Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When only chocolate will do!!!

You know those times were only chocolate will due??? Well tonight was one of those nights!

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and no amount of coffee seemed to fix my mood, all the kids argued with me and with each other this morning, traffic was bad while I was driving them to school and road rage seemed to be rearing its ugly head, I got home to find out that one of my dogs threw up on the carpet - twice, cleaned it up to have the other dog start throwing up…super great, fiddled my morning away doing nothing productive other than receiving yet ANOTHER dog who promptly lifted his leg and peed on the side of my chair (thanks mom and dad!...have a nice yourself...with room service...and no barfing dogs), left to go do lunch room and got told it was going to be an OUTDOOR recess (well it is only -22C with the wind chill, so come on, OF COURSE it is not too cold to be outside!), came home and found my eldest sitting at the computer doing NOTHING productive (oops, forgot he a half-day at school), told him that I needed to go upstairs and be by myself for a bit and try and do some work, dogs barked each my son, at people/dogs the wind moving the trees, went to go get the younger three from school and praise the Lord all three boys left the minute we got home to have dinner with Granny (proof the Lord is merciful!) I did the only thing I could do - MAKE COOKIES!!!

My closest friends know that I make alot of cookies (and therefore eat alot of cookies), but I especially feel the desire to make cookies when celebrating special occasions, like the kids first day of school in the fall, or on those days where nothing goes right and having a warm cookie (okay, cookies) is the only fix. There is something therapeutic for me in the mixing and measuring, the smells that fill my entire house, and finally that first a little gift from heaven!

So tonight, after my day, I needed some serious chocolate and made Double Chocolate Espresso Fudge cookies…yum…do we need any further proof that God IS good!


Double Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cookies:

1 ¼ cup Margarine
2 cups Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 ½ tbsp Instant Espresso powder

¾ cup Cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Salt
1 – 2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips (depending on your preference)

Cream margarine and sugar together, add vanilla, eggs and espresso and blend till smooth and fluffy. Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake at 375F for 7 – 8 minutes or until outsides are done but the middle is still gooey. Eat. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome to Passionate Homemaking...Becoming P31

Welcome to Passionate Homemaking…Becoming P31. My name is Christine and I am a “30 something” (who’s really counting after 30 anyways?…I was born in 75 if you want to do the math) wife and mother. My husband and I have a blended family that stopped feeling “blended” years ago - we have three teenage boys and a tween daughter.

Our family is busy. My husband has always worked crazy hours – either working away from home for a few weeks at a time, or crazy shift work, or like right now, he works two jobs, one as a flight instructor that can have him flying late into the night and on weekends. My children are busy too – they swim, they dance, they do school sports, add on church and school events times four children and you have a pretty full and hectic schedule! It is a craziness that I wouldn’t trade for anything though.

Cooking for me is a passion. Seeing my families faces light up when I take cookies out to the oven never gets old for me; neither does the pleasure I get when I serve my family a homemade and nutritious meal that I put time and effort into creating for them. I am like everyone else and have days I don’t even want to step into the kitchen, but overall, my kitchen is a place of comfort, good food, special creations, time with God, time with my children and time alone with my own thoughts.

Cleaning for me is also a passion. Even writing that sounds silly to me, but it is true! I get up in the morning with thoughts of what I am going to cook and clean for the day! I love a clean house (who doesn’t?), but I also enjoy the act of cleaning the house. My husband and children appreciate this as it more often then not gets them out helping. In the last few years I have made a concerted effort to train my children in this area in preparation of them having their own homes and families.

Helping others become passionate about homemaking brings me a lot of joy. I often hear from women that their family and home is their first priority after God, but they are stressed out! Maintaining a budget, planning meals and shopping trips, planning for regular cleaning and maintenance has turned into mad dashes. Supper is thought of as they drive home from work, cleaning seems continuous without anything ever feeling clean, a budget is whatever bills come in that month and what gets paid depends on how much they spent on take out due to the lack of meal planning or impulse buying!

It is not that these things are not important to them – they are - it is that these things were not ever taught to them, as homemaking skills are often under-valued in our society as a whole. I have met many young men and women, some with several years of post-secondary schooling, that do not know how to stock a kitchen, plan a budget or do lawn maintenance. What happens is that their biggest blessings (their home and family) become their biggest stressors and life starts to feel like a catch up game, a game in which they feel that they are never really catching up and are always one step behind.

Join me as I talk about the joys of cooking, healthy living, cleaning, home maintenance, budgeting, frugal living, and all things in relation to homemaking here at Passionate Homemaking…BecomingP31.


For more posts about me:

My Family

My Testimony

Monday, March 9, 2009

Introducing Me - My Testimony

My parents joke that I came out of my mother’s womb kicking and screaming and demanding my own way. To say the least I loved life and I loved attention. Growing up I was a bit of a tomboy and dare devil. I wanted to push the boundaries, push myself, and for sure push my parents to the end the their rope – just to see their eyes go buggy! I loved life and even as a young girl enjoyed the feelings of greatness that surrounded me. I wanted to run and feel the breeze push my hair back, I wanted to jump and feel myself flying, if even for a moment in time, I even wanted to fall and feel the powerful edge of pain, for in every feeling I could feel power and I ached for all of it. In my early teenage years I have to admit that I was well known in my small private school. To say the least, I was a handful.

I was in my 16th year when I made the decision to purposefully and pridefully turn my back on God. Sure, I had been making some bad decisions before that, but I came to a distinct fork in the road. My path was laid out before me and I could go right, or I could go left. With my eyes wide open and my spirit knowing full well the outcome, I arrogantly and spitefully chose against God. From that moment on I closed my heart, my ears and my eyes to Gods desires for me, my life, and ultimately, my family.

Regardless of the exactly why or who did what, it was me who was in control of the direction of my life all those years ago. Unfortunately, my chosen paths led me further away from God and towards bitterness, anger and fear. I faced divorce, the pains of re-marriage and growing a blended family together, countless custody battles in which my family was being threatened to be torn apart, years of struggle with unemployment, and even more years of poverty. Yet, so many times I enjoyed my bitterness, my anger, my sin. I wrapped my anger, bitterness and need for control around me and feed it and watched it grow. No other emotion could get in, there was no room, and it seemed, no need. Anger can be very fulfilling for a time, but as hours turn to days, days to years I was left feeling empty, alone and fearful. Fear would then become a driving emotion, dictating my feelings, my decisions and my behaviors.

Yet God had different plans for me and brought a strong woman of faith into my life and she just kept at me, telling me that God was just waiting for me to look up, to repent, to finally admit that I could not do life alone. That God was waiting for me to put my hand in His and let Him carry my burden. I often had heard the saying “God will never give you more than you can handle”, and as I walked though my third, and most torturous, custody battle and continued poverty, my rebellious spirit finally broke. I wept and finally gave it all back, I laid down my bitterness, anger, fear and rebelliousness and put God as the Lord in my life.

Looking back though, I can see that God was with me, beside me each time I went through a struggle, or bump in the road, whether I wanted Him there or not. Even when I shunned God and turned my back on him, He stood beside me, loving me, watching over me, never once leaving me. What reassurance that brings me today when I face a problem. God knew that I would need strong people in my life to stand up to me, to challenge me, confront me and comfort me. In the midst of my any struggle I now face, I have strong women of faith that will speak words of wisdom, strength and courage.

Still today, I would rather run than walk, shout than talk, weep than cry. Hindsight, they say is always 20/20, but for years I was looking back with my own eyes and I couldn’t see a thing, it was not until I saw through Gods eyes that my vision became clear.