I didn't want to let the month of November go by without expressing my gratitude for all the wonderful blessings in my life. For the past year, I've tried to focus on "Finding Joy in the Journey" and being grateful for all that I have. It hasn't always been easy. Why is it such a simple thing to fall into a mode of self pity and wanting things that are out of reach? All that does is bring sadness, disappointment and heartache. When I focus on the many wonderful things in my life, I'm overwhelmed by how blessed I truly am. Not only do I feel satisfied with what I have, but also I'm filled with such a deep sense of gratitude I can't help but feel and be happy. So here goes with a few of the things I'm grateful for - really my list could go on and on and on...
I'm so very grateful for my family - my three wonderful sons and terrific husband. I'm so grateful my sons have returned home safely - that they've had these wonderful opportunities to serve missions, to teach and help others and by doing so have learned so much about their own capabilities. I'm so grateful for how our lives have been blessed by their missions - both spiritually and financially. I'm grateful for their example - to Winston and to me.
I'm so grateful for Winston's health. The surgery he had last year has made a HUGE difference in his health and strength and I know he's been blessed and watched over these past four years. He is a miracle and I can't help but be amazed at how far he's come since the day of his birth. Knowing how much Heavenly Father has blessed this little guy fills my heart with so many emotions - it's hard to express the depth of gratitude I feel. I'm also so very grateful for Winston. He's brought so much joy to our family and to my life as his mother. My father told me he would keep me young and as usual, my father was right - even though Winston can be exhausting at times, his energy and enthusiastic wonder add a sense of magic to the mundane and remind me how special the simple things in life really are.
I'm so grateful for my wonderful husband - for his support, his strength, his kindness and his friendship. He really is my best friend. He knows all about me and still loves me inspite of my flaws. From the day we met I've felt a connection with him - I think we're kindred spirits. I feel so lucky and so blessed to be able to share my life with this incredible man. Just the sound of his voice brings a smile to my face and warms my heart. I couldn't do all I have to do without his help and love.
My life is so blessed and enriched by my wonderful family and friends - your offers to help, your listening ears, your hugs and "I love you's." I want to thank each of you for these special blessings - your love, your help, your friendship and for all that you add to my life. I truly am grateful for each of you. When I think of all I've been blessed with, my heart overflows with gratitude and I feel such a sense of peace and happiness. Thank you.
So much has happened since my last post. Bo arrived home on November 18 - my family is all together again! His arrival was every bit as exciting and thrilling as Zack's and I can't even describe how great it is to have my boys home again. Winston has been on cloud 9 - he adores his big bros. It's so sweet to see him wrap his arms around them and tell each of them that he loves them. It's so pure and heartfelt that at times it still brings tears to my eyes. He really is thrilled to have them back - probably as much as I am.
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving - visiting with all of our family on both sides. I made Zack and Bo's favorite desserts (we had tons of food!) and of course at the end of the day we watched Christmas Vacation - it's been an annual tradition of ours for at least the last 10 years. Even though I was already stuffed, I just had to have a giant slice of my pumpkin pie while we watched the movie. Boy was it yummy! Unfortunately, I didn't quite make it to the end and fell asleep on Brad's shoulder - my boys laughed at me for dozing off. All in all it was a fun and fulfilling day.
Wow, I can't believe the time is almost here for my whole family to be reunited. Bo will return home from his mission next Thursday and by this time next week, we'll all be home - together again. I'm so excited to see him and can hardly wait to get that first hug at the airport. It'll be so great to see all three of my boys together again - just 7 more days... :D
I know I just posted a recipe for this month, but I received a request for a good pumpkin pie recipe. I have a couple of really good pumpkin pie recipes but this one is my favorite. I found it in a Taste of Home magazine many years ago and my family insists that I make it every Thanksgiving. You can find the recipe here but I've listed it below as well.
Streusel Pumpkin Pie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons water
1 can (30 ounces) pumpkin pie filling (make sure to use the pie filling and not canned pumpkin)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
In a bowl, combine flour, pecans and salt; cut in the shortening until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Divide dough in half. Roll out each portion to fit a 9-in. pie plate; place pastry in pie plates. Flute edges and set aside.
Combine pie mix, milk and egg; pour into pastry shells. For topping, combine brown sugar, flour, pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Cover edges of pastry loosely with foil.
Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 2 pies (6-8 servings each).
(Hint: In a hurry, I use the Pillsbury pie crusts you can find in the refrigerator section at the grocery store)
I love Chicken Noodle soup - especially when the weather is cold and stormy. Over the years I've made several recipes and have come up with a version which is low fat, healthy and delicious (it's quick and easy to make too). So here's my recipe for the month of November. Enjoy!
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
2 Tbsp butter
1 ½ cups thinly sliced carrot
2 large rib celery, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, diced (about ½ cup)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cans (14 ½ oz) cans low-fat chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ cups uncooked broad egg noodles ( I like to use Kluski brand noodles)
½ pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and stir to combine. Add broth, water, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add noodles and chicken; cover and bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 more minutes or until noodles are tender and chicken is cooked through. Remove bay leaf and stir in parsley just before serving. Makes approximately 4 servings.
(Hint: When I'm in a hurry I use 12.5 oz can of Chicken instead of cutting up uncooked chicken breast and dried parsley in place of the fresh.)
Winston had a great time this year. He's finally old enough to get the whole trick or treat thing and he had a blast going around saying, "Trick or Treat" - not to mention he loves having Zack home. This year for his costume, Bo sent home some genuine leiderhosen from Germany so Winston went as a little German boy. He looked adorable in his authentic costume - the pants are real suede!
He also loved carving his pumpkin. Brad took him to the store and he picked out the biggest one he could find. We had a good time getting all the pumpkin guts out - at least until he decided to throw some on me. Yuck!
Brad helped him light the candle. He was very proud of his pumpkin and we had so much fun with him, I'm already looking forward to next Halloween. Winston, you rock!
"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong because at some point in your life, you will have been all of these."
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson