Monday, October 04, 2010

Haven: Day Two

So, how was your day? I will admit that it wasn't as peaceful around here as I was hoping for. Let's see - we overslept, crammed my morning routine into half the time because of that, struggled with littles leaving things laying around - ALL around and the attitude of my heart that came with that, etc...

But, in retrospect - I know that we created some good memories today! Starting with a cozy breakfast outside. I made muffins and hot tea (we were out of hot chocolate), lit a couple of candles and brought out a pumpkin. The girls ran back in for jackets - we haven't felt 60 degrees in months and our body temperatures have acclimated to the 100's - so 60 feels chilly!

School and chores were begun, and I felt the coolest air I've felt in a while and it beckoned me to make soup for an outdoor picnic at the park. Soup was made, maple leaf shaped breads were toasted, dessert ingredients assembled. We drove to the park!

What a gorgeous day! I'm so thankful we took some time to be outside - it was stunningly beautiful and blessedly comfortable! The sky was crystal clear, the trees created such a great contrast, the park called to little legs to climb and imagine!

Sweet Cream of Tomato Soup (If you know me, you know I have an extreme dislike for tomatoes! But, I do like some smooth tomato things and this soup is one that I like now and then for it's cozy yumminess!) From my friend, Susan!

I'm going to give you the recipe for what I did which is an adjustment from the original. I only made one fourth of the recipe and did not have enough fresh tomatoes, so used canned.

2 Tbsp. water
1/2 c. diced onion

Cook onion in water until translucent.

Add 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes and some celery (or celery salt if you don't have any, ahem) and salt (I omitted salt since I used celery salt above).

Simmer for about 30-40 min. Strain soup and discard solids (great compost!) - melt 2 Tbsp. butter and stir in 1 Tbsp. flour. Whisk in about 1/2 c. soup - then mix all back into soup and simmer until soup thickens like gravy.

Heat 1 c. milk and stir into soup. Heat through. Makes 3 c. soup.

For croutons - I cut slices of bread with a tiny maple leaf cookie cutter. Then, buttered on both sides and toasted in a hot skillet. Spoon soup into canning jars and top with croutons! Note: this soup is so smooth that a straw makes a great way for children to drink this with less mess!

Apple Nachos - from the most recent Taste of Home (with some modifications)

2 apples thinly sliced
Drizzle of caramel ice cream topping
3 Tbsp. mini choc. chips
3 Tbsp. chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 Tbsp. sprinkles

Serve and enjoy!

It was fun to follow my littles around and take some pictures - I haven't been very good about taking pictures of them lately!

During Quiet Time, I worked on this post and relaxed and read. After that, time to get back to work!

Chores, Laundry, Dinner Prep, tidying!

Southwest Chicken Salad

** I learned how to make this at a Pampered Chef party and it is so yummy and easy! It's great for taking dinner to others too - and the chicken/beans part can be frozen if you have extra!

Slice some onions and place them on the bottom of a baking dish (I use a stoneware covered baking dish from Pampered Chef and bake in the microwave), then lay boneless skinless chicken on top of that. Sprinkle with some taco mix (I use this), cover and bake. I bake mine in the microwave for about 12 minutes, but you can do this in the oven too!

Cut up the chicken and onions and add a can of black beans. Serve with lettuce, cheese, tomato and tortilla chips. Pour about half a bottle of ranch dressing into an empty salad dressing bottle and add 1-2 tsp. taco seasoning for a yummy salad dressing! Yum!

Now, for Psalm 107 - a few thoughts that I came away with:

* I was amazed at how many times the Lord responded to the cries for help when His people continued to be rebellious to His ways. How often are the struggles in my home a result of my attitude or sin? (Don't answer that!)

* I especially loved verses 29-31. Some words that jumped out at me were: stilled, whisper, hushed, calm, guided, haven, give thanks and wonderful deeds. I prayed through these verses that there would be a spirit of stillness, calmness, His hand guiding me and haven in my home. And, that I would then give Him thanks and praise Him for His wonderful deeds. I think that I made some choices in how to spend my time today which did not create a haven and prohibited some of these attributes from being more visible. Praising God for another chance again tomorrow.

