Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Mix together:    
      1/2 stk butter soft
      1 1/3cup sugar
      2 eggs                
      3/4 cup applesauce    

Next blend together:
     2 1/2 cups flour                          
    1/4cup cocoa
Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
Add last:      
   2cups zucchini shredded (blitzing them in your food processor)
   1 bag choc.chips
Spray bottom and sides of a 9 by 13in.pan bake. Heat oven to 350 and bake for 45 min.or until toothpick comes out clear.
When cool sprinkle with powdered sugar.

This recipe is from my girl Sandra!  Lov that chic!  I wanted to make this cake for hubby's birthday and asked her for the recipe.  Now the thing about my friend is that she ad libs her recipes, a little of this, a little of that...
That makes it difficult to duplicate the taste, so I begged for just the recipe and she came through.  Everyone enjoyed it last night.  After the kids ate it I said, "Guess what is in here?"  in a sweet, sing-songy kinda way.  My oldest heavily sighs and says, "MOM, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO PUT GREEN VEGES IN ALL OUR FOOD???"   Well, because I am a mom, nough' said!

Enjoy your family,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ancient of Days

We wear many hats don’t we?  Mother, daughter, sister, friend, manager, chef, accountant, etc…
God too has many ancient names.  You may have heard some of these in hymns or prayers.  Have you wondered what they meant?  Each name is a precious  insight into the character of our Lord.  Try using them in your prayer time this week…there is power in His name!

Elohim:  God, Mighty Creator
      He created me and others for a purpose:  to have a permanent relationship of love with Him.

El Roi:  The God Who Sees Me
        He is with me always; never leaving me alone.

El Shadday:  God Almighty
        He is stronger than all the forces of evil and He has saved me from death.

El Olam:  The Everlasting God
        He lives forever and has restored me in an eternal relationship with Him.

Adonay:  Lord, Master
        He knows what is best for me and I am under His tender care.

Yahweh:  Lord
        He plans the events of my life for my good and His glory.

Yahweh Yireh:  The Lord Will Provide
        He gives me everything I will ever need.

Yahweh Nissi:  The Lord is My Banner
        Christ has died to set me free from the bondage of sin, giving me security and assurance.

Yahweh Shalom:  The Lord is Peace
        He has reconciled me to Himself and to others by the cross of Christ.

Yahweh Tsidqenu:  The Lord Our Righteousness.
        He is my Source for goodness and truth.

Yahweh Roi:  The Lord is My Shepherd
        He holds me close to His heart, lead me with patience, and protects me from evil.

El Kanna:  Jeolous God
        He wrestles with me for our love and loyalty.

Qedosh Yisrael:  Holy One of Israel
        He refines and purifies me.

Elohim Chay:  Living God
        He rose from the dead, is involved in my life today, and prepares a home for me in heaven.

Ab, Abba, Pater:  Father
      He cares, loves, and protects me as a merciful and tender Father.

I found this list in a devotional my daughter and I are reading together called in the Flower of Youth by Florio.  Check out her blog, your daughters might be interested and encouraged.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mahi Wraps

Quick dinner idea tonight girls.  You can use any mild fish that you like.  We prefer mahi mahi.  I have a super simple marinade, 4 ingredients, you toss on the fish and let it set in the fridge for a while (at least 30 min or all day if you'd like).  Throw it on the grill (careful, the oil gets quite a reaction as it drips on the hairspray please).  Chop up some lettuce, grab some salsa, guacamole, and cheese if you please.  Everyone can conduct their own symphony on their wrap and viola, a yummy, quick healthy dinner in a snap!

The Marinade:  mix in a bowl and pour in ziploc baggie
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove minced
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

You will obviously need wraps and fish.
I use the frozen 2lb bag from BJ's.  Rarely are there leftovers.  Emmm, sooo good!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumnal Swirl

When I think about my calendar and times I know are going to be busy; I think of Christmas and the end of school.  So much to do and it is all cramped into a very short period of time. At first glance, I initially think of autumn as the changing seasons, the weather cooling down, and the anticipation of settling into routine.  The reality of this fall season is that our family has some major transitioning to do.  Bye-bye lazy summer and hello school books,  soccer, and youth group all starting afresh.  I feel like I am juggling many things, and I AM!
The swirl of all the activities getting settled takes time.  Hebrews 12 says:

...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross...

