Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31 Fun

On Halloween we always avoid being home. Last year we decided to go shoe shopping at our local mall, and we found out that trick-or-treating at the mall is the "safe" alternative to trick-or-treating on the street.  It was overrun with little goblins and freaks, but since we were in the minority, as virtually the only non-tattooed, non-costumed family, we appeared to be the freaks...

So this year we decided we would do something different.  We took the kids on a Mystery Ride out to Lake Mohave for some star hunting.  Living in the dry, non-cloudy Southwest, we are in what would be a great area for stargazing IF Las Vegas would shut out the lights for once! Well, it was plenty dark for finding the major constellations, anyway.  We are new to the star map, so it was an education for us big people. AND, I might add, it was deemed a success when we found both the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper.

It was also a good opportunity to try out the "dark" settings on my digital camera:

Not quite dark enough for stars.


Where's the Big Dipper?


Piggy flashlight helps find stars. Oink Oink Oink.

Serious star student.

Happy star-gazers!

Actually, they are happy because they found something a lot more fun to do than craning their necks -- playing hide-and-seek in a very LARGE, very DARK parking lot, with only two flashlights (one being the dying piggy, oink oink), and DAD! One of the girls paid their daddy the highest compliment as we drove home: "None of those poor kids who went trick-or-treating had as much fun as WE did!  We got to play hide-and-seek with DAD!!" The "dad" sentiment was repeated several times tonight. Aren't dads great?!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Blog Worth Following

A little while ago I was given a blog award that had something to do with discipling. While I really do appreciate the spirit of the award, I thought the timing was ironic, since I have not posted that kind of material in a while. And, I don't know... I just don't like to spotlight myself. I believe Jesus Christ gets all the glory for anything good that comes from me.  I sincerely thanked the giver of the award, and I was going to let it drop there. 

But today I came across a blog that I want to share.  I am not even going to tell this blogger that I am doing this, because I know she would not want the praise. But if you are feeling like you are in dire straits with your spiritual life, your children, or your relationship to your husband, AND if you are REALLY ready to follow some good, godly counsel, then do go and spend some time at Camilla Anderson's blog, Growing in Truth. Read her testimony, her "secret" for staying on top, how she has trained herself in financial accountability with the Lord's help, how she bought back her children's hearts  from the world. Camilla has some really wonderful counsel in the daily, practical areas of a Christian woman's life.

What?  You ask why am I not posting entries on these things myself?  Simple.  I am still working on them.


UPDATE: Camilla has shut down her blog, but there is another blog out there that bears a striking resemblance to hers.   It is right here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Psalm 119 on the Bible

Some time ago as I was reading through Psalm 119, I decided to make a note of all of the things I was instructed to DO with God's Word, either by example or by direct command.  As I then continued to read through my Bible, I also continued to write these things in the flyleaf of my Bible. Too bad I didn't note the references.  Do you have any additions?

What to Do With God's Word

walk in it
keep it
respect it
learn it
take heed to it
seek it
hide it in my heart
rejoice in it
meditate on it
delight in it
long for it
take counsel in it
understand it
talk about it
choose it
adhere to it
observe it
love it
trust in it
hope in it
find comfort in it
remember it
think on it
turn to it
know it
consider it
abide in it
perform it
fear it
esteem it
stand in awe of it
praise it
publish it
thank God for it!

note to self: used 3/12?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Church Picnic

Do you remember how, when you got your yearbook, it was full of candid shots of all of the yearbook staff's friends?  Now I know how that happens.  I missed some key people this afternoon!  So sorry, to those of you who were omitted from this slide show. (You can go over to Kristy's blog and see hers!)

