Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cheerios with Daddy

No matter how much I've already eaten for breakfast I always love to share a bowl of Cheerios with Daddy. Mama always uses big words and she uses one for this: rit-u-al. We've been doing it so long now that for Valentines Day we made Daddy his very own Cheerio bowl. Its is extra big so he can put extra cereal in it for me. Smart thinkin'!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Childhood Truths
by Samuel
There is nothing quite as frustrating as your parents taking a parenting class and then refusing to engage in power struggles with you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pan Fried Steak. Yumm-O

It was "Ranch" night at my house tonight so we went out and butchered one of our prized heifers and fried us up some steaks (too rainy to grill). My Gigi lived on a ranch for years and years so I called her up to get her expert advice on pan fryin' a steak. A good, marbled steak will have a lot of flavor and you can cut the big chunks off afterwards. Note, this isn't a "low fat" dinner. It isn't for you faint of heart women who get all weak in the knees when you're talkin' butcherin' and meat fat!

Start with a nice hot skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil in it. After it gets nice and bubbly, kick in another tablespoon of butter ("everythin's better with butta"). I don't know why you mix the two, I just do what Gigi tells me to. Gigi knows all things pan frying.

Salt and pepper both sides of your steaks with some good, fresh pepper and sea salt.

A yummy side dish with your pan fried steaks are fried potatoes. Boil a heap of red taters and when they are just a bit softened drain them and let cool. Slice them up and then throw them in a hot pan also oiled up with olive oil. Add a good dose of salt, pepper and either onions or onion seasoning. Get them good and brown and serve them with your steaks and choice of steamed veggies (you gotta get some healthy food in there and we like carrots or green beans).

Ok, now back to the steaks...
You want to "sear" them on a good high heat; about 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat down to a medium low and cover. Cook to your preference. Jeff likes them Medium and I'm a girl who likes it good and done so I have to let mine cook a good 10 minutes longer than his. I would love to give you some cooking times because that's what a really good recipe would do but truthfully it all depends on the thickness of your steaks. If you're going to pin me down on a cooking time I would say to do it the same amount of time you would if you were grilling it. If you are really are clueless, give me a call or shoot me an email and we'll talk thickness and times and I'll give you my best guesstimate.
A few things to remember before you serve those babies up:
1) Searing it locks in the juice
2) The less you mess with it, i.e. flipping it, the better for the steak
3) Always let your steak "rest" a good 5 minutes before serving.
A good red wine, we chose a Merlot, always goes great with Ranch night. Mmm. Go ahead and get started on the bottle even before dinner; its been a long day. Ooh, I almost forgot: what Gigi is famous for...her pan fried steak pan gravy. Get out good! After you pull your steaks off and you're letting them rest, throw a can of evaporated milk in the hot pan. Stir up all those yummy bits, juice and milk until just barely boiling. Pull it off and serve it up (remember if it boils too hot or long it will curdle). The gravy is yummy over the steaks and taters.
So now you can have Ranch night at your house. Even if you're a little squeamish talkin' beef your husband will just love you for Ranch night. Hot Jeff is a carnivore and loves Ranch night; he gives me those sweet bedroom eyes and shouts out a "yeehaw" with his steak knife high in the air; he's an ol' cowpoke at heart.
My cousin Annie sent this email to me and I just loved it. Ultimately I believe that what brings the most peace to a life is knowing Jehovah-Shalom intimately and walking in relationship with Him. With that said, these are some wonderful things to try to do daily.

Great recipe for a peace-filled life
1. Take a 10 to 30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Talk to God about what is going on in your life. Buy a lock if you have to.
3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,'My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________'
4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years,will this matter?'
17. Forgive everyone for everything.
18. What other people think of you is none of your business.
19. God heals everything - but you have to ask.
20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will stay in touch.
22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.
24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be smiling before you know it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesdays With Traci

I came across this devotional when I was grieving my father's death. It was a great comfort for me. I thought there might be some of you going through a season of waiting and/or tears and could use some encouragement. It is from John Piper’s book, A Godward Life, Part II. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it.

2 Samuel 7:15

"The old proverb says:
No sweat, no sweet: No pains, no gains: No mill, no meal.

It is the same in heavenly things. God’s usual rule is to make us pray before He gives the blessing and to make us fervently pray before great mercies are given. When God makes us knock at mercy’s gate, it is a great blessing. When we plead with God and have not realized success, we become more earnest and more intent and our hunger increases. If we obtained the blessing when we first asked, we would not have a sense of mercy’s value. Standing outside mercy’s gate, we grow more passionately earnest in our pleading. First we ask, then we seek, and finally we plead with cries, tears, and a broken heart.

