Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Perfect Potato Salad

Perfect Potato Salad - The Cozy Nook

I give Tyler Florence credit for inspiring me with this potato salad. I made his recipe in the past, and after watching another video he did, I made the salad a bit different and simpler. He boils his potatoes with the skins on, whole. His theory is that you keep the flavor of the potato intact when you cook them in the skins. Once you break the skin, you start releasing the flavor.

I have had raving compliments for this salad. I really like making it fresh and serving it warm rather than cold, out of the refrigerator.

Perfect Potato Salad
This recipe makes a large serving (12+ servings) for a party or entertaining, so be sure to adjust your portions if you do not want such a large portion.
Printable Version

5 lbs. potatoes (I used half red and half Yukon), whole with skins on
3/4 cup dill pickles, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups mayo
1/2 cup dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Scrub potatoes and put them in a large pot with salted water, to cover. Remember, the potatoes are whole, with the skins on.

Cook potatoes on medium high heat and boil until the potatoes are soft all way through and can be pierced with a fork.

Drain potatoes and let cool.

While the potatoes are cooling, you can mix the pickles, parsley, mayo, and mustard.

When potatoes are cool, crush them into pieces with your hands. No need to cut them! They will look rustic and rough.

Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Serve!

You could garnish it with chives, if you’d like.

If you don’t like pickles, you can omit them and add something else, like boiled eggs or celery.

Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Your Labor is Not in Vain

Your Labor is Not in Vain - The  Cozy Nook

Imagine for a moment that you planted a large garden. You spent a lot of time, money, and effort on the garden, and you had high hopes for that garden. You looked forward to the fruit you would gain from it!

However, what if something happened to that garden, and you were not able to receive its fruit?

What if a storm blew through and destroyed it completely?

What if wildlife visited and ate the fruit before you were able to harvest?

What if the garden looked nice but actually didn’t even end up producing much fruit at all?

Would you be disappointed? Would you feel like your labor was in vain?

I would.

I would feel very disappointed. That’s basic human nature – put your energies into something and reap a good harvest.

How do you go on in life, though, when that doesn’t happen?

In the end it boils down to trusting God.

I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my just reward is with the Lord,
And my work with my God
.
Isaiah 49:4

…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58

Your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Let me say that again… partly because I need to hear it again!

Your labor in the Lord is not in vain!

Our job is to obey God, to do what He says, to follow Him at any cost. He takes care of the rest!

Our work is a sacrifice to God.
Our labor pleases Him.
Our reward lies with Him.

Be encouraged and keep laboring
for and unto Him!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Homeschooling: Are You Ready for the New School Year?

Ready for the New School Year - The Cozy Nook
Click on the image to print.

Well, it’s the middle of July already, and you know what that means. Yep, the summer is flying by.

Before you know it, your new school year will be in session. Are you ready for it?

I’m in the process of getting my new homeschool year ready. I’m filing away old stuff, ordering new curriculum, and trying to have all my ducks in a row so I feel confident when the new school year begins.

Are you ready?

Print out the above checklist to help keep you on track and get your homeschool in order.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Breakfast Power Smoothie

The Cozy Nook - My Breakfast Power Smoothie

I make this a few times a week, at least, for breakfast or for a mid-morning boost. I call it my “power” smoothie, because I really do feel good when I drink this!

This recipe makes a large serving for one person. When I double the recipe, my husband, my son, and I share it.

Breakfast Power Smoothie
Printable Version

1 ripe banana, preferably frozen
3 frozen strawberries
1 T peanut butter
2 T plain yogurt
1 t spirulina powder
1 t chia seeds
~ 1 cup Milk, enough to make the smoothie your desired consistency
Handful of ice, if banana is NOT frozen

Blend all ingredients in a blender.

As with any recipe, you can tweak this to your liking.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Plan a Family Vacation and Make Some Memories!

The Cozy Nook - Plan a Family Vacation!

Do you feel like your family needs a vacation?

