Simply Stephanie

Simply Stephanie

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oh, The Stories I Could Tell.....

   Being on the adult side of things changes my perspective a little. Back then being the kid that rides in the car for hours and hours on end, you don't see all that is put into being able to get in that car to ride hours and hours on end. I didn't see all the laundry my mom had to do for all six (yes, I said six) of us kids. Six doesn't seem that many when compared to big families like the Duggars and the Bates, but I still think that trying to pack for six kids for a several week long trip could probably be a little stressful. I mean, I can't even remember everything for the three of us. I can't imagine trying to pack for five more!!!

  But somehow, we always ended up having everything we needed. Well, almost always... There was the time that one of my brothers threw up in the car so many times that my mom ran out of clothes for him. He threw up on his church clothes, and then his back up church clothes (always gotta have backups), and then his play clothes, and then his pajamas. So, he road the rest of the way home in his diaper and a blanket, but he survived.

  I don't know how you can be completely prepared when you have at least two kids that get carsick all the time. One of my younger brothers and I couldn't do much but sit in the car and face forward; otherwise, that White Castle burger your dad told you you had to eat if you wanted that mozzarella stick was going to come back up all over you. I remember our 12 passenger van pulled over on the side of the interstate as mom was using an entire roll of paper towels to clean off my little brother, and I was pushing past her to get out of the van before we needed another roll for me. Good times, good times. Then there was the time that we pulled into a hotel, mom and dad went in to check in while we sat in the van and waited. I didn't feel so good and I sat ever so patiently by the door waiting for them to come back, and as soon as they opened that door I was out of the van and tossing that White Castle burger all over the place...right next to the very nice little black sports car that dad had parked next to.  Then my big brother who had been watching me the whole time decided he didn't like that burger after all, and he joined me. Needless to say, once we were all inside the hotel room, my dad went out and moved the van far away from that little black sports car. Sorry, Mr. little black sports car, you parked your car in the wrong place at the wrong time.

   Not all the stories are bad though. There was the time we stayed with the people who had a fire pole in their house. What more could six kids ask for than to run up three flights of stairs and slide down the pole for hours on end? Or the fact that we collected "grandparents" on our travels. I think we ended up with about ten sets...okay, maybe not ten, but there were quite a few. Or the fact that , especially for the younger boys, we got a new best friend at every church we went to.

    All in all, I'm looking forward to creating our own set of deputation stories.  The good and the bad, although since neither I nor my husband like White Castle, we'll get to leave that little burger out of our stories. Thankfully, we won't be doing our deputation round with six kids. Only one for now, but  only the Lord knows what that number will be when we come back for furlough and round two!!! We shall see!!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Did You Pack My Deodorant???

    While we have not started deputation yet, we have started traveling on a regular basis.  I mentioned in my last post that we are going to be moving soon. The process has been slow, but it is going.  Just a few little details left and then we can move; but in the meantime, we have already joined a church in the new place and have started commuting there every weekend. The trip is four hours, which isn't all that bad, especially when you consider that once we actually start deputation, there will be much longer trips.

   I have considered these weekend trips to be practice for deputation. Just a couple weeks ago I was bragging on myself that I was becoming quite the expert packer. Well, pride goeth before a fall.... Last weekend I forgot an entire outfit for my husband, and this weekend I didn't pack him any t-shirts, and I almost forgot his deodorant and his Sunday suit! Both are kind of important, I think. Funny how all the things I have forgotten so far have been for him. Oops!

   I do have a routine down, though. We get back around midnight every Sunday. So, on Monday I unpack after work and try to put my house back together. Tuesday is laundry day. Wednesday we have midweek service and I finish laundry. Thursday I pack all over again and make sure there are no dirty dishes left in the sink. Friday we leave as soon as we get off of work. Now, does everything always happen that way? No... A few weeks ago we had an evening VBS at the church where we still live. Two weeks after that was a revival at that church. But, hey, I at least try to stick to that. Otherwise, I end up doing laundry and packing all on Thursday night, which never ends up being a fun night.

