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Why It Is Good to Have a Child Just Like YOU

My youngest child, Sweet Pea, who is twelve is just like me in so many ways.  There are ways that she is not like me that are wonderful, too.  She has always been a sharing, giving, helpful child.  She has a great sense of humor and loves to make people she loves laugh.  She hates to see anyone be sad.  She loves hugs and cuddling.  I've had to explain that some people are not huggers, so she needs to ask if she can give them a  She still loves to scrub floors - one of my favorite things to do when I was little. She loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen - taking a recipe and coming up with something new - and often better - than the original.  She takes up for people who she feels are being wronged and will stand up to most anyone to defend others.  Even when that person is me and I'm getting on to big sister for doing Sweet Pea wrong, Sweet Pea will come to big sister's aid.  I love that about her.



Even so, there are the personality quirks that are just like mine that are ones I wish she did not get.  She has mastered the eye roll.  She cannot hide how she feels - happy, disappointed, sad, angry - she wears all that on her face.  A friend kept her for a week while I was taking care of my dad.  The girls along with her daughter were going to a community activity each day that week.  She commented to me after the week, "I saw that look.  I didn't know whether to reprimand her or congratulate her on already mastering 'The Mom' look." I was laughing and shaking my head at the same time. That girl! Goodness!

A couple of weeks ago, she did one of those attitude things that 'tweens and teens have been known to do that got on my last nerve quickly.  After I reprimanded her, I was flooded with memories of times I had that same attitude with my own mom and did not comprehend at the time how truly annoying it was.  No wonder it drove Mom nuts.  I went in straight away, called Mom, told her what happened, and said, "I know I did that when I was her age.  I had NO IDEA how annoying that was - until now. I am SO sorry."  She laughed.  We talked more.  She later sent me a text that read, "I'm not sure I told you this when we were talking.  I forgive you."

Of course as moms, we forgive our children.  We have the example of a loving heavenly father who does just that for us.  That being said, I think it is good to be both Mom and Daughter.  I am fifty years old and I just called my mom to apologize for things I did 35 years ago.  It was still good to do.  It reminds me of how much I appreciate my own mom.  I think it helps my mom know that I appreciate her, too, even more as I get older with my own children and grandchildren.  That's why I think when God gives us a child that is very much like ourselves, both the good and the bad, it reminds us to:

  1. Be careful in our correction of our child's behavior.  It helps my daughter when I correct her about these things that got me in trouble when I was younger to know that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, bless her heart.  I know what it's like, which is the reason I am correcting her so she can be mindful of those attitudes to start making corrections now so they don't come back to get her in trouble as an adult.  (That eye roll thing was a doozy for me to work on as an adult.)
  2. Repent of our past behaviors that we did not recognize at the time - both to God and to the one(s) to whom we exhibited those attitudes when we were children - especially our hard-working, long-suffering mothers. God bless them.
  3. Be grateful for God's love and forgiveness of us and reside in the joy and peace He alone can give us.  That includes the peace of knowing that God loved us and helped us through those times and He loves our children just as much.  He will guide and help them - and us - as we draw closer to Him each day.
  4. It also allows us to draw closer to our own loving parents to remind them of God's love for them and that their hard work was worth all the effort, tears, and frustration that came along with the pride, joy, and laughter, but was sometimes not in balance depending on the stage of life we were in.
To be honest, I cannot even recall what my daughter did that day that annoyed me.  The slate is clean.  What I do recall is how much I love her, how grateful I am to Mom, and how much I love God for loving me enough to love me through all of those times and that He continues to seek after me.  Thank God for giving me a loving mom, even though my personality was not like hers, she loved me anyway. God is good all the time.

Gluten-free, Low-carb Jalapeno Popper Appetizers

My daughter was an eager taste-tester.
These were not too spicy for her.
I am always looking for delicious appetizers as we love to entertain. I saw a Facebook post of some jalapeno poppers using wonton wrappers. I posted in a group I'm in for low-carb, gluten-free, tasty suggestions. What was the suggested solution? Why BACON, of course! I'm so grateful for a Facebook acquaintance who gave me the suggestion.



