Hosting Your Neighbors for Christmas (Giveaway)

Written By: Kimberly - Dec• 15•14

God Bless Our Christmas

Happy holidays everyone. I was reminded very much of this today when I went to my annual physical and had a Jewish female doctor.  I didn’t say Merry Christmas, but I did talk about how the Scriptures help me when I’m fearful.

Anyway…

We live in a suberb of Atlanta, in a culdesac of townhomes.  And I approached my neighbor (long time seminary friend) about hosting a holiday party for the ladies and children in our neigbhorhood.  My pastor had challenged us to share Jesus 5 times this holiday season (felt like Doc Reid was going to have us fill out evangelism reports like I was in Intro Evangelism).  And then I got this book from Tommy Nelson Mommies – and thought that it would be a perfect reason to have everyone over.  So, I dished out the invitations and my friend passed them out this weekend.  Be praying, because Saturday morning hopefully we will have non-believers in our home.

Here is what we are doing – and maybe some ideas will give you a creative spark to reach out to your neighbors in the next few weeks.

1.  I am hopefully going to have the opportunity to read God Bless Our Christmas.  This is a new book by Tommy Nelson (a book publisher for children) written by Hannah Hall.  It is a non-threatening, winter-fun-loving book that is illustrated for children and would be a lovely book to have all the kids gather around.  While, I didn’t think it hit on the Gospel hard enough, barely mentioning Jesus – I thought it perfect for our gathering.  Where we want to be inviting to our neighbors, winsome, and have a conversation starter that we can take (winter, snow, gifts, Christmas, trees) to then talk about the Gospel.  I’m so thankful to have conversation starters when sharing the Gospel.  I find it intimidating to walk up to someone and say “Hey, you know Jesus?”

2.  One of the precious and yummy things that book highlights is sprinkles.  Cookies and sprinkles.  So, we are going to have goodies at our holiday party and we are including a cookie decorating station for the kiddos.  This holiday season is already crowded and packed with friends and functions, so I want to keep it easy.  My friend and I are splitting the tasks.  And usually I would use this recipe and roll out the dough and make the buttercream – but I’m buying sugar cookies, and tub frosting – and having sprinkles and icing!  Fun for all the kids – and adults too.

3.  Another activity for the children is Christmas tree decorating.  We put our Christmas tree in our dining room this year.  So much happens around our table so I thought it perfect to include the tree.  So, I’m going to have construction paper, stickers, markers, glitter – you name it – for them to decorate Christmas trees.  Hopefully with the children busy with activities, my friend and I can get to know the moms and have opportunity to talk with them about Jesus.

4.  Presents.  Christmas is about presents – in some sense.  God gave us a present.  We give each other gifts.  And during the Black Friday madness, Lifeway Christian Stores was selling the Jesus Storybook Bible for 5$.  We bought several and will have bows on them.  Be praying that we will get to give all 4 of them away this weekend.

I’m thankful that my friend is doing it with me.  It is scary to share the Gospel.  Shouldn’t be – but it often is.

How are you planning on engaging your neighbors or lost friends this holiday season?  Comment on the blog here or any of the social media sites of mine – and I will draw a winner on Friday (19th) night and you can have your own copy of God Bless Our Christmas!  I love getting children to read and this is one your kids will love for every holiday to come!

Disclaimer: I am a Tommy Nelson Mommy.  That means I get to review, blog, and giveaway new books for kids!  Its exciting – but all opinions are my own!  Thanks Tommy Nelson!

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Dec• 01•14

Coconut Cupcakes

Boy this blog has been slow.

Honestly, I’m getting disillusioned by blogs and I’m so busy.  My life is noisy.  So when I have down time, I don’t necessarily want to open a computer and work.  Even if it is just spouting my opinion.

I do still love recipes, love to cook, love to write, but I just am more selective about what I put on here.

Thanks for reading – just sharing with you what’s going on!

I’m doing no breads this week so if there are breads here it is for my Misters and my MIL who is still here.  I may break it for a bite of a Sublime donut for donut day, but that’s about it!

Spaghetti

Leftover Pot roast with rice and veggies – this is so good and easy!

Brinner

These granola bars

This kale and avocado salad

And leftovers.

 

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 17•14

Train cupcakes

Sorry for the absence all week.  Last week was the toughest week of parenting to date.  And I know there will be more.

