December 31, 2009

New Years Eve Recipe!!

Each New Years Eve we eat Black Eyed Peas. As one of my parents was a Texan this has just always been a tradition in our house. I think it might be a Southern thing. The tradition says that eating black eyed peas on New Years Eve brings good luck, we eat them because most citizens of the South eat them this very day. We can't walk into a grocery store without nearly colliding with the pallets of canned black eyed peas swaying to and fro, right next to the sparkling cider ofcourse. Anyway my cousin's wife Karen makes the BEST Black Bean Salsa, which has no black eyed peas in it, but I am going to make this salsa and substitute one can of the black beans for a can of black eyed peas and it will fit nicely into our menu tonight. Enjoy this with chips or eat it on it's own. YUM!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Roast 1 pound of frozen corn at 450F with 2 Tablespoons oil, turning often for 15 minutes.

In very large container mix:
The roasted corn
1 cup chopped cilantro
3-4 plum or roma tomatoes chopped
2 jalapenos chopped and seeded
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped

Mix Dressing:
2-3 Tablespoons oil
6 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin

Pour Dressing over corn/bean mixture and mix well. Marinate for a few hours. Just prior to serving, chop and add 2 large avocados.

--------------

Today is Derek's 13th Birthday. I am now the mom of a teenager, he is sheer joy. I took this pic last week at the Forts at Lake Fort Phantom, Derek is in the black shirt with his cousin Christopher and brother Jack.


I pray great mercies of love and grace over my son. May he always have a heart that seeks God and His will. May he always cherish those around him and err on the side of love and kindness. I am thankful for all he is.

--------------

I joined my friends for a girls nite last night, we hung out at a friends house and brought snacks, ate some delicious taco soup, watched an episode of Glee, played Rock Band, and began a movie before it was all of our bedtimes and was time to head home. To my crazy surprise they showered me with Back To School Supplies. I couldn't believe it, I have the cutest highlighters, binder clips, note pads, binder, pens, metallic paper clips, and day planning calendar to write all of my assignments in. I was blown away. It was so special and such a blessing to have friends that would even think of doing such a thing. Thanks to God for giving me friends. Thanks to my husband for praying diligently for me for years for God to bring a friend to me, He has brought me many...my friends but also my sisters in Christ. Thankful.

December 30, 2009

Let It Snow...Again.






We don't get snow every year in Abilene. To have it twice in a week is a dream. This second snowfall wasn't as wild as the first but it still left us with an inch or two of fun snow for the kids to play in. Derek got out and built a miniature snowman from some snow that was on my van. Here are some fun pics of him playing in the snow. This sweet boy will be a teenager tomorrow.
-------

While my sister Becky and her family were here I took some pics of them out at the Forts at Lake Fort Phantom. I posted them on my photog blog so the pics would be a bit bigger. You can click over to that blog from the sidebar where it says, Marcelain Photography Blog. I also took pictures of a couple downtown a couple of days ago, they are on the blog too. Love that there is snow on the ground for those pics.

--------

Kids have the rest of this week till they head back to school on Monday. Then I have one more week to go and I am starting school as a full time student. To say I am excited would be an understatement. I just can't wait.

-------

Thankful to God.

December 27, 2009

Let It Snow

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. All Christmas' have been wonderful but this one was made extra special with Rob's work schedule, and him having a 4 day Christmas break, and with my sister Becky and her family coming in for several days right before Christmas. I got some fun pics of she and her family while they were here and will post some of those this week.

The day Becky, Dallas, and the kids left for Kansas was the day the monster storm hit, which was Christmas Eve, the 24th. They tried their best to make it to Kansas, but ended up having to stop at a hotel, south of Norman, OK as the roads were not safe, and many closed down. I am glad to report that Christmas day they started their trip up a couple hours closer to Dallas' mom's home in Kansas and made it there by mid afternoon. Santa had come and the presents were waiting for the kids under the tree.

For all the holiday travelers, the snow was not necessarily their friend on the 24th, but for those of us who didn't have to be on the roads it made for a special treat. Here we are 3 days later and we still have snow on the ground, in West Texas!! The kids and Rob played out in the snow during the blizzard like conditions, and had a great time. It was our own winter wonderland. Here a couple of pics of the kids.





