Monthly Archives: February 2013

this is the real me.


You know I am a sap.  Right?

I am sitting here in my dark, quiet house after returning home from a meeting.  Pretty sure the phone will stay silent tonight with no calls for a snow day in the morning.  My little two were up in time for school because we put them to bed before the call came.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Landon, who we struggle to get dressed, ready, and out the door on time each school day—woke himself up, got dressed–shoes and all–and was happy and cheerful preparing for school.  The only problem was?  There was no school. 

The “real” me was getting frustrated this morning.   It was like pulling teeth to get anyone to help out—whether it was cleaning up the kitchen, practicing piano, taking the dog out, putting clothes away, or picking up their rooms.  Just one of those difficult days as a mom. 

We needed out of the house and the faster the better.  We conquered our cabin fever with a Pizza Hut lunch date with Dad–and a special bonus to find Grandpa and Grandma a few booths across the restaurant.  A basketball “hoops” play date with some friends, and then on to this…


This seems to be the thing to do this year of the snow fort.  Maybe because we actually got enough snow to do something with it?  I don’t know.  But I do know, it brought my kids together.  There was not fighting (at least what I could tell).  And the sweetest cherry on top?  Dad made it home with enough light outside to lend a hand in the building. 


The “real” me today was ready to
send them back to school and bring back the lost routine.  The “real” me decided cleaning with these kids at home all day was pretty darn pointless and didn’t do it at all today.  The “real” me is now ready for the snow to disappear magically without the slushy, muddy aftermath. 

And, the “real” me is sitting here wishing it was last week again when the snow came through.  The “real” me is sad to see this little blessing of family time end.  The “real” me would do a happy dance if that snow day call came again tomorrow.    The “real” me doesn’t want that fort to ever melt away…

gimme a break.


What a nice little vacay we have had!  Sledding, snow ice cream, hot chocolate, puzzles, movies, laundry, basketball, french toast, chili, chicken noodle soup, cinnamon rolls and bread, online shopping (shhhh, don’t tell the dad!)…and then?  Repeat.  And repeat once more.  And hold on…we get another day.  What?  Chili?  AGAIN?!

Seriously have loved this EXXXXTRA long weekend we’ve had.  Lots of time spent with each other and family.  Special weekend at church with Journey@McPherson’s very first baby dedication!  Too beautiful—the baby, the family, the whole gosh darn thing.  I just love it.   As I was preparing for this week in Children’s ministry and the baby dedication, I came a cross the most perfect blessing for each and every one of us.  It’s from one of my now favorite authors, Holley Gerth.  She just has a beautiful way of saying just what needs to be said.  I bought her journal from  Blessings Unlimited and was excited to see that each page is laced with her beautiful writing and bible verses.   I was just thumbing through it and came across this…

You are God’s powerhouse.  Go light your world in your own wonderful way”.  I am amazed by these words.  Another “take” on being the light of the world.  And being created uniquely to fulfill a purpose that only you can fill.  Perfect, really, for each one of us.

God's Heart Companion Journal

On to the chili.  Raise your hand if you made chili during these snow days?!  Yes, I did.  The weather just screams chili.  And my kids screamed when they heard I was breaking out the chili for the, you guessed it…THIRD time in the last few days.  They have done a really good job of eating leftovers as we have been creative with the many meals we have shared together.  I have linked up this sweet gal’s blog before because of her recipes and I am doing it again.  Tonya at 4 Little Ferguson’s   shared this recipe for using up leftover chili.  And it was a hit over here!!  The kids loved it and it almost used up all of my 3rd round of chili.  Thank you, Tonya!  Nachos Supreme rocked the “4 little Kaufman’s” and left them smiling and most unknowing that they had just eaten chili again.  {click HERE for recipe}

I decided to get creative since I had a bit of chili leftover yet again and filled tortillas with the chili and cheese sauce and froze them for another time.  Like probably a few weeks down the road.  I don’t think I’ll be able to fool them again this week.

the verdict is in.


Snow Ice Cream Recipe #2

8 cups of fresh, clean snow

1 can sweetened condensed milk

splash or more of vanilla extract

mix and serve immediately

I have to say, I am surprised by the winning choice.  Most of the time, anything with heavy whipping cream is going to take it all.  But not for snow ice cream.  If you want ease and instantaneous deliciousness with just 3 ingredients that you most likely have on hand (except for the snow) and vitrually no steps involved? 