But, when life is tough I’ve come to not turn to blogging.  I really did find solace in the Word last week and journaling some prayers for mommas this morning.

But, I also didn’t turn to cooking, either. When I’m trying to eat healthy, I don’t always want to cook.  So, poor husband didn’t have a lot to eat last week.  One of my comforting things to do is to bake – well, that means I eat it – which won’t go well for me when I’m struggling because then I will eat all the cookies.  NOT GOOD. But delicious.

So, this week, here we go again!

This leftover soup tonight with some homemade hummus.

Chicken Korma – finally, if I can find Paneer without haven’t to go to every grocery store in Atlanta.

Turkey enchiladas.  I didn’t get to make them for my friend who visited this past weekend, so since I have all the ingredients I will make them for us this week – and my boys like them.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange muffins for our end of the semester Bible study brunch.

A strawberry elmo cake for a neighbors birthday party.

What are you cooking this week?

 

Weekend Link Love

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 08•14

Pumpkins and Link Love

It is a beautiful fall day here in the Atlanta Metro area.  The blue sky beckons you to be outdoors (but my littles are asleep) and we are heading to the river later on today.  The crisp morning air gives way to cooler sunny afternoons.

Here are a few posts for your weekend viewing:

We went on a two week road trip for our honeymoon and loved it all.  One of the meals in Prince Edward Island has turned out to be a much requested (never made) meal for my mister.  I’m going to aim at fixing that this week with this recipe.

I passed by a sale feature today at TJ when I went of Raspberries. My older son could eat them all in one sitting if I let him.  I give him some at each meal if I have them on hand.  I tell him the reason I give him those is because I love him.  Baby brother doesn’t like them. His daddy sure does.  I’m making this granola to go with it this coming weekend for a special breakfast before family pictures and donut day

Definitely would consider this a tasty way to use up the two acorn squash sitting in my fruit bowl on my island.

Just because into every life must come the perfect sugar cookie.

One of the reasons I love to travel is to taste all of the food that the city I’m going to has to offer.  I’ve been to the Bay Area one time and I so want to return. Actually, one of my dream trips is to fly into San Fran and mill around and then drive up the coast or however you get to Napa and Big Sur.  Oh, to dream.  But, reading this post, I at least know which stops to make with a fork in hand.

Pepper Jack Chicken Enchiladas

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 08•14

Pepper Jack Chicken Enchiladas

Some moms ask me how in the world I make dinner and bake and cook the way I do with two littles two and under.  Well, its not always easy and you have to do what works for your family (like mine is really easy or fast food healthy-ish lunches) and leftovers so I’m not cooking everyday.  My mister also gets home at the boys’ bedtime, so I can cook our dinner as they are eating theirs.

So, I whipped this together in a couple of steps.  I relied on Publix with a Mojo Rotisserie Chicken.  Pulled it apart a few days ago and made stock.  Froze the stock for later.  Kept the chicken in a bowl in the fridge.  Then as the boys were eating their dinner, I was working in the kitchen right beside them (to make sure they didn’t toss things on the floor, which did happen) – I was talking with them, playing with them, showing them what I was doing (I do want my boys to love to cook if that is the Lord’s plan).  These were in the oven in less than 20 minutes.  Then as they baked, I had time to put my younger to bed and read to my older one, then come back, put some cheese on top while my older was watching some Thomas the Train waiting on Daddy to arrive.  Easy!

 

 

Pepper Jack Chicken Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Spicy creamy healthy chicken enchiladas
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • evoo
  • small can green chilies, diced
  • ¾ cup black beans, rinsed
  • ¾ cup corn
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • ¼ tsp each cumin, pepper, salt
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 8-10 soft taco size whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 can green chili enchilada sauce
  • 1½ cup grated pepper jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray 9x13 pan with pam
  3. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil and saute onions for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and chilis, saute another 2 minutes.
  5. Add beans, corn, spices, and soup. Stir until heated through.
  6. Add chicken and stir until combined and warm.
  7. Scoop filling into tortillas and roll
  8. Place seam side down in 9x13 pan.
  9. Top with enchilada sauce.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes.
  11. Top with cheese and bake another 10 or until cheese is melted.
  12. Serve with avocado, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, tortilla chips, etc.

