Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Go to India for Supper!




This is a picture of my yummy supper from last night -- Pakistani Kima!

I first discovered this recipe about 15 years ago in the More with Less cookbook.  I've made it occasionally through the years, but it has been a long, long time.  I was reminded of this recipe when I noticed it recently in Greene Acres Old Fashioned Cookery Book, which is the family recipe book of my friend, Marmee Dear.


I thoroughly enjoyed eating this for supper last night, and again for lunch today!  This is an easy and inexpensive dish with a mild curry flavor.  Here is the recipe, in case you want to give it a try!


Pakistani Kima (aka Hamburger Curry)

1. Saute in skillet:

   3 TBSP butter 
   1 cup chopped onion
   1 clove garlic, minced

2. Add:

   1 pound ground beef

3. Cook until browned.  Drain as needed, then stir in:

   1 TBSP curry powder (or more if you like a stronger curry flavor)
   1 1 /2 teaspoon sea salt
   dash of: pepper, cinnamon, ginger, & turmeric
   2 cups cooked, diced tomatoes
   2 cups diced potatoes
   2 cups frozen green peas

4. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

5. Serve over rice or couscous.

Note:  I doubled this recipe for my family.  It probably serves 6 as written.


I also tried to make some Indian puri to go with our Curry -- but it didn't turn out so very well.  Maybe we rolled them out too thick??  :(  It certainly didn't look like this picture:








I had an Indian neighbor growing up who used to make puri, and other Indian food, for us to try.  I always loved the puri -- and it is a perfect accompaniment to the Pakistani Kima.  So, I'm wondering if I might have a reader from India or Pakistan (or who likes that type of cuisine) that could teach me how to make puri????   Please leave me a comment if you can help!  Thanks!  :)  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make Me a Blessing: Speaking Up for the Oppressed

"Open your mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves], for the rights of all who are left desolate and defenseless; Open your mouth, judge righteously, and administer justice for the poor and needy."
  
      ~ Proverbs 31:8-9 (Amplified version)


One of the reasons we are left here on earth after becoming a part of God's kingdom is to be a blessing to others, which includes sharing God's love with a lost and dying world.  Previously, I've shared some ideas for ministering to the homeless and suggested some ways for feeding the hungry.  Another way we can be a blessing is by speaking up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.  Here are a couple examples:




1.  Stand up for Life


The first thing that comes to mind when I read the passage above is the plight of the unborn.  More than a million pre-born babies are being killed each year in America.  Obviously, the unborn are not able to speak up for themselves.  We must boldly take a stand for life!  This can be done in a plethora of ways.  We can donate money, supplies or time to our local crisis pregnancy center; we can donate to pro-life causes; we can support and vote for pro-life candidates at the local, state and national level.  We can also speak up for life in our churches and among our friends and acquaintances.  Recently, a friend of mine was the lone voice at a ladies Bible study speaking out for life, and discouraging a woman from having a D&C for a baby that was still alive, but "sure to have problems" according to her doctor.  That is scary!!!  Every woman in that Bible class should have been encouraging that precious mother to "choose life!"


I'm sure you've probably heard of Pam Tebow's amazing testimony by now, but if not, click here to read about how she was told to have an abortion when pregnant with Tim Tebow.  Thank God that she trusted God, instead of her doctor!!!





2.  Speak out for the Persecuted 


While Christians in America are living in comfort and peace, still enjoying the beautiful sunset of our diminishing freedom of religion, Christians in much of the world are being persecuted for their faith.  It is not easy or pleasant to educate ourselves on the reality of life for many Christians around the world, especially those who live in Mus*im countries.  However, we (I) need to quit sticking our heads in the sand, and begin to speak up for our persecuted brethren in other parts of the world.  America still has a great deal of influence in the world and if we make enough "noise," American leaders will put pressure on other nations to stop violating human and religious rights.  



I used to think our voice didn't make a difference, until I read God Knows My Size, by Romanian Christian, Silvia Tarniceriu and heard Silvia give her testimony!  She shares how American Christians jammed the phone lines of the Romanian Embassy back in the 1980's, demanding her release from prison.  She also shares how the tireless efforts of American Christians and their government representatives, including the human rights efforts of then President Ronald Reagan, were hugely instrumental in her eventually being allowed to leave Romania and come to enjoy religious freedom in America!!





