Granola Revisited

>> Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My family loves our granola recipe. We usually eat it for breakfast every morning. Recently I decided to try to come up with a way to make it in the oven, so it wouldn't take so long. I really like the ease of making granola in the crock pot, but there are days I don't have several hours available to watch it. My husband and children all agree they prefer baked granola to crock pot granola, as it is crunchier and also has sweet clusters of granola that stick together. I like the fact that it bakes so quickly. Here's what I've come up with.

6 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons cinnamon (we like extra cinnamon)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Pour the oats and cinnamon i
nto a non-stick baking pan. Mix the cinnamon into the oats. Next, pour oil and honey into a 1-cup measuring cup, followed by the vanilla. (By pouring the olive oil in first, the honey slides right out of the cup, rather than clinging to the glass sides.) Pour this mixture into the pan and mix well. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the granola at the sides of the pan, so it doesn't burn.

Once the 30 minutes are up, I usually give it one last stir, turn off the oven, and put the granola back in the oven to cool overnight. It doesn't need to cool that long, but I find leaving it in the oven gives it a little extra baking time and helps it dry out so it's read
y to eat by morning. If you have a well insulated oven, I'd probably let the granola cool on the counter, but our oven is pretty old and cools off quickly.

One batch of granola usually lasts us about a week. We each eat 1/4 cup in milk for breakfast. Sometimes my kids like to eat it as a snack, as well. One fun way we've found is making "healthy donuts." I slice an apple into 3 rings, spread peanut butter over the tops like frosting, and let the kids top it off with granola "sprinkles." Granny Smiths are what we had on hand tonight, but it's even better with sweeter apples. The girls like to do this with bananas, as well.


Doll Clothes

>> Saturday, December 12, 2009

Last week I bought a sewing machine! I've been saving up for a while, so I was so excited when I was finally able to order it. My first project was to sew night gowns for the girls' dolls. They're a bit tight to get on or off, but once they're on, they fit well. These are very simple night gowns that I made from old t-shirts that no longer fit my youngest. I've discovered 3T or 4T short sleeved shirts work perfect for 18- inch dolls. The length of the shirt goes down to the doll's ankles, and the short sleeves go almost to the doll's wrists, so no hemming is required! I followed the basic instructions from this blog. She has several other helpful tutorials listed on her blog, as well. I'm so glad to have these night gowns finished for the girls' Christmas presents! And I look forward to learning how to do more projects, as well. I'm very much a beginner, but I'm having fun! :-)


Thinking about Christmas

>> Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's hard to believe Christmas is only 46 days away. Last year we started a new tradition; rather than buying gifts for each other, we made them. Our girls had the enjoyable experience of making gifts for each other, and Mommy and Daddy. And my husband and I had fun planning and making gifts for the girls.

Yesterday I ran across a blog with wonderful directions on how to make doll pajamas out of old baby clothes. My older daughter bought an 18 inch doll from Vision Forum earlier this year, so I've been looking for ideas of how to make pajamas for dolls. I made nightgowns for each of the girls' dolls last Christmas, but my stitching didn't hold up very well. This year, thanks to this tutorial, I will be making nightgowns for the girls' dolls again, but this time I anticipate them turning out much better! Unfortunately I don't have a working sewing machine, so I'm doing all my stitching by hand. Yesterday I made a quick nightgown using these basic instructions, and it turned out very well! I've found my younger daughter's old 4T t-shirts are the perfect size to make nightgowns for an 18-inch doll. The length of the shirt is the perfect length, and the short sleeves are perfect for the doll's long sleeves, no hemming required! Yesterday's project was just a quick trial to see if I could do it, but when I have a final product ready for Christmas, I will post pictures. Now if only I could think of what to make for my wonderful husband...


Picky Eater

>> Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My youngest daughter is a very picky eater. For a while she would eat nothing but bean burritos, bananas, and raspberry yogurt. At least those three are healthy choices. Her doctor said not to worry about it, eventually she'll get tired of the burritos and will try something else. I don't think that will happen. Ever. :-) The other day I was searching the internet, trying to find recipes for picky eaters. One blog I ran across suggested Mac & Cheese, as the author of that blog had never known a kid who didn't like Mac & Cheese. She has never met my 5-year old. She will not eat Mac & Cheese. Or PB&J. All the normal kid foods, she won't touch. Unless it's loaded with sugar. But I try to avoid too much sugar with the girls.

Tonight I tried something new, thinking I had finally found something healthy she would love. It was healthy, disguised as junk food. I made "healthy donuts." But she wasn't fooled. She knew right away these were not "real" donuts. On the other hand, my 8-year old, who is not very picky, loved them! First I cored and sliced two apples into rings. I sliced the rings thick, as I discovered when I made them too thin they broke. So each apple made 3-4 "donut" rings. Then I spread peanut butter on each of the rings, and generously sprinkled home made granola over the peanut butter "frosting" for the sprinkles. I thought they were wonderful! My 8-year old really enjoyed them. My 5-year old thought they tasted too much like apples. :-) So the search for healthy food she will eat continues.

There is one benefit to her pickiness. She's even picky when it comes to candy. Both girls got quite a bit of candy this past week; they each have a sandwich sized ziplock bag filled. That might not be a lot of candy to most people, but since I'm trying to keep it out of the house as much as possible, that's a lot for us. Anyway, thankfully her pickiness also falls into the candy category. So when she takes a bite of something and decides she doesn't like it, Mommy gets to eat it! Which only seems fair, seeing as how I didn't get any candy last week.