Journaling for November

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 07•14

Journaling in November

November, already?  Wow – there is less than two months left in 2014.  And we always look forward to January – fresh, clean, new year.  I love January for many reasons, but November is a good month too.

I was inspired by a popular secular DIY/Lifestyle blog to think about ways to journal in November.  This month is easy to make a list of ways we are grateful, etc – but I think the art and practice of journaling may help make the list-making more of a heart-turning-to-gratitude making.

1.  Remember.  What has the Lord done for you this year.  Even if you can think about over the course of the last 10 months and journal about what God has done for you and your family.  This year has been extremely hard for our family and I’ve seen the Lord bring much healing.  He is good.  The book of Deuteronomy specializes in the word Remember – so maybe journal through that book and connect the dots.  The God of the Old Testament is the God of your heart, too.

Coffee and Journaling

2.  Thanks and Giving.  Search these two words in the Bible.  See how often we are to give out of gratitude. Give out of blessing.  Give even out of need.  One of the disciplines I’m trying to teach my older right now is to share.  And I heard a friend teaching her son yesterday that we share because God has been kind to us and we are to share with others.  Really, sharing and showing kindness and giving to another is a way we display the image of God in which we are created.  Just jot a note in a journal or in your ESV Journaling Bible where these words show up.  Pray the Spirit would help you cultivate a heart full of gratitude and selfless living with time and possessions.

Hospitality and Journaling

3.  Hospitality.  She Reads Truth is a great daily devotional plan that is online.  I’ve loved it and it is especially helpful for me who lives by my iphone, can read anything through my ESV App – listen to it if I’m on the road, and is perfect for getting me in the Word during a busy season of life.  And how many of us plan to host people in our homes or attend a function in another’s home this holiday season?  This is a timely study – that you can get and read and journal through to cultivate a heart of joyful welcoming.

How do you journal?  Do you use your Bible or do you use a notebook?

 

Pumpkin Oats White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 05•14

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin overload – right?  Pumpkins are everywhere, even now that Halloween is past and we are moving headlong into the Thanksgiving season.

Do you know what my favorite Thanksgiving commercials are – ever – the Publix pilgrim little figurines – that get so full from all the Publix food that was served on Thanksgiving that their outfits tend to pop buttons.  So fun.  Growing up in Lakeland, FL – the home of Publix – I saw my share of Publix commercials – and am so glad to be living again with a Publix on every corner.

Anyway, back to pumpkins.  As a Mom, sometimes I stress about my kids’ nutrition.  I mean my older son could down all the fruit he could ever eat if I let him.  My younger son loves those little pouches that are fruit-filled.  We have instituted a donut morning one day every week, and I usually bake something sweet, and we eat out just to make life easier.  So, I’m not the healthiest Mom out there – but that isn’t the end all either. They love their fruits and veggies so that is great!  And neither of them really dig french fries – so that’s a plus!

These muffins – both of them are gobbling up.  I feel good about giving them one because there is no added fat in it from butter or oil – so that makes them healthier, right?  And, they are very yummy!  You can change up the add-ins for the muffins, and this time I had a small amount of white chocolate chips left – they are a very nice addition.

Pumpkin Oats White Chocolate Chip Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A healthy hearty filling pumpkin muffin with a touch of sweetness
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1¼ cup Pumpkin Pie Mix in a can
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T applesauce
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Spray muffin tin (makes 12 muffins) and set oven on 375
  3. Fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with muffin batter.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until done, don't overbake

 

Thoughts and Quotes on Grace Transforming (Ryken/Crossway)

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 04•14

Grace TransformingOver the years, I’ve learned that I absolutely love books that have been compiled of sermons.  My love for them started with Piper’s Swan series, and has continued – especially since I can’t make every conference but I can always buy a book that has the talks transcribed to fit between the covers.  It is a helpful ministry to put these talks together for those who can’t attend, but would like to reap the benefits of the talks.

Wheaton College is an amazing romantic place to me.  I’ve only been twice, but the moment I stepped foot on the campus outside of Chicago, IL – I was filled with a since of awe as I knew the likes of the Elliots and Pipers had attended there.  The snow was piled high on my first trip, and the quietness peaked an interest in my heart of that campus – which I still adore.  Now, with so many friends working in Wheaton or for the college, it still holds a dear place.  One of my current favorite preachers is now the president.  And while I can’t attend weekly chapel services, I can pick up the book of sermons on Grace that the President, Phil Ryken, preached to his students.

