Saturday, November 17, 2018

Favorite ~ Chocolate Pumpkin LUV Cake


Took one of my favorite cake recipes and simply changed just one ingredient. Introducing ---

I bake with my favorites: Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix, Jello Pudding Mix & Ghirardeli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Easiest ~ Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaves


Mixing a spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin puree is nothing new, but adding mini chocolate chips seemed like a good idea & it was. Each year I seem to add a more and more chocolate chips.

 This is a perfect last minute recipe as the ingredients can be bought ahead of time. You can mix and bake in just 25 minutes. Kids enjoy making them too. A few chocolate chips on the mini loaf, a few for me...



Thursday, August 9, 2018

Homeschool Mom, the Wisdom Comes from Heaven First

The homeschool mom begins her journey with hopes of days filled with addition facts, sight words, outdoor science and an introduction to vowels. Homeschool curriculum catalogs are requested, used book sales are visited and her Amazon cart is always filled with books to consider throughout the school year. She has prayed and has chosen the best curriculum for her family. Her books are organized, pencils are sharpened and she is ready to educate her children.

Then it all changes.

She hears Betty talking about how she is so excited that she gets to drop her child off all day for some super duper baking classes. Abby is sharing that she signed her daughter up for art classes for only $20 per class. Her friend Polly has found the most perfect place in town for voice and piano lessons and has read that children always perform better in school if they play a musical instrument (this is actually true). Sally has decided to put her daughter in classes covering all subjects because her daughter is a social butterfly.

The homeschool mom is rethinking all of her decisions. She was already afraid that her children would be socially awkward because they are homeschooled but now she is afraid they will not even be normal homeschoolers. They will be awkward-awkward.

I began homeschooling in 1998 and I too experienced peer pressure amongst my homeschooling peers but it was different. We only had to decide which curriculum to use; all the other homeschool opportunities and activities had not been established. I chose one curriculum and was determined to stick with it but I heard several moms talking about a particular new math; I caved to peer pressure and ordered it for my son who was entering the second grade. It was a complete waste of $70 because it covered what he had already learned in first grade with the curriculum I had been using since kindergarten. It was at that moment I decided that I would intentionally pray each January and ask God for guidance for the following year and never allow myself to be influenced by others ever again. It was the best decision I have made and it began to roll over into other areas of my life.

I have been reading in the Book of James. James is a short book in the Bible and needs to be read very slowly to give us time to examine ourselves a verse at a time. James 3 addresses the tongue and how we must control what we say to others. The tongue is powerful and if not tamed can lead others astray and in some cases to jealousy or envy.

James 3:6
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

When the homeschool mom hears other moms boasting about all the activities they have their child enrolled in they are partly responsible for taking their eyes off of what God has in store for her family. We need to be very careful to not make other moms feel inadequate if they are not involved in different classes. Every mom is in a different season and though these classes are a perfect fit for you they are not completely necessary to be a successful homeschool family.

James 3:13
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.

James 3:17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

I love this verse! Wisdom comes from heaven is first of all pure. How much clearer can that be? Crystal! Where do we go if we are seeking an answer in any area of our lives? I have failed at this, I tend to already have an answer before there is a question and when I rely on myself the outcome is never good. If we ask for wisdom God will give it to us. Betty & Polly will not be the ones to guide us through our homeschool journey, they will move on to something else next year and we may be tempted to follow. We must seek and follow our Heavenly Father who wants all things good for us.

What am I doing this year for my 20th year of homeschooling you may ask? I am using the very same curriculum I used with my first child but I am not telling you what it is. My extracurricular activity will be a Nature Study to make sure my child sees and understands Who the Great Creator is so he will be in greater awe of Him than any technological discovery out there.

