st. We went house hunting last week, and we put in an application for a rent house that will be a good fit for our family.

Let me just say, I hate moving. We have moved so many times in such a short amount of time that I am beyond ready to plant some roots and stay awhile. What about you? Are you a perpetual nomad like me (by force or by choice), or have you never moved in your life? Also – any moving tips and tricks to share are heartily encouraged!

3 Books Every Christian Mom Should Read

books mom should read

books mom should readIf you’ve been around the blog for long, you’ll know I love to read. My ideal way to spend an afternoon is curled up with a warm beverage and this month’s book club pick, and I wish my favorite fictional characters could be my real life friends.

As a mom, I tend to have a love/hate relationship with books on motherhood. Often, books written for women/moms can tend to be more fluff and less substance. Since I’m a working mom with two toddlers 3-and-under, time for reading is a prized commodity, and I want to spend my time on something that’s going to be impactful and “meaty.” With that said, there have been a few books about motherhood that have made a lasting impression on me, and to which I return often for a renewed perspective or encouragement. Here are 3 books I think every Christian mom should read:

  1. Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role by Erin Davis. Beyond Bath Time is a great book for new moms. I read this book within the first few months of having my first child, and it helped me to embrace my calling as a mother. When I got pregnant, I struggled with how motherhood would limit my ability to use my gifts and education in a way that would be fulfilling to me. Beyond Bath Time helps moms recognize the importance motherhood plays in the kingdom of God, and it gave me a newfound perspective for seeing my children as my mission field.
  2. Treasuring Christ when Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman. I first read Treasuring Christ when we had our second child. If you’re a mom, you know that going from one kid to two is one of the hardest transitions in parenting. Not to mention, our daughter was just turning two years old, so we had two kids 2-and-under. I was in the trenches of diapers, night-time waking, breastfeeding and postpartum depression while also moving with a newborn and a toddler. I was overwhelmed, and Treasuring Christ provided such rich, gospel-centered truth to keep my eyes pointed towards Christ when everything around me felt chaotic. It also helped me to identify my life-verse for motherhood, 2 Corinthians 9:8, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. Motherhood is a good workand God’s grace abounds to us moms so that we may abound in our mothering. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
  3. Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. If you didn’t know this already, I have a strong-willed kid. She is both a delight and a challenge. After reaching my wits’ end with her one day, I reached out to friends on Facebook for advice and this book was overwhelmingly recommended to me. After reading it myself, I wholeheartedly agree this is a must-read for moms, especially if you have a strong-willed little one.

I am constantly seeking wisdom and grace on this motherhood journey, and these books have been a source of both for me. What books about motherhood have made a big impact on you?

My Favorite Apps for Working Moms

apps for working moms

apps for working moms

When you’re a working mom, it seems like you’re constantly on the go. From daycare drop-off to grocery shopping, working moms are busy women with a never-ending to-do list. As a working mom, my smart phone helps simplify my life by providing easy access to information quickly and in real time when I’m on the go. Here are a few of my favorite apps for working moms:

  1. EveryDollar – EveryDollar is a budgeting software that is accessible from both your computer and your smart phone. It’s a Dave Ramsey product, so it works with his financial planning model. You can create budget categories, and track transactions within them. If you pay the annual membership fee, you can sync your bank account, and it automatically updates with your bank ledger and you can designate the transactions accordingly. It’s super helpful for me to keep track of our monthly expenses and to see how we are doing in reaching financial goals. It also helps me from having to use more than one app since I can sync my bank account to it. Working moms who manage their family’s finances will find this app useful.
  2. Wunderlist – Wunderlist is “the easiest way to get stuff done.” It helps you keep track of your to-dos, and you can create subcategories within your different lists. You can also share your list with others, and it automatically syncs when they update the list. Wunderlist has been incredibly helpful for us with our grocery lists. Instead of having to ask my husband, “is there anything you need from the store?” and him answer “no” only to discover something 5 minutes later, he can add it to the list and it will update to my phone immediately. Whether I’m planning a Target run or my weekly grocery haul, Wunderlist makes this working mom’s life easier.
  3. Yummly – Yummly is a working mom’s best friend when it comes to meal planning. It creates personalized recipe suggestions based on your preferences. When you find a recipe you like, it will create a shopping list for the ingredients you’ll need. As you continue to save recipes, it will continue to update your list. This app is so convenient for planning our family’s dinners for the week and creating my shopping list. It saves me time and energy by doing the work for me, which is like gold to the working mom.
  4. Pinterest – Now, who doesn’t love Pinterest, right? I’ve developed a new-found love for Pinterest since becoming a working mom. Whether I need to find a quick and easy recipe or a simple snack for a daycare party, Pinterest is a wealth of ideas for busy working moms.

These are just some of my favorite apps to make the working mom’s life easier. Do you have any apps that you love? I’d love to hear them!

Our little family

Our little family

Here she is…our little bundle of awesome. We have been so blessed by her in the two short weeks that she’s been in the world and out of the womb. Sweet baby Ray was born on 2.16.13, weighing 7lbs 13oz.