Monday, November 29, 2010

Whole Wheat Soft and Chewy Ginger Snap Recipe

I got this recipe from the Mother's Legacy Cookbook that our local MOPS group put together as a fundraiser. My friend, Kendal, submitted this recipe. Fat-free it is not, but it is made strictly with whole grains and unrefined sugar and natural fat.  This is the best ginger snap recipe I've ever tasted and making it healthy didn't compromise the taste or texture. 

Whole Wheat Soft and Chewy Ginger Snap Recipe:

2 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp backing soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp sea salt ( I prefer Celtic Sea Salt)
3/4 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sucanat
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c molasses
turbinado (raw sugar) - optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix together all wet ingredients, then add all dry ingredients (I just turn my Kitchen Aid on low and start dumping). Form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, roll in turbinado (or sucanat) if desired. Cook on cookie sheets (I use a stoneware bar pan) 11 minutes or until edges are done, but looks raw between cracks. Cool. Makes about 1 dozen good sized cookies. Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Meanderings

I thought I'd do kind of a miscellaneous post about the kids. Between chores, homeschooling and outside activities, we've been keeping busy. Too busy. Hoping to rein it in a little. Seems like the harder I try to not get too busy, the more good things come up (especially with all the holiday activities), and I'm swamped again. I've got to get better at saying no. 

The picture above is of Josiah and Hailey cleaning the refrigerator together. 

Once a month, our homeschool group gets together for a show and tell time at the library. It is a wonderful way for young kids to get used to presenting and listening in front of their peers. Josiah is explaining what the bird's nest is made up.

Hailey showed her favorite necklace that she picked out from a flea market last summer.

Lately Hailey has been wanting me to do her hair up in an "almost bun", like Cinderella. I'm not really very good at doing hair, but I'm trying, for her sake.

I got this dress for $2.50 at a thrift store. I love the old fashioned lace.

Put a pair of bloomers under it, and I think it is absolutely adorable. She is really into pretty dresses right now. I love it!

Josiah started a kid's gourmet cooking class within our homeschool group called "Rock the Spoon". It has inspired some interesting creations at home. This was the lunch he made for himself the other day. He fried an egg, topped it with lunch meat, sauteed mushrooms and garlic powder ( a lot). then he surrounded his creation with sliced pickles and pretzels. He ate every bit of it and wanted to make another one! I just love seeing his creative side. He's really into presentation.

I snapped this picture of Josiah and Hailey snuggling in front of the fireplace one morning. Josiah can be so sweet with her, sharing his blanket and cuddling. Even though they get on each other's nerves sometimes, he really does love her and they have a very good relationship. I'm blessed in that regard.

Thanks for all your prayers concerning my son and I. His attitude has been a better today. Hoping for a much better week than the last. 

Hope you all have a wonderful week and a Happy Thanksgiving!

God Bless,

Friday, November 19, 2010

AWANAS Grand Prix

The kids were able to participate in the AWANAS Grand Prix this year. Cubbies were even invited to attend, so Hailey was able to race a car, too. My folks were able to come up for it as well.

This is Josiah's Sparks leader, Christine, with all the cars that participated. I thank God for her. She has a special place in her heart for Josiah and is speaking into his life. She raised a strong-willed child very similar to him, so she says she just "gets" him.

Hailey's first race!

She got second place.

I just had to throw this picture in of my friend's son, Mitch. He got first place and he was so excited he could hardly breath. It was so precious! 

Josiah didn't do well because we didn't measure the wheels before we glued them on.  He has a hard time losing, so this was a good lesson for him. 

This has been a particularly challenging week between my son and I, so I would again appreciate your prayers as I continue to root out bad behavior. It is exhausting, not only teaching him, but trying to control myself, too, so I don't turn into "Godzilla Mom". I don't know how people parent without God. I praise Him that I can go to Him and ask for wisdom and the strength to persevere when I don't know what to do and I'm exhausted. He answered my prayers today when my friend offered to take my kids for the whole afternoon so I could take a nap and just have some down time. What a blessing! I know God is going to use all this stubborness for His good someday.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What To Do With All Those Leaves And Pumpkins?

Since I've gained new followers over the last year, I decided to kind of do a cumulative post made up several posts I've done in the past. If you're interested in any of these activities, just click on the link for more information. I'm not a crafty person, as you can tell by my whopping two crafts under the "crafts label" on my sidebar, but this one is really fun and easy. Little children enjoy picking up the leaves and big children (and adults) love to make them. Very simple, even for this craft-challenged mama. 

 Yum, this is one of my favorites. The healthy version of Great Pumpkin Dessert. Great way to use up extra pumpkin.

