4 little Fergusons Photography: Mom’s To Be

  I had the opportunity this summer, to photograph two expectant mothers!  One we grabbed a couple shots at her daughters shoot, as a fun way to announce their pregnancy, the other, my FIRST maternity session!!!!!!

These Mom’s to be are simply stunning!  The kids and dads were great, too!  🙂

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 Thanks for letting me capture these precious moments for your family!

~T

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Marinated Ham & Swiss Rolls

  I LOVE funky recipes and this one given to me by a family friend, totally fits the bill!

  Take a regular ol’ ham and swiss sandwich dump on a bunch of seasonings and 2, yes I said TWO sticks of butter, throw some french fried onions on top for crunch and bake until melty. 

OH MY YUMMY GOODNESS!

Marinated Ham & Swiss Rolls

(click for easy printable)

Marinated Ham Rolls (1)

Ingredients

  • 8 whole Large Potato Bread Buns
  • 1 pound Ham Slices
  • ½ pounds Sliced Swiss Cheese
  • 2 sticks Of Butter  (you can do one if this freaks you out to much, there was a lot of butter liquid on the bottom)
  • 3 teaspoons Ground Mustard
  • 3 teaspoons Poppy Or Sesame Seeds
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Diced Onions
  • 1 6 oz. container French’s French Fried Onions

Split the rolls in half and layer the bottom halves in a baking dish. Top with ham and swiss cheese. Put the top half of the roll on. Bring butter, mustard, poppy seeds, onion and worcestershire sauce to near boil. Pour evenly over rolls. Sprinkle with french fried onions.
Bake at 350* for 15 minutes or slightly browned and heated through.

Serve with raw veggies and fruit.

Marinated Ham Rolls (2)

Y-U-M!

~T

Meet Lizzy the Prairie Lizard

We have added a new pet to the Ferguson household, at least temporarily.

Lizzy the Prairie Lizard

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Ty caught her running around on our wood pile. 

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He was SO proud he caught her, how could I say no to this cute face? 

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Since Momma consented to keep her, Destiny went right to work making a Lizard habitat. {aka A Bucket}  I am loving the little flower details!

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Only one problem……

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Our Kitties REALLY REALLY wanted to eat, er I mean MEET Lizzy, too. So much so, that they tipped over the bucket and ate her. 

  I am not kidding! 

  I heard shrieking and ran out to the garage where a frantic Avery was screaming “Smoky Bear ATE Lizzy!”

  Sure enough, out of both sides of his mouth, were tail and arms.  Oh boy, I thought, blood shed and tears.  I tried to pry his mouth open to save Liz, but he just clamped down harder. I herded all the crying kids back in and told them it was ok, Lizzy was gone and it was part of life with animals.

Dale came home from work just moments later and said, “Look what I found Smoky Bear playing with…..”

  It was LIZZY!  It was a very ALIVE, Lizzy.

  I still don’t know how she survived the Jaws of Death, but thank the Lord, she is ok. The kids were of course, ecstatic.  They insisted we get a “real” cage for Lizzy, so that wouldn’t happen again.  Thankfully some kind friends of ours had an extra aquarium they let us borrow. 

Now she has a REAL home!

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Welcome to the family, Lizzy Lizard! May you live and long and prosperous life on this earth.

~T

Creamy Hamburger Casserole

  Are you figuring out by now that I am in LOVE with anything that involves Cream Cheese or Sour Cream? 

  This is another favorite from waaay back in the day when I was a child. We called it “Regena Casserole” after my Aunt Regena gave the recipe to my mom to try.  My kids have dubbed it “Gena Casserole”, since they call her Aunt Gena, but you can just call it Creamy Hamburger Casserole

Or if you are Avery you can call it:

“My FAVOWITE PINK CASSEWOLE!”

  The tomato sauce does turn pink, thanks to all the creamy stuff you add! 🙂

Creamy Hamburger Casserole

(click title for easy printable)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Hamburger, Or Ground Turkey, Seasoned To Taste
  • ½ cups Chopped Onion
  • 15 ounces Tomato Sauce
  • 10 ounces Tomato Soup
  • 3 cups Colby Jack Or Casserole Cheese, Divided Use
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Pepper
  • 16 ounces, weight Egg Noodles (I Do Half White, Half Wheat)

  In a large skillet, cook hamburger with chopped onions, drain.
In a separate pot, cook noodles, drain and rinse.
Combine all remaining ingredients (save out 1 1/2 cups cheese) in meat skillet, stirring on low heat, until cream cheese is dissolved. Add noodles, mix well.
Put in 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add remaining cheese to the top and bake at
350* for 25-30 minutes.

Enjoy your creamy, “pink” Casserole!

~T

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4 little Fergusons Photography: Jameson

  What a sweet little man, Jameson is!  I got to photograph him, because he just turned 1.  He was very serious during our photo shoot, but when he saw my kids and dog later, he was all grins. Guess next time I’ll bring them all out with me?  🙂  Some of my favorite shots of my children are smile free, so it’s all good!

~T

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4 little Fergusons Photography: {Paxton Is 2!}

   This is post 2 for today, be sure to head back a post for some YUMMY lettuce wraps!

