Quick #MealMinute! To Lessen the Cray in Your Day or Your Weekend!

lessen cray

 

#MEALMINUTE  QUICK RECIPE TO LESSEN THE CRAY IN YOUR DAY!

Hi Friends! 
 Just wanted to help a sister/brother out this weekend!

This Is My EASY Minute Saver Go To BEEF STROGANOFF CROCKPOT Recipe:

1 Pkg. Frozen Stew Meat (or two depending on family size or if you’re married to my husband! 🙂 )
1 Can Cream Of Mushroom Soup
1 Can Tomato Sauce
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Cup of Water
2 Tblsp. Butter
2 tsp. Minced Garlic
(container of sour cream and 1/2 cup of flour for later)

ADD ALL TO CROCKPOT. FROZEN MEAT AND ALL… THEN ADD THE FOLLOWING:
(Below is all optional and by preference, if you don’t have something that’s ok, STILL MAKE IT- it’ll taste great and save you time!)

1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Onion Powder…
1 tsp. Pepper
add all to crockpot and cook on low 8 hours or high 4-6!

When done, get meat out with slotted spoon and slightly shred in bowl.  Then in a separate bowl, warm 1 1/2 Cups of SOUR CREAM (or more if you are me! 😉 ) about 30 seconds in microwave (so nothing curdles).  Put about one ladel of juice from crockpot in bowl with sour cream and add 1/2 cup of FLOUR, whisk together… Add mixture from bowl to crockpot while slowly whisking- Flour will help thicken sauce.  Cook up a bag of egg noodles and slather all that goodness on em’ and enjoy! Happy HAPPY MONDAY Friends!! Comment if you have any questions!

Our #MinutesMatter  So I Hope This Recipe Adds a Few Extra To Your Day! 🙂 🙂

Xoxoxox

-Josie! 🙂
Please Subscribe in the sidebar on the right here- for More Great Recipes & Encouragement!

***Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; Cling to what is good. Romans 12:9.
JESUS LOVES US SINCERELY, HE IS GOOD!***

 

Living Thanks! A Poem & Some Awesome Recipes/Ideas on How To Do It Well!

devils food cookies pic

‘All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God!’ 2 Corinthians 4:15

Some of you may have watched the video I shared on Facebook this week for #MondayMinutes.  If you missed it I will post it HERE too, but in the meanwhile I wanted to put the words down on paper- so I thought I’d do that here!

Living Thanks!
We often hear about giving thanks.

And around this time of year, we find so many reasons to
But what if I boycott saying ‘Thanks’ this year to see if I can live it through and through?
I thought if living thanks could really be seen, if it had hands and a face
Would this time of year look different and Facebook posts be replaced?

Don’t get me wrong, cultivating a life of thanks starts with realizing
That thanks is a matter of the heart, and one worth recognizing.
Our conscious effort to say thanks is a sentiment that’s great,
One that at least keeps us focused on our heart and its current state.

Instead of days of thanks, what if pictures or videos filled the screen
Of families reaching out, and serving their neighbor like never before seen?
If not families then just that one, who when incredibly out of his way
To make that meal, change that tire, clean that house much more than any words can say.

See it’s out of a heart of thanks, of gratitude so true
That action takes flight, doing something beyond me and you.
If you have a home, food and warmth throughout this season
You are far better off than many, and that just one small reason

To give and give and give some more, because you know the gift of these luxuries
The thought of children hungry, of homeless just down the street, next door neighbors are hurting- this all brings me to my knees

I can’t help but ask Him His purpose in all of the despair..
He Often just sends His loving answer

My dear that’s why I have you  there!

You  are my hands, my heart, the love I sent to use to temporarily heal
The suffering around you, play your part- even if its offering that one his next meal!

You see, I know pain, I know fear none of your concern has passed me by
I let you see inside the Book I left you, that yes, I too cry.

I knew it would be hard for you, without me visibly in your sight

But I left you with My power, My love, and My wisdom to make things right.

Call on Me, wait on Me, I’ll tell you what to do-
You just keep Living Thanks and I’ll do my work through you.

When I think on those words, when I think of thankFULLY living
I can’t help but realize how much more I can be giving!

They say there is no gift like time, These days I’d say that’s proving true
If your minutes matter, can you spare a few?

