April 16, 2015

Grandpa Reed

We are heading out this morning to join my family in remembering my Grandpa.  He took his final breaths here this past Sunday and is now pain free and complete in the presence of Jesus.

I wrote at the beginning of March about our visit with him after they began hospice care.  It was a very sweet day with our family.  But I came home the next day to the realization that that was probably the last time I would see him.  And that hit me hard.  

I was telling some friends this week that going through the season of Lent with my grandpa being on hospice was really hard, because a lot of the songs we sang at church in that season talked about dying and what waits for us after.  And while it was a good reminder that what has been waiting for my grandfather is glory and redemption and peace, it was still a weekly reminder that he was dying.  And I was lacking some peace as we faced that.  It was hard for me to get through a Sunday service without crying in the face of that.

This past Sunday we were supposed to be out of town, but due me breaking my foot we ended up home and at The Gathering with our friends.  And God knew it was exactly where I needed to be that morning.  Our friend Jon lead us in a morning of worship.  We prayed and we sang and we gathered together.  And one of the songs we sang as part of the Adoration was "All Creatures of our God and King" and though we usually only sing a few verses, Jon included them all.  And as we sang this verse about Death coming to lead the child of God home, I was filled with peace instead of fear for the first time in the last month.  And when I found out that my grandfather has passed away Sunday afternoon, I knew the Lord was preparing my heart as we sang to Him that morning, and I'm grateful for the reminder of His truth and His love in the midst of a really hard week.

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him!  Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

So as I gather with my family today I am filled with sadness, but I am grateful that in the midst of sadness there is a lot of hope.  And as we celebrate his life, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite pictures of him.  For his 80th birthday, my Aunts asked me to make a scrapbook of his family pictures, so I'm grateful I have a lot of these from that time.

 My cousins and I found this picture after my grandmother passed away 10 years ago.  I love how in love they are and always were.

With my dad, his first child.

3 generations of Reed men.  My grandfather always wanted to make sure the Reed family name was passed on, so he was very excited when my brother and sister-in-law had their son Chase and he got to meet him

This is probably one of the last pictures of all 7 of their family members before my dad passed away 15 years ago.  He loved his wife and his kids and grandkids fiercely. 

And I will forever be grateful that he was able to come to our wedding.  

I will miss this sweet man so dearly.  But I am grateful for the years I had him in my life.  Grateful that he and my grandma were always involved in our lives and that we got to spent so many holidays with them.  Grateful that by watching his dad I was able to get glimpses of who my dad was and would have been.  They had the same goofy sense of humor and the same love for family.  

April 8, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Creamy Baked Chicken Breasts

It feels like we are on the go all the time, even though I know we really aren't.  Most weeks we may only have 1 night at home, and some weeks I have none.  So on those nights it can be really hard for me to find motivation to cook--after 10 hours of work all I want to do is curl up on the couch or sit on our porch and read a book.  I'm trying to get better about planning our meals out each week and having things for us to eat, since our natural inclination would be to just grab something quick on our way home or on our way to our activities. 

I was grateful for a Wednesday night at home this week, so I decided to try out one of my recipes.  I had given David a choice between a few dinner dishes a couple of weeks ago and this is the one he chose for me to make.  I've had the ingredients for a little while but just now got around to making it.

This recipe came from my sister-in-law's mom.  I've been given a handful of her recipes over the years and all of them turn out very well.  This was an easy one to throw together, but it takes almost an hour to cook so it can be hard to make on our nights when we're not home long--so it was good to have time to make it tonight.

Creamy Baked Chicken Breasts
*4 skinned, boned Chicken Breasts {I didn't really pay attention to this when I was shopping, so I used boneless skinless} *4 slices of Swiss Cheese *1 can Cream of Chicken Soup, Undiluted *1/4 cup Chicken Broth *1 cup Herb-seasoning Stuffing Mix, Crushed
-Arrange Chicken in a lightly greased dish
-Top with Cheese Slices
-Combine soup & broth well and spoon over chicken
-Sprinkle with Stuffing
-Bake 45-55 minutes

I'll be honest, this wasn't my favorite dinner.  I am not a huge fan of Swiss Cheese and I could really taste that flavor in it.  So if you like Swiss Cheese, I'm sure you'd like this one.  I may try it again sometime with a different type of cheese.  Otherwise, it was a good texture and came together well!  David said he really liked it--thankful for an easygoing husband who likes most things and is grateful for any dinner :)

April 7, 2015

Going Yard

Last year I got very into watching HGTV.  I loved all the shows about renovating and fixing up houses.  I loved seeing all the decorating ideas.  I loved the kitchens.  I loved the yards.  I loved the living areas.  Once we moved into our house I slowed down a little on the HGTV watching--I wanted to just enjoy our house and not think about all of the other options out there.  But I still watch it from time to time and last week I was watching Yard Crashers and thinking how fun all of the updated backyards were.  And then I found a show called Going Yard and they were having a marathon, so I may have recorded a whole bunch of them.  

