now browsing by category


Beef Brisket. Oh My!!!


Bluebonnets at there BEST!!!

This past spring, while in Texas for a month accompanying my husband on a business trip we got to experience some of the BEST brisket E.V.E.R!!  Oh my!  It was just that good.  Merv has traveled a lot to Texas for business in the past 8 1/2 years of our marriage and he always talks about the brisket.  Brisket is something I have never made but I knew I had 2 pieces in my freezer that I have been saving for the right recipe and the right time.  They were cuts we got when we purchased a quarter of a beef two different times, I just knew that they are expensive cuts and ones that I don’t want to waste frivolously.


I apologize I don’t have better pictures. I always seem to forget to pull out my camera when I am in the kitchen!

While in Texas, I asked all the locals how to prepare brisket, of course they did not share there secrets but most of them told me they smoke it and have never done it in an oven.  Well that automatically knocks me out of the ball park because I don’t have a smoker. But then I remembered my friend, Rita had mentioned several years ago that she has a recipe.  I asked her for it and it is a keeper, yes in deed.  Granted the brisket didn’t  taste  completely like the Texans do it but it sure was delish.  I think it will be a new favorite for special occasions at our house.  My boys 4 and 6 years old ate meat like grown men the two days that we had this on the menu. This was our Father’s Day meat entree and hubbs was happy!  You need to allow some time for the baking but it really is an easy meat entree!


Because I had 2 pieces of brisket I had a total of 6 1/2 lbs but you can easily do this recipe with more or less.

Take your meat and pound seasonings liberally into the meat, don’t cut the fat off of this meat. I used salt and pepper, liquid smoke (I would say 1 tbsp per side), 2 fresh garlic (per side)  and 1 fresh onions (per piece of meat).  Wrap meat tightly in foil, with fat side up so that the fat drips down into the meat while baking.  I triple foiled it. I wanted to retain all the juices and steam.  Place it in a roaster pan with a lid. Set your oven temp at 200 degrees and let it set in the oven for a long winters nap.  Rita’s recipe said 8 hours but she advised me to check it at 6 -7 hours. I am glad I did because my smaller piece would have been way over done before the 8 hour mark.  I allowed the larger piece the full 8 hours.

Allow the meat to cool.  Slice it and refrigerate over night if you want it for the next day.  If you want it for dinner just top it with BBQ sauce of your choice and re-heat just until hot. You do not want to cook it any longer you just want it nice and hot to serve.  I hope you will find this as delish as we did.  If your having company for the 4th of July this would be such a great piece of meat to prepare!


Ramblies from my Path of Life

Life for me has been kind of random as of late.   Mentally and physically preparing for the birth of my 4th baby, which should arrive in 4 weeks. I am preparing room in my for heart for this little baby that just kicks and kicks and I can’t wait to hold that slimly little baby close to me.

Mother's Day 2014

Birthday weekend

I turned 40 last week.  We partied, thanks to my hubbs, mom and sister who were scheming behind my back.  My mom and sister prepared such a delightful brunch for the guests my husband carefully thought thru to invite; some really good girl friends and some older woman who have spoken into my life. I was so humbled by their presence and kind words!  They offered me life!

A gathering of Friends

A gathering of Friends

My mother and sister with me at the celebration

My mother, sister and I  at the celebration

The green beans are up and the 50 tomato plants look great.  This is all thanks to some dear folks from church who found out we were not going to do a garden this year and asked if they could share  our garden space.  Why “Yes please, we would be happy to share our garden plot and the work load.”  I am so thrilled about this opportunity.  It’s just a small way I am seeing Jesus care for us!


I need these babies, last year I froze 55 qt bags and I have 2 left.

My deck which was barren and simple was transformed when my mother and sister showed up with presents to make it a lovely, oasis. They strung lights and what not.  A place where I want to go have my quiet time at.  My husband bought me a beautiful bistro table complete with red pillows and  umbrella.  We love to sit out there and enjoy the quiet and I have been fortunate to have a few friends over to sip coffee with me, it’s  just a respite from the daily

hold rums of living!

