Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Happenings

March has come and quickly approaching.  I can already tell this year is going to fly by.  One of the aspects of marriage I am enjoying it looking for reasons to celebrate.  I find myself planning much further ahead.  The downside of this is that quite often I am "living in the future", which all too quickly becomes the past.  This is an area I am still working through.

Sick season is here, which has me subbing a lot, and home less.  I miss home.  Don't get me wrong, I love being at school, but home with my husband very well may be my most favorite place in the whole wide world!  This coming week presents a packed schedule.  Three of the days, I am subbing at school (starting at 7:45), and then go over to preschool until 6 (or until the last kiddo leaves).  I can honestly say, I feel ready.  I have known this week is coming, so have tried to prepare for an exhausting week.

St. Patrick's day is tomorrow and I am excited to make my first ever, corned beef.  We hope to have cabbage steaks with it, and finish off our meal with shamrock shakes.  This holiday does not serve much significance to either of us, but [see above], I am always looking for fun things to celebrate.  I enjoy the challenge of planning a meal around a theme.

The mister has been playing house-husband a lot lately, and putting me to shame with the quality of work he does.  I have had a crazy past few weeks between illness, subbing hours, and planning for the summer program.  This has {shamefully} put housework on the back burner.  My sweet husband has done more dishes the past few weeks then I care to admit.  He has done some spring cleaning, and prepared several of our meals.  I am realizing more and more each day how thankful I am to be married to him.  He truly is my best friend, and I so appreciate the depth of our conversations.

We continue to stay busy with our church.  This past week we had the Herbster Evangelistic Ministries for Revival.  Coming from the north, I was not familiar with revivals.  I confess, I was a bit skeptical, and not overly looking forward to it.  I was pleasantly surprised and very encouraged and challenged.  The quote that most stands out in my mind is "Only genuine people can make a difference".  This was in the context of Christians having to be genuine about their relationship if they ever hope to make an impact for Christ.  I have been chewing on this statement a lot lately, and especially as I rub shoulders with students every day.

What are you doing special for St. Patrick's Day?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow in February

I do not naturally take pictures very often...leaving you with wordy posts to read.  I am making up for it with this post- enjoy!

Tip: If you click on the image, you can see it larger.

At the beginning of the month, Daniel came home to an added "decoration" to the wall.  I had fun adding a new note each day (though not always keeping up with it as I had hoped) to my Valentine to add to the excitement and anticipation of the coming holiday.

I received my inspiration from The Ruche Blog.

This past week brought snow!  It made my weekend, and possibly even my winter.  This Vermont raised gal was missing snow.  Believe it or not, but some people do love the being one of those.  

School let out early on Tuesday for the storm.  We then had three days off from school!

An added blessing to these snow days was that the mister and I both had Wednesday and Thursday off.  We haven't had the same day (not to mention days [plural]) off in months.  We loved the extra time it gave us with each other.

We had agreed early on to celebrate Valentines day on Saturday.  The mister went to work, and I got busy baking and cooking.  For anyone who knows the slightest about me, knows that I love to bake and cook.  This is one way I love to show love!  I made it my personal challenge to make as many things into a heart shape as possible.  

Side Note:  Daniel and I had decided to not use hearts before we were officially dating.  We officially started dating a few days after Valentines day (five years ago) and that is when we exchanged Valentines cards.  I remember so clearly how excited I was to finally be able to use hearts!  That being said, hearts are fun.

I enjoyed the challenge. 

For breakfast, I made what was supposed to be heart shaped Egg in a Basket.  The heart in the toast didn't look too much like a heart afterwards. Oh well.  For dinner we had salad (with heart shaped carrots), and pizza.  My favorite part about the pizza was the heart shaped pepperoni!  For dessert, we had Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownie Bars.  All was yummy!  I had so much fun planning this out and doing my best to take advantage of an excuse to make a day over-the-top special for my Valentine.

We chose to keep a tight budget on Valentines "gifts" which ended up being a lot of fun.  We both stayed "within budget" and had a blast doing it.  My man loves cookie dough.  He also loves peanut butter, so it was a done deal when I discovered this recipe.  I made peanut butter cookie dough truffles.  Again, I love to show my love through baking!

He was incredibly selfless in his gift for me.  You see, my husband does not like coffee- the taste, or the smell.  I love coffee!  My sweet mister bought me a french press and coffee!  As one of my friends said when I told her about it, "he's a keeper!".  I couldn't agree more, even though I already knew that.