Here is another one, great for snacks or dessert and will feed a crowd. Healthy Pumpkin Squares (sorry no picture):
Kid's complaining because they don't have enough snow to build a snowman yet? Try making a Pumpkin Man:

In case you missed this festive recipe when I posted it a few weeks back, here is Beef Cider Stew served in a baked pumpkin:
Try making a Thankful Tree. This was ours last year. The kids loved doing this!

Hope you are all enjoying the fall weather and having fun getting ready for the holidays. When you start getting stressed out about all you have to do, remind yourself about what is important (good advice for me, too). For me it is seeking to bring glory to God through the holidays and to make family memories that will last a lifetime. If you have a moment, please take the time to leave a comment and tell me what your favorite fall traditions are.

God Bless,

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Veterans Day Parade

My husband always rides in our local Veterans Day Parade with the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Club. Josiah has been riding behind Michael in the parade for a few years now. This is the only time Josiah gets to ride on the back of the motorcycle, so it is extra special for him.

It wasn't raining or snowing this year, so we had a great turn out. In fact, best I've ever seen. Many of us MOPS and homeschool moms all met up to watch the parade together. It was a blast! The public schools were released that day as well, so lots of families with kids there. 

The local National Guard made their appearance in the parade. No tank this year. Probably had something to do with the unit being deployed to Iraq. 

The Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts all walked carrying American Flags. 

There we several veteran motorcycle groups riding together, so it made quite an awesome racket. Love the noise of a bunch of big bikes! These guys are true patriots, ready to serve the families of deployed soldiers in whatever way they can.

I know this is blurry (I've got to figure out how to capture action better with my camera), but here is another picture of Michael and Josiah riding together. I don't think he's having a good time or anything ;o)
After the parade, Michael pulled up to where we were watching and let Hailey sit on the back of the bike, too. Future biker chick right there!

Anyway, thanks to all of you who commented on the last post. My cousin and his wife were so encouraged by all your sweet comments. Hope you all managed to find a Veterans Day parade or at least thanked a vet or his family. I believe strongly in teaching our kids patriotism and how to help support families of soldiers left behind in practical ways. It won't be too long before our family will be in the same boat again.

God Bless,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Featured Veterans Day Veteran

We have so many friends and family deployed right now. I decided to pick one to feature on this Veterans Day blog post. My cousin, Ryan, represents the many soldiers who are deployed. His new family represents the many families who will soon be spending the holidays separated from their loved ones. Ryan has just started his tour in Afghanistan.

He is newly married to Lindsey and they had a sweet baby girl just before he was sent over to Afghanistan. Ryan is a combat engineer with the 469th Engineer Company from Dodgeville Wisconsin. As a combat engineer, he does route clearance which means he goes out on routes looking for IED's before anybody else goes on that route. The vehicle he rides in on missions is called a Hemmit Wrecker. 

Please pray for not only this precious family, but all the soldiers and their families. If you know of any soldier who is deployed right now, I would encourage you to get their address and send them a care package or even a hand written card. This means more than you can imagine. If you know of any families of deployed soldiers, please remember them not only in your prayers, but in your kindness. Find out what they need help with, whether it be raking leaves, cleaning gutters, hauling the leaves away, etc... Make sure they aren't alone for the holidays. Invite them over for dinner, ask to watch their kids so they can have a break. Make sure they have a Christmas tree AND help get the tree in the stand. (I didn't have a tree when Michael was deployed because I didn't have the foggiest how to get the tree balanced in the stand with a 1 year old "helping".) These are all very practical things military families appreciate. 

Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served, past and present. May God be with you and your families and may He honor and bless your sacrifice for this great nation. Hope you all find a Veterans Day parade to go to today. It is a great way to teach your children how to honor these brave men and women.

Happy Veterans Day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

School pictures - Need your opinion!

Because things are really tight around this household at the moment, I've decided to do the kids' yearly pictures again. Now that the house is remodeled, it sure is easier to find a nice background than it used to be. It has been too rainy and cold to do any outdoor pictures. I took these with my little not-so-good snapshot camera. Was so hoping we'd have enough money to get me a better camera for Christmas this year, but it doesn't look like it will happen. So these will have to do. They aren't as crisp as I'd like, but that is life. I'm thinking I'll use this picture for Josiah's 1st grade pic. Look at all those missing teeth! I told him he looks like a cute jack-o-lantern with his orange hair and his missing teeth. He thought that was so funny.

Here is Hailey Baby. I took a couple of shots of her that I liked. Can't figure out which one I want to turn into wallets. So help me out, please! Please let me know if you like Hailey picture #1...

or picture #2 best?

