Monday, August 27, 2012

My experince with a retractable clothesline...

My husband is pretty tall.  When I first mentioned a clothesline, he said no.  He didn’t want to ‘clothesline’ himself on it while he was mowing the grass.  Then we found at 40 foot retractable clothesline from Household Essentials in our local Menards store (I’ve also seen it at True Value Hardware and   With the help of my Mom we calculated that if we used it once a day for 2 months, it would pay for itself.  Why not try it out?  It was easy to install.  It was a little challenging finding a sunny, bird’s nest free, and 40 ft long spot in my back yard to hang it.  It’s fairly easy to use.  There is a spot where you double loop the line to keep it from becoming too slack that could use a little improvement.  The line is often so slack once I put clothes on it that my dog can’t walk under it.  I can hang an entire average sized laundry load on it if the line is stretched to its full length.  I’ve only been using it for about 5 weeks, so I can’t tell you how durable it is yet.  I do not know how I would replace the line inside the retractable casing when the line becomes damaged.  I think I would buy it on sale again for the $9.99 that I paid for it, but I don’t know if I would have paid the full $25 price.  

Faith Like a Child

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 NIV
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

I’ve always been a little offended by the phrase ‘faith like a child’.  It seems like an insult to my intelligence, as if God is asking me to blinding accept everything that comes into my life.  Recently a friend of mine said that she doesn’t believe in a loving and omnipotent God because she sees (and experiences) so much pain in the world.  Wow, can I relate!  I don’t know why children die.  I don’t know why children are abused.  I don’t know why marriages fall apart.  I don’t have the answers to all these questions.  Hurtful things have come into my life but I do not know how I would survive without His love and friendship buoying me up.  I can share with you some of the nuggets that I have gained while the Lord has walked with me through dark places.  I can tell you about the sweetness of knowing that no matter how much someone hurts me, Christ knows how that feels because of how He was wounded on the cross.   Sometimes I feel abandoned, but when I looks back later I can see that He was with me, sustaining me.  When a hole is left in my life by the death of a friend (or a relationship), God fills that hole either with a new relationship or with a new richness in my relationship with Himself.  I can’t say that I have blind faith.  I do question God.  I don’t always understand why things happen the way they do.  But I have become convinced of this, God loves me.  He will work it all out in the end, somehow.  That’s what ‘faith like a child’ looks like to me.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to cook 4 pounds of ground beef in a slow cooker without doing much work...

I love my slow cooker.  This big one can cook 4-5 pounds of raw ground beef in a few hours.  Then I can freeze it in one pound portions for quick suppers.  So, here's how I do it:

Step 1: Spray the inside of the ceramic crock with a nonstick oil.  You will thank me for this step when you have to clean the crock later.
Step 2: Put in the ground beef and season it.  You will want to add about 1/2 cup of liquid to it to help the slow cooker do it's thing.  We had leftover wine, so I used it up. 
Step 3: Put on the lid and crank up the heat to high.  This 4 pounds of thawed beef took about 3 hours to cook.
Step 4: You will need to stir the ground beef every 45 min or so.  If you do not, you will end up with a single lump of beef (like meatloaf) instead of ground beef.
Step 5: The beef is done when it's brown through and through.  I usually use a slotted spoon to scoop out the beef and put it in zip lock bags (IDK why there is a ladle in the crock in the picture).  Then I freeze the bags.  You will have a cup or two of very yummy beef broth in the crock.  Freeze it and use it in another recipe. 

Happy Short Cut to Dinner

Less time in the kitchen means more time for family fun!