Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Tip

It is official this is the strangest blog post EVER! LOL Not really but I have found the best tip for cooking dry pinto beans and I had to share. Who doesn't love a big ole' pot of beans loaded with flavor (and ham) with a slice of cornbread? Or what about flavor packed pintos for your chili at a fraction of the cost of buying 4 cans of beans (1 bag dry beans $1, 4 cans depending on brand $3-4) or how about re fried beans without fat or frying;) Talk about universal I use this same "recipe" every single time I make pinto beans and since I don't buy canned beans and it is soup time we might use these more than I care to admit.

Universal Dry Pintos:
1-1lb page of dry pinto beans
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion
1tsp salt
1tsp Lawry's
1tsp pepper
1tsp garlic
2 tsp cumin

Wash and separate beans. Place in the bottom of your crock pot. Add jalapeno and onion along with seasoning. Pour in chicken broth and the cover remaining with water. Amount of water will vary because you want there to be "juice" after cooking and since beans soak up so much water you'll likely have to add more throughout the day.

Here are my beans all ready to go in my crock pot. I cook mine on high most of the day. And I also normally do a double batch. If you are going to serve as a meal add some ham at the beginning before you start cooking.
Once beans are done if I have made a batch to replace canned beans I scoop (juice and all) about 2 cups of beans into a quart size freezer bag, release all the air and store in my freezer until ready to use. When I am using them for chili I use the above single recipe and once the beans are done I add my fixings and allow to cook until ready to serve. For re fried beans just scoop beans using a slotted spoon in to a shallow bowl, mash with a potato masher adding the "juice" as needed until desired consistency. I also use about a half of the above recipe mixed with a pound of ground beef for our taco meat helping stretch the meal a little farther.

I have slowly started replacing things I use to buy canned because I was unsure of the high sodium levels and was leery about what they are adding to make them so shelf stable. Figured the "fresher" the better. So venturing to using dry beans was part of making that change. My family assures me these are LOADS more tasty than the canned ones I use to buy.

Hope you enjoy and if you try them please let me know how they turn out!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

When it's said and done...

NO "THING" will really matter!

I was recently down right offended when I posted on fb that Michael was praying and waiting for a word from God on whether or not to look for a new job. You see their comment went a little something like " your kids are older now...they can go back to school and you can get a JOB!" Seriously! I couldn't believe my eyes as I read the comment over and over in an attempt to make my blood stop boiling. Because first of all peer-pressure is less the older you get...um correction it is worse. And second because nothing about my post should have lead a soul to believe we were starving and about to be homeless (neither of which are anywhere near the case). The comment got me thinking not about going back to work which I would do in a minute flat if it came to that, but about the fact that when it all boils down we have chosen a path others think is less desirable.

We have chosen not to focus on the "things" of this world but to focus on God. "It's not what you have but who you have in this world that matters!" We have gone against the mainstream listening to God's call for me to stay at home, home school our children and leave family planning up to Him. Most people would look at our "books" and think we are crazy;) And that is okay...the only real opinion that matters is God's of course. Money is tight over here and I have never hid that. But the sacrifices we make now will all be worth it in the future. I promise we would live in a shack before we spent one more minute trying to achieve the "American Dream." Just can't do it anymore...could care less what the Jones are doing or driving or buying their kids. I know just like I know that the grass is green that one day my children will be left with something special because we chose to give them our time, love and affection and not material things.

After the fb comment I realized just how passionate I was about what we have chosen to do. And quite honestly I am sick and tired of being judged for my choice. Over time God gives me little "hugs" or blessings that confirm it is He who had spoken those things into my heart and I am thankful. We are so blessed to have been given 3 children (so far) to love and raise. We only get one chance at this thing and want to make it count.

So we chose to set "our sights on the unseen for those things are eternal."

Friday, September 7, 2012

I am bankrupt without out LOVE!

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I am nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's word with power revealing all mysteries and making everything as plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, JUMP, and it jumps but do not love I am nothing. If I give everything I have to the poor or even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr but don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do...I AM BANKRUPT WITHOUT LOVE!"

No more powerful convicting words have I ever heard!!! I just want my life to be the proof of HIS LOVE!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Life Lesson?

I have spent the last 2 (almost) years living in a state of worry, fear, stress, and such a state of exhaustion that I wasn't sure what it even felt like to feel "normal". I never understood this self imposed way of living since I lived the reality so many wonder if is even possible....That is...God was in control of my life and I had a roof over my head, food on my table, Michael had a job, we had a car to get us back and forth and despite the struggle I was able to stay at home with my little treasures and began homeschooling. I wont lie life was a struggle and that is why I let Satan in and fear dominate my way of thinking and living.

UNTIL...I had an encounter with God. Now know I have had encounters with God before and had somewhat yielded to the reality that He reigned in my life. But this recent encounter was like NO OTHER. I hadn't gone boldly before the throne as a matter of fact I was at a service trying to be as "small" as possible not wanting to be noticed. I had gotten to a point where as hungry for God as I was I was afraid of what would happen with my "mess" if he showed up! God sought me out that night with a word given through another person. It may not have sounded profound to the others in the room but it rocked my world because of the aftermath. I woke up the next day no longer afraid, worried or feeling stressed. I had rested the night before and actually "felt like somebody!" It was such relief. It was then that I realized I had lived so long in that state that I had let that replace my reality and no longer lived like I believed what I said I believed.