The video had no recipe, so I winged it and added a few touches of my own and made

Gluten-free, Low-carb, Jalapeno Popper Appetizers

Make these as soon as you can.  You will be so glad you did!

Supplies and Preparation:

Cutting board
Sharp knife or kitchen scissors
Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Mini muffin tin
Cookie sheet
Bowl to drain grease

Two tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350* F

Ingredients:

Cup:
6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/4ths (about 2" long each)
Filling:
3 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel
1/4 cup sour cream
1 ounce cheddar cheese, shredded, plus additional for topping
1 teaspoon ranch dressing mix
2-3 Tablespoons scallions (green onions) cut into 1/8" rounds (optional, to taste)
2 large jalapenos cut into 1/8" dice, or smaller if desired, removing seeds and ribs. (optional).


The finished Jalapeno Popper Appetizers.
They are so good, they may not make it to the plate!

Procedure:

Making the cups:

Put 2 slices of bacon in each muffin tin to form an "x." Make sure to push pieces into the tins and that no excess hangs off the sides.
Put cookie sheet on bottom rack of oven.
Place muffin tin on the middle rack.
Bake at 350* F for about 25 minutes. (This will vary depending on the thickness of the bacon you use. I used a medium-thick cut of bacon this time.) You want the bacon to be close to crisp for this.

When cooked, pour grease into a glass or ceramic bowl to make it easier to drain the bacon without making a mess. Pour the grease into your bacon grease container.

You can refrigerate to use later or continue with the recipe to enjoy now.

Filling:

Combine the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl while the bacon is cooking if using immediately. You can also make ahead, cover, and refrigerate a day or two ahead.

Using about a serving tablespoon per muffin cup. I used two tablespoons, with one to scrape the mixture from the tablespoon I scooped it into the muffin cups. If there is any left, divide it among the muffin cups, or give a bite to your spouse - or yourself. :-)

Return the muffin tin to the oven. Bake at 350* F for 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This helps everything to hold together well to make an easier finger food. I used a fork to go around the perimeter of the popper cups to make it easier to get them out in tact.

Serve as is or with a little ranch dressing on the side.

Makes: 12 cups
Serving Size: 3 cups
Number of Servings: 4, though it could be made to be 6 if necessary
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: ~40 minutes (25 minutes + 15 minutes)
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Calories and fat content depend on the thickness of bacon used and if traditional cream cheese or Neufchatel is used.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

After my husband and I married, one of the things our younger son and I enjoyed doing together was cooking. This was the dish we made together for all the family for his high school graduation.  This is one of his favorite, go-to recipes to make for friends and loved ones: Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

Made in a 9" x  9" casserole in this picture


Ingredients: 

Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 large ones usually are about right)
2 pkg shredded Velveeta cheese
Shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
14 oz can of Ro-Tel or store brand tomatoes and chilis
1-2 sm cans of diced Hatch pepper chilis (optional)
Corn tortillas (18 for a 9x13 pan, 12 for a 9x9 pan) (extra if you want to make homemade chips to go with them
1/2 large Onion, chopped
Ground cumin
Oregano
Dried cilantro
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Fresh Cilantro (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Supplies

 Dutch oven or stew pot with a lid. Fill container about half full of water.
Tongs
Knife
Fork
Cutting board
9x13" or 9x9" casserole dish
Ladle

