Sunday, December 19, 2010

He is our Healer...Dad's Healer

Yesterday and today have been good days but hard days for me. Two of my cousins came down from Long Island to visit my Dad , and we had a really great time seeing them. When we went over to my parents house to see them and visit with my family, I saw that my Dad was in a LOT of pain. I could tell that it was the worst pain that he has ever had. It is so hard to see my Dad , my loved one, in so much pain...and there is nothing that you can so to help alleviate it.

I have not written a lot about my Dad and what he has been going through on my blog. It is a very personal subject to me, but I did feel that I wanted to express a little bit of what I am going through today.

I love my Dad . He is a fighter - he always has been. My Dad grew up in "the city" (Queens) and definitely had his fair share of fights that he went through as he was growing up. He moved to Long Island when he was 16 years old (fast forward), and that is where I grew up. He was always my protector, and I knew that if anyone ever "laid a hand on me" that he would take out their knees with a baseball bat, because that is what he told me ever since I was little! The baseball bat was in his closet and thankfully it stayed there, because there was never a need for it to be used. Besides physically protecting me, my Dad was also my spiritual covering/protector. Dad has these great big hands that I have always loved to hold, and I loved when he prayed for me. I just knew that when Dad prayed, God heard and I would feel better quickly. He prayed with such power, and he still does.

My Dad is still a fighter. He has been battling cancer for 12 years now, but it has only become really hard, weakening, and painful in about the last 6 weeks or so. I cannot even comprehend that amount of pain that he is in.

So, I spend time with him, hold his hand and enjoy every moment that we are together. I allow myself to cry when I am home, and pray to God for the healing of my father this side of heaven. I ask the Lord to renew my father's strength, to take away the pain, to flush the cancer out of his body and give him many more years of healthy living with his family. I ask the Lord to strengthen my mom, and sister and myself, and our other family members. I believe that my Dad is going to be healed. This is not the end for my Dad

God is good and He is God. He is the same God that healed the women who touched the hem of Jesus' robe about 2000 years ago. My sister reminded me that the women was battling the blood disease for 12 years, and in an instant, she was healed. You know what? He is the same God that healed my pastor of stage 4 leukemia, and his life and story have definitely been an encouragement to my whole family.

This has been a tough weekend for me (and of course Dad). However, with every tear that would well up inside of me and fall down my cheek, I still know and hold on to the fact that God is God and He is our Healer...Dad's healer.

One way that I have been encouraged is through song. I am thankful for every song that would be streaming through my mind, that I would suddenly start singing, or that would come on to the radio that I was listening to. They were exactly what I needed at each moment, and I hold on to each and every word and promise that He has given to me, my Dad and my family. I choose to praise and worship Him.

But as for me, I will always hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Would Like To Do...

There are so many things that I would really LIKE to do, but rarely find or make the time to so those things...and as I am writing this, there are even MORE things that come to my mind that I would like to do, such as:

Blog more - I would really like to do this more. In fact, I have another post that is waiting to be finished and a few more posts that are in my head! It is hard for me to sit down and make the time for blogging.

Build furniture - I would LOVE to build some of my own furniture. My friend Tiffany has built quite a few pieces in her home and I SO wanted to build some furniture with her...but I feel that now is not the time. If you really want to be inspired to get crafty, I encourage you to visit Tiffany's blog - she is SO talented and creative! There are other things that I need to tend to at the moment, so building furniture will have to be put on hold. However, I am hoping that I will be able to build things that are found on the Knock Off Wood website.

Read more books from cover to cover - I guess I need to make the time to do this. I read a little here and there, but I have not been able to get through a whole book in a long time. I tend to read a little bit in one book and then find another book to start, so I guess I am a bit of a "Book Hopper."

Organize my home - ok, I know that this is a process. I feel that I need some furniture to help with this, and then I face the dilemma - do I wait and build something at some point, do I buy from IKEA or some place that it not too expensive (but I don't want the furniture to fall apart!), or do I save for a nicely made piece of furniture...not sure about this. At the moment, I am trying to declutter and not hold on to things because, "I might need it someday." - yes, I am sometimes like that!

Begin painting and decorating my home - I often feel like I don't know where to begin...and by that, it is really just choosing a room. I also need to learn how to decorate. It seems silly to say that, but I don't feel like that side of me has been developed, and I am not sure how to develop that yet. However, I feel that I am on the right road for choosing paint colors - I think! LOL!

Get more sleep at night - I am a night owl, and that needs to change. This seems like one of the easiest things to change, but it really had not been. I need to change this though so that I have more energy to continue to be the wife, mom, sister, friend, child of God that He has called me to be. So, with that in mind, I am going to end this post, set it to post tomorrow morning and go to sleep!

What are things that you would like to do/change in your daily life?

Friday, December 10, 2010

And The Winner Is....

#1 Chels!

I used to generate the number of my winner, and it picked #1! That does not happen too often, but obviously, it does happen!

So, Chels, I will be contacting you about the prize pack that you have won! Please respond within 24 hours, or I will have to choose a new winner! Congrats!

Thank you all for participating in this giveaway! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giveaway: V8 V-Fusion + Tea

I was asked to sample, review, and giveaway the new V8 V-Fusion+ Tea, which is a juice beverage with the fruit-and-veggie benefits of V-Fusion plus the natural antioxidants of green tea. The goal of this new drink is to provide a delicious, lower-calorie option for afternoon refreshment (just 80 calories per 8oz serving). I was excited to try this new beverage and to provide a giveaway to one of my readers (yes, YOU!).

