Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chex & NO Balances

 I bought a box of Rice Cereal and my snacking life will never be the same!  One recipe is salty and satisfies the crunch need and the other is the cure for PMS!

Munchie Mix
Have a snack attack with this fix.  I love Chex Mix, picking out your favorite bits, but it contains MSG and other unpronounceable ingredients.  This recipe makes quite a bit.

8 cups of popcorn
4 cups corn/rice cereal
1 cup of cashews or peanuts
1 cup pretzels
1 cup or oyster crackers or croutons or cheese crackers (whatever you have)
1/4 cup butter
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sugar

Melt butter in pan.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and sugar.  Mix.  Combine all snack ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour butter mix over and coat thoroughly.  Put mix on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes at 250 degrees.  Let cool and store in airtight container.

How bad can it be for you?  Peanut butter, dark chocolate, nuts, dried fruit...that doesn't sound too bad, right?  I know, I know, it's the powdered sugar that gets ya, BUT, really and truly you inhale most of from the cloud of sugar that happens when you pour it into the bag, so how much can really be in there??  Go with me on this...
 Heavenly Mix
8 cups Rice Cereal
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup cashews
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl combine cereal, cashews and raisins.  In small microwave bowl combine chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir, then nuke another 25 seconds.  Pour chocolate over cereal mix and stir till everyone is happy.  Pour powdered sugar in large baggie and dump the coated cereal mix in this and shake, shake, shake!  Indulge at your discretion.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Traditions

 Christmas traditions have become precious heirlooms that I pray my children will pass along one day to their own.  Unpacking the boxes last Friday became a walk down memory lane as they took out their hand prints from infancy.  Every year we outline their hand print, cut it out and hang it on a ribbon that accumulates hands over the years.  Sometimes we draw them on Christmas cards or card stock.  Sometimes they write what their favorite things are or hobbies on each finger.  For the first time, Sissy will not need to make one because she has stopped growing! 

Those sweet hand prints are kept in their own ornament boxes.  Every year we give each of the kiddos an ornament so one day they will have compiled enough to take with them to start their own trees. 

On Christmas Eve we attend church and then go for a light ride down to 34th St. in Hampden.  I am sure that NASA has this on their light pollution screen.  It is rather magical.  The entire street is lite up in a community of festiveness.  Some of the homes even allow you to peak inside.  It's a true Baltimore experience.  This neighborhood has been doing this since 1947.  There is a guest book to sign too.

Another tradition we do every year is caroling.  Sometimes 12 people show up, sometimes 42.  It has snowed during our caroling too!  We sing until we are cold, then we come back for cookies and cocoa and warm up by the fire.

                                                                                As our family devotional we love the Adornaments. There are 12 ornaments and each one represents a name for Christ; the shepherd, the bright morning star, Immanuel, the lion of Judah, and others.  Inside the box is a sweet devotional that we read together and then they hang the ornament on our tree.
At some point during the month we will read past Christmas letters to Jesus that we have put in His stocking.  One letter was from my daughter hoping that she would be baptized the coming year, as she did in fact get baptized!  There are picture drawings from when they were little and could not yet write.  We just pour our hearts out and place it as a prayer in the stocking.

Christmas morning we gather around the table for some scripture reading or even a play. Depending on the creativity, my kids have acted out the journey to the blessed birth of Christ.  We place baby Jesus in the manger and sing Happy Birthday and enjoy some apple cake, or rum cake, or whatever cake I made that year.  My parents and little brother join us for the morning of gift exchanges and breakfast.  We make it a point that it is NOT a frenzy of activity.  Whoever opens a present, we all watch and enjoy their excitement of the gift.  Some Christmas mornings have lasted well into lunchtime.

It's a wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deck the Halls

It's time!  Black Friday has become our day to prep the house for Advent.  My youngest was up at the crack of dawn ready and eager to begin the decorating.  I wasn't really ready to start at 7 a.m. like he was, it's not Christmas Day after all, just our day to decorate. Not sure if we fall into the Christmas junkie's category or not.  We don't have a thousand lawn ornaments, just one actually, or singing Santa's anywhere.  But we do have boxes in the attic that hold some of the beauty of the season.  SO we decked the halls and at one point I realized there were at least 3 different songs playing throughout the house...all different, because of the giddiness of everyone.  I love that my kids love to make the house festive, it helps me to motivate unpacking the boxes!  It's a sneezy job truly!

The more lights, the happier he is.  Plugs, no problem, he knows where to find em and plug em in.

Thought I would share some of the pretty's...feel free to mimic anything you see that you like.

