Friday, January 30, 2009

Some Great Posts to Read

I am admittedly a blog "stalker." OK, "stalker" might not be the most flowery word to use, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading blogs. I have a few favorites that I like to keep up with, so I thought I would pass on a few of my recent favorite reads. Some of the posts are funny and some just encouraging. So, if you are ready to sit back and read a little this weekend, here's some great stuff you might enjoy...

Jeff, my husband, had a great post on why our church exists in this community.

Perry Noble, Pastor at NewSpring Church in Anderson, just posted a wonderful post today on prioritizing your family as Pastors, but really as men of God. I'm recommending you read it as if to say, "we're proof it's true." You do this, and you'll see things in place in your life.

LPM blog...Oh, my word...this just made me laugh and flash back to the past. I'd love to know your flash back moments...what takes ya back?

The Preacher's Wife posted something "too cool for school" yesterday. Check out her post and I promise you'll become as addicted as I am to this!

This has got to be one of my new favorite blogs to read. I am snatching up her book as soon as I can, but read this post. It caught my attention because I, too, was outraged over how the church treated Ted Haggard, former pastor of New Life in Colorado, after news of scandal broke out in his family's life. The Church is about restoration, yet his family was sent packing...literally, forced to move out of state. I pray that God's people will wrap arms around me and not leave me alone if, God forbid, I end up in scandal.

I'm sure there are tons more great reads I could suggest, so maybe I'll add more later. Have a great weekend. Who are you pulling for in the Super Bowl? Are you even gonna watch it? Go Cards!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 1/26-2/1

My mind must have been on all things cultural in my meal planning this week. Maybe it's a little longing for something Venezuelan, or maybe I am in a mood to travel and all I can afford is to travel there through my tummy! Anyway, don't fault me on my lack of creativity, or better yet, praise me for it...It's International Week! (I totally made that up, but it does apply to everyday this week except for Thursday and Sunday, when we break from our International theme!)

Monday, 26th - Taco Soup

Tuesday 27th - Lunch for my girlfriends - Chicken Empanadas
Black Beans
Mexican Sugar Cookies

Wednesday, 28th - Pabellon (Venezuelan meal, per McKenna's request)
Carne Mechada
Black Beans and Rice (leftover from day before)
Platanos (Plantains)

Thursday, 29th - Silver Dollar Pancakes

Friday, 30th - Fish Tacos
Spanish rice and Pintos

Saturday, 31st - Game Night with some friends and I have to take an appetizer

Sunday, Feb. 1st - Chicken Pot Pie
Tossed Salad

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dance Fever

Growing up, Jeff, and his sister, Sandra, wanted to be Dance Fever dancers. Jeff wanted to BE Denny Terrio! Word has it, Jeff would throw (twirl) Sandra around the room every time the show was on practicing his dance moves. Too bad he gave it up. He might could have had a future on "Dancing With the Stars." Maybe Avery will come through for the family, though. This is a glimpse into our dinnertime together the other night. Think The Robot will make a comeback?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Report cards were issued yesterday in our school district. I always break out in a cold sweat those days because my past starts to haunt me. "Have my girls inherited my 'just be average' gene? Please, Lord, help them be like their Daddy!" By this, I mean, I coulda used another year of school! Anybody relate? I was born in October in a time period where the cut off date for starting Kindergarten was November 1st. Had it been today, I would have started school in September, thus giving me a year to get smarter and start my life in school off on a better note. OK, this is my story and I'm sticking to it, cause we all know that my poor performance in school was not because of lack of motivation or discipline, right? Anyway, truth of the matter is, I was just really average when it came to school. I have tried hard to not instill bad habits in my girls. My middle name can, at times, be "Procrastinator." I mean, really, isn't that the reason I started this blog - to give me reason to put off doing something much more important? My husband pointed out in his message on Sunday that I'm the planner and he's the one that likes to fly by the seat of his pants. Well, folks, that is not entirely true. If we were getting stellar grades for who can procrastinate, aka "fly by the seat of their pants" better than anyone else, I win, I win!! I just had a knack for pulling it out in the end. Unfortunately, my pulling it out in the end still looked, well...AVERAGE! I convinced my teachers and professors that I had worked diligently, however, thus resulting in being well-liked by them because they thought I was one of the "good" students! Ha! I sure hope my girls don't read this!
My point in all of this is that coming home everyday and doing your homework and studying diligently actually DOES work. I am happy to report that all of my know, the ones that share MY blood, my genes...came home with straight 'A' report cards yesterday! OK, well, Avery gets C's and S's because she is, after all, in first grade. C's mean "consistently demonstrates" and S's "somewhat demonstrates." Avery got C's! That'll be the only time we'll jump up and down about that! I am so very proud of them, though, and THAT is the real reason I have this brag on my babies and talk about just whatever I wanna talk about. What superstars they are! I am, in all honesty, slightly jealous, however. I can't say that straight A's were ever a reality for me, but I can live vicariously through my kids, right?
So, world (OK, all 10 of you that read my blog) my kids got straight A's (C's). What a happy day at the Hickman Home. Way to go girls!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'll Be LOST Tonight

