Monday, October 27, 2014

Crafty Momma Time: Scrabble Family Name Board

I've been wanting to make this Scrabble family name board for our family since I was pregnant with Evy.  We actually used the Scrabble board as an announcement that we were having a baby girl. We included her name and then "it's a girl"on the Scrabble block.  The Scrabble that I used was one that we've had at our house for a while. If you want to do this on the cheap, you can find these at yard sales or at your local Goodwill.  On a Goodwill run that I made with my mom this weekend, I actually found several Scrabble boards and they were only $2.00! So this could be a very inexpensive craft that you could do for your family or as a gift.
What You Need:
1. Scrabble game (appr. $2)
2. Ribbon ($1.99 Walmart)
3. Glue Gun
It may take you awhile to get all of your family's names matched up, but after you do just glue each letter down with the glue gun. I Also wanted to do an "Est. 2007", but Scrabble does not come with numbers. So I improvised by turning over a few unused letters and added the numbers with a black marker. After all my letter blocks were secure, I turned over the board and glued my ribbon securely to the back.
This is such a cute addition to our office/kids play room!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chicken & Sausage Bell Pepper Gumbo (crockpot edition)

You know what I love most about fall.. it's crock-pot season! I could make a crock-pot meal almost every night if my husband would let me, but it always works best for the fall food.
Today I'm trying something new. It's the combination between a stuffed bell pepper soup and a chicken and sausage gumbo that I had seen on Pinterest. SOOOO these ingredients are somewhat a combination of the two.
Our Spring Garden is still producing a ton of bell peppers and banana peppers so after going out there this morning and picking a whole basket full, I decided to create this recipe for dinner.

4-6 medium green bell peppers
5 small banana peppers
1 onion
1 can diced tomatoes (celery /bell pepper style) (did not drain)
1 can diced tomatoes and okra) (did not drain)
3 frozen chicken breast
1 pound sausauge (I used deer sausage that was a Philly cheese steak blend)
1 cup chicken stock broth
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Cajun Seasoning (I used Zatarains and Slap Ya Momma)

1. Dice up all your peppers and onion
2. Mix peppers, onions, cans of tomatoes, and chicken stock.
3. Add chicken and cut up sausage (both were uncooked and chicken was still frozen).
4. Add butter, garlic and cajun seasonings. For the Zatarains I just shook enough to cover the mixture a good bit.)
5. Turn crockpot to low and cook for 5-6 hours.
6. Shred cooked chicken and serve over white rice with a side helping of cornbread!

I started this at about 12:30 lunch time, and it was done at 4 pm, but we didnt serve it till around 5 pm...and it was delicious! Sometimes you gamble trying out something new, especially if you make it up as you go, but this was definitely a recipe we will be repeating! Lots of garden fresh veggies and the deer sausage was meat from our very own freezer! This is one stuffed {Lucky} family!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

That's What MommaLo's are made of

So, its been awhile, a little over a month since my last post. The entire month of September was just one upset, one problem, one tragedy after the other. My faith had been tested on more than one occasion, but even in the midst of my personal hell, my hurricane, God was faithful. He always is. His love is constant, and even though I asked Him "Why this Lord?" too many times to count...He was always there, always bringing peace to myself and my family.

Trust His Will MommaLo passed away on September 27th. The two weeks leading up to her passing consisted of her family gathering by her side to help take care of her as her disease Amyloidosis slowly took her from us. I can't say that I never got angry at God, because I did. But I can say that my beloved grandmother never did. Through it all, she held firm that her suffering would serve a purpose, even if all it did was bring knowledge to people and even the doctors in this town who hardly knew anything about the disease. And in watching her suffer, I too found purpose in it because it CHANGED me. It allowed God to do a work of faith in me that I have never known. I had to trust in his sovereignty. Even though I couldn't understand his purpose, I had to trust his will.

So many times in those two weeks, I swear God spoke straight to my spirit. From crying out "Why Lord? Why her? Why now? Why this way? How does this turn out for good when it feels so bad" And he would answer me. Whether it was through seeing the verse Romans 8:28 on a passing church sign the very moment I broke down to question Him, or having the song "Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture be the first thing you hear has you and your husband get in the car at 11:30 at night to rush up to the farm because the family was called in thinking it "was time." I had restarted reading of Purpose Driven Life during my private devotion time, and the three days between her passing, her viewing, and her funeral were about Life on Earth is a Test, a Trust, and a Temporary Assignment. Time after time, when I cried out to God, He answered me. It wasn't always the answer I thought I needed, but when my faith was waning, God made sure that my "little mustard seed" was watered enough to bring me peace and comfort in Him alone. God might have used modern technology, a devotional book that I have read before, and songs on Pandora to speak to me....but He spoke time and time again in a way that I understood and could listen too. His timing is always perfect.

