Saturday, July 30, 2011

TSMSS ~ We Fall Down

Thanks to Amy @ Signs, Miracles, Wonders for hosting Then Sings My Soul Saturdays. Now go check out her blog and all the other participants.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chewy Pretzel Bites

Mom loves soft pretzels so when I found a recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe we had to try it.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup very warm water

1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbsp baking soda
Coarse salt (optional)
3 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Mix to just combined. Add the water and mix well, adding more flour as needed, a bit at a time to form a soft smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft, smooth and quite slack. The goal is to get a really soft dough that isn't overly sticky. Lightly flour the dough and place it in a plastic bag; close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest for 30 minutes or up to 60 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Don't be afraid of the high heat! This is what will help those pretzels to brow up perfectly and stay soft on the inside. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or lightly greasing them.

Transfer the dough to a lightly grease work surface, and divide it into about four strips of equal length. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the baking soda in a liquid measuring cup (deep enough to dip the pretzel bites into). Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved. Sometimes I have a hard time getting the baking soda completely dissolves, so I just lightly stir up the mixture right before adding each pretzel.

Cut each strip of dough into about 6 to 8 pieces, about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in width. You don't have to be completely exact, just eyeball it. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda solution (this will give this pretzels a nice, golden-brown color) and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse, kosher, or pretzel salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 7 to 8 minutes or until they're golden brown. Bake one sheet at a time - it won't hurt the other pretzels to chill out for a little longer.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you've used it all up. Eat the pretzels warm or reheat them in an oven or microwave on low heat.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

P365 ~ Week 30

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Sunday - Kathy got tickets to the Lion King show. As we waited for the doors to open Rachel took in all the sites of Mandalay Bay.

Monday - We checked out this new library that's way cool. It's huge and has tons of books, books on CD, movies, and there are at least a dozen computers to use to surf the Internet.

Tuesday - We've been playing lots of card games. Rachel loves Phase 10...but Mom and I love hand and foot.

Wednesday - We went to see the dancing waters. Rachel loves to watch them. It was hot out so we only stayed for 2 songs but it was still fun to watch. I never get tired of it.

Thursday - Kathy and Rachel joined us for our walk. Kathy actually joined us three days this week. I am very proud of her and look forward to having her join me for walks Monday to Thursday.When Paul got home from work Rachel had a Pink Panther marathon planned. So before Mom, Kathy and I left to go grocery shopping I snapped this picture. They had just started the marathon... Rachel had her dibs ice cream, Paul with popcorn and both of them already hooked on the Pink Panther show.

Friday - Got some card making time today. I needed a few different kinds of cards but I decided to make them all look the same and just change the sentiment. When I showed the card to Kathy she said it looked too plain to be one of my cards. Do you think the card is too plain?

Saturday - We woke up real early to go to a local u-pick farm. Rachel had fun picking tomatoes, zucchini, apples, pears, carrots, squash and cucumbers.this is just some of the produce we walked away with... can you guess what the bright orange items are? what about the huge white item? do you know what they are?After a busy morning of picking fruits and veggies and going to Red Rock Canyon, we headed to Cheeburger Cheeburger for lunch... by the way, they have the best onion rings ever!

We had a full week, how was your week?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

TSMSS ~ Majesty

Thanks to Amy @ Signs, Miracles, Wonders for hosting Then Sings My Soul Saturdays. Now go check out her blog and all the other participants.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mike's Testimony

I was cleaning some documents on my laptop when I came across Mike's testimony that he prepared to share at church in April 2006. It's a great reminder to me that he is in heaven worshiping our Creator...God!

Mike's Testimony

I grew up in a Catholic environment in Rochester, New York. Both sides of my family practiced Catholicism. Although, my Dad’s brothers were the Easter-Christmas visitors. My parents had me participate in all the sacraments (Baptism, First Communion, First Penance and Confirmation). I was even an altar boy during middle school.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school (in 1984). Throughout my military career and high school I fell into peer pressure. Peer pressure led me into drinking, chewing tobacco and vulgar language.

As most of you know, I have 2 teenage children from a previous marriage. Sharon and I were married after I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, California. We were fresh out of high school and very young (19 years old). Christopher was born in 1986 and Brittany in 1990. Due to my military deployments overseas and constant traveling; Sharon and I started growing apart. I was never home to see my kids grow and be a supportive husband.