Our first Valentines Day together as a married couple proved to be a lot of fun.  We enjoyed celebrating each other and the love the Lord has given us for each other.

We were reminded of the most perfect example of love provided to us through Jesus' work on the cross.  We are able to love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).


from our family, to yours...

we wish you a belated

How did you celebrate Valentines Day?

Friday, February 7, 2014

February...carpe diem

February is here.  I go back and forth between not being able to believe it is already February and going "wow, at the end of this month [which you know will fly by] we will be a sixth of the way through the year".

This year I find myself with a new mindset--carpe diem.

Seize the day.

We have a new years resolution with our sister (who loves 10-15 minutes away) to get together with her at least once a month.  I have a personal resolution to try and plan at least one "time" [my husband's love language] adventure/event/date per a month with my husband.  I have another personal resolution to hand write a note of encouragement to one person a week.  I had to break my goals into smaller goals, with short term "deadlines" to help keep me on track.

I want my year to be one of change, and worthwhile priorities.  I want to invest in relationships.

I already look back on last month and am pleased with the things "that got done" and I didn't feel like I was having to micromanage my schedule.  I want to be thankful for each moment I am given and looking back on it, know I used it wisely.

That all being said, January was a wonderful month!  Per my mister's suggestion, we are trying to clean out one closet per a weekend.

Side Note: We have an odd schedule.  Once we get used to it, it changes.  I am a planner, and am having to learn to adjust to it.  Again, I have had to learn to seize the moment.  The quicker we get into a new routine, the longer we get to stick with that one.  The mister enjoys a weekend of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  His Friday is my Monday, and my Friday is his Monday.  I get called to sub, and so we never know if I actually will be home when he is.  We mutually agreed, to protect one of his weekend days to become our weekend.  We sleep in, I make a special breakfast, and we enjoy our time together until 3pm, when I go into work.  This has been wonderful for us!  It allows us some rest time, and some time together.

Our home is getting cleaned out and we are throwing away, selling, and donating so much--it feels great!  We have agreed it is a wonderful winter activity when it is too cold to do outdoor activities (no skiing, or snowmobiling down here).

I am spending a lot of my "off hours" lesson planning and trying new recipes.  We are celebrating the month of February with a "Countdown to Valentine's".  Pictures to follow in a future post.

All this to say, I find myself enjoying life more, when I live each moment to it's fullest!

What are some fun things you did in January to help jump start 2014?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

life is not busy

Too often, I find myself discontent with my current phase of life.  For so long I wished I was either back in a past phase of life, or longer for an upcoming phase.  With the recent learning of what my job for the summer will be, I find myself enjoying my current phase to the fullest.

Our lives are busy...far too busy a lot of the time.

Yes, my life feels busy right now, but when it all boils down to it, my life is not busy right now.  It has taken a recent circumstance to help me realize this.

Let me back the story up a little bit to what helped me come to this epiphany.

I wanted a teaching job just out of college.  I accepted a summer "lead teacher" job for a summer camp reaching students grades 1-5.  I enjoyed this, but felt unsatisfied as they did not want to do anything structured.  I had high hopes that this would open the door to a full time teaching position at the school for the fall.  The Lord had different plans.  It took me a while to be okay with this.

With my current preschool job, I don't plan any activities or structured activities because at the age of three, they have had enough structure and learning time by the time 3:00pm has arrived.  I work 18 hours a week, before any subbing opportunities that may arise.

I had a subbing position a few weeks back which shed light on some of my "discontentment".  While I was thankful for how the Lord provided this job, and have learned lots, I was not TEACHING.

I love kids.  This is fulfilled in my preschool job.

I love teaching.  This is not fulfilled in my preschool job.

Do not get me wrong, I am enjoying my time in the preschool, but I miss teaching.

Last week, I was asked to be the lead teacher this summer in our preschool summer camp.  No, this will not have the same structure as an academic classroom, but I will still be able to teach.

And this brings us to today.  Never before have I had time in my life to plan ahead and taken time plotting out my goals.  I have made it through, by the grace of God, and been able to do well at the things He has given me to do, but never before have I been able to simply sit down and plan out lessons I will do several months from now.