   All that being said, I'm not an expert yet, but I am learning.  I've learned that traveling with a baby is quite interesting. I no longer get to sit up front with my husband during trips.  Baby girl can entertain herself for a little while, but she doesn't like being alone for long periods of time, but who can blame her. So, my trip consists of some chatting with my hubby and quite a bit of cooing and silly faces at baby girl; but you know what, I don't mind it even a little bit. All I ever wanted was to be a mommy. Even though I've been up since 4:00 this morning doing mommy duties, and now baby girl is back sound asleep and I am still wide awake,  I am living my dream!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Journey has Begun

   Last time I posted, I was 29 weeks pregnant....  What's happened since then, you ask...

 Well, this happened.

 However, that was 4 months ago. She looks more like this now.

She already knows how to pose for the camera.

Our sweet little girl has changed our lives completely. She's not the only thing that has changed in our lives, though.  Sometime in the next few months our little family will be moving, and then, Lord willing, we will be starting deputation shortly after. I figured that since I titled my blog "Life as a missionary wife" I should probably start writing again seeing as how the missionary part is beginning. So, this post is short but sweet (how could it not be with that beautiful little face!!!), but there will be more to come as our journey has begun.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Dinner Rut

   It came to my attention in the last month that I was in a dinner rut. Go through this scenario with me. You give your husband a list of the things you could make for dinner that night and he responds with, "Eh, we have those things all the time. What else ya got?".  So you go and pull out your recipe book, flip through it, and suddenly realize that those recipes are really all you have in there. That's okay though, that's what your Dinner Pinterest board is for, right? So you go and look on Pinterest at all the recipes you have pinned. Then another realization hits you. The recipes you have pinned are either breakfasts, desserts, or dinners that really aren't all that realistic for you to make. Now, if you can relate to this story, you either are, or have been, in the dinner rut.

   So, once I realized this I decided that I needed to fix the problem. The first thing I decided to do was ask several family and friends for one or two recipes. Okay, okay, that wasn't the first thing i did. First, I called my mom and said "How in the world did this happen???", and once I got that panic out, then I asked for people to share some recipes. Next, I searched Pinterest for some new recipes. Only this time, no restaurant copy cat recipes and nothings with a million and one ingredients. So, after all that, I ended up with ten to twelve new recipes.

   So far, both my husband and I have really liked all the new ones, and I thought I'd share a few of our favorites.

  - Baked Cheese Tortellini ( I halved the recipe because there is only two of us, and we still ended up with some leftovers.)
      You need: 2 bags of frozen cheese tortellini, 1 jar of spaghetti sauce, 1 jar of Alfredo sauce,     minced garlic, and mozzarella cheese for the topping.
      Directions:  Boil the tortellini for five minutes then in pour into a greased or sprayed 9x13. Next, combine both jars of sauce and minced garlic and pour over tortellini, tossing lightly. Top it with mozzarella and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
  *We ate this with salad and garlic bread.

 - Mexican Trash (I know, i know, the name doesn't sound very appealing, but trust me, it's really good)
     You need:  1 bag of Doritos, crushed. 2 cups of shredded chicken. 2 cups of mexican cheese. 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can of Rotel, 1/2 cup of milk, and 1/2 cup of sour cream.
     Directions: Mix everything but the Doritos. In a greased 2 quart baking dish layer 1/2 bag of crushed Doritos, 1/2 chicken mixture. Repeat layering. Top with cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

 - Cheesy Sausage and Noodles
    You need: 1kielbasa, 1/4 cup diced onion, minced garlic, 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups cheddar jack cheese, 1/2 cup milk, and 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
    Directions: Brown the meat, garlic, and onion in a pot. Then add all ingredients except for the cheese and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the cheese, then let sit for 15 minutes.