Directions

Turn water in pot on high to boil.
Add: Coating of garlic powder 2-3 Tbs cumin 2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 Tbs oregano 1 - 2 Tbs cilantro 1 can of Ro-Tel 1 can of diced chilis
Cover pot and let boil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if baking the same day).
When water begins to boil, reduce to medium-high heat and add frozen chicken.
Cover. Set timer for 20 minutes.
When it begins to boil again, reduce heat to Low and simmer for remaining time.
Leave on Low until after the casserole is completely assembled.
Remove chicken from broth to cutting board. Dice chicken.
Use tongs to quickly (1 sec) dip the tortillas into the broth for first layer.
Add chicken.
Sprinkle Velveeta cheese and onion
Use some of the 2nd can (if using) of diced chilis
Use ladle to take some of the broth broth with some of the tomatoes and peppers from the pot to drizzle over the mixture. This will slightly melt the cheese.
Repeat for second layer.
 Dip last layer of tortillas in broth.
Top with cheddar or Mexican blend cheese and onions
Use last of the 2nd can of diced chilis
Drizzle broth including some tomatoes and peppers over the top.
If possible, let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes after baking.
Top the enchiladas with cilantro, sour cream, or jalapenos, if desired.
Serve with your favorite side dishes, refried or black beans,
Tex-Mex or Spanish rice,
guacamole and tortilla chips - or our healthy option - jicama chips with salt and lime

Slice and serve. with fresh cilantro and / or sour cream as desired.

Critical Data Hack - Were You Exposed?

According to MSN's Money web site, over 770 million email accounts have been breached along with passwords.  I personally have followed the link to find that some of my information, was among some of the largest leaks and one was critical.

I am taking action and changing account information on those that have been compromised immediately.

I highly recommend using the insights they provided to find if your data was leaked and from where so you can also take corrective measures right away.  To find out if your email address and/or password were hacked, go to: https://haveibeenpwned.com/.  This page lets you check your email address first.  Next, you can select the tab "Passwords" to find out if your passwords were compromised.

If you find that your data was leaked, you can scroll down a bit and discover from where it was leaked and what level of information was included in the leak.  It could be simply an email address or worse, an email address with a password, or other more serious information like address, family information, and so forth.

To give you an idea of if you might been part of a leak, if you had any of the following types of accounts: Bitly, Disqus, Forbes, LinkedIn, and more.  However, the leak referred to in this instance with the 770 million plus accounts exposed is called Collection #1.  This leak is an compilation of over 2000 previous leaks.

What action can you take:
  • If your passwords were compromised, change them to very strong passwords immediately and don't reuse the compromised passwords for anything.  
  • If your email address was compromised, find a new one and treat it like you would if you had to change your phone number: Contact those people who need to contact you and give them your new information and omit the others.
  • Write your passwords for your accounts in a book that you keep in a safe or safe deposit box. This way you know what they are.  Paper in your home safe or in a bank's safe deposit box cannot be hacked.  (If someone did break in to either to steal information, you would also know right away unlike with hacked data.) Doing this is also important should anything happen and you were to die so that your family can get all your accounts squared away that need to be.
I cannot recommend the password managers recommended on this site as I do not have enough information about them.  Furthermore, Any online that can store your password can ultimately be hacked - and those that are known to store crucial information of that sort are the ones most likely to be targeted by hackers.


Why We Homeschool – A Reminder of Our Purpose and Calling


There are days when we, as homeschoolers, wonder if we are doing the right thing.  We each have a time when we re-evaluate this choice for any number of reasons.  Sometimes it’s just a hard day.  Sometimes it is a hard season in life.  I want to encourage you in this journey.

We do this because we love our children more than anyone else does and even though they push us, that “pushing” results in growth in us.  We grow in patience, kindness, meekness (strength under control – God’s control), mercy, forgiveness, and the ability to confess our failures and shortcomings as examples to our children when we do not exhibit these fruits.
Our children are God’s instruments to help us grow in knowledge, understanding and love for Him.  This is just what we do for our children.  Just as we "push" (challenge) them to try new things, not give up on hard things, be diligent, thorough, work on communication skills, learn life skills, do jobs completely rather than half-way, integrity, honesty, compassion - so much more than reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.
We are creating people who will be kingdom people even as we strive for that goal ourselves each day. We fail, we confess, God picks us up, dusts us off - and sometimes dusts our pants because we need it, and loves us - and through watching us, our children learn these things.
It's not how many times they fail, or we fail, it's how many times we reach out to God for help and knowing we have a faithful, loving, Heavenly Father to help guide them and us to be the people he has in mind for us to be.
I'm sharing this as a print-out that you can put on your refrigerator, above your desk, or wherever you need this  to remind you - and for me to remind myself - of our higher purpose and calling in this adventure.  God bless you today and always! - Tammy

Are You Set for Emergencies?