Try to keep 'like-things' together.  If you have some items that are red group them together, likewise keep burgundies together.  Because my living room is light and creamy I group soft colors together.

We tell our clients to take pictures of where things go so that next year they know exactly where to put things.

The Christmas pup.

I love this nativity.  We keep baby Jesus tucked away till Christmas morning to anticipate his birth. 

We have lots of traditions, which I will share in my next post.  The stocking on the top right is Jesus' stocking.  Every year we write letters, or draw pictures, of what we want to give Christ for Christmas.  Whether it is something we need to turn over to him or just praise him for, we write it in a letter and tuck it into his stocking.

This was my first nativity I bought when I lived on my own in college.  All the pieces are intact and my kids love to play with it and rearrange the scene over and over.

The wondrous ribbon lady showed up and began sprucing up some tired decorations and breathed some new life on them.  It's good to have another set of eyes to look at something besides your own!  Thanks Mama for comin' over!

 The gingerbread house is one of my favorite decorations.  I like to put it on my kitchen island but the little white candy beads are way too tempting for little fingers, so up it goes!

Ah, I love this kid!  He embraces the season with such sweet childlike faith and excitement.  He wants to put lights on everything that does not move, in or out of the house.  I think we are close to running out of lights...

Got an old pair of skates?  This is a creative way to get some more life out of them!

My brother surprised me one year with this creche and I was overwhelmed with the simply beauty of it.  He made it himself out of wood.  Hubby put a spotlight on it and that is our focal point in our front yard.

We had some extra help this year when Keller the Elf showed up to decorate the tree...on your mark, get set, go!

We snuggled up by the fire with some popcorn and movie at the end of a fun day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mini Pecan Pie Muffins

These are fun treat to make and easy as snap to put together. I love to make 'mini' anything.  They are crispy on top and gooey in the middle...

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 stick melted butter

Combine first 3 ingredients.  Beat eggs till foamy and add butter.  Pour egg mix into dry ingredients and blend until moistened.  Don't over-blend.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes in greased, mini muffin tins.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Two Little Letters

Joseph.  Old Testament Joseph.  Joseph:  self-assured, handsome, wise, a natural leader.  His father made him a coat of many colors.  He interpreted dreams.  This is one of the stories in the bible that I would have liked to have been a part of.  In Genesis chapter 39, Pharaoh sees that the Lord is with Joseph and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand and Joseph found favor in his sight.
What did Pharaoh see?  What set him apart from other men?
Although he lived in an Egyptian culture, Joseph held fast to his childhood teachings of God.  He knew spiritual truths.  His father Jacob had taught him God's Word, including the 10 Commandments and Joseph lived them out  setting him apart from the rest.  There is a little book called Confessing Christ that sums up the 10 Commandments in a fresh way...

holiness Pictures, Images and Photos
Commandment 1-Whom to worship.  The first commandment teaches that there is only one living true God.  What do we think about more than anything else?  What do we like to talk about most?  What do we desire?  What do we worry about or live for?  God demands first place in our thoughts, in our love, and in all that we do.  He wants all of us, not just part of us.

Commandment 2-How to worship.  Worship God in spirit and in truth that comes from within.

Commandment 3-Reverence.  Treasure and value God's name.  To use His name as it is intended.  We are to lift up the name of God, and for it to be found upon our lips to tell others of his holiness, grace, and power.  We are to call upon his name in prayer from hearts that love and trust him.

Commandment 4-Rest.  The principle that one day in seven is set apart for the Lord existed long before the Ten Commandments.  In the very beginning, "God blessed the seventh day and made it holy."  Being in God's image requires us to pattern our life after his.  When we rest from our labors we too will be refreshed.  It is the Lord's day-the entire day is for physical rest, worship with fellow believers, and Christian service.

Commandment 5-The Home.  This commandment delegates to Christian parents the authority and the duty to govern their children.  We are to know God's Word and model its truth before our children.

Commandment 6-Life.  More than taking one's own life or another's life forbids anything that injured our own or another's physical well-being.  Lack of moderation, overindulgence-even in good things-are killers.  Anger and hatred kill.  Christ said we can murder with our words and hearts, as well as with our hands.  We are to be peacemakers who seek to resolve conflicts God's way and love our enemies.

Commandment 7-Purity.  God has ordained one husband and one wife as the basic unit of society.  The marriage bond is intended to be for life.  Satisfaction of secual desire within marriage is a gift from the Creator, to satisfy sexual desire outside marriage is forbidden.  Even our desires and affections must be pure.