  My lil’ man is 2!  I have put off his session for a solid month waiting for the perfect day, wasn’t happening. SO, one cloudy day, with a cool front on its way in, I get the urge to snap a couple pics of him.  It turned into a full session, and despite the weird gray light and how COLD it was by the end, I was super happy with how they turned out.

It helps a lot that he doesn’t know a life without a camera in his face! 🙂

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  Don’t just want to squeeze those sweet CHEEKS!?!?!?!

Love my lil’ man, he is growing up TOO fast!

~T

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  I told my friend, Kim from The Sunflower Supper Club, that we just might be Foodie Sisters separated at birth, or maybe just the lunch line.  All I know, is that what she posts, I print, make and LOVE…every single time!

These Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps are amazing. The homemade Teriyaki sauce is GORGEOUS!  And makes the dish in my opinion!

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

(click title for easy printable)

adapted from Sunflower Supper Club

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps (2)

Ingredients

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • ½ cups Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cups Honey
  • ½ cups Red Wine Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Onion Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Ginger
  • 2-½ Tablespoons Cornstarch

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Diced Into Bite Size Pieces
  • ½ teaspoons Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • ½ cups Onion, Diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, Minced
  • ½ teaspoons Dried Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ whole Lime Juiced, (about 1 1 /2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 4 sprigs Green Onions, Sliced
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cups Dry Roasted Peanuts Or Cashews
  • 12 whole Lettuce Leaves, Boston or Romaine Hearts work best because they are a stiffer leaf {not pictured}
  • 1 box Fried Rice, made according to package directions

FOR GARNISH:

  • Cilantro
  • Soy Sauce

In a medium saucepan, mix all the glaze ingredients together, except the cornstarch, and bring to a slow boil. Take 1/3 cup of sauce and put in a small bowl. Mix with the cornstarch and whisk together. Add back into the sauce and simmer until it thickens to desired consistency, about 5 minutes. If it gets too thick, you can thin with a little water. Set aside.

Season the diced chicken with pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame oil. Sautee the onion and garlic for a few minutes until beginning to soften. Add the chicken and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, if using; cook another minute. Pour the glaze into the skillet with the chicken. Add the lime juice, red bell pepper, carrots green onions, peanuts or cashews and sautee a few more minutes. Remove from heat for a few minutes before serving so you don’t wilt your lettuce “shell”.

Spoon a few Tablespoons of fried rice, followed by  1/4 cup of the mixture into a lettuce leaf and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!

~T

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps (1)

A Walk in My Shoes

  I am still sorting through the rubble.


The ruined pieces of our marriage.

Pictures, dates, someone’s careless words, a joke about cheating….

All can take my breath away. Can make tears roll down my face in an INSTANT, despite my best efforts to stop them.

I live in a world that wants me to move on

Get over it.  Stop talking about it.

    I say to you,

Please, just let me catch my breath.

Let me work through the rubble piece by piece.

Let me do whatever it takes to heal in a complete, whole and healthy way, even if you don’t think it’s fast enough.

Let me go on 2 overnight trips with my husband in one summer, without judgement, because we are desperate for US time. Because the hardest part about this road we are on, is maintaining normal life with 4 kids.

 I need to be allowed to work through the layers of my hurt and healing. Stuffing down tears and hurts, only means I will have to deal with them later.

  I said to our counselors from our very first session on. I have a gaping, open wound. It is a pain I have never experienced before. I want it healed, but I want EVERY single corner cleaned out.

  I want NOTHING remaining in it, so that when it heals over completely, and it will, that I NEVER, EVER have to re-open this wound because a speck of dirt remained.  A speck of dirt, that over time, turns into a festering puss pocket of hurt or anger or fear that didn’t get scraped out.

  Scraping out all corners of the wound has been a slow and painful process, but a necessary step for the health of our relationship.

  I have pleaded with the Lord from the beginning, “Father, Don’t waste this hurt. Don’t let it be in vain. Let our tragedy be used for your glory.”

Don’t EVER mistake me talking about what we went through, our struggles as a couple trying to rebuild, as me not forgiving.

“Forgiving means forgetting” is the biggest lie out there.

  Forgiving doesn’t mean you have to forget, it doesn’t mean we are to live as people without a history. No. God USES those hurts to then help others get through. When I talk about what happened between Dale and I, it is not to “throw him under the bus”.  It is not to roll around in the muck and mire, or live it all over again.

No. I love Dale. We are ONE.

To “throw him under the bus” is to lie under there MYSELF.

   I share our story, in story form, because I am a story-teller by nature. It’s my passion. We are being asked to share with a hurting world, and we said YES, Father. We are being asked to help shine light on the secret, dark places, so satan can rule no more.

Here me loud and clear:

I WILL keep sharing our story turned HIS.

  Because, to be broken is to be made WHOLE.

 And as my mentor said, “We never know when a ‘Doubting Thomas’ will believe by touching our scars. {John 20:24-29}  Never regret or curse the very things that God will use to show His love through us. Bruised, proven and precious.”

You have not walked one step in my shoes. Not one.