Also, in the video, I had mentioned how my kiddos and I get out about once a week to be ‘Blessings!’  We have two sets of Great Grandparents and for that we are SO thankful!  My kids love their great grandparents, but the truth is, age is catching up to them.  We love bringing them meals because we know it is giving them full bellies, but much more so, it is giving them time to just be together in the evening! This week we made cookies to give to neighbors and friends.  The recipe is an easy one, but the taste of these little chocolate goodies?  ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!  So I thought I would share the recipe here and a few other ideas on how to be a Life Liver of Thanks!

Recipes:

  1. The BEST Dark Chocolate Dream cookies!  This is the cookie recipe the kiddos and I made this morning!
  2. Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken! This is another great and easy full-meal idea to bring your neighbor as a blessing.  Trust me, they’ll thank you!

A few other ideas that we love, that demonstrate Living Thanks:

  1. If you are out, offer to run errands for an elderly friend.
  2. Cleaning! Even if in intervals, pick a day to do all the dusting {vacumming, polishing, bathroom-ing ect…} in the home of someone in need.
  3. Leave a special note of encouragement, attached to a treat, at someone’s workplace anonymously.
  4. Offer to help fix a friend’s car. {or help with finances.}
  5. Go to the nursing home and play cards with a resident!
  6. Great season for caroling with the kiddos!
  7. Take time to talk to the bell ringers as you donate money into their bucket.
  8. Offer to pray with someone.
  9. Pick up a hamburgers and fries, bring them to a homeless shelter!
  10. Create habits of Living Thanks!

This week friends, as we focus on Thanksgiving, I pray that we also focus on all of those around us in need.  Let’s make our #MinutesMatter this week by being intentional examples of His Love!  He will provide all we need to do so!  Thanks for your time friends, I know it’s valuable! Be a blessing!

 

 

The Lesson I Learned In A Hurry… & A Busy Day Recipe!

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And the world is passing away along with its desires,
but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17 ESV

I have this thing about really making the most of our minutes. {hence: Minutes Matter} For women, we get busy easily. Even if we are not busy, our minds are. When this happens, when our minds are constantly active, we miss out on what is going on right under our very nose.
Here, a no-judging-allowed mothering example:
Can’t believe I am sharing this; some of my closest friends will read this and call me out for not telling them about this earlier, but my pride wouldn’t let me, and to them I apologize…
So here it is. I like to think of myself as the Queen of multitasking in our home {b/c clearly my husband and two year old are not, I kid I kid…} With that said, it was one of those nights that the kids were just off, dinner finished late, baths were cut short and mommy was trying to make too many ends meet too quickly. Normally, after reading and prayer time together, daddy puts our son to bed and I nurse our 7 month old. This night however, my son wanted me to put him down. Well, daddy can’t breastfeed which meant I needed to get the baby down first. Immediately, my mind went full steam ahead as I made a list of what I would need to have both kids satisfied and in bed in the least amount of time possible. While I was laying her on the changing table, and checking off the list in my head, I realized that I had no diapers. Thankfully, we just bought a new box, so I grabbed them…
Bump. Thud. Scream! My husband flies in the room yelling, ‘What happened, what happened?’ I committed the biggest mommy no-no of all time. I let my sweet little chubby dolly face roll right off our changing table, hit a bin on the way down and land on her belly flat on the floor. She was fine, cried for only a minute. I, however, was mortified and cried the rest of the night…
How could I let that happen? I am sure you can imagine the negative self-talk that ensued.

Things like:

  • I am the worst mom ever.
    I was more concerned with ‘my’ time than her well-being.
    I am never going to be a good mom.
    She is ruined for life! The list goes on and on…

Truth is, I dropped the ball. My mind was too busy. I wasn’t thinking and foolishly grabbed for those diapers while my peanut flipped herself off the table. I let her down. I let myself down.
I remember thinking that night about how busy I was all day, how I rushed the kids through errands, playtime and dinner, then finally to bed. I remember thinking that there were times in the day that they were laughing together and toddler-talking so sweetly. I missed it. I was just busy. Even though I was there in person, my mind was not. It was as if the Lord allowed her to fall in order to slow me down. ‘Slow down before your slowed down,’ I thought… Although I am terribly sad it happened, I am thankful it did.

Sometimes it takes something big to get us to appreciate the small…

Friends, can I encourage you to slow down? This world is moving at a pace that most of us will never be able keep up with. Everyday there is temptation to live fast. We gotta get to work, to the store, to the next cool hang out, run our kids to their games, make the next big opportunity, and buy the next cool thing. Technology does us no favors in that department either- if it’s not a new app, then it’s a new device, if not the device then something else, and we obviously have to keep the pace or forget about it! Don’t get me wrong, none of these things are bad in themselves- it’s our handling of them and their effect on our relationships, that truly is the problem.
Solution?

