Monday, January 31, 2011

Make Your Own Valentine's Photo Card



We make this card every year for my husband.  I keep the signs in the back of my craft closet and try to remember in enough time to send them to grandparents as well.    The pictures above are from last year's card.  HERE is the finished card from 2009.  Can't show you this year's card yet - it would spoil the surprise :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Handy New Cake



Can you guess?  HERE is my newest cake.  It's so fun to do little boy cakes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Do You Remember?






The Space Shuttle Challenger lifting off at the Kennedy Space Center. (January 28, 1986)

Picture courtesy the NASA Kennedy Space Center

It was another cold January day in South St. Paul, Minnesota. I was in sixth grade at Lincoln Elementary School. It was just after lunch when a friend and I were walking back to school after fulfilling our crossing guard duties for the departing morning Kindergarten students. A passing car stopped us and told us the news of the Challenger explosion and told us to run back to school to let them know. By the time we arrived the news had already spread. TVs were brought into our classrooms and we spent the afternoon watching footage over and over of the tragedy.

Do you remember where you were on January 28, 1986?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Mister Golfer,

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather out there today. It seems that the wind has your swing a little off as your golf ball landed in my toddler’s bed this afternoon. This has happened so many times that I have the clean up down pat. Luckily for you, I learned golfers have no liability on damage like this otherwise I would be chasing you down the fairway like the first time it happened. Poor college kid. He got an earful from a crazy lady not knowing how to deal with glass all over her kid’s crib. Must be nice to cause as much damage as you want without a care in the world. 

I appreciate the reminder that I needed to dust the window sills but I could have done without the glass shards blown from one side of the room to the other. Did you know that I even found glass in the room adjacent to the baby’s room. How does that happen? Next time you are planning to play a round, give me a call and I will set up the video camera to see if we can figure it out. Your bad shot will go towards a little research on the projection route of glass shards.

I understand that it was my choice to live on the seventh fairway and I take the risk of windows breaking (shattered skylights, damaged cars, etc.). I was just hoping that the golfers would be of better quality. With all the windows we have been replacing maybe we could split the difference on some golf lessons instead. You probably can’t afford lessons after paying so much for those expensive Nike golf balls that always disappear (through someone’s window) when you hit them. Let me know and we’ll set something up.

Thanks again for the extra housework today! It’s nice you want to keep me on my toes.

Yours Truly,
The Crazy Lady with glass in her shoe

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meatballs Stroganoff

My mom made these and put them atop of spinach noodles. Spinach noodles must have been popular in the 80's and 90's because she got them at the big box grocery stores. It was hard for me to find spinach noodles in a mainstream grocery store but they now have "Garden delight" noodles that are partly spinach (party some other veggie flavors) and they do the job just fine. If your not weird like me and like nostalgic food, egg noodles would be pretty good as well.

Mom's Meatball Stroganoff
makes 24 meatballs

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 pound ground beef

Mix the above ingredients and form into 24 balls. I used a cookie scoop for proportion then rolled them nicely by hand. Brown in a frying pan (I don't use oil when browning but you may). Take meatballs out of the pan.

Mix together 3 Tbs flour (I use wheat) and 2 cups beef broth (I use a salad dressing shaker or a jar to mix them well). Add to the pan you used to brown the meat. You may add a 1/2 cup dry red wine a this point or leave it out. I add a can or two of sliced mushrooms as well. Simmer for 15 minutes then add your meatballs back in. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Just before serving add 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. You may want to add salt, pepper, or minced onion flakes to the sauce.

Serve over (spinach) noodles :)

Enjoy!

This post has also been linked to:
Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life
Recipe Swap at Prairie Story
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Remember The Box?

Yesterday I posted about the box of fun, where kids of all ages love to play.   Today it became MY favorite box ever.  Here is where I found my NON-napping little one.  Skippy John Jones, a blanket and a sweet sleeping baby!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Randomness


A salad using the mesculin from my garden!  It is really going strong and these mixed green salads are fabulous!  Ain't she pretty?!?


I finally tried a fried egg on a hamburger and loved it.  Egg yolk is one of my favorite tastes and it did not disappoint on the burger.  I am experimenting with it on pizza, which still needs a little work!  Anyone make fried egg pizzas?


This is an out from my niece who is now 10.  So cute!


I got several big boxes from CSN  Stores for my review which is coming up next week.  There's nothing quite like a box for a little fun!


No matter how old you get!


We have been one sick family this week.  Mimi on Monday, Little Bit on Tuesday, Bigs on Thursday, and me today.  I thought this one was passing me by.  I was sadly mistaken.  It's only 24 hours of fever (hopefully for me too, only time will tell).  Not too bad.  We have had lots of pajama days this week!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can't Wait to See After 40 Days!


