Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Well, we're off to Dufur, The Dalles and Hood River to visit family this weekend. I'm feel like I have a cold coming on, but I'm hoping with a good nights rest, I'll be able to beat it. I'm taking all my herbal treatments and hoping for the best.
I won't be near the computer for a few days, so I just wanted to take a minute and say Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope that you find some time between feasting, shopping or watching football to take a moment and count your blessings and then thank the One from whom all blessings flow. Here are the three blessings in my life whom I thank God the most for. Take Care and I'll be posting pictures of our whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend when I get back.

God Bless All of You,

The Whitesell Family

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Successful Hunt

Michael was successful while hunting with his black powder .54 cal this weekend. He didn't see anything for quite awhile and was running out of time, so he got a doe yesterday. He was disappointed because it wasn't a buck, but I was happy because the meat will be so much better. We are planning on making summer sausage and jerky out of most of it.
We all went hunting with Michael Friday afternoon. Didn't see anything, but we got to do some target shooting with my Uncle Fred's WWII .30 carbine (his dad carried it in WWII). It was designed for paratroopers, so the stock folds in. It was really fun to shoot. Didn't really kick, which was nice. It is the first time Michael took it out to shoot since he cleaned it up. It was amazing to shoot a piece of American history.

Since it didn't kick, even Josiah got to shoot a couple of rounds (very much supervised).

Michael is having a great time here. He loves this gun!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

I love this recipe, especially this time of year. My husband doesn't normally like pumpkin, but he likes these. They have a really nice consistency.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancake Recipe:

Mix together all wet ingredients (I just turn my KitchenAid on low and start dumping):

1 egg
1 cup ground pumpkin
1 Tbl butter
2 cups milk, buttermilk or kefir
1 tsp vanilla

Then add dry ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

After everything is mixed together, cook as you would any other pancake. This makes quite a bit, but as with most things I like to double the recipe and freeze leftovers.

Easy Humus Recipe

My hairdresser gave me this recipe. Talk about easy. Make this, throw some fresh veggies around it and you've got a hit on your hands for any party. I'm amazed at how many people like humus. This is especially great for people who can't have dairy. Here it is:

In a food processor or blender combine:

1 can or two cups of prepared garbanzo beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp salt

*Double this recipe and freeze half. You can very this recipe anyway you want it. Add sun dried tomatoes, nuts, Parmesan cheese, different spices for different variations to this recipe. I spread this on some bread or cucumbers for my toddler and she loves it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Are You Available?

Here is my sister's latest devotion. I hope the Holy Spirit speaks to you through it in a powerful way. Remember, children are a blessing, not an interruption. Enjoy!

Love, Jackie

Mother’s Minute Devotion

“Are You Available?”

Dear Mothers,

For many years I was a harried, frazzled, distracted mother who tried with all of her might to retain her “B.C. Life” (Before Children). Sadly, I missed out on so much. I was not available to my children even though I was a full-time stay-at-home mom. I am ashamed to say that I focused on everything it seems, BUT my children.

I remember my mother mentioning that I didn’t play with my children very much. At the time I felt defensive and angry. Now I see that she was right. I would put everything before the kids and they unfortunately got the leftovers. It was a rare occasion when I would sit down and read to them, play a game with them or just have a tickle-fest and enjoy their laughter.

I came to realize all of this when we decided to pull our oldest child from Kindergarten. When we began the journey of homeschooling it forced me to spend time with my kids. I started looking for those teachable moments and did my best to create a “fun” atmosphere.

In order to be more relaxed, I’ve had to let things go. What good would it be if I “gained a clean house but lost my child’s soul”? Now when one of my children ask if we can play a game, talk, read, or just plain be silly, I try to set those things that are always there aside and truly focus on that child. The housework will never go away. The beds will always need to be made, the dishes always needing to be done, but will my child remain? No, he or she will be grown up and gone before I know it. I want to look back and remember that this home was filled with laughter, respect, kindness, good conversation, and lots of teaching of God’s Ways. I want to remember the times that we took in prayer (and yes, some children are more long-winded then others, but now we tend to call them prayer warriors!) and lifted each other up to God.

Have you been available to your children? Have you pushed them away lately because you were too busy? Pray and ask God how you are doing in this area. Ask Him to show you those times, confess them and ask Him to begin a new work in you. Your children will be so much happier for it!