Take time,             to give time.

Like earnest, heart-full-in, make a memory, kind of time. I will be transparent here and say that I have to remind myself to do this almost everyday. Time management and two young kiddos keep this a welcomed challenge.

However, when my son says, ‘Mommy look,’ I try harder to have my whole being stop and experience the pretend ice cream he just handed me from the grass pile, or truly see that he is ‘the biggest giant ever’ as he stands on our kitchen chair. Only the Lord knows how many of these beautiful opportunities He will grant me in this life… It is up to me, up to you, to take the time to experience them.

Because Time Never Stops… We Need To Make Our
Minutes Matter.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

 

A ‘Minute Meal’ To Keep Those Busy Days From Getting The Best of You!

Easy Peasy Healthy Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

I made this for two adults and a toddler.  We all had HUGE sandwiches with some to spare.  Adjust if needed.

1 lbs. Rotisserie Chicken Breasts shredded {Marc’s sells these by their hot whole rotisserie chickens and they are crazy reasonable and super tasty!}
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
4 Celery Stalks chopped
1/2 cup Green Onion chopped
1/2 cup Toasted Almonds
1/4 teas. Pepper
dash of Garlic Powder
dash of Onion Powder
1 T. Lemon Juice
1/2 T. Yellow Mustard

Toast and Cheddar Cheese {how we ate it and oh so yummy!}

Directions:

Stir all this goodness together in a bowl.  Toast some bread.  Right out of the toaster throw a piece of cheddar on that bad boy.  Slather the chicken salad on top of that and enjoy yourself some deliciousness!

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5 WAYS TO REALLY EXPERIENCE CHRISTMAS!

me and princess

Usually, it is right around this time that the press sets in…

You know what I’m talking about – the ‘still have Christmas cards to send, gifts to buy, cookies to bake, a house to clean and plans to make,’ press. It’s precisely at this time that tensions begin to rise, intentions start to fail, focus begins to wane and joy starts to sneak out the back door…

It’s right at this time, less than ten days before Christmas, that we start to lose perspective…

In November, my husband and I welcomed a beautiful six pound baby girl into our lives. To say that we have been busy and tired would be a huge understatement. We are beyond blessed and excited to be a family of four, but if I am being honest, keeping a super clean house, being ready for Christmas and well even getting a shower on some days has proven to be a challenge for me…

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With that being said, my perspective has truly been a bit off until recently. In a mad dash to clean my house before company was coming over, I found myself extremely fatigued and frustrated as my two year old was literally under my feet at every single step. Mix that with a screaming newborn and I am sure you could sympathize with my fleeting thoughts of running away to some remote island by myself! J It didn’t take long however, for my witty two year old to help me see my error.

With all the wonder one could ever muster, his eyes glowed and he said, “Look Momma! Look at the stars!!!” as he whimsically stared at all the dust catching sunlight, as it came through the blinds in our bedroom window. For five still minutes, he stared at these ‘stars’ as if they had fallen from the sky itself. I was speechless.

Stars. He saw stars. I saw mess and felt frustration because I believed my house just might not be clean enough for Christmas guests that I am sure are not coming for a clean house anyway. christmas pictures (1)Here I was a half second away from blowing my top, putting him in time out and allowing myself to feel bad about ‘all’ I have going on in that moment, when his sweet perspective gently changed mine. Staring at him staring at the ‘stars,’ I felt my heartrate slow, my mind clear and in that moment I entered his little world of wonder- only to experience it for myself. Had I stayed in my hustle and bustle I would have missed it. I would have missed Christmas too…

This incident only happened a few days ago, but it taught me something that I pray the Lord will have me remember for years to come.

PERSPECTIVE.

In a season known for endless to do lists, busyness and sadly frustration, it is easy to lose sight of ALL that matters this time of year. To help keep my mind where it needs to stay, I made a list of Christmas songs, familiar to all, which will help me keep the right perspective this beautifully blessed Christmas season. Maybe this can help you too if you can relate.

