Sunday, June 25, 2017

Church Services with Caleb

This Lord's Day we got to worship at the congregation where Caleb is working.  He is loving his summer intern position at the Lakewood Church of Christ in Baytown, Texas.  

Being the Ministry Intern means that he has a nice variety of responsibilities, including teaching Bible Class, or doing the communion lead, preaching, visiting the sick, attending church camp, or whatever the day calls for!  

It was sweet to hear the kind comments from the members in the congregation about Caleb.  One of my favorites was an elderly Hispanic gentleman who told Jon, "Churches of Christ used to preach, 'this is what the Bible says, we believe it and live that way.'  Many people don's preach that way anymore.  Caleb preaches that way.  I like it!"  It's that whole 'Jesus said, I believe it, that settles it' mentality. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
 who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Church Camp with Caleb

Today the boy spoke to the 3rd-6th graders from the Lakewood Church of Christ at their summer camp.  The kids are spending the weekend at Gulf Coast Christian Youth Camp.  The theme for the weekend was 'I Grow.'  Just like Jesus grew in wisdom and stature with men and with God; the kids are spending the weekend doing the same. 

Caleb's lesson covered Jesus' early life.  In fact he even began by singing the lineage of Christ song that we learned when we were studying the book of Matthew. That was fun! 

After his lesson the kids same some songs and finished off their worship time.  After wards they sang Happy Birthday to Caleb! 

For dinner we headed to Tookie's Seafood for some delicious Mesquite grilled seafood, well except for Frankie who had a hamburger! 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
3 John 4

Friday, June 23, 2017

Kemah Boardwalk

For Caleb's day off we headed to nearby Kemah Boardwalk. Kemah Boardwalk is a 35-acre carnival-like atmosphere with a 36-foot carousel, a 65-foot Ferris wheel and rides like the Aviator and the Boardwalk Tower. There are also plenty of arcade and Midway games. 

Kemah is just 20 miles from downtown Houston overlooking Galveston Bay.  Because we were visiting during tropical storm Cindy it was a windy day.  But it provide a nice wind coming off the bay.  The kids took on all of the rides and rode a few of them more than once. Frankie's favorite was the Hypno Spin (like the tea cups) that spins you ‘round and ‘round! 

Kemah Boardwalk has plenty of great restaurants including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Aquarium Restaurant which serves guests a great view of our 50,000 gallon aquarium brimming with marine life. 

We had a great time hanging out with the not so babies! 

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 
yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12:27

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Boy by the Bay

Today after our pantry food pick ups we headed to Baytown to see the boy for his birthday.  Plano to Baytown is about a four and a half hour drive.  It's definitely a prettier drive than the one to Lubbock, though. 

When we arrived at the congregation where Caleb is interning he gave us tour and introduced us to his co-workers. The last time I was at the church building was back in the early 1980's when Uncle David was their youth minister.  

Caleb is staying with a family from the church near the church building.  The couple does mission work in Romania and are spending most of the summer out of the country.  So they have someone responsible to stay with the house and he has nice accommodations for the summer.  

In addition, several families in the congregation have invited him over for dinner or to family game nights so he has that 'homie' feeling.   

Caleb took us out to the Baytown Nature Center that connects two peninsulas, surrounded by three bays, located on the west side of Baytown. The nature center occupies about 450 acres of land with three bays that surround the nature center are Burnet Bay, Crystal Bay and Scott Bay.

The smaller of the two peninsulas known as San Jacinto Point has been designated as a recreation area.  The larger peninsula is being developed into fresh water and salt water wetlands, with mixed woodland habitat for animals, birds and other wildlife. 

From the Baytown Nature Center you can see the San Jacinto Monument.  It is a 570-foot tall column topped by a 34-foot star located on the Houston Ship Channel.

“I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's monument to this day. 2 Samuel 18:18 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Berry Picking

Today Ms. Beth called and asked if we wanted to make a run up to Sadler, Texas to Wild Berry Farm.  They are a family owned blackberry and blueberry farm were you can pick your own berries. 

The kids and I visited the farm back in 2008 and picked buckets of blueberries to make jelly! We recently canned Blueberry Pie Filling and froze some blueberries.  So I have plenty of blueberries on hand.  Today I was wanting fresh black berries to make jam

The weather was beautiful and we picked about six pounds of berries.  Ms. Beth and Tessa picked about ten pounds!  All of the berries and produce are grown naturally with no chemical pesticides or herbicides.  

The price comparison is easy, the berry farm is $4/ pound.  Sprouts has organic blackberries for $2 per 5oz container, meaning $6-ish/pound.  Kroger has blackberries for $2.50 per 5oz container, meaning they are $7.50-ish/pound. 

We got our berries washed and in the freezer, we will tackle jelly making another day! 

Click HERE to see our visit in 2008! 

Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten—
two or three berries in the top of the highest bough,
four or five on the branches of a fruit tree,
declares the Lord God of Israel.
Isaiah 17:6

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Sounds

Tonight Frankie and Abigail headed out to the Family at Allen's Summer Sounds.  Gracie is working with the Allen Parks and Rec again this summer so while Gracie is busy working Abigail, Frankie, Ella, Elaine and friends enjoyed the music. 

Tonight's concert featured country and blue grass performers Jolie Holliday & Sonny Burgess.  The parks and rec also offer free In and Out Burgers to the first 1,000 concert goers!    

What's not to like?  Dinner, music, and fabulous friends! Summer time! 