I never would have been able to comfort anguished seekers if I myself had not been kept waiting for mercy. I have always felt grateful for distress because of the results afterward. Many saints whose experiences are published could never have written those books if they had not waited hungry and thirsty and full of soul sorrow. The spade of agony digs deep trenches to hold the water of life.

If the ships of prayer do not speedily return, it is because they are heavily loaded with blessings. When prayer is not immediately answered, it will be all the sweeter when the answer arrives. Prayer, like fruit, is ripened by hanging longer on the tree.

If you knock with a heavy heart, you will soon sing with the joy of the Spirit. Therefore, do not be discouraged because the door is still closed."

Another wonderful devotional book is by Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening. There are numerous places online where you can read this,, is just one that I found. February 23 AM devotional was really awesome! If you need some additional encouragement about God being for you and "never forsaking you" make sure to read this excerpt.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Emmy Roo's 1st Birthday
I turned 1 yesterday and if you thought I was fabulous before...well you should see me now! I'm all "Hey, I'm 1 and can eat honey without getting botulism so you better watch out". My family threw me a bash and I got presents and cake and a new dress to wear! Oh yeah! I thought Thanksgiving was good; well it's got nothin' on first birthdays. One question: can anyone tell me why Samuel got presents? Are we so worried about his feelings that we're not going to make it perfectly clear whose day it is? I'm not ok with this. Well, unless it means I get a present or two in April when he turns 3?? If that's the case, I can make an adjustment.

Me, my Mama and my Daddy. Don't I look just like my Daddy?

Lovin' the party scene

My cake: made by Mama!!

Presents!! Hooie!!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hi, Remember Me?
Hi dear friends. I am sorry I haven't been posting lately. Last week was crazy with sick kids and this week my Mom is here visiting.

All is well in the Henderson house and I have a sassy new haircut to show off. Thank you for checking back here so faithfully, especially on Praying Mondays. I'll get some good, new stuff up here soon. I have some exciting stuff to share on a babysitting co-op so check back late next week.

If you're checking this between now and tomorrow before 10:00am please say a prayer for me as I'm speaking to a group of moms at my church on a topic dear to my heart: praying for your kids. I'm excited and nervous and happy God is using me. I hope Mommies are blessed and He is glorified.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesdays With Traci
This recipe is not one I created. I got it from a coworker when I was living in Turkey. Since that time, however, I have become known for these cookies. They are amazing. I thought I'd share the recipe with all of you since you live far from me and can't invade my territory. *wink, wink*

The story behind the name: I gave this recipe to a friend who was getting married. Her husband, as it turned out, had a great love of oatmeal cookies. The next Sunday he came to me at church and thanked me profusely for giving his new bride this recipe. I hope you enjoy them too!

"Your Husband Will Thank Me” Oatmeal Cookies

¾ c vegetable oil
1 c brown sugar
½ c sugar
1 egg
¼ c water
1 t vanilla
1 c flour
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
½ t baking soda
3 c quick oats
Nuts or raisins (if preferred, I don’t)

Mix all ingredients together and drop by teaspoonfuls to cookie sheet. Bake 350 F for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 3 dozen (The most I've ever cooked at one time was 18 dozen.)
Note on cook-time: If you want soft cookies, cook 8 minutes, this is how I prefer them. Some people like their oatmeal cookies harder. If so, cook them 10 minutes. They get hard quick so be careful not to overcook.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?
Mom is perhaps a little too busy with her own stuff (laundry, meal prep, facebook)...I had my very first play date with my new very best friend Rebecca a couple of weeks ago and she still hasn't gotten around to putting the pictures up yet. I'm seriously not ok with this. I took matters in to my own hands and here they are.

Rebecca is a sweet gal; she's a few months younger than me and still a little immature but we got along famously. Rebecca still takes a bottle and doesn't crawl to eat cat food yet but I see some real potential in her. I think we'll be painting each other's toes and trading clothes real soon.

Me, Rebecca and Samuel, who is already hitting on my friends
Me, looking adorable...

Later on that day I discovered a wonderful thing:
pulling toilet paper off the roll.
What glorious, glorious fun.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tuesdays With Traci
Having a blog which is dedicated, in part, to saving money allows me to receive a lot of e-mails and websites from people who are also interested in saving money. One sent to me recently was Hillbilly Housewife. While I’m all for saving money on my grocery bill there are some things I just will not do. Making my own sanitary pads is at the very top of that list! My first thought when I saw this was, “Can you not cut something else out of your budget to afford pads?!” My second thought was, “Has no one taught this poor woman how to cut coupons?!” I did read her website and understand it’s a moral decision for her but for the rest of you I want to give you the tools so you will never have to download her pattern for sanitary napkins. Ewww.

First, check out this link to read how I simplified coupons. If you are not brand loyal, you will never have to pay for toothpaste, shampoo, razors, or sanitary pads again. Think about how much this would cut from your monthly budget!