I have the time to sit down and plan my lessons, both in a broad sense (weekly themes, special days I want to have, general outline of a day, etc.), but also more specifically (books I want to read for the different themes, how each week will break down, crafts, snacks, etc.).  I have been able to do research on behavior plans for the specific age God has given me to work with.  I have been able to research where my students are developmentally, while adding in personal experience I have gleaned this year.

God's timing is perfect.

I do not yet know what my plans are for the fall.  My hopes are to be teaching full time in an elementary classroom, but this is in the Lord's hands.  His timing is perfect.  His plans are perfect.

I rest in His goodness, praising Him that this phase of life isn't too busy.  I have the time to sit down and work toward giving Him my best in the tasks He gives me.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Holiday Happenings

For those of you who this is your first time on our blog, welcome!  We are in a transition stage of preparing for the mission field, while enjoying the field He has us at now.  It is our goal to use this blog as an avenue of updating you on what is going on in our life as we go through this adventure. 

I have always enjoyed the smells, sights, tastes, hustle, and bustle of the Christmas and holiday season.  I must confess though that this may very well have been my favorite year first time going through the holiday happenings as a married woman.  I enjoyed decorating our home, burning Christmas candles, and all the baking to my hearts (and our stomach's) content.  What a fun time to cram a few more social events into the calendar, attend Christmas programs, and see family.  Most importantly, I enjoy the intentional focus we put on the birth of our Savior.

Our Pastor did a sermon on this topic the Sunday before Christmas that helped me see the nativity in a new light.  His sermon was entitled "O Come, Let Us Adore Him" and preached on the topic of worship.  He used the example of the response the shepherds gave when they heard from the angels.  I highly encourage you to take the time to listen to this.

The school Christmas program was a lot of fun and again, amazed the mister and I with the God-given musical talent the students at this school have.  My little preschoolers did a wonderful job singing.

The mister's parents came in Christmas Eve and helped me prepare for Christmas day, while he still had to work.  We praise the Lord that he did not have to travel to fix a plane out of town. He came home on time, and in time to go to the Christmas Eve Service with us.  What a beautiful, and God-honoring candlelight service we had. After the service, we had simple finger foods: cinnamon caramel popcorn, veggie pizza, and crock pot meatballs.

Merry Christmas Eve!

I enjoyed playing hostess for our first Christmas together with my in-laws and sister-in-law at our place.  My mother-in-law made breakfast casserole for breakfast, and then we enjoyed a slow day of visiting and gift opening.

We ate a big lunch and continue to enjoy the fellowship of each other.  Earlier this year, I had decided I wanted to make a cheesecake, but had not yet found a recipe.  I had someone gift me a subscription to Kraft Food &Family.  I found just the cheesecake I wanted to make...Peppermint Bark Cheesecake.  It still has room for improvement, but was still quite tasty.
All in all, it was a wonderful first Christmas for this Miller family.
Miller Christmas 2013

Daniel had Christmas day, Thursday, and Friday off.  I too had taken the days off, so we were able to enjoy the time together.  He returned to work on Saturday.  We left after he got home on Saturday and drove through the night.  We surprised my family by coming in about twelve hours early.  The reactions were all a lot of fun.  Between their reactions and the clear roads, we were thankful to have driven through the night.

Having come in early, we were able to see some of my extended family.  It was a wonderful visit with my side of the family.

We rang in the new year with my parents.  It was a quiet and uneventful evening, but so good to catch up with them, and simply be with them.  We are thankful for the time we had with them, though it was much too short.

Life resumes to normal tomorrow as I get back to work in the preschool.

This year, more then other years, I find myself wanting to make a lot of changes in the year 2014.  I am thankful for new beginnings, and starting points.  The key to making these changes happen is that I want to make a big goal, with smaller steps to reach that.  I need accountability, which a husband is great for!  I plan to organize my goals, by the roles I play...what changes can I make as a wife? as a keeper of our home? as a teacher? as a daughter of the King?  

God is good and is bringing so much to mind.  I am thankful that He is patient and it is HIS strength that gets us through each day and helps us meet our goals.

With all this said, I wish you a Happy 2014 with many changes that draw you closer to your friends, family, and your great big God!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Season

We are loving this Christmas season together as a married couple!  Here are a few of the things we have enjoyed doing...

Baking: peppermint bark, no bake chocolate peanut butter cookies, chocolate mint dreams, chocolate covered oreos, and chocolate mint brownies.

Cooking:  We were generously given some venison.  We didn't do much venison growing up so I have enjoyed experimenting.  We had venison steaks last week, and I made venison chili.  Both we highly approve of!

Partying: Last weekend was our Sunday School party.  The mister had to work, but I was still able to go.  This past weekend was the faculty/staff Christmas party for my job.  We got to go together, and had a fun time doing so!

Christmas Cantatas: We have already been to three Christmas programs, two through church and one through school.  My preschoolers did a fabulous job singing loud and clear for all to hear- I was so proud of them!  They all looked precious all decked out in their fancies!

Christmas Card Writing:  We decided to do Christmas cards this year, and had a lot of fun doing it.  We had very limited supplies so very few got them in the mail.  We did an electronic letter as well!

We are thankful to say we have not felt the hecticness of the season (besides still not knowing when he gets time off for us to travel to my parents).  We truly have been simply enjoying the festivities paired with extra opportunities of fellowship.

I am humbled by the birth of Jesus.  In discussing it with the third graders yesterday, there wasn't much more of a humble way Christ could have entered, yet he is the only one that deserves the most magnificent.  How come we so often feel as we are not getting enough recognition?  It is shameful of us.

All this to say, we are enjoying our first Christmas together!

Lessons from Preschool

I had the privilege of subbing in third grade at our church school yesterday and this teacher's heart was in Heaven.  It had been a rough previous day in the "career" aspect of things as I wallowed in self pity, struggling with contentment over my current job position.  My husband was wonderful [as always] and listened to me while offering calming thoughts, and doing what needed to be done first...prayed.  Amazing how bringing things to the Lord can relieve so much.

Side Note: May I just throw in there how thankful I am that God created the most close relationship to be between a man and a woman?  My emotions and thoughts, as a female, run wild sometimes. The mister offers such sound and calming thoughts.  On the flip side, there are times it helps the mister to get a feminine (aka: more emotional/sentimental) perspective on things.

So back to the post.

I was nervous about yesterday's subbing, but the Lord proved true to His character, and made his response clear to our crying hearts from the previous night.  I had a wonderful day and it was a refreshment to my heart to see I do have a passion to teach.  Right now I am not teaching, but I do still believe He has me in preschool for a reason.

Do. Not. Get. Me. Wrong.  I love my preschoolers, enjoy working with them, and am beyond thankful for God's provision with a job.  I do believe the Lord has me here this reason, and therefore the Lord is working in my heart to make it content.

Despite what it may seem, this post is about preschool (not third grade).  In my pathetic questioning of "why God am I working in preschool when you know my heart is to teach, not just babysit?", God has slowly been revealing to me an important lesson I needed refreshed...


It hit me a few weeks ago how often I say to my preschoolers something along the lines of "You are sitting here in time out because you disobeyed when I told you to [insert situation here].  When you disobey, I cannot reward you and allow you to continue to play".  Obviously there is more to this conversation, but we are constantly stressing to our students how crucial it is that they obey.  This is very hard for them at this age, as they have a very self focused perspective developmentally.

I may be several years older then them, but this was a lesson I needed a reminder of.  Just as I take obedience very seriously with my students and am trying to train them to (1) do what they are told, (2) when they are told (3) with the right heart attitude (thanks Mom and Dad for committing this to my memory), God takes it even more seriously with me obeying Him.

This may seem juvenile, but this was eye opening to me.  I don't think I would have learned this lesson as bold had I been in an older elementary grade.

I needed the preschoolers and my time with them to teach me this.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

'Tis the Season...for wonderful traditions

I love the holiday season....Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc.  I love the baking, aromas, family time, and most of all traditions.

Thanksgiving:  This was my first Thanksgiving away from my parents and siblings.  While I missed them immensely, I enjoyed celebrating with my husband and his side of the family.  We are only a couple of hours from his parents, so we made a day trip out of it.  We drove north with his sister and enjoyed the time of visiting.  There were twenty-three of us gathered for food and fellowship.  I continue to enjoy getting to know his side of the family.

Friday:  My sweet mister was wonderful and allowed us to start Christmas once Thanksgiving was over.  This is our first Christmas together and so we are enjoying our time creating traditions.
I had been planning Friday to be a relaxing Christmas day.  It wasn't quite as relaxing as we had hoped, but we began some traditions.  After sleeping in, we woke up to make cinnamon roll pancakes [stay tuned for some tweaks on this recipe].  We went back out to finish some black Friday shopping.  We came back to hang some Christmas lights and make my mom's caramel popcorn....of course while listening to Christmas music.  We went out to pick our Christmas tree, and brought it back to decorate.  For our first Christmas together, we have several Christmas ornaments and decorations [thanks to our aunt who gave a Christmas themed bridal shower gift].  

After got things cleaned up from the excitement of Christmas, we made homemade pizza and enjoyed it with some sparkling cider.

We were thankful for two of the same days off this week, which hasn't happened for months!

And so on...  Daniel was back to work on Saturday, and life goes back to normal, with the addition of some extra baking, Christmas aromas filling our home, and a few extra social events.

I do love the added scenery to our living room while having my date with Jesus in the morning.

We are open to ideas of other Christmas traditions.  What does your family look forward to doing each Christmas together?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Soups, Successes, and Cranberry Sauce

Don't you love being able to stay inside on a cold, rainy day?  The temperatures have been dropping lately, and today the rain came.  Thankfully though....I am still inside, under a warm blanket and hot corn pack [thanks, Beth!].  I have already had a cup of tea, and a cup of hot chocolate.  I cannot get warm [doesn't help that our heater seems to be messed up, and therefore is turned off].

This cooler weather has increased our cravings for soup and baking [standing in front of a hot oven is the only think that compares to standing in front of a wood stove].  Maybe one of these days I will do a post solely on soup recipes....hmmm.

#1) Broccoli Cheddar- It claims to be just like Panera's, but [besides knowing we love it] we don't have it enough to be able to give an accurate comparison.  Regardless of whether it is like Panera's or not, it is delish!  I had never used gouda cheese before, but made this my first time.  We liked it a lot, but it is expensive, so I think next time we will try replacing it with a sharp cheddar maybe.
#2) Pumpkin Coffee Cake- We try to set aside at least one day a week that becomes our Saturday.  Because we don't share any days off, we make sure to take a morning where we enjoy sleeping in, having an out-of-the-ordinary tasty breakfast, and relax.  This was the results of one of our Saturdays.  I would make it every day if we wouldn't gain ten pounds each.
#3) Pumpkin Chicken Soup- This was surprisingly yummy.  Neither the mister nor I were too sure about it.  We love pumpkin but had never had it in a savory recipe before.  We were both pleasently surprised.  We added too much red pepper so it was quite spicey, but when we dipped some homemade bread in it, there was no problem.

For Thanksgiving, our plan is to make a day trip north with the mister's sister to our grandparents.  Almost the entire family will be there.  I plan to make homemade cranberry sauce.  This recipe first entered into our family from my aunt.  Since then, my mom makes it every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We love it so much that she makes extra that stays in the refrigerator to ensure we have leftovers [she told me yesterday that she is making a triple batch this year, haha].  I made it the other night for a Thanksgiving party with some friends of ours and it was agreed upon that this recipe is wonderful [which is saying a lot, considering the mister and I usually do not like cranberry sauce at all].

Okay. Enough talking about is the recipe:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1 c whole cranberries
1 fresh orange, pealed
1 3 oz lemon jello
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c boiling water
8 oz crushed pineapple, don't drain

grind orange first then grind cranberries in with it. Set aside. In small bowl combine jello, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve jello and sugar and cool slightly. Add cranberries and oranges and pineapple. Fold together and pour into bowl. Chill

What are your responsible for this Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

the most wonderful day

I sit here in the airport awaiting my flight to Charleston to visit some dear friends finishing up their time student teaching (same as I did this past spring, simply at a different school).  I look forward to a fun ladies' afternoon with these two, though still am dealing with the happy remnants of yesterday, one of the most wonderful days.

To give a little background...I had a root canal.  The week before our wedding, my tooth began hurting.  As soon as moving, we found a dentist and learned I needed a root canal. Long story short, we transferred dentists after the root canal procedure to finish up with the crown.  The mister and I decided to use his 'childhood' dentist office.  All that to say, the dentist we attend is about two and a half hours away where his parents currently live.  Yesterday was my last appointment dealing with this root canal...hip hip hooray!

This may lead you to believe "how could it be such a wonderful day?" (especially considering I absolute despise the dentist).