Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kentucky State Fair!

This past weekend we headed up to Louisville, KY for the Kentucky State Fair.  It was our first time ever going and we had a blast!  We saw some shows and looked at the booths and ate some good fair food.  Olivia was especially happy to watch the dog show.  (She LOVES dogs!)  We also saw some fair food that didn't sound so good...fried Kool-Aid? Hamburgers made with Krispy Kreme donuts for buns?  Um, no thanks but if you're that brave, good for you!  : )

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Generosity in the Real World

Part One
I just finished reading, One Simple Act by Debbie MacComber and I highly recommend it!  It was just what I have been looking for lately!  I stumbled upon it at the library and I am so thankful I did!  She has so many wonderful ideas on how to be a generous person.  That’s not a word you hear every day but as Christians it is vital to grasp the importance of generosity.  We should set the example for our children by showing them often how to be a cheerful giver.  Giving generously blesses not only the recipients but the giver!  It’s not only about giving money.  That’s certainly an aspect of it but there are many other ways to be a giver without having the money to hand out. 
We can do good deeds for others.  My granny is 80 years old and a widow so I recently doubled a lasagna recipe that I made and gave her one of the pans.  This was enough for her and my uncle that lives with her to eat on for a few meals and she didn’t have to worry about fixing anything for dinner that evening.  And I didn’t have to worry about her getting a nutritious meal.  It cost a little more money but it wasn’t noticeable.  It blessed her but it blessed me even more to know that I made her life a little easier.  I included my daughter in the preparation so that she would feel apart of this as well. 
Another idea would be to mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn or pull their trash can in after garbage day.  If you are at church and you see something out of place, be attentive and fix it.  Don’t wait for someone else to do it!  Even if nobody notices, you know that you helped out in a small way.
 In One Simple Act, Mrs. MacComber writes about forgiveness as an act of generosity.  Boy, this can be a hard one!  I have a struggle going on in my spirit right now in this area!  But, with God’s help, I know that I will overcome!  Forgiveness frees you even more that the person that you must forgive!  Bitterness and hatred will eat at your spirit until you have nothing left to give!
 Being a good listener is another way in which to be generous.  How often do you talk to someone with half your mind while the other half is thinking about the errands or bills?  If someone trusts you with their thoughts and feelings, you can bless them by simply keeping your focus and letting them talk to someone who is completely there.  Don’t interrupt them or be judgmental.  They may simply need to get something off their chest.  They may not be looking for a solution so just be a good listener.
Hospitality…this is something near and dear to my heart.  I love to open my home to others.  Trust me, my home is nothing to…write home about. : ) I enjoy decorating and keeping my home tidy but I live in a very small duplex right now.  But, for instance, I am planning a fall gathering in September to invite a few couples from church to.  2 of the couples we are very good friends with and 2 of the couples we like very much but haven’t spent time with outside of church.  I’m very excited about it and I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that too!  But, it doesn’t have to be a big shindig, just a simple invitation to someone who could use fellowship.  I once heard of a couple who invited another family over after church and they had chips, salsa, and smoothies and the invited couple loved it and had a blast.  It’s about the fellowship, not the presentation! 
Part 2 Coming Soon!  : )

Blog Hopping at Homemaker By Choice 

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Husband's Favorite Hot Dog Sauce

Until I met my husband, the only "hot dog sauce" I had ever heard of was in a can.  But when I tasted this homemade hot dog sauce, I was hooked!  It's super easy and super good!  It has a little bit of a sweet taste...really reminds a little of Sloppy Joe meat. To make the meat very fine, I cook it over medium-low heat and add about 1/2 cup water.  Most of my recipes on my blog will be very simple because that's what I like to cook and that's what my husband likes to eat!  I am definitely no gourmet cook but if this stuff works for us, then maybe it'll work for someone else!  : )

Hot Dog Sauce

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

I'm not a food photographer...obviously!  Sorry!  : )
Cook green pepper with ground beef in medium saucepan. Drain.  Add remainder of ingredients to pot and cook about 20 mins over medium-low heat, stir occasionally.  Serve over hot dogs. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reading With Our Kids

Time Well Spent
I love to read!  I have loved it since I was a small child and I attribute it to my dad faithfully reading to me before bed each night.  I have done the same for my daughter since she was very little.  I began reading to her when she was about 6 months old but began a nightly reading ritual when she was around 18 months old.  I can’t say that we never miss a night but overall, I’ve done my best to create a love for reading in her heart.  Olivia has owned so many books over the years.  I’ve given away the books that she outgrew, except for a few that are near and dear to my heart.  There are those that have stood the test of time and age.  We have a select few that we have read since she was one!  Here are a few that we really enjoy and that we have read repeatedly.
Olivia’s Nana bought us this book when I pregnant with Olivia “Grace”.  It’s book of short prayers and it was always one of my favorites when she was small.
We discovered this book about a year ago from the library and Olivia liked it so much, I bought it.  I found a copy at Joseph-Beth Booksellers for $5.50! 
This is such a cute book.  It’s very short and simple but it is a great book for the nightly story time.
Everyone loves Olivia the Pig!  She’s adorable, spunky and she has my daughter’s name!  ; )
All of these books have sweet stories for you to read to your little one.  I would recommend them for ages 6 and under.  The Preschooler’s Bible is a great resource for small children but now that Olivia’s getting a little older, I am planning to look for something more advanced.  But for preschoolers, it tells Bible stories in a short and simple way which is what children that age need. 
Reading with our kids is definitely time well spent!  It creates a love for reading in them which will help them in so many ways through life and it gives us a specific time to sit down and focus on them for at least a few minutes.  I love cuddling up in the bed and reading to Olivia and she loves the time as well because she has Mommy all to herself!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Brittany's Awesome Salsa

