Thursday, July 30, 2009
I'm Going On Vacation!!!
We are taking a "Tour de History" on the east coast.
Stop One: The Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. We'll be touring Fort McHenry (War of 1812), the USS Constellation (the only Civil War ship still floating today), and the USS Torsk (a WWII era submarine.
Stop Two: Washington D.C. We're going to hit the Smithsonian (Air and Space, Natural History and American History) and of course all of the monuments...at night, when they look so cool. We are also going to take in Arlington Nat'l Cemetery and Monticello.
Stop Three: Assateague Island National Seashore home of the wild ponies made famous to children everywhere through Marguerite Henry's book series "Misty" (which we are reading together in the car on the way there). We'll be spending some time at the beach, hiking, exploring lighthouses, and hopefully observing the ponies.
Between Stops: We are also stopping at Gettysburg and Antietam Battlefields.
Stop Four: Pittsburgh, PA where we'll get to spend a few days with my brother and his family. We are also going to dress in red from head to toe and go cheer the Cardinals on to a victory against the Pirates.
Stop Five: The Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, one of our favorite free museums.
We are camping the entire time so it is doubtful that we will have internet access until we arrive in Pittsburgh next weekend. Until then I've got a few random pictures to post each day and that's it.
I'm kind of looking forward to having a break from technology for a while. See you in about 10 days!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
"I've never started a book that I haven't finished......except for a Tale of Two Cities."
And now I've got to ammend that statement. I just can't take it anymore. I cannot finish The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I cannot stand one more theological lecture or dissertation on Russian law, blah, blah, blah.
The story is ok. Three brothers, three different mothers, three different personalities. Loser, slightly crazy dad. A love triangle. Some missing money, etc, etc, etc. But they have to stop and debate the causes of animal abuse for 50 pages between conversations that move the plot along.
I even got it on audio book because I thought the small print and the 30 minutes between page turnings was discouraging me. Nope. It was the book itself. Even if someone else read it to me while I laid out in the sun and watched the kids play I couldn't take it.
So I have to admit to you all that there are two books I haven't finished....and I've finished some pretty bad ones....A Tale of Two Cities and The Brothers Karamazov. I vow that I will someday make it through the Dickens classic, but I think I can happily go to my grave never knowing what happens to the long winded Karamazov clan.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Pipe a "kiss" of marshmallow on the top of each cookie.
Or....if you are to "yella" to try making homemade marshmallows you can use store bought. Simply cut them in half, place them on top of each cookie and then melt them slightly in a 350 degree oven until they "slump" and cover the cookie. (I didn't have enough marshmallow for all of my cookies so I had to do a few of the store bought ones. They look more uniform but they lack.....charm.)
Finally, the chocolate glaze.
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil
1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.
2. Dip cookies in chocolate. Use fork to remove. Set on rack or parchment paper to dry. Refrigerate.
(During this step I encourage you to sing, "Oh I wish I was a homemade mallow cookie. That is what I really wish to be. For if I were a homemade mallow cookie, then chocolate would be poured all over me", as I did.)
Now some of those daring bakers got really creative with their marshmallows. They made all kinds of flavors and all kinds of coatings. The closest I came to branching out from the recipe was when Ryker, my sous chef, suggested we add a layer of peanut butter to a few of our cookies before we top them with marshmallows.
Over all I would say the recipe was a complete success. I served the cookies at Kinley's 3rd birthday party on Sunday and they went over well.....better than Brian's liquid nitrogen ice cream....but that's another story.
I can't wait for next month's challenge.
For more great recipes check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
This is her non-cake birthday cake.
It is a big rice krispie star with cake pop stars shooting out of it and cake pop flowers surrounding it. I mentioned the cake pops before but I thought I would give you a little more detail.Bakerella has all the details but here are the instructions in a nutshell.
1. Make a cake mix as directed on the package. Let it cool.
2. Destroy the cake. Pulverize it. Squish it with your hands. Have fun!
3. Mix one container of cream cheese frosting with smashed cake.
4. Press gooey cake mess into molds (cookie cutters).
5. Lay molded globs of cake onto wax paper lined cookie sheets and freeze for 30 minutes.
6. Insert sticks and cover cake with melted candy.
7. Let dry standing up.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
He pointed out that the word tolerance is defined by Webster as,
to recognize and respect another's beliefs and practices without necessarily sharing them.
The Christian should have no problem with this since the implication is that we are accepting, valuing the person while not endorsing or approving of their beliefs or behaviors.
However, the world often defines tolerance as
Every individual's beliefs, values, lifestyles and perception of truth claims are equally valid and true.
This the Christian cannot stand behind. We know the one and only truth. We cannot, will not, tolerate people living in the darkness that is outside of that truth.
HOWEVER, and this is a big one (hence the capital letters)....we also cannot expect Christ-like behavior from those that do not know Christ. To try to force our standards on others BEFORE we introduce them to the love of Christ is to require a new born baby to get job and bring home a paycheck....the capacity is not there.
Darryl said (and I agree)
The problem with the church in our culture today is not that we disagree with people's beliefs. The problem that the culture has with the church today is not that we have signed up for an absolute standard of right and wrong. The problem is that we can easily become self-righteous hypocrites who walk around condemning everybody else for the dust in their own eye when clearly we have a plank in our eye.
So there are times when we need to be, have to be judgemental. How do we do that in a Christ-like manner?
#1: Examine yourself. Address the sin in your own life first. Once you identify the sin in your own life it is easier to go to help another person with their sin instead of judging that person for their sin.
#2: If the person sinning is a Christian then the steps for church discipline need to be followed.
We are to be lovingly intolerant of ongoing, unrepentant, unconfessed, blatant
sin in each other's lives.
However, if the person is not a Christian then....
It is not our job to hold people outside the church to a standard that none of them have agreed to live by. We are not saying that their behavior is okay. But it is not our job to be their spiritual authority, to condemn those people who are committing those sins. Sometimes I think we have come to believe that evangelism is not sharing Jesus--but it is getting others to sign up for our set of morals.
When we share Jesus the Holy Spirit convicts of sin; and when they repent of their sin, we show them God's grave. That's our job. That's our responsibility.
#3: Determine if it is a biblical mandate or a matter of opinion?
There are many matters that the Bible speaks of that are absolute truths. And when it comes to these matters we can't tolerate false teaching. But there are many things within the church that are considered disputable matters, and we are called to tolerate and accept one another if we don't see things the same way as Paul says in Romans 14:2.
Whether you like drums in the worship service or not, accept one another. Whether you get especially dressed up for church or you don't, accept one another. Whether you are passionate about homeschooling or passionate about public school, accept one another. Whether you worship with your hands in your pockets or with your hands in the air, accept one another. Whether you've kissed dating goodbye or kissed goodbye on a lot of dates, accept one another. Whether you like the NIV or the KJV, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, accept one another.
#4: Be sure that love is your motivation.
What is your response when you see someone living in sin? Is it brokenness or does your heart want them to pay for what they're doing? Does your heart want salvation and redemption, or does your heart want them to get what they deserve? Only you know your true motivation.
Josh McDowell wrote this about the difference between tolerance and
Tolerance says, 'You must approve of what I do.' Love responds, 'I must do
something harder. I will love you even when your behavior offends me.'
Tolerance says, 'You must agree with me.' Love responds, 'I must do something harder. I will tell you the truth because I am convinced the truth will set you free.'
Tolerance says, 'You must allow me to have my way.' Love responds, 'I must do something harder. I will plead with you to follow God's way because I believe that you are worth the risk.'
The ironic thing about this sermon was that it fell (or maybe was intentionally planned) on Greenville Goes Country Sunday. (An ironic name in and of itself, because as someone pointed out, "We don't have far to go.") It is the one weekend a year when we have a bluegrass band instead of a praise band. We have a banjo and mandolin and a couple of guitars and my husband on the upright bass. We sing songs like Victory in Jesus and I'll Fly Away and Mansion Over the Hilltop. The offertory for the day was the grammatically incorrect, "I Wouldn't Take Nothin' For My Journey Now". It is a fun time and it goes over well with our Saturday night and traditional Sunday morning service, but there are some in the contemporary service that don't enjoy it as much.
As a matter of fact there were people (and there are every year) that purposefully skip church on this Sunday because they don't like the music. They attend a different church in town or plan to be out of town or just don't come. Brian actually ran into a woman in the hallway after he was finished playing who said, "Is the music over yet so I can go in?"
First of all, HOW RUDE! Secondly, am I crazy or is there something wrong or offensive about "Some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of Victory. " And lastly, you won't find any bluegrass music on my iPod (but you will on Brian's, that's why I had to get my own). You won't find a bluegrass station in my presets in my car. I don't watch HeeHaw....anymore. But for one Sunday a year I can clap my hands and tap my toes and belt out "I want a gold one that's silver lined" and really enjoy it. I can worship by singing the songs I grew up with...albeit with a much twangier tune.
I do not understand the people that so resent a style different than their own personal preference that they would shun fellowship with their own family of believers....but I tolerate them, and accept them....and blog about them.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
Frosted Cinnamon Zucchini Bars
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine four and baking powder; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini, coconut and nuts.
Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
In a bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Stir in butter, vanilla and enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cooled bars; cut.
Note: These bars were DELICIOUS! I've already got someone harrassing me for the recipe since he sampled one, or two, or seven. The coconut gives them an extra special sweetness and the zucchini provides plenty of moisture, of course the powdered sugar icing poored over the top doesn't hurt either. I omitted the nuts because while my children will eat squash in their cookies they draw the line at nuts....actually they draw the line at coconut too but what their unsophisticated pallettes can't pick up won't hurt them.
Of course I also just made some regular fried zucchini (which was fair).....
And some grilled zucchini (which was pretty good).....I'm sure I'll break down and make some plain old zucchini bread before the summer is over, but the only other recipe I plan to bring back from last year is the Zucchini Quiche. Brian has been requesting it, so I need to dig it out. I'll let you know how it turns out.
For more great recipes head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
He is constantly scouting for discounted trees at the end of the season. We have pecan, peach, pear, cherry and apple trees in our yard right now. (Oops, I've just been informed by Cainan that the cherry tree died.....apparently without my notice.)
I like trees and all, but to tell the truth I don't pay much attention to them. (Obviously.) They are still really young and they don't produce edible fruit yet, so I don't find them too exciting.
Earlier this summer though that all changed. Our peach tree actually had some beautiful peaches on it. They were about the size of a tennis ball and there were at least 8 of them on the tree. We were so excited to have fresh peaches.
We patiently waited for them to get ripe, checking the fruit everyday. One day Brian asked me to feel the peaches to see if they were ready to be picked. I squeezed and poked and sniffed and determined that they needed another couple of days.
The next morning we went outside and found this:
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
A Fool's Defense by Alan Hitt
"I make more money while typing this post than most of the world has to live on per day, and I keep and spend 92% of it on myself, but I am a good person.
I live less than 20 minutes from homeless families living on the street, and their condition is not anything I work to change, but I am a good person.
I spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on my kids sports and extra curricular activities each year while children in poverty in my community and around the world are ignored by people like me with means to help, but I am a good person.
My neighbor is confused about spirituality and has been burned by the church in the past, but I don’t dare raise spiritual topics with her because she might think badly of me, and after all, I am a good person.
I live in a neighborhood of people who look like and view the world mostly like me, and avoid areas of town and the people where this is not true, but I am a good person.
Instead of teaching my children to sacrifice for the sake of the least, the last and the lost all around us, I teach them to ignore these so that we can live the same comfortable lifestyle as our neighbors, but I am a good person.
I have interpreted the command of Jesus to “Go make disciples of every nation” and to “love my neighbor as myself” to mean that I should congregate in comfortable chairs on Sundays with others who do the same, and love only those in my holy huddle, but I am a good person.
Even though I know that 2 out of every 3 unchurched people I am friendly with would go to church if I invited them, it has been yeas since I invited anyone to church, but I am a good person.
While Jesus came to win the lost and set the oppressed free, I focus instead on creating space between me and the lost, and hoping some politician or social activist can manage to set the oppressed free, but I am a good person.
While Jesus spent his time connecting his life to people far from God so they might find life in him, I connect my life to those far from God so that I can live the same life they do and not feel deprived like I would if I had to really live like Jesus, but I am a good person.
While I affirm the power of transformation in my words and stated beliefs, I deny the power of transformation when I turn my back on the poor, ignore the oppressed, distance myself from the under-resourced and refuse to share the good news with the spiritually confused or searching, but I am a good person.
While I have made an idol of my beliefs about God, I have ignored the very heart of God and the way of Jesus, but I am a good person.
I do not feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, comfort the afflicted or stand with the oppressed, but I am a good person.
While Jesus asked, “Why do you call me good?” I ask “Why do you not call me good?” You should know by now that I am a good person."
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I know that it is traditionally a fall treat but I can eat it all year long.
For years I have used the same recipe from my home church's cookbook. You make the carmel corn in the microwave and it is SO easy.
Microwave Carmel Corn1/4 cup Karo syrup
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
In microwave safe bowl combine all ingredients except baking soda. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.Meanwhile pop 1 cup of corn. Put popped corn into a paper grocery sack.
Add baking soda to caramel mixture. Stir. Pour over popcorn in sack. Close sack and shake well.
Place entire sack in microwave and cook for 1 minute. Shake. Cook for 1 more minute. Shake. Dump onto wax paper to cool.
Recently I found another recipe for caramel corn that I like even better though. This one is actually for Caramel Puffcorn.
This is Puffcorn.
You find it in the potato chip aisle at your grocery store. Be sure to get the butter flavor instead of the cheese flavor.
This stuff is so great to use because there are no unpopped kernels, no hulls to get stuck in your teeth, and it already has a buttery, salty taste even before you put the caramel on it. Warning, it is a little more time consuming to make but still TOTALLY addictive.
10 oz. bag Puffcorn
1 c. butter
1/2 c. Karo syrup
1 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
Spread puffcorn evenly over two cookie sheets.
In saucepan cook butter, syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Add baking soda.
This is what it will look like after it boils.This is what it will look like after you add the baking soda.Pour over puffcorn. Bake at 250 for 30 mins. stirring halfway through baking and at end of baking time. Spread on wax paper to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Give both of these a try and let me know which one you like better. I think you'll love them both.
And don't forget to head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for more great recipes.
*I think it is a bad sign when you lay awake at night thinking of semi-clever titles for blog posts.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Not Ding Dongs or Cheetos or Fudge Rounds.
I hide healthy food.
Specifically Quaker Mini Rice Cakes. Ranch flavor.
I love the things as a replacement for the handful of potato chips that I used to have with my sandwich at lunch everyday. The bags aren't big but I can make them last about a week and a half if I eat 10 (the recommended serving size) per day.
The problem is Brian loves them too. And he doesn't necessarily follow the servings suggestions.
If he knows we have them the bag might last two days.....tops.
And it's not like Fiber One Bars where all I have to do is buy the peanut butter flavor to be sure that he won't eat them all. He actually likes ranch flavored stuff.
And it's not like I don't want him to eat healthily. I do. But I won't get any of it if he chows it all. And if the kids find out about it then I'll be lucky to get a single solitary rice cake. Selfish, I know. But that stuff is expensive!!
