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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rice a Roni Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Sunday is  sandwich and salad or soup day around here.  This is a super easy and quick meal to put together for a Sunday Night when you do not feel like being in the kitchen for long.



  • - King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • - RICE A RONI – Chicken Falvor
  • - Canned Chicken
  • - Mayonnaise however much you like
  • - Lemon Pepper


1. Make RICE-A-RONI as directed on box. Add drained can of chicken. Mix.

2. Add the amount of Mayonnaise you like as well as your lemon pepper

We love those Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and have been able to get them at our 99 cent only store.

You can add chopped grapes or dried cranberries for a sweet taste or chopped celery and onion for a crunchy taste.

Serve with salad or soup of your choice.


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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Thursday is Breakfast for Dinner at the Chellsen Clan household – this recipe sounded like a great addition to our Fall Menu Plan.



  • 14 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp homemade pumpkin pie spice
  • Butter and syrup for serving
  • Fresh fruit or smoothie on the side


Set out the bread for dipping.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin and pie spice until smooth.

Dip each side of the bread and cook on a hot, greased griddle or skillet. Flip after 1 – 2 minutes.

Once all are cooked, serve with butter and maple. And a side of fresh fruit.

If freezing, let cool completely to reduce freezer burn.

Enjoy this perfect fall “breakfast for dinner”!

We use texas toast to make our french toast and yes… we get it at the 99c only store.

You can use the rest of the can of pumpkin to make Pumpkin Muffins.


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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Beef and Bean Dip or Burrito Filling

Great Sunday meal or snack

Beef & Bean Dip or Burrito Filling

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 (16 oz) can chili beans in mild sauce I prefer Bush’s
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with chipotle
  • 2 (16 oz) cans refried beans
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
In a large saucepan, brown beef with onion until beef is fully cooked and onion is tender.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips as a dip or inside burrito sized flour tortillas that have been warmed as a burrito. If doing burritos it should make 12 large burritos.

The thing I love about recipes like this one is the versatility of it. You can change it up so easily and if you do not have something then improvise. I would make these without the beef if I did not have it or substitute ground turkey… my new favorite easy meat to cook with.  I would also substitute the canned beans and refried beans  with homemade ones, since we make those on a regular basis.  You could add a can of green chilies to spice it up and top with cheese.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Fours Seasons

We have slowly been adapting our school year to a year round schedule. Seems to be the way we do life…

            in seasons


I shared how the Lord speaks to me in seasons in a previous post:

   a new school year 

With the completion of our summer season and Autumn beginning I have  been thinking about seasons.

The other day I read this quote by Ann Voskamp on her blog A Holy Experience…   love her blog – talk about deep…


all the seasons were going to do nothing less than make a full year.

The seasons could turn. The seasons could bring it all as He meant it to be.   Ann Voskamp

the seasons were made to complete a year cycle…  to make a full year.

and I pondered that thought… all the seasons do nothing less  than make a full year.

                   autumn                 winter               spring                   summer   


they make a full year –   

     they were designed to do so, created to make a complete cycle, they can not do anything less.

           when you put them all together…  they make a full year.

                                                     a year of fullness.


autumn brings its brilliance of color and grace,  along with the chill and coldness of night.

   winter brings the sparkle and glimmer of peace, along with the bareness of loss.

            spring brings the array of new life and blossoms of hope, along with the increase of storms.

                   summer brings sunshine and the warmth of  love, along with fires and intense heat.


each season filled with its own blessings…

            each season not escaping its heartaches…

yet, when they are brought together,

in the completion of a full year…

          there is a fullness…

                         a  fullness of grace…

                                   a   fullness of peace…

                                         a fullness of hope…

                                               a fullness of love…

A fullness that only comes from living each season through.

           a beauty that only comes from living each season fully…

                       living  the  beauty… 

                                  and living  the ashes…

and He says…

            “I will make beauty from the ashes”


                as He meant it to be.

  We are entering one of my favorite seasons: I wrote about it last year:

                      autumn rains             

To all who mourn in Zion,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

                                                         ~  Isaiah 61:3

living for His beauty~

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

8 Things I want to tell My Hubby

I was reading a blog the other day about encouraging our husbands and they shared some things that they wanted their husband to know.  It got me thinking about what things I would like to tell my hubby…

so being the list person I am…

I compiled a list:


8 things I want to tell my Hubby

1. I am proud of who you are.  You are unique and I appreciate who you are.

2. You are a dedicated Father.  You physically work long and hard  for your family and you still try to find time to do special outings with your kids.

3. You are the best husband for me.  You balance me out, you stretch me and challenge me to look at life from a different perspective.

4. You are a faithful man…

5. I appreciate the little things you do, even though I do not tell you… the years of car trips, car pick ups and drop offs, errand running, always being open to me having time out with friends, or serving somewhere.