Second, know your resources. I had Jen send me a list of the grocery stores in your area. She gave me the names of several stores. I could not find a couponer for Winco or Roth’s but here are some sites to check out the others.

SafewayMommy Making Money
TargetAttention Target Shoppers
Walmart & Fred MeyerFrugal Living
Rite aid & Walgreens – I use and recommend Southern Saver

Let the ladies from these blogs do the hard work for you. Check out what is on sale (or free!) this week and stock-up! It may be a little overwhelming at first but once you get the hang of it you will be kicking yourself for taking so long to start.

One final thing. There are several sales for Progresso Soup this week. Walgreen’s has it for 4 for $5 ($1.25), Target for $1.40, and Roth’s has it for $0.99. If you email me I will send you a link for a $1.10 coupon. (Hit the back button to print twice.) If Roth’s allows overages that means you would make $0.11 on each can. See how this coupon thing is so fun?! My e-mail is: raffertys at bellsouth dot net.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pics of the Week (from last week...oops)

Rockin' and Rollin' on the Alphabet train...

Mama said she had never been prouder than when I came
to her and said, "Look, I Elton John"

Roo through the window...
not enough "o's" for sooooooo cute

Perhaps there is something I'm not understanding in regards to this potty training thing?? I've got the seat, the stool, the flushable wipes, hmm... something still seems a little off kilter.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tuesdays with Traci
Hello everyone! Jen hatched this plan that we would take a day to write on each other’s blog so I thought I’d take a moment to explain my blog to you. Actually, I have two blogs. One is for my kids, written from their prospective, and is humorous. It actually gets more hits than mine. Find it here. The other blog is about the things I’m excited about: gardening, couponing, cooking, etc. This is largely what I’m going to share with you each Tuesday. I’ll start by explaining why I do the things I do.

Why garden?
* It’s a great hobby. I love to see things grow out of the dirt. Last year was my first time gardening and when my carrots began to sprout I ran out in the mud and squealed, “I’m a gardener!”
* It’s a great education tool for your kids.
* It’s fabulous to grow your own veggies and know what chemicals are on them (or hopefully, NOT on them).
* Cheap! Once you have the initial investment of setting up the garden it’s very minimal cost. I grew roughly 40 peppers last year. At $1 each in the stores that is $40 I saved. Not to mention all the other veggies I grew.
* It limits your dependence on others for your food.

Why coupons?
* I was introduced to the underground world of coupons in June. From July to November (the last time I totaled my savings) I had saved $1,500. I joke that it’s an underground world because before someone showed me the ropes I was just clipping one or two coupons and not really saving much. Then I learned there are hundreds of websites devoted to coupons and deals. Other people find the deals at the grocery stores and tell you the coupons which match. Check out BeCentsAble’s Grocery Gathering to find couponers explaining the deals in your area.
* I get so much stuff for free, or super cheap, using coupons that I actually get a surplus. I’ve started challenging others to donate their coupon deals and together we make care boxes for our church. More and more people are coming to our church requesting assistance and it’s nice to meet a part of their needs by giving them food and toiletries.

What about cooking?
* I like to share tried and true recipes and those which have been requested by more than one person.
* I started a meal swap with some ladies from my church (we have been swapping for almost a year now). It has been a wonderful time AND sanity saver! I highly recommend it for any family who does not have picky eaters. For example, here’s the menu for this month’s meal swap: Chinese Pork Ribs, Chicken Taco Sandwiches, BBQ Chicken, Chili, Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole, Cheese & Pesto Manicotti, Joes to Go, and Oriental Chicken. Yummy!
* If you don’t want to swap with other women I would suggest you getting a frozen meal cookbook and put away at least a few frozen meals each month. It’s so nice to pull out a meal for someone who just had a baby OR a friend who’s having a bad day OR for your own bad days!

Finally, I have started sharing devotional thoughts which have made an impact on me. This is a new thing I’m doing but haven’t been as consistent with it as I want to be. I guess it’s kind of a fear of man. I think, “I’m a Christian and I should have Christian things on my blog every other day.” But honestly I don’t feel I have that many spiritually profound things to say! How’s that for honesty! I guess if you see me put something spiritual on there you should take note because it’s not going to happen again for awhile! Ha!

So that’s it for me for this Tuesday. I’m just going to challenge you to think about one of these three areas. Would you like to have an abundant supply of fresh veggies for your family? How about cutting your grocery bill in half? Maybe you need to plan your meals better so you are never caught without a meal come five o’clock. Feel free stop by my Fruitful Labor blog. The first time you come, leave a comment so I know you’re Jen’s friend. If you miss Jen on Tuesdays you can find her on my blog (Fruitful Labor); she will not, however be talking about coupons but I think I've almost got her convinced to try a garden this year!