May your child learn and grow with you this year, Mom.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Praying Pots

 I love to cook, it’s a good thing since I have been blessed with four boys who eat like grown men. We had an interesting Christmas. My son shared the flu Christmas Eve & one by one, we were going down. We opened presents. I wasn't feeling too bad at the time so I was able to take my usual fifty-million pictures. The ten year old, Elliot, is stretched out on the living room floor while his Dad is reading through Luke, sharing the true story of Christmas. Jacob the college kid is not willing to share the couch because he feels so bad. The three year old could have been sick, but you would never know it. Spencer, the one who shared the flu, is burning up with fever. The flu hit me later that night. I was in bed for a few days and I wasn't really all that excited about anything other than Tylenol Cold & Flu. So today, four days after Christmas, I took the time to take a look at my Christmas presents. 

   Paul always asks me what I want for Christmas. I usually have to go to the store & point. I let him surprise me this year. I really wanted a new cookware set. Nothing fancy, just new. We have been married for twenty-two years, and I bought my Revere Ware set a few months before we married. They still work,  a little stained & dingy. Well, Paul came through. He bought me the CUISINART, 11 PIECE SET, CHEF’S CLASSIC NON-STICK HARD ANODIZED! It even sounds cool. I opened the box. All the pieces were carefully & individually wrapped. They were so shiny & new. Anodized, I have no clue what that means, but it called for a wow. I soaped, rinsed & dried each piece. 

   I began to take all my Revere Ware pieces out of the cabinet. My heart began to feel sad. How silly, these are old. I put them in a box & set them next to the front door to take to the Samaritan Center. As I looked at the box of pots, I was reminded of all the prayers that were prayed while stirring those pots. I started praying for my husband when we lived in England while stirring those pots. (I was only 19! Eeeek!) I prayed for my son Jacob when he got his braces & I thought I was the cruelest mother on the planet for putting such a contraption in his mouth. He has a handsome smile now. I prayed for Spencer when he was struggling through his math. He conquered it. I prayed for Elliot when he was in the hospital as an infant & I would come home & cook for the other boys before I had to head back up to the NICU to be with him. He has a funny ticker. God has kept him here with us for a reason. Can't wait to see what God is going to do with him. I have prayed for Asher while stirring those pots, that he will know Jesus very soon. 
I have prayed for the healing of my mother. I know God hears me, and I take comfort in that. I know He loves her & our bodies are imperfect. Wednesday nights I stir & pray for Rebekah B. I boldly pray that she will stand up & walk. I prayed for my sister years ago when she was dealing with some physical pain. It was usually in the evenings that I would call & check on her while I was cooking. God answered, she has two awesome, healthy children. Prayed for friends when they were going through personal trials. My dear friend Malinda battled cancer last year. I think I left some stressed out stirring marks in one pot praying for her. When my Dad had a heart attack I remember coming home from the hospital & crying while stirring those pots. God answered. 

   I have prayed for college students, Andrew, Sam, Caleb, Tabitha, Brian, Justin, Kayla and others over the years. My nieces Jessica & Katrina as they entered college & culture shock. Pastors, church leaders, Mom’s group & youth leaders. Missionaries that have been imprisoned that were shared in the Voice of Martyrs. I've prayed for our country. I've prayed for the salvation of many. Some have found Jesus, for others, still praying.

   I keep a prayer list on my refrigerator. I see it before I pour my coffee in the morning & I see again when I am cooking in the evening. Prayer is powerful. We are never helpless because we can pray. The power of prayer is never to be taken for granted. 
God has spoken to me while I have stirred those old dingy pots. Boy, they are beautiful! It is such a reminder of all the prayers that God has heard & answered. Some of those prayers were not answered the way I hoped they would be, but they were heard. 


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pretty Pumpkin ~ Fall Craft for Kids

When your child creates a craft it becomes a memory of a time spent with you. I have been creating "memory crafts" with my children since they were able to hold a crayon. This year we are making crafts that would be perfect to give as a gift or decorations that just may become an heirloom you will treasure for years to come. 