 6. You are a dedicated provider…

 7. I want to grow old with you – to dream with you – to sit on the porch together, in the cool breeze of the evening, smiling because we know we are so blessed.

 8. I love you more – today, tomorrow and forever and your love for me still takes my breath away.


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This soup is a family favorite… especially with homemade buns.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup
recipe by:

I grew up in Minnesota where wild rice is grown…. so this is a yummy reminder of my roots and a comfort food for me.


  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery (can also add chopped cooked carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
1. Prepare rice according to package directions. (I make mine in the rice maker ahead of time)
2. Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, or until almost tender.
3. Stir in the flour and salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth and milk and stir until soup thickens.
4. Add the rice and the chicken and allow to heat through, about 10 minutes.


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Amazing Grace

As I was praying this morning, I paused for a moment to praise the Lord and listen to the sound of the wind chimes from my front porch.
They are designed to play the song “amazing grace”  but only if the notes are all played in the right order.  Every once in awhile I will recognize part of the tune as a few notes play in succession together, but most of the time they chaotically play a random tune….   but a beautiful one.

I was thinking about how my life is like that some days…
                 well most days.

I have a plan…   a way that I would like my day to look.   An ordered pattern of how it should flow.  I think that if it flows this way, I would accomplish all I want to do.  I would be able to do all I set out for us to do for that day.   I would feel successful and accomplished.  All my lists would be checked off.  It would be amazing….

But, I realize that is not how  life is or works.

I have days… even weeks like this one - where I feel like I am disorganized (yes, super organized, planner me ), in need of some time to sort out our schedule. Realizing our life is  in need of some grace and His plan…

I find a notch of time and energy all at that same time…
          but it happens to be at 10 pm and goes until 2 am,
              but that notch of time was so productive and creative .

That time was filled with the creativity and the grace of my God, who knows what my days look like,
                   who knows what my children need, who knows what I need...

 That Amazing Grace

and He reminded me that I can make plans and He can help me lay out our plan… 
                               BUT I need to trust Him with the plan.

and the Lord took me on a little word study again…   another one of those powerful little conjunctions-
BUT - conjunction
—used to introduce a statement that adds something to a previous statement and usually contrasts with it in some way
: other than —used in speech at the beginning of a sentence that expresses surprise, shock
that little word but… full of contrast, yet adding so much more to the previous.

So my day today is…   well off, I woke up at my normal time and got my special boy ready for school, prayed for my unique son before he left to walk to school.
Funny I prayed for both of us to be filled with His grace and to walk in His plan for us today.  I prayed for that same thing for my special son.  That he would walk in His saviors plan for him today.   
Unique son called and had left his backpack at home (took the wrong bag), not having a car during the day (hubby is having to use it as his has not passed smog).  So he walked home to get the right bag, and a note since he would be late.

then, I went to lay down and cuddle with my little one, just for a while and I feel back to sleep…  who wouldn’t with only 4 hours of sleep.

                  so  now my morning was starting off…    my day started off the plan.   chaotic.

So, as I sit here on the coach… needing some grace…   some amazing grace.
                                I hear this chaotic, random song. 

and it is beautiful -  full of quit moments - full of vibrant moments - full  of chaos…

                                               but Full

I look for grace,  in the plans that I  lay out,


DSCN4176He gives me amazing grace… 

 the grace that comes from the plans He lays out  for me.
           and His grace…  His amazing grace is Full.


We should make plans but counting on God to direct us.
                                                                     Proverbs 16:9

living in the fullness of His amazing grace.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bean Chimichangas

Looking for a variation to bean Burritos – Try Bean Chimichangas

I love Chimichangas, but the recipe that I have made in the past calls for you to fry them the whole time making them oh so good, but you use allot of oil– making them oh not so healthy for you and they are time consuming to make a bunch of them – which I need to fed this clan.
I can across this recipe where you bake then, so I thought I would try them.  I will make these with left over homemade beans and nacho cheese sauce next time we have a Nacho Bar Night.

Bean Chimichangas
Serves : 12 servings

  • 12 tortillas
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1/2 block 16 oz. pkg. Velveeta®
  • 1/2 can RO*TEL® Diced Tomatoes & Chiles
  • 2 TB Vegetable Oil
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese
  1. Place beans, RO*TEL®, and VELVEETA® in a pot and heat until cheese is all melted.
  2. Then warm up your tortillas so they are easier to work with.
  3. You will then add egg whites to a bowl and mix with whisk. You will add beans to the middle of your tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and then add egg whites all around your beans and fold up. To fold start with one side and fold up an inch and then fold sides and then add more egg white where you make the last fold.
  4. Flash-fry chimis by placing in a pan of 2 TB Vegetable oil on medium heat. Heat on both sides for a minute or so. Place fried chimis back onto a pan seam-side down.
  5. After finishing flash-frying your chimis, back at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
Use salsa, sour cream and guacamole as dipping sauces.  Serve with Mexican Rice
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Framing the Moments