From One Mom to Another,
Stacie Brown

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recipe for Cornmeal Raspberry Bars

I took this basic recipe off of my sister's blog, but I changed it around to make it a bit healthier as well as tastier. This is super easy if you have a food processor. So here is my version:

Cornmeal Raspberry Bars Recipe:

1 1/2 cups of WW pastry flour
1/2 cup whole grain cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup sucanat (can reduce if you like it less sweet)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup jam (can use apricot, raspberry, or any other fruit jam - I use no-cook freezer jam, sweetened with raw honey)

Preheat oven to 350. If you have a food processor: process all dry ingredients together. Add butter, egg and vanilla and process until well mixed. Press dough into 9 x 9 square pan (grease if not using stoneware). Spread with jam. Bake 40 minutes. Wait to cut until completely cool.

If you don't have food processor:

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal and salt; set aside.
2. In a large bowl use electric mixer to mix butter and sugar till fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until just combined.
3. Pour into the a 9 x 9 pan. Spread jam on top.
4. Bake 40 minutes. Wait to cut until completely cool

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MOPS "Lantern" Table get-together

Our MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) table got together at my house this week to put together a box for Operation Christmas Child and also for a soldier who is in Iraq.
We had a great time trying to figure out how to get everything we brought in the box. Between all of us, we managed to do. It was amazing how much we got in each box. We took this picture and put it in the boxes.
From left to right:
Diane and her two girls (I can't remember their names), Jody and Reese (sp?), Josiah, Chelsea and Ava and me. We had a few more from our table who couldn't come (Kristy, Christina and Kendal). We missed you guys! Anyway, we had a wonderful time getting to know each other better. God has put some wonderful women in my life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Playing in the Leaves

Yesterday was so nice! Not a breeze and comfortable temperatures. I took the kids outside to play after I got my work done. They had a blast jumping in the leaf piles. Hailey loved it when Josiah would "bury" her. She was literally "swimming" in the leaves. She lost a shoe at one point. Try finding a tiny brown shoe in the middle of a huge pile of leaves. Not easy, but we did find it. Anyway, I just love these pictures. I'm having so much fun with my new digital camera.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hailey and Her Diaper Hat

Hailey loves making anything into a hat, including her diaper. These pictures were so cute, I just had to share.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

T-Bucket Frame and Rear-end

Here is Michael's latest project. He's restoring a T-Bucket Roadster from the 1920's. He got this car in pieces and he's restoring it from the ground, up. He's the kind of guy who has to have a project and, boy, did he get one this time! He's having a lot of fun with this.

This is a good one of the rear-end. God totally blessed him with this. The car came with a Chevy rear-end, but Michael wanted to go back to an original Ford rear-end. A virtual stranger gave him this just to get it out of his way. What a blessing!

This is a pretty good picture of the frame after he sanded it all down and painted it.

Can't wait to see it with the body on. He's looking for an flat head Ford motor now. Hopefully he can find a good deal on one. We'll be posting more pictures as he progresses.

Elk Camp

Michael took this picture of Josiah and my mother-in-law, Kay, at elk camp. They had quite the cozy little set up. Kay and Ernie's dog, Molly is in the foreground. They did see some elk, but were unable to shoot for one reason or another. Josiah had a great time and came home VERY dirty. He's looking forward to next year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Italian Pot Roast

I made this in my slow cooker and it turned out great! It was so easy, I just had to pass it on.

Slow Cooked Italian Pot Roast:

4 medium potatoes (quartered)
1 or 2 stalks of celery sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 cups baby carrots
1 tomato diced
sliced zucchini, yellow squash and/or mushrooms (all optional)
1 beef roast (salt and peppered)

1 4 oz can tomato paste + 1 can cream of mushroom soup (organic, semi-condensed)
1/4 to 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (depending on how thick you want the sauce to be)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt

*Optional: I like to throw some whole wheat orzo pasta in during the last hour of cooking. Makes for a heartier meal.

Place first 4 (+ optional ingredients) in bottom of slow cooker; salt and pepper roast, place on top. In small bowl, combine sauce ingredients then pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. To serve, place roast on a serving platter and surround with the cooked veggies. Spoon sauce over all or over individual servings. Wait 10 minutes before slicing meat.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Great Reminder

Sometimes we need a good reminder as to what our troops are sacrificing on our behalf. A friend sent me this 5 minute video. It is one of the best videos I've seen regarding our soldiers. Have a tissue handy. It is definitely worth 5 minutes of your time!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

Happy Veterans' Day to all you Veterans out there and your families. You have all made tremedous sacrifices and we really appreciate it. And for those of you who aren't vets, be sure to thank one. Regardless of your views on the war, the soldier is doing his job to protect this nation. It is a high and noble calling full of sacrifice for both the soldier and their families. We salute you!