Make. this. recipe.

Clip Art - ice cream cone<br />
with snowman.<br />
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the great debate.


Tell me, did you get a “slow day” yesterday?  And today?  Yes?!  Or are you one of the many who has a job that doesn’t stop regardless of the weather?  Today, I am thanking God so much for taking care of me and our family.  Steve was scheduled to be gone for most of this week, including yesterday and today on a business trip.  Because of this trip, I did not schedule myself to work, which usually, I am either on call or working Thursdays and Fridays.  Steve did not have to go!  And I was not scheduled or on call for the hospital.  So thankful.  God was and is taking care of all the 1

Speaking of details… I believe I am just not what you call a “puzzle” person.  I love getting my kiddos around the table to work on a project.  Usually, this brings about some of the best conversation.  However, yesterday, my two oldest were at their grandparents–so our stranded at home day just included Kourt, Landon and I.  These precious kids got all bundled up FIVE different times throughout the day.  Each time lasting for a minimum of 30 minutes (which is a long time as far as I’m concerned).  Kourt came in with the reddest cheeks and icicles hanging from her hair.  And that was it.  They were both ready for some hot chocolate and a new activity.  Thankfully, I had both.  Hot chocolate made with leftover Halloween candy.  Ever tried it?  Works best with mini Mars bars or caramel  kisses melted over the stove with milk and half and half.  Try it sometime.  Great way to use up candy and make a yummy hot chocolate.  And a PUZZLE!! 


Blessings Unlimited has the coolest puzzles ever.  And this new 3-D one?  I couldn’t wait to try it with the kids.  Turns out, I am just a bit puzzle inadequate.  I knew this after my last experience putting a puzzle together, and this 3-D puzzle–completely confirmed that.  Don’t let it scare you.  I just am not that good at puzzles…truly.  But, I did get it done.  And it is so awesome.  I just love it —and it’s especially good for older kids.  Kourt and Landon got a bit frustrated as we were trying to figure things out, but once it was done, it just completely rocks.  I have a gathering next week and I can’t wait for the guests to see it.  I should have put it together a long time ago.  Although it will not transport well.  It’s huge. 

So anyway, that took up most of my afternoon until supper time.  Snow Ice Cream was on the menu–just as it was for many others.  And I’m doing a little experiement between recipes, because I need something to do besides laundry and wiping up wet floors from tracked in snow. 

First up.  A recipe from a sweet friend of mine.  It is yummy.  We made it last year and it’s worth your 4

Snow Ice Cream Recipe #1

6 cups of fresh clean snow

1 TBSP Instant Vanilla Pudding Powder

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Splash of vanilla

Mix all together in a big bowl.  Cover and place bowl in the snow for 1 hour.

Add 4 more cups of snow.


Like I said, this recipe is a winner.  And now in talking with another friend of mine, I am intrigued by her recipe also.  And when I did a search, Paula Dean has the exact same one.  Our bellies were too full last night to sample Recipe #2—so that’s on the menu for tomorrow afternoon’s snack.  I’ll give you all the details after we figure out our favorite.  Wonder how many more recipes there are out there?  Looks like we have plenty of snow to try them all…photo 2

what IS it with eggs?


Woo Hoo!!!  They were right!  We are snowed in!

  Although…not snowed in enough to keep my John Deere hubs home. In fact, our garage has been overtaken by John Deere.  Wishing it was his PICKUP sitting there instead of a tractor.  But it’s ok.  I won’t pout.  Maybe.

Who can pout when you have this little buddy taking care of all of our shoveling needs?  All while Kourt makes snow angels.  I love it.  Beautiful, gorgeous snow. 

Sin has cast a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow”.  Woke up with this song in my head.  Jesus Paid it All.  {click HERE} to listen.  It’s awesome!