I remember when I first started having children, asking my mom questions about myself as a baby… 
When did I do this… when did I do that… did I do this or that…
She tried to remember and gave some sort of answer for a few of the questions… and then she said something that was so profound and yet so deeply aching…
“with all the work that had to be done, who had time to ooh and ah.”
I remember thinking…        I never want to stop oohing and ahing.

and for years I did not…

with each child the excitement of all the firsts and cute little things that each child would do, was still so special and  with each added child there was more to join in the chorus of oohs and ahs.

But as more years passed by and children grew older…
          responsibilities, along with needs grew greater…
                 time seemed shorter and the “work,”
 - that never ending list of things to do, grew longer.

It was in that place that I began to loose some of that sense of wonder,  
          that sense of noticing all those special, wonderful everyday moments. 
       My senses became somewhat dimmer and my awareness a little duller. 
I began to  focus more on the work instead of the moments.
So I have been asking the Creator…
                         the one who allows us to be a part of His grand masterpieces,
                                 each and every day -   a new canvas waiting to be created.
I have been asking Him,
to open my eyes to see…   
                   to awaken my heart to experience,
                                       to awaken my hands to receive.

to show me how to frame each moment -  each gift
                 to hold it close…
                       and to
                  ooh and ah
Lord, I want to see, I need to see you in the everyday moments of my life  Open the  eyes of my hearts, so that I may slow down and experience  the fullness of each  frame, each gift that you give me,  that I may see  – the precious moments, the messes, the simple, the chaos of everyday life as sacred – as a part of your masterpiece.

simply living~

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Easy Crockpot Potato Soup



1 30oz. bag of frozen
shredded hash browns
3 14oz. cans of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 pkg. cream cheese {don’t use fat free. It WON’T melt!!!}

In a crockpot, combine everything EXCEPT for the cream cheese. Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat. About 1 hour before serving, add cream cheese and keep heated until thoroughly melted. Serve with cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, green onions, or whatever else you think would be good!!

Recipe from:

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Family Mission Statement

For years I have wanted to develop a Family Mission Statement.  I have read various articles and I loved the idea if having a family focus.  Hubby and I have talked about it over the years and have even done some preliminary steps to start developing one.  But we have never gotten to the place of being able to implement one for our family.

Until after the move….

     Something about taking ownership of your own place that catapults you to start things you have just talked about in the past.

Hubby and I went out for coffee at this sweet little coffee show just down the road from our house and we talked over all the ideas we  had and some new ideas and some of the things I had put together for this coffee date. 
I have the best hubby… one who will spend date time planning with me, because he knows it is important to me and the functioning of our family. Now this man by nature is a spontaneous man.  So this has become a labor of love on his part.   After years of being married to me… a planner…  he started walking up on Saturday mornings asking “so, what’s the plan.”  One of his many sayings has become, “A man without a plan …  is not a man.”   Love Him!!!!
We wanted to develop a Mission Statement that matched our families desires and dynamics: Some of the questions we asked and answered for our family where:
· What Kind of family do we want to be?
· What kind of home do we want to invite our friends to?
· What do we like about our family – what makes us proud?
· What is truly important to us?
· What are our responsibilities as a family?
· What are our goals as a family?
· What is God asking of us?
· What are the principles and guidelines we want to live by?
· What do we want to ne remembered for as a family?
When we meet with the kids we talked about why it was important to have a Vision for our family and about various people who were successful in fulfilling the things they were called to do.

Everyone one needs a vision:
· Moses – Let my people go
· Lincoln - A nation divided against itself cannot stand
· Nehemiah – to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
· Steve Jobs – to build a better computer
Without a vision the people perish ~ Proverbs 29:18

Five things happen to families without a vision
· They get off track and lose direction, especially during difficult times
· They have difficulty making good decisions
· They lose a sense of meaningfulness and purpose
· They lack motivations to better themselves
· They wind up following the vision of others
He who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind ~ James 1:6
David and I talked about what core values were important to us and ones we wanted to instill in our family.  We looked at different list we had seen online and came up with this:
Chellsen Family Values - 10 Values that Shape our Family

God First - Honoring God comes before anything else.
Concern for others – Jesus told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That means constantly paying attention to their welfare. Included in concern for others are the concerns like evangelism and justice.
Hard Work – Whatever we work at, we should do it wholeheartedly. We work not just to please ourselves but also to please God and all those we are responsible to. Each person takes responsibility for the jobs assigned to them.