I think our family prays a lot. We pray at meals, before going to school, before bed, whenever we see emergency vehicles on their way to help, when in need, when rejoicing, and whenever else the spirit leads us. Since the girls have been born prayer has been a huge part of our lives. I never thought we were missing an important prayer, praying together as a couple.

Couples Who Pray: The Most Intimate Act Between a Man and a Woman by Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt is a great reminder of the benefits of prayer. Rushnell and DuArt use enjoyable stories of real-life couples whose relationships have been greatly enhanced by the simple, yet intimate, act of prayer. They give simple instructions on how to pray together, present the 40 Day Prayer Challenge following it up with six steps to a happy marriage. There are surveys for both the husband and the wife and another appendix with 40 Bible passages that can be incorporated in daily prayers. The verses are a helpful tool and easy way to bring Bible study into the marriage relationship.

I would recommend this book to other couples who currently do not pray together. The chapter about the devil wanting nothing more than seeing marriages fail is excellent. There is a real battle and the devil IS trying to destroy marriage. However; I am skeptical about their view of prayer as it relates to money and tithing. Prosperity theology is not sound theology. “The more you give to God, the more He will give to you.” is very misleading in a chapter about money. There are some good things in the money chapter, but the praying about money and expecting to receive it, is not. All the stories show the financial abundance God bestows on those who pray about finances but money is not always the answer He gives.

I received this book free from the publisher through BookSneeze, and am not required to post a positive review.

Hope, Help & Healing for Eating Disorders - Book Review

In our society being thin is big business; however, it is also socially acceptable to eat for comfort and not for nourishment, the resultant eating disorders are becoming a huge problem. There is so much pressure to look the part and so much temptation to overindulge. Hope, Help & Healing for Eating Disorders; A Whole-Person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered Eating, by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, gives an approach that is more than only behavior modification. The book defines disordered eating as, “When eating occurs when what you eat is more about how you feel emotionally than what you need physically. Food is disconnected from physical health and tied to emotional need.” Dr. Jantz reaches out to those who can no longer deny their lives are consumed with food, either as an enemy or as a friend.

Dr. Jantz acknowledges his method is not a quick fix but a life-long process dealing with emotional, intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual health. Each chapter provides a “Food For Thought” section, including in-depth journaling questions looking at all of the aspects of life. After the questions there is a section dealing what was written and then talking about the spiritual view. This spiritual section can be much more involved because, without God’s help, people are likely to fall back into old patterns. If the process is treated as behavior modification, it will not work.

The book touches on many issues that may help, but not the book alone. Knowing eating disorders, or disordered eating, form from trying to take control of one’s own life, trying to do it your way proves quite the revelation. It cannot be done alone. There must outside intervention. The book gets the reader started down that path; however, meaningful relationships focused on healing must be included.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Make Your Own Yogurt (in your crock pot!)



Make Your Own Yogurt
(in your crock pot!)

• Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk. Skim works well, whole is much creamier.

• Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.


• Turn your crock pot off (make sure it isn’t on “warm” setting). Let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours.


• After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. To that add 6 ounces of plain yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well. I always save about a cup of my homemade yogurt in a glass container when I’m done so I always have a starter for the next batch – it keeps for at least a few weeks.


• Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and whisk thoroughly.


• Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.


• Place it in a warm place. I use my oven which is NOT preheated or turned on at all. I always put a sticky note that reminds me that yogurt is in there. Once I started preheating the oven, forgetting it was in there. Luckily I did not burn our house down (obviously, major point) or ruin my yogurt (I still would have been sad).


• Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.


• In the morning stir yogurt (if desired) and store in glass quart jars or a container of your choice.  Remember to set aside some to use as a starter for your next batch. 

• For better texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.


• For Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese (can get to as thick as cream cheese consistency)place colander in a large bowl, line colander with coffee filters, pour in yogurt, and place in the refrigerator. In a few hours much of the whey will be strained off. Leave it for 24 hours and you will have yogurt cheese. You can always mix some of the whey back in if you want it thinner.


• You’ll have a lot of whey that can be used in smoothies, in baking in place of buttermilk or other liquids, or I’ve even used it instead of water when mixing my Emergen-C. Be creative.
Read here about the Benefits of Yogurt Whey.

Leftover Whey
• Mix it with homemade sauces, use in smoothies, or top with granola.  
There are a ton of ways to enjoy your yogurt!

This post has also been linked to:
Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
What's on The Menu Wednesday at Dining With Debbie
Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life
Recipe Swap at Prairie Story (Thursdays)
Colleen's Fall Recipe Swap at Colleen's Kitchen (Fridays)

Convicted?

