Monday, November 3, 2014

With Every BLESSING Comes a Challenge

Apples, Apples, Apples I had been swimming in apples for two weeks.  All around the house I was finding apple cores and half eaten apples that my three kids had been snacking on.  My Grandma has a Golden Delicious Apple tree that every other year when it is on produces mounds and mounds of large delicious apples.

 I look forward to it and my mouth starts to water just thinking about it.  Since it is only every two years, I appreciate the apple abundance because I have been waiting for it.  But when I am faced with canning, drying, and cooking the apples often I forget the blessing and just remember the challenge before me.  

I was shopping for journals for my sister-in-law's birthday and I came across one with a saying on it that really struck me.  It read: "With every blessing comes a challenge and with every challenge comes a blessing."  I find that life has blessed me more in the number of blessings lately but it does not make life more simple.  With blessings come responsibility and challenges.  Which I am grateful for most of the time.

Now on to the APPLES.

Apple Pie Filling on German Pancakes, Applesauce muffins, Apple butter, Applesauce cake, and Cinnamon Applesauce to name a few of the wonderful ways I love to eat apples. I have made about 15 pints of apple butter this fall in the crockpot.  And the picture of my crockpot is the result of all that apple butter.  Click here for the Crockpot Apple Butter recipe. 

The leaning Slow Cooker of Goodness


 Crockpot Apple Butter

I have also dried about 36 trays of apples, in my sister-in-law's 9 tray Excalibur Dehydrator that she picked up at a yardsale for $10,  and canned about 14 quarts of Apple Pie Filling.  

Now after the challenge of canning, dehydrating, etc  I am looking forward to the BLESSING of my family getting to eat it all.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Menu Plan 10-29 through November 11-2

One thing that I love about menu plans, is that even though I am the kind of person that is not always good at following plans, at least I know we always have food for the meal plan in the house.  Knowing that I have all the ingredients for a recipe helps us eat out a lot less.  I also have to go to the store less often and save money since I am only buying what is on  the list.  I also stock up on items on sale that we use often.



I have found that doing this eliminates stress from my week,  As I am making my meal plan, I plan out the rest of my week and life runs much smoother.  I am only planning meals for a couple days this time since I will be doing another meal plan and a big shopping trip this weekend.

Wednesday, October 29th - Breakfast for dinner - Amish Baked Oatmeal
 and fruit

Thursday, October 30th - Soup - Hamburger Vegetable Soup with rolls

Friday, October 31st, Halloween -  Halloween Dinner at Nana's 

Saturday, November 1st - Taco Night - Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

Sunday, November 2nd - Sunday Roast - Peach Glazed Pork Roast Potatoes, and Green Beans

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Four Ways to Serve (That Work for Me)

To paraphrase some thoughts spoken at our Sunday Relief Society Meeting (women's meeting), "Service is not always going to be spending the whole morning baking bread and walking it over to someone then spending the whole afternoon watching their kids or helping them around the house; although some days it may be."  Most of the time, service is the little things.

Here are some ideas I have had of ways to serve or things I have done that work for me:

1.  Drop by some of my excess food: apples, pears, zucchini or whatever I want to share and if I can, include a simple favorite recipe, like crockpot apple butter.
Be Honest, this looks gross.  But it tastes and smells so good after cooking down for 24 hours.


2.  Send someone a text that you are thinking about them.  It could be your brother that lives three states away or a good friend that moved that you miss.  Let them know you are thinking about them.  For example, I was taking a walk in the park with the kids and remembered the time we went there with my brother and had to text him to let him know we remembered that day.  I was in that same park a couple of months later and saw some moms talking while their kids played and remembered many days, my friend, Nicky, and I would get together and talk while our kids played so I texted her right then and there.  I find that if I wait to text or call I forget.

3.  Pray for them you never know who is praying for you.  Secret be, there are certain neighbors of ours whom my kids often pray for individually.  Know you are loved more than you can know,  We hope our prayers are helping in some way. 

4. If you get a good deal on something, like diapers or chocolate, think about who could use some or both and drop it by.  

That's it for now.  What ways of serving work for you?  Or in what ways have others served you?


Serving from the Heart - The Beginning

From February 2005 through August of 2006, I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a missionary for my church.  For 18 months, I wore a name tag with two very important names right next to each other, my name and the name of Jesus Christ.

On my mission, I learned that love is about service.  When you love, you want to serve people and you do.  We helped people move, declutter, clean up their house after a tragic fire, quit smoking, host a baby shower, decorate a Relief Society room, make drapes, and much much more.  Those were the best times.  There is something enlivening about rolling up your sleeves and going to work.


Love is work.  And it is the best kind of work.  As a missionary, I learned that one of the most important people to serve was my companion.  I have a binder from my mission and in it is a list I made entitled Things Sister Villela Wants.

They were small things, some things we could do together like memorizing scriptures, and some things she needed time to do, like take a short nap in the afternoon or work on her mission farewell paper.  I had fun making the list and checking things off as I did them,  Sister Villella was easy to love.  



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Women's Session

Women's conference is something I look forward to every year.  Associated with it are vivid memories of answers to prayers and an overall feeling of peace.  While listening to Elder Uchtdorf's talk this year I think a lot of people focused on these words below but I think other words he spoke delivered more power.

"Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?"

These are some of the words I think speak more clearly to the message he was conveying:

"You will always and forever remain a daughter of God. Your Heavenly Father has high aspirations for you, but your divine origin alone does not guarantee you a divine inheritance. God sent you here to prepare for a future greater than anything you can imagine."

"Once you understand the true nature of God and His commandments, you will also better understand yourselves and the divine purpose of your existence. With this, your motivation for following the commandments changes, and it becomes your heart’s desire to live the gospel joyfully."

I know we are Children of God and since we are there is a work for us to do.  Sometimes we look at work as drudgery; I know I do.  But can our attitude about the work we have to do change; especially when it comes to the work and commandments of the Lord?

Conference - Beyond Just Notes #1

So far we have had two sessions of conference, I am so excited to hear the word of God.  Many conferences have passed where I passively listened to conference.  I never let the words spoken there get into my heart and affect my actions.  But lately, I have hungered and thirsted after righteousness.  Service, the service where I know I am doing God's will, has become a joy.  And I have loved reading and pondering on the scriptures more and gaining a knowledge of truth.  Truth is truth and good is good. 

I know that this type of testimony does not guarantee I will always be perfect and charitable. But I can be "perfect at trying".  When Brian and I were dating that was one thing that we fell in love with about our relationship was that we both were trying.  More important than who we love is how we love; this is why it is so important that we love God first.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Menu Plan for 9-27 through 10-02

I did not get to making many of the meals I had planned to last week.  And I am just going to plan meals through payday next week and then see how I feel.  Much of the time what we eat depends on what I feel like eating and that is why it is important to find ways to add flexibility into menu planning.

Saturday - Meatless - Veggie Stir-fry on Rice with Apple Crisp

Sunday - Freezer Cooking - Garlic Honey Chicken and Baked Potatoes

Monday -Pasta Night - Pasta Bake but swap the ratio so there are more veggies than pasta (I got this tip from The Biggest Loser this week)

Tuesday - Mexican -Chicken Tamales (from Winder Farms) with Fancy Refried Beans

Wednesday - Pizza Night - Pizza and Salad

Thursday - Casserole -Yummy Sausage Casserole