Wordless Wednesday ~ The Evening Sky



Pinterest Test Kitchen # 88 ~ 7 Up Biscuits

You’ve probably seen the recipe before. I come across it frequently on Pinterest and finally decided to try it out.


As far as recipes go it couldn’t be any simpler…four ingredients. And since three of the ingredients get cooked in the forth, melted butter, they are quite tasty.

What you’ll need:
4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7 Up  (Notice it is a cup of the soda and not a whole can.)
1/2 cup butter, melted
What you’ll do:
Melt the butter and pour it into a baking dish.
Mix together the sour cream and Bisquick.
Stir in the 7 Up.
Place dough on a well floured surface, use your hands to flatten it out until it is about an inch thick.
*Cut the biscuits out.
(The dough is really sticky and you may need to dip your cutter into flour after each cut.)
Place the biscuits in the buttered pan.
Bake at 425 degrees or until a nice golden brown.
This recipe made two dozen biscuits. I cut it in half and used gluten free Bisquick in a smaller batch and they turned out fine.

They didn’t really rise so if you’re expecting a big fluffy biscuit you are bound to be disappointed. However, they do have a good flavor and I think would do well on the breakfast table…especially paired with some jam or honey. We don’t drink soda on a regular basis so it’s not exactly an on-hand recipe for me but I will keep it in the make again pile 🙂

*In the past I’ve just always used a regular glass to cut out biscuits, no big deal, right? This time I wised up and used what the kids refer to as our fancy glasses. It was like having a nice handle on the cutter. I guess I could break down and buy a actual biscuit cutter since Sarah and I both seem to be delving into bread making but I don’t think it would be as fun to use as the fancy glass.

Learning To Cope

Getting old is hard. I mean, it beats the alternative so I don’t regret doing it, but as a woman who has reached a certain age I can say it is really really hard.

Hot flashes…the worst. Feeling perfectly fine one minute and the next it’s like I feel my insides coming to a rolling boil and heat just radiates from the inside out. Drinking the coldest glass of water I can get hold of is the only way I have found to effectively cool off. 
Mood swings. Oh.My.Goodness. I can barely keep up with myself so I know I must be driving my family crazy. One morning I was on my usual walk and I don’t remember what I was thinking about but I was literally so darn angry about something, just furious. And by the time I was starting my second mile I was just in tears and almost sobbing. No rhyme, no reason, and zero rhythm…just a staggering yoyo ride of emotion. I’ve talked before about teaching young girls about their emotions by likening them to a horse ride. As long as you are in control they can take you on amazing adventures, but let them get control and you will quickly find yourself in the thicket and thorns and dangerous places. I have days where I wake up and feel like I have a burr under my saddle. 
Depression is also a new companion some days. It’s not something I have ever felt in my life, even going through some very difficult times. But there are some days when I feel like I am fighting for my sanity. I just want to hide myself away…not think or feel or do anything. I realized how serious it was when I had weeks where I didn’t even want to pick up my camera. That’s when I knew I needed to finally say something to Rob.
I’ve been to the lady doctor and had the blood work done but haven’t heard anything back yet as far as how unbalanced hormones may be. (I told Rob it will be horrible to have them come back and say that everything looks fine. Because that means I am just going crazy.) I’m not in a rush to pop a pill to fix something but I would like to feel a little more settled and in control. And I am learning things that I can do that help.
Diet and exercise. They do help. It can be a pain to feel like I must always pay attention to what I do or don’t eat and making time to exercise on a regular basis while the kids are out of school is harder than it should be but there you have it. 
Being thankful. That is another big help. I can resent all day long what my body is going through but the truth of the matter is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am doing what my body was designed to do at this season of life. To give reign to frustration and anger seems akin to shaking my fist at God. Instead I want to navigate this path in way that is honoring to Him.
The other thing that I have found that really helps is to do something for someone else. To focus on someone else and not my crazy self. So I make myself invite someone over, do something with the kids, or whatever. Yesterday I woke up with that familiar heaviness and I started cooking at 6:30 in the morning. I had chosen some of Rob’s favorite things to cook for our Sabbath meal at the church and a couple of other things that I hoped my church family would enjoy.
And I found a measure of peace as I cooked and boiled and prepared a main dish, mixed and kneaded homemade biscuits. I found my mind settling as I baked a cake from scratch and the wonderful aroma of a zested lemon soothed. 
God is gracious in the giving of good gifts that come wrapped in the mundane activities we have to do each day. And when we focus on who we are doing them for, the Gift Giver and the people we are blessed to be in community with, it changes us. It allows our lives to become about so much more than what ever we are experiencing and dealing with at the moment.
For this I am grateful.  

