December 31, 2007

The Last Day of 2007...

.... and to be honest with you, I'm not sad to see it
go! Phew, what a challenging year to say the least! But, through all the bumps in the road... God has a plan! What are we to learn from the bumps & bruises? Perhaps, it's a lesson in trust... or perseverance (maybe both)? Bottom line is that if we continue to grow in those areas of letting go and letting God, and believing what HE says about us (not what others say), we will continue down the right paths!

He does not promise us a path without bumps and bruises.... but He DOES promise that He will 'never leave us nor forsake us!' (Hebrews 13:5) and that my friend, is a HUGE & comforting promise!!

So, what to look forward to in 2008? I'm not sure, but I do believe that if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it! Happy New Year! May you grow stronger in faith, love & contentment in 2008!

December 26, 2007

"She Brought Forth a Son and Laid Him in the Manger..."

This is a verse we hear EVERY Christmas season. When I was thinking about it this morning, I remembered hearing these words; "If we needed technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If we needed education, God would have sent us a professor. If we needed entertainment, God would have sent us an entertainer. If we needed politics, God would have sent a politian. But since we need a Savior, He sent us Jesus!" ("....and she laid HIM in the manger!")

Isn't is amazing.... God sent us HIS ONLY SON for our SAVIOR! I hope your Christmas was a blessed one! One filled with the true reason of why we celebrate Christmas! "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

December 17, 2007

Recipes As Promised......

Chicken Cordon-Bleu Soup

1 stick butter (I use 1/2 stick at the most)
1 small onion diced OR onion powder
1 cup diced carrots (or shredded or a bag of frozen cut carrots)
3 or 4 stalks of celery diced
2 cups diced chicken
(Sautee in the stock pot)

2 heads of broccoli crowns diced (or frozen broccoli)
4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp. chicken OR veg. boullion ("Better Then Boullion" is excellent!)

(continue to cook till veggies soften then add)

6-8 cups of milk (I use 1 % milk, but whole milk would work too!)
2 cups of diced cooked ham
8 oz. of shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz. of shredded Swiss cheese (We don't care for Swiss, so I use a cheddar & mozz. blend)

(To thicken the broth, I use instant potatoes but the original recipe call for flour/water.) Serve hot with biscuits, rolls or crackers!! YUMMY!
The picture doesn't have the broccoli, milk or instant potatoes in it yet..... and I forgot to take a picture of it all finished! BUT... believe me, it was delicious!
Artichoke Dip
1 14 oz. Can of Artichoke Hearts (NOT MARINATED)
1/2 Cup mayonaise
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese (fresh grated is best)
Dice up the artichokes (there are usually 5-7 per can) and put them in a bowl add the mayo and parmesan cheese and stir well. Put mixture into a small bowl that can be baked.... a french onion soup bowl works well! I usually add a little bit of the fresh parmesan cheese to the top and bake at 325* for about 20 minutes or till lightly browned and bubbling! Serve warm with Wheat Thins....
(I generally double this recipe and bake in a small casserole dish!)
These are two of our family favorites! ENJOY!

December 16, 2007

The Tree Is Officially Decorated!

Audrey & Travis began stringing the lights about 1PM and the decorations went on shortly afterwards! We had lots of fun teasing & laughing. The tree was almost finished when Pete made the comment to me, "Do you remember when most of the decorations use to be on the bottom half of the tree?" I laughed as I looked at the tree..... "YUP, and now look, they are some on the bottom half and lots on the middle & top! A sure sign that the kids are getting bigger!"
This is Austin's year to put the angel on top....... yes, we do keep track, and next year is Audrey's turn! :)

Here's the family favorite part of the day! FOOD... and a good movie! This year we watched "Holiday Inn" with Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby. The old classic black & white was fun for most of us..... Austin got the good sport award!

Menu: Seafood Chowder (clam & crab), Chicken Cordon-bleu Chowder, BBQ Kelbasa, fruit plate, chips & dip, salsa & taco dip with tortilla chips, artichoke dip, crackers & cheese and a bit of chocolate ... to drink we had pomegranate/cranberry juice and raspberry ginger ale! YUMMY!

Today Is Tree Day!

Today is tree day...... what better activity could there be on a day this close to Christmas during a Nor'easter?! It already looks like a winter wonderland with the new snow falling.... we are due to get 10+ inches followed by sleet and freezing rain and then more snow.... it is definately a good day to stay home! (None of us want to miss church.... but it is safer to stay put today!)
I got up early so that I can get started on making the treats for the day; clam chowder, chicken cordon bleu chowder, artichoke dip served with wheat thins, layered taco dip, just to name a few! We've created 'Blake Family Tree Day' as a special holiday during the Christmas season! This is the day we set up our Christmas tree and have lots of fun going down memory lane remembering making certain ornaments, making & eating special snacks, playing Christmas music and just spending the day with each other! They don't know it yet... but I bought "Holiday Inn" as our special Christmas movie for the evening!
I'll be posting tree pictures later..... (and maybe a recipe or two!)

December 2, 2007

Our Fun Day With Gary....

We had the privilege of having Gary spend the afternoon with us yesterday! Gary is a special young man, the son of our dear friends and 'one of the guys' to my kids! Audrey picked him up after doing her errands in town and brought him home for lunch and to hang out with us!

After lunch I asked Gary if he wanted to bake bread or make cookies .... (smile) the child in his heart said "MAKE COOKIES!" We had lots of fun making cookies together! It is interesting to look through the eyes of one who can't see! How does 'make cookies' translate to someone who is childlike in understanding? (mixing or eating?) We set out on this adventure together making oatmeal-raisin cookies!

Gary was a trooper...

He stirred and even felt the dough, but he wasn't too sure he liked what he was feeling! :) ......

He helped to crack the eggs,

and add the raisins.......

He checked out the dough ready to go in the oven......

AND ate the cookies after they were all baked!! :)

What a blessing Gary is to our lives!


1 Cup shortening (I use 1/2 C. butter & 1/2 C. shortening)
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 Cups old fashioned Oats
1 Cup chopped walnuts
1 Cup raisins

Preheat oven 350* & grease cookie sheets. Beat shortening, sugars, eggs & vanilla. Add flour, soda & salt and mix. Add the oats, walnuts & raisins and blend in well! Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on the cookies sheet. Bake 10-12 minute or until slightly browned. Let the cookies stand 1 minute before removing to the cooling racks! Makes approx. 5 dozen!! :) :) YUMMY!! (The only thing I'll do differently the next time is to add a pinch of cinnamon & maybe nutmeg!)