I admire Moms who can get their kids to eat anything. Last week when we were eating supper at the church before AWANA, one of the girls at our table didn't really like what was served, but she followed her Mom's instructions and ate it, anyway. She didn't eat all of it, but each time her Mom told her to take a bite, she did. And it wasn't a little lick either, which is what my daughter would do. I think I'm going to try to teach her to just eat what she is served, whether or not she likes it. I'm getting tired of fixing burritos. :-) If anyone who reads this blog has a suggestion, either on healthy foods to try, or creative ways to get her to eat what we serve, I'd love to hear them!


Music to my Ears

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

Right now my oldest daughter is in her room reading a book for school, and my husband is doing science with my youngest daughter at the dining room table. She is learning to read, so she's sounding out the different words in her science book. It is music to my ears to listen to her sweet little voice reading the words from the pages. She's also started sounding out the words in her AWANA handbook. I love to hear her reading and reciting Bible verses! There is nothing as sweet as listening to children speaking the words of our Heavenly Father! What a blessing it is to have this opportunity to teach our children about the world God has created for us.



>> Saturday, September 19, 2009

This past Thursday was a day full of memories. There were new memories to be made, and precious memories to be relived.

My oldest daughter has been taking Ukulele lessons for almost a year. Thursday, she and my husband's Dad played at a local nursing home. They did a very good job, and people enjoyed listening to them, as well as visiting for a bit.

Being at the nursing home took me back to the last time I saw my Gramma. It's hard to believe she's been in heaven for over a year! But I hadn't been to a nursing home since I saw her last Spring. Being there on Thursday and seeing all the precious people in their wheel chairs reminded me of Gramma, and even though I know she's in heaven with Jesus, my heart ached for her. She was such a wonderful woman. Gramma loved Jesus with all her heart. Before her stroke she travelled the world, telling people about Jesus. She had a heart of gold, and had such a love for everyone! But Gramma especially loved her Hubby, her children, her Grands, and her Great Grands. They meant the world to her.

I miss Gramma. I think I'll give Grampa a call today.


Our 10th Anniversary

>> Saturday, August 15, 2009

Recently my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. I've been meaning to write about that, but I am so behind in just about everything right now. :-)

On our anniversary my wonderful husband brought a box into the room. He said he has not done a good job of giving me the traditional gifts on our anniversary, and so this day he wanted to make up for it.

On the first anniversary, the traditional gift is paper. He opened the box and handed me that day's newspaper.

The second anniversary's gift is cotton. My husband reached into the box and pulled out a cotton ball.

Leather is the traditional gift for the 3rd anniversary. He gave me a leather shoelace.

The fourth anniversary has a choice between fruit and flowers. My husband handed me a bag of dried apricots. I love dried apricots! :-)

Anniversary number 5 is wood, so my husband gave me a wooden knob, or drawer pull.

The sixth anniversary also has a choice, between candy and iron... my husband knows me well and knows I wouldn't even know what to do with an iron, so he gave me a snicker's bar. *lol* :-)

Number 7 is a choice between wool and copper, so my husband gave me a penny.

Since bronze and pottery are the choice for the 8th anniversary, my husband gave me a bronze drawer pull.

Anniversary number nine has a choice between pottery, willow and china, so he gave me a little clay flower pot.

And for the 10th anniversary, the traditional gift is tin or aluminum. My husband handed me a sheet of aluminum foil. :-)

I loved my husband's creativity as he put this gift together! Here's a picture of all my anniversary gifts.


The Power of Stickers

>> Friday, August 7, 2009

It looks like in October we will be moving to a nearby city. We are all very excited, as this is a move to a much larger apartment, and the girls will each get their own room! However, the chore of moving is not much fun. Sorting, packing, moving to the new apartment, unpacking, putting everything away... I am not a very energetic person, and the thought of all this work just exhausts me. I'd much rather have someone else come to our home, sort through all of our stuff, pack, move, unpack, and put everything away again. But I suppose that's not very practical. :-)

I have followed FlyLady off and on for the past 8 years, or so. Well, I should say I've entertained the thought of following FlyLady. I've never actually been very good at following her instructions. I agree with her principles, I'm just not so good at putting them in to practice. Her basic principle is that you cannot organize clutter, so slowly rid your home of things you do not use or love. If you have a nic-nac sittinig on your shelf that's been there for 15 years, you don't remember where you got it, and it doesn't bring you any joy, get rid of it. Either throw it away or take it to Good Will, if it's something in good shape that someone else can be blessed with.

I've been thinking this really makes sense to me, especially in light of our up coming move. So today I created a contest for the girls. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said he'd like to join in, as well. I printed off a calendar of the month of August for each of us, and I pulled out a package of star stickers that I bought a couple years ago, thinking I'd use them for school. Then I set up the rules. For the girls, for every 10 items they either throw away or put in the Good Will box, they will receive one sticker to put on their calendar for that day. For my husband and I, I figured we have a lot more stuff to get rid of, so we need to get rid of 15 items for each sticker. The items to get rid of could be a book we no longer enjoy reading, an old toy that is no longer being played with, or a scrap of paper crammed in the back of a drawer. As of right now my husband and I have a combination of 7 stickers, my girls each have more than my husband and I have combined. So they are really getting in to this! Who knew stickers could be so motivating? If I had just told them today we are going to get rid of over 200 items, they wouldn't have wanted to have anything to do with it. Neither would I. But stickers make throwing stuff out fun! :-) The amazing thing is most of what we're getting rid of is trash... old papers, junk mail, torn papers... But then we're also slowing filling up the Good Will box. Hopefully we can keep up with this all month, and when it comes time to pack things will go much more smoothly. That's my goal, anyway. :-)


The Wheezy's

>> Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My oldest daughter came to me today with a book of poems she has written. I'd like to share my favorite with you. :-) Oh, and for a little background, the poor thing suffers from allergies, so I'm assuming that's her inspiration for this poem. :-)

The Wheezy's

I think I have the wheezy's
My nose likes to be sneezey.
My toes are rather teasey
Yes, I think I have the wheezy's.
I think I need to sneezy!
Ahhhhhhhh choo!
Oh! Bless you!