Also, this was my first attempt using Nearly every time I tried to put in a caption, the photo moved out of order.  VEEERRRRYYY SSSLLLOOOWWWLLLYYY!  So most of them aren't labeled.  Anyway, we had a great day, and I think this fall picnic is going to have to be a regular event.  Here you go:



Okay, it goes too fast, and it makes me sick to my stomach, bouncing around like that.  And since I didn't sign up, I can't edit it...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday's Sad Dinner

On Sundays I like to have something quick to make for dinner/lunch (depends which part of the country you are from ). I thought spaghetti would be quick and easy and very Baptist, lol, and I even remembered to take some ground beef out of the freezer before we left for church.  Good for me. When we got home, I got the sauce going and decided that we needed to eat something more than just spaghetti.  Like a salad.  Or rolls or something.  I was too lazy to make a salad, so I figured I would just toast some bagels under the broiler, with butter and parmesan cheese on them.  Yum, yum, right?  I sometimes do this with left-over hamburger buns, but Passionforpurple had just made a Sam's Club run for me, and had sent me home from church with fresh bagels.  So I got the spaghetti boiling and used up all but about a tablespoon of the parmesan cheese on the bagels (had to save a bit for DH's spaghetti), then I popped them into the oven. And forgot about them. Sad day for Emily!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chocolate Peppermint Cremes

Earlier today Audiam posted a request for holiday recipes, including turkey, veggies, and of course, one of the staples of my life, desserts.  We don't "do" the holidays here, but this recipe has been handed down for generations in my family, and for some reason I do not know, these wonderful things only appear (and quickly disappear!) in December.  Personally I think they would be great all year around, but no one in my family ever makes them in any other month. ...As far as I know.  If they do, they aren't telling, and they don't share! (Photo from Flickr.)

Chocolate Peppermint Cremes

Combine 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.

Cream together in a different bowl, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter, 2 T water, and 2 eggs, and then add 12 oz. melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Add the combined dry ingredients and mix well. The dough may be stiff, especially if you used real butter.  If it is very soft, refrigerate for a couple of hours. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then flatten a bit. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes, at 350.  Don't overbake them -- they should be soft in the centers. Cool completely.

To make the filling, cream together 1/3 cup of butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp of peppermint, a dash of salt, and 3 T + 1 tsp milk.  Spread liberally onto cookies and sandwich together.  Makes about 4 dozen. Enjoy.  (And please bring some over here to share with me!)

This reminds me, I saw something today that I am going to HAVE to try the next time I need a real chocolate fix, something that might even be better than the killer brownies I made the other day. (Those go toooo fast!)  Ever hear of grilled Nutella sandwiches? Nutella is now at the top of my grocery list for next month! I might not wait that long...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Charlotte Mason?

Somebody please give me a good but succinct resource to learn about Charlotte Mason.  I like what I have read from homeschoolers who use her methods, but I really don't know what her philosophy and practices were except for nature journaling. I don't think that is something we will be doing -- we only have rocks for our nature!  Is this something I can start with an 8th grader?

Beethoven's Wig ...Is Very Big!

Sing to the tune of Beethoven's Fifth:

"Beethoven's wig...

is very big....

Beethoven's wig is long and curly and it's white

Beethoven takes his wig off when he sleeps at night..."

From time to time I am going to post reviews on, and links to, some of the products that we have used and enjoyed in our schooling/living.  We just love good music, although I will have to admit that in the classical world we are probably only familiar with the more popular tunes.  We don't often delve into the unknowns.  Some months ago we visited the library and checked out a great CD, "Beethoven's Wig ~ Sing Along Symphonies". My four-year-old particularly LOVES this one, and she will hum or sing these well-known melodies all the day long.  The other girls enjoy the silly words, and they memorized them in short order.  I personally love the fact that my girls are familiar with this great music!

Here is a lyrical example of "Wow What a Wedding Cake!" (one of the songs on the second volume of sing along symphonies), sung to the tune of Mendelssohn's all-popular "Wedding March":

Look at the bride she is aglow

Look at the groom ready to go

Where is the real star of the show?

Wow what a wedding cake

it stands over six stories high

It took a year to bake

Nine months for the icing to dry

Look at the ring and the bouquet

Look at the guests holler Hooray

'Cause the dessert is on the way

Wow, what a wedding cake

It came on an airplane from France

It serves a thousand people

And all their uncles and aunts

Here comes the bride and groom

Alert the guests around the room

The big event is nearing

When they cut the cake

We will all be cheering

Wow what a wedding cake

That magical moment is here

Now we can finally eat it

And see it all disappear!

If you want to hear some of these, you can download the MP3's for pennies:


Beethoven's Wig, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony

Wow What a Wedding Cake, Mendelssohn's Wedding March

Just For Elise, Beethoven's Fur Elise

Tchaikovsky's Cannonball, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture

Stuck in the Saddle Again, Suppe's Light Cavalry March

Musical B's, Brahms's Hungarian Dance #5

Oh, there are so many good ones to choose from! See the widget on my sidebar for album CD's.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

The ABC's of the Saved

Although things are not perfect

Because of trial or pain

Continue in thanksgiving

Do not begin to blame

Even when the times are hard

Fierce winds are bound to blow

God is forever able

Hold on to what you know

Imagine life without his love

Joy would cease to be

Keep thanking him for all the things

Love imparts to thee

Move out of "Camp Complaining"

No weapon that is known

On earth can yield the power

Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future

Redeem the time at hand

Start every day with worship

To "thank" is a command

Until we see him coming

Victorious in the sky

We'll run the race with gratitude

Xalting God most high

Yes, there'll be some good times and yes, some will be bad, but...

Zion waits in glory, where none are ever sad!

(Author Unknown)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Popcorn Cake

Here is the recipe for the popcorn cake featured in my last post:

2 tsp plus 1/4 cup vegetable oil

12 cups popped popcorn, unbuttered and unsalted

2 cups assortment of M&M's (we used mini's), Reese's Pieces, candy sprinkles, etc

1 C lightly salted cocktail peanuts

1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter

16 oz marshmallows (this is more than a large bag - they are only 10 oz)

Chocolate syrup

Grease 10" bundt pan or 12 C tube pan with the 2 tsp oil.  In a large bowl, combine the popped popcorn with the candy and peanuts.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, remaining 1/4 C of oil, and the marshmallows over medium low heat, stirring constantly.  When melted, pour over the popcorn mixture and stir well.  Pour into prepared cake pan, pressing to fit (this is done very easily with wax paper).  Cover with foil to keep moist, and let rest until set, 3-4 hours.  To serve, invert cake pan over large platter.  Shake gently to release.  Drizzle chocolate syrup over the top.  Serve at room temp.

I was right -- the kids loved this, and the grown-ups went for the ice cream!  My daughter solved the problem of left-overs by cutting the remaining cake into pieces, storing in zip-lock baggies, and distributing the pieces of her "birthday cake" to her friends at church. Whew. 

 I am thinking this would be really good if you made it with about 10 cups of rice krispies, and the old-fashioned sugar/corn syrup/peanut butter recipe for rice krispie bars... but then the syrup would melt the colors off the M&M's....?  YOU try it, and let me know how it works! (I'd be happy to pass along the pb syrup recipe..!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's Been a Tough Week :o(

You all know my oldest daughter became a teen last week (I have been looking all over for an article I saved, about the myth of the teenager... when I find it I will post it!), and that was a big step for me.  But today I lost my baby.  I was cuddling Emily the other day, when I said, "Em, do you think you could just skip your birthday this year, and stay three? I just like you being three SO MUCH!"  She looked rather dubious about skipping her birthday, and said, "Wellllll, I like being three, but I want to be four, too."  I said, "Well, we could just not have your birthday Wednesday, and you could still be three. Would that be okay?  You have lots of things anyway, and you don't really need all those presents..." "Well, Mom, I really want to be four! Will you still like me if I am four?"  I assured her that I will ALWAYS like her, even if she is four. That must have bothered her a bit, because today, her birthday, she asked me if I still like her.  

About last November someone gave me a recipe for this popcorn cake, which looks like a kid's delight.  Emily saw it and made up her mind right then and there, that on her next birthday she would have popcorn cake.  So we made it together this morning. It is a gooey mess, something a kid would love!  (I will say, I am so glad she did not ask for one of those beautiful cakes that Jenn4Him's bakery makes, or a cute one like Short makes!  She would have been out of luck, there. But a popcorn cake I can do!)  Here's the "cake":

One of our annual birthday traditions is that each girl gets all dressed up for a lunch date with Daddy.  Emily and Daddy are at Wendy's as we speak, and then normally he would take her over to the dollar store. (He's a big spender. ) But today he is going to surprise her with a trip to her favorite place (not mine!), Walmart.  They are going to pick out a big girl's bike.  So I think that means my afternoon is committed to bike-riding lessons!  Here are Emily and Daddy, all ready to go on their date:

We will do this all over again in December and January for the other two girls.  I am so glad they are only turning 8 and 11.  I don't think I can take another one of these mile-marker birthdays this year.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Alizona!