Now we have a chance to speak out and make a difference in the life of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been convicted and sentenced to death for refusing to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.  Read more about this situation and learn how you can make a difference by clicking here.


To learn more about persecuted Christians around the world, check out the Voice of the Martyrs website.




Will you purpose to boldly take a stand, even if it is unpopular or politically incorrect, to speak up for those who can't defend themselves and to seek justice for those who are oppressed??  If so, please leave me a comment letting me know. Let's encourage each other to boldly speak out on the issues of our day and to help those who are unable to defend themselves!!



Monday, February 27, 2012

Marriage Monday: Purpose of Marriage, part 1




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Last week, in my first Marriage Monday post, we talked about the fact that marriage was created and ordained by God.  Today, I want to talk about the purposes for which God created marriage.  Let's start off by reading the beautiful account of the creation of Eve in Genesis chapter 2:

18And the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet for him."     19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them; and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.     20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper meet for him.     21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.     22And the rib which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman and brought her unto the man.     23And Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."     24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.     25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.


In addition to the overriding purpose of bringing glory to God, there are four specific purposes for which God designed marriage.  We will discuss two of these purposes today, and conclude by discussing the remaining two next week.


The Four Purposes for Marriage:

1.  Companionship

In the biblical account above, we can see that God proclaimed that it was not good for Adam to be alone; he needed a helper suitable to him.  God assigned Adam the job of naming all of the animals -- Adam didn't just give them random names, but names that fit the nature of each creature.  God knew that through this process, Adam would become painfully aware of his lack.  It would become obvious to Adam that, unlike the animals, he did not have a helper or companion that was of a comparable nature to his.

Douglas Wilson in Reforming Marriage, says:

"As a result of the creation order, men and women are oriented to one another differently.  They need one another, but they need one another differently.  The man needs the help; the woman needs to help.  Marriage was created by God to provide companionship in the labor of dominion.  The cultural mandate, the requirement to fill and subdue the earth, is still in force, and a husband cannot fulfill this portion of the task in isolation.  He needs a companion suitable for him in the work to which God has called him.  He is called to the work and must receive help from her.  She is called to the work through ministering to him.  He is oriented to the task, and she is oriented to him." 

God created the woman to come alongside the man, and help him fulfill both the universal and specific calling that God puts on his life.  She is also to be his companion, his friend, his supporter, his encourager, his completer.  (We will talk more about these wifely roles in the days ahead.) 


2.  Godly Children

One of the things that a man obviously can not do alone is reproduce.  In Genesis 1:28, we see where Adan and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth:

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  (New King James Version)

This command was reiterated after the flood in Genesis 9:1 and 9:7, and was never rescinded anywhere else in the Bible; therefore, we can assume it is still in effect today.  I believe that God still wants Christian couples to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with a godly generation.


In speaking to his disciples about why God hates divorce, Jesus referred to Malachi 2:15, where it is clearly revealed that Godly offspring are the Lord's desire and a primary purpose for marriage:


And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth.  (Amplified version)

Then, in Psalm 127:3, we learn that children are God's heritage -- "Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is His reward."


While these Scriptures show us that children are a part of God's design for marriage, I'm certainly aware of the fact that some godly couples are not able to have children.  I'm not able to solve that enigma.  All I know is that we are not always able to understand God's ways; we just have to trust Him and believe that He never makes mistakes and that He has a purpose for everything He allows.  However, it is still a general principle that godly procreation is one of the primary purposes of marriage, and this being the case, a union that is biologically impossible of producing children (as in two men or two women) is not a part of God's design. 


Your Turn to Share 

Every Monday, I plan to explore some aspect of marriage here on my blog.  I invite you to share your marriage-related blog posts, as well.  Please link up with me by entering the URL of your specific blog post in the Mr. Linky below, and make sure you grab my blog button and add it to your post!  (Just copy the HTML code under my button and paste it into your blog post.)

Next week, I will conclude this discussion with the final two purposes of marriage, so make sure you come back next Monday to read my post and share one of your own!








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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winner of the 2012 Year Book Announced!