After my honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1991, I came back home to see the 3 of them in their own world. They started clinging to their Mom more than me, and we fought like cats and dogs. We fought over finances, how we raised our kids, debts, etc. This led to me going out with the guys after work, or Sharon slipping out with the girls at night. There was no reconciliation in sight. We went through a nasty divorce on April 20, 2000. She received custody of the kids, and stuck me with all the debts (house, truck, credit cards).

Elizabeth and I met in a training class for BellSouth Mobility on July 20, 1998. And, I met her family shortly after that. I started hanging out with them (weekends, BBQs, etc.) during my separation from Sharon and the kids. I suddenly stopped drinking and cleaned up my act around them. She even convinced me to stop biting my fingernails. She transferred to a position in Orlando (January 2000), and like a lost puppy I requested a transfer effective March 2000. I sold my house in South Florida along with any un-necessary items. You don’t want me in charge of a yard sale. I was giving things away for as cheap as 10¢. I moved in with her brother Philip and his wife Rosalyn. We lived one street away from Elizabeth and her parents.

I started attending the Maitland Grace Brethren church with the Hoyts, and hearing the Word from Pastor Ron Guiles. Things were starting to 'click' and I began to see the light.
Since my transfer to Orlando, Elizabeth and I started car-pooling together. On July 26, 2000 – I participated in a class called the “Introduction to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. The course taught us how to break our common ineffective behaviors and tendencies, and develop strong interdependent relationships. Again, something ‘clicked’ and on the way home; we pulled into the Wekiwa Springs State Park. ** There I asked Elizabeth to pray with me, and I asked for the forgiveness of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ into my life ** It felt like all my worries and troubles were gone, like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am reminded of scripture from Romans 10:9-10. Paul writes “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

After sharing my great news with Elizabeth’s family and the Maitland church, I was baptized by triune immersion on September 17, 2000. My Dad witnessed the event since he lived nearby in Winter Springs.

Again, Elizabeth transferred away from me to Ocala. Actually, our company just merged with another telecommunications company and we were forced to leave the Orlando area. I moved to Ocala in October 2001. We attended the Ocala Grace Brethren Church, and were married on May 18, 2002.

As far as I know, I am the only one on my side of the family that has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. My Mom still attends Catholic services on a routine basis. My Dad is now looking for a Lutheran church in Virginia. Thank you for your prayers towards Christopher and Brittany. My kids are so lost, but they know that I have changed for the better.

I can’t thank Elizabeth enough for her own testimony and kindness towards me. She puts up with a lot! I’m earning my Bachelor’s degree by taking online courses with Liberty University. I have learned plenty with my Old and New Testament studies. Look at me now, my physical body is turning 40 this year, but my heart will be 6 in July. I am a big kid, and loving life every day! Thank you again for your time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

P365 ~ Week 29

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Sunday - We took Uncle Mike and Aunt Rita to our church, had lunch at the Pastor's house and then said goodbye to them as they headed to pick up Kayla and get checked in at their hotel. Sorry no picture though.

Monday - Spent the day getting the house ready for Mom and Rachel to come and visit but I did get a chance to finish making these birthday cards.

Tuesday - Mom and Rachel flew in today. They are staying 2 weeks and we have lots planned. Rachel brought some vellum with her for me to show her how to use it. We made this card together so I could also teach her how to use eyelets. She was really happy how the card turned out and now she can go back home and make many more cards using vellum and/or eyelets.

Wednesday - Mom enjoying some mate while we play hand and foot.

Thursday - Rachel was so excited to show me how to twist a pretzel. I thought she did a great job with her pretzel.

Friday - Kathy picked up Abigail (a little girl from church) to spend the weekend with us. We thought it would be nice for Rachel to have someone around her age. It was so cute because they met each other and started talking to each other like they were long lost buddies. We ate dinner and took them to a park so they could run and play. I took lots of pictures with my camera but with this new Mac I don't know how to get the picture so once I learn I will post all the pictures I took of them having fun at the park.

Saturday - We had a busy day planned. Woke up early, ate breakfast and headed out to get manicures and pedicures.Then it was time to pick up Uncle Paul and go to Grimaldi's for some yummy pizza. We ran to Walmart to get some shopping done and then back home to drop Uncle Paul off.
Since Paul had homework to do at home we took the girls to Cars 2. The girls had a fun filled weekend!

Another week has flown by. I'm going to Sara's blog to read how everyone else is spending their summer.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

TSMSS ~ All to Jesus I Surrender

Thanks to Amy @ Signs, Miracles, Wonders for hosting Then Sings My Soul Saturdays. Now go check out her blog and all the other participants.