You will need:

Wooden pumpkin and jewels were purchased at Hobby Lobby.
pumpkin $4.99 (40% off sale)
jewels $4.99 (40% off sale)
You can find acrylic paints at most craft stores. I found these paints at Walmart.

Paint your pumpkin orange and the stand another color. I chose brown but gray or white would also be a great choice. One coat of paint is all you need.

Spread glue evenly over one section at a time. Make sure your jewels have plenty of glue holding them in place. Don't worry if the glue looks too heavy, it will dry clear.

Add some lights...

and they will say, "I made that!".

Monday, September 5, 2016

Before My Feet Hit the Floor

I have now been a mother for twenty-three years. That may seem like a long time but for me the years have flown. When you stop and think about it we really do not have our children in our homes with us for very long. This is a short poem I wrote in my journal after my second child was born. It took two children to realize that I must pray every morning before my feet even hit the floor. I would sit on the side of the bed each morning listing all the things that could happen that day and asking God to help me through each of them. Some days there was more listening to God than praying.

As a mom I would like to challenge you to do this. This became a practice and then eventually a very good habit which I am sure saved me from many mistakes we make as parents. 

Psalm 5:3
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You, 
And I will look up. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Rate the Recipe and Never Beg Your Children to Eat

Do you spend your dinnertime begging your children to eat their food? 

Not this girl

When I introduce a new food to my children I put a very small amount on their plate and they have to eat it. They may not eat every bit of it but if they try it with a good attitude and refrain from saying "yuck" then it has been a successful dinner. I have found that when I continue to put a small amount on their plate they eventually eat it; sometimes without even realizing it. 

It wasn't this way with my first child. (we never know what we are doing with our first) I was determined that he was going to eat his green beans whether he liked them or not. The idea of being forced to eat these long chewy green things with dry beans inside of them (sounds appealing) made him more determined that he was not going to eat those long chewy green things with dry beans inside of them. Well, as usual I was more determined than he was. Looking back if I would have just put a small amount on his plate each night he probably would have eventually eaten his green beans without a battle. 

Imagine if this was you sitting there being told that you are going to eat a new food whether you liked it or not. Cooked cabbage smells weird to me & why would you want to eat something that looks like cooked lettuce. This is exactly how they feel sometimes when food is set in front of them.

Over the years I have tried different recipes and for a time we had a New Recipe Night almost every week. I started asking the kids to give me a score on all the meals. If it didn't make a high enough combined score I never cooked it again. We now call these new recipe nights "RATE THE RECIPE".

Here is how we Rate the Recipe.
1. Choose and prepare a new recipe. 
You can ask your children to choose a recipe in one of your many cookbooks or check out some of the websites listed below.
2. Ask your family members, including yourself, to rate the recipe using the scale of 1 to 10. 
1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.
3. After each meal add the total points received and divide by how many is in your family.
This does not include the two year old or the dog. 


Possible score - 60 points
Dad - 9
Mom - 8
Jacob - 7
Spencer - 10
Elliot - 8
Asher - 9
Score - 51 - I will prepare this recipe again.

Possible score - 60 points
Dad - 8
Mom - 9
Jacob - 5
Spencer - 4
Elliot - 1
Asher - 5
Score - 32 - I will NOT prepare this recipe again.

Your children are more likely to eat the vegetables on their plate if they enjoy the main dish.

Recommended  Cookbooks & Magazines

Southern Living Cookbooks
Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts
Everyday Food (Martha Stewart)
Cooking Light
Taste of Home 
Better Homes & Gardens
Southern Living COOKBOOK - America’s Best Home Cooking
3 Books in 1 - Old Fashioned Cookies,
Country Casseroles, Grilling &  More
Better Homes & Gardens
Easy Slow Cooker Cookbook
Rachel Ray

Recommended Websites 

Favorite ~ Chocolate Pumpkin LUV Cake

A SWEET ADDITION TO YOUR THANKSGIVING DESERT TABLE Took one of my favorite cake recipes and simply changed just one ingredient. I...