Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Festival

Well in just a few minutes I am off to help set up for our Fall Festival tonight. Today and tonight is an amazing event in the life of our church. Tonight's festivities will bring in families from all over our community. We host this event FREE to all that come. Here are the activities we will have:
Preschool Area includes- duck pond, basketball, bean bag toss, treasure hunt, tattoo area, fish pond, ride area, play area, crayon playground inflatable, 3-n-1 Train Jump, Space Station jump.

Other area includes- Picture booth, Spider man giant slide, 33 obstacle course, Nemo 5-n-1 obstacle, petting zoo, pony rides, Noah's Ark 70' obstacle course, bungee run, bouncy boxing, basketball, soccer, baseball, gladiator joust, G-Roc Obstacle Slide Combo, 6 n 1 World Sports, Sports Jump, Roaring River Slide, Plain 5 n 1, T-Ball, Cars Jump, 18 ft Slide, Dart Game, Spin Art, Bean Bag Toss, Putt Putt, Spill the Milk, Ring Toss, Skee Ball, Tic Tac Toe, Pin the Tail, Balloons, Pokey Dot the Clowns.

We will serve hot dogs, all the fixings (including slaw and chili), chips, oreos, cotton candy, popcorn, nachos, hot chocolate, coffee, coke, diet coke, sprite and bottled water.

It is a lot of fun to watch all the families come in and enjoy such a fun and safe evening.
I almost forgot the candy bag- each child is given a "glo necklace" when they register as they enter the gates, so when they get ready to leave they are given a candy bag. Last year we gave out 1,200 candy bags so we have 1,500 this year. I am praying it is just the right number (not too many left and enough for everyone there).

Several people have made comments to me this week- I know your church spends lots of money on this event, why do you do this or there is so little return from an event like this, etc. My reply is we do this not expecting anything in return. It is simply a gift to our community, no strings attached. I realize that a lot of other churches can not do an event like this- but my church can. I also realize a lot of people who pass through our gates and fill out a registration card say they attend a church. They may just say that because here in the south you realize if you put you do not attend a church, you are going to get a visit or call. However, it is my intention if they just put a church and really do not attend that if they ever do have a need or do want to explore spiritual things........ they might remember our church.

Our church wants our community to know we love families. We want to meet families needs. We want to minister to them where they are. One need is a safe alternative to trick or treating or from our community sponsored Halloween Party. We are trying to be that place. We welcome all!

One thing we are trying to do for the second year is asking people to donate cans for the Manna Ministry. Hopefully people have seen this request on our advertisement and will donate food. Our Manna Ministry is our church's food pantry who provides grocery assistance for people in our community.

I will try and post pictures tomorrow. However you decide to celebrate tonight remember we serve a Living Savior who has overcome the evil one! Satan has been defeated. I pray you help our children focus on positive characters for tonight and your family celebrates together!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Meal Planning Monday October 27 - November 1

I am trying to get back on track with Meal Planning. It is amazing how the week we were in Nicaragua got me off track. What makes it hard is the different things in our schedule that throws things off....... here goes for October 27 - November 1.
Monday - Hot dogs, Chili and nachos / cheese dip
Tuesday - Chicken w/ "salsa" marinade, corn casserole, green beans & rolls
Wednesday - Lasagna, salad, and garlic bread
Thursday - Grilled Cheese & Soup
Saturday - Steak, baked potatoes, mac & cheese, green beans and rolls
Sunday - Leftovers
The chicken w/ "salsa" marinade is a type of chicken we had while in Nicaragua. I purchased the "salsa" while in Nicaragua. It is more like a BBQ sauce. I am going to give it a try- so we will see. Also let me explain I HOP. Since I am a the Minister of Childhood Education and often do not eat at the festivals or fellowships I am in charge of planning, I have a tradition of going to I HOP once the clean up is over. I just go chill out and eat with hubby. We are getting geared up for a big evening for Fall Festival. I am so thankful for all the help from my staff. Not to mention the hundreds of volunteers it takes to run the Fall Festival.
Have a great week! You can check out more recipes at !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 - 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1 can (30 oz) pumpkin pie filling mix
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 teas. ground ginger
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cream cheese, beating until well blended. Beat in remaining ingredients.Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serve with gingersnap cookies.
This is a great snack for surviving pre-dinner hunger on Thanksgiving!