  1. My Grown Up Christmas List: Make yourself a grown up Christmas list. Not filled with gifts for yourself (although the benefit will turn out to be just that) but a list of ways YOU can be the gift!
    1. Bake for a neighbor
    2. Serve food at the homeless shelter (great to do with your kiddos)
    3. Bring coats downtown and hand them out to the homeless.
    4. Sit with your elderly family member, listen with your whole heart, and let them tell you all the stories their heart desires. (you can do this at the nursing home if you have no elderly family members.
  2. Silent Night: Give yourself a silent night and some time to reflect. Turn on the old Christmas Carols that mean the most to you, pour yourself some hot chocolate, and be intentionally reflective for even just 5 minutes. Sit, think and soak in the beauty of the Christmas season. You won’t regret it.
  3. There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays: Home does not have to be your house, but it could be. Home is the place and time you spend with the people you love most- while doing the most simplest of things. It’s there in the simplicity that the spirit of Christmas can most sweetly be experienced.
  4. Away In A Manger: Although many choose not to, true holiday joy cannot be experienced without first accepting the real Gift of Christmas. Christ is the gift, cliché or not, he is a true historically documented figure that came to the Earth, lived a more than righteous life, performed miracles, was crucified to death only to be seen alive again by hundreds of eye witnesses’… His birth, His life is the Gift of Christmas. Belief in Him comes with the promise of eternity, joy, fulfilling love and peace in abundance. Now that’s better than any Black Friday deal I’ve heard of! (People, churches, religions and even I myself have made a mess out of who Jesus really is. If you do not know Him, please do not let the mess we’ve made of Him dictate Who He is to you. He would love the opportunity to introduce Himself to you, with no help from any of us, just ask Him. Unwrapping His love at Christmas is a gift that truly is priceless.
  5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Finally, remember that it is not always the circumstance or trial that is permanent but our memories. As crazy as this season can be and as hard as some of our lives are at the current time, usually these things past. How we respond, the way we allow ourselves to react- that will be what we (and sometimes others) remember most as our Christmas experience during this season. SO- Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Relax, Reflect and Rejoice in this beautiful Christmas Season!

Here is a Quick and Easy Yummy Chocolate Bark Recipe

That You Can Make With Your Kiddos! Makes a Great Gift!

Ingredients:

25 Oreo cookies

3 cups white chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips (can do half of both)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use with semisweet chips only)

 

To Make:

Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with waxed paper. Coat the paper with nonstick spray; set it aside. Pour the cookies into a large bowl and break them into small pieces. Melt the chips in a large microwave-safe bowl according to the package directions. After chips have melted add extract. Remove from the microwave and quickly fold in the cookie pieces with a spatula. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate until solid, about 1 hour.

 

Remove the bark from the pan and carefully peel off the waxed paper. Set the bark on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into 12 bars for wrapping or 24 triangles for boxing. Store in an airtight container.

Just Checking In

Because I am still waiting for the update of all things, ‘Minutes Matter’ I thought I should stop in briefly and shed some light on what the Lord has put on my heart over the last month or so.  I was asked to do some writing on ‘Back to School Topics’ for mommas, and so I thought I would include the links here for anyone’s viewing pleasure 🙂  In the meanwhile, my intent is to have my new blog up and running no later than mid September.  My heart feels such joy and excitement in even the thought of what is to come, and I truly cannot wait to share, learn and grow with you in this crazy fast pace world.  Until then, please check out this ‘Simple Series’ on back to school ideas/recipes/tips that are relevant for any momma!

 

 

May you find your week blessed, intentional and filled with the Joy of Jesus!

 

-Back Soon, Josie

The Ultimate Gift

The Ultimate Gift

When I am on the road for work, I often have to back my car up to delivery docks that are inconveniently located next to the most heinous smelling dumpsters. I recently had the misfortune of parking next to one that produced a smell I am convinced could burn nose hairs! This dumpster was leaking horrendously foul water teeming with wiggling maggots and frantic fruit flies. Disgusting would have been an understatement. Surprisingly, out of this scene, I caught a glimpse of something beautiful…

From behind the dumpster I heard the faint meowing of a cat. Soon a young, silver and white speckled cutie emerged, filthy, and hungry.  I knew that all I had in my car was a box of crackers and a chocolate granola bar. For some reason I remember hearing that it was not good for animals to have chocolate, so I opted for breaking the crackers into small pieces and put them on the ground for him. When I came back outside, I noticed he had eaten all of my crackers and was now washing them down with the nasty maggot water. I felt terrible, so I went back into the store and bought him his very own jug of cold milk!