This is how I'll be spending my evening tonight, so if you call my house and I don't answer from 9pm-11pm, you'll know where I'll be...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ham and Cheese Cannelloni

This was given to me by my sister-in-law, Sandra, and it has become one of our family favorites! Enjoy!
Ham and Cheese Cannelloni
Makes 8 cannelloni 
Prep time  15 minutes
Cook time  20 minutes
whole milk instead of heavy cream; skim milk ricotta and low-fat
mozzarella in place of whole-milk cheeses.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large egg
8 egg-roll wrappers (available in the refrigerated section)
8 slices deli ham
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1.             Preheat oven to 400.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over
medium heat.  Whisk in the flour until smooth.  Slowly whisk in the
heavy cream and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened, about 5
minutes.  Set the cream sauce aside; then stir in the salt.
2.             In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta and mozzarella and the egg.
3.             Spread a thin layer of the cream sauce (about 11/2 cups) in the
bottom of a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.  Arrange an egg-roll wrapper on a
work surface.  Spread 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture over the
wrapper, cover with a slice of ham, then roll up to form a log,
jelly-roll style.
               Repeat with the remaining wrappers and place the cannelloni, seam
side down, in a single layer in the baking dish.
4.             Spoon the remaining cream sauce over the cannelloni, top with the
Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

My menu for this week is carrying over a little from last week. I did some rearranging on a couple of days, so you might see some repeats. I like posting this from week to week to keep me straight on what I am cooking, and challenges me to find new things. I'm always looking for new stuff, so feel free to send what you're making at your homes to me. Happy Planning! Oh, and visit the Organizing Junkie for more great ideas and other links to other menus!

Monday 19th - Chicken Noodle Soup and Sandwiches

Tuesday 20th - Lunch for friends - Potato soup and salad
Dinner for my LifeGroup -
Ham and Cheese Cannelloni
Chocolate Eclair

Wednesday 21th - Chicken Casserole
Mashed Potatoes

Thursday 22nd - Barbecue Sandwiches
Slaw and Oven Fries

Friday 23rd - DATE NIGHT

Saturday 24th - White Chili and Cornbread

Sunday 25th - Lasagna
Caesar Salad

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quinn's First Haircut

We took Quinn for her first haircut today. Yep, she's almost two, and we're just now getting her first haircut. She's had such cute curls up until things recently fizzled, or should I said "frizzled."
We were going for the bobbed look, but as things would have it, the curls popped back into place, so she got shaped up and cleaned up! She crawled up in the seat and acted like she had done it all her life. No tears, no screaming, no jerking around...Nothing! She just sat there and played with her friend, Elmo, while the stylist did her job. We went to Jelly Beans and they let you have your child's first haircut for a penny! Mama loves a deal! I took some pictures, but you know my story..."stinky camera, would love a new one, but these will have to do" kind of shots. My baby looks like a big girl now!You can't really get a great look at the finished product, but Mama also has to have a chance to play with it and fix it all nice and pretty. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Long Weekend

