Saturday, October 31, 2009

Simple Fall Snack

If you like the taste of Payday candy bars, you'll love this so simple treat.

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All you need is...

Candy corn and Planters salted cocktail peanuts.  Mix them together and then try to keep your hands out of the bowl.

It's that good!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jesus Calling- Book Review

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Jesus Calling- Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Jesus Calling is a devotional book written from the thoughts and impressions that Sarah Young has received from God as she meditated on Him.

The practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received.  In many parts of the world, Christians seem to be searching for a deeper experience of Jesus' Presence and Peace.  The messages, that are included in this devotional, address that felt need.  The Bible is, of course, the only inerrant Word of God; my writings must be consistent with that unchanging standard.  I have written them from Jesus' point of view; i.e., the first person singular (I, Me, Mine) always refers to Christ. "You" refers to you, the reader, so the perspective is that Jesus is speaking to you. (Young, Sarah, Jesus Calling, pg 13)

When I first read the introduction to this book I wasn't certain I would like the format of that the devotionals were written in. I wasn't sure it was something I could learn or grow from. Or anything that would grab me by the heart and head and take me to a deeper understanding of Christ. But, as I began to read I was drawn into the thoughts and emotions of this devotional.  The feelings, struggles, thoughts and yearnings were mine.  It was if Jesus was speaking directly to me.

Seek My face, and you will find not only My Presence but also My Peace. To receive My Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust.  The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand.  Ask My Spirit within you to order your day and control your thoughts, for the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace.

You can have as much of Me and My Peace as you want, through thousands of correct choices each day.  The most persistent choice you face is whether to trust Me or to worry.  You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what.  I am an ever-present help in trouble. Trust Me, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Pg 38)

Each day contains a short devotional such as this, with verses below for further study.  Ms. Young suggests that after you read the devotional each day, you should take time to meditate on what the Lord wants you to learn, do, or not do, for the day. Then take a moment and write any thoughts and impressions down into a notebook/journal.

Jesus Calling is my absolute favorite devotional at this point in time.  My mom has asked to borrow my copy now that I am finished reading it.  However, I just can't part with it yet!  So, I will be buying her her own copy for Christmas!  If your searching for gift ideas for the women in your family, this would make a wonderful gift.  I can't say enough about how amazing this book is.  I know that if you get a chance to read it you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Apples Do My Heart Good

 

On days like these...

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I can't help but get all caught up doing this...

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I've been busy in the kitchen!  My family can't get enough of this Dutch Apple Pie.  When I'm not tossing together a pie, I'm sauteing apples Scalloped Apples or chopping apples for Apple Turnovers or slicing 4 or 5 for fresh eating.  Lately, I've been making applesauce.  In years past I have frozen the applesauce I have made, but this year the freezer is too full (a wonderful problem to have) so I am canning.  Last Saturday I did up 30lbs. of apples and this weekend I am hoping to do 20 more.  I love being able to have warm homemade applesauce a side dish during the cold winter nights.  Nothing can compare to its cinnamony sweetness! 

Apples definitely do my heart good!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pony Buckets

 

Lauren loves to play mommy.  Lately her mommy scenarios involve Joel and I.  In the evenings, if Joel and I happen to be reading in our room, she will jump up on the bed between us and command us, ever so sweetly, to play! She is the mommy. I am the sissy and Joel is the brother, a.k.a buddy.  She sits between us and drives us around in her van. 

This morning we took a trip to the doctor's office for shots.  She repeatedly vaccinated us. I'm pretty sure we are safe from any lurking diseases. Then she proceeded to inoculate every family member, immediate and extended.

Since we were such good patients she rewarded us with a trip to McDonalds. She bought me a chicken nugget meal with french fries and a pink pony.  The best part it all came in a pony bucket!

It all started last Thursday when I took the kids to get the H1N1 vaccine at our pediatricians office.  It was a shot clinic, first come, first serve.  I've never been to a shot clinic, but the way the nurse phrased it I thought I better get there 20 minutes early just to be safe.

When I pulled into the parking lot it was full of people. There was a collective groan in our van and more than one child suggested we just go home. 

Nothing doing.

I had driven an hour to get there and I wasn't backing out now just because there were about 50 people ahead of us.  I parked across the street and hurried my crew across the busy intersection.  We stepped into line, which was snaking half way through the parking lot. 

I calmly told the boys we would probably have to wait about an hour. It was cold and windy. Two of my sons had come out of the house without jackets and me being a good mom didn't even notice. 

Three hours later, with chilled noses and toes, we finally got the vaccinations. Was I foolish to stand there that long? Maybe to some people it would seem that way, but I wasn't the only parent willing to wait.  Parents continued to come and the line grew until it reached the road.  The news paper came and took pictures. 

