Hey all! I hope everyone had a FANTASTIC holiday season. We did! It was a little crazy (isn’t it always??) and our kids received WAY too many gifts, but we got to spend a lot of time with family and friends, reflecting on all of the things that God has given us….and then we got the best gift ever…
A lot of you who know us know that we have been struggling this year with Matt’s job. Don’t get me wrong, we are so grateful that the Lord blessed him with such wonderful employment. It’s a hard job, but it provides for our family financially in ways we never thought possible. He likes what he does and enjoys the customers that he works with. There was just one major problem. When he first started there he was put “temporarily” on the world’s worst schedule, and then his ex boss refused to take him off of it. For over a year he had to switch from doing days (which actually start at 3 am) half the week, to nights (which were 14 hour or longer shifts that began at 10pm) the other half in a extremely laborious job .That coupled with being asked to work overtime nearly every day he was supposed to be off left him feeling wiped out, and really only allowed our little family time together on Sundays. We didn’t have a weekend together as a family for nearly 18 months (with the exception of Matt’s one week vacation time). It also left me alone with all three kids a lot, which left me feeling less than energetic most of the week. We tried our hardest to get used to this schedule, but each week left us both feeling exhausted, bitter, and frustrated. We prayed continuously for a new schedule, both as a couple and as a church. Opportunities for a new schedule came, we got excited and then let down numerous times. Matt applied for new jobs, but nothing offered the same pay and it was such a huge cut that we couldn’t do it. We were at our wits end and Matt was ready to take ANYTHING that came his way, we had even agreed that we would work around a pay cut if we had to, because physically it was awful for him. Then an offer came in, and suddenly Matt didn’t feel right about it. After prayer and consideration, we turned down what had seemed to be an amazing offer, because he didn’t feel the Lord leading him in that direction…
A couple of days after turning down the job (which I have to admit, I was more than a little upset about) a coworker called him and asked him if would trade schedules with him. A complete swap…We couldn’t believe it, and we were a little skeptical. When Matt asked why he wanted to swap, he said the coworker said that he wanted a change of pace and the 4 long days in a row was too much for him. In the field Matt works, most guys work 4 days, but over 40 hours. We knew that this schedule wasn’t perfect, but it would be a lot better. We prayed together and Matt felt good about accepting the offer. While we were talking that night about hoping that we were on the path that the Lord wanted us to take, Matt said “the only thing that would be better is if I could keep my Monday and Wednesday route, because those are my best days, I know the customers, I make good money and I am home earlier.” I agreed, but we were just thankful for the new schedule and began working out how our schedule as a family would change with the new work schedule, without a second thought….
The next morning Matt calls me from work. When he walked into his bosses office that morning, his boss declared that he had a great idea that came to him while he was changing the schedules! Instead of doing a complete swap, he wanted Matt to keep his Monday and Wednesday route and only swap his overnights for the other workers day shifts on Thursday and Friday!! In that moment, we knew beyond a doubt that this new schedule was a direct blessing from the Lord. We didn’t have to change any of our weekly routine, the pay was going to be the same and now Matt would have off Tuesday and the weekend!! We are still getting used to this new schedule, it feels a little weird not to be so tired and stressed all the time! We finally feel like we have time, and its so amazing! If we had taken any one of those offers despite not being led by the Lord, we never would have had anything close to as good as this. Its been such a wonderful way to start the new year, and it has brought renewed strength to our faith. I keep going back to Jeremiah 29:11 because this verse has become the foundation for our family the past few years…
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
What an awesome God we serve!! and speaking of serve….
My kids LOVE when I serve waffles and pancakes for breakfast!! What kid doesn’t? However, with all of our dietary restrictions, I had shied away from making them for fear of the result. Then for Christmas we were given the cutest little waffle stick maker and I so badly wanted to make them for my kids! So I got to researching on the computer….
Whenever I make something new, I read about 4 or 5 different recipes and then come up with my own blend that I think will taste the best, be the easiest and be the most repeatable! I like to know that if something is a hit, I can easily make it again. We have developed the most delicious and fool proof waffle recipe that is vegan and gluten free. With this recipe I have made multiple batches, over 150 waffle sticks and they have tasted the same each time. It freezes well, so if you want to double it (or triple it!!), just wrap those little suckers in foil, toss in a freezer bag and put them away for a busy morning. Pop them in the toaster, just like store bought waffles and you have a hot breakfast in seconds!! Hooray for easy mornings!! Okay…so here is the recipe
1 3/4c Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour Mix (this is the best, and already has a starch mixed in! If for some reason you had a different flour, you can try that too. If your mix doesn’t include a pre added starch then just use 1 1/4 c flour plus 1/2c of your starch of choice)
1/4c granulated sugar (I know it sounds like a lot, and if you want to you can cut back on the amount of sugar. We tried less, but my kids didn’t really enjoy the ones that were not as sweet.)
2tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4c Unsweetened Applesauce
2 tbs Canola Oil (or vegetable)
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
**Optional add-in: 2 tsp of cinnamon**
Combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly (including cinnamon if you choose to use it). Add in applesauce, oil and vanilla extract, mix again.
This is the tricky part: We use vanilla almond milk, because I think it gives them more flavor, but plain almond milk would be fine too. When adding the milk, only start with 1/2c. Once you have mixed that in, slowly add in more milk until you get the desired consistency you would like. We usually end up using about 3/4c, but you may use more or less depending on preference.
Pour mix into a prepared waffle iron, following the normal instructions for regular waffles. This mix would also make some super yummy pancakes!! Try adding some chocolate chips!!!
It makes 15- 20 waffles sticks, which I imagine would be equivalent to about 5 or 6 full sized waffles. To be honest, since the first batch, we have NEVER made this without at least doubling it, they get gobbled up so quick!
Everyone always wants to feed Scarlet her breakfast!!