Thankfully, it is a long weekend here in our school district, but as Hickman tradition would have it, we have sickness in the home anytime we have a break from school! I am grateful, yes, that we don't have it while school is in session, but still... Avery has strep throat. Apparently it's running rampant around her school, so six people in the house here, two of whom have no tonsils and rarely get sore throats, but three of whom are susceptible, and let's just pray it's not the man in the house who has the largest tonsils in the known world!

So, you can imagine our day today has not been too thrilling, other than a trip to the doctor where Little Lovey, aka Quinn Olivia, decides to act like a two year old and have me chase her all over the medical center! She cackled. I ran out of breath! Anyhow, we got a diagnosis for Avery, and now we know what to do.

Typically, today or tomorrow or Date Nights for Jeff and me, and we were going tonight, but unfortunately, our babysitter had an emergency. We'll reschedule, though. It has always been a priority to go every other week for us, but we're attempting a weekly date by putting it in our new budget. We love our time together and love trying out new restaurants together and ending every date at, yep...Starbucks!

I've been sitting here dying laughing at Quinn. She has been really talking lately, and has I have mentioned before on here, she learned to say Avery's name first. We tell everyone that she learned Avery's name first because she hears it the most, and yes, it's true. In turn, after all this time of saying Avery's name insesantly, she has taken to blaming everything on Avery, too. In just the few minutes I have been sitting here typing, she has come in here and told me, "Avery hit me...Avery hit me...Avery hit me," OR very similarly, "Avery hurt me...Avery hurt me...Avery hurt me." She grins from ear to ear each time she says it, so you know that she has made the whole thing up, cause this Mommy who knows where her children are at all times (hint of sarcasm) happens to know that Avery is lying doing on the couch!

So, any ideas on what we can do while we are cooped up indoors tomorrow? Not going out while Avery is sick, of course, but it's going to be 31 degrees here tomorrow! Give me an idea!

Hope you have a great Friday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Pictures from some highlights of our week...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Menus for January 12 - January 18th

Better late than never, right....

Monday, January 12 - THIS NIGHT at LifeSong

Tuesday - I'll be taking Green Bean casserole and Brown rice to my LifeGroup.

Wednesday - Chicken Spaghetti (Jeff's love language meal)
Caesar Salad and Bread

Thursday - Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Sandwiches

Friday - DATE NIGHT!!!
Girls are eating their love language meal - Hamburger Helper! :)

Saturday - Potato Soup cause it's gonna be COLD!

Sunday - Stuffed Pork Chops
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli and Cheese Casserole and Rolls

Monday, January 12, 2009

Random thoughts

Here's what's on my mind and heart today...
This Night.....
Tonight is something that I have planned for and prayed for since several months ago. Our Aroma women's ministry at LifeSong is hosting "This Night...A Night of New Beginnings." This Night is something that God gave me a vision for a little over a year ago. Although the idea is something that many churches do, it's the focus that I desired be different from what I've experienced in the past. The idea is to have hostesses decorate their tables according to a provided color scheme and according to their personalities, and to sell tickets to women in our community to attend. The encouragement from me, however, has been to let God challenge you to buy your table's tickets and hand out tickets for women to come, making it much more doable in getting people to attend. If they have a free ticket, they feel ministered to by receiving a gift, and they come in and are ministered to. In the past I've participated in this in different churches, but the outreach part of it never felt like it clicked. I never felt that we were reaching anyone but ourselves, so the idea of This Night...A Night..... you fill in the blanks, was birthed. Our first one was a Night to Reach the Nations and our second one was a Night to Reach the Community. Tonight's idea came from where each of us finds ourselves right now - in a new year of new beginnings. Our speaker's life changing experience exemplifies this to a tee. The added thought behind This Night has been that we come face to face with our Father in corporate worship, rather than having someone stand before us and sing. If you have ever attended a women's conference before and come back and say you needed that kind of corporate worship, that is kind of what I'm talking about here. The bursting of my heart always comes when I look around that room and I don't know a soul! I love it. I know my hostesses, but the people that are sitting at their tables are women that they are having a direct influence on, and on whom LifeSong is getting to say, "We exist for you!" I am beyond excited about what God has intended for His glory tonight. This Night is saying, "here's your opportunity to evoke change on a big level, but let it prompt you to do this every single day!" I can't wait!!!