A Puzzling Obsession

>> Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My youngest daughter loves puzzles. For her 5th birthday (this past December) a friend gave her a beautiful, but very difficult puzzle. It has 750 pieces, and no straight edges. The puzzle has a fancy, almost lacey edge. She's tried several times over the last several months to put the puzzle together, but has never been successful. Part of the problem is we just have one table, so everything must be put away for meals. I've often wished we had a puzzle table so we could leave it up for a few days and work on it here and there.

Last week my daughter asked me to help her with the puzzle. We worked on it for a while, but before long it was time to put it away. I got the idea to separate the pieces into their own baggies. All the pieces of Snow White went into a baggie, the bunnies went into a baggie, the gray squirrel and brown and blue raccoon went into a baggie, the blue birds had a baggie, and the purple birds had a baggie. Part of the problem was the bunnies fur is the same color as Snow White's skin, and the raccoon's blue mask and rings were the same color as Snow White's dark blue hair. So some pieces got put into the wrong baggies, but for the most part we got it separated. All of the background was just left loose in the bottom of the box. At that point we put the puzzle away for the rest of the day.

Last Thursday my daughter again asked me to help her with her puzzle. It was almost lunch time, so I told her we'd work on it after lunch. My husband was meeting a friend for lunch that day, so as soon as we were finished eating my girls got to work on the puzzle while I cleaned up the kitchen. When I was finished I sat down at the table and worked with them. Having the different sections separated really helped, but it was still a long process. When my husband came home we recruited his help on the puzzle. After a while the girls grew tired of working on the puzzle; but I was hooked. We were making progress, and I couldn't stop! A little after 5:00 our oldest asked, "So... what's for supper?" Supper? Time had flown so fast while working on that puzzle that supper completely slipped our minds! At that time it was too late to fix what we had planned, plus we didn't want to put the puzzle away. We were making so much progress! I suggested we eat out someplace cheap, then go to the store and look for something to put the puzzle onto, so we could continue working on it without taking up the table. We had a coupon for McDonalds, so we all got into the car and went out to eat. Then we drove across the street to Walgreens and looked for some poster board. What we found was even better... a large sheet of foam board, like what you would use for mounting posters. We bought that and headed home. My husband and I got right back to work on the puzzle. We very carefully transftered it to the foam board, and continued working. After a while my husband decided he needed a break, so it was down to just me. I couldn't stop! My back ached from being hunched over the table for so long, but I just couldn't stop! I did take a short break around 7:00 to get my girls' baths ready, and another quick break around 8:00 to put them to bed. But then I was right back at the puzzle. Around 9:30 my husband said he was going to bed. I told him goodnight, and continued working on the puzzle. I guess I was obsessed with finishing it! At 10:00 I decided I'd just work another 15 minutes... then before I knew it I heard the clock chime 11:00. Where had the time gone? I knew at that point I needed to call it a night, if I was ever going to get up the next morning.

The next morning I moved the puzzle to our bed, then brought it back out after breakfast. It's a good thing we are finished with school for the summer so I had the time to work on the puzzle. I was going to finish this puzzle, no matter what it took! :-) I knew there would be some missing pieces. The puzzle has been all over our apartment... the dining room, the living room, the girls' room... so I knew after 7 months the puzzle would be missing some pieces. I was just hoping it wouldn't be missing too many pieces, and that they would turn up.

I moved the puzzle at lunch time, and at that point it was almost finished! My husband helped me after lunch. It was so cool to see the pieces taking shape! We decided we'd let our youngest daughter put in the last piece, since this was her puzzle. And our oldest daughter could put in the second to last piece. Finally it came time to finish the puzzle! We were missing three pieces, but other than those three, the last two pieces were ready to be put in. Our girls put those two pieces into the puzzle, and we all sat back and admired the beautiful puzzle. I decided at that time that I will never ever take this puzzle apart! It is not going back into the box! *lol*

We did a lot of searching for those missing puzzle pieces. My husband did find one of them, so now we are down to just two missing pieces. We went through all the other puzzle boxes, and although we did find some puzzle pieces in the wrong box, these two particular pieces have not yet turned up. We are hoping to move this Fall, so I'm guessing they will turn up at that time, if not before. Although I'm really hoping we find the missing pieces sooner than that! When it's complete I want to get some puzzle glue so we can glue the puzzle together. Then we can hang it on the girls' wall. There are several pieces that are supposed to come out to create an even more decorative border, but I won't remove them until we have the puzzle completed. Hopefully one of these days I will have a completed picture to show you. But until then, here is our puzzle.


The Roach

>> Thursday, June 25, 2009

This morning my youngest daughter was looking at a book with a picture of a colorful beetle. It reminded me of something from several years ago. I'm not sure where I got them, but when I was still living at home, somehow I acquired 2 very realistic looking rubber cockroaches. When I was a kid I startled my Mom with them a couple of times. She had a certain kind of ice cream she especially liked. One day I put one of the rubber cockroaches in the small tub of ice cream. I think it was one of those small Ben & Jerry packs, or something like that. When she opened the lid, out popped the cockroach. It was great fun, as I have rarely heard my Mom scream. She got me back though... one day she stuck the rubber cockroach up into the faucet of the bathtub, so when I turned on the water, the roach came out with the gush of water, giving it the appearance of swimming for its life. The favor was returned; Mom got to hear me scream.

Recently when I was going through a box of memorabilia from my childhood, I came across the rubber cockroaches. I stuck them away for just the right moment. Today that moment came.