“What’s your definition of a Christian? Is it broad enough to encompass the drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and broken people of the world? Jesus said He came to heal the sick. Drug addicts are messed up just the same as liars are messed up, just the same as all humans are messed up. We all need Jesus. We all struggle with sin in our lives.” In Under the Overpass, author Mike Yankoski and buddy Sam Purvis enter the world of homelessness after Mike feels convicted of never having a moment where he fully needs to lean on Christ. He decides to follow the calling to step out of his comfortable, middle-class upbringing, and be content with nothing but God.

Their stories are ones I suspect many homeless people have but now are given a voice. They are hungry enough to eat out of trash cans, tired enough to sleep under an overpass in torrential rains, broke enough to panhandle for cash, but not downtrodden enough to see what Jesus puts before them. In each story is a glimmer of hope keeping them content on their journey. The people they encounter are in desperate situations but are in a place to teach Mike and Sam a view of the world they never encounter before. Through these relationships they see time and time again that God is faithful.

Mike and Sam learn following Jesus is hard. It is so much more than, “putting on a Christian acronym bracelet or a cross T-shirt.” You may not have the same calling as they do, but after reading this book you will have a different perspective on the plight of the homeless. You may choose to follow a different path of relying on God and reaching out to others. This book just may convict you. Are you willing to live your life abandoned to Him?

After reading this book several years ago my family has gotten involved feeding the homeless.  While there a many programs and groups that we could sign up with to help, we decided we would do it on our own as a family.  Every few months we gather supplies, pack lunches, and head downtown.  We spend the afternoon handing out things but more importantly, talking to folks.  It has been great for our kids to see that homeless people are PEOPLE.   And that even a few people can make a difference .  Last year our oldest daughter collected items for the homeless instead of gifts at her birthday party.  This is a lasting ministry for our family and am proud of our kids for making it their own ministry as well!

I received no compensation for this review.  I am also reviewing it over at Blogging for Books but did not receive the book from them.  You can find it at Amazon HERE or Barnes & Noble HERE.


Please go rate my review HERE!  It only takes a few seconds - really! Thank you!



Thursday, January 13, 2011

CSN Stores Review Coming Soon




I have always received outstanding products and customer service from CSN Stores.   They have over 200 stores that sell such things as baby items, cookware, and modern d├ęcor.  With the variety they offer, you are sure to find something that you need!   It is a great resource for gift as well because you can find so many different things in one place.  I can completely recommend them based on several different times I have used CSN Stores - Go check them out!  I'll let you know soon what I decide on. 

Financial Peace University

Our Church is going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University starting in February.  We are hosting a group on Monday evenings.  If you are in the Orlando area and are interested in going through this debt elimination program you are more than welcome to join us OR join another of the 500+ groups our church has  available.  You can search for groups online at http://www.northlandchurch.net/fpu/  We would love for you to join us!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Randomness

Today is back to school for the entire family. We have been off for 19 days :) It was a great break. Having the entire family home is one of the huge benefits of both being teachers.



(Stephen M. Dowell, Orlando Sentinel / January 8, 2011)
Despite the huge crowd, I actually remember this guy in the Tinkerbell costume.
The half marathon went really well. Disney does everything over the top so each wave of runners started with some pretty nice fireworks. And with Disney, of course, there were a TON of people (27, 300 runners). There was not a spot in the course where it wasn't crowded. I finished in 2:03 which was only an hour behind the winner. LOL. I cannot even fathom how fast you have to run to make a time of 1:05. That is awesome! Without training I did a lot better than I thought. Only a few minutes behind my time when I did train. The person who I ran with was a great motivator and pacer. After I hit the wall at mile 10 (seriously, my legs were lead at this point) I made him go without me after mile 11.5. He finish in 1:59 but his time didn't register. We don't think his time chip was on correctly. That stinks! All-in-all it was a huge success and a great way to start off the year.

I am helping a friend with a non-profit newsletter on Blogger so I got to work with the newer version of Blogger. I love the new one (posting, editing, etc.) so much more than the old version I am using. Anyone know how to move my blog into the new Blogger format??

Thanks to Kim at The Misadventures of Mub who let me know that the "new Blogger" that I liked is really Blogger in Draft. You can select this mode from your dashboard (at the bottom).








I am going to start tracking my caloric intake for a few weeks and see where my biggest hang-ups are. I'm such an emotional eater (and big time snacker) and end up eating too much. I tried out several programs and decided that Calorie Count was the best fit for me. It is easy to find and input foods, input your own recipes, adjust the serving size and gives you a lot of feedback. It tells you which nutrients you are lacking (or have too much of) and suggests ways to get more of them. There is an amazing amount of information for a free program. I am in no way affiliated with the program - I just thinks it's a great tool!