Life has its moments of walking, sprinting, and running.  September starts out at full tilt for us.  I just want to encourage all of you (especially my homeschool moms) that the trees don't all change color in one day.  It is a gradual process of day upon day change that occurs; and slowly, beauty fills the streets and valleys.

Bumpy parts of the road can easily get us flustered.  Remember the tasks set before you and recognize your busting point.  For me it is the 4:00 hour that does me in.  The kids want a snack, homework questions abound, and I am trying to think of what I am putting on the table for dinner.  Uhh!  What weight amI going to lay aside?  All these things must happen so I need to be aware of the sin that is waiting to ensnare me, and at this time of day it is impatience, and so I look to my Lord for help.  Having a snack idea ready beforehand helps immensely.  Grab an apple with some peanut butter, pop a bag of popcorn, or maybe some chips and salsa.  Just that little thing keeps me from a deep sigh because when everyone is rootin' around in my 10x10 kitchen lookin for a snack I want to send them out, out, OUT!  Not a difficult thing, just part of being prepared (the Holy Spirit nudges me on this), so this helps keep me at a jog.  I try to update my weekly calendar on the fridge to help me highlight the days events and to have shopped and planned for a dinner meal.

I pray all of you are off to a good start with your school year and please know that you are not on this journey alone.  We are designed for fellowship, so don't believe for a second that you are running this race all by your lonesome!
We are doing a kingdom work by taking care of our families, whatever stage of life you happen to be in.  May you find joy in all you do and stop to refresh yourselves along the way.  You CAN NOT keep up an exhausting run without refueling.  So the question begs to be asked, "What refuels you?"  For me it is exercise, healthy eating, quiet time, a good nights sleep, and being prepared for the next day.

As the autumnal swirl rushes around you keep first things first and the rest will come accordingly.  First for our family is being in the Word together.  There is a battle going on and equipping them is of the utmost importance for us.  One new thing we have implemented this year is morning devotions with Dad.  We all meet at the table at 7:15 and we are reading through Proverbs.  By 7:30 we have each shared our prayer requests for the day and off we go.  I am lovin' it!  That just makes my heart happy and delights me.

The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

Coram Deo,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Field Trippin'

Our nation's capitol is a wealth of history and beauty.  We visited the White House today.  We toured all the roped-off rooms and peaked inside as far as we could lean.  I love the Dining Room.  It has a lovely hooked rug in golds and reds.  The room will seat 140 guests.  The guards stationed in each room shared little tidbits with us.  The White House has about 200 events within the year.  There is a bowling alley in the basement that never gets used.  One of the guards who has worked there for the past 25 years shared a funny story.  My girlfriend had asked what was one of his most memorable events and he shared that for the girls birthday they flew in "those brothers?...what's their names?"  The Jonas Brothers my daughter quickly piped-up.  Yes, them.  He had to hang-out with them until it was time for the girls scavenger hunt.  He was rather funny in his account for the long hours prior to their "surprise."

Guess who is in the middle of this carved stone atop a building?  Moses, holding the Ten Commandments.  Our Christian history is embedded everywhere, I LOVE IT!

As we walked along the streets, one of the local homes had this planted right in their front yard.  Hallelujah!

We visited the Folger's Library where Shakespeare is THE attraction.  God does have a sense of humor.  

I love this land.  I pray for our troops.  I am blessed to be an American.

We spent a little time sketching this fountain by the art gallery.

Okay, I am bearing my soul and sharing my sketching journal.  This is part of our art curriculum.  I am enjoying it very much!

We went into one of the history museums and they had an entire floor dedicated to relics of the presidents.  One of the presidents sons had a little journal ( see it in the bottom left hand corner) and he wrote about the Christmas play they went to that evening and drew a picture of the manger.  So sweet.  I was tickled to see that of all the pages that could have been on display the Lord saw to it that He is sovereign; past, present, and future.

We haven't been to the Smithsonian in a while, the one with the big elephant in the foyer.  It is so majestic and  awesome to behold.  I love that place.  It makes me think of that movie, A Night at the Museum.

This was our favorite site of the day.  There is a new wing with all ocean creatures.  This aquarium was not that big but it had the most beautiful tropical fish I have ever seen.  The more we looked at it the more we saw.  Cute little fish with sunrise colors of pink and yellow, pink fish with green tails and thin black strips, coral that looked like flowers.  It was breath taking!