Paying it forward....
We all have heard the phrase, "pay it forward." It is really what LifeSong was founded on by saying, "be missionaries where you live, work and play." Jeff and I had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of this on Friday. We went to the mall to spend some giftcards and decided to eat at Garfield's in the mall. Let me stop here and say that I really do not like Garfield's a whole lot. I think I could make their food at home and it is way over priced. It had a sit down atmosphere away from the noise of the mall, so that made our decision to eat there. We enjoyed some time together and with Quinn, and really our lunch was great. We were getting ready to pack Quinn's food up to take with us when the waitress came over and told us that a gentleman sitting on the other side of the wall divider from us knew us and had paid for our meal! What?!!! We asked who it was and the waitress said she had not asked his name, but that he had a mustache. Ok, yeah, well, that really narrowed it down! We were really touched. Jeff and I will randomly pay for people's meals when we are out, or pay for their coffee in the drive thru at Starbucks, but I can't say that we've ever been on the receiving end of someone doing that for us anonymously. We were beyond touched by this. It encouraged our hearts so much. It's one of those times that being on the receiving end just heightens the notion behind the reasons you yourself do what you do. Giving is much easier for us than receiving. Now don't go thinking I don't love a good present, 'cause I do! I'm just saying, we're so focused on that most of the time, that receiving just almost seems weird! To whomever bought our meal for us, if you are reading this, "may you be blessed a hundred fold for how you blessed us!"

Bailey and Avery participated in their first Upward cheerleading experience. They were awesome! I am so proud of them. We've been to Upward games before, but to be able to be in the atmosphere with your children participating was really special. I will post some pics soon of our day together.

Wii Fit...
So far, I've accomplised a full week of doing Wii Fit. It's been awesome, really. We missed getting the deal at the gym we were joining, so we are holding off a little bit until it comes back, so in the meantime, the Wii has taken off three pounds and I'm cool with that. I want to be on this journey of 2009 being about me. I want my kids to see their mom giving it her all in every area.....
Purple I've started this book to focus on the everyday with Jesus. Let me tell quiet time has really been less than existent here lately. I need structure. I need simple. This book is being used in our LifeGroups, so it has provided me with both. It has challenged me and made me rethink a lot of what I do, think and believe. It's been great!

Jeff and I are learning daily to be intentional in our marriage. God has blessed us, yes, but it's hard work to walk life together. We love the challenge of getting to know each other more and more each day. This time continues to be the sweetest time we've known to date!
McKenna is just encouraging my heart so much lately. She is a ten year old that just desires to serve God with all of her heart. She told me yesterday that she loves going with her Daddy early on Sunday mornings to help set up things at LifeSong because she just wants to serve people. We don't make her get up or tell her she HAS to do this. She sets her clock every Saturday night and is ready to go out the door before Jeff is. I see God using this in her life to place her focus on others, rather than herself.
Bailey, as noted before, is doing great in Upward. She looks forward to going to practices and always comes back saying she is looking for the new, special friend. She is working on making her bedroom a girly place to hang out and last night she helped make a really yummy dinner.
Avery is busy with some responsibilities we have given her. She initiated things by asking if she could take over unloading the dishwasher, so this prompted Jeff and I to do job charts for each of the girls. They do jobs all throughout the summer, but generally don't do a lot during the school year. They had been begging for allowance, so they get $3 a week for four jobs and consistently doing their homework when they get home, without being told. For every job they do not complete, or have to be consistently reminded to do, we deduct 50 cents from their week end's pay. They are doing a great job, and although we are working through some issues, once again, I love teaching my children to serve. And hey, I'm human, lightening my workload ain't half bad either! :)
Quinn is talking up a storm! She is hilarious and loves everyone! She now has big girl panties for us to begin an intense week of potty training this week. Pray for me. I never had to potty train the girls after McKenna was potty trained. They just always wanted to be like her. Quinn is doing the same, to some extent, but I still need to spend some one on one time with her. This is why I don't like dogs in the house! You get it, right? I dread cleaning up accidents! :)