Baby Bird Update

The chicks are staying awake more this week and are finding their voices. I wish I could get a good silhouette shot of them when they are all poking their wobbly little heads up squawking for their breakfast. So far I haven’t been fast enough to get close enough at the right angle but I did get some cute pictures of them.


 I try to be quick grabbing the pictures because I don’t want to cause the parents any undo stress. Their prehistoric grumpy lookingness is so adorable.

They caused me a little undo stress because it seemed the nest was looking a little wonky and unstable…kind of tilting to the side. We were worried they would fall out so I carefully shifted the wreath so that it straightened the nest up.

We’re still praying that predators stay away and we will get to see these little guys fledge in a few weeks.


It is not unusual for me to prepare a couple of blog posts at one time when I actually have the time to do so. This one I got ready on Monday or Tuesday and  unfortunately, we woke up yesterday to find that a predator had gotten to our sweet little birds. We think the nest must have somehow fallen during the night and a raccoon or something of the sort got to them.

I don’t think I am going to hang that wreath up next year. Our house is like the equivalent of bird hood and it’s just not safe. This is twice that it has happened and I think we will probably be the house that all the teenage birds dare each other to fly up to.

Silliness aside it is pretty sad to loose the babies but the worst was watching the mama and daddy birds come looking for them. Hopefully next year we may be planting a tree or two in the yard now that the grass is doing so well and they can make a real home if they choose and have a better chance at survival.

Pinterest Test Kitchen # 87 ~ Baked Meatballs

I had a friend call me once and ask me how I made my meatballs. I told her exactly what I did at the time she asked. I cut open the bag and dumped them into my slow cooker and poured in some bar-b-que or marinara sauce.

There are several foods that I remember enjoying from my childhood that I have never attempted to make. Fried chicken, beef fingers, and homemade meatballs being the three chief dishes. After the conversation with my friend though, I started looking for recipes for meatballs and found two that looked good, one with ground sausage added in and one without. I prefer the one without and that’s what I’m sharing today. (I think I would like to try an Albanian meatball…it has feta cheese mixed in!)

Interesting fact: Recipes for various kinds meatballs have been found in cookbooks dating as far back as the 4th and 5th century. Also, many countries and cultures have their variation of meatballs but apparently they are rarely on the menu of restaurants in Italy because it is considered a simple home food.

When I decided to make some from scratch I was surprised at how quick and simple they are to make and how tasty they are baked instead of fried. I used more meat than the original recipe called for and adjusted my seasoning however, I did not change the other ingredients and they tasted fine. Quite good actually according to comments from friends at church that ate them and the empty slow cooker I brought home.

What you’ll need:
2 lbs of ground beef 
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs 
seasonings to taste (I used garlic, Italian seasoning, a little Cavenders, and salt & pepper)
What you’ll do:
Mix everything together in a large bowl by hand.
Roll out into balls (most of mine were slightly larger than a golf ball.)
Place on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

That’s it! I placed mine in the slow cooker with some brown gravy and paired them with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. They could obviously be paired with pasta and a sauce, bar-b-que sauce, or a marinara sauce for subs. I think they would also be tasty formed into smaller balls and eaten as an appetizers with different dipping sauces. I’ve also found recipes where people have added in rice and all kinds of minced veggies, as well as other meats. And isn’t there a recipe somewhere with some kind of sauce made using jelly?

Not sure I want to try that but let me know if you do.

On My Front Porch

A few years ago I posted regularly about the sweet little family of birds that built a nest in the wreath on my front door. We were so sad when one day they just disappeared because a predator had gotten to them (apparently snakes can climb which is a thought almost worthy of therapy).

Well, a few weeks ago we noticed two little birds darting back and forth and sure enough we have another nest and it wasn’t long before we found four pretty little blue eggs inside.


We try to use the garage going and coming a little more often but the front door still swings open and shut quite a bit. (A total aside…if for no other reason I am thrilled to host their little home because it has actually made Sam more careful when he opens and closes the door. Something I have not been able to accomplish no matter what I tried.)