It was a beautiful day to be out and about!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

3 Times a Day

Time is quickly racing by.  I see it in the seasons, in my calendar, in my family growing everyday.  Oh, I miss my boys now that they are back in school.  What's a mom to do?  I was encouraged to read in Daniel that he got on his knees to pray 3 times a day.  

Daniel 6:10 NIV

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees andprayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

Yeah!  I can diligently pray for them throughout the day, with vigor and gusto!  They are mine after-all, who else will pray for them so determinedly?  Same need for hubby.  Our guys need our 'prayer-backing' to be the spiritual leaders that God desires them to be.  If I am going to commit or make a resolution to something; may it be one of eternal importance.  Anyone care to join me in a 3x a day prayer quest for a loved one?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fresh Apple Squares

It's apple picking season and the smell of apple anything cooking in the kitchen is so earthy and autumnal!
I love this recipe, it's a snap to pull together.  Whatever kind of apples you have handy will work fine and you only need 2 of them!

1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vege oil
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 cups flour
1 t. cinnamon
2 cups chopped, peeled apples
1 cups chopped nuts--optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pan.
Beat sugar, eggs, and oil.
Combine baking soda, salt, flour and cinnamon in separate bowl (I never do this, I throw it all in the mixer, but I will share the recipe as it is written :).
Add dry mix to egg mix and beat well.
Fold in apples and nuts.
Pour into pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until middle is cooked.
After it cool sprinkle with confectioner's sugar for dusting.
Cut into squares and enjoy.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tiptoe through the sunflowers

This field is amazing.  A gazillion sunflowers larger than life.
 I love that the flowers all face the same direction.  Like they are eagerly anticipating something great!

The kids in the hood.

 Not sure what is up with my hair...I look like a wild woman!  It had been a long day, but....carpe diem!

 These sunflowers were larger than our heads, and we have big heads in this clan!

 Tall, really tall flowers!

 God is so cool.  His creation is spectacular to behold.  Psalm 19


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Great First Week of School

We had a banner 1st week of school.  Every kiddo had a great week.  My little guy said, "School is fun, and my teacher is funny!  I like Latin and Science!"  This is a huge improvement from a year ago when lunch and recess were his highlights!
There is just something extra special about the 1st day of school.  A clean slate, a new beginning, and lots of hope all rolled up inside each other!

The boys are back in school while Sissy and are home.

Our pastor stands outside and greets everyone with a cheerful, 'Good Morning!'  I just love that he makes the time to be available to anyone and everyone, and he is a busy guy!  That really struck me as I look back at the first year we came to this school.   He is a wonderful shepherd!
This cutie patootie has been a love of my son's since 1st grade.  She has the most adorable personality!  He was very excited when he saw their desks were paired up!

I tried like 10 times to get a picture of him with his eyes open.  Viola'!  I have so many pictures of this child with his eyes half-opened.

And this character I can't seem to get a good shot without the cheesy smile...sigh...

Alas, a photo with a smile!  These are the perks of school at home, lunch on the south veranda with my favorite girl.  Broccoli pizza on homemade pizza crust, puppy joins us too.

 We are lovin' this history curriculum.  Sissy made a wedding invitation for Isabelle and Ferdinand.  She penned a poem about September and wrote it in calligraphy in her nature journal.

The pools are now closing,
And doors open wide.
The leaves are now spinning,
Kids now seem to hide.
The quiet of the neighborhood,
Like something is amiss,
Since we are now in school,
We give summer a goodbye kiss.

It was beautiful weather this week.  Beds got stripped and laundered and hung out to dry.  You can definitely smell autumn in the air.

I had a little time to play and freshened up a few areas around the house.  This table was tucked in a corner upstairs so I brought it out and placed it in a high traffic area.  There is no overhead light in this little hallway and this lamp is just what it needed.  My eldest commented that the chances of it getting knocked into were high, I know, I know!  A girl can dream!
To finish off our week of studying the Victorian Period we girls had tea in pretty china cups.  Tea just tastes better in a Limoges cup.  
Thank you Lord for a wonderful beginning to our school year!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Enchanted with Pearls

Yesterday's bible study resonates with me still.  We talked about marriage and how to keep the "I DO" vows glossy and treasured.  What do you do when things are not going smoothly?  We are selfish creatures and we don't see everything from the same vantage.  So how are we to respond when we disagree with our spouse yet at the same time submit as God calls us to? 

Ephesians 5:22 "Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord."

