Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

This has been a well read verse as our family has gone through some unexpected changes.  The last two years we have prayed through two lay-offs and adding two more members to our family.  God has reminded us once again to trust Him not only with our own futures but the futures of those we love including 3 families we know facing cancer, others facing serious illnesses and some struggling through financial instability.  As we celebrated this Christmas, we were reminded of Mary's trust in our God as she prepared to give birth to her firstborn under what we would see as undesirable circumstances...No home, no hospital, and no baby supplies, but her faith really shows how much we really need...Trusting in God's provision.

Merry Christmas,
The Porters

December Birthdays

This month Big Sister and I celebrated our birthdays.  I can't belive my baby turned 8 this month!  She informed us that she had enough toys and wanted boots for her birthday...and boots she got!  She also wanted a scarf, angel earings, and a San Jose Sharks shirt for her birthday. Well 3 out of 4 isn't so bad.

Quiet Reading Nook

Here is baby girl's new pasttime...reading in her little nook.  She enjoys going into the pack-and-play to read some of her favorite books.  Today's selection, another phonics book from Sing, Spell, Read and Write.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our Favorite Christmas Books

This is one of our most favorite Christmas Books.  Many of you know that the author uses the candy cane to explain the story of Christ.  Love it, love it!  Check out our other Christmas Favorites on the list below.

Our Favorite Christmas Books

My Merry Christmas and The Real Reason for Christmas Joy by Sally Lloyd-Jones

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

The Polar Express

A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe

Small Gifts in God's Hands by Max Lucado

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Snowman's Path by Helena Pittman

Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas by Walter Wick

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walberg

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tree Decorating, etc.

We are back to the days of decorating the top half of our tree...

Baby girl looks so thrilled.  "Help," she says, "My brother is squeezing me!"

Free and happy from the clutches of her brother.

This was a huge awakening for us as we pulled out the stockings.  About 4 years or so ago we started with 4 stockings from one of my fave stores.  See how nice they match the pillows?  I also bought those and the curtains at the same time.  Then Bro needed one so grandma found one at the outlet...Then baby girl needed one last year so low and behold, I found two more on Ebay.  Only two left from one seller and they were new with tags!  Yes, I bought both when we really needed one...and now I'm glad I did.  I guess God was hinting that we'd need it.  Now my problem is the fireplace isn't big enough for all those stockings!

After tree decorating...the beginning of Christmas Movie Watching!   Frosty The Snowman and hot chocolate.

Turkey, Not Dried Out

The week before Thanksgiving, I decided to roast a turkey.  It wasn't my plan as we have been roasting a whole bone in turkey breast on the BBQ the last couple years.  One day at Costco, they had a pile of organc turkeys, so I bought one. 

That afternoon, I stuffed the cavity with salt, pepper, a couple twigs of rosemary from the backyard, garlic, onion, lemon and a stick of butter.  Salted and peppered the outside, drizzled with olive oil and plopped it into my massive cast iron pan (now I don't feel so bad for buying that monsterous thing).  I roasted it breast side down for a couple hours at 375 and vola!  Yummy turkey.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Freaky Cornbread Stuffing

Well Friends,

Our family now has a new long-standing joke when it comes to Thanksgiving Stuffing.  Yes, Thanksgiving was last month but with baby-girl's fake concussion turned family stomach but, who has time to post blogs?

So mom and I started making cornbread stuffing the day before.  She used my standby cornbread recipe and baked it on the sheet pans.  I said, hey "triple" the recipe, so she did.  When I came home later that day, it didn't look like a lot, so I told her to triple it she did and then we had a mound of cornbread so stupidly high, I didn't have a container large enough to put it in.  Then I remembered those aluminum pans I bought at Costco to bring dinners to families...they were waaaaayyy too big so I stuck them in the garage with the intention of exchanging them for the smaller ones and never did.  So check out my monster stuffing.

Here I am chopping a mound of celery...

This is a triple batch of cornbread which usually
makes 36 muffins...We made a total of 6 batches, don't ask why.

So this is a giant aluminum pan from Costco, a church sized one filled with just cornbread.  I forgot the final picture, but we had 2 of these filled with stuffing!

Sneaky cornbread muncher!

Big sissa helping with the chopping.

Now here is the crazy part.  Three packages of Italian sausage from Trader Joes, 3 large yellow onions, garlic and one big head of celery...and a ton of sage and poultry seasoning (probably 5 T.).  Notice the size of this massive iron skillet.  Once again, I think things don't look big until I get them home.  This is a 16 inch pan!

Sausage meatiness in all its glory...Freakin' ridiculous!

Mushroom-Bacon Meatloaf

Here is my new creation...thought it turned out better than the paper thin chocolate chip cookies I made last night (minus the baking soda-oops). 

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 package of bacon
1 container of sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 small, yellow onion
1/4 c. katsup..the old Heinz
1 T. dried oregano
1 egg
1/2-2/3 c. bread crumbs
NO SALT (I figured the other ingredients had enough to go around)

Chop bacon into little pieces and cook.  Drain fat and add mushrooms and finely diced onion...During this time I add the oregano and garlic powder...and a sprinkle of salt.  Just a little.  Add ingredients to the food processor and mince a little more.  Add in bread crumbs and pulse a couple times to mix.  Add to a large bowl and let cool.  Then add all the other ingredients and mix with your freshly manicured hands.  Shape into loaf and bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.

Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and some sauted brussel sprouts, green beans, or chard.  If you are making roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roast your garlic while the meatloaf is baking.