Hello, friends, long time no blog. Well, it seems like a long time!  I am in the middle of a post, saved in my drafts, which I am having a hard time completing.  So stay on the edge of your seat, it's coming! 

Anyway, today I am writing a Happy 13th Birthday post to my wonderful oldest daughter, Alison, whose blog is right here.  I am so thankful to God, and pleased with my "little" girl's growth in the Lord and in her sweet character.  She is such a blessing to this family!  Would you pleeeease go over and leave her a birthday comment?  You will make a not-so-little-anymore girl very happy!

More of Our Week

As I was saying in my last post, the laundry is caught up, and here's why:

All I can say is  ! 

We also had some nice outdoor activity taking place this week. Since it is so hot here in the summer time, we sort of get cabin fever! Having hibernated in the air conditioning for several months, we soooo enjoy these days when the temps are dropping!



After a few spills, Emily decided to come in and do something safer:

And last, but not least, the girls got to burn off some energy playing a game they invented, called Superball Baseball. The "batter" gives the superball a big bounce and then runs the bases, while the one "outfielder" attempts to catch the ball and tag her sister. This is a great game when played with Dad  but not nearly as fun without him.


After this we walked home past the fire station and watched the fire-fighters doing their morning exercises:

Today ended with this, cake and ice cream for the birthday girl.  Our birthday traditions include the birthday kid's favorite meal for supper, a lunch date with Daddy (Alison wisely chose In-N-Out Burger, a favorite with her "date" -- this also gave her the opportunity to ride farther in the front seat of the van for the first time, lol, since it has an air bag) and the birthday cake of choice made by the birthday girl all by herself:

Thank you to all of you who left Alison a birthday comment!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Week in the Life

It's been a semi-normal week around here... school is happening, laundry is being kept up with, I mopped the shows-everything wood laminate floor, etc.  What has not been totally normal is my three oldest girls' baking spree that has been going on for a few days.  Yep, I think we are just tired of waiting for winter, or else with these cold days we're having in the 90's we think it's here already.

So Amy wanted to make a loaf of whole-wheat-bread-in-a-bag, the recipe for which we saw some time ago at Biblical Womanhood.  I was all for trying a bread recipe that sounded like the ingredients would be contained, and not flying all over my kitchen.  At the same time, Alison, who normally gets paralyzed with anxiety when asked to do any sort of cooking, decided she ALSO would like to make a loaf of bread from scratch, only something different, a braided loaf, the inspiration for which also came from Biblical Womanhood.  We really needed to have a real Grandma around here to show us how to do it, but since we didn't have one handy, we struck out on our own into unknown territory. 

The wheat bread was interesting... we ended up dumping the contents onto the counter and kneading there instead of in the bag.  So the ingredients were not totally contained, but not as bad as I thought.  I think maybe my whole wheat flour is too old, or maybe it was that the recipe didn't call for any salt (?), but it turned out small and hard and tasted sour.  We ate half the loaf with supper anyway -- who can resist fresh bread?  The rest went into the trash when we all decided we didn't really like it.

Alison's braid, on the other hand, came out small and dense also, but very pretty and tasty.  So we ate all of hers.   She was very proud to have produced something edible from the place of her greatest fears, the kitchen.

So then the NEXT day Elisabeth wanted to make bread, of course, since she was left out of all the kitchen activities the day before. Bread-making failure Mom, feeling none-too-confident, gave a sigh and said, "Oookaaaayyy."  You know that old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"?  Well the third attempt was a success!!  We did the same egg bread recipe Alie used, only we rolled it out and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, then baked it in a pan, rather than as a braid.  It was beautiful!  (It's a good thing, too, or else I would have pointed every one of those girls to the bread machine the next time they got some crazy bread-baking idea!)  Here is Elisabeth's pretty cinnamon loaf:



So then, the NEXT day, Alison decided she wanted to try her braid again.  We realized we had not followed the instructions exactly, so we were more careful this time. Success!  Is this just perfect, or what?  Now we are very pleased to be among those who truly can bake a loaf of bread.

Somehow, breads were not enough.  We also baked three different types of cookies.  We will all be waddling out the door for church pretty soon, so I will tell you about our other activities of the week in another post!

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