* I loved verse 35 where He turns the desert into pools of water. Water always makes me think of refreshment, life, peace and rest. Where water is, there is life. Water is soothing and calming and often can be peaceful.

* Lastly, I loved verse 43, "Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord."

Genesis 49:13 also mentions the word haven - I want to look at this in my Quiet Time tomorrow and read the context to see what else I can learn about this idea. I should probably read Psalm 107 again too!!!

And, moving on to a new day - honestly, I think I will still be catching up from today! I had to let so many things go to do the fun things and to be gone for dance and a meeting. We have plans to have a picnic/play with friends today. Other than that, I would like to continue with daily things: laundry, scrub sink (Tuesday chore), tidying. For dinner, we are having hamburgers, chips and fruit.

To create a haven, I want to look for ways to add beauty and bring a calm and peaceful spirit to my home.

What are your plans for tomorrow?


Ami said...

I had made a beautiful list for yesterday, but my toddler is having horrible teething pain and I was feeling bad, too.
And I had to get a last minute doctor's appt for my 5 year old.

When it came down to it, I only did half of my to-do's. But the slow pace we took contributed to everyone's well-being, I think. I really took the time to comfort my toddler, who will only be 1 for 2 more it was precious time spent! And my two big kids did a couple more chores than usual and really enjoyed their free play time. So even though the house was still a mess as the day went on, I think our home was a haven.

I'm thankful I had the list in the first place, because I accomplished more than I normally would have on such a troublesome day. There's just a general problem with my list making because I put too much on it. Even after working steadily and getting some projects completed, it seems I have a full days' work left on my list. I can't seem to make an appropriate list!

Kim said...

As someone mentioned in your Haven post from day one, this is timely for me in so many ways. Having children of all ages would seem to afford so many benefits with helping hands ... and it does. But our life is so full of opposing directions that there are too many days filled with driving to and from events ... gathering and loading ... unloading and then before much settling in starting the whole process again.

I know that being prepared is key. I know that having a heart turned to Him before starting my day is crucial. Finding someone with such sweet encouragement like you is just such a wonderful way to find accountability and ideas :)

Thanks for sharing your gentle and beautiful approach to loving your life and creating a haven! I read your blog often but I am always in too much of a hurry to comment ;) See, things are changing already!

Blessings, Monica :)

Patty Williams said...

You are such a good Mom ! Just look at those huge smiles on those kids' faces ! Beautiful children, just like their Momma !

*carrie* said...

Apple nachos--what a fun idea! Love that you took advantage of the beautiful weather. We've been outside a ton these past two weeks, as I know winter will be here all too soon!

Jenny Lynn said...

The tomato soup is sounding so yummy on this chilly Utah morning. I have never made homemade tomato soup. I can't wait to give it a try.

I think it is interesting that I am in a making home a haven mode right now. I just did not realize it until I read this post.

angie said...

I did manage to accomplish most of my list from yesterday, partly because homework was light and we had no evening activity to attend (rare!) We actually had a chance to play a board game together. I was glad to be able to offer my son a zucchini muffin for an after school snack. He loves home baked snacks, and I don't make them as often as I should.
Today is a bit busier, but I hope to finish the cleaning, put dinner into the crock pot, exercise, shower, and go to back to school night. It is another rainy day, so soccer practice will be cancelled. I love this fall weather and the coziness it creates in our family.

I noticed that you use coasters on your dinner table. What a nice touch. Also, I spotted a loomed pot holder under your teacup. My daughter makes those, but they are quite small to grab something hot with. You gave me the idea to use them as coasters. She likes to see me using things she has made.

LynnMarie said...

Looks like you did great with your day. Can I come to your house? Not really I really am to far away but you day looks so inviting...

Season of Life said...

Monica ~

Yesterday we created several autumn focal points in our home to welcome those who enter it.

I have made a list of things to do this week to decrease some clutter areas and replace with orderly beauty (I hope).

Each day is according to how the Lord directs it, so we will see what does get done. Priorities are school, meals, maintenance and ministering to my mom...all by the grace of God.

Blessings ~

heicoc said...

