Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weatherization

God blessed us this week with having our house weatherized! Two gentlemen came into our house and found all the areas where air was leaking in/out. At one point they hooked up this big screen in our doorway and blew air into the house to find all the drafts. It was very powerful and yet not very loud. Technology....amazing! In the days ahead we will have more insulation blown into our roof and many other items around the house, windows, and doors fixed! Our home will be warm and energy efficient by winter. Yeah!! God is so good! All of this is being done at no charge to me!!! What a blessing!!!

Can you believe I had to turn on my heat last night?? It dropped down to 38 degrees!! In my basement that feels like 18 degrees! Brrrrrrrr!

Turkey and Cheese Braid

Didn't these turn out pretty? I've always wanted to make one from scratch, but never have. They were soooo good!! Sorry about my ugly pan. We also made a new coffee cake that was found in a Molly Cookbook by my niece. It was a big hit. So big that the first piece was cut before a pic could be taken. lol
Turkey and Cheese Braid (original recipe from Dodi R.)
*I used my Kitchen aide for this recipe
2 cups warm water
3 tbls. Yeast
4 tbls. Sugar (evaporated cane juice, or raw sugar or honey)
4 tbls. Melted butter
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup mustard (whatever kind you like-fancy or plain)
6-7 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbls. Dough enhancer (opt.)
1 egg-for brushing on dough, 20 slices of deli cut turkey or ham, cut in half, 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
~Mix together water, yeast, sugar and two cups of flour. Allow dough to rest until bubbly.
~Add melted butter, salt, mustard and dough enhancer. Mix well.
~Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from bowl. (At some point switch to your dough hook) Don't let the dough get too stiff. Knead 6-10 minutes until dough is stretchy and gluten developed.
~Divide dough in half. Roll out into a rectangle. Down the center of the dough, long ways, put 5 slices of turkey or ham, then put 1 cup of shredded cheese on top of that and add another layer of turkey. Using a knife, pizza cutter or pastry knife cut strips in dough on either side of meat and cheese.
~Carefully fold strips over meant alternating sides to make a "braid."
~Put bread on greased pan. Repeat with second half of dough. Allow to rise, covered, for 30 minutes.
~After dough has risen, take egg and beat it. Then brush on top of bread. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
*Serve Warm. Makes 2 loaves. Serves 6-8 depending if you have teen aged boys or not!

World History

We've had some fun history activities this week. I really like fun simple ideas that make history come alive for the girls. We laugh a lot over here! We "mummified" each other and one special doll, with toilet paper. The Egyptians believed they would need their most trusted servants with them in the afterlife. And we played leap frog as a demonstration of how the Minoan civilization liked the sport of bull leaping. As you can guess by the name, they played with live BULLS! We tried to get a pic of Miracle leaping over me (the bull LOL), but she was just too fast. So we have a video of her instead.

The girls mummifying their most trusted servants!

Wrapped and Ready!!
I honestly tried to get out of this one.....but they wouldn't have any of that!! LOL
And here's our version of Bull Leaping....or better known in America as Leap Frog!
video

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pizza Tonight

I thoroughly enjoy cooking and baking with my girls! They each are developing their own strengths. Rosebud would make cookies everyday if she had HER way! lol She picks out different cookbooks at the library each week. Then she goes through them looking for just the right cookie for us to make that week. This week it's chocolate octopus cookies with M&M eyes. Very fun, just like her! Miracle likes being my helper. Whether it be chopping, slicing, grating or mixing, she's ready to help! She loves getting her hands dirty like when she mushes meatloaf or kneads dough. Pillar is mastering baking this year. Not necessarily sweets, although she's really good at that too. But breads, rolls and her delicious pizzas! This is what she fixed us for dinner tonight. YUM!!!
BEFORE
AFTER
I really do love the time we spend together in the kitchen. It's such a great opportunity to talk about what is on their hearts. I treasure the moments everyday.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Spiders, Beetles and Bees....Oh My!!