IMG_2388 All 100 blueberry and 45 black raspberry plants are in.  My hubbs, boys and I did it one day.  I hurt for days after wards and felt like I could sleep for a whole week post berry bush planting.  But they are in and we hope to produce a lot of healthy small berries out of that patch for years to come.


CJ just happy to mix the peat moss, water and dirt!


I have been crafting a bit, rare occurrence these days.  I forgot how wonderful a hot glue gun smells.  I used to use mine all the time, when free time was more plentiful.  Just that smell takes me back, it’s a smell of days gone by.  It was all so odd how it took me back.  Last week I also  finally took down a few remnants of Christmas, (red berries that were still pretty and Christmas cookie jars) whew was I ever behind this year!!!

IMG_2378Fire fly’s and little boys are such a wonder to me.  My boys loose all track of time when they set there hearts on catching fire fly’s.  They remind me to linger just a bit longer.  The other night, in the rain they are climbing on rails with nets and what not because they wanted to capture the firefly on the window all the while they had already been given orders to get there jammies on.  They really were not being defiant, they were just lost in the wonder of light.  When I stop and look at the world through their eyes, it causes me to want to slow down just a bit more!

Our special company!

Our special company!

We happened upon a local, reasonably priced U-Pick strawberry patch this summer and have picked well over 100 lbs of strawberries.  Let’ s just say my husband has passed his love of straws onto his boys!!

Angel food cake, whipped cream and fresh straws! Yummo!

Angel food cake, whipped cream and fresh straws! Yummo!

I am using lots of paper plates these days.  I have given myself permission.  Sometimes it’s in the giving of permission that you realize it really is ok.  That I am not lazy, but it is a coping mechanism to survival.  I want to live life well and not feel like I am constantly in a squeeze.  So part of that is using paper as I finish out this 3rd trimester pregnancy, and work on  umpteen freezer meals (will share a post in a week or 2 about freezer meals) for when baby #4, and homeschooler #1 need my attention and all of us need to eat!

I still dream about business, it’s amazing to me how it side wipes me every now and again.  I love it that ‘HOPE’ is kept alive by these little side swipes.  The Lord keeps bringing people into my life to remind that HE really did place that dream in my heart.  I will run into old customers, job opportunities (even though I am not willing to lay down these moments with my babies for those opportunities) and people who want to pick our brains and draw from our experience.  It all just happens in the oddest of places but out of that HOPE  is kept alive in my soul.  I wonder if there will ever be a ‘release’ in my heart to do another business or what it will look like? I have many dreams and many more questions but for now, we will plant 30-50 each of peonies and hydrangeas and see what kind of LIFE they will bring to us and just maybe a business opportunity?   Peonies have got to be the prettiest flowers there are.  This lovely bouquet came from my friend Sarah.  They have come and gone but I still wanted to share their beauty.


And finally, as I prepare for baby #4, I am amazed at the growth in my soul. I remember being so overwhelmed about ‘all the stuff’ that was not getting done when I had  baby #1.   I have learned to let go of things that really weren’t quite as important as I deemed them to be.  Not that they didn’t have value in our home but I think that as I am preparing my heart for baby #4 and I see all the things that may not get done;  like my kitchen floor not getting swept every day or the house not perfectly picked up or a blog post that is 4 weeks past due, I realize that there is more of a settled peace in my heart today then there was 6 years ago when I was adjusting to baby #1.  Jesus is inviting me to press in, to walk this path with a new sense of rest.  I would never have thought this possible but I am learning that this life, our journey is not so much about our circumstances but it is about pressing in and embracing what may seem to be  schedule irritations.   I am finding this quote so amazingly true!!   “The More You Love Your Decisions, the Less You Need Others to Love Them.”

Whatever the hard is that your wanting to run from or fighting to press into, I trust that you can find the place deep in your soul to accept what you need to and  walk your journey with ‘grace!’



Angel Food Cake Roll


This is one of our favorite desserts and with fresh berry season just around the corner I thought I would share this recipe with you.  It’s so simple!  You can use any variety of berries that are in season or that you prefer.