I had this last year at an event through the Women's Ministry at my church. It was so yummy, I had to try myself.

For more recipes, check out Grocery Cart Challenge

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting back in the swing of things........

Pictures from our trip last week! These happen to be my favorite!

Well I am getting back in the swing of things......... even though I was only gone a week, it seems there is so much catch up to play.

I have been horrible about meal planning and cooking this week. I had a dinner appointment Monday night so my hubby was on his own. Tuesday night I did something easy- breakfast for dinner. Wednesday night was church supper. Tonight I must confess we ordered take out.

Thank you so much for those who have spoken words of encouragement to me, offered hugs, cried with me and listened. I love and appreciate each of you. After working on our adoption case for almost two years and finding out last week it fell through has been heartbreaking. Especially so soon after my unplanned hysterectomy this summer. I tell you that my heart is sad but I know God is on His throne and in control. That doesn't mean I understand (or even agree, :) ! But I do trust Him, completely.

We have decided not to pursue adoption again. We are ready to move on in life and see the new things God has for us. We have also been looking back to see all the things God has taught us through this experience. Knowing the girls for 3 years and trying to adopt them for 2 has been an emotional roller coaster. They will always be our girls. I will always pray for them and think of them everyday.

Don't be afraid to talk about the girls with us. You are not going to hurt our feelings or upset us. I am still having some crying days and if I cry with you please know it is part of my heart healing. I also am finding people are afraid to share with me they are expecting or news about their pregnancy because they are afraid with what I have gone through it may be the wrong thing to do. PLEASE don't be afraid. I want to rejoice with you in knowing God is blessing you with a special gift. I want to hear all the details, just like before my surgery. I am so appreciative of the families at church that allow me to journey with their family during the ups and downs of life. Hubby and I are so thankful for the times you allow us to be a part of your family for various activities. We are also appreciative of the times you let us "borrow" your children. I have decided we are going to be doing more of this now......... we are "borrowing" two children tomorrow night and taking them to Disney on Ice with us. I decided it felt a little odd to show up without children! Plus seeing them respond to all the fun is half the fun. Before we even knew we were not going to be adopting I shared with one of my staff one of my greatest desires. It is to go to my favorite place on earth with children (Disney World). I know one day I will get to do this. Maybe one day I will get to spoil nieces or nephews.

So I keep telling myself it is almost a new week and I will do better for meal planning. I do have a big week next week- Fall Festival on October 31st. Last year a little over 3,000 people attended our church's Fall Festival. Each year it grows so I am excited to see what happens this year. If you live near Cleveland, TN come join us from 5:30 - 9:00 for hot dogs, chips, cotton candy, nachos, popcorn, drinks, petting zoo, pony rides, 30+ inflatables and carnival games, balloons and clowns! Don't forget to bring a canned good for the manna ministry (food pantry our church operates)!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Working in the Nicaraguan School

We worked in a school while we were here this week. Go check out my friend's blog to read more about it........... Nicaragua School

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fun times

This is us with the girls visiting a seminary and church. Fun times.
I know what some of you are thinking- I am not suppose to be lifting this much. However, what you can't see is Mike is helping. I decided it was my last opportunity to have a picture made with me and the girls. Yes, I am a little sore but it was well worth it. As you can tell one little girl likes to wave when having her photo taken.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog changed

There is a reason some things have moved from my blog. Sorry for those trying to find it. It has been removed for a reason. Please just pray.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mission House

Just wanted you to see the view we see from the Mission House back porch. Nicaragua is a beautiful country. It is extremely HOT here. However, no rain so far today (remember it is Rainy Season). Today we are hoping to love on the orphanage children. This morning we have been to worship at ICF church (church in English). Have a great day! I'll post more later.

We have arrived!