So, enough random from me for one day. Pray for me, if you think about it. The word "focus" comes to mind!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shrimp Chowder

Thought you might like this recipe. As you can see from my menu, I made it Sunday. We had friends over and it was a hit. Jeff and I eat it just about every other week. Bailey LOVES it! By the way, I don't do it on in a crock pot. I usually just make it on the stove so I can keep stirring.

Shrimp Chowder

½ c. sautéed onion in a T. of margarine

2 cans Campbell’s cream of potato soup

2 cans Campbell’s cream of chicken soup

1 can shoe peg corn

1 can evaporated milk

½ pint half and half milk

1 - 1 ½ tsp Zatarains creole seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

Put all this in your slow cooker on low for three hours.

After 3 hours, add:

3 oz. Package of diced up cream cheese

1 large package of frozen,cooked, deveined shrimp

Get piping hot and serve with oyster crackers or herbed croutons. Garlic cheese biscuits are wonderful with this also.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Haven't posted in a while in the menu area. Here are our menus beginning on Saturday, Jan. 3rd - Sunday, January 11th. Enjoy!

Saturday (3rd) - Broccoli Soup and Sandwiches
The girls ate hot dogs.

Sunday (4th) - Lunch - Crockpot Beef Stew over rice/Salad/crescent rolls
Dinner - Shrimp Chowder/Mini Chicken Sandwiches/Brownies and Ice cream

Monday (5th) - Hamburger Steaks and Mushroom Gravy
Steamed Vegetables and Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday (6th) - LifeGroup

Wednesday (7th) - Chicken parmigiana over pasta
Caesar Salad/Bread

Thursday (8th) - DATE NIGHT!!!
Pizza for girls

Friday (9th) - Breakfast Bash
Eggs, Grits; Biscuits and Gravy

Saturday (10) - Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Crackers

Sunday 11th) - Jessica Simpson's Chicken and Dumplings
Rice; Lima Beans; Pineapple Casserole

Welcome to 2009!

I've had a little bit of a blogging break. I think about blogging constantly, but some ideas pan out, and well...others don't! So, suffice it to say, I just didn't blog about good or bad ideas. Not a great way to say, "Welcome 2009," huh?