Commandment 8-Property.  As the ultimate owner of all, God has entrusted us as stewars with his created resources.  God forbids us to gain wealth through injuring others or to seek to get something for nothing, whether through deceit,unfair wages, deficient work or some form of gambling.  We are to work diligently and conserve our income through thrigt and economy.  We are to do all in our power to promote our neightbors as well as our own material prosperity.  This includes sharing with the poor.  We are to tithe a tenth of our earnings.

Commandment 9-The Tongue.  God is a God of truth.  He requires his children always to speak the truth.  Satan is essentially a deciever.  The word devil means slanderer.  Lying is the chief way Satan advances his kingdom or error against God's kingdom of truth.  He lied in the garden of Eden; he lies today.  We should be alert to guard our neighbor's character from defamation and not gossip.  We are to speak the truth in love.  This commandment urges us to speak the truth that Christ is the Savior for our needy world.

Commandment 10-The Heart.  The inner desires of the heart and not to be discontent, envious or jealous of the reputation or possessions of others.  We are to covet the riches of God's grace.  Loving God first and most of all, and receiving from him all that his wisdom and goodness entrusts to you, be content with that.  Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39)  The essence of the Christian life is to respond to the gift of God's saving love in Christ, then give ourselves entirely to him.  To love him is to want to keep his commandments.

Joseph must have lived his life by these precepts in order to be noticed by the king.  Even though Joseph was in the world, he was not of the world!   The difference between those two little letters meant the marking of a godly man.  He was set apart.  Joseph had no family in Pharaoh's home.  He was surrounded by the world and culture yet did not waver from his faith in God.  He was abandoned by his brother's yet kept his focus on God, he was tempted by Pharaoh's wife who tried to seduce him but fled, he was thrown into prison but did not lose heart.  Joseph was of God's kingdom and God's purposes.  What situation are you in right now but don't need to be 'of'?  Follow Joseph's example and focus, flee, or face it with grace.

Coram Deo,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Prayer of Love

Gracious Lord,
Thy name is love,
     in love receive my prayer.
My sins are more than the wide sea's sand,
     but where sin abounds, there is grace more abundant.
Look to the cross of thy beloved Son,
     and view the preciousness of his atoning blood;
Listen to his never-failing intercession,
     and whisper to my heart, 'Thy sins are forgiven,
     be of good cheer, lie down in peace.'
Grace cataracts from heaven and flows for ever,
     and mercy never wearies in bestowing benefits.
Grant me more and more
          to prize the privilege of prayer,
          to come to thee as a sin-soiled sinner,
          to find pardon in thee,
          to converse with thee;
          to know thee in prayer as
               the path in which my feet tread,
               the latch upon the door of my lips,
               the light that shines through my eyes,
               the music of my ears,
               the marrow of my understanding, 
               the strength of my will,
               the power of my affection,
               the sweetness of my memory.
May the matter of my prayer be always wise, humble, submissive,
          obedient, scriptural, Christ-like.
Give me unwavering faith that supplications are never in vain,        
          that if I seem not to obtain my petitions
          I shall have larger, richer answers,
          surpassing all that I ask or think.
Unsought, thou hast given me the greatest gift,
          the person of thy Son,
          and in him thou wilt give me all I need.

I love the language of olden days: 'the latch upon the door of my lips,' may it be so of me.  It sparks something deep within.  This little book called the Valley of Vision never leaves my coffee table.  The heart of the Puritans who wrote these love letters of prayer are pure and poignant.  May the marrow of our understanding be founded in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Friday, November 19, 2010

November Morning Sunrise

Like a kid on Christmas morning I opened my eyes to see the cast of pink shadows illuminating my window shades.

I ran downstairs, grabbed my camera and a nearby scarf and headed outside in my Tigger pajamas.  There was no time to lose!

I felt like a kid in a candy shop.  My eyes were aglow with the beauty before me (only this treat is fat-free!).  When God makes a pink sunrise, I know He is thinking especially of me...pink is my signature color!
I imagine that heavenly trumpets are being sounded, only we can't hear them, they are silent to our ears but not to our eyes.  The heavens declare the glory of God, declare it along with Him!  He is extraordinary!  

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.  Deuteronomy 32:2

It's a new day dear one!  There are no mistakes in it, clean slate, all fresh!  I pray for us all to gaze upon the One who lights up the morning to light up our hearts with love!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oaty Craisin Cookies

This is about as pert near perfect looking cookies that I've ever had come out of my oven!  More often than not they sprawl themselves out like a whale on the beach.  Now these cookies we could put in the 'somewhat' healthy category, vague, I know but read the list of ingrediments.  There is just something about real maple syrup and brown sugar that seems more nutritious than white sugar, okay... so I can live in my dream world if I want, they know me there!