Here to share from the trusty Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbook.  There’s something about being snowed in that dictates baking in my head.  I really do love to try new recipes…obviously.  I think my family is image

beginning to wonder if I have any “tried and true”?  It’s perfect soup weather, so I looked through the soups and knew the Cauliflower Cheese Soup was what it was for last night.  I had every ingredient.  SCORE!  And it was super good.  Comfort food at its max.  And they are eating a kettle full of veggies.  Want this recipe?  I am going to give you my version because I changed it up just a bit…

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Head of cauliflower chopped into small florets

1 stalk celery chopped

.  A handful of baby carrots chopped

Boil all in 4 or more cups of chicken broth until tender

Meanwhile, saute’ 1/2 onion in 1/2 stick butter until soft and translucent

Now, make a roux (ROO!)—it’s not scary I promise—with about 3 TBSP or flour

Whisk as it cooks, then add 2 cups of milk and cook until a bit thicker

THEN, add 2 cups cheese–cook together until melted through

THEN, add your cheesey mixture to your pot full of veggies in broth

Make as thin as you would like by adding more broth or milk.  At this point, make sure you are adding salt and pepper to taste.

This soup was a WINNER over here.  I only served 4 last night and barely have enough for a soup bowl left, so I would definitely double the recipe if my family of 6 were eating.  I was feeling like the meal was not really complete without some protein to go with it, so I baked up some chicken wings to go with it.  Kinda weird, I know.  But, this soup lends itself well to a soup and sandwich type of meal.  It’s not really hearty enough to be complete—at least for our fam. 


And what is soup without homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade bread?  Cold and baking just go hand in hand.  So, because I was lazy and wanted to cook out of one cookbook, I tried out the Cinnamon Bun recipe out of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  Let me preface this by saying, I come from a family of awesome cooks/bakers and there IS a tried a true cinnamon roll/sweet dough recipe that is good.  I know they must cringe that I am always trying out new dough recipes when there is a perfectly good one that works!!  How dare I?  I especially had a love affair with The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe a few years ago.  In fact, I made them so much that my family began thinking that cinnamon rolls were really  WHAAA???  I make rolls and I feel like I’ve labored with a mom for a 12 hour shift!!  So, I kind of went on a roll baking hiatus because my rolls were not being eaten.  But a new recipe?  I’m down with that.


I liked the dough.  It was soft (you know there is a feel to the dough, right?  I learned this the hard way while making 60 dozen rolls for our wedding—a post in itself, for later.)  I have never used a sweet dough recipe that had eggs in it and this one had FOUR EGGS!   Seriously, I had to go back and look at the soup recipe and make sure I didn’t miss the egg in the ingredient list.  Thankfully, there were none.  But these Mennonite girls —obviously have a lot of chickens…  If you’re interested in the recipe, click HERE. 

I will add that I made half into rolls and the other half made 3 nice sized loaves of cinnamon bread—-and the BREAD is perfect!  I think making bread out of this recipe would be my choice and I’d stick to PW’s cinnamon rolls, er…I mean my mom’s cinnamon roll recipe.  

Any recipe  you try, it’s guaranteed to smell really yummy in your house when you’re snowed in.  I promise.


whoa nelly…


The buzz around these parts…a BIG, HUGE, WINTERY STORM is on it’s way!!!  To say I am dreading it, would be SO VERY UNTRUE.  Me and the rest of the county shopped at Dillon’s to make sure we had everything we needed in case we would be snowed in.  Because being stuck in at our house without milk would be bad, really bad.  Especially with all of the cereal we have here to eat. 

This doesn’t happen often here in the heart of the heartland.  Not like it used to.  So, we are acting like Texans!  ha—that’s a joke, my Texas friends and family!  I love you.

I will never forget  such wise words spoken from a friend of mine a couple of years ago in regards to impending weather that was causing everyone to SLOOOOWWWW  DOWN.  The weather was keeping everyone at home and people were struggling with the thought of it.  In an email he said to me “I am thanking God for this weather which is forcing me to slow down.”  Isn’t that just an awesome statement?  I love it.

Our family is so guilty of running from one thing to the next.  All of them good things, and some are even not our choice, it is the life we live in this culture with four kids going to school.  Church is busy.  Work is busy.  Again, all good and necessary things—but they keep us busy.

I am looking forward to weather demanding that I stay home the next couple of days.  I’ve been excited about all of the things the kids and I have been planning to use up their vacation days from school.  ( we are already OFF of school—which they are already complaining how unfair it is–ha!).  And now, it looks (you never know if a big storm will really come) like we may be cozying up to the fire with no place to go.  Is this God giving us a mandatory break?  Is God saying “Whoaa, Kaufman’s…it’s time to slow it on down.  Enjoy each other with nothing to do, no place to go, and nothing to worry about for a few hours”?  I am choosing to look at it this way, like my friend did a couple of years ago.  God handing us a gift of slowing down.