After, her passing I was driving to the funeral home that night for the viewing. Hunter was coming later after the sitter for the girls arrived at our house for the night. Being alone in the car, with the rain coming down on the outside, I had another moment with God. Another angry moment. But even in my anger, He comforted me yet again. I was reminded that God was not unaware of our suffering, of our loss. It's not just a human emotion that we feel the pain of our separation from our loved ones, if anything it is that loss that God knows all too well and He sympathizes  with us more than even we can comprehend. In my moment of grief and anger, God spoke directly to my Spirit, "Katrina, just like you mourn the separation and loss oh her, I too mourn the separation and loss of my children from Me because of sin. BUT I have provision to be with you just like I have made provision to be with her." It was in that moment, listening to that still small voice that faith became so grounded, that I finally felt peace in trusting in his will.

How true is that? God is not blind in the suffering of His people. I miss my Mommalo, I long to be in her presence even now. But death has separated her from us. God feels all that and so much more for each of his children. He understands our grief, our pain. He longs to be in our presence, but is separated by our sin. But He Loves us so much that He sent His One and Only son to die on a cross for our sins that we may have eternal life. I know that my grandmother is in His presence now. I miss her, but I know she isn't missing me because she is basking in the presence of her Savior and her God.

My MommaLo wrote poems and sayings for alot of her loved ones. We have a notebook filled with her writings, and it is a comfort and joy to have her thoughts with us to look back on.
A Poem MommaLo had written about Me...sounds so much like Kara today

 About a day after her passing I was talking with my daughter Kara about MommaLo, trying to explain to a four year old about death and loss in a way that her little mind can comprehend and except. She, like many children, is resilient. She understands that she is gone, and she isn't coming back, but while she was coming to this understanding she asked me "Who is gonna be MommaLo now? Do I get a new one?" Its such a simple question and I understand in the eyes of my daughter that when things "die" or run out of "battery" life we have always just got a replacement for it, but I explained to her that people are far more precious than animals or things and you can't get a replacement for them. They are just too special. I also went on to say that you could never find another person all over the world like MommaLo because they just don't make people as special as she was.

It was that night that I started the following poem. It's taken a good month to finish because I would have weeping moments thinking about her. I also allowed some time, because as the days rolled by I would be reminded of something else that was so uniquely her to add to this. One of my greatest fears is that my daughter Karabella won't remember to the full extent how important my grandmother was to her and her life. Kara's age during this time has been both a blessing and a curse. She is not old enough to feel the pain of the loss to death, but yet she is also so young that as she grows older her memories will fade. I want my daughter to remember her MommaLo. I hope that by constantly keeping her memory alive by pictures and videos and by talking about that person that MommaLo was, that her memory about her will remain.

The following is 
"That's What MommaLo's Are Made Of"

Love and laughter, family and friends
Gathered around the table for supper
That's what MommaLos are made of

Juicy fruit gum, Sunday school lessons, 
a lap where her grandbabies are always welcome
And singing the second line chorus from the red hymnal
That's what Mommalos are made of

First love to last love, 
an always constant love for her man, 
the love of her life, my Pop
That's what MommaLos are made of

Praying over her children,
going grey early over those twins,
a mother daughter bond that runs to deep to comprehend
That's what MommaLos are made of

Pages and pages of Phase 10 scores, 
made from staying up late and
playing games with her husband
That's what MommaLos are made of

Shades of blue, dressed to the nines,
 jewelry to match every occasion
from the simple the to the fine
And pink fingernail polish used ever time
That's what MommaLos are made of

Bible passages highlighted & marked
Words of wisdom scribbled down,
And poems dedicated to loved ones
That's what MommaLos are made of.

Being the first to arrive for the birth of a grandchild, 
up before dawn to make her way into town, 
to be there to hold your hand and pray through the excitement and worry
That's what MommaLos are made of

Homecoming, Easter, and Family Reunions
Taking such joy and pride having all her
children and grandchildren each by her side
That's what MommaLos are made of

Life on the farm, fresh garden cooking
Fried cornbread and one of a kind Turkey dressing
That's what MommaLos are made of

Holidays with her family, 
surrounded by loved ones, baby giggles, wrapping paper, 
Pictures perfect posing, Big grins and cheesy smiles
That's what MommaLos are made of

Raising a family, going to school, 
looking at babies in their mommy's all day
Giving her all and being her best
That's what MommaLos are made of

Lazy creek days, Friday family prayer meetings,
Late Thursday Auction dates, Saturday morning yard sales, 
and Sunday morning church
That's what MommaLos are made of

Taking care of the sick and hurting through prayer and food, 
giving away her precious love freely by the handfuls
That's what MommaLos are made of

Being a strength for others during times of weakness...
even during her final days 
making peace with others and always giving praise to her heavenly Father
That's what MommaLos are made of

Its all these things, yet so much more
That made up a woman like no other before
You cant duplicate or another one to find
That could replace my grandmother, this MommaLo of mine.

Gone on to heaven before we were ready to say goodbye,
 in the presence of her Savior in the sweet by and by
She excelled in her faith, and she always carried hope...but her greatest gift was her love
'Cause that's what my MommaLo was made of.