Monica I am so glad u are doing this....I need to hear it! I recently went back to work (plus I am going back to school) so I have been feeling overwhelmed lately...which can impact the environment at home! I need to remember to create a peaceful haven- not one full of strife and frustration! Thank you for your blog....even with my crazy schedule I try to read ur blog daily even if it is from my phone.

Chelle said...

I love your ideas. I try to make my home a haven too. Some times things don't always go the way I want them too. But I do try.

Jill said...

This is a lovely post! Those apples with their toppings look wonderful!
Have a great day!

Mom said...

Love these photos from your day -- thanks for sharing! :) Love you, Mom

Tasha said...

Your day 1 looks amazing!
Thank you so much for this experience in making my home a haven. Our day two is going great! The apple nachos were a hit...eventually. I'll post later about our day 2.

Denise said...

Thank you for your words of wisdom! They were just what I needed! Things around here have been too hectic, trying to adapt to having a newborn along with my 3-year-old boy. I haven't been on the computer much, but I found a few minutes to look around this morning. I checked the 3 blogs that I check first, one of which is yours, another is your sister's. What a blessing your blog has been to me! I definitely have quite a few things to work on... But, today I decided to load the baby on my carrier and I went outside to play with my son. It was a nice time!

Also, I saw those apple nachos in a little Taste of Home Halloween booklet I pulled out from last year. Thought we would give them a try in the next couple days. They sure look delicious and FUN!
I need to try to keep more up-to-date with your blogs. I truly enjoy your entries! THANKS!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Monica.

I think you accomplished quite a bit on Day fact, I think you accomplished the most important things of all...spending quiet time with Him and amazing quality time with your kiddos. I can't wait to try out the soup recipe...and those maple leaf cutter crisp breads are too cute.

Today was our "crazy" day around here. In fact, I wonder what God is thinking when I am rushing to and fro...trying to get from my daughter's elementary school to my son's preschool to my women's bible study. Is that really what he asks of me...or would my day have been better spent in quiet prayer/meditation/Scripture reading alone? It's all a balancing act! (Though the fellowship with other moms is wonderful!)

Looking forward to Day 3 from you!

Blessings from the Heartland,

Lecia said...

So often I forget that part of making my home a haven is creating those special memories with my loved ones. What a wonderful day you created!
I love the idea of soup at the park on a chilly day. How do you keep the soup warm? We are planning a family outing to the nearby parkway and I would love to take soup but I am not sure how to keep a large amount warm.

Tasha said...

I am missing your updates on your haven. Hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

Those apple nachos look amazing!

I really appreciate your blog. You remind me to be purposeful in parenting every day, to create little moments in each day to enjoy and cherish life and my family. Something I really need to do more of. Thank you for your ministry.

I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. You can see the link at my blog.

Angelia said...

I am praying you and your family are well. hugs, Angelia in Tx

Anonymous said...

I felt really bad for you the other day. I saw some of the comments about the bike helmets. I think that has to be the worst part of having a blog, everyone's 2cents! I hope you don't let it discourage you! Blessings!

Blissful & Domestic said...


I am so sorry that people were mean or whatever they were. I have been checking back often, but didn't want to bug you. You were definitely in my prayers. I thought maybe something may have happened with your family. I'm glad that was not the case, but sorry that your heart has been heart by what someone says. You are an amazing mother, wife, and friend/blogger. I enjoy your blog so much. I want you to know just what an inspiration you are to me. I found your blog about 1 1/2 years ago. Your blog was an answer to a prayer. I had been searching, wanting to do more with my children, but just not knowing what it was I needed to do. I stumbled upon your blog and knew God had answered my prayers. Your blog made me want to home-school. I saw all that you did with your sweet children and knew I to wanted that spirit in my home. Please do not let some hurtful words bring you down. You are amazing and have so many people that care and love you out in blog land and in your own home. I didn't see any of the ugliness people try to post on your blog, but I know that people can be cruel. Remember you are a daughter of a king, who loves you so much. His son gave his life for you. He is the only person we should answer to. It is his judgment that truly affects us. I pray that this will not affect your blogging. I would so miss you if it did. God bless Monica.