Grief

We laid my husband’s great niece to rest 4 days ago.

There is something about burying a 3 year old who has fought a battle with cancer that shakes you deep to the core.  The questions surface? You ponder! You cry! You some how come to terms that God  really is ok with the questions, because HE is present and is aware of our humanity!

There is a new element to grieving that I have never walked before, it’s helping my children grieve and grieve well.   We could have left them at home from the service but choose not to.  There is something about them seeing pain with Merv and I at there side.  They need to see our tears, hear the sadness in our voice and then also extend their  own arms and hug the people closest to the situation.

Our Kate, who is 4 months older then Imogen Sky just kept telling me on Sunday, “This is the saddest day ever?”  Yes baby, it is a very sad day! She was trying to figure out why they were burying her in a treasure chest, I actually like that name for a coffin better, I think it will stick.   As we lingered at the grave side, she told me she wasn’t ready to go even though the committal was over.  It wasn’t until we went and laid flowers on the ‘treasure chest’ that she was ready.  She was just disturbed that we would bury Imogene with the worms.  All of these questions were great opportunities to share with her that ‘this world is not our home.’  I don’t know to what degree she comprehends what I shared with her because some of these concepts I don’t get.  I choose to trust that the God who made Kate and formed her; will open her understanding even when it doesn’t seem right that we are burying little Imogen with the worms.

It is amazing how God is in the sadness, the questions?!  You hug your children longer, you linger a bit more as they tell their story. You realize that life, this specific life that has been crafted for me by an Almighty God isn’t meant to be taken for granted. We all know that but it’s in these moments that you ‘get it.’  All of you have had your own moments, your “it” where you heard Jesus calling you deeper into relationships.  That is what this past weekend has done for me!

Cheers!

Dawn

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_9852This is the final recipe in the FREEZER MEAL Marathon.  I am sure there will be several batches of these going into the freezer before we start back to school in September.  On those homeschooling days when it is taking longer then I want it to my freezer is my best friend, it has saved my sanity many times!

A little side story about our summer has to do with chocolate chip cookies.  My oldest, Camden is 8 years old and has lots of energy.  Sometimes mothering him requires more then I want to give.  He is very aware of his surroundings, the calender and what we are doing ‘next’.  Most times his ‘next thing’ and my ‘next thing’ are oceans apart.  The reality of laundry, blackberries that need picked,  and hungry mouths take priority over all the fun things on his agenda.  I was praying over this one morning a couple of weeks ago and it was like the Lord showed me that today was the day to teach him how to bake cookies.  So that afternoon we did it.  The next morning was Saturday and I had errands to run. I was in and out all day and he asked me if he could bake cookies,  I kinda muttered, “Sure, you are aware I won’t be here much to help?”.   By his own initiative he took that same recipe and baked perfect cookies.  The rest is history.  He has been baking a lot of cookies this summer.  God is such a creative God. I am so grateful for that prompting. It has helped keep him busy and it has helped me in the kitchen.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

3 cups butter, softened

3 cups brown sugar (sometimes I only add 2 cups of brown sugar and then just bump the flour to 1/2 cup more because I think this is too much sugar)

3 cups white sugar, I use sucanat sugar here instead of white

6 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

9 cups all purpose flour

(do not pack the flour in the measuring cup, if you spoon it in vs scoop your cup full I think you will find you like your end product so much better  )

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp baking soda

2 tbsp hot water

6 cups chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.

Dissolve soda in water.

Add flour, salt and soda mixture. Mix well.  Add chocolate chips.

Make cookie balls.

I freeze 12 cookie balls in quart sized freezer bags.  It’s a perfect amount for us to enjoy a fresh chocolate chip cookie.  Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

IMG_9750Cheers!

Dawn

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
180 cookies
Servings
180 cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
180 cookies
Servings
180 cookies
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Dissolve soda in water. Add flour, soda mixture and salt to dough. Mix until combined. Add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes, depending on your oven. We like them on the just done side so it is 8 minutes for us.
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Alpine Meatballs & Rice for the Freezer

We have been busy with all things summer, as I am sure you have been too.  Our days are filled with library trips, settling sibling disputes, Vacation Bible School (the kids absolutely loved this), picking blackberries and delivering to markets, pulling off Japanese beetles on said blackberries.  On a side note: we are tired of these little rascals! This week we have pulled off three 5 gallon buckets full of these nasty bugs in only 3 short days.

We do plan to have some down time, host a few people and do swimming lessons before school starts.

Here is this week’s recipe, a few days late :-).

IMG_9866

ALPINE MEATBALLS AND RICE FOR THE FREEZER

6 cups dry rice, cook according to directions

4 lbs ground beef

4 eggs

1/2 cup oatmeal

1 tsp salt

5 – 12 oz mushroom soup (this is the brand I like to use because it has no MSG)

4 cups beef broth

12 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups swiss cheese, shredded

4 tbsp parsley

Prepare rice according to package, allow to cool on stove top while you prepare meatballs.   Combine beef, eggs, oatmeal and salt.  Form into balls and bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.

While meatballs are baking mix mushroom soup, beef broth, garlic, cheese and parsley.

Divide rice between 4 foils or glass baking dishes.  Distribute meatballs equally over rice. Pour sauce mixture over meatballs and rice.  Cover with foil.  Label and freeze.  When ready to bake, bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly around the edges.

Cheers

Dawn

Easy Lasagna for the Freezer

IMG_9829

I hope you had a fabulous 4th of July.  Our plans got foiled due to the rain but we still partied and had a wonderful time.  My children were disappointed because we were going to create our own parade on our front lawn (that was the one catch to all the guests we invited, they had to participate) but I gently reminded them that there are probably 20 more July 4th’s that we can create our own fun like that.  I was planning to be Mrs Johnny Appleseed, don’t know if there ever was a Mrs but since all my boys decided they wanted to be something other then Mr J Appleseed I decided that I could wear a pan on my head, put on my plaid apron and pass out apples (think seeds inside the apples).  Kinda the same thing, not really but almost.  Enough about parties and parades and the likes.  Here is the recipe for this week!

LASAGNA

3 lbs ground beef, fried

14 cups pasta sauce

1 – 48 oz container cottage cheese, about 6 cups

4 eggs

3 cups Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup parsley, dried

1 tbsp basil, dried

18 lasagna noodles (no need to cook)

8 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Combine beef and pasta sauce in a large bowl; set aside.   Mix cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and basil together.

Take 3 foil pans or glass baking dishes and place 3/4 cup red sauce on bottom.  Spread out thin.  Add 3 lasagna noodles; put 1 1/2 cup of cottage cheese mixture, 2 cups meat sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese.  Repeat.  Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.  Cover with foil.  Freeze.  Thaw in frig over night or all day.  Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes.  Sprinkle dried parsley on top right before serving.

Cheers!

Dawn

Easy Lasagna for the Freezer
Print Recipe
Servings
24 - 26
Servings
24 - 26
Easy Lasagna for the Freezer
Print Recipe
Servings
24 - 26
Servings
24 - 26
Instructions
  1. Combine beef and pasta sauce in a large bowl; set aside. Mix cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and basil together. Take 3 foil pans or glass baking dishes and place 3/4 cup red sauce on bottom. Spread out thin. Add 3 lasagna noodles; put 1 1/2 cup of cottage cheese mixture, 2 cups meat sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil. Freeze. Thaw in frig over night or all day. Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes.
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