Congratulations to Sarah Avila who was randomly selected by Rafflecopter to win the charming 2012 Year Book from my precious friend, Marmee Dear!!!  Thanks to all who entered my first Rafflecopter Giveaway!  :)

If you did not win the lovely Year Book, you will be happy to know that Marmee Dear has reduced the price, so you can still get one for only $19.00.  Click here to purchase your own Year Book, or to browse some of Marmee's other products for the home.





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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Of Memories, Celebrations, and Competitions

Life has been full steam ahead around here, as usual!


On Thursday, Amber (my niece) wanted to dress up like Clara Barton for a lesson she was teaching to the 3rd graders at school.  Her lesson would be video-taped and sent to her college professor for evaluation, so she wanted it to be extra special.  She was looking for something "Clara Barton-ish" to wear, and look what I found for her!!








Seeing this dress brought back lots of Memories, because my Mom made me this dress back in 1976(!) for a big bi-centennial celebration at my school!  My Mom was an excellent seamstress and she never did anything half-way, so this dress was meticulously made, and yes, I've saved it in my closet for over 25 years!  :)   (Thank you, Mom!!)



Amber must have appreciated getting to wear my dress, because look what she brought home for me that evening!!!!  :)  (You can't read all of it, but it says, "To the bestest Aunt ever!  I <3 you!"   Wasn't that sweet???  :)




On Friday, I drove Joe to a college a couple hours away to take part in a Scholar Day Competition.  Meanwhile, my pastor was jumping out of an airplane to celebrate his 40th birthday!!!!  Yes, it may sound crazy -- but it's true!!

Here's a picture I "stole" from his facebook page to prove it!  :)   He is on the left!




I dropped Joe off at the college, and drove home through terrible thunderstorms, getting back just in time for Pastor David's SURPRISE birthday party at the church!  I was glad to be part of his celebration!!

Meanwhile, Alan met Joe at the college, where Joe's every move was being scrutinized!  Their Friday night and Saturday included campus tours, banquets, panel discussions, scholarship interviews, etc.




So, that's what my life has been about lately -- memories, celebrations and competitions.  How about yours??

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make Me a Blessing: Feeding the Hungry


"For I hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, `Lord, when saw we Thee hungering and fed Thee, or thirsty and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in, or naked and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?' And the King shall answer and say unto them, `Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.' " ~ Matthew 25:35-40





Yesterday, we talked about a simple way to minister to the homeless in our community.  Today, I want to talk about some easy ways to feed the hungry.


1. Donate to food pantries, the Salvation Army, or other charities that feed the hungry.

We all have extra canned goods or boxed items in our pantries.  We may have  items we purchased by mistake or things that our families don't particularly like, or perhaps we were over-zealous when stocking up on a good sale.  All of these extras can be donated to food pantries.  Also, we can be on the lookout for good deals when items are on sale "buy one get one free" or when we have some good coupons.  These may be items we don't normally buy for our families, but they may be appropriate for purchasing and donating to our favorite food bank or soup kitchen.  Find out what items your local charity needs and be on the lookout for them.


2. Be prepared with pre-packaged food or fast food gift cards.

What about when we encounter people when we are out and about holding signs like this one:



Many times our heart goes out to these desperate looking people and we want to do something, but we don't know what to do.  We are hesitant to give cash to an individual who may use it to buy drugs, liquor, or cigarettes, or we are hesitant to open our wallets only to be robbed.  (Or we never have cash on hand anyway -- which would be me!)  A potential solution is to have $5 gift cards on hand for local fast-food places or to have a stash of granola bars or other pre-packaged foods that we could hand out of a slightly-opened car window to the hungry strangers we encounter.


3.  Give a box of groceries to someone who is out of work.

Sometimes the hungry are not standing on street corners, but are right in our own neighborhoods or churches.  If you know someone who is out of work or struggling financially, why not pack up a box of groceries and other necessary items and leave it on their front porch? or in their car? or in the vestibule at church?  This can easily be done anonymously, will be fun for your family to do (especially if you ring the doorbell and run!) and will help feed a hungry family!