I was so excited when the BIG BOX arrived on my front porch and I found THREE FULL-SIZE bottles of the V8 V-Fusion+ Tea drinks, plus a new reusable shopping bag (and pretty tissue paper to boot!). I could not wait to taste test these new drinks, but before I did, I checked out the ingredients and found that there were a bunch of fruits and veggies found in these tea drinks - in fact it is 50% juice! That is a lot of juice to pack in to a tea drink! The one ingredient that I was not too happy about was the sucralose. We try not to bring artificial sweeteners into out house, so I knew that I would probably not buy these drinks again...but I was willing to taste test them, and I had some excited participants!

I gathered some small plastic cups and began the taste testing with Brady (4 years old), Smiles (2 years old), Dawson, and myself. Here are the results:

Pomegranate Green Tea

*Brady - Gave it a thumbs up
*Smiles - said "It was really good"
*Dawson - liked the taste
*Me - liked the taste, but could not taste the tea part of it. The juice taste was good and I would go for seconds!

Raspberry Green Tea

*Brady - Gave it a thumbs up and he asked for seconds of this one when the taste test was over
*Smiles - said "It was really good"
*Dawson - he enjoyed the taste of this one too
*Me - I did NOT like the taste of this one. I did not taste the raspberry in it at all. I would not drink this again.

Pineapple Mango Green Tea

*Brady - Gave it a thumbs up
*Smiles - said "It was really good" and he asked for seconds of this one when the taste test was over
*Dawson - he liked this one too
*Me - this was my favorite one. I enjoyed the Pineapple and Mango flavors and this would be my first choice for seconds.

I would have to say that my order of preference is Pineapple Mango Green Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea , and then if I was totally parched and needed a drink, I would then reach for the Raspberry Green Tea. I like the idea of the V8 V-Fusion+ Tea drinks - more fruits and veggies is awesome, however, I do not like the fact that they sweetened it with sucralose.

Now for the fun part - the GIVEAWAY!!!

What do YOU receive, you ask? EXACTLY what I did! Three FULL-SIZE bottles of the V8 V-Fusion+ Tea drinks PLUS that nifty reusable shopping bag - and who couldn't use another one of those!

What do you need to do to enter?

Complete one or more of the following:

Entry #1: Comment on this post for your entry in the giveaway.

Entry #2: Post a link to this post on facebook - and let me know about it in the comments below - that will give you your second entry to this giveaway.

Entry #3: If you become a follower of this blog (or you already are), let me know in the comments below - that will be your third entry. NOTE: I don't blog so people 'follow' me...and I am not the most regular blogger, but I figured why not give you a shot at a third entry.

This giveaway is open until, Thursday, December 9th and I will randomly choose and winner and post that on Friday, December 10th! :)

A few things for you to check out:

1. V8 V-Fusion + Tea has a Facebook page

2. The Fabulous Flash Performance “Bottle Song” - I LOVE to watch "flash mob" performances, so I was excited to check this out!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Place Cards

I had a great idea for a Thanksgiving craft for the kids to do - turkey place cards! I found an idea online for the general "look" of the place card, and then I got out my construction paper and traced and cut out the body of the turkey. It took longer than I thought it would to cut out!!! I knew that I needed some help to prep this, I called upon my artsy hubby, and asked him to cut out the feathers and do something for the beak and gobbler thingie. I have to say that the beak and gobbler thingie looks A-MA-ZING!!! We decided that it would be better for Dawson to glue the feathers together in a fan (displayed below), rather that have the boys attempt to do that part, since we had 15 place cards to do!!! So, here are the parts that Dawson did, and then we had the boys glue the turkey on to the feathers and then the completed turkey on to a place card (we used a folded 4x6 index card).

The finished products: My 4 year old wrote all of the names on the cards - didn't he do a fantastic job!!! I LOVE how the "Y" got carried to the top of the name, since he ran out of room!

This one says "Grammie" - I love it!

This is my favorite - "Mommy" :)

Our Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

It has been way too long since I have been able to post something here, but things got a little busy around here since we hosted Thanksgiving! We have been hosting Thanksgiving for the past 5 years! This year, we had a total of 15 family members that came! We had a really nice time and had way too much food...but it was fun to taste so many different types of food that was brought along! And to top it off, I had a root canal on Monday! Glad to eventually be rid of that pain...but I still have a little pain - I suppose from the root canal procedure itself! Well, enough of my pain...on to a new recipe that I tried for Thanksgiving!

I have not made it a habit to include dinner rolls as part of the Thanksgiving meal, although my mother in law made challah bread a few times - and that was so good! This year, I decided to try a new dinner roll recipe that I will have to share with you! It came from my new cookbook, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining. And, no, it was not made in the slow cooker! It was one of those recipes that could accompany a slow cooker meal.

The Recipe:

Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

1 package (scant 1 Tablespoon) active dry yeast or 2 tsp. instant dry yeast, such as SAF
1 cup warm low-fat or whole milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs separated
3 T unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T cold water for brushing
1 T sesame seeds (I used about 1/2 T)

1. In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Add a pinch of the sugar and let stand for 5 min. Add the remaining sugar, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, butter, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour to form a soft dough.

2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes (I usually spray my hands with nonstick cooking spray before doing this). Place in a bowl coated with nonstick cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 28 balls (I did 32) of equal size. Roll each ball into a 10-inch-long rope (I just did it in my hands); tie each rope with a loose knot. Place the rolls 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

5. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with the cold water (you probably only need one egg white and can use the other one for something else), and brush the mixture over the rolls. Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Baked until lightly browned, 15 to 18 minutes. (watch this - mine were done in about 12 minutes)
**If you like, bake these at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes, until cooked through but not browned. Cool, then store in the freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, defrost in the bag and bake as directed.

***Making these made me decide that I REALLY want to try and make soft pretzels!

The Results:

Everyone LOVED the rolls! My sister asked to take some home with them! Be sure not to bake them too long, or they could get a little dry. I would definitely make these again! :)