Big doin’s for Daisy Mae


Although we’ve waited for little ones for almost two years, the last two days have brought a flurry of preparation for our kids’ first litter of puppies.

I’m please to announce that…they have arrived!

Daisy Mae went into labor and delivered her first baby girl at about 3:00 this morning.  She then delivered four more little girls and a baby boy over the course of the next two hours.  Daisy has stayed calm and the pups are heartily nursing.  So far, so good.

Although Daisy did the vast majority of the work (and did it quite well, I might add), my daughter, Gracie, made an excellent assistant.  Rachel and Isaac each hung out and helped for an hour or so and then headed back to bed to get their rest.  Their energy will be greatly appreciated later today, I’m sure.

It has been exciting to see this answer to my kids’ prayers.  Not only do they love Daisy as part of our household, they have made no small investment, in both time and money, in this venture.  I am grateful to see them one step closer to realizing one of their goals.




Bowing Down

I had a potty-training toddler in my home this week.  Like most two-year-old boys, this one is not nearly as eager for mastering this milestone as the adults in his life, but he’s giving some half-hearted effort from time to time.  To increase his level of commitment, his momma is rewarding him with an M&M every time the deed is adequately done.  When I was handed the small container of M&Ms with instructions, I absent-mindedly set them in my bay window and went on about my business.

An hour or so later, Little Guy’s six-year-old sister came in and just stood near me while I worked in the kitchen.  After a few seconds, she inquired, “Why is he bowing down to M&Ms?”

I stopped what I was doing and looked at her.  “What?” I asked.

She jerked her head toward the bay window and repeated her question: “Why is he bowing down to M&Ms?”

I followed her gaze and took in the scene.  From her perspective, the shepherd in my African nativity display did, indeed, look as though he was paying homage to the tiny container of M&Ms!  I laughed and laughed!  I then explained that the candies were just randomly set on the ledge and lifted her and her little sister up to see the true recipient of the shepherd’s worship: Sweet Baby Jesus.


I continued my work in the kitchen with a smile on my face, appreciating the good laugh this precious little girl had given me.  Life is almost always more interesting when occasionally seen through the eyes of a child!  What was so obvious to me was completely missed by my young friend.  I was tall enough to see the whole picture while she and her sister were not.

I wonder how many times I have looked like I was the one bowing down to something as ridiculous as M&Ms.  How many times have I been mindlessly going through life, paying little attention to the decisions I made, giving the very appearance of bowing down to that which is worthless?  From the perspective of the ones around me, where does my heart lie?

Lord, help me to speak, to act, to live as though You are the sole object of my worship.



Monday Morning Prayer

Worn out.  Flat.  Empty.  Unwanted.  This is what I feel some days.

Lord, help me to focus on You and what is true.  When I fix my eyes more on who You are, I less concerned with how I feel.

Please show me today a glimpse of who You are.  Open my eyes so I can see Your glory and open my heart so I can become more like You.downtree


Steak & Salmon

Steak and salmon.

That’s what my soon-to-be-fourteen-year-old son wants for his birthday dinner.   Usually, I would have balked at such an expensive meal, but we actually have both of those items in our freezer right now.  He just happened to ask soon after having our first beef butchered and me finding a great price on some frozen salmon fillets.

Apparently, the days of requests for tacos or twice-baked potatoes and smoked sausage are long gone.  My kids have broadened their culinary horizons significantly.

It’s actually  kind of my fault.  I enjoy a variety of food, some of which doesn’t exactly make for a low-cost meal.  I have always encouraged the kids to try all kinds of stuff–especially regional favorites of various locations.  When in Kansas City, try the barbecue.  When on the coast, enjoy whatever fish are in-season.  When in South Dakota, order the elk or bison burgers.  That’s just the way I was raised to eat.


We are so fortunate to have so many varieties of food at our fingertips–and at relatively low prices.  We don’t have to go to California to enjoy pomegranates or travel to Mexico for avocados or fly to Alaska for king salmon.  We can live anywhere in the U.S. and sample the flavors of almost every continent.  That’s pretty amazing.

So.  Steak and salmon are officially on the menu for my son’s birthday supper.  He tried to add shrimp, but I told him not a chance.   My freezer is not that well-stocked!


French Dip Sandwiches


One of my absolute FAVORITE sandwiches EVER!!

1 3-lb. (ish) pound beef roast
½ c. soy sauce
1 c. beef broth
1 bay leaf
3-4 peppercorns
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. garlic powder
1 c. water
6-8 hoagie rolls

Combine all ingredients except the roast and the rolls. Pour over trimmed roast in slow cooker.

Cook on low 10-12 hours.

Serve on rolls with sauce for dipping.

NOTE: This dish can be prepared with a frozen OR fresh roast. The roast can be thawed when it goes into the slow cooker OR placed in the slow cooker while still frozen. The leftover meat also freezer beautifully if you ever want to make a double batch to have some prepared meat in the freezer.

ANOTHER NOTE: My FAVORITE way to eat this is to have some cooked onions and Swiss cheese to put on top. I usually toast this sandwich, open-faced, under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly, and then commence eating with a knife and fork. YUM!!

Italian Beef Sandwiches


This is definitely a special-occasion recipe for our family, and it’s also one of my favorite ways to prepare a beef roast!  I just put one of these in the freezer to pull out during the holidays.  Woo hoo!

1 3-4 lb. beef roast
1 jar pepperoncini or banana peppers
1 T. dried, minced onion
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 t. garlic salt
½ t. pepper
¼ c. water
1 ½ c. mozzarella cheese, grated
sturdy sandwich buns

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 8-9 hours until meat is tender. Shred with two forks. Spoon meat onto toasted buns; top with mozzarella cheese, if desired.

Beef Burrito Filling

This recipe can not only be used for burritos, but is perfect for taco salads, enchiladas, nachos, chimichangas and more.  This is one of my favorite homemade convenience foods to pull from the freezer.

2 lbs. ground beef
1 t. salt
2 t. minced garlic or 1 t. garlic powder
2 t. cumin
2 t. oregano
1 small can chopped green chilies
½ c. taco sauce or enchilada sauce
½ c. sour cream
¼ c. apple cider vinegar

In medium skillet, cook beef, salt, garlic and spices until meat loses its pinkness.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Serve inside tortillas, on taco salad or in taco shells with whatever other fixin’s you like.

NOTE: When re-heating after frozen, allow to simmer on stovetop about 8-10 minutes in order to allow the sharpness of the vinegar to mellow.