Our list of Scheduled recordings on Sunday night :)

I just love seeing all of the ideas.  And we've had quite a bit of fun working on our backyard over the past few weeks getting it ready for Spring and Summer.  I know I've shared a few pictures here and there, but I thought I'd give a little look at the updates so far
On top is a picture David took from the Kitchen window the night we got our keys in September and the bottom is a picture he took on Saturday

The day we were having people over, I was on Pinterest and I came across signs of  Backyard/Patio Rules and I thought they were cute.  So I decided we had to have one.  Like right then.  I am definitely an impulse crafter.  When I see something I want to make I tend to just make it and don't even always bother with getting the best supplies--I made this sign on the cardboard insert that goes in a picture frame I wasn't using.  And I didn't have enough vinyl in 1 color to do all the words the same, so I made it work with half blue and half gray.  I looked through several lists and David and I chose the ones we liked  best for our list of "Backyard Rules."  And I made it that afternoon!  In case you can't read the tiny picture--here are the "rules" Gather with Friends *Enjoy Each Season *Relax *Laugh *Watch the Sunset *Sip a Cold Drink *Grill Burgers & Dogs *Read Books *Take Naps *Sit by the Fire *Go for a Swim *Be Grateful for the day.  I originally hung it with some ribbon, but have now re-positioned it a little lower with some zip ties on the sides.  Love my Silhouette machine for making things like this sign!

We also finally have a blue pool again!  We had "closed" our pool for the winter by covering it with a net to keep the leaves out.  So about 3 weeks ago we took the net off and began treating it with chemicals and brushing it.  It took 3 weeks of work (mostly by my awesome hubby) to get it blue, but it looks so pretty again!

I also decided that I wanted to add some lights to our patio area.  I found some at Home Depot but then found a much better deal on packages at Target, so I bought a few of those.  I started on the roof line and then wanted them to drape down some.  I originally tried to attach them to the umbrella, but then one snapped off and the whole strand of lights fell and broke.  Then I decided to drape them down to the pool fence and string them along that.  

 It took a few tries to get the spacing right, but I love how they turned out.

And they really are so bright and add a lot of light in the evenings!

I can't wait to have people over more and more this Spring and Summer to enjoy our patio and our pool.  

April 5, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Grandma Bergstedt's Carrot Cake {Happy Easter}

Happy Easter!  This morning we are heading out to worship with our church family at Woodcreek and then meeting up with my family at my mom's church.  I love getting to worship with our Woodcreek family and all the meaning and power in the Easter Sunday Service.  I'm also looking forward to Piper's first Easter and hunting eggs with Chase (if the weather clears up at all today!).

The recipe my mom gave me at my shower is for her grandmother's Carrot Cake.  I made this last year as part of our Mothers Day dinner and thought Easter weekend was a good time to make it again.

Friday morning I gathered all of the ingredients to get it started

This grater cup is one of the things we registered for and I really like it.  It has 3 different tops depending on the size of grating you want.  And then it goes right into the cup.  And it has a measuring cup on the other side so you can see how much you get 

I'll be honest--this is one of the least appetizing-looking cakes I've made.  When I put it in the over I feel like it looks like mush with a bunch of carrots floating in it--so this is not a cake that I do much "batter sampling" with.   

But it actually turns out pretty well.  And I'm sure that's helped out a lot by the layer of cream cheese, margarine and powdered sugar on top!

Grandma Bergstedt's Carrot Cake
*2 cups Flour *2 teaspoons Baking Powder *1.5 teaspoons Soda *1 teaspoon Salt *1 teaspoon Cinnamon *2 cups Sugar *1.5 cups Oil *4 Eggs *2 cups Grated Carrots *1- 8 ounce can Crushed Pineapple, drained *1/2 cup Nuts {There are no nuts in my cake.  I did my grocery shopping on my way home from work on Thursday and I thought I had some chopped nuts at home, but I didn't.  Since I prefer my cakes/brownies/cookies without nuts I didn't worry about not adding them}

-Heat oven to 325
-Cream first 8 ingredients
-Stir in carrots, pineapple & nuts
-Bake in layers or 1/4 sheet.  30-40 minutes at 325 {This is probably a good time to mention, if I haven't already, that the oven at our house needs to cook things longer than any recipe every mentions.  I baked this cake for 35 minutes and it was still liquidy, so it needed another 10 minutes.  Almost everything I've made since we've lived her I've had to cook 5 minutes or more over the suggested cooking time}

Frost when cool
Mix together: *1/2 cup Butter or Margarine *3 ounces Cream Cheese *1 teaspoon Vanilla
Beat in 1 lb Powdered Sugar

Carrot cake would not be my first choice for dessert, but this one is actually pretty good.  David and I both liked it when I made it last year and today I'll take it to my family's Easter dinner.  And my mom loves it--in fact when we were tasting wedding cakes my mom asked if we could do one layer of the cake as carrot cake, but the baker said carrot cake didn't look as pretty as other kinds so she didn't recommend it--so the fact that she loves it is enough reason to make this recipe every once in a while!