Take a look at this picture.  I posted it in December after an exciting snow.  Do you see God?  I never realized until a friend pointed it out to me.




I told you last week that I would devote a post to why I love Blessings Unlimited Celebrate Plate so much…so here you go!


Way back in 1996 Steve and I were married.  At that time, besides the big hair wonky bangs and bologna roll curls, wedding dresses with big bows on the butt, wide veils, and burgundy lipstick—the gift of a You are Special Today red plate was very popular. 

Anyone else have this in your home?  Anyone?  Anyone?  At almost every gathering I hold, when I talk about that plate—there is most likely someone who has it in her home.  Mine is sitting in my china cabinet right this very minute.  And I love it.  I was always going to go back through my guest list and gift list and see who it was that gave me this special plate for our wedding.  I would love to know.

I never really used the plate because I was that type of girl—didn’t want to use my things.  Always saving it for the perfect occasion.  Oh I have learned to embrace life differently now.  And that started when I first began to have kids.  Enter the special red plate to be used on your birthday!  So much fun and the kids loved it.  Then…

September 06 037

I heard a speaker at a MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group talk about that very plate.  And do you know what she did each day with that plate?  You are going to love this!!!   Each evening for the meal one person in her family would get this plate at their place.  No one knew until they sat down who exactly would be getting this plate.  No, it wasn’t their birthday—it was this mom celebrating the characteristics she saw in her children throughout the day that she wanted to see in her children.  Perhaps they opened the door for someone at the grocery store?  Shared their favorite toy with a sibling?  Said please or thank you? (especially when they are really young and you’re trying to teach this), Or perhaps a compliment was heard about that child?  They did chores without griping or even randomly on their own?  Had great grades or are showing improvement at school?  The possiblities are endless.  And my love for this idea and use of the plate grew after listening to this “mom” talk to us about using her plate.   Mostly, because I love how she is fostering love from her to her child, good manners and the heart of Jesus in her children, AND also a way to engage her children in conversation in a positive way while having dinner.  Love, love, love it.

Summer 06 009

I will admit, I didn’t and haven’t done well with implementing this in our life.  I joke that we have to be HOME for dinner for this to even work!  But, as a young mom—this challenge was very motivating and life-giving to me.  And I wanted to pass it along to each of you.  It’s a beautiful way to make someone feel special—young OR old.

Blessings Unlimited’s rendition of this plate grabbed me from the very first time I started looking at their products.  And I knew I would be telling this story to encourage others at my gatherings.  In fact, I was telling this story at a gathering last fall and THE VERY MOM who spoke to us at MOPS was sitting around my table.  I had forgotten who it was and after telling the story—we both looked at each other and it clicked at the same time for both of us!  That was so fun!  Just another way I see God through these Blessings gatherings.  I know it blessed her to know that I was blessed by her speaking to me many years ago at the one MOPS meeting.

So there you have it.  THAT is why I love this plate so very much.  And you know you can love this plate too for an amazingly discounted price through the month of February.  Normally priced at $26 (which is waaayyy cheaper than the You are Special Today Plate) you can get the CELEBRATE PLATE for $10!!!  All you need to do is place a $40 order and you qualify. 

This plate is perfect for a wedding gift.  Really—that is where it all began for me with that red plate back in 1996…

calling all abigails…


I don’t know about you, but I had no idea there was a man named Nabal in the bible.  I guess I must have missed that in Sunday school?!  I have, however, heard of Abigail.  And of course, most have heard of David–especially when you associate him with Goliath.

We have just wrapped up our 3rd week of the virtue of Peace at Journey Kids.  Amazing to me the many, many stories that correlate with this virtue.  I know when I think of the old testament stories, peace isn’t exactly the word I would have used to describe it.  So many rules, do’s and dont’s and repercussions for not following the law.  But nestled in all of that is God’s big story.  And His strong character of peace which is shown through different people.  It’s pretty awesome when you think and read the bible like a great big story book.  So Children’s Ministry is where it’s at for me, as I’ve said before.  It must be because I need to learn like kids do.  I am re-learning all of these things with them. 