When my daughter was examining the colorful beetle in her book, I rather nonchalantly mentioned I had a cockroach. Both girls were instantly interested; Really? Can we see it? What's its name? How come we've never seen it before? I told them when I was finished with my coffee, I'd show them my cockroach. But be forewarned, he doesn't like being out in the light, and he gets nervous around people. My kids couldn't believe I'd have a pet cockroach, and my oldest was very skeptical. They could hardly wait for me to finish my coffee. Then I went into my room and shut the door. I cupped the rubber cockroach in one hand and covered him with the other. Then I went out into the living room. Both girls were very interested to see the cockroach. I gingerly opened my hands just enough for them to get a glimpse, then quickly covered him again. My youngest was a little nervous, but my oldest said, "That can't be real!" I told them he was tickling my hands because he was moving around. Then I pushed his head out between my fingers with my thumb, and both girls screamed. "It's real!" I was having great fun with this. I don't normally play pranks on my children, but this time it was just too fun. After this I let the cockroach "jump" out of my hands, towards the girls. My husband had the camera and was recording, so I thought I'd share the resulting video. Hopefully I don't appear mean for doing this, as it was all in fun. And after it was over, my girls were able to laugh about it. They loved watching the video, too. And I eventually let them know this was not a real live cockroach. :-) Enjoy the video!

Edit - I've decided to remove this video due to a couple of "visitors" that have left me a bit uncomfortable. I think I will have to rethink posting videos in the future, especially when they deal with my kids. I am a Momma Bear, and protecting my children is my highest priority. :-) The visits in question are probably completely innocent, but I've decided it's best to err on the side of caution.


Under Construction

>> Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I've decided it's time to choose a new layout for my blog. When I picked this template it was Autumn, and I was ready for Christmas. This seemed to fit. Now that summer is here (I'm behind the times!) I decided something new is in order. Of course the template I've decided upon will not work with everything in my side bar, so now I have the fun task of trying to get everything to fit. So if this blog starts looking a bit odd, hopefully I can get it back in gear! And I really hope I don't make the whole thing go *poof*! :-) If you see a new background to my blog and everything seems to be in place, then I will have succeeded! :-)

Edit... I seem to have everything figured out, except my mp3 player of my girls singing. For some reason I just cannot get that to work in this new layout! So now I need to decide, to I change to a new layout, continue to work on the problem, or leave out the mp3's? I think they'd be disappointed if their songs were no longer here, I've put too much effort into this silly thing to quit, so I guess that means I keep at it. Which means it's after 10:00 and the laundry still isn't folded. Ah, such is the life we lead in this technological age! :-)

Final Edit... I think I've found a work around! I've found a customizable mp3 player, that I can adjust the size of the player. I can only put one song in it, so I just made one player for each song. Now maybe I can go to bed! :-)


The "S" Word

This Sunday, my oldest daughter and I are going to have a very special afternoon and evening. We've arranged with her grandparents to keep her younger sister for the night, and my husband will be at work. I have told her we'll have that time together, just the two of us, and given her just a few hints as to what we're going to do. She's growing up too quickly, so I want to have a time for the two of us to talk, do girl things (like paint our fingernails and eat chocolate), and just have fun together.

Tonight at the table she turned to me and said, "Mommy after supper I need to talk to you. It's private, just for the two of us. It's about the "S" word."

The "S" word? I could only think of one "s" word that would require privacy to talk about. What question should she possibly have that was so urgent? She's EIGHT! We have been open and answered any questions she's had, but so far her questions have been very simple and basic, nothing requiring secrecy.

After supper we went to her room and sat down on her bed. I was trying to prepare myself for any question she might have. Taking a deep breath, I asked what was on her mind.

"Mommy, on Sunday if it's nice, can we sit outside when we go to Starbucks?"

I breathed a sigh of relief. "Starbucks" was the "s" word. She was being cryptic because she didn't want her little sister to be jealous of the fun day we had planned. I guess my little girl is going to stay a little girl for a little while longer. :-)


I did it!

>> Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ok, I believe I have added an mp3 player with 2 songs to my sidebar. It seems to work on my computer, hopefully it will work on others, as well! :-) I just picked one song my 8 year old is singing and playing on her ukulele. My 5 year old wanted to do something too, so she sang one of her favorite songs, from one of her favorite movies. I'm not sure how to put titles into the MP3 player, so it's just the link name. When I listen to the song, a little popup comes to the top of my browser saying I need some plugin for it to work, but I didn't download it, and it works fine for me to listen. If anyone has trouble with the player, let me know and I'll see what else I can find. Thanks! Also, I don't know if I'll change the songs in the future, but I put today's date in the title of the mp3 player. If I ever update it, I'll put the current date in there, so it will be easy to see if I've added any new songs.

(Update... I just checked to see what plugin it tried to install, and it's apple quicktime. I don't particularily like quitime, and I don't want to install it on my computer. It doesn't seem like you actually need it to work, but if it doesn't work for you without the plugin, let me know, and I'll look for another player. Thanks!)


My Ukulele Gal

My oldest daughter has been taking ukulele lessons for a few months. I love to listen to her play and sing! One of these days if I can figure out how to do it, I'll try to put up one of those music players in my side bar, and put her mp3's into it. That could take a while, though. I'm not that tech savy. :-) It's one of my goals, though. Maybe I can work on it this summer, during our break from school.

I seem to have been in a blogging rut the past couple of weeks. And even though now I have my computer in front of me, I can't think of much to write. So I guess I'll put the blog away for a few more days, and hope inspiration strikes! :-) Or maybe I can use this time to try and figure out how to put my daughter's mp3s into my blog. In any case, I'll try to have something more of interest in the next few days.


