Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Wanna Try

Yes, this is another blog list cause I can't get things done quick enough. :) So to document my "wanna tries" and to share them with you - you may even be able to try them before me - here we go...

I've been thinking about doing this in my boys' room:
a) books that have their name in them
b) good "boy" books
c) my childhood favorites

from Project Nursery

Oh, how I've been feeling this lately. Would love to get a print of this for my kitchen, living room, or laundry room.

from Etsy's Twitterpated Toad

No more searching for blue jars - you can just make your own out of jars from a discount store. Yay!!

from Bridal Buzz

A great way to spruce up old jelly or pickle jars so you can repurpose those too. Or even a blue jar lid. :)

from Design Sponge

Thought this would be a great pillow for our bed. :) And I could even make this myself.

from Apartment Therapy

I thought this was a great idea for storage under a bed. Cute and purposeful. Does anyone have any old suitcases I could have? :)

from Better Homes and Gardens


This is probably my favorite!! I LOVE the organization in this small closet. And it's cute ta' boot!

from Better Homes and Gardens

 Words can not express. Mmmmm (as I wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth). I don't think I'll be able to wait until summer to make these treats. Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pudding Pops?! Who wouldn't love to nosh on those right now?!

from Endless Simmer

Hope you enjoyed my latest findings. And please let me know if you have a chance to try them out before I get to them. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Flourless Walnut-Date Cake

I've been getting the Food Network Magazine for quite some time now. I think I got a few months for free and then I just couldn't wait until the next issue, so now I'm a regular. :)

Anyway, I have a friend who is allergic to a lot of things and I thought I'd post this recipe for Flourless Walnut-Date Cake from the Food Network Magazine. I hope it's something that she can enjoy. :) We also made this for our Seder dinner on Thursday night.

Flourless Walnut-Date Cake

For the Cake
cooking spray
3 cups walnut halves
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
pinch kosher salt
3/4 cup chopped pitted dates

For the Glaze
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp unsalted margarine (for kosher) or butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp honey
chopped walnuts, toasted, for topping
  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-round cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Put the walnuts, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor; pulse until finely ground but not powdery. Whisk the egg yolks, orange zest and vanilla, if using, in a small bowl.
  2. Beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until soft peaks form, about 8 minutes. Fold in the yolk mixture and dates, then fold in ground walnut mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 23-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack, then run a knife along the sides and invert the cake onto a platter.
  3. Make the glaze: Put the chocolate, margarine and honey in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the margarine melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, then pour over the cake. Top with toasted walnuts.

Easter Story Cookies

We've been having quite the Easter celebration weekend. :)

Thursday night was the Seder dinner for the high school senior leadership team. Friday night was Good Friday services. And tonight we made Easter Story Cookies. Tomorrow is a sunrise service at 6:30a (yep we're waking the boys up for that) at a park, making Resurrection Biscuits, then normal services and then some ham. :) It's been a great weekend.

I hope to include Easter Story Cookies and Resurrection Biscuits every year. It's a fun memory for the boys and can make the Easter story a little more real when they hear it in different ways and are able to do something tactile.

Easter Story Cookies
to be made the evening before Easter
recipe adapted from

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zip-lock bag
wooden spoon
wax paper
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Place pecans in zip-lock bag and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him. Read John 19:1-3.
  3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put vinegar in the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
  4. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
  5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
  6. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16.
  7. Beat the mixture on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been washed away by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
  8. Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain how each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Rad Matthew 27:65-66.
  9. GO TO BED! :) Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20, 22. 
  10. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.
Enjoy!! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Seder Dinner

It's almost time for our 2nd annual Seder dinner for the high school leadership team. What a blessing to be preparing food and getting decorations ready for such a wonderful event.

A Seder dinner is a traditional Passover feast where Jewish people celebrate their liberation from Egypt and safety from the 10th plague as the angel (of death) passed over the homes that had blood sprinkled on their doors.

There is so. much. symbolism in this dinner and that's what makes it so incredible. We are having some traditional fare along with some new things and some things I made up. :) I don't know if they're all Kosher but I tried.

Spring Salad
Matzo Ball Soup
Roasted Potatoes
Green Beans
Flourless Walnut-Date Cake

(As with most recipes I use, I did change some things to my liking.)

I'm using the same program that we used last year which makes this year a lot. less. work. :) And I'm thankful for that. I love how our program takes the Jewish Seder and relates it to Christianity and how Jesus fulfilled all the promises that the Seder talks about. God is faithful. And then at the end it takes it to a new level - to the Last Supper, where Jesus makes a new covenant with His people - the bread is His body and the wine is His blood. Really, it's a great service and is worthwhile checking out. We like to celebrate it on the Thursday before Good Friday because that's when Jesus celebrated before going into the Garden to pray. I think it really sets the tone for the weekend being worshipful. I even feel a little melancholy on Saturday (the day that lies between Good Friday and Sunday - a day I almost forget about). But then going to bed knowing the ending - a happy ending. Anyway, a Seder is a great way to start of the Easter weekend.

If you want more information on the Haggadah (the book that takes you through the elements of the Seder), let me know. I'd love to get that to you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Want This Book...