I have turned into one of those people that makes New Year's resolutions. I have always scoffed at the whole idea because I like to think I know myself so well and I know that I'm not incredibly disciplined, so why depress myself by not following through, right? Wrong! I had a talk with Jeff yesterday and bore my soul to him (a great benefit to being married to a pastor :) ). He had preached one of the best messages I had heard him preach, and people, they are always good. This one, however, particularly challenged me and got me to thinking about my motivation, who I've become, who I want to know, the deep stuff in life.
Even typing that is a little daunting to me because I love to laugh, keep it light and not so serious here at Hickman Happenings, but really, readers, anyone who says they don't do deep, or drama, wake up! The ones of you who say that (me included) are the most dramatic of all. Pause now and take a look at yourself in the mirror! Aaaaaah!!!! You are Drama Queen/King! So, that out of the way...I embraced my drama side yesterday and realized that drama is exactly what happens in our lives when we get sidetracked from our focus. I think you know me well enough by now to know I want my focus to be Jesus. I really am just now beginning to understand just what that means for my life. It is life without judgement, legalism, and pleasing people. Those are just a few examples that have kind of encompassed my life up to this point. Some I have brought on myself, and others somewhat indirectly forced on me through various situations, but nonetheless, I let these things take over to some degree. The thing is, though, I don't always feel that entangled by them, but they are like a toxic part of me that, frankly, I'm just ready to rid myself of. You might be reading and thinking, "Ummm...Amy's New Year's resolution must be to bare her soul!" Well, yeah, sorta! I have always called it like I see it, or I try to, but I don't always say it OUTLOUD when it comes to ME! That part hurts too much, so let's just say I'd like to get over that, and if it requires a little drama to go there, well, then, that's just where we'll have to go. Really, not allowing the drama to come in our lives is way more detrimental to us than dealing with it and being thankful for it. It's the drama that gives us life experiences most of the time. It affects us. It changes us. I want to be changed. I want my Jesus to change me.

So, drumroll please...I've made New Year's resolutions! My, in a nutshell, resolution is to stop trying to live my life! ! I want to live my life, people, but I need Jesus to live it in me, and stop trying to take control over everything. This is not really a New Year's thought. This is an everyday thought. I'm just thankful that a New Year rolled around to give me a good, old fashioned kick in the pants to set me back on track.
Oh, I've got plenty of things I see as goals for myself and things I want to do this year. I, like every other person in society, wants to lose weight. But, it's the discipline I crave to have the sticktoitness to prevail. I want to spend more time with friends. This is not something that I feel I fail at. I really do enjoy great time with friends, but I want more! I want to make more friends and surround myself with people that spur me on and love me for me! You might not understand why I would type that last sentence, but that's where the pleasing people side of me comes in. Often, as a pastor's wife, I feel people get close to me because of what they can get out of it, but I need people that just want to know me for me, and not what I can do for them. So, I want to get to know you and hang out with you if that's you! I also want to be a better manager of my home. I feel deeply that God has given me certain responsibilities to ensure that my home life is the best it can be. That goes from teaching my children how to be the best they can be, to supporting my husband the best I know how, to creating a pleasant home environment, planning meals and not eating out so much, saving the most money I can (sidenote...I'm thankful that my husband sees fit to trust me to do that and I fail a lot at it, but he lets me learn to be my best at this), having lots of fun in our home, instilling God's word in the hearts of my girls, and using my home - no matter if it's clean or beautifully decorated - to welcome others in. There's so much more I want to do to invest in my home, but I know that will come as I trust God to discipline me. I also want to continue to concentrate on doing just what it is that God has for my life. I know that my greatest source of joy is walking in obedience to Him, so that is my goal for each day. One way I am trying to do this is by commiting to scripture memory this year. My friend, Resia and I are holding each other accountable to this as we participate together in Beth Moore's challenge on her blog to memorize two scriptures on the 1st and 15th of each month. I'm excited about it and encourage you to sign up because I don't think it's ever too late to begin, ya know!

Whew...that's enough deep for one day, don't ya think? I really am just very excited to begin a new year. I secretly love fresh, new beginnings. Maybe it comes from the fact that I've moved more times in my life than I can remember, so starting fresh is something I've come to appreciate. Who knows? I may not be perfect at succeeding in my goals, but if I can gain ground in even one, then I'm thankful because that is one more work God has done in me.

Hope your New Year's has started off like you hoped it would. I'm glad to walk this journey with you...even if I don't know you. If you get a little bit of encouragement along the way from dropping into Hickman Happenings from time to time, then GREAT! We hope you learn to laugh with us, cry with us, steal ideas from other blogs with us, grow older with us, see us fail, see us succeed, and so on and so forth!
Keep up with my scripture memory on the sidebar. Feel free to memorize with me. Check out the previously highlighted link to the scripture memory challenge and go get yourself a notebook and begin today!
Happy New Year!!!