For this recipe, I just used a box mix of angel food cake that I picked up at the grocery store. I followed the recipe as stated on the box but baked it in a jelly roll pan.  I lined the jelly roll pan with parchment paper before I baked it.  I baked the cake for 25 minutes.  While the cake is still warm, flip the cake out on to a clean tea  towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Roll the cake up as if you already have your filling in it.  If you fail to do this it will be more difficult to roll up once it is completely cooled.


Fresh Fruit:

I used 1 cup fresh strawberries

1/2 – 3/4 cup each of blueberries and red raspberries


Cream Filling:

1 1/2 cup whipping cream, it will whip up to 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup powdered sugar

12 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

I whip the whipping cream just until soft peaks form, add the powder sugar and mix again lightly.  Side note: when working with whipping cream it is very important to not over beat it or you will have butter.  Once powdered sugar and whipping cream are mixed remove the whipping cream mixture  from the bowl.   If you don’t remove the whipping cream and just add the cream cheese you will not get a smooth consistency.  Then place the cream cheese in the bowl and beat until creamy.  Add vanilla extract.  Once the cream cheese and vanilla are smooth, add the whipping cream back into the cream cheese mixture and lightly mix together until well blended.


When you are ready to fill your Angel Food Cake Roll, unroll your cooled cake and spread  the whipping cream mixture all over it.  Place your fresh fruit and start to roll up the cake roll, starting on the long side.  If you start at the short side you will have a super fat cake roll.

IMG_0906This was our special dessert for Valentine’s Day this past year but we enjoy these often throughout the year!  With summer and all it’s berry goodness just around the corner, I am sure we will be eating this often.  In a few years we hope to have all our own berries come from our land.  We have 100 blueberry plants waiting to go in the ground this spring and we already have 20 red raspberry plants  and 100 blackberry plants planted.



Print or Download this Recipe

‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ Party

We hosted a party last week.  It was so much fun. I am not sure if  it was my kids or I who was most excited?  As a mom, I struggle in knowing how to wrap my arms around the fact that Christmas is about Jesus coming in flesh as a baby but we all get the gifts?  How do I impart the mystery of Christmas to my little ones?  And let me tell you I love gifts.  I love Christmas, I love all the cozy, warm feelings that go along with every thing around this glorious event.  But yet I wrestle, I want my kids to get it.  That Christmas is so much more then the gifts we get or that it’s not about Santa Claus  or being ‘naughty or nice’ contrary to what my neighbors are discussing with my boys?

So my husband and I have talked for several years about doing a party for Jesus.  Some year we hope to do it with dad’s joining us but this year it was a day party with mom’s and lots of little kids.

We invited about 16+ kids and told them to bring $$ for an animal project that we would pick out from a Gospel for Asia or World Vision Christmas catalog.  They had fun looking thru the catalogs!

IMG_0328These precious children blew me away.  They came up with $82.  We will probably  purchase chickens, seed packets and bibles with the money. 

My boys were so into this party.  I don’t think they nearly understood everything but then again maybe they got more then I think.  Cj was racing around taping little Snoopy pictures to the front door and Camden was blowing up every balloon he could put his little mouth on.  We were partying!  And it’s in that Spirit that Christ breathes wind into our souls, if we let HIM!IMG_0343We had a simple line up.  When they arrived we were going to go to the card making station and they were supposed to make a birthday card for Jesus and tell him what they want to give HIM or do for HIM this Christmas.  The cards were varied and touching!  Such sweet creativity!  For the wee ones we had a little baby Jesus paper that they could paste real straw on the manager.

IMG_0361IMG_0367And then this sweet girl, Elysa sang us “Happy Birthday Jesus” complete with the sign motions.  It was so sweet!!  And kids are so spontaneous.  It’s just so precious to see life thru their eyes!!

IMG_0325IMG_0357I hope that this Christmas you will have some time to sit and ponder the mystery of Christmas and how the message plays out in a practical way in your personal decisions!  Merry Christmas!