You probably do. You not only need a vacation to take a break and get away from the mundane of life. You need a vacation so you can make memories together!

Good memories in life help us build camaraderie and closeness. They strengthen our relationships, giving us powerful experiences and discussions for the present and future.

We just returned from our own family vacation. We drove out to New York, spent time with family, and headed back through Canada to see Niagara Falls.

We made great memories.

We sat in the car for hours, playing the ABC game, talking, watching movies, and soaking in the great views.

The Cozy Nook - Family Vacation

We rode the subway to New York City, got a view of the Freedom Tower, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Cozy Nook - NY

We stayed at the Hilton in Canada at Niagara Falls, on the 39th floor, and had a breathtaking view of the Falls.

The Cozy Nook - Panoramic of Falls

We saw great things, did great things, and spent time with great people – our family members who live in New York.

Our children loved the trip. It was a time for them to hang out with Mom and Dad and experience life together, in a different format, with the simple intent to relax, enjoy life, and discover new things.

Have you planned a family vacation recently?

It’s well-worth the effort and cost.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Motherhood: Laying Your Life Down

Laying Your Life Down - The Cozy Nook

Do you ever feel tired and worn out as a mom, pulled in many directions?

Do you ever feel as if tiny (or maybe big) creatures are draining the very life out of you?

I do. Motherhood is hard. It is a life of service.

This past weekend I started to feel quite drained. I walked into church with my daughters, while my husband was still at camp with our boys and the boys’ groups from church. During half of our worship service, which is about an hour long, I held my four year old daughter, sometimes feeling like the strength was being zapped out of me. After worship, I took her to her class. She was very needy and wanted me to stay in the class. Even though I told her I would stay for a minute to make sure she was settled, she wanted more. Long story short, I took her back upstairs with me for the duration of the sermon, another hour and twenty minutes.

During the sermon, I was juggling her. She wasn’t being naughty, but for a while I had that feeling again of someone zapping the life out of me…. needing me continually, fidgeting, wanting, and holding me.

My pastor got to John 10:17-18, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself.”

Jesus laid down His life for me, for us. He did it willingly. No one took it from Him. He chose to give it, freely!

Forgive me, Lord.

I want to cheerfully and willingly lay my life down for my children, for my family, for my husband, for my home.

Jesus said, “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

That is true for us.

We have the power to lay down our lives, embrace the calling God gives us, and then take up our lives with that fullness.

God, help us to lay our lives down for our families. Help us not to be selfish. Help us to have cheerful, willing, and generous hearts. Amen.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Washer Necklaces: A Fun, Simple Craft

Washer Necklaces - The Cozy Nook

I hosted a girls’ night for the girls’ groups at our church, and we made these cool necklaces, inspired by these necklaces.

The necklaces are simple to make with inexpensive materials, and the sky is the limit on creativity since you can mix and match whatever colors you choose!

Washer Necklace Supplies - The Cozy Nook

Needed Supplies:

  • Washers. Mine were labeled 5/8” at the hardware store and were about 1 3/4” across.
  • Nail Polish
  • Twine. I purchased mine here. Cut each necklace strand to be 1 yd (3 ft) long. If you do it any shorter, you won’t be able to fit the necklace over your head.
  • Beads

First, paint your washer, using nail polish, with whatever color and design you desire.

Wait for the washer to dry completely before moving forward.

Next, secure the twine strand through the washer with a knot. Even up the raw ends of the strand. Put the folded end of the twine through the hole of the washer and put the raw ends of the strand through the folded end to create the knot.

Knot on Necklace

Bead your necklace, if you desire. To help the beading process, have a bowl of water nearby. Moisten the ends of your necklace strand and twist them together to form a needle. You can bead larger beads on both strands together and smaller beads on the individual strands.

Threading the Necklace - The Cozy Nook

When you are finished, tie a knot at the end of your twine to complete your project.

Necklaces 2 - The Cozy Nook