I put the milk in a bowl from my car and tried to give it to him, but he ran back to the dumpster water. I thought that since we already became friends through crackers that he would definitely want my milk. Strangely, I would put the bowl down and whistle him near, only to have him inch close and then run back to that sickening dumpster water. This went on for some time. Finally, I put the bowl down and walked away far enough to make him comfortable, but close enough to be in his sight so I could see what he would choose. From a distance, I saw him stick his little head into the bowl and take a taste of the fresh milk. He was caught off guard at first and taken aback by its cold goodness. Quickly, he was face planted and indulging in what was probably his best meal in days. This time he did not go back to the maggot water!

This incident taught me a valuable lesson. For a long time I was like that cat; I knew that there was something better in this life, a healthier way to live. However, I was often more comfortable swimming around in my own form of maggot water- hurtful habits, bad relationships, terrible attitudes, and an overall lifestyle of dissatisfaction, rather than truly trusting and believing that there was something better for me…

Then I started thinking about how I offered this cat a free gift, something healthy and beneficial, yet he didn’t want it. When faced with the risk of coming to me and chance drinking what I put in the bowl, he would get frightened and run away.

He did not trust that what I offered was good for him.

When he finally surrendered and gulped down the milk, he learned that nourishment I offered far exceeded the putrid alternative the dumpster provided. I never forced him to drink that milk. He chose to and when he did, he had ALL he needed, he was MORE than satisfied.

This is how God offers us the ultimate gift through His Son Jesus. We know God is there and we know how to reach Him, yet when it means that we have to make a choice or change a lifestyle to fully experience what He offers, we retreat back to the maggot water or old hurtful behaviors and remain miserably comfortable.

That cat did not wish the milk into existence. He had to believe that it was there in the bowl, have faith to try it, and then trust that it was good for him.

This Christmas my heart is heavy. I know the pain that the Holidays often bring. I once cringed at the thought of Christmastime because it reminded me of how empty, lonely, and sad my life had become. No gift that I could have unwrapped during that time would have made my heart feel any better…

With the financial struggles, relationship heartaches and the daily news not making things any brighter, my guess is that this Christmas may be a tough time for many this year. Yet, the gift that most people really want cannot be bought with money. Wouldn’t we all like to have real Peace, Joy, and LOVE this Christmas? When I finally received God’s gift of Jesus, when I allowed my heart to believe Him to be true, He made Himself SO present in my life that nothing was ever the same.  No, not some hokey pokey hypothetical bologna, the change/the experience was real and no one will ever tell me different.  My feelings and attitudes started to change. Everything changed and it was all for the better.

The Baby in the manger is not just some cute Christmastime story character. He is a real documented historical figure: One that performed miracles, One that crowds saw crucified, and One that eye-witnesses saw resurrected from the dead, were able to touch and talk to. Truth is, He did all of this to offer us a free gift.

Like the free gift I offered the cat which would make him healthy, happy, and satisfied, he could not receive it until he SIMPLY believed and trusted that it was good for him-

In the same way God offers us His Son Jesus, if we would just believe and truly trust in Him. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand,” (John 10:27-28). I did not force the cat to accept my gift. He had to choose to trust me. Jesus will not force us to trust Him; He gives us the choice because love cannot be forced. Just believe and unwrap His splendor this Christmas!

His gift will never disappoint.

Yummy Chocolate Bark Recipe. Makes a Great Gift!

Ingredients:

25 Oreo cookies

3 cups white chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chips (can do half of both)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (use with semisweet chips only)

To Make:

Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with waxed paper. Coat the paper with nonstick spray; set it aside. Pour the cookies into a large bowl and break them into small pieces. Melt the chips in a large microwave-safe bowl according to the package directions. After chips have melted add extract. Remove from the microwave and quickly fold in the cookie pieces with a spatula. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Refrigerate until solid, about 1 hour.

Remove the bark from the pan and carefully peel off the waxed paper. Set the bark on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into 12 bars for wrapping or 24 triangles for boxing. Store in an airtight container.

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Glad You’re Here!
Glad You’re Here!

Hi! I'm Josie Valley!

I'm not an expert, but I am a passionate wife, momma and advocate for women making the most of their time by helping each other attain health- in relationship, heart and mind.

My greatest passion is to help women be transparent and embrace their commonalities, joining together in sisterhood and love.

I truly believe that we all need Jesus and we all need each other!

Because time never stops… our Minutes Matter!”

Join me here and let's make our Minutes Matter!

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@josievalley #MinutesMatter

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