Here are some of my favorite family patriotic pictures I thought I'd share with you on this Veterans' Day. This first picture is our family at Michael's battalion's Deactivation Ceremony.

I love this one of Josiah and Larry Pop. Larry Pop is teaching Josiah to put his had over his heart when saying the pledge of allegience and listening to our national anthem.

Here is Josiah and I in front of the Support the Troops booth at the Union County fair back in 2005 when Michael was still in Iraq. We were both dressed in our patriotic duds. I love his star sunglasses! He is almost two years old here.

This is one of my all time favorite patriotic photos. This is my niece, Jessica. She looks as American as apple pie here. I took this picture at Michael's battalion's activation ceremony in 2004.

Someone took this picture of Josiah and I shortly after Michael left for Iraq. We sent it to Michael and he got a kick out of it. Josiah is about 9 months old here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Daddy's Girl

I just had to post these adorable pictures of Hailey shmoozing (is that really a word?) her dad. I think she was trying get him to give her a sip of his coffee. Guess what? It worked. She's definitely Daddy's little girl. She loves to go everywhere with him and throws herself at him when he comes home. She's got him wrapped around her little pinky and then some.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Elk Hunting

Michael is such a good dad. He took Josiah elk hunting with him. Granted, Grandma Kay is along to keep him occupied while Michael and Ernie are hunting the canyons. But still, I've got to give him a lot of props for being willing to take a 5 year old tent camping in the chilly Blue Mountains in November. Josiah was so excited! At least they are fairly close and can bring him home if it just too much for one or both of them. Michael wanted Hailey and I to go, too, but I'm a warm weather outdoors person. Hailey would love it. I've never seen a kid want to go outside and stay outside as long as she does. She can be freezing, we'll take her in and she'll just freak out and pound on the door to try to get back outside. Of course, Michael is so proud! Josiah is usually more like me. Doesn't really like to go outside unless we are out there with him and he's bundled up really well. He doesn't like to be cold. Hailey could care less about being cold, as long as she is outside. Anyway, I hope they get an elk this year or at least have fun trying! I'm hoping to go to some bazaars with Hailey. It is so fun having a daughter to go shopping with, even if she is only 15 months old!

P.S. See below for a couple of healthy breakfast recipes I posted this morning.

Fly off the Plate Pancakes Recipe

This is a popular recipe from Michael's side of the family (Uncle Walt). I've changed it around to make it with whole wheat and honey. Even whole wheat pancakes can be fly off the plate; well maybe they'll crawl off! You can also make waffles out of this exact same batter. I usually double this recipe and freeze leftovers as they reheat nicely.

Fly off the Plate Pancakes Recipe:

Mix together:
1 cup milk, buttermilk or kefir
1 egg
2 Tbl (rounded) sour cream
2 Tbl melted butter
1 Tbl honey

Then add:
1 cup Whole Wheat flour (just depends on how thick you like your pancake batter)
1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 T baking powder

Mix wet and dry ingredients together and then cook as you would any pancake or waffle.

Hoe Cake Recipe

If you've run out of eggs and don't know what to make for breakfast, this is a good, quick alternative.

Hoe Cake Recipe:

1 cup whole grain cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 -1/2 cups buttermilk, kefir or milk
coconut or palm oil for frying

Mix together dry ingredients, then add milk, stirring until just moist. Preheat some oil in pan (I use well-seasoned cast iron) and pan fry until brown on each side as you would pancakes, only make cakes small as they are quite filling. Makes about eight, 4 inch cakes.

We drizzle raw honey on ours. Sometimes we'll top with fresh, raw whipping cream if we have some extra cream on hand.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My sister wrote this and I just copied it from her blog because it echoes my own sentiments exactly.

This is what she wrote:

I went to bed really early last night, determined to not worry and follow the elections. Worrying and following it state by state would not change the outcome. I woke up very early this morning and got online to check. Obama has won. I am disappointed but not surprised. This shows us that we live in very liberal times and a very liberal country. As a Christian it is my job to trust that God raises leaders and allows them to fall. I have know idea how God will use this man as our president. I'm sure that somethings will be better, but I'm afraid for this country in other aspects, such as abortion and how he is going to get us out of the war in Iraq. We shall see. My job is to not trust in my leaders but to trust in God.

My children will be disappointed. They wanted McCain to win because he was against abortion. I have already started to have to talk to them about honoring our leaders as the Bible has said we should. This will be my big challenge today. I pray for wisdom.