Don’t judge me, please. You don’t have the right.

 Please understand, I have Dale’s full support to speak of what we went through.

   We wrote the blog series on Surviving Infidelity, together. Every time one of us is asked to speak or share at Encounter, we write those teachings and testimonies TOGETHER.

  In fact, we are speaking at a Marriage Matters night at a local church this weekend, together. Telling of our journey to healing, together.  I am terrified. I don’t like to speak in public, I’d rather hide behind my computer screen and blog, but I guess that is the whole “God’s power is made perfect in weakness” thing.

 Doing the “right” hard thing, is just that….

Hard. 

 

   Please don’t mistake the fact that I am again speaking about this moment that changed our marriage, as sign that I am a man-hater, or against Dale in any way.  We are a team. We are in this together.  We fought for our marriage, because we love each other enough to work HARD to stay together.  God is asking us to share in all kinds of ways, including taking us out of our comfort zones.

  You may sit in your cushy office chair and judge me for sharing our story, turned His. 

Maybe you roll your eyes because I am talking about this, again. 

  Try to understand, my life radically changed last summer…… I am not the same Tonya I used to be.  I am trying to figure it all out, this new life of mine.  In some ways, I am stronger.  I am braver.  I have faced my WORST NIGHTMARE and survived.  I am proud of that fact.  Empowered by it.  But I am also more exhausted, more sad, more weary than I have ever been in my life.  I work hard each day to choose forgiveness.  I work even harder, to choose joy.  A joy that used to pour out on its own, with no effort…I miss that. 

  I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t miss the sunshiny life I found wonderful.   My self-worth in my marriage.  A Tonya that oozed happy, that bubbled joy. 

And although weeping may endure the night, joy WILL come in the morning……..Psalms 30:5

Don’t you see?  

 I chose this. Willingly. Because obedience brings blessing.  I chose this when I told Dale I’d stay and fight for our marriage, rather than divorce him.
Because sometimes the right “hard thing”, is the hardest “right thing” to do.
I chose this because I am lost without him.  I don’t know how to be ME, without him by my side.
Because I pledged my life to his, for better or worse.
Because we are one.
Because this is what the Lord asked me to do.

Don’t judge my actions.

Please.

I don’t answer to you.

 I am taking direction from a God, who heard my plea to not waste this hurt.
A Father who is in the process of making a beautiful mosaic from the shattered pieces of my broken marriage.
A Holy Spirit who moves me to write and share from the heart with words that I sometimes can’t even believe I typed.

Let Him work.
Let Him use Dale and I how HE sees fit.

I answer to one, THE One.

The healer of my soul……

Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

~T

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Asian Honey Sesame Chicken with Quick Lo Mein

I have to give credit to TWO of my blogging buddies for this delicious supper!  I knew these recipes were a match made in Heaven.  I tweaked them to fit our taste buds and viola, a new Asian dish for you to enjoy!

  I give you Asian Honey Sesame Marinade from Kate at Venison for Dinner, and Quick Lo Mein from Krista at Everyday Mom’s Meals.

Asian Honey Sesame Chicken with Quick Lo Mein

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  • FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE:
  • * * * * * *
  • 5 pounds Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • ¾ cups Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, Grated
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • For The Lo Mein:
  • * * * * * *
  • 16 oz Asian or ramen noodles from ethnic section
  • Olive oil to stir fry
  • ½ pounds Sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 whole Carrot, Sliced Or Shredded
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 c Snow peas
  • ¼ cups Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Teryaki Sauce
  • 4 T Sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper (less If You Don’t Like Heat)
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced

For chicken marinade:
Mix together all ingredients and pour over chicken in an air tight container. Turn every 12 hours.
BBQ on medium high for 20 minutes, turning half way. Keep warm until serving time.

For the Quick Lo Mein:
Prepare noodles, rinse.
In a large skillet, heat 3 T. olive oil and 1 T. sesame oil. Carefully add broccoli, red pepper. Wait to tenderize partway, before adding sliced mushrooms, green onions and carrots, sauteing until they are all tender crisp.
Place spaghetti in a large bowl, coat in soy sauce, teryaki, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.   Toss gently. 
Serve chicken over a bed of low mein. IMG_1614

Enjoy!

~T

Chocolate Chunk Cake Mix Cookies

  So, how about those afternoons, when the kiddos come home from school, and announce that they need two dozen cookies baked in time for the school concert………THAT NIGHT!  

You need WHAT?!  What do you mean you “lost” the note about it last week?

 Well, you can have warm from the oven cookies in no time flat thanks to a cake mix!!! You don’t even have to wait for butter to soften. 

Hallelujah!

Chocolate Chunk Cake Mix Cookies

(click title for easy printable)

adapted  from Stephanie Cooks

Chocolate Chunk Cookies text

Ingredients

  • 1 box White Cake Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • ½ cups Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup Chocolate Chunks

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix and baking powder. Add eggs and oil, then mix until well blended. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes. Do NOT over bake. I pulled mine even though they didn’t look completely done and they were perfect!!! Cool for 3 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

  Easy as Pie, er I mean…..Cookies!

~T