Christmas Eve we had planned to attend a local Christmas Eve service, but the weather kept that from happening for us, or so we thought. It turns out that the church service we were going to attend actually still took place, the news didn't differentiate which service was cancelled so we assumed it was the 6pm as it was scrolling across the bottom of the television, but was the 11pm that was cancelled. Tom and Elaine went as they didn't see the church closure information and they said it was a beautiful service and so heartwarming. My only disappointment this Christmas was that we were not there with them. I look forward to attending next year.

Christmas morning, Rob's mom, Elaine and her husband, brought over a yummy breakfast casserole and some sausage rolls and we started opening gifts at about 8:30am. The kids are allowed to dig into their stocking and open up those gifts when they wake up. They LOVE that! Then they wait for us to wake up while quietly separating out all of the gifts in their own piles.
All were blessed by the presents under the tree, but the greatest blessing was family being together and remembering Christ.

We went to the first showing of Avatar 3D at 12:25 on Christmas Day. We all loved it, although Jack and Sophie thought it got a little long for them. The movie was spectacular. Visually it was like a dream. I told Elaine and Rob after the movie that the colors make me think of the New Earth that God will have for us once ours is gone, Heaven. Although scripture tells us we could not even imagine how beautiful it will be, and that earth is just a shadow of the beauty we will have in heaven. James Cameron does a great job at stretching our imaginations one step beyond what we see around us here.

Christmas Dinner was hosted by Elaine and Tom and we enjoyed a wonderful meal at their home.

It was a great holiday. Derek's birthday is this week, he is a New Years Eve baby. He said he wanted to go see a movie and then come home and watch the fireworks on television that happen each year to celebrate the new year, but we say they are celebrating his birthday.

I will post some pics of my sister's family this week some time. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and that each day we remember the birth of Christ with as much excitement as we do on the 25th. God's sweet blessings to you for the New Year.

December 11, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

....these are a few of my favorite things...

This time of year my hands get so dry. The key to my hands not hurting from the cold and being as soft as they were 20 years ago is
Deborah's Collection Hand and Foot Creme I love this creme. Rob uses it too. Right before we go to bed at night we slather this on our hands and they feel so good the next day. It has a bit of a waxy feel to it when you rub it in, but it absorbs into your skin very quickly and immediately makes your hands feel hydrated. This product has 72% Aloe Vera. The good aloe too...high grade pharmacutical. I love it. I am a consultant for Deborah's Collection, so if you decide to give it a try then you can select me if you would like on the consultant page, TX-Abilene Tammy Marcelain. I am not getting any endorsement for putting any of these item's on my blog...isn't that a blogging rule now? Full disclosure.



This has become my most favorite Christmas album. I listen to it ALL day long and it never get's old. The message is wonderful and the tune's are upbeat and fun. Love Bebo!!!
Bebo Norman's Christmas Album



I can almost always be found with something hot brewing or steeping. I love hot drinks in the winter. I have come to love hot tea all year long. This is my most favorite... Earl of Grey from The Tea Spot in Boulder, CO I tasted the Tea Spot's tea at a Whole Foods in Dallas one day and have been a fan ever since. You can buy it off the shelf at Whole Foods, but I order it online as we don't have a Whole Foods in Abilene. I bought my tea cups from the Tea Spot too, makes steeping loose leaf tea SO easy, they even have collapsable silicon tea strainers now that can go with you anywhere...oh happy day. I have been known to take my breakable tea cups with me in my suitcase to make sure I can have my tea, now I can just take the tea strainer.



No picture here...just words...what is my one stop shopping place on the web for music, movies, books,...
Amazon.com. No crowds, low prices,..I heart Amazon.