4. Share single-servings with widows.

This is something I loved to do back in the day when I actually had food left after a meal. ;)   If I made a casserole or a pot of soup or stew for my family, I would remove a serving or two and freeze it flat in quart-sized zip-lock bags or small, plastic freezer containers.  When I had a few of these saved up in a corner of my freezer, I would take them to a widow from church.  This was a simple, painless way for me, as a very busy momma at home with lots of little ones, reach out and minister to those in need, even when I didn't have time for outside ministry.


I'm sure you can think of additional creative ideas of how you can bless those in need in your local neighborhood, church, or community.  Please share your ideas in the Comments section!  If you've blogged about this topic, feel free to share a link to your post.




"She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."   
~  Proverbs 31:20

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Make Me a Blessing: Helping the Homeless


"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one for another. Love each other as brethren, be sympathetic, be courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing, knowing that ye are called thereto, that ye might inherit a blessing." ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9


We all know that God has called us to be a blessing, but so often, we get totally pre-occupied with the myriad details of our busy lives, and don't take the time to look for ways to bless others.  Have you ever thought of praying that God would make you a blessing??  Then just open your eyes, for He will bring people across your path that you can bless!

From time to time, I hope to blog about ways that we can be a blessing to others. Today's idea is concerning helping the homeless.

Many of us encounter homeless people in our day-to-day travels around town.  It seems to be more prevalent than in times past.  We want to be compassionate to the needy, but one hindrance is we don't know who really needs our help, and who doesn't.  (I've heard of some apparently homeless people in our town who go around bragging about how much they make in a day!!!)


At a recent homeschool field trip to the Salvation Army, we were advised to direct homeless people we encounter to the Salvation Army, because they know who the real homeless people are and aren't fooled by the swindlers out there.  They also gave us a list of items that they need in their ministry to the poor and  homeless in our community.

If you are like me, you have an assortment of little soaps and shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles left over from hotel stays.  (My husband travels a good deal and often brings these home.)  These are perfect items to donate to your local Salvation Army or other homeless shelter!  Toothbrushes and little tubes of toothpaste, like you may receive from the dentist, are also excellent items to donate.  We also learned that disposable razors are in high demand, as the men need to be able to make themselves clean-shaven if they are fortunate enough to secure a job interview.

So, why not clean out your bathroom cabinets or closet and see if you have any little toiletry items that you can donate to your local Salvation Army or homeless shelter.  This is a simple way to be a blessing to others!




    

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giveaway: 2012 Homemaker's Year Book from Marmee Dear





My long-time friend, Martha Greene, also known as "Marmee Dear," sent me a thick package of beautiful products for the homemaker for me to review and/or giveaway!  I must confess that I am having a hard time parting with any of these lovely items!  However, I want to give you the opportunity to enjoy some of her practical, as well as beautiful, items to assist you in your job as a Homemaker.


I am excited to be able to give away one of Marmee's 2012 Year Books.  A $24.95 value, this beautiful, spiral bound, 8" square book is a unique combination of calendar, planner, and homemaker's journal.  The cover is laminated to withstand much use throughout the year, and each month has a beautifully decorated divider page, so you can easily find each month.  The yearbook is gracefully adorned throughout with Martha's unique style of quaint silhouettes and old-fashioned graphics from Dover. In addition to dated week-at-a-glance pages, it includes month-at-a-glance and year-at-a-glance pages, as well as monthly menu planners, grocery lists, memo pages, and many beautiful quotes and scripture verses in its 200 pages.      


Click Here to view some beautiful Sample pages from the 2012 Yearbook.  (Make sure you scroll down to see all the pages.)


Since February is almost over, I'm eager to get this book into your hands, so you can enjoy it for the rest of the year!  Therefore, this giveaway concludes Saturday night, February 25th at midnight, EST.  I hope to get your Year Book in the mail to you on Monday, because I know you'll want to start using it as soon as possible!




How to enter:


Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 




If you have not yet signed in to the new Rafflecopter forms, use either your Facebook account OR your name and email address to sign in. Click “Do It” for instructions on how to complete each entry.
*The more entries you submit, the better odds you have of winning!*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Painting, Blogging and Other Messy Projects!



I know I'm crazy, but I've always enjoyed painting!  It is sort of relaxing, and I love the way you can transform a room simply by updating the wall color.  It's a good thing, too -- because we've bought and rented a few fixer-uppers through the years that needed a great deal of painting! Plus, with 24 hands in our house, freshly painted walls have never lasted long!  ;)  So, I've found myself with a paintbrush in hand quite often through the years!