A week ago Rosebud woke up with what looked like a bug bite on her cheek. I looked at it and didn't see anything suspicious. But it's been more than a week now and everyday more sores show up on her body. They don't show up well in pics, but here you can see that they are on her cheek by her ear, on her neck, and at the top of her nose between her eyes. She also has them on her back, on her arms and fingers as well as her ankles. They start out as painful blisters and turn into horrible itchy sores. She started itching them so hard that she was gouging her skin, making herself bleed. Needless to say, I took her to the doctor. He didn't believe them to be poison ivy/oak, but rather nasty bug bites that she's having a reaction to. Possibly spiders. Lovely. She is now on two different steroids as well as Benadryl to help with the itching. The doctor was pretty sure that she got them outside while playing. We live on an acre of treed land, on a cul-de-sac right across the street from a lake. Parts of it are wooded like a forest, while others are just trees that I can mow around. So we have lots of critters around here and many many spiders!! Under the circumstances I thought we should tackle one of those not so fun projects and clean all the areas where the spiders like to hide out! We took down all the screens off the windows on the back of the house and cleaned them as well as the windows themselves. (I'm sure that would have made a funny pic, except that it took all 4 of us to do it! lol) We also cleaned all the outside light fixtures. What we found most interesting was that inside one of them was a ton of dead bees, and in another ones was dead beetles! OK.....that's just GROSS!! But I can happily say that the spiders and their webs are GONE! Yeah!!
I thought I would take a pic of our nice clean windows before we put the screens back on. And can I say that it was much harder putting them back on than it was taking them off. At least on the second story while standing on a ladder! lol
I won't bore you with pics of all my nice clean, spider free zones now. But trust me....they sparkle!!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Look at it SPARKLE!!

I wish I could say that I clean out my fridge every week. And although I try to make sure that spills are cleaned up, that nothing is "lurking" in the back or that nothing is "growing"in the dark......I do not take apart the shelves and scrub them down as I should on a regular basis. So I thought I would capture the sparkly clean interior of my fridge while it is still so!!! LOL I was given something that I thought was frozen bread. It resembled philo bread and came in a big rectangular slab. So I stuck it on a cookie sheet and baked it. Unfortunately for me, there appears to have been lard or something nasty in between each layer and grease poured off the cookie sheet. It made a HUGE mess on the bottom of my oven. ARGH!! I didn't want to use the oven's self cleaning feature for fear of starting a fire. So.....I first used oven cleaning chemicals and THEN did the self cleaning over night. So much work for something I threw away! Here's my nice clean oven!! Hopefully, it will stay this way for awhile!To top off my VERY good weekend, my wonderful brother and his family came over for a few hours on Sunday and fixed all things broken in my house!! My brother blesses my life in so many ways!! As a single mom and home owner, I have learned how to fix many a thing over the years. NOT because I wanted to....but because I had to. There was no one else to do it for me. I've gotten to know the Home Depot guys pretty well and unfortunately, there are many things I've learned the hard way. And so I'm grateful for a kind and generous brother who is now living close to us and is willing to spend his valuable time helping me! He's teaching his sons well and between the three of them they: replaced my kitchen sink faucet, replaced the electrical outlet in my daughters room, replaced the entire shower head piece, repaired a bedroom doorknob, and repaired my lawnmower tire! What a HUGE blessing!!! And the icing on the cake is that I was able to have a delightful conversation with my sister in law while all this was going on!! What a treat for me!! I am one blessed lady!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Ice Age

This week during History we talked about the Ice Age. So for a fun activity we played around with some ice! First we had a contest to see who could hold an ice cube in the palm of their hand the longest. I wimped out after only a minute. The girls all held out for more than 5 minutes at which time.....I changed the experiment! Now the contest was to see who could keep an ice cube on their BELLY for the longest! As the ice cube melted, the ice cold water would run down. Brrrrrrrr! And all three girls kept that ice on until it was just about melted, about 15 minutes!! Their little bellies were so red and cold!! We laughed so hard, we cried! By the way....I did NOT participate in this last activity. LOL
I really don't think they'll forget much about the ice age....do you???

Science Experiments!!

This week we did several really fun experiments. Pillar learned about chemical reactions. She boiled some red cabbage in water, which accounts for the lovely pink color. Added vinegar. Put baking soda inside the balloon and attached it to the top of the 2-liter bottle. When the balloon with baking soda was emptied into the 2-liter solution......whalaaaaa! Fizz and Foam and Gas.....OH MY!! She really thought the balloon was going to explode!


In this experiment we were learning that there are atoms in everything, even solids. Some are packed loosely, like the corn syrup at the bottom of the glass. While others are packed so hard, like the oil, that it could not pass through the water in the middle. The other items in the glass are a rock, a grape, an ice cube, and a cork. Fascinating!!