The first time around the parents-to-be where super quick to dart away if anyone was anywhere near the door, inside or out. But these guys wait until we are actually at the door and then kind of dive bomb away. Rob has actually had to gently knock on the door so they would fly away before he could open it to leave for work.

On Sunday we checked and still had eggs. On Monday I checked and low and behold three of the four eggs had hatched!

There was much rejoicing and oohing and ahhing. Tuesday afternoon I waited until mama flew away and then got the ladder out so I could take some pictures with my real camera and not just the cell phone.
At first they were all huddled up in a fuzzy little bunch. Sam saw the picture later and commented that they were so ugly they were beautiful.
The shutter click on my camera woke them pretty quickly and they have the sweetest little voices. And boy were they hungry! At first it was just the one holding his wobbly little head up with his beak wide open.
He looked so disgruntled when I had nothing to offer.
I guess he thought maybe I wasn’t listening so he got one of his siblings to join the chorus.
They made enough racket that a third joined in.
So far we haven’t seen the forth one yet. I think he is a little behind the others since his arrival was after theirs.
We are taking much pleasure in watching these little guys and it gives such a beautiful look at the amazing God that created all that is in heaven and on earth. 
And God blessed them, saying, 
“Be fruitful and multiply 
and fill the waters in the seas, 
and let birds multiply on the earth.
Genesis 1:22

Teach Them To Hate

Sometimes it is a sweet reminder…a quiet encouragement to be kind and to love each other as I am walking out the door.

Other times it is a desperate plea for them to stop fussing and needling each other and just for the love of all that is holy and little green apples just love each other and get along!

As Christians we talk about love a lot, as well we should, considering He is a God of love. Indeed He is love, and if we are His people we are to be characterized by His character.  He shows us and tells us how that love should look – patient, kind, not boastful or arrogant and rude, not seeking it’s own or irritable or resentful, it doesn’t take pleasure in wrong doing and finds joy in truth, bearing, hoping, believing. That is love.

After all, isn’t love the greatest command given to us? They asked Him and He answered what they had already learned, what they already knew.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Oh, and the second command is like the first one: love your neighbor as yourself.

So we toil and strive and work to love Him and each other because this kind of love doesn’t come natural to us.

And neither does hate.

Oh, we can hate well enough, that comes pretty natural to us, don’t you think? But just as He gives us a right way to love He gives us a right way to hate.

We are just as called to hate rightly as we are to love rightly.

Oh, you who love the Lord, hate evil!

Hate the sin and love the sinner we’re told. And that sounds great and all, but it really says nothing because we don’t know how to hate what He hates and we don’t know how to teach our children to hate what He hates. But He even tells us what He hates.

“…haughty eyes…a lying tongue…hands that shed innocent blood…hearts that devise wicked plans…feet that make haste to run to evil…a false witness that breathes out lies…and one who sows discontent among brothers.”

You hate all evil doers…

We shuffle our children off to a special service geared just for them. One that they can “understand” and yet somehow we’re raising up a generation that is always learning but unable to know truth. A generation that not only doesn’t know what they are supposed to hate but they can’t really grasp why they need to hate. We’ve let a salad bar teach them about lying, coveting, and adultery and all manner of sin and in the process, or lack thereof, we’ve not shown them how hideous, how black, and evil sin is. A caricature of sin has produced a caricature of consequence that has produced a caricature of God.

We’re trying to show them how grand and big and bright and perfect His love is for us, for our world but we’re trying to do it divorced from just how ugly and fallen that world is. We’ve G rated sin and actually ended up dimming the light because we forget that light shines brightest when it is shone against real darkness.

I’m not saying that we need to be gratuitous in teaching our children about sin. We don’t have to use graphic or explicit language but I think we do need to remember that if we want them to see how big God really is, how huge Jesus’ victory really was we must also teach them the truth about sin and just how big the battle was and is. Because if we don’t balance big grace against a big need for grace then we are teaching our children that God is, as N.D. Wilson puts it, the great big over reactor in the sky. The sin we want them to recognize and run from as dangerous has to look dangerous…it must be in proportion to the grace we are pointing them too.

So we must teach them to love and love rightly. But we cannot forget that we must also teach them
to hate rightly as well.