Black people are celebrating around the world and I am happy for them. It must be a huge victory in that regard. I even got an email from our friends in Kenya that said the whole city was rejoicing. I am all for a black president. I don't care if the president is red, yellow, black or white, as long as he does his job well and doesn't push his liberal agenda on the people.

This will be an interesting time. I think Christians are going to have to learn to stop being so passive and start realizing that their freedoms are going to start slipping away if they don't start voicing their concerns. They are going to have to learn to fight in a godly way. Because decade by decade there WILL be fewer Christians as the world heads into the end times. There WILL be persecution. It says so in the Bible.

My job as a parent is to prepare my children for that persecution. My job is to teach them to take a stand for Christ, while loving the people around them. My job is to teach them that it's OK for Christians to write their congressmen and follow the political news so that they are well-informed individuals who can carry on an intelligent conversation about such things. We can't just stick our heads in the stand as say, "I give up!".

Soooo, that's my humble opinion on recent events. I am now going to grab my Bible and do a bunch of praying for my country, President-Elect Obama, and for my own family.

Renewing Your Spirit Devotion

Here is my sister's latest devotion. Enjoy!

Renewing Your Spirit

Dear Mothers,
I have just come back from one of the best women’s retreats that I have ever attended. For a mother of five to be able to go to a weekend retreat at the beach is a miracle in itself! God provided the money, a wonderful husband and grandma to watch the children and said, “Go!”

God spoke to me about a number of things, mainly letting go and trying not to play God. As the retreat was ending, we were asked to spend some quiet time in prayer just to intentionally listen to what God might be saying to each of us. I asked Him a question. “Lord, I feel so full, so refreshed, so loved. How do I keep this feeling? How can I not get to where I was before this retreat? How do I keep this renewed in the midst of my mothering?” I had my journal with me and I was determined to write down anything God said. He didn’t speak right away, but I felt Him give me the idea to make three lists.

The first list, I wrote down all my “Have to Do’s”. Some of these were laundry, cooking, cleaning floors, cleaning the kitchen, disciplining and homeschooling.

The second list was all the things that “Take Me Away or Distract Me From God”. Some of these were movies, surfing the net, blogging too much, watching the news on the Internet and talking on the phone with friends too frequently.

The third list was “Things That Renew or Refresh My Spirit”. I could ask my husband to watch the kids so I can find a quiet place to pray for fifteen minutes. Before I do anything fun or recreational, make sure my Bible study has been done. Read good Christian non-fiction that makes me “go deeper” with God. Carve out time in my schedule to go to lunch with a godly friend. Keep journaling my journey with God. Take the time to exercise. Taking a walk alone with God can be very refreshing.

It’s so easy to lose the “euphoria” feeling high as soon as you get home and are smacked in the face with all of your responsibilities. But God has shown me a way to keep refreshed. It is my job to follow through and not let life and the enemy suck me dry again. You can’t live your life existing off your last spiritual high and waiting for your next one to come along. God wants us to walk with Him daily in “spiritual moderation”. It’s a consistent walk with few highs and hopefully few lows.

Take time to pray and ask God what is distracting you from hearing Him. Ask Him what refreshes you in Him. Your list is going to be different then mine. That’s great! We are different mothers in different situations. Our God is an individual God who loves us the same but speaks differently to all in their unique situations.

Oh Mothers, don’t just exist, persist in Him. Don’t survive motherhood, flourish and thrive in the high-calling that God has given to you. He wants to renew you day by day. He wants to “restore to you the joy of your salvation.” We have much to be thankful for.

From One Mom to Another,

Stacie Brown

Wife to Steve

Mother to Joshua, Marcus, Jessica, Andrew, Jacob and one on the way

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We went over to Pendleton to spend Halloween with Mom. The community puts on a really nice safe Halloween party at the Convention Center. Here is a pictures of Josiah doing the ring toss.

Hailey was even old enough to play some games. We were trying to convince her to throw the balls, not eat them!

Mom dressed up as the "Corpse Bride" and Larry grabbed Hailey's hat for a photo op.

Here is the Pirate Mamma with her Pirate Princess. I've always loved an excuse to dress up!

The Pirate Family standing in the gate of my mom's front yard cemetary. I had a great time putting all our costumes together. I even convinced Michael to dress up as the Pirate Captain. He looked sooo good! I couldn't believe I got him to dress up. It was also a fun to use some of the swords from my collection. Josiah loved passing out candy to all the trick or treaters. He liked giving handfuls of candy to the pretty little girls, especially a little cheerleader who came to the door. What a flirt! My mom had over 100 trick or treaters this year. A fun time was had by all!


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