I am loving the randomness of our weather. There are days where you need a sweater and days where shorts and flip flops are appropriate. Mixes things up a bit! (And who am I kidding, I think flip flops are appropriate in any weather where there is not snow on the ground).


I had a great list going of weekly blog hops, memes, and carnivals that I hadn't looked at in a REALLY long time; Until yesterday, when My Adventures In Mommyland asked about adding her to the list with her Mommy Mondays blog hop. Thanks for reminding me that when I get in a blogging funk there are a ton of great hops out there to motivate me!



Have a wonderful week!

Cranberry and Blueberry Sauces


I had a ton of blueberries in my freezer (from when they were $1 pint at Aldi) and the same with cranberries (they were .49 after Thanksgiving). I made these sauces that I will freeze and use with yogurt. I make my yogurt in the crock pot so need fruit sauces to flavor it. You could also use them over pancakes or waffles. It's nice to have control over how much sugar is added. Have you noticed the sugar content in some store bought yogurts??? You can play with these recipes to suit your taste. They are forgiving. If your sauce is too thin, just boil it until it's right.

Orange Cranberry Sauce

1 package fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup honey, sugar or whatever sweetener you desire (adjust to taste)
splash of lemon juice
2 teaspoons citrus zest (use lime, lemon, orange, or a combo of them)

In a medium sauce pan combine berries, sugar, and juices. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, them lower hear and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in zest when done cooking.

Blueberry Sauce

2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup honey, sugar or whatever sweetener you desire (adjust to taste)
1/3 cup orange juice or water
2 teaspoons orange zest

In a medium sauce pan combine berries, sugar, and juice. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, them lower hear and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in zest when done cooking.


This post has also been linked to:
Mouthwatering Monday at Southern Fairytale
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
What's on The Menu Wednesday at Dining With Debbie
Hearth and Soul at A Moderate Life
Recipe Swap at Prairie Story (Thursdays)
Colleen's Fall Recipe Swap at Colleen's Kitchen (Fridays)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Voices of the Faithful -Book 2 -Book Review


Voices of the Faithful - Book 2: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World is compiled by Kim P. Davis. This year long devotional includes a scripture, story, and prayer for each day. Kim Davis writes monthly introductions, such as prayer, divine appointments, the power of the story, and lessons from the young, setting up the topic covered by each entry for that month. These introductions provide a nice segue from month to month helping refocus on the readings. I like that it has indexes with both devotion titles by month and scriptural references. It also contains a great section about how to pray for international missionaries and groups. The book itself is very pretty and well laid out.

Although I liked reading the inspiring stories of the missionaries, it would have been nice to hear about each missionary and their specific call (maybe several devotions from the same person?). The stories left me wanting more information so I could better understand where the story was coming from and what specifically I could pray for in regard to that mission. I also prefer a devotional message that picks apart the verse it is highlighting and makes me think about it in depth.

I would recommend the book to someone looking for a very light devotional. I do think it would be a nice gift for someone thinking about going into the mission field. If you are looking for a devotional focused on challenging you to think about scripture, this is not the one.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookSneeze

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Cooking Aspirations - Aloha Friday


Mark and I went on a date night last night which landed us at Borders....which landed me among a sea of cookbooks. How perfect. I can read cookbooks like novels, but I have a problem. I have a THICK file of recipes that are on the "to-make" list, a select few cookbooks which have recipes that I can't wait to try (I got rid of a massive amount of cookbooks that I would never use - freeing) and a hefty amount of tried and true recipes. I might be a little addicted to new recipe collection. I have to really limit myself at blog recipe linkups. More and more I come back wanting to master the basics.

Processed items just have too much junk in them. I make my own yogurt, fruit sauces to add to my yogurt, spaghetti sauce, broth, salad dressings, pizza dough, refried, baked and black beans, etc..

I want to starting making:

tortillas - have you seen the ingredient list?

hummus - I want to master a really good go-to recipe

ketchup - do you think my kids will eat it?

cultured butter - is the expense worth it (it's not expensive, just more than store bought)?

kimchi - spicy Korean cabbage - so good and so expensive in the store (and sub par)

kefir water - this would require me to buy kefir grains, which may be too much for our budget

buttermilk biscuits - this one is for my husband - his grandmother made the most fantastic biscuits and nobody can replicate them. I need to practice more often.

And not only do I want to make them, I want to be good at making them (which also means they are easier to make). I'll be looking to expand my list :)

"In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response."So head over to her site, An Island Life and answer her question but while you are here you might as well answer mine:


Any staples that you have in your repertoire already or would like to get good at making?