1 cup butter-unsalted
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (I use a light wheat)
3 cups oatmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup of crushed walnuts
1/2 dried cranberries
1/2 raisins

Mix butter, syrup, sugar till smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla.  If you have restraint sift your dry ingredients together (which I never do) and add to the wet mix.  Toss in nuts and dried fruit.  If you don't have one kind, use double of the other.  My daughter likes to throw in dark chocolate chips, but that is almost too much for the cookie.  It's your cookie...you decide!
Bake, 350 degrees, until almost cooked, about 11 minutes.  They will finish cooking on the hot pan for another minute when you take them out of the oven.  Then, let them cool on a wire rack. Don't let them harden on the pan, you will have a heck of a time getting them off!  You have been warned!

These are a moist in the middle, crunchy on the edges kind of cookie...sigh.  Now go make them!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Garla-lic Shrimp & Pasta

You know that cold and flu season have begun?  You know that garlic is a natural antibiotic...not just because others steer clear of your breath!  Garlic's antibiotic properties have been extensively studied. Louis Pasteur examined garlic's use as an antibacterial back in the nineteenth century and showed how it killed bacteria under laboratory conditions. Numerous modern studies confirm that garlic has definite antibiotic properties and is effective against many bacteria, fungi and viruses.  That's your lesson for the day in science, now on to the kitchen...

I love the smell of garlic quietly sauteing in olive oil.  Its smell is very official that something fabulous is happening in my kitchen.  This is a super simple recipe!  It's all about the garlic baby!

2 lb. shrimp
10 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped ( yes 10, do not skimp, be brave, make it 11!)
1/2 olive oil
1 Tablesp of kosher sea salt

Pour oil into pan and heat on medium.  Add garlic and saute on medium-low for 3 minutes.  DO NOT have your flame too high, it will singe the garlic and yuck it won't be the same.  Next add the shrimp.  Now you may turn the flame to med-high.  Shrimp are cooked when they turn pink and curl up all snug..about 5-10 minutes depending on how big they are.
Sprinkle with salt and look over your shoulder because people will drift hypnotically into the kitchen from the scrumptious aroma!
Cook up some  pasta, add a veggie or a salad, some crusty rolls for dipping into the garlic oil, and Viola', you are one popular chick!

P.S.  When you are chopping fresh garlic first cut the end off and then press the clove with the flat end of your knife.  It will pop the skin off and peel in a snap AND it releases the oils in the garlic, yep, it does!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Warriors in Pink

In this Creative Showcase, Ford creates awareness about breast cancer with a participative, Flash-based virtual quilt campaign that lets users show their support for the cause.
View >>

My sister-in-law, Conway, is a breast cancer survivor!  She is an amazing woman!  She is most definitely a warrior in pink!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Greek Olympics

WELCOME: Aphrodite- goddess of love and beauty, Ares- god of war, Artemis- goddess of the moon, forest, hunt, and childbirth, Athens- goddess of wisdom, Hades- god of the under world, and Zeus' wife, Hermes- the god of messengers, Posiden- god of the sea and horses, Zeus- god of the gods and sky, also Hera's husband; he was the 'top dog'!

Here is the goddess of love, zeal and enthusiasm for learning, Mrs. B!

 Everyone gave an oral report on their topic.  The Gabinator reported on centaur's-very naughty creatures!
I love that they still dress up, ah, these moments are fleeting!  I learned that the torch is kindled by the light of the Sun, its rays concentrated by a parabolic mirror in Olympia, Greece.

They kids were divided into 3 groups; Sparta, Corinth, and Athens.  Each team decorated a banner.

Then blessings upon blessings, a goddess from Greece prepared the most amazing, authentic Greek food I have EVER tasted.  Olives and olive oil straight from the homeland.

I don't think the gods prayed back in the day, but these little gems did!

A parade and then the ceremonies began...
We had such a terrific parent turnout, the weather was fabulous too.  We love our school!

The themes of these games are from the real B.C. Olympics!!!

Traditionally, javelin throwing these games included throwing the farthest ball, frisbee, and ski stick.

Here Hades played a game of balance. My daughter says this game was to show them how the Greeks kept balance on horses bareback. These little gods kept the egg balanced on a spoon, since they didn't have any horses...

This game was to demonstrate how much the armor weighed that the men wore to battle: seventy to one hundred pounds!!!

Who can jump the farthest! I think the Greeks did it... 
except nude!

Let the marathon begin...

Bronze, silver, and gold metals were distributed to the teams.  Aren't these cool...thanks Dawn for making these!

The years my kids have participated in these Olympic games they were each chosen to be on the Spartans team, and each of them won!  GO SPARTA!!

Lovin these school day,s