I’ve already reviewed the book, but now want to return to it and point you to some of my underlinings and notes:

Let me just tell you – it may be written for college students, but people in every avenue of life can glean from his sermons.  I mean, for me – what Mom and wife doesn’t need to revel in the grace of Christ on her behalf – especially in disciplining two toddlers and submitting to her husband (who is wonderful by the way)?

“One of the ways that grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness is by giving us a place to go with our sin and then offering us another chance to grow.” (58)  Man…I need this reminder daily.  How often we beat ourselves up if we yell at our children, pick a fight with our husband, or overeat, or have a messy house.  These things shouldn’t define us, but we need to step away from them and enter God’s gracious presence to receive healing and hope.

“Wanting people to think the est of us, we try to present ourselves to the world in the best possible light.  Yet most of us struggle with a deep sense of insecurity. Rather than feeling confident in our abilities, we live with the constant fear that we don’t measure up.” – Probably the most impactful quote in the entire book for me.  In a world of social media and my role as a SAHM – this cut to my weak and sinful heart.

“Is this any way for a person to talk who has received an absolute sufficiency of God’s abundant grace,” (81)  Especially, as I’m around my two toddlers who are learning to talk and see how I respond to life (especially Atlanta drivers and disappointments throughout our day – I want my speech to showcase God – not make my boys question my relationship with Him.

“We get discouraged by the burdens of our work and disheartened by the brokenness of our relationships.” (84)  This was indeed true this past weekend – when my pastor preached on parenting and I also learned that day of another marriage in trouble because of sin.  I wept for the hurt of those friends.  I was convicted by the way I don’t treasure the Word in my parenting like I should.  God’s grace is more.

 

 

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 03•14

Raspberry Buttercream

Wow.  We’ve already started a new month, new food budget, and gearing up for the biggest family food fest holiday.  Though Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, I’m already thinking of our menu (it will be our family and my in-laws).  But, this week – just normal stuff!

Feta Herb Scrambled Eggs

Baked Ravioli from a Freezer Food Party I went to in September

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Salads

Spanish Chicken and Potatoes

Mojo Chicken Enchiladas

Brinner one of these nights this week

 

 

Creamy Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas

Written By: Kimberly - Nov• 03•14

Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas

My days in seminary were days that were hard pressed for cash. I was very thankful for work, scholarships, and help from the parents, but still, I didn’t eat out that often, especially the first couple semesters.  But, when I did, I would venture around the corner to my favorite Mexican place, Las Margaritas. It was a small chain, but I liked this location the best.  And then I tried their spinach and mushroom quesadillas.  I fell in love.  Gooey, cheesy, healthy (?), and warm, especially good for cold, NC winters.

And this is how life is funny: one of the friends I went to this restaurant with back then, is now my neighbor.  She got me started on making my own enchiladas with this recipe.  And tonight, she is getting these for dinner as she babysits my boys so my mister and I can go to a concert.  Life is grand.

And that taste, is what I’ve recreated in this enchilada recipe.  I’ve fallen in love with enchiladas.  I love making them.  By far, my favorite homemade mexican food to make.  So, I always try to come up with different ones.  So, today, I used what was in my fridge.

Fresh spinach.  Lean Turkey.  Cheese.

Creamy Turkey and Spinach Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Creamy and warm enchiladas packed with vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg ground turkey
  • evoo
  • 1 6 oz bag fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 8 soft tacos (or 10 depending on the size of your pan, and how much filling you put in each one)
  • 1 can mild green enchilada sauce
  • 1½ cup grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Saute onion in evoo. Add ground turkey and cook until almost done.
  2. Add garlic and cook until turkey is no longer pink.
  3. Drain.
  4. Cook spinach in same pan.
  5. Add back in the turkey mixture.
  6. Cook until all spinach is wilted and incorporated into turkey mixture.
  7. Add soup, cheese, and spices.
  8. Fill each tortilla and roll.
  9. Put seam side down in a 9x13 pan.
  10. Pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.
  11. Top with cheese.
  12. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes at 375.
  13. Enjoy with sour cream, cilantro, and black beans on the side.