 A quick fix of, "FINE, WHATEVER!" (whether audible or in your heart) is not getting to the heart of drawing you closer to each other or allowing Christ to do what he does best; to reach our hearts and relationships.  God has given me my husband as a gift.  He has put him in authority over our home.  If I am unhappy with my husband, than ultimately I'm unhappy with God.  Ouch, that stings!  You may have,at some point in your marriage, said, "God you ordained this conflict, this bump in the road?  This is for my greater good???  Why?"
We don't like to be rubbed the wrong way, we don't want some issue to get under our skin and fester, and we don't to be troubled, inconvenienced, or toyed with.  But these troubles will rise up in your marriage as sure as the sunrises and sets!  

This circumstance reminds me of an oyster.  The biological process of an oyster is to protect itself from foreign substances.  Dirt, grit, and particles slip into the oyster and irritate the mantle, like a splinter.  The oysters' natural reaction is to cover up that irritant to protect itself.  The mantle covers the irritant with oyster goo and eventually, over time, a pearl forms.  Something beautiful and valuable from something irritating...only God can do something like that!  

Matthew 13:45 "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls."

Every situation we find ourselves in files under the major category of a spiritual issue.  How I respond to my hubby by his sudden interest in how to make school lunches (this is completely hypothetical of course) can be easily met with a roll of the eyes or an opportunity to see his wanting to participate in my world.  Yes, this is a spiritual issue.  We all go about communicating differently.  Have you ever heard 'women hear with pink ears and guys hear with blue ears, women are like spaghetti, men are like waffles, the Mars/Venus differences'?... you gettin' the picture.  Frankly, I am always willing to give some friendly advice or opinion to him, even when it is not necessary or needed.  Ew, the brutal truth there!  My intention of what I say, the inflection of how I say it; or how I receive it is a heart issue.  Is this a good time to hold my tongue or is my  two-cents necessary?   

A strong, healthy marriage takes time, energy and work.  Listening to his heart and listening to the Holy Spirit make for a pearly concoction.  If some part of my marriage is not thriving, I need to seek the face of God.  I need to be in prayer about how I want to handle myself and how to respectfully approach my husband, I must take a posture of love.  Love gives and gives, and than gives some more.  On our wedding day, we stand on the alter as an oyster.  Our journey together is sifting through the daily grit and irritants because God is cultivating my marriage.  Cultivating takes time, love and patience.  Ask yourself: "What quick, easy thing of lasting beauty can I think of?"  None, I would say! 
Here are some of the ingredients for a pearly concoction:  have your quiet time everyday.  Pray for your husband.  Is there an area that you can put him first and yourself and the kids second?  Think about how you can encourage him.  What is one area in your relationship you can work on that will show him more respect? 

In time, the persistent working away of the grit will dissolve into the strength and beauty of a pearl.

Coram Deo,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Homeschool Launch

Today I was blessed to help my friend get prepared for schooling all 3 of her children.  She is a fabulous artist, her murals hang all around the county and she is one of my fellow prayer warriors.  We have done A LOT of praying together over the years.  She is a free spirit, an athletic (she has competed in triathlons), and has a heart for Jesus that is contagious!  The thing I love about her is that we can go for long periods of time and not see each other but the second we lay eyes on each other we pick right back up where we left off.  Numerous times she will pray with me where-ever we are; standing in the hall at the gym, in the parking lot, or with one hand holding the pair of scissors she is using to cut my hair (yes she does that too) and the other hand on my shoulder.  She is a STOP, DROP, and PRAY kind of gal.  I simply adore her!  
Her kids have been in private school for years, but this year she felt the calling to homeschool.  She will be juggling  2nd, 5th, and 7th grades this year.  We got straight to work and 4 hours later created a matrix of her day.

 She will be a busy gal this season.  There is a nice balance between her time spent with the littlest guy to interacting and overseeing the older ones.  Homeschooling is not for the faint hearted!  It is not a solitary journey either.   Helping and supporting one another is crucial.  I just love, love, love to help mom's get started with their plans.  I'm a nerd, I know!  But when your gift is organizing and your brain has more curriculum ideas than Rainbow Resource, it's a weapon to be reckoned with!  When I grow up I think I will be a Homeschool Guru!
I pray for all the mom's ramping up for next weeks launch.  I pray for excitement and vigor to let God use you to teach your children.  May each of you treasure each day with your children.