In the days ahead as I prayed and sought God to uncover my "alabaster box" I realized I had filled my life with "things" or  duties that I thought were important but that were actually filler. I started praying for God to lead me where He would have me go. As I prayed I uncovered several areas that I had been serving or rather obligated to because of my own guilt over saying no. I also realized those things I was using as filler were keeping me from actually doing what I have known for YEARS God was calling me to do. NUTS I myself was/am standing in the way of being all I could be. I finally was beginning to understand I can't do it all and give 100%. I had to say no to some new "opportunities" and I had to rid myself of some old ones. This was profound for me...I am a YES girl. I never say no not because I am worried of what others will think but because I can't stand a need not being met if I can meet it. But it is not my job to meet every need or do every job even if it means the job goes undone. God has called me home my first ministry after HIM is this home, my husband and our children. I want to pick only a few things to have my hand in and be able to give them 100% rather than doing 10 things and only give them 10%...Life Lesson for me for sure.

I am so excited to see where God leads me...leads my family. I am still standing firm clinging to the promises He has set in my heart.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Love One Another

When asked what the greatest command was Jesus said "to love one another...your neighbor as yourself." (Paraphrase compliments of yours truly) Then my pastor taught that as a Christian your debt to this world is LOVE. Seems plain and simple to me! Why is it then that people seem to think different when I stand up for what I believe? Why can't they seem to understand that I can LOVE a person even if I don't agree with their choices or opinions?

Seems like my LOVE or rather my ability to LOVE has been tested over the past few weeks not once but several times. As a national debate waged on Gay Marriage I decided to still support said fast food chain not necessarily because my belief lined up with theirs but because as a Christian organization they chose not to back down from what they believe is right and true. People said those of us in support where guilty of "hate and judgement"! I was appalled! You stand up for what you believe in and it is free speech we stand up for what we believe in and it is hate? I posted a fb status a little like this " I don't have to agree with what a person does to love them. The command was simple LOVE! With the same passion you believe what you believe I also believe what I believe. And to quote a rather smart guy " I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and I refuse to change the subject!" My LOVE was tested again when a family member made a choice for their family that was not one I agreed with as a matter of fact went against everything I believe. But I respected their choice and even kept my opinions to myself (not that any were needed they already knew how I felt). During what was one of the hardest times in their life I loved them and prayed for them.

That is the thing with Loving like Jesus loved us... You don't have to agree with a person to love them. He loved us even before we were born and went to a cross so that we would NEVER have to pay the price of our sin. NOW THAT IS LOVE. Love without conditions, love without reward, love beyond understanding, all consuming love! Why is it so hard for others to believe that if we are called to be like Jesus and follow those commands we are capable of that same love? Come lets just love one another despite our differences!

Not to curve too far off course but I want to clear one thing up about love. It has been said that if I "loved" one person or another I might do more to help them in their situation. I like how my pastor puts it " you can love them but don't have to take them home to raise." That is a wonderful way to look at things. Take them to lunch, give them a ride, pray for them and their family but not take them on as a project. I personally struggle with the part of love. I like to fix things, I can't stand to see someone struggle if it is a need that I can meet. But the truth is even if I can meet the need it isn't always my place to do so.

I just wanna love! I wanna love like others love me! I wanna love like Jesus did! The command really was simple....LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sum Sum Summer time!

We here at the McClendon house LOVE us some summer time. And even though it is a million degrees here we try to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather our area does have to offer. We have spent the last 2-2 1/1 months just being a family and enjoying each other. I thought I would save JUST A FEW pics of some of our summer fun! ENJOY...

Jesse started the summer of right. She took her blue ribbon winning dress to 4-H regional and won 3rd! Great job Jesse!
Cooper helped daddy clear some paths in Grandmothers woods. Highlight of the summer for Cooper for sure!
Took the kiddos (and my niece and nephew) to the local water park Spring Valley Beach. The kids were so excited I had to snap a shot while we waited for the gates to open.
360 Rush water slide that the Duece, Taylor, and Michael spent most of the day on.
"Ding Ding Bucket" in the kiddie area where Cooper and I spent ALL DAY!
Bella, Duece and Taylor
Cooper relaxin
Jesse waiting for lunch

Welcoming Jesse home from a week at camp

We spent several night this summer babysitting this little doll. J and D loved helping out with her:)

Decor at Coopers 4th Bday party. We celebrated at our local Chick-Fil-A easiest birthday party EVER! And so much fun!

X marks the spot for a wonderful birthday.
Present time
I made Cooper this cape for his birthday. He is showing off his mad bike riding skills with no training wheels and how the cape catches wind.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Seems like forever since I took the time to up date everyone on all our "madness". With a move, swim team, unpacking, setting up house, and looking at curriculum for next year there just hasn't been a seconds time for updating this lonely little blog. I have come to find out several people actual read this thing:) So I thought I better get back to it.

We have been here at the "country house" for 3 weeks tomorrow. We are so in love with both our new location and with our new home. It is such a wonderful place for us to practice making our lives a little more simple like we want. I am working so hard to get things all "set up" so I can share pictures with you all. I am working hard to have everything done in time for Coopers upcoming birthday party.
I am finally back at my sewing machine working HARD on a big order to recover a moses basket. I can't wait to share what I come up with and possibly add it to my shop! I have been BUSY BUSY turning out birthday gifts for the many parties we have attended the last couple months;) I love being able to create something personal for gift giving.

Exciting things seem to always be happening around here these days. My family has been asked to care for a sweet sweet 1 month old baby girl named Ryleigh. Her mom is a special person to us and it is our pleasure to look after this angel and love on her. My kids say they are practicing for when God blesses our family with another treasure. I have to admit Michael and I really do enjoy looking after her;)

Not much more to update! I think I have about covered it all. I am praying things will settle down enough that I will be able to update more regular. I would love to share more about our journey homeschooling and the road to simplifying our lives. Keep reading you never know what kind of "madness" awaits here at the McClendons!