Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Monday, October 31, 2011

Money $aving $auces

Below are two money saving sauces that are easy to make, AND these are favorites at our house. 

The FIRST one is an enchilada sauce, which falls between mild & medium on my spice index.  The recipe comes from Daddy's Deli in Little Rock, Arkansas and was originally made with 28 oz diced tomatos and 8 oz of water added.  (If you make it with the diced tomatos it needs to cook down for 30 minutes or more.)  However, I have picky eaters who don't like tomato chunks so I substitute the equal amount of tomato sauce.

28 oz tomato sauce 
1 can diced green chili
1 T dried onion
2 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1 t garlic powder

Stir together and heat over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.  Stir occassionally as it starts boiling.  This recipe typically costs $1.60 to make.  If I bought this much store bought enchilada sauce, then it would cost over $8 AND it would not taste as good.  This sauce is a favorite at our house.  Mild enough for the kids and spicy enough to have great flavor.  This sauce is also great mixed with ranch dressing for a Southwest Ranch flavor, and it is a fabulous base for tortilla soup.

SECOND SAUCE:  My kids eat lots of chocolate syrup to add to milk, pediasure, ice cream and squeezed directly into their mouth when they think I'm not looking.  The next recipe is for homemade chocolate syrup.  The recipe taste so much better than store bought syrup.

½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
After removed from heat add
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Twins Mark & Luke enjoying a drink together.
Photo by La Marie Photography/Angela Covington
Mix all the ingredients except the vanilla in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a low boil for 2 minutes to fully dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Remember to let this cool in the pan for 10 minute or so because it can melt a plastic squeeze bottle.  Stores in the refrigerator in a glass or plastic container.  I've been told it lasts a month in the refrigerator, BUT not at our house! It is also great on pears!  I especially like that it does not contain milk because of the milk allergies in our family.  The syrup costs $1.50 to make the same amount that I buy for $2.57 in the off brand.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Too busy & its my fault!

I let myself take on way too much in September and I'm still paying the price.  I'm exhausted, fighting off a cold, and in desperate need of a break, with no break in sight.  I am working through an ambitious work schedule that would have work's work caught up by Friday.  If I can get some sleep, some quiet time, and keep focused, then I'll make it with the help of God & his marvelous creation...coffee.  It is almost the light at the end of the tunnel.

What I like about my work is I generally control my work schedule and the pace at which I work.  I typically have room for all the "surprises" that 10 children can bring, BUT let me get overbooked and over committed and yes, even their needs intensify to help me learn my lesson AGAIN.  When I let the flood gates open a little extra in August, well, to be blunt, I was stupid!  The thoughts of making up for currently delinquent accounts and the potential extra earnings and...I got greedy.  Plain & simple...the thought of curing stress through extra earnings completely backfired.

Mark in Daddy's shoes and
reminding me that he's
watching our choices: 
hug on babies OR work
In the past 4 weeks, Jon broke his arm at school and needed care in St. Louis.  The local ER doctor hot lined the situation as he was sure someone at school had been too rough with Jon.  I had no doubt that it was an accident because everyone at school is so careful with Jon, and I figured it might have happened on the bus since that would be the easiest place for an accident.  It turned out to that his arm was likely broken during a routine transfer from his chair.  It could have happened anywhere.  HOWEVER, the hotline call resulted in our first Family Services visit at our home.  I was a nervous wreck.  I wasn't even sure what to tell the kids.  David would have behaviors for months if he thought someone or something could separate him from us.  (This is the kid who I had to promise him that he never had to move out when he got bigger.  The thought of being away from us for very long causes him a lot of stress.)  So I told the kids a lady was bringing by a police officer to meet us and she might have some questions about our family like the newspaper and TV people did.  Then the middle group (David, Vanessa & Corrine) wanted to know if there would be pictures, and I assured them that there probably would not be pictures.  Matt was already for the police officer and even had his police cars out, and no one except me was stressed.  It frankly could not have gone better.

Then no more than that was done and everyone except three got sick with bad colds.  My mom came down and spent the day so I could spend Saturday at Urgent Care getting the crew seen.

Then last week, I'm taking Jon & Nate to Springfield to the brace shop and while driving got a call that Vanessa arrived at school with a lump on her leg and it might be broke.  I knew immediately it was from her goofing around in the travel stroller and not buckling in because Corrine had already told me that Vanessa had fallen out of her chair while playing tag.  However, there wasn't a mark and Vanessa didn't even cry so I thought she was fine.  Angela picked her up from school.  We got an x-ray and the next day we got the results that it was just a bruise.  I was SO thankful! 

I'm looking forward to a better week next week.  With home school grading, coupon clipping, more hugs, more playtime and some work, "things" should just be "things" again and the children will be the clear center of my focus again.

And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD;
and great shall be the peace of thy children.~~Isaiah 54:13