As I stood there waiting, I knew it was history in the making.  People are scared. They are concerned for their children.  Do they get the shot or don't they.  Is the shot evil or will their children die if they contract the swine flu. I absolutely understand these feelings.  At times I have felt fears' icy grip on my heart.   But, with all the things in this world to fear, I am at peace like I have never been before.  I knew with perfect clarity that we were doing what was right for our children.

So do not fear, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

The Lord has filled me with his peace.  He is my shield and strength.  When I am weak He is strong.  I have been crying out to Him when I feel fear creeping back into my soul.  I am open and honest.  I am not ashamed. I just tell God how I am feeling and ask Him to fill me with His presence.  He knows my weaknesses, He is just waiting for me to give them to Him.  He takes my weakness and in its place fills my soul with His light and Love.

As we stood waiting our turn with the nurse.  I prayed.  I prayed for his protection. I prayed for strength. I prayed for wisdom, should I go home or stay. I prayed for my children. I prayed for patience for each and everyone of us. 

The Lord was with us the whole three hours we stood there. The families on either side of us were friendly and helpful.  God held off the rain until the last 30 minutes of our wait. He calmed my children and they waited patiently, standing the whole time.  Even Lauren, at three, did amazing. 

There were only a few tears from the shots, but all was made right with a special trip to McDonalds.  Well worth the wait! Because the reward included a pink pony and a kid's meal in a pony box or if you are Lauren, a pony bucket!

Which by the way is still floating around my house from room to room. I think the pony bucket is here to stay, but that's okay, because it is a wonderful reminder of God's amazing, wonderful, omnipotence!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beauty Among the Raindrops

It is gray and dreary here today.  The rain has fallen steadily all day and with the help of the wind many of the gorgeously colored leaves have fluttered to the ground.

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The overcast sky can't dampen the beauty of God's earth on these autumn days. The colors are so vivid and striking. 

If only it lasted longer. 

But, to me this is where the intriguing beauty lies...the changing of the seasons.  There is always a bit of color or an amazing change in the weather that catches my eye and makes me pause to give thanks to the wonderful Creator.

Have a wonderful weekend enjoying God's world where you are!

 

Jenn

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Seek and Destroy

Seven years ago right after we had moved into our new home, I heard mysterious noises in our bathroom ceiling.  I told Joel about the scratching and pattering, but he insisted I must be hearing things.

So, I let it go.

A couple of months later, after multiplication, warmth and news of an ideal hideout (I think they invited the whole neighborhood), my husband finally heard the little boogers. Yes, we had mice, in our attic. So, like any conscientious home owner we set traps. 

It worked like a charm.

Until one had the audacity to chew thru our bathroom vent and die.

UGH!

Let me tell you there is nothing as rank as decaying, petrifying animal flesh.

So, for a couple of years the vent in our master bathroom sported the chic, sleek look of cellophane.  We sealed every nook and cranny around our house trying to prevent any more mouse invasions.  But each autumn it never failed, mice came to our attic to seek refuge from inclement weather.

This spring Joel replaced the chewed through vent and we flipped the vent on and off at our leisure.  I was so grateful to have a vent in our bathroom again, it really can be a useful tool!

But my venting days were to be short lived because this morning I had to post this on our bathroom door...

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You guessed it.  Another uninvited visitor has chosen our bathroom vent for his burial ground.

And once again our bathroom vent is all slicked out in a custom cellophane cover.

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As of a couple hours ago, with yet another layer of tape added, we are still experiencing the unpleasant aroma of dead mouse.  I am praying for frigid weather, like I never have before.  I want the intruder freeze dried.  Because no amount of burning apple spice candles can eliminate the wafting noxious scent of dead mouse.

Next step, is entering the mice's lair for a seek and destroy mission, because we are discovering that the cellophane isn't eliminating the suffocating, putrid fumes.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lesson Learned

My heart matches the gray, overcast sky today. Our home is filled with a bit of sorrow. My sons rushed into the house this morning to tell me that our Broken Castor Mini Rex, Molly had babies and that they were all dead. The really horrible part is that we didn't even know she was pregnant. We didn't breed her. However, her babies from her spring litter were in with her for about 4 months until we could take them to the fair. I knew that we were pushing the limits, keeping her babies with her, but we were out of cage space. Plus we knew that we shouldn't have to worry about the bucks bothering their mother for quite awhile, since they were so young.

I feel awful. My heart is heavy. I wish I had known. I would have opened up her nest box. I would have given her as much straw as she desired and more food to sustain her body as her babies grew within her.

Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. Matthew 10:29

I find comfort in knowing that the Lord knows about these five babies. He cares for them. He knows the situation and he knows our hearts are aching for the little bunnies and their momma.

As with most things in life, we learned a lesson the hard way, through trial and error. Today my children learned again how much our animals depend on us for good care. Today we all feel the pain of failure.