Next Year's School

>> Friday, June 5, 2009

Even though we're at the end of our school year and I'm sooooo ready for summer vacation, I'm anxious to get next year's curriculum. We'll begin our 2-year study of American History, and it looks really exciting! Some things we'll be learning (taken from Sonlight Core 3):

  • We'll start with archeological information from hundreds of years before Christ
  • We'll accompany Columbus on his journey across the Atlantic
  • We will
    discover which state was founded on the loot of smugglers and pirates, and which state (then a colony) was founded by men who believed the Bible taught them never to offer military or police protection when their citizens were attacked.
  • We will meet Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Lewis and Clark, and many others
  • In Science we will study physics, human anatomy, biology, and taxonomy...
This is definitely going to be a fun year! I can hardly wait to start!


A Day To Remember

>> Sunday, May 31, 2009

Today is a very special day. On this day, May 31st, 2009, my oldest Daughter was baptized by my husband! Today has been a day of celebration! We praise God for our daughter, and the decision she has made to follow Him. Today is a day to remember!


Ice Cream

>> Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last night the girls and I made ice cream and this time I took a video. We did it a little differently as we doubled the recipe, and put the baggie with the milk mixture in a mixing bowl with a lid, rather than a larger zip lock. It didn't turn out quite as well, but I think part of that was due to the fact that it was 80 degrees inside, so as soon as we served the ice cream into the bowls it started to melt, very quickly!

My oldest daughter narrated the video, and my younger daughter made crazy faces. :-)

I feel a bit odd for posting a video, as I've never even posted pictures of my girls on this blog. But my husband recently started up his blog again and he's posting pictures and videos, so I figure I might as well. Enjoy!


Quote of the Day

>> Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Maybe growing up is harder than I thought it would be!" ~ Words of wisdom, by my 8-year old.


Say What?

>> Sunday, May 24, 2009

This morning my girls decided to wear their Easter dresses to church. My husband has been taking a picture of them every day lately to send out to the Grandparents, and when my 8-year old saw her picture she said, "I look like Mommy!" At first I was flattered... then she continued, "I look really old!" Kids. :-)


Recipe for Fun

>> Monday, May 18, 2009

I've seen several recipes online for home made ice cream in a ziplock baggie, and I've always wanted to try it. Well, tonight I decided this would be as good of day as any! It's a great easy recipe to do with kids! You will need...


  • 1/2 cup milk (we used 2%, but it might be even better with whole)
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbs. Sea Salt
  • 4 trays of ice cubes
  • 1 quart sized ziplock bag
  • 2 gallon sized ziplock bags
  • broom and dustpan
  • 50's music
  • Mommy
  • 2 giggly girls
  • Pour milk into the small ziplock baggie. I found it helpful to push the baggie down into a tall glass, with the edges of the baggie hanging over. It made it real easy to make the baggie stand up. I measured out the milk, and my 5-year old helped me add all the ingredients.
  • Let your 5-year old scoop one Tablespoon of sugar out of the sugar canister
  • Sweep one tablespoon of sugar off of the Mommy, the counter, and the floor
  • Help your 5-year old measure out one Tablespoon of sugar, and add it to the milk
  • Poor in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, plus whatever extra splashes come with it
  • Seal up the baggie
  • Insert one gallon baggie into the other (This is extra protection in case all the shaking punctures a hole in your gallon baggie)
  • Fill the inside gallon baggie with all four trays of ice cubes
  • Insert the baggie with the milk mixture into the large baggie, burying it into the ice
  • Pour 2 Tbs. salt into the large baggie, and seal
  • Turn on the 50's music, and let the giggly girls take turns shaking up the bag!
We had such a blast with this! I didn't time to see how long we shook our bag, but we got a bit impatient for a sample so I'm sure it wasn't more than 10 minutes. It could have used a bit more shaking, but it turned out pretty good! We poured the ice cream into a small bowl, and each got a spoon and dug in. We'll make it again later this week when Daddy is home, and this time I think we'll make more than just one serving. 1/2 cup is just not enough to share between 3 or 4 people! :-) This would also be great with chocolate syrup!


Dinner Is Served

>> Sunday, May 10, 2009

For a while now my daughters have wanted to serve me breakfast in bed. Because they are rarely both up before me, this has been difficult for them to plan. So this morning my oldest daughter told me she wanted to serve me supper in bed for my Mother’s Day gift. I was very hesitant to agree to this as my husband leaves for work at 4:00, so they would be completely on their own in the kitchen. I almost said no, but I knew how important this was to her. So I reluctantly agreed, but tried not to show my hesitation to her. She was so excited, I didn’t want to spoil her fun.

My daughter planned out an entire menu, and had me get settled in bed. Then her younger sister brought in their little TV tray, and my older daughter handed me the menu. Each thing on the menu came with a price… kisses! My choices were:

Burritoe………………......1 kiss

PB&H……………………3 kiss’s

Cheese ‘n’ crackers………2 kiss’s

Cinnomon Toaster’s …….4 kiss’s

Oatmeal………………….1 kiss

Raisin’s ………………….1 kiss

Since my girls were completely unsupervised in this endeavor, I chose the peanut butter and honey sandwich. I didn’t want them using the microwave without an adult, or a sharp knife to slice cheese. They also had a list of sides to choose from, as well as desserts and drinks. I put in my order (including "Doritoe's (tm)", water, and some leftover Easter candy for dessert) and waited expectantly for this fantastic meal.

Listening to the girls in the kitchen was so much fun! Our bedroom isn’t too far from the kitchen, so I could hear what was going on. How precious hearing the girls work together so well in preparing supper for their Mommy… truly a gift of love! And fortunately I only heard the words “Uh oh!” once. :-)

I did have to try really hard not to laugh when I heard my older daughter yelling to her younger sister, “No don’t lick that! I still need to make my sandwich with it! Oh well, I’ll just rinse it off, but don’t lick it again!"

Finally everything was ready, and they brought my plate into the bedroom. They had made me a half peanut butter and honey sandwich. They tore the sandwich in half and arranged it on the plate along with the Doritos to resemble a smiley face. The two pieces of sandwich were the eyes, the chips were the smile and nose.