I like their smiles here, but I don't really like the angle.

I love natural pictures of them just playing around. I love it when they are affectionate with each other.

I think I'll pick this one for the Christmas card photo this year.

Hailey absolutely loves for me to curl her hair. I took a quick picture of her in her cute pink dress as we headed out the door for church. She is really into dresses right now. I just went to some second hand shops and got her a few more really cute dresses today. Gonna milk this phase for all its worth!

Josiah insisted on taking a few pictures of me. He took this one and my new profile pic. Not bad for a 7 year old. I love digital cameras because I can give him some coaching until he gets it right. He is figuring out the zoom in, zoom out technique now. He really loves photography. 

So, please leave me a comment let me know which picture of Hailey I should pick. I'd sure appreciate it!

God Bless,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Final Remodel Pictures: Before and After

I've been wanting to show you the reason why I took such a big blogging break this summer.  Don't panic! The above picture is a before shot of our living room. It looked like this for 15 years, after we remodeled it the first time. I was finally ready for a little class, so I enlisted the help of my very handy man hubby. He taught himself how to do almost all the work on our addition, from laying concrete, exterior stone, wiring, insulating, bead-board, installing a wood floor, carpentry work and dry walling. I know that I kept you all updated on bits and pieces of our remodel, but I thought I would blog the before and after pictures just so you can see what a dramatic difference all our hard work ended up making. Thanks to the Dave Ramsey plan, we were able to enclose our porch and add 75 square feet to our home without going into debt. Doesn't sound like much footage, but I hope you can see what a difference it made in the layout of our home. I'm so proud of my hubby! He tells me I'm banned from looking at any home improvement magazines for a least a year, LOL.
Here is our new living room, complete with gas fireplace and wood floor. We put bead board on the ceiling and trimmed out everything in oak. He had already made me the scrapbook shelf in the corner. We were kind of going for a simplified, modern, yet old, shabby sheik look.

Here, I'm looking into the living room from the extended dining room/office area. I still haven't got our pictures on the walls yet. Michael got this rug for me from Iraq. It has been rolled up on the bed for 5 years. So nice to have a place for it now!

I took this picture standing in my old living room looking at the old door going out to our old porch. This whole wall was knocked out and the door moved to the extreme right of this picture. So glad the carpet is out of here! You can sort of see how tiny the dining room (to the left) was, especially with my file cabinets in the office area.
Not a good picture, but this is the same view. You can see the office is now distinctly separated from the dining room. Love it! Love the wood floor in here as well. We have a nice open "L" shaped floor plan now. Also love how much more light I have coming into the home with an extra window, plus a big window in the door that lets a lot of light in as well. You can see the new door going out to our new enclosed porch to the right of the picture.

This was the dining/room office area before the remodel. It was so small that I couldn't get a good picture of it all together. 

This is how it looks now. Love having wood floors in my dining room instead of carpet. I'm not nearly as finicky as I used to be about the kids making messes with crafts in the dining room. Look at all this space! I'm in heaven!

Here is a picture of our old open porch. Wasted space in my opinion.

This is what our new front entrance looks like. People have said it feels more inviting and warm to enter our home. Awesome, because that was the idea we had in mind!  We didn't have enough siding to cover the new addition, so we had to think outside the box. I thought stacked stone would look nice around the entrance. We didn't stop there, but also added stacked stone around the front and side of the foundation and the inside of the porch area. I also wanted to keep a lot of light coming into the house, so we opted for a glass storm door. We weren't allowed to build a porch off the house because we were too close to the street, so we had to sacrifice a little of our space for this enclosed porch area. I liked the pilasters and crown head that we put around the door. I think they add a touch of class.

This is a view from the glass storm door as you turn to go up the new porch and into the front door. Perfect place for decorating and now I don't worry that all my decorations will blow away. I'm glad we used the stacked stone on the front steps and around the foundation. 

Instead of using drywall, we decided to beadboard the entire porch. Very happy with our decision. I liked all the trim we used in here, too. This is a view from our front door, looking down into the new enclosed porch, glass storm door is to the right. The house is also much warmer now. An added blessing!

Well that is it! I hope you enjoyed the tour of our new addition. I'm so glad I took before and after pictures because I'm stunned by the difference. I can't believe how God has blessed us and made it possible for this to be built. Because we did almost all the work ourselves, we managed to do all of this, plus a pass through in our kitchen for approx. $10,000. If we would have hired a contractor to do the work it would have been at least double that. So proud of my hubby for being willing to learn how to do all this stuff! I think I better wait to ask him to start on the kitchen for a least a year ;o)



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