Lately, I've been working to "add a fresh coat of paint" to my blog.  Have you noticed some changes to my home on the web??

I really want to bless my husband and relieve some of his stress by contributing to our income.  Like the Proverbs 31 woman, I am seeking ways to do this from home.  I was super excited when I learned that you can make money through blogging, since this is something that I enjoy, and that can be done from home, squeezed into the nooks and crannies of my busy days.  Plus, I love sharing about my big, crazy family and encouraging other women according to the mandate of Titus 2:3-5, which helps me fulfill my life calling.

So, I've been "painting" and "rearranging" and "redecorating" around here, as part of an effort to improve my blog, to increase traffic, and to begin to earn some money through blogging.  This has involved some cosmetic changes, the addition of ads on my sidebar and also a new domain name.  My blog is now located at  http://www.yestheyareallours.com .  If you enter my old address of  http://yes-theyre-all-ours.blogspot.com , you should be redirected.  However, I've noticed that those of you who have my blog in a blogroll on your blog's sidebar have not been receiving updates.  So, you might want to update the URL of my blog in your blog list widget.

If you have a family-friendly product or service that you offer and would like to get the word out to my readers, check out my advertising policies.  I would love to highlight your business on my blog!  I am also willing to do product reviews and/or giveaways.

Also, you can help me tremendously by supporting my sponsors and by shopping through my affiliate links, where I earn a small percentage from your purchases.

If you like my blog and find encouragement here, would you consider helping me grow my readership by sharing my blog with your friends?  This is easily done through the use of the Like, Share, and Tweet buttons found at the bottom of each post or by emailing a link to my blog to your friends. You can also help me by following me on Facebook and Twitter and by adding my blog button to the sidebar of your blog.





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Furthermore, you can help me by providing feedback.  Will you please leave a comment letting me know what changes you think would be helpful, what topics you would like me to blog about, and what types of posts you most enjoy?  This would help me to serve you better!


Thank you for your support and also your patience . . . especially if you happen to visit my blog when I am in the middle of a project and find that things are in disarray.  As you may know from experience, every home-improvement project seems to take longer, cost more, and be messier than you expect!  I think blog-improvement projects are similar creatures!  So, don't be surprised if you discover a mess every now and then!  ;)

Thanks for reading!

Trust and Thankfulness





I never cease to be amazed at how much the little devotional, Jesus Calling, speaks into my life.  Here is today's reading:


"Trust and thankfulness will get you safely through this day.  Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing.  Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining: those "sister sins" that so easily entangle you.


Keeping your eyes on Me is the same thing as trusting Me.  It is a free choice that you must make thousands of times daily.  The more you choose to trust Me, the easier it becomes.  Thought patterns of trust become etched into your brain.  Relegate troubles to the periphery of your mind, so that I can be central in your thoughts.  Thus you focus on Me, entrusting your concerns into My care."


It is so easy to let our problems consume us, and to go through our days dwelling on the impossibilities that we face, while continually mulling over every angle of our situation, trying to find a solution that previously eluded us.  Jesus is calling us to go through our days focused on Him instead, continually giving Him our troubles and problems, and letting Him bear our burdens and orchestrate the solutions. 


1 Peter 5:7 -- "Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you."

I encourage you to check out this life-changing devotional!  You can buy the book or the Kindle version for under $10 and begin to "enjoy peace in His Presence!"



Monday, February 20, 2012

New Series -- Marriage Monday!






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Did you see this bizarre article last week about the woman in Seattle who "married" a building???  Is that ridiculous or what??

We live in a time when marriage has lost its sacredness and many people enter into it casually or even flippantly.  There is little long-term commitment with roughly half of all marriages ending in divorce.

Our society in general is confused about the origin, meaning, and purpose of marriage.  Most consider it a legal union between two consenting partners and few realize that marriage is actually a Covenant that is entered into before a holy God (hence the term "Holy Matrimony").

Marriage was not invented by man -- it was created by God, as a sacred institution.  We see God's divine plan outlined in Genesis chapter 2:

And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  (Genesis 2:18)
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  (Genesis 2:23-24)


Adam and Eve were not just any two individuals.  As the first humans, God uses them as a pattern for all future marital relationships.  We know this to be true, because when Jesus taught on the subject of divorce, He appealed to the creation account as the basis for his teaching.  (See Matthew 19:3-6.)  Therefore, from this account, we can confidently glean many truths about God's design for marriage.  Obviously, the first marriage (and pattern for all future marriages) included one Adam and one Eve -- not two Adams or two Eves, and not one Adam and multiple Eves.


So, the starting point of understanding marriage is recognizing that it is the God-ordained union of one man and one woman for life.  Any other variants are perversions of God's design.


Every Monday, I hope to explore some aspect of marriage here on my blog.  I invite you to share your marriage-related blog posts, as well.  Please link up with me by entering the URL of your specific blog post below, and make sure you grab my blog button and add it to your post!  (Just copy the HTML code under my button and paste into your blog post.)


Next week I'll be talking about the Four Purposes of Marriage, so make sure to come back next week to read my post and share one of your own.



"As God by creation made two of one, so again by marriage, He made one of two."  

~ Thomas Adams








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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Constitution 101 -- Sign Up Today for this FREE Course!



Are you as knowledgeable about our nation's constitution as you would like to be?

My sister told me about this FREE opportunity to learn more about the history and meaning of our nation's constitution.

Hillsdale College in Michigan is offering their Constitution 101 Class FREE to any American who wants to learn more about our nation's founding documents and understand the principles our nation was founded upon.  This is an incredible opportunity to become better informed!

Here is the schedule of lessons:




Constitution 101 Schedule


Lectures and other study materials will be released by noon each Monday. 

Approximately 40 minutes in length, these lectures are pre-recorded and available to view at your convenience.

  1. Introduction: The American Mind
    Larry P. ArnnMonday, February 20
  2. The Declaration of Independence
    Thomas G. WestMonday, February 27
  3. The Problem of Majority Tyranny
    David BobbMonday, March 5
  4. Separation of Powers: Preventing Tyranny
    Kevin PortteusMonday, March 12
  5. Separation of Powers: Ensuring Good Government
    Will MorriseyMonday, March 19
  6. Religion, Morality, and Property
    David BobbMonday, March 26
  7. Crisis of Constitutional Government
    Will MorriseyMonday, April 2
  8. Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution
    Kevin PortteusMonday, April 9
  9. The Progressive Rejection of the Founding
    Ronald J. PestrittoMonday, April 16
  10. The Recovery of the Constitution
    Larry P. ArnnMonday, April 23
















































What do you think?  Are you ready to be a student again!  :)  Click HERE to sign up!



The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.  ~ Thomas Jefferson

Friday, February 17, 2012

Road Trip



"The Bros" are headed to South Carolina today to spend time with their sister, Ashlyn, and their grandparents (my parents), Nanny and PaPa.   I know they will have a wonderful weekend filled with fun and adventure -- because that is just who they are!!  But, I can't help but worry about them on the road . . . does it ever get any easier to let your kids go??  (I'm guessing not!)  Praying for safe travels for my big guys!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Points to Ponder




WE HAVE TALLER BUILDINGS . . .
 but shorter tempers.

WE HAVE MORE CONVENIENCES . . .
 but less time.

WE HAVE MORE KNOWLEDGE . . .
 but less judgment.

WE HAVE FANCIER HOUSES . . .
 but broken homes.

WE CLEAN UP OUR AIR . . .
 but pollute our souls.

WE TRAVEL TO THE MOON . . .
 but not to our neighbors.

WE ADD YEARS TO LIFE . . .
 but not life to our years.

source unknown

What to Do With Overripe Bananas



1.  Make Double Chocolate Banana Bread.

2.  Make Banana Cream Bread.

3.  Make a Green Smoothie.

4.  Put in a ziploc bag and freeze for later use.

5. Or try this delicious recipe, which I made today.  It is adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook:







Banana Chip Bread

Ingredients:


1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 medium bananas, mashed
1 cup sour cream
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute half with whole wheat)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag white or semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

2.  Stir in bananas and sour cream.

3.  Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Stir into banana mixture just until moistened.