Our story yesterday centered around Abigail who interevened and basically stopped a war and the killing of many people—by finding a solution to a problem which in the end, really wasn’t so big in the first place between David and her then husband, Nabal.  There was the illustration used for yesterday’s bottom lineProve you care more about others by being part of the SOLUTION. 

Our kids were pretty awesome at coming up with their own stories about arguments, gossip, and fighting between each other and how they can be the “ABIGAIL” and intervene by being part of the solution. 



Looks to me like resolving conflict is fun, doesn’t it? 


We can’t kid ourselves.  Conflict is just a part of who we are as people.  It happens with the very tiniest kindergartners all the way through to middle school, high school, college, and beyond.  But, we can stop that cycle by being part of the solution.  I used to love a song called “Don’t be Talkin’ About Friends”.  It was by the group Acapella.  I was seriously obsessed with this group for the obvious reason of how awesome they sounded.  The words to these songs were just pretty powerful.  In the song it goes on to say…”don’t be talkin’ about friends when they’re not around, don’t be bringing them down…and my absolute FAVORITE line of the song…“if there were no one to hear it, IT COULD NOT GO ON!!!” 

Convicting, that line, isn’t it?  I am convicted, I know that.  We had a part of the lesson about when you hear your friends talking about someone else that isn’t nice– if you are there–be a part of the solution.  The kids’ answers to helping to be part of the solution were “say something nice about the person they’re talking about” or “tell them to stop talking like that it isn’t nice.”.  Our kids are smart.  And we as parents can pray that they are convicted to do something in these situations at school, church, or wherever they are.  We can help them by not perpetuating it when they come home and talk—because everyone needs a place to vent, right?  The fact of the matter is we are our kids’ strongest role models.  Scary, isn’t it?  The responsibility lies on us. There is a fine line between letting our kids “vent” their frustrations and taking sides with them, OR teaching them to talk things through in a healthy way.  Man, it is hard.  But we don’t have to do it alone. 


Thank you, thank you God—none of us are in this alone.  But we are each responsible for at least one person, aren’t we? 


I have to include this picture, because Natalie is needing to come up with a solution.  She is smiling so big because she knows these big alligator tears are very fleeting…in fact, THIS very sweet thing is what gets Natalie up on Sunday mornings!

Romans 14:19

Let us do all we can to live in peace, and work hard to build each other up”

I think this verse is beginning to stick!  Just in time too…only one more week of this virtue.

random for your weekend…


We have a full and fun weekend planned and I am excited.  Landon is playing basketball in Newton and it’s a Saturday-only tournament (yay!), Steve is off all day, my oldest girls start volleyball practice, and Sunday church potluck food is yet to be made.  And that is just for Saturday!   And you know what Saturday means?  It’s a day I love to embrace especially when my house is clean.  I can’t say we’re totally there.  Laundry is caught up and I had it ready from the gathering on Thursday, but…my bathroom that usually just needs a quick wipe down, swish and swipe was invaded and now not clean because of this…


Isn’t she just adorable?  HA!  Someone was smelling strongly of Fritos which means we are past due for a bath.  Not her favorite thing.  Not my favorite thing.  But it had to be done.  So therefore, my bathroom got a good cleaning as well.  Dogs are just kind of gross, you know?  But that face, oh that face.  It’s just so worth it!  So precious.   HA!  And why in the world does she have to go flipping (literally) crazy and run through the house like her fur is on fire?  I don’t get it.

Chalk this up to another random post.  It’s cold outside which means I bring out the soup recipes.  And this one is my absolute favorite that I make.  It is a CopyKat recipe that is so yummy you will want to make it all of the time.  In fact, it was on the Valentine Blessings menu, but did not get made. Why not? Because i got lazy. I so wish i had made it for all of you. It’s an Olive Garden knock-off of Chicken Gnocchi Soup.  You know those rotisserie chickens you see and smell at Dillon’s?  They are PERFECT for this soup.  Already flavored nicely, it is the way to go with this soup.  Trust me. 

Click HERE for the recipe deets.  You’ll love it!  We schnarfed it yesterday and the kids are already asking for more.  And guess what kiddos?  It’s gone.  If you have SIX in your family?  Double it—you’ll be thankful.

Happy Saturday to you.  I hope it is filled with anything but a wet dog and dirty bathroom.