But, just as the clouds part and rays of sun filter through, so will our hearts heal and we will be well equipped with knowledge should this ever happen again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cleaning Again

Saturday is my cleaning day. 

I really wish it wasn't.

But, during the week, after full days of schooling, there really isn't much time left for anything but a little laundry and dinner.  Now that Isaac is in 7th grade our days are more full.  He is taking more advanced courses now, such as, Spanish, Drawing and Anatomy/Biology. Then when I add in Jacob's need for me to be close by his side due to his dyslexia and Caleb's need for me to read and explain since he's only in 2nd grade...well you get the idea...LONG DAYS!

So Saturday it is.  The day for scrubbing toilets and tubs, vacuuming and mopping, catching up on laundry, and (cringe) dusting.

But, I don't feel like it!

So presently I am being very self-indulgent! I am catching up on all my friends blogs, sipping coffee with white chocolate macadamia creamer and every so often glancing at the kitchen that is still littered with breakfast paraphernalia.

I really should get my bum up out of this chair and tackle those jobs on my to-to list, they're beckoning me...but its Saturday! 

I know as soon as I start working I will feel so much better.  The sense of accomplishment and a sparkling clean house will lift my spirits.  And then there's this, "One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys." Proverbs 18:9  Ouch!

Well, I can't really argue with that can I. 

Signing off to avoid being a slacker,

 

Jenn

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cheerful Giver


"Here ya go Mom, can you put this in water?" my oldest son asked.

In his hand he held what had to be the world record for the longest naked dandelion. It was all stem. No pretty, sunshine yellow petals to grace it's crown. Not even a fluffy white globe to adorn its button top. Just an amazingly long stem, 29 inches to be exact!

So, I became the proud owner of a record breaking dandelion stem. It was placed in my kitchen window sill, in an antique vase, where we could all wonder at the marvel of such a lengthy stem.

The dandelion is only one example of the wonderful gifts my children have blessed me with over the years.


To read the remainder of my most recent article visit At The Well.



*And don't forget to check out the easy Fabric Pumpkin craft I posted today.

Fabric Pumpkin Craft

We have a 4-H open house coming up in a couple of weeks and our club is setting up a table to help promote 4-H to children and their parents.  I need to come up with a make-it-take-it craft for these children to do when they come by our club's table. 

It has to be fast.

It has to be inexpensive.

It has to be cute.

And most importantly I don't want it to be a paper project that gets thrown away two days later. I want it to be something that the children and their parents can enjoy and display.

~Easy Fabric Pumpkins~

2009-10-13

I found this project several places on the web. One site was  Living Locurto. There are great instructions here. It is super easy, inexpensive, quick and cute. 

Materials Needed:

12x12 fabric squares

Paper towel or toilet paper rolls cut into 2-2 1/4 inch pieces

Plastic shopping bags

Sticks approximately 3 inches long

Hot glue gun

Wrap 2 plastic bags around the 2" piece of toilet paper roll. Hold this in place and set in the center of a square of fabric.  While still holding on to the plastic wrapped tube, take a corner of the fabric and stuff it down the center of the tube.  Continue taking up corners and stuffing them into the center until all fabric is stuffed into the center, glue if neccessary (I didn't find the glue necessary).  Finally apply hot glue to the bottom of your stick and place in the center of the pumpkin. 

Easy Peasy and adorable to boot!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Groovy Girls

With Christmas fast approaching I thought I would share with you one of my favorite finds from last year.

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~Groovy Girls~

These dolls are perfect for little girls!  They are soft and easy to dress and undress (which Lauren likes to do best!).  They have adorable hair and faces. They aren't anatomically correct, just a cute little belly button, nothing more to wonder about. There aren't  tiny little shoes and accessories that so easily get sucked up into the vacuum. They come in different sizes, we have a mini-Groovy girl from the Candy Kingdoms collection and one that is a bit bigger from the Fantasy theme collection.  Best of all there is a whole collection of them and they are affordable! Plus you can buy clothes separately so your little one can strip the doll and have you re-dress it in a different outfit...repeatedly!!

I have never seen these in stores, but then again, I don't get out much! I just happened to stumble across them last year when I was searching Amazon for gift ideas. This year I went to the Manhattan Toy Company web-site and found that the dolls are still a great price ($12.00-$20.00) and the selection is better (obviously) than Amazon, so I may be buying straight from the company. The hard part will be which doll and outfit to choose.

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They are all so cute and truth be told I enjoy playing with them just as much as my daughter does!

SO...if you are looking for a great, adorable, affordable gift for your little girl or a young girl in your family, check these out. I think you'll be glad you did. It will be a doll she and you will enjoy for years to come.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grape Juice Memories

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A couple of weeks ago the boys, sissy and I walked through the fields to my grandma's house, to check on the grapevines, that have grown there for as long as I can remember.  As we picked some grapes for eating I told them why these particular grapes mean so much to me.