In the past week, the Southeast has endured a hurricane - some people experiencing additional flooding while having not recovered from the previous hurricane.  Here in Central Texas, we are getting water logged with flooding and suddenly cold temperatures - from the mid-90's to mid-40's, while the northwestern part of Texas is already getting near-freezing temperatures for the highs.

We had a tornado near us on Tuesday of last week (10/9/18).  Unfortunately, the local emergency management system didn't work right that day.  Even though I have a land-line phone which should automatically receive a phone call for such an emergency, the call did not come through that day.  No cell phones that were signed up for EMS alerts received them.  An email was sent out - but most of us got it 2 hours after the fact.  (Thankfully, we were okay, but it is frightening to think that we had no way of getting an alert that day.  Living in the country, we can't hear tornado sirens.)

Nonetheless, we took inventory of bug-out-bags.  The girls have grown and the temperatures have dropped, so it was time to make sure we had clothes that fit for the right season,  We also checked key emergency supplies and verified that the snacks are still in good shape.

We did know more rain and much colder temperatures were coming before they hit Monday.  Hopefully everyone took note and got their firewood in.  The flooding was not quite expected, however.  We are on alert for roads and bridges to flood.  Many areas have low-water crossings that flood easily.  Even so, one of the main rivers through the county may crest at 30' today - which will close some major roads, limiting access to communities.

It is a good time to remember to have plenty of food on hand to last a couple of weeks or more for everyone - especially things that can be prepared without electricity should the power go out.  Also, check to make sure that everyone has enough medicine on hand should roads but cut off due to flooding or snow.

Some people also experienced phone and Internet outages with AT&T's outage on Monday.  If you are not currently signed up to get emergency alerts, do check with your local emergency management service to make sure you can receive alerts on your phone and emails.

Check your supplies and be safe.

Succeeding At Homeschooling

A couple of my friends shared this post today: https://bethanyishee.com/homeschool-gaps/

I wanted to applaud the author, Bethany Ishee, and add a couple of my own thoughts to hers:

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is re-learning the science or history I learned incorrectly in school. I knew in fifth grade that not everything they taught in school or that my teacher said was always the truth after Mt. St. Helens blew and there were several aspects of that eruption that did not match with what was taught. For example, that it took millions of years to petrify trees, and some other misinformation regarding mountain formation.

There were things I went to research to tell the girls for history that I had been taught - only to find those things totally untrue. If we are willing to learn, we continue to learn and grow, and sometimes have to unlearn. For example, not only did Marie Antoinette not say, "Let them eat cake," she was not referring to the first, burned loaf of bread from the oven, and she did not say, "Let them eat brioche." The phrase was one penned by Rousseau in Confessions when Marie Antoinnette was only nine and published later when she was twenty-six, eleven years before her demise.

There are things I teach my girls at young ages telling them, "I don't expect you to remember this exactly, but just to plant a seed so that when you are exposed to this later, you'll have some recollection of it so it is easier to grasp when you are older rather than it being a totally new concept." They appreciate that they get to learn some new things that they don't have to memorize or be tested on at the time, but that they get to experience and experiment with at a younger age for fun.



Some people struggle with spelling. I struggle with dates - especially battles in wars. As an adult, I had new books I could read that I didn't know about in school, new media available to help present the history in a new way, etc. These things gave me a fuller picture of history than I had in school. Textbooks can only teach so much, it takes experience and practice and immersion to learn many things. What things are most important depend on what one's goals are.

This cemetery in Georgia was important in the Civil War. I didn't know anything about it until my husband's uncle was interred there.

If we succeed in generating a love of learning, the learning won't end with us. If we succeed in teaching diligence and discipline, their continued ability to apply themselves to learn those things they need for their career or just for a hobby and enjoyment will propel their success. If we succeed in giving them a can-do attitude - or at least a willingness to try new things attitude - they will grow and have new experiences that add to their quality of life and to the depth of the person they are.