Truthfulness – Our words should be filled with truth, truth in love. THINK before we speak.

Generosity – God wants us to have an overflowing and openhanded love for others, especially in our sharing and giving.

Family Unity and Love – The family is the core unit and it needs respect, support and love.

Boundaries – God has given each individual certain areas of responsibility that belong to him or her alone, first their body and next their property. These areas of individual responsibility should be respected and protected.

Celebration & Rest – Celebration should be a part of every day, because we recognize all that God does for us. We also need times of rest for renewal.

Thankfulness & Contentment – We are grateful for all things. We appreciate others and show that appreciation. Our focus is on the blessings not what is lacking in our lives. In whatever place or position God has put us in we should learn to be at peace.

Grace – We are meant to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, offering forgiveness and grace to others even when it isn’t deserved or even when the infraction has been repeated numerous times (70 X 7 X).
We put together the following Family Mission Statement, Family Purpose Statement & Family Motto.

image  image
  We feel that our home is the training ground for learning to be Christ Followers and Servants that love each other – those in our home and those outside of our home. We wanted our name to be apart of our Family Motto , so that it would be something easy to remember and we could fall back on it when we are working on character issues as a family or as individuals.  When I have seen one of our children not being helpful with another sibling I have been able to imagesay “what does the “h” in our Family Motto stand for and they get it right away.  

Our desire is to start family nights on Saturday nights twice a month. We will be going over each of the elements from the Family Mission, Purpose and Motto Statements.  The goal of the family night would be to have a time of discussion and an object lesson, and a fun dessert
Once a month we will have a Family Meeting to go over family details. Our Pastor had shared with us, at one of our Family Faith Nights, a form that can be used for family meetings.  I revamped that form to meet our needs and came up with the form to the right.  We will be picking a Family Giving Project that we will save our coins and put money in anonymously.

The last element we talked about was having a Family and Friends Night and a quarterly Family Fun Night.  The Family and Friends night would be a night where we could invite over a family to join us for a night of fellowship.  We would ask each child to give suggestions for families they would like to have over.  We would share a meal together and have fun getting to know each other better.  We had our sears-family-and-friends-n-copy first  Family and Friends Night this past Saturday, Inviting another large family (larger than ours – 12 in all) over for dinner.  We had a great time – it was very relaxing and peaceful.  After sharing a meal together, the parents sat outside and talked, while little ones were in and out sitting on laps.  All the other kids were inside playing games, laughing and having fun.  FamilyFunNight2012_banner The Quarterly Family Fun Night would be a gathering we would have to invited a group of friends or a family over for a movie or game night.  We are still working out details on this one.

I am excited to see what God is going to do in and through us in these family goals.  Praying for His grace to be consistent…

Living in family time together~ Pin It

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Beauties and Birthdays

We were able to celebrate birthday for  two of our beauties this weekend at one of my favorite beautiful places to be.
This week
our Angel Girl turned 12
our Golden Girl turned 14.
They are growing up into such beautiful young woman.
We surprised these two beauties by taking them to the YWAM base that my missionary daughter is serving on and stayed the weekend . The past few years they have not been able to celebrate with their oldest sissy… who they adore…
DSCN3680So we packed up a suitcase and loaded the car up, while our unique son took them out for a soda.  When they got back we told them we were going somewhere for the day for a family outing for their birthdays…  oh the excitement.    We took our special son, little one and unique son with us and headed off for our adventure.  DSCN3693
Half way through the trip they began to wonder, but they did not ask any questions… until we stopped at a gas station we always stop at on our way to seeing their big sister.
When we arrived our missionary daughter had our cabin decorated for a birthday party.  DSCN3703We had a wonderful cabin with a wonderful view and enough room to move around and be comfortable.  We got settled in and then went for a swim at the pool on the base, while hubby went into town to get some food for the weekend.
 DSCN3714After hubby returned and the swim was done, unique son was off with his friends from theDSCN3734 base and missionary daughter was off to take engagement pictures for a couple on the base. We went to the playground and the girly girls did a little exploring…It was a beautiful day.  
   The next day was filled with deer observation, hikes and exploration, more swimming, a trip into town for the girlies to do a little shopping, a mini rain storm, a lesson in how to properly kill a rattlesnake, special son learning how to ride a bike and a birthday party celebration ending with a popcorn filled movie night. 
DSCN3774    DSCN3817
DSCN3822   DSCN3813
 DSCN3888    DSCN3831
 DSCN3854   DSCN3868
DSCN3900   DSCN3904 
A full day at a place filled with the fullness of God’s Glory and beauty.
DSCN3748 DSCN3740
A weekend filled with memories…
     A weekend living life to the fullness….
           A weekend of celebration for the birth and life of these two incredible daughters…
DSCN3999 DSCN4000
My heart is full.
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