When I was a little girl we would spend weekends with our grandparents now and then.  It was always a special time and I now have so many wonderful memories stored up from those visits.

One memory that I treasure is of my grandma's grape juice. On Saturday evenings she would pop a large bowl of the yummiest popcorn, slice up apples perfectly and serve us glasses full of her sweet, home canned, best in the world, grape juice like only grandma could.

We didn't turn on the T.V., watch a movie, surf the Internet, or get absorbed in a video game. It was a simplified life. Before the electronic boom took up so much of everyone's time and attention.  Our family would sit around the table with grandma and grandpa enjoying our evening snack. I remember listening to my parents and grandparents talking. I would half listen at times, but more often us girls would carry on our own conversations. Sometimes if it was just us kids and grandma and grandpa we would play a rousing game of Aggravation.  Grandma would try to be on her best behavior and not send our marbles back to our home bases, but at times her ruthless game nature got the better of her!

Grandma's house sits empty now.  Grandpa has been in heaven for 12 years and Grandma is living in an assisted living home. But, just walking into their yard brings a shower of memories, laughter, a sense of security and a feeling of home.

This winter I will be making some grape juice memories of my own.  Finally, after many years of desiring, I made grape juice from the grapes that grow on my grandma and grandpa's property.

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Saturday evenings when its chilly and the snow is flying, you'll find us at the table with a huge bowl of popcorn, apple slices and some home canned grape juice, just like grandma made.

Oh and kids, watch out, because when we play Aggravation, you might just find your marbles getting knocked off and sent back to homebase. I have a wee bit of your Great Grandma's feistiness in me!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Picture Story~ By the Stream

 

Behind our house we have a stream. It is an awesome playground.  A place where I used to play as a little girl. A wonder world of discovery.

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A rubber boot, muddy delight!

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This year the boys took a shovel and widened around the underground springs that feed the little creek.  Now we have miniature pond, a hide-away for frogs and crayfish. 

 

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It's the perfect place to spend a late summer afternoon.

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And a absolute delight for this photo crazed momma!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Wash a Turkey Or NOT!

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1) Grab turkey in bear hug and waddle over to make-shift wash tub

2) Dodge frantically flapping wings and flailing legs.

3) Carefully lower the freaked out turkey into a nicely prepared bubble bath.

4) Reassure the confused bird with positive sayings like, "It's okay, buddy, it will be over soon." Be sure to use your best turkey voice.

5) Wrap your hand in your toddlers worn out leggings and gently wipe away the grime that has built up over the past 4 months.

6) Once again grasp turkey in your arms and place him in the next wash tub for a gentle rinse cycle.

7) Towel dry sopping wet turkey.

8) Blow dry turkey till nicely fluffed.

OR NOT!

Two days before we had to enter our turkeys we were told by more experienced 4-Her's to try to get the weights of our pairs of turkeys as close together as possible and have uniform meat on the breasts. Plus, just to make life more comical, we needed to give our turkeys a bath, blow dry them and then somehow keep them clean until the show on Saturday.

Well, let me just tell you, we should have had a video camera.

Joel went in the pen and wrangled himself a big ole tom. I yanked the gate open and he struggled out with a squirming, kicking bird. He placed it on the scale only to have it freak out and start beating its wings at a furious pace. I thought for sure it would either break its wings or Joel's nose. I wisely curled up into a ball and stuck my nose to the ground! Joel was on his own! There was no way I was going to get bashed in the face by a flailing turkey!

After much flapping and minor loss of feathers, we finally got the turkey settled down and found that it topped out our baby scales (scales we use to weigh our rabbits). We then knew we had some pretty big birds (37.5 lbs., as we soon came to find out). Joel wisely decided he had had enough of weighing birds and just picked out the biggest four.

We held a mini conference right there in the yard and soon came to a unanimous decision that there would be no turkey bathing in our future. We couldn't even get the crazy things weighed. How were we going to get them in the tubs of bath water that we had so lovingly prepared? Who ever heard of washing a turkey anyhow. The very idea is absurd! However, we stilled opted for a foot washing.

I'm not sure how anyone ever bathed a turkey, because even our foot washing was a struggle. However, after the initial struggles we endured with the weighing, Joel decided an old T-shirt placed on their heads to cover their eyes might calm them a bit. The first turkey behaved beautifully. I quickly washed his poopy feet (a job I didn't cherish). And then Joel carted him off to my potting shed.

We repeated this foot washing ceremony three more times. With much grunting, flapping, splashing, flailing, dodging and scrambling. And come to find out the next day nobody else washed their turkeys either. The whole turkey washing concept~ I'm pretty sure its an initiation ceremony for naive 4-Her's!

After an afternoon spent turkey wrangling we all just wanted to do this...

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