Just a quick word we did arrive in Managua tonight. Our flight went smooth and so did going through customs. We are at the Partner's In Christ Mission House. It is great to be back seeing so many we know and love here in this country.
It is HOT! Surprise, surprise! It has been raining. Neither of these are shockers to us- we are here in rainy season and it is always hot here! :)
Tomorrow morning we are going to the ICF church - this church is attended by many missionaries, it is non-denominational and is in English. It is always a blessing to worship our great God with this fellowship of believers. We hopefully will get to go to the orphange in El Canyon tomorrow afternoon. If there is a service in San Judas tomorrow night we will attend there.
I am off to get settled in- just wanted you all to know we arrived safe!
Please keep us in your prayers this week! Our team is - Mike, Jami, Laura, Elizabeth and me (Mrs. Tara)!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Help Blogger Friends

I need some help figuring something out...........
How do you put a link in your blog (where it shows up with just the word underlined)?
Also those of you who post recipes- do you enter these as a separate blog entry and then just save it?

Like on Meal Planning Monday sites it will have a menu item listed that is a link........ how do you do that- where do you save the recipe?

Thanks so much- I am a little technically challenged!

Also is there a way on blogs on blog spot to save pictures anywhere other than just at the top?

Meal Planning Monday October 6-10

Well here we are another week and we did great again! Yippee! Here is our meal plan for this week. Notice it is a few days short. My hubby and I leave for Nicaragua on Saturday afternoon- along with 3 friends. We normally do a mission trip with a larger team but the 5 of us are going to encourage missionaries, pastors and their families, visit the school in San Judas and the orphanage in El Canyon. Of course Mike and I will have some meetings related to adoption. It is our prayer that we will know if God is opening or closing the door after this week. I am so excited we get to see the girls......... but back to Menu Planning!
Monday - Chicken Casserole, Mac & Cheese, Fruit, Green Beans (we didn't have last week)
Tuesday - BBQ Chicken (in crock pot) and leftovers
Wednesday- eat at church
Thursday - lasagna, salad, bread and fruit
Friday- grilled hamburgers, baked beans, chips and dip
Saturday- eat in airport
Sunday- Friday eating at the Partner's In Christ Mission House & Eskimo's
I also wanted to share about a great savings trip I made yesterday-
I went to Food Lion to purchase 3 things-
1. Herbal Essence Conditioner on sale for $2.49 - $2.00 coupon = .49 cents
2. Bird's Eye Voila! (Buy one get one) 2 bags =$4.79 - $2.00 coupons (2 / $1 each)= $2.79
I was so excited! We had one of the Bird's Eye Voila today for lunch- Chicken Parmesan. It was excellent- not a whole lot of food but a good portion for two people in a bag. Easy to fix and very tasty. I most likely will only purchase when it is on special!
I also had some great CVS and Walgreen's deals this week. I have gotten into seeing how much money I can save.........
One of the reasons is because I added up how much money we spent eating out. I also read a lot of blogs by moms who really try to be the best steward of what God has given them- this includes coupons, reading advertisements and keeping up with specials. I read so much of them while I was out recovering from surgery it challenged me. Plus remember I discovered I like eating at home!!
At least I am trying.........

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The River Maze (tribute to Pat Summit)

K.I.D.'S. Club

Our K.I.D.'S. Club stands for Kids in Divine Service. It is a group of home school kids (all ages) who do service projects and take field trips for the whole family. It is a group I formed for our church and community home school families. Some of our home school kids also take Spanish and Art classes at our church. This is done by a lady in our community gifted in these areas to help home schooled children excel in these areas. For these classes children sign up through the teacher and our church simply provides the space and snacks.

Our first field trip of the year is next Thursday, October 7 at the River Maze in Benton, TN. We will visit the corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, younger children will ride the cow train and hopefully all will bring a picnic lunch. The cost is $2 per adult and $1 per child (if you go personally it costs more; our church is offsetting the cost). It is a great time of fellowship for families to be together.

You can visit the River Maze's website - for more information, directions, regular prices and see all the other things they offer. The couple who own and operate this venture are members at our church.

Each year they have operated a maze they have had a theme. This year honors the University of Tennessee's awesome women's basketball coach- Pat Summit. I will post a picture of it later today!

If you live in our area and would like to join us- please let me know. I have to turn a number in soon. We are all meeting at the Maze and directions are on their website. Deadline to sign up is Sunday!

It is also a great time to visit two other local areas- Ocoee Whitewater Center ( or Apple Valley Orchard- . I love visiting the Ocoee Center and I love eating fritters at the orchard!