These lovely creatures have been Pillar's pets for the last several months. They are salamanders. She was given two of them by a friend who found them in her backyard. Pillar has faithfully caught spiders, moths and crickets everyday to feed them. But alas, due to the upcoming winter and our inability to catch needed insects for their food, she decided this week to let them go so they could find appropriate shelter and safety before winter comes. Here they are starting to burrow under ground.
Good bye.....

Can I just say how much we LOVE to homeschool?!?!?!?!? I'm so grateful that God chose "me" to parent these beautiful, smart, funny girls!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts For Today

“We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.”

“We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing.”

“Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image.”

-A.W. Tozer

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall Harvest Orchard

Every fall we make a trip to Fall Harvest Orchard. It's owned by wonderful grandparents who open up their farm to children and their families free of charge! Depending on what time of day you arrive, you might be able to gather eggs, feed the cows or give milk to the baby goats. The children can hold/pet the baby chicks, goats and baby piglets! And there are always bags of feed for the goats, which the children LOVE to give them! They also give hayrides through the cornfields, gourd fields, and they stop so you can pick your own apples at a bargain price! But they stop to let the children pick their own corn, gourds or pumpkins for free. They LOVE all the farming questions from the kids. As a homeschool mom, I love the educational aspect of this farm!! It's not just entertaining!! This year we went together with our very good friends from Olson's Merchantile. The girls have grown up together and always have such a good time.

The girls were looking for gourds to make a beautiful centerpiece for our table at home.
There were purple, red, blue and white varieties of corn to be found. If we let them dry out for a couple months, they will be ready for popcorn by Christmas!!
The goats were all too eager to eat out of our hands. They were climbing all over each other to get to us!!
This is a HUGE corn bin that the kids can play in!

And bury each other! LOL

And we have to get the annual ma and pa pic! LOL

Miracle is holding the tiniest newborn chick! Which one is cutest??

Pillar loves animals!

It was a wonderful afternoon!

Answered Prayer

In 2005 I took Pillar with me on a short term missions trip to China. During that time we visited many orphanages. We loved on the children, prayed for the sick, and brought supplies and medicines. It was a life changing experience for both of us!! During one of our visits to Shepherd's Field we met a little girl named Emily. She was sweet and gentle. She always had a smile. But she was very sick and fragile, and unable to be held by any outsiders. She needed medical treatment to save her life that was not available to her in China. Her only hope was that a "forever family" would adopt her from outside China. Until that time, the orphanage was able to keep her alive with blood transfusions every two/three weeks. We have sponsored her every month since our trip. It's been a wonderful experience for our family. One that I would HIGHLY recommend!! Not only do we send $35/month, but we shop for her too! The girls LOVE to go shopping for Emily! We send a box at Christmas and her birthday. But we shop all year round!! The orphanage is so kind to even send us pics of her opening and wearing her new presents!! And, of course, we have prayed for her just about every day for the last four years. She really has become apart of our family!!

We recently heard the wonderful news that Emily will finally be ADOPTED!!!! In the next two weeks she will come to live with her forever family right here in the US!!! We're so happy for her!! And we're so grateful to God for finding her the perfect "forever family." Now she'll be able to get all the love and medical treatment that she needs to lead a full life!!

This first picture was taken the day we met and fell in love with our dear sweet Emily.

The second is a more recent picture taken of her this summer. Doesn't she have the most beautiful smile?
We love you! You will always be our sweet Emily. And just maybe.....someday....God will allow us to meet you face to face again!!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Miracle turns 11!

Miracle turns 11!

The enemy has sought to destroy her from the time she was conceived. BUT GOD has a plan and a purpose for her life!! She is my sunshine, my delight!! I am so very proud of the young lady she is becoming. This is Jubilee, her new doll.


Every year for the girls birthdays I let them choose the menu for the day. Miracle chose homemade blueberry muffins and cantaloupe for breakfast, chicken cashew salad for lunch, and mac and cheese with hot dogs for dinner with homemade Oreo cheesecake for her "birthday cake." Can I just tell you how nasty I think both mac and cheese as well as hot dogs are??? But that's what she wanted. I bought all beef kosher hot dogs, but she insisted that the mac and cheese NOT be homemade......but from a box! LOL Here's the cheese cake. It tasted great!!