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    honor is not fitting for a fool.
Proverbs 26:1

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dinner for Four

What canning looks like at our house, it's a busy day filled with food picks for the local food pantry, Next was paperwork for the youngest to attend community college classes in the fall. Next was piano lessons and softball practice.  

Some where in there I needed to feed our family of four and I had nothing laid out and hadn't even given any thought to dinner. 

This is where my home canning goodies come in handy!  I pulled a few jars out of the pantry and a homemade dinner was ready in minutes including BBQ Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw, Spicy Dill Pickle Spears, Banana Peppers, and a few Pickled Jalapenos.  All homemade!  All incredibly tasty and delicious! 

For dessert after softball practice I opened a jar of canned Apple Pie Filling and sprinkled a boxed yellow cake mix on top and baked into an amazing cobbler! Literally everything was heat and eat and none of it had preservatives! YUM! 

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.  Malachi 3:10

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Canning Baked Beans

I am not a perfectionist but I really don’t like to fail at anything!  Let me back up, my sweet husband loves baked beans; particularly his mom’s baked beans.  I hate beans, all beans, except maybe the green ones.  In 27+ years of marriage I’ve never cooked baked beans.  Yesterday I decided I would make him baked beans. And because I tend to be an over achiever, not only would I make him beans I would can up a few jars of homemade baked beans that he could enjoy on another occasion!  You know with homemade BBQ sauce, fresh onion, bell peppers and tomatoes from our garden!

I called my mother in law for her recipe which included ‘open a can of Van Camp beans!’ But I was working with dry Navy beans.  Google will tell you if you’re working with dry beans to ‘soak them over night’ but another source will say ‘boil for 1 hour’ and a third source will say ‘boil for 10 minutes remove from heat and soak for 1 hour.’  The directions for cooking time and temperatures vary as well.  I’ll leave this paragraph with. 'after 12 hours, the crock pot, the oven, the instant pot and 3 trips to the grocery store we finally had baked beans.'  But the process was an epic failure!  

I have Googled, YouTubed, and read more about baked beans than I ever intended.  It’s hours of my life I will never get back.  In fact I lost sleep over the silly process, so this morning I woke up at 4:45am after soaking new Navy beans overnight and started all over with my new found knowledge and yesterdays experience. 
To begin, sort and wash dry beans.  Add 3 cups of water for each cup of dried beans and soak overnight.  

Prepare molasses sauce: 
2 cups bbq sauce
¼ cup mustard
¼ cup ketchup
1 onion whole
½ green bell pepper finely diced
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 whole banana pepper
1 ½ small jalapenos (seeded)
1 tablespoon vinegar
 2 teaspoons salt
3 slices of bacon chopped
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

Add beans and molasses sauce to cover beans. Cover and bake 4 to 5 hours in crock pot on low. Add water as needed stirring about every hour.

OR Instant Pot 45 minutes manual on High,

Fill sterilized jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process with 10 lbs of pressure; pints for 65 minutes and quarts for 75 minutes.

So I still don't like baked beans but everyone else in the house loved them!  

Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side.  Ezekiel 4:9

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Canning Crunchy Cole Slaw

I love that Pinterest sends me notifications that they have found new things that I would like, usually they are on the mark.  I love seeing new canning recipes, but I have to admit when I saw a recipe for canning cole slaw I laughed.  I like cole slaw but no one else in our house does.  I also thought the cabbage would get mushy but I kept reading.  It turns out the cabbage and carrots stay crunchy.  

So why not, I decided to give it try.  If it turned out I could have cole slaw on occasion in smaller serving sizes. Here is the recipe:

1 medium head of cabbage chopped
1 large carrot grated
1 medium diced green bell pepper
1 small finely diced yellow onion
1 Tbsp. canning salt

1 c apple cider vinegar
1 cup vinegar
2 c white granulated sugar
1/2 c water
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp mustard seed

Shred and chop vegetables and place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of canning salt.  Let it sit for 1 hour. Then rinse and drain at least twice to get out the excess water and salt out of the cabbage mixture.  This will pull the fluid out of the vegetables and allow them to stay crispy. 

While the cabbage mixture is sitting, mix vinegars, sugar, water, and spices in pan on the stove. Heat the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute to dissolve sugar.  Allow the mixture cool.

Add the cooled syrup to coat the cabbage mixture and toss. This is actually a double recipe of brine to make sure I have enough to cover my cabbage.  Pack into sterilized pint jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes and remove from heat. 

To serve:  You can eat it straight out of the jar but it is more of a German Cole Slaw.  I prefer to refrigerate overnight then drain the brine and add Mayonnaise for a creamy sauce. 

I also found this recipe for KFC Cole Slaw Dressing that I will be trying! Remember to drain the canned cabbage first and then mix your dressing and let it sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving. 

KFC Cole Slaw Dressing:
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Buttermilk, Well Shaken
1/4 Cup Whole Milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

The canned cabbage stays very crunchy!! It's not the same as a fresh batch out of the garden, but it is a quick addition to any meal without much work! 

Their idols are like scarecrows in a cabbage field,
    and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
    for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
    for they cannot do evil,

    neither is it in them to do good.

Jeremiah 10:5

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pizza Delivery

Today was another Monday volunteering at the pantry but as we were getting ready to leave we got the call from the manager at Papa John's saying they had a few pizzas if we wanted to come by.  A few was an under statement! 

Jon and Abigail ran over and picked up almost fifty pizzas! It turned out the store had an order for a local business who cancelled the order.  Fortunately the company had already paid for the order so the store didn't lose any money.  And as a bonus, our guests all went home with pizza! 

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,

    but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
Proverbs 14:31