4.  Fold in chocolate chips and optional nuts.

5. Transfer to 2 medium greased loaf pans.  (I made one medium loaf and 4 mini-loaves.)  Bake at 350 F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  (I baked the mini loaves for 45 minutes.)  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note to my sister:  Don't worry -- I didn't use the nuts!  No reason to fear for Amber's life!  :)  







Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recipes from Valentine's Day

Here are the recipes from our Valentine's Day celebration:







Chicken Parmesan


Ingredients:
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces Mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Dip chicken into beaten egg and then into bread crumbs, coating thoroughly.
3. In a skillet, heat olive oil.  Brown chicken in olive oil on both sides.
4. Pour thin layer of spaghetti sauce into a 9"x13" baking dish.  Place chicken on top of sauce.
5. Pour remaining sauce over chicken and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned and chicken is cooked through.
7. Serve with fettuccine noodles.  (I make fettuccine noodles according to package directions; drain, and toss with plenty of butter, half-and-half, and Parmesan cheese.  Then keep warm until ready to serve.)

Note:  I doubled this recipe for my family!



And for dessert . . .






Sour Cream Chocolate Cake


Ingredients:


1 cup baking cocoa
1 cup boiling water
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

Icing:
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioner's sugar


Directions:


1. Dissolve cocoa in water; let stand until cool.  In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla.

2.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well.  Add cocoa mixture; beat well, scraping bowl as needed.

3.  Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

4.  In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat; cool for 5 minutes.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until blended.  Add confectioner's sugar; beat until light and fluffy.  Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake.  Store cake in the refrigerator.

Yield: 16 servings


This cake was delicious!!!  Just the kind of cake my husband loves!  :)


Celebrating Valentine's Day!

Did you do anything special for Valentine's Day yesterday??  I hope so!

As I was out running errands yesterday, I had a couple different people randomly tell me that they don't celebrate "Hallmark holidays."  But the way I see it, why not take advantage of a day like Valentine's Day to make your family feel special and loved??

It really doesn't take much money or time to make memories and to make the day special for your husband and children!  You don't even have to set foot in a Hallmark store or buy any mass-produced Valentine's cards (unless you want to)!

Here's proof!

Look how my friend, Natalie, decorated her table for Valentine's Day!  Her menu?  Bagels and Strawberries!  I think even the busiest mom can pull that off!  :)




How would it make you feel to sit down to a plate like this??



I got up a bit earlier in order to make breakfast for my work-bound and school-bound family members.  It was not elaborate -- just some buttermilk pancakes and heart-shaped eggs.  (Although, I must confess that my eggs did not look nearly as pretty as these!)




Decorating for Valentine's Day is easy.  This is my buffet table in the foyer, which I like to decorate for special occasions.






Note that I didn't buy anything special.  I just moved some items there from other locations in my house -- my wedding picture, a picture of my hubby and me, the goblets from our wedding day, some appropriate Willow Tree collectibles, and a red heart-shaped candy bowl that I did pick up half-price after Valentine's Day last year for a dollar.  The red heart garland came from The Dollar Tree several years ago.


You can always delegate the decorating if you don't have the time and have older kids.  Hannah was the one who transformed our dining table into a thing of beauty!


Really, all this took was some M&Ms and heart-shaped candies which I bought (on sale).  I already had the candles and the red place mats and the red heart-shaped garland, which came from The Dollar Tree.  Just a few simple touches created a feeling of specialness for my family!


Of course, any table looks better with good food on it!  :)




So, I adorned mine with a special meal of Chicken Parmesan, Creamy Fettuccine, and Tossed Salad.  (Recipes coming soon!)


Those who had red shirts or heart-shaped jewelry or accessories put them on for dinner.  Some (like Amber!) even decorated a shirt for the occasion (by pinning on red hearts)!  :)








The children made homemade Valentines for Alan and me!







Matthew came to the table with some verses on true love from John chapter 3 to share with us!!  He impressed us all with his reading!!  It was a very sweet moment!  :)




I appreciated Tiffany for assembling the cake I had baked!  She made it look good!


And then Hannah decorated it with M&Ms!


It was a 3-layer masterpiece that delighted the chocolate lovers in our house!



I hope your Valentine's Day was as much fun as ours was!
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