To finish up a few of my favorite things, you can always find this link on my sidebar. I love
Eternal Threads
I have several Sofi Totes that I have bought over the years, they have carried my bibles/water bottles, keys, wallet...my bigger one, we call the Chemo bag, carried dvd's, dvd player, books to read, books to color, snacks, water...
Several years ago I became acquainted with Eternal Threads. This organization releases women from poverty by teaching them a trade and paying them a fair wage to make totes, jewelry, bookmarks, lace items...The Sofi Totes are made in India then they expanded to several places around the world. I just bought a beautiful matching necklace/earring set made of swavorski crystals by the women in Afghanistan, for $24. The prices are reasonable to purchase, and the women who participate across the world have seen their lives change. Eternal Threads also sponsors girls who would not otherwise be able to attend school in their country to attend school. This organization changes lives.
This is one of my Sofi Totes, I love the colors.



This hat just makes me smile. I don't think my kids would wear this being preteen age, but I can guarantee you this hat had Jack's name written all over it, only if he was 2 again ; ) It was made in Nepal.



For those of you who live in Abilene for Downtown Days tomorrow, Saturday the 12th, you can go to the Eternal Threads storehouse and purchase many items for 20% off. They are located at 101 S. Walnut, in that blue and white building on the corner of Walnut and S. 1st. Downtown. I love to buy gifts that give twice, once to the person who I am giving it to, and second to the person who made it.


What are some of your favorite things?

--------------------------

Today's tree ornament is my Armadillo Sheriff. He reminds me of the great state of Texas of where I was born and now reside. I was born in San Angelo, TX about 2 hours or so from where I live now, during my childhood I lived mostly in Arizona with some brief stays to my mom's homeland, Australia. My dad always said that the humidity in Texas made his hair curl which is why he loved Arizona so much. No moisture in the air AT ALL. I moved back to Texas when I was 23 years old, it was a journey that God had ordained for me, a journey that saved my life in so many ways. I left behind a life that was filled with too much of everything, and came to a place where I was grounded in the simplicity of family and the love of Christ. One of the prayers I love so much is from St. Patrick, Christ before me, Christ ahead of me, Christ beside me. That is what I found in Abilene. I found it in the people, in the churches and mostly in the example of my Grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins. I was able to see the fullness of life that I had never experienced, I wanted what I saw around me...which was unconditional, faithful love. Thanks be to God he says if we seek Him with all we have we will find Him and He is my all now. I needed family to help me find that and to give me a soft place to land and love me when I felt unloveable, they were the hands of Christ to me, and still are. Thanks be to God.
So this little Armadillo says Texas to me, and that makes me happy.

December 10, 2009

The Bumble

Today's ornament is The Bumble. Yes, I am dating myself here, but when I was a little girl there was no TV shows on DVD or video, so at the beginning of December we would always mark the date that Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer would be on television and everything would be planned around that special Christmas show. When I saw The Bumble I knew he belonged on my Christmas tree, he represents Christmas television from my childhood. Remember....Bumble's bounce.

December 09, 2009

The Butterfly Ornament

If I had to pick one ornament that brings a tear each year when I put it on the tree it would be this one. The Butterfly. My mom passed about 9 years ago, the Christmas after she passed I went shopping for an ornament that would remind me of her each time I trimmed the tree. My mom loved butterflies. I look for this ornament each year thinking of my mom the entire time, holding my breath until I can find it wrapped gently in tissue paper and in it's own special ornament cubby within the ornament tub. When I find it and hold it I can see my mom's face and her beautiful smile.

December 06, 2009

Full of fun.

My sweet friend Amber took her little precious Ruby to the book signing for Ree, The Pioneer Woman's, new cookbook. Ree is travelling to and fro promoting her new cookbook. I have made many of Ree's recipe's over the years and they are scrumpdillyicious. Anyway, Ree is also an avid photographer and took a pic of Amber and Ruby while she was signing books at the Dallas bookstore, then she posted it on her blog. So my friend Amber and Ruby are famous. Ruby is so cute in her crochet cap.
Click here to see Pioneer Woman's post with my friends.

Matt Chandler, the pastor of the Village Church in Highland Park near Dallas, you might have heard of him. He is a gifted pastor and deliver's amazing sermons that you can put on your ipod, iphone, mp3 or just listen to them on the computer. The Path is a series I am currently listening to. Matt was diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple of weeks ago, underwent brain surgery and last I checked is still in ICU. Please pray for he and his family. Before he went into surgery he made a blog post of what was on his heart. Amazing stuff.
Click here to see the post.