This was such a precious gift! It is definitely something I will cherish for many years to come. And there wasn't too big of a mess in the kitchen for me to clean up when supper was over. :-)

God has truly blessed me with my children!


Lasagna Roll Ups

>> Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today for lunch my husband tried a new recipe. We had company (his parents and uncle) which was great fun, and something we don't do near enough. If only I could cook as well as my husband! Oh well, he is an excellent cook, and I enjoy eating his creations! Rather than repeat the entire recipe here, instead I'll give you the picture, and link where you can see the recipe yourself. Oh, and my hubby also made his homemade sauce, from his own recipe. I love it when he makes things from scratch, so we can controll the sodium, and other things we don't want adding up in our food. I look forward to the day when we can have a garden, and grow our own veggies!

Ok, so here's the picture, and the recipe...


Road to Recovery

>> Monday, April 20, 2009

This past week has been a difficult one. Somehow I strained my trapezius muscle, and my neck / shoulders / back have been in a lot of pain. My husband has been great though! He's completely taken over the housework, and taking care of the kids this week. And his parents have been a tremendous help as well. I'm really blessed!

My kids have enjoyed having most of last week off from school. We did just a little school last week, so I'm hoping this week we can get back in to things. I think we'll take it slow though, and just see what we can accomplish.

My girls have been really sweet this week, too. Monday was a difficult day, so I went to the bedroom to lay down while they were finishing up their supper. When I came out a little while later, my children had cleaned up the kitchen as best as they could.

Even though this has been a difficult week, it has helped to reaffirm in my mind just how blessed I am!


Alice Swissenheart

>> Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To encourage my daughter with her creative writing, we've decided to start a school blog. It will be a place she can publish her book reports, write about field trips, and any other creative writing assignements she wants to include. She's always wanted a pen name, so for her new blog, her chosen pen name is Alice Swissenheart. One of her favorite books is Alice In Wonderland, but I'm not sure where she came up with the Swissenheart.

If you're interested to see her blog, here's the link. We don't have anything up yet, but I'm hoping to have her first post by the end of the week.


The Old Testament

>> Monday, April 13, 2009

The other day my husband overheard our children having a theological discussion. Our 8-year old said to our 5-year old, "The Old Testament is full of old people. That must be why they call it the Old Testament."

Seems logical to me! :-)


I love my husband!

>> Monday, February 23, 2009

This has been a rough week, health wise. I guess there's something going around... just about everyone you talk to has at least one sick person in their family. It's not much fun. The bug finally caught up with me on Tuesday, and I've been pretty much wiped out ever since. Wedensdays and Thursdays are my husband's days off, and this week he spent his days off taking care of me and the girls. He has done everything - cooking, washing dishes, cleaning up the apartment, playing with our youngest (who seems to have somehow avoided this bug), making sure me and our oldest daughter were comfortable... My husband has been absolutely wonderful! Unfortunatly, late Friday night / early Saturday morning, it hit him. He's missed the past two days of work, and the three of us have remained sick. He's feeling better today, and is hoping to get back to work tonight. I just wanted to tell everyone how wonderful he's been! I love you, Darling! :-)


good kitty

>> Monday, February 16, 2009

My girls have this bug that seems to be hitting everyone right now. My youngest is doing pretty well today, but my oldest is pretty miserable. She's been sleeping on the couch most of the day. She's got a fever, but is also cold, so I've covered her with a light blanket. I just walked by a few minutes ago, and she's sleeping on the couch, and curled up next to her is our kitty, Autumn. What a precious site... a sleeping child, and an empathetic kitty sleeping next to her, keeping her warm. It's amazing to me how animals always seem to know when we are sick or in need of comfort. That's definately got to be a God thing. I wonder what it would have been like before the fall? I assume there would not have been sickness, but at the same time, if a person was in need of comfort, can you imagine a lion curling up next to you, purring in your ear, giving you warmth and comfort? What a beautiful world God created for us!


Sugar Cookies

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I realize we're two months past Christmas, and I never posted my recipe for sugar cookies. So here I am, a couple months late! Which pretty much describes almost every aspect of my life. :-) (Actually, I would have posted these much sooner, but for some reason I wasn't able to access the folder on the computer with these pictures. My hubby finally figured it out for me today, so I could post the pictures.)

This recipe comes from a Sesame Street book my parents bought when I was in Preschool, and the recipe is called Cookie Monster's Sugar Cookies. I remember my Mom making these cookies as I was growing up, and I loved them! This year I made them for my family, and they were a hit! But as it turns out, I realized I don't follow the original recipe. I didn't mean to improvise, but apparently I did. So I'll post my modified recipe, since that's what I've been making.

1/2 c. butter

1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 & 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Blend butter and sugar with fork. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the bowl. Knead (this is the kids' favorite part!), then chill at least one hour, or overnight. Roll out and cut into shapes on a floured board. Bake at 400, 6-8 minutes.

