The last couple days, I’ve been becoming keenly aware of the reality that not too much time will be elapsing until the arrival of our precious little one.
Along with that my mind is trying to size up what I can do to make things flow as smoothly as possible during the time that I will have to step back and have others do my house work. Menus, weekly cleaning, laundry, little ones to feed and care for … the list goes on.
“Will we manage everything smoothly?” I ask myself once more. But then, my mind goes to my calm, steady husband whom I need; his advice rings in my ear, “We will take one day at a time, trusting God for each step; He will provide as we trust in Him.”
“That’s true, I tell myself for the hundredth time,” but then, once more, I come to the realization that just knowing this won’t be enough; I will have to apply it to my heart and simply accept God’s provision. Then certainly we will be covered in all areas of our busy lives.
Now the question still remains, “What can I do to simplify things for Daniel and my maud (maid)?” Daniel will be taking a week or two off work to help around the house. Then his ever-capable sister Mary, who lives in Danville, Ohio, will be here for a few weeks to go on with the many mother duties around here. Besides her help, I have three sisters and my mother who will be helping as needed.
I love planning and organizing things; I confess though, I don’t always have things down pat like I wish I would. Recently, I took the time to make a list of things I’d like to do before Baby’s arrival such as, wash off furniture, sweep down cobwebs, reorganize recipes, and make a list of friends to whom to send birth announcements. Bit by bit, I’ve been chiseling away at it.
Yesterday, the children and I were pleasantly surprised when someone came to our driveway. “Who could it be?” we wondered. No one but my dear mother. Not only did she come to spend time chatting, but she also had a plan to help chop off part of my list, read stories to the children, and have a tea party with us. Her homemade chocolate chip cookies with peppermint tea “took the cake.”
Several hours later, when she went out the door, I was blessed with clean cupboards, a table and chairs minus the crusty build-up they had begun to accumulate, and happy children. Bless her heart. To me, it just felt like God looking out for us in yet another way.
Of course, the best part of getting ready for Baby is washing newborn clothes, fixing up the nursery, and simply watching the excitement of Julia and Austin as we talk about the new addition that is ready to fill our home with more love.
Another aspect I enjoy planning for is food. The last couple days I’ve had baking urges to stock up on an ample supply of baked goods to last us the days following Baby’s birth. We’ve been blessed with a nice variety of cookies from friends who dropped some off for us simply because they know I have my hands full right now, so we certainly won’t be lacking.
Ready-made casseroles are another super simple option for days when things just don’t all click like I wish they would. We’ve also enjoyed many casseroles from people in church who made and shared these with us over the past months since we got our foster children. A simple yet ever-tasty casserole that I’d like to make, enough for a meal now and plenty to put in the freezer, is homemade lasagna.
My Mom is known for her good lasagna. When I was a young girl, she would often make it for guests who came to our house for a meal. “They would never guess how simple it is,” she would say. My brothers weren’t fond of “that white stuff” as they would call it, so Mom would always leave one side “plain” for those who didn’t care for the cream cheese mixture which is what I always thought made it so good. In fact, if you’re like Mom and I, you will want to use a double batch of the cream cheese mixture.
I doubt that I will ever make lasagna without thinking of Mom, even if I’m cooking until 80 or 90 like some of you readers.
Mom’s homemade lasagna
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 1/2 pounds hamburger, fried
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
3 cups pizza sauce, divided
2 1/2 cups water
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Fry hamburger with seasonings; add 2 1/2 cups pizza sauce. Next, layer noodles and meat mixture alternately in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, beginning and ending with 4 noodles. Pour water over all; then spread with remaining 1/2 cup pizza sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours or until noodles are tender.
Mix cream cheese, milk and onions together and spread on top. Sprinkle with cheese then return to oven until cheese is melted.
Note: One cup sour cream may be used to replace the milk and cream cheese.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.