The Deeper Still Conference was wonderful. I had a great time with friends and was blessed to hear Kay, Beth and Priscilla speak in person. I have heart Beth at a Living Proof Live once before and it was superb. We were die hard participants as we arrived super early before the doors even opened to have seats close to the platform. When we heard Beth before we were towards the back of that venue and were able to see her well on the screen, but I wanted to be close enough to see the ladies without having to look at the jumbotron. I was thankful that the other girls that went were also excited to be close up. We did have good seats both days. Here is a pic I took of all three ladies right before Beth spoke Saturday afternoon.


Travis Cottrell led the worship which was GREAT. 9,000 women praising God together is such a special time. I love this picture because of the words behind him. The plastic framed boards were put up all over the venue for the women to write sentiments on, then an artist painted the hand of God over them all. It was a beautiful site to behold.


After the conference was "officially" over Travis and part of his worship team sang some good old fashioned Southern Gospel songs. Right after this Beth, Kay and Priscilla participate in a Question and Answer session. It was full of laughs.


--------------------------

I checked Travis Cottrell's blog after the conference to see his wrap up, he and his wife were posting a daily favorite ornament pic and I thought that sounded totally fun....I thought I would take that idea and bring it here and post some of my favorite Christmas Tree Ornaments. I don't expect to do it daily, but here and there will post some of my fave's before Christmas.
My favorite ornament of the day for today is one of Rob's and my first ornaments. This picture was taken of us before we were married. We both have quite a bit more hair ; )

December 03, 2009

Deeper Still Conference Starts Tomorrow OKC

This time tomorow I will be on my way with 4 other women heading to Oklahoma City for the Deeper Still Conference. Can you believe it? I can't, I bought my tickets about 10 months ago and have had this weekend in the back of my head all year long. Not letting myself think about it too much because I might not ever sleep if I did. These 3 women, rock my world. They have allowed God to bring His message through them, back to the bible basics and bring the messages in a way that there is life application all throughout. The knowledge that I have gained through bible study has blessed me so much, and this group loves scripture so much it makes study fun and challenging at the same time. I can not wait!! Yes I am a bible study nerd and am not ashamed.



Grabbed these pics from Priscilla's blog at Going Beyond Ministries. Rych is the photographer on all of them.

December 02, 2009

Cranberry Salsa Recipe

Wednesday. Woke up to some lovely snow this morning. It is such a treat for us to have snow on the ground. Here is my backyard.


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, I loved that Rob had 4 days off...in a row. It was the best Thanksgiving ever. Although, during the Thanksgiving festivities the kids were chasing each other and running around. Jack fell down and hurt his foot. I took him to the doctor on Monday and after xray's they called and said some of his bones in his foot were broken. After being re-xrayed at the orthopedic's office the next day, the doctor said that the bones are "buckled." Here is the xray.

Jack doesn't need a cast or a boot, he just can't run or do any sports for 3 weeks until it heals up. It is quite painful for him to walk on it, but he is certainly a trooper.

---------------

I hosted bunco on Monday. I made some yummy food. Several girls wanted the Cranberry Salsa recipe so here it is:
Cranberry Salsa
1 bag fresh Cranberries
1 small purple onion (chopped in quarters)
2 Jalapeno Peppers, I used 5 small ones. I just cut off the stem and did not seed them. Recipe calls for seeding.
2 T. Cilantro (I added double the Cilantro because I love it)
1 Cup Sugar or 20 Equal Packets (I used sugar, but will try Stevia or Splenda some time)
1-2T Lime juice
Combine first 4 ingredients in food processor, adding Cilantro last.
Once all chopped together in food processor then add 1 cup chopped Pecans, sugar and lime juice and mix together.

I let this sit in the fridge overnight. Then serve over Cream Cheese with Wheat Thins or another cracker to dip with. This recipe makes enough Cranberry Salsa for 2 blocks of Cream Cheese.

This is the perfect combination of sweet, tart and spicy.
----------