This is our favorite salsa!  We are a little addicted to it around here.  Thanks to my cousin, Brittany, for giving me the recipe!  It's delicious with chips, topping tacos, or anywhere else you would use jarred salsa.  But, you probably won't ever use jarred salsa again!  ; )

2 cans Rotel (1 mild, 1 original)
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
About 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (use more or less depending on your taste)

Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor.  Enjoy!

This post is linked to Homemaker By Choice .

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Day at Berheim Forest

Recently we had the opportunity to take a day trip to Berheim Forest in Bardstown, KY.  It took about an hour to get there but it was definitely worth the little drive.  We love getting outdoors and we were pleasantly surprised by how nice this place was!  I had only heard of it in the last couple of months and I don’t know how I had never heard of it before!  It really is beautiful!

Berheim Arboretum and Research Forest was started in 1929 by I.W. Berheim and it covers a whopping 14,000 acres!  (Very impressive to my husband who is a wilderness fanatic)They offer various programs and events, fishing, picnicking, hiking, biking and refreshments.  There’s a really impressive visitors center that we all enjoyed.  They have areas for kids to play and explore hands on.  We had a delicious (and huge!) piece of pie from the little cafĂ© out on the patio.  

One of the things that I thought was cute and whimsical were the faerie houses.  They are little structures that have been created out of things lying around in nature.  They’ve been placed along a concrete path and we all enjoyed looking at those and imagining little fairies living there. 
There are numerous little ponds and the arboretum area is very beautiful.  Everything was so lush and green in the forest and I would imagine that if you were there at the right time you could view plenty of wildlife.   It would also be a gorgeous backdrop for family pictures…which is another thing that we need to do asap!  

One of the most important aspects of education, in my opinion, is getting hands on experience.  If you’re having fun, your mind is open to learning about what you see!  Although I am not homeschooling my daughter this year, I still realize that I am the most influential person in her life right now and her learning experiences begin with me and her daddy.  So, we take every opportunity to take her to exciting places and activities and teach along the way.  We teach her about plants, animals, weather, history or just anything we come across.  Of course, we do it on a child’s level and we don’t push her.  We just have fun and the info will sink in!

Getting outdoors and exploring is one of our favorite activities to do as a family and Berheim Forest was an awesome place to do that!

Monday, August 1, 2011

July at the Russell House

This has been a hot month in Kentucky!  It’s also been a good month for the Russell’s.  We began the month with an exciting company picnic and front row seats to an awesome fireworks display.  Olivia enjoyed the colorful fireworks and wasn’t too afraid of them, which was great.  

Keith won the tickets to the dinner train and so we got a long anticipated weekend away together.  It was so refreshing and I am so thankful that we were able to do that!  Olivia had a wonderful time with her grandparents, building sweet memories. 
Our library offered a free activity for kids called “Bouncing Ballerinas” and Olivia got to watch that presentation.  It was so much fun!  She got to see real ballerinas in their beautiful costumes and was chosen to practice with them in front of everyone.  She did a wonderful job and listened very well to the instructions.  J 
We finally went to the local elementary school and enrolled Olivia in kindergarten.  She is so excited and we met 3 of the 4 kindergarten teachers.  They were all extremely nice so I think any of them would be great teachers for her.  I pray that this school year goes well and that she thrives in that environment.  It’s hard on this mommy’s heart to see my little one growing up so quickly.  It’s really sinking in that she is entering a new phase of life and thus, I’m entering a new phase of parenting.  But, this a really fun age and I am enjoying the teaching that is involved at this stage and seeing her understand things in a new way.
This past weekend, we made the journey up to the Ashland area to spend a couple of nights with family.  My sister in law and her husband were in from Orlando so Olivia got to see her aunt and uncle.  It was a good visit and we were blessed to see many other family members.  I’m thankful that some of my best friends are also my husband’s cousins.  It makes for fun family reunions.  ;)
My little cousin, Will turned 5 this month so we attended his birthday party.  The local firefighters were so kind to visit and let the kids climb on the truck.  That was lots of fun for them!  I love Olivia's face in this pic!  

I am in the process of memorizing Proverbs 31:10-31.  I have started memorizing scriptures and passages that are very important to me.  I was a Bible quizzer when I was a young teen and although I obviously can’t quote everything or locate every verse I memorized, it has truly been a blessing to recall those scriptures when I needed them the most.  The word of God is certainly “quick and powerful” and the Lord is so faithful to speak to our hearts through it.  “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
I’m a little apprehensive about beginning August.  My baby starts school and I am going to have some time on my hands!  What to do with the new-found time is the question!