So. I hide them. I've found various places that work pretty well.
I put them in the highest cabinet behind all of boxes of cereal and the glass pitchers I never use. But when the cereal runs out he can see that teal colored bag through the glass pitchers.
I put them in the back of the knee high shelf in the pantry behind a bunch of boxes of Tuna Helper and Rice Pilaf. I don't think he ever spotted them there, but they were hard to get to and I had to keep clearing off the shelf everyday just to make my lunch.
Then I hit upon the perfect place. Down in my craft cabinet. I have more cabinets in my kitchen than I need so a few of them are dedicated to seasonal decor and craft supplies. Brian never gets in any of those. So I snuggled my bag of contraband right in next to the Easter eggs and the empty hermit crab cage.
But then I forgot about it. I didn't remember it until I opened the drawer of phonebooks and found a single rice cake laying there. I knew immediately what had happened. Sure enough I opened the craft cabinet and found that a mouse had eaten a hole in the bottom of the bag and devoured a good portion of my secret stash!
Serves me right for being so sneaky, I guess.
But here is the poetic justice portion of the story.
I threw the bag on the counter and sat down to eat my lunch. Next thing I know Brian is in the kitchen munching on rice cakes.....mouse droppings and all. (Apparently he didn't notice the big jagged hole in the bottom of the bag.) I tried yelling out a warning but my mouth was full. All I could do was wave my arms wildly. He finally got the message and spit out the mouthful he was crunching.
What did we learn?
A) I need to find a new hiding place.
B) We have mice.
C) Look before you eat.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Check it out.
Now I'm in the midst of Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brother's Karamazov", and my next book club selection to read is "Mississippi Solo" by Eddy Harris. Look for updates soon.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
We haven't had a wedding in our family for 7 years. My brother was the last of our generation to get married.....that is until last weekend.
On July 4th my cousin Christina (known to all of us, and referred to in the rest of this post as, Pudd) got married. It was a big deal and a lot of fun for all of us.
All the "girls" worked all day on Friday to decorate the reception area and make all of the food. It was fun to spend an entire day together....even if it was a lot of work. It was also fun to spend a few days at Mom and Dad's house with my brother and his family, who we haven't seen since December.
Saturday started out with torrential (or at least pretty steady) downpours, but ended a beautiful day. I met some of the girls early on Saturday to do their hair. (Including the bride....talk about pressure!) Fortunately all of the "do's" held up despite the weather.
We went to the church early for pictures, then enjoyed the wedding (no problems) and then I rushed to the reception to start cutting the cheesecakes I had made the day before. I don't know how many people were actually at the reception but they ate EVERY piece of cake and 5 1/2 Chocolate Truffle Cheesecakes not to mention lots of fresh fruit and I don't know how many quarts of chocolate from the chocolate fountain.
I think everybody went away full! We went away with enough marshmallows to make us all 10 s'mores each every night of our upcoming camping trip, a gallon of Blue Hawaiian Punch for Cainan's birthday party, some pie filling, a giant can of baking cocoa and a can of pineapple juice. A pretty good haul, I'd say.
Here are some pics of the big day.
Jacob and the girls. (Everybody in this picture is my cousin (or niece) except the girl on each end...and Jacob,of course.)
Jacob and Pudd running the gauntlet of rice and "poppers" (fireworks).
Blue punch. White dress. Bad idea. Amazingly my niece, Kira's dress came through with just a touch of chocolate from the fountain.
Pudd visiting with Grandma.
Cainan feeling very important after completing his job as "Rice Hander Outer".
Brian snacking on a blueberry.
A disclaimer: Anyone who has ever read this blog before has probably already realized that these pictures were not taken by me. You've likely never seen photos this good on here. These pics were all taken by Travis, my cousin in law. I envy his skill.....and his camera. Thanks for sharing the pics.
AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!