And here's the finished product. These are the nativity cookie cutters my parents gave us for Christmas. See if you can make out all the shapes...
I apologize the picture is a big blurry. I took this picture Christmas Eve, and I guess I didn't bother checking until now to see if the picture was in focus. :-) In any case, I'm sure you can recognize the heart, star, angel, camel, king, Joseph, Baby Jesus and manger, Mary, shepherd and sheep. But can you guess what that odd looking shape is under Mary? Actually, it's in the picture upside down. It's supposed to be a donkey, but when I first pulled the cookie cutter out of the container I couldn't figure out what that animal was supposed to be. I turned it upside down and thought it looked like a slug. My husband says this is the NorthWest version of the nativity, as we get a lot of slugs in our neck of the woods. :-) So for our family, the final critter, rather than being a donkey, is a slug.


potty mouth

>> Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday I went to the dentist for my anual cleaning. My girls were interested to see what was going on with Mommy, so the hygenist invited them into the room. She is a very kind and grandmotherly lady, and on her days off work she visits schools to teach the children about dental hygene. While she was cleaning my teeth, the hygenist was telling the girls about plaque. She told my girls the story she tells the children in schools; "Everyone has teeny tiny bugs in their mouth called bacteria. These bugs eat the same things you eat, but they especially love when you eat sugar. And after they eat, the bugs do the same thing you do after you eat; they have to go potty. And that's where plaque comes from. So you see why it's so important to brush your teeth very well every day?" She had a hard time finding any plaque in my mouth, but was able to come up with just a little to show the girls. My youngest daughter's eyes got real wide as she thought about what these teeny tiny bugs were doing in people's mouths and she said, "Is that why you were gloves?"

Out of the mouths of babes!


To Facebook or Not To Facebook

>> Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My husband has had a facebook account for a while now, and he thinks I should get one, too.  But I've been resistant.  I have enough ways of wasting my time as it is now.  And if I were to get a facebook page, I'm afraid that's what it would become for me... just another time waster.  But today I got to thinking, it would be a fun way to be able to share pictures with family.... although they would also have to have accounts.  And there are other people in my family who are just as resistant to facebook as me.  I suppose I could put up pictures here on my blog, but I'm hesitant to do that, as well.  At least with facebook (at least as far as I understand), only people you want can access your page.  So I'll have to keep thinking... I'd love to put up pictures of the kids, but there's a part of me that's leery of doing that.  Even though I met my wonderful husband online, I don't trust the web.  I suppose I'm a bit paranoid.  So for now I suppose I'll just have to stick with sending pictures in emails.  For whoever reads this blog, if you have an opinion on posting pictures here, on facebook, or an alternative way of sharing pictures online, I'd love to read your comments!


One year ago tomorrow...

>> Friday, January 16, 2009

One year ago tomorrow my little sweetie asked Jesus to come into her heart. She was 4 years old, the same age as her older sister when she asked Jesus into her heart. What an exciting year this has been, watching her grow spiritually. I remember that first night so clearly. She had been in bed, but came out to me and said in an almost disappointed tone, "Mommy, I asked Jesus to come in to my heart, but I didn't see Him come in!" So I crawled into bed with her, and we discussed what it means to ask Jesus in to your heart. She said she knew she had done naughty things, and she was sorry and wanted Jesus to come live in her heart, but she couldn't understand why she didn't see Him enter her. Ah, the faith of a child!

Since then she has played with Jesus, colored with Jesus, and tried to give Jesus gifts. She has come to me, not understanding why He won't take her toys up to heaven with Him.

For the last several months my little sweetie has questioned me, wanting to understand how Jesus enters our hearts. When I couldn't give her an answer she was satisfied with, she said, "Maybe He crawls in." Then one night during our bedtime devotions we read a Bible story that said Jesus rules in our hearts. I could almost see a light bulb turn on over hear head and she exclaimed, "Ohhhhh! So that's how Jesus gets in our hearts! He rolls in!"

Yes, the faith of a child. Happy birthday, Sweetie!


Coffee with Jesus

>> Sunday, January 11, 2009

This afternoon has been so quiet! My hubby's parents took the girls for a sleepover today, so this afternoon has been just me and the cat. I straightened the apartment, made my oldest daughter's birthday present (She's going to be 8 next week! I keep thinking I'm not old enough for an 8 year old! Then I have to remind myself I'm in my 30's...), and now I'm just enjoying a quiet relaxing evening. I might have to make myself a cup of tea in a little while, as it seems cold in here, and tea just sounds good this evening. It's too bad I can't have coffee in the evening, but the caffeine would keep me awake all night. Actually, it's probably a good thing I have to stop drinking coffee at noon, or our grocery bill would probably double. :-)

Anyway, I promised I'd share about my quiet time and computer fasting from this past week, so here I am. To be honest, I only stayed away from the computer for a few days, and they weren't all consecutive. I think the easiest thing would be to copy some things from my journal.

Friday, 1/2/09 - I put away my computer this morning, for a few days. I spend more time with my computer than I do with Jesus. I even spend more time with my computer than I do with my kids. It's definitely time to get my priorities straight.
Saturday, 1/3/09 - My quiet time this morning was fantastic! I woke up before my alarm went off & had around an hour & 45 minutes in prayer & Bible reading, and it was amazing!
Sunday, 1/4/09 - This evening I opened up my computer to rip some praise songs into mp3s to use in my quiet time. That would have been fine, but I got sidetracked & spent a couple hours on the internet surfing, just doing worthless stuff. I think I need to set up some ground rules for myself with my computer.
Monday, 1/5/09 - I had another really great quiet time this morning! Having praise music to listen to with my headphones while everyone else was asleep was really cool.The songs really spoke to my heart, especially Draw Me Close To You. This morning my 5-year old got up while I was reading my Bible. Usually when she gets up she wants to cuddle, and I almost always say, "No, Mommy's having her quiet time with Jesus." I have a hard time praying when she's there, because she asks questions, and talks, and makes it hard for me to focus. But this morning I decided since I was done praying & was reading my Bible, I'd go ahead and hold her. So I picked her up and we cuddled while I read. Then I decided I might as well read out loud. I was reading the first 3 chapters of Exodus, so I read out loud to her while she snuggled in my arms. I don't know if she absorbed any of what I was reading, but it was nice to snuggle with her while I read.
Tuesday, 1/6/09 - This morning when my alarm went off I knew I should get up, but I didn't. I turned it off & went back to sleep. By the time I got up it was time to fix breakfast for the girls, then do school. I haven't been feeling so well all morning - I don't feel sick, but I am feeling emotionally drained. I think it's because I didn't have my quiet time this morning. It's almost like when I don't have any coffee & go through withdrawl & feel all sluggish... I've given my daughter some work she can do independently, and retreated to my room for my quiet time. So now I'm going to have my coffee with Jesus & see if I feel any better..... Later... Yes - I feel very much refreshed! Now I am prepared for my day.

Those are the only days I wrote in my journal, but I've definitely learned something... putting aside distractions (whatever they may be... computer, sleeping in, anything else I'm tempted with) and having a set time each day to meet with Jesus makes a huge difference in my day! I've also found coffee is very important when it comes to my quiet time. If I grind the coffee beans and program the coffee pot the night before to start in the morning, I am much more likely to get up and have my quiet time. (I can't grind the coffee beans early in the morning without taking the risk of waking my youngest daughter. She'll hear it and get up, and then quiet time is no longer quiet. *s*) When my alarm goes off I know I only have so long to get up and have my coffee before the coffee pot turns off and the coffee gets cold, and then I've wasted my coffee. But if I don't set up the coffee pot the night before, I have less motivation to get up in the morning. And once the rest of the family wakes up, it's very difficult to find quiet time without distractions. I know it sounds silly, but for me, coffee is essential to my quiet times. :-)

One day recently when I did sleep in and had my quiet time later in the day, my youngest daughter saw me taking my cup of coffee into my room, and we had the following conversation. "Mommy, are you going to have your coffee with Jesus?" "Yes, sweetie, I am." "But Mommy, Jesus can't drink coffee!" "Oh Darling, if Jesus wanted to, He could drink coffee! After all, He created it!"

I think that pretty much concludes my week! Oh, and not every morning that I had my quiet time was fantastic. I was talking to a friend about that on the phone the other day, and she reminded me that's the way it is with any relationship. Some days are terrific. And some are just OK, nothing spectacular. But I guess just the fact that Jesus wants me to keep coming to Him is spectacular!

Oh, and there's one last thing I'll share. This morning my daughter got up after I had finished having my Devotions. She was so disappointed I was done. "Mommy, I wanted you to hold me and read to me!" So I scooped her up and read out loud the next chapter from my reading in Exodus. That was so special to me; she's just turned 5, and wants me to read to her from my Bible. The amazing thing is, usually she is not interested in books without pictures. But I guess God can even use "grownup Bibles" to speak to His little children.


real quick

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

I've just got a few minutes, but I wanted to make a quick post saying I haven't fallen off the planet. :-) I've had a really good week, and I'll write more about it tomorrow when I have more time. Have a great weekend!


Friend of God

>> Friday, January 2, 2009

Lately in my Quiet Time I have seen certain people stand out as being called a "friend of God." The first, of course, are Adam and Eve. Imagine walking with God in the garden every evening! I've heard this story I don't know how many times in my life, but this time the thing that most stood out was that God came to the garden to walk with Adam and Eve. Wouldn't that be amazing? (Adam and Eve aren't called friends of God in this passage, but I can see a friendship between them, at least before the fall.)

Then we read about Cain killing his brother, Abel. I always thought Cain must have been a bad person, right to the core of his being. I mean, how can anyone even think of killing their own brother? But when God banished him from the land, Cain's response makes me think twice... "My punishment is too great for me to bear! You have banished me from my land and from Your presence...!" (Genesis 4:13-14) Now granted, Cain's first thought was being banished from his land, but the fact that he brings up being banished from God's presence tells me he must have had some sort of relationship with his heavenly Father.

Now comes one of my favorite people in the Bible; Enoch! I really wish we were told more about him. But what a legacy! "...Enoch lived another 300 years in close fellowship with God, and he had other sons and daughters.... He enjoyed a close relationship with God throughout his life. Then suddenly, he disappeared because God took him." (Genesis 5:22, 24) I've often wondered, what about Enoch set him apart so much that he above all others of his time enjoyed a close fellowship with God? What can I do to have what Enoch had? I long for that close relationship with my heavenly Father!

Well as you can probably guess, I'm reading through Genesis. :-) And I've come to see there are several people throughout this book who enjoyed a close relationship with God. I love how it says they enjoyed a close relationship with God. Because that truly is something to enjoy!

Even though I really long for this close relationship with God, lately it just seems out of my grasp. I don't feel close to Him. And I know we can't always rely on feelings because they don't truly gauge the heart. But I've been wondering, what can I do to grow closer to my Father?

Another passage I've recently read is where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac. That has always bothered me, that God would even ask Abraham to do such a thing! I know God had planned all along to spare Isaac, but it is still a really hard story for me to think about. But I guess the point was, Abraham was willing to give up everything he had for God.

Then later when God called Jacob to move his family, first he got rid of his household idols, and purified his family and moved to where God called him. I thought it was really strange that Jacob had idols, when he was obviously a God-fearing man. So I read a little bit about this, and apparently the idols were something of a "good luck charm." Jacob probably didn't worship the idols, but they were something he had with pagan roots that would have gotten in the way of his relationship with God.

So this morning I got to thinking, what do I have in my life that is getting in the way of my relationship with my heavenly Father? And if there is anything, am I willing to surrender it to Him? Well unfortunately, one thing does come to my mind; my computer. I use this thing more than I care to admit. :-) And nothing I do on it is wrong... but if there is any chance that my time on my computer is coming between me and God, then I need to change something. So for the time, I'm going to put my laptop back in its case, and put it away. I don't know how long it will be; it could be a couple days, it could be a week. But I am not going to use my computer until whatever stronghold it has over me is broken, and I can think of my self as a friend of God. I want to use this time to grow closer to Him.

In any case, I won't be blogging for a few days! But I'll be back. And hopefully then my faith will be refreshed, and I will feel what I know is true in my heart.

Oh, and Happy New Year!



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