   Like I said, that's just a few of them. I haven't gotten through all of the new ones yet, but I am having fun adding to my recipe book.  So what's one of your favorite recipes?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Books and the Bus Driver

Well,  I'm twenty-nine weeks today.  Only eleven weeks of pregnancy left to go,  and we can't wait to meet our little girl!  With the time closing in,  we'll be having the baby shower in just a few weeks.  My mother in law is planning the shower,  and she shared a few of her ideas with me.  One that I'm pretty excited about is that she is going to ask everyone to bring a storybook instead of a card. 
   Thinking of that made me start to think of the stories my parents used to tell us as kids.  My mom used to read to us almost every night when we lived in Africa.  We went through the Little House on the Prairie series,  and then there was one series about a school teacher from a big city who came to teach in a small town.  We went through several books while we were there and it was always something us kids enjoyed. 

 All those good stories,  and yet the ones I remember the most are the ones my mother made up.  My mother is no ordinary story teller, she's a writer,  but the kind of writing she specializes in is more on the murder mystery and suspense side of things.  She could make a mystery out of anything.  For instance,  when I was in junior high my mother was a teacher at our school,  and so we had to leave very early every morning so she could go to teachers meetings and set up her class and all that good stuff.  Well,  every morning as we left our subdivision,  there would be a bus parked on the side of the road at the subdivision entrance.  The bus wasn't running,  it was just parked there and the driver was sitting inside.  And my mother,  being who she is,  would tell us that the driver had to stop there every morning to get rid of the dead bodies he had hidden on the bus.  She said that it was a good body dump spot because there was a drop off right there into a swampy area.   Now before you think "that is horrible!",  we were all old enough to know better.  None of us were traumatized or have an irrational fear of the bus driver.  I do have to say,  though,  the bus always seemed a little creepier after that. 

  There was also the time when my parents tried to convince us that they were aliens.  Do you remember those copper bracelets that people used to wear?  The ones that were supposed to draw out impurities,  but they just turned your wrist green.  Well,  my parents wore those for a while,  and one day we asked about the bracelets.  Instead of telling us what they were really for,  my parents told us that the bracelets were their alien communication devices.  Yes, you read it right.  Alien communication devices.  They spent the rest of the day beeping at each other and talking into their bracelets. 
Anyways,  we never lacked in entertainment as kids.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  Those stories are probably the reason that the only kind of books I like to read now are the ones with a really good suspenseful plot.  That's the only kind of good book.  I can't get through the lovey dovey ones.  They don't keep my attention long enough,  and let's just face it.  The guys in those books do not exist in real life.  So why read about it?

 So I figure my daughter should be raised on the same good stories I was; and with that in mind, my mother is currently working on her children's book entitled "I think my parents are aliens".  She might follow it up with "Do I have to ride the bus,  mommy?".  Because a good story never hurt anyone,  right?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Catching up

  Well, it's been a while since I've written. Last I wrote we were in Brazil. That was over a month ago, and obviously we are back the America. Our trip went very well and God did some amazing things in our lives.  Our lives have not slowed down, however,  not even a little bit since we've been back.

  Leading up to our trip to Brazil, I looked at it as a point to get through and once we got past that then things would slow down for a while..... I was WRONG!!!  I didn't think about the fact that it was basically the milestone to the next step in our lives. Getting through that trip just opened up the door to all we need to do to get back to Brazil. Like find a mission board to go out of, start deputation, learn the language.  Not to mention, we've got twelve weeks left before our little girl arrives!!! Which I can't wait for! But as all of you who are parents know, the time leading up to and forever thereafter having a child doesn't slow down at all.

  While all of this can be overwhelming, it is also very exciting. Like I said, God did some amazing things in our lives, and we absolutely can't wait to get back to Brazil and serve in the ministry He has called us to. I could ramble on and on about everything that has been happening, but instead I'll just post a few pics of our trip and leave it at that for today.

Zack and I looking out over the city of Formiga, Minas Gerais. 

 Zack preaching with and interrupter interpreter.

One of the many Catholic churches we saw. Catholicism is a very large part of the culture in Brazil.

Weekend open air market. Lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and freshly butchered meat.