I got this book from the library a few weeks ago and couldn't put it down. I read the whole thing in one sitting...on the way home from the library (no, I wasn't driving). My husband got the boys out of the van and I stayed sitting and reading. It was great.

The stories are funny and the recipes are wonderful. I like this book because I have most of the ingredients already in my fridge or pantry. That's necessary for Ree since she lives out on the ranch and can't just run to the store. I appreciate that, because even though I live in town it's not very convenient to take two little boys to the store every time I need something "odd" from the store for a recipe that I want to try.

That's why I like this book!! And the reason I need to just buy the book is because of this:

Almost every page has a Post-it 'cause there's a recipe I want to try. :) There are a lot of Post-its. And considering I've only made two things out of the book and it's due at the library (and I can't renew it because someone's on a waiting list) I have a lot of Post-its to remove. :) So, this book is officially going on my Amazon wishlist as there's not time in three weeks for me to make every recipe that I marked.

I encourage you to stop over at The Pioneer Woman blog and check out her latest recipes, photos, family life, and homeschooling goings-on. Thanks Ree for the wonderful foodie inspiration. 

Do you have any library books that you've decided you just need to buy?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Readin'

I have a lot to write about but only wish I could find the time to get that writing done! :)

A few weeks ago I finished Rosie Camper Weary's book, Stepping Out of the Shadows. This is the book I purchased on my trip to Mississippi. We had dinner with Rosie and her husband one evening and they were promoting their books. It's a good book and there are a few things that I want to share about it - in a future post. :)

Also in my reading nook is Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Bold Love by Dan B. Allender and Temper Longman III, and The Missional Mom by Helen Lee. I also have One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp but I want to make sure I have time to digest all that she has to say and then also watch the videos so I can get more out of it and really apply it to my life.

Looking forward to writing about these great books.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wide Awake

I was awakened at 3:45a this morning cause some little boy needed his covers "straightened out." :) It felt good to tuck him in and get him all cozy.

But now, two hours later, I'm still awake. Fretting. Fretting over the next two weeks. Fretting about speaking at the college group tonight and how I still feel unprepared. Fretting about grocery shopping tomorrow and I don't have my list ready. Fretting about planning/attending baby showers (next weekend will be the first since losing our two precious children). Fretting.

As if worrying isn't bad enough, I start to get mad. I'm mad about things that have happened in the past. I'm mad about the expectations that have been placed on me by myself and others. I'm mad that I'm still mad...

I know that my brain isn't all that "logical" at 5:40am especially since my husband has been out of town for four days (he gets home later today - woohoo!). I know that my worrying and anxiousness are sin and it's causing me to become angry and hurt.

But God is faithful. I open my email and there's a new post from Doorposts. It's about discouragement. And it hits me in the gut.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, 
and why are you in turmoil within me?” 
 (Psalm 42:11a, ESV)

Ahhh. The power of the Word of God. I ask myself again, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?" I'm still hurting and it's causing anxiety and anger. Those two sins seem to haunt me, always lurking around the corner. Always catching me off-guard when I least expect it. Always ready to pounce and devour me.

And even when I'm not seeking God in the Word, He's still pursuing me and knows what I need to defend myself when I'm downcast. The article from Doorposts listed a few reasons we become discouraged:

I am likely to become discouraged when:
  • I am suffering trials (loss, death, troubled relationships, health problems, financial setbacks). Check
  • I expect people to be and do what only God can be and do. Check
  • I think circumstances ought to change, but they don’t. Check
  • I want to control circumstances instead of trusting God. Check
  • I feel like nothing I do is making any difference.
  • I am struggling with illness, fatigue, or hormones. Check
  • I compare myself to others. Check
  • I expect perfection from myself and others. Check
  • I try to play the role of Holy Spirit in someone’s life.
  • I try to work in my own strength instead of availing myself of God’s infinite strength. Check
  • I listen to myself instead of speaking the truth of God’s Word to myself. Check
  • I don’t take the time or invest the energy needed to organize my time and environment.
  • I don’t set aside time for communing with God (thinking, praying, studying, reading). Check
  • I am over-committed. Check
  • I feel like I’m barely keeping up with all that I am supposed to do.
  • I am doing unnecessary things that I am not called to do.
  • I isolate myself.
  • I am resentful or bitter or start to feel sorry for myself. Check
  • I am worried or afraid. Check
  • I have not repented of sin.
  • I am facing the consequences of my sin and negligence.
Those are some pretty heavy things. And you may be dealing with different ones that I am. But they are all hard things to conquer and we are only able to do that through the power of God, His Word, His Spirit and the love of His people.

I sit quietly and listen to the birds start to sing.

It's still dark. The sun isn't up. Yet, they are singing in anticipation of the arrival of the warm, bright sun. Maybe I need to follow the example of God's creation this morning and begin praising Him in the darkness of discouragement anticipating the arrival of a new day. I need the truth of God's Word this morning.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul,
   and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
   my salvation and my God."
(Psalm 42:11, ESV)

Before the Morning
Josh Wilson

Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light

press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you get there
so just say a prayer.
and hold on, cause there's good who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture

Once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
memory, memory, yeah

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming