Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mama Joy's Meatballs

As promised yesterday - my Mum's recipe for meatballs. These are seriously yummy! My Mum is the very best cook I know - anyone who knows her will tell you about the delicious food she makes! My Dad is terrificly blessed. I know our children will be coming home asking me to make things special like Grammy makes them!

To be fair, it's the Historian who usually makes Mama Joy's Meatballs around here - he has 'the touch' to make tender meatballs. I get totally grossed out when handling raw meat with raw egg added - as in meatloaf or meatballs!! Texture issues I guess! Yesterday I 'cheated' and used my extra large cookie or mashed potato scoop - and they were all uniform but a bit on the big side. I didn't have to touch the meat, so it was quite do-able!


Mama Joy's Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

1 medium onion, minced

4-6 cloves of garlic minced (I use 4, the Historian uses 6 and Mum? The sky is the limit!)

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 beaten egg

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs - very fine is best (I often grate toasted bread)

2 Tbsp. prepared spaghetti sauce - Ragu, Prego and Bertolli and Meijer's all have decent organic sauces now and that's what I use unless I have my home canned - but I never make enough!

1 or 2 more jars of prepared spaghetti sauce

Gently combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl - do not over work the meat or it will be tough; form balls. Place in glass 9"x13" baking dish and cover with extra prepared spaghetti sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Drain any floating fat with a turkey baster. Serve over your favorite fresh cooked pasta, with a nice salad and crusty garlic bread or maybe Kelli's Garlic Twists! We always put our water or grape juice in stemmed glasses, have candles on the table and play romantic 'Italian' music while we eat Mama Joy's meatballs! It only takes a minute to make an ordinary meal something more memorable - and now if I forget, I have two willing helpers who will set it up just right for us! They usually use enough candles to burn the house down, but it's the thought, right?


Last night's supper was Chicken Tortilla Soup and it was really tasty!
I brushed olive oil on soft flat bread and sprinkled it with a bit of taco seasoning
before cutting it in strips with my pizza cutter.
I baked them until they were crisp before garnishing the soup!


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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Freezer Meal Success!

Alright - I am ready for my foot massage now! I just know I can count on the Historian for a nice one when he gets home!!! Right, hon?

Here is a run down on how my cooking day went today. Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let's get the bad news out of the way, o.k.?

I underestimated in quite a few areas - I'll know better for next time!
  • I underestimate the time. It took 6 hours, instead of 5, but the main problem was clean up time, cool down times and interruptions. I thought that since the children are still at Poppa and Grammy's I wouldn't have any interruptions, but I was wrong! I also had forgotten my own needs - as the lunch and a potty break or two!
  • I underestimated the effort. Why is that I still think that under this apron there is a Super Woman costume ... I am really tired! Next time I'll be less ambitious - honestly - I will! Well, I'll try! Still coming to terms with liver disease, I guess.
  • I underestimated the power of ice tea - my blackberry tea is herbal - I could have used some powerful caffeine!!!
  • I underestimated my lack of ability to focus. I thought I would multi-task and listen to those ministry tapes I've been longing to listen to, but the recipes were new and required some brain power to follow, so I couldn't listen and concentrate at the same time. I'm thankful for Christian radio keeping me company!
  • I underestimated the freezer space required - I should have organized my freezer first!
  • I forgot to count out my freezer bags and ran out of the size I needed.

Chicken in Phyllo - I made the cream cheese version
of these and I think they will be a hit with our family!

All of these little problems are just learning opportunities, and are quite fixable - so lets get to the good news!
  • I made everything I had intended to, with one substitution. I was reading the ingredients on the oil packed sun dried tomatoes for the Italian Stuffed Chicken and realized that it had three really bad preservatives in there - so I made Pecan Stuffed Chicken Breasts instead.
  • Everything smelled and tasted wonderful - that is, the things that I cooked tasted great - some of the recipes I put in the freezer uncooked - but the ingredients smelled wonderful. I loved using my fresh herbs from the garden!
  • My yield was higher and my cost per meal was actually less then I thought since I didn't use the expensive sun dried tomatoes and got more meals then I estimated.
  • The Chicken Tortilla Soup is more full bodied than I thought, so I will use it for a main dish.

French Onion Soup - 4 servings for my Historian
Chicken Tortilla Soup - 3 dinners
Manicotti - 2 dinners
Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts - 2 dinners
Chicken in Phyllo - 3 dinners
Pecan Stuffed Chicken Breasts - 1 dinner
Sloppy Joes - 3 dinners
Mama's Joy's Meatballs - 4 dinners

That's 18 meals in the freezer!!!!



Mama's Joy's Meatballs - I let them cool and removed all the fat before freezing.


So, when I take off the sun dried tomatoes, add in the cost of the Chicken Tortilla Soup ingredients and a few other things that I used from my pantry that I missed in my initial estimate, the total was more like $68 which makes each meal $3.78! That works for me!


Pecan Stuffed Chicken Breasts filling - mmmm!

Now, I'm going to finish washing the dishes, wash the kitchen floor, soak my feet and have a nap! There is no need to panic - I've got dinner in the freezer!

I would not feel right about sharing the recipes I used from the book since they are copy written, but I will share my Mum's amazing 'Mama's Joy's Meatballs' next post - they are wonderful! The book 'Don't Panic Dinner is in the Freezer' is in our library lending system - so hopefully it is in yours as well, and if not, try your local Christian Bookstore first (please please keep your neighbors employed folks - local stores are rapidly diminishing and it is a real shame, in my humble opinion), or CBD.

Now, where did I put that mop?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ready ... set ... cook!

Tomorrow is the day I have set aside for putting some meals in the freezer. 10 meals is the goal, but we'll see how it goes. I'm using some recipes from 'Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer' and tonight I did the 'big grocery shop' to stock up on everything I needed for my selected recipes. I have checked the pantry for required staples and I think I am all ready to go!

I brewed a big batch of black raspberry ice tea to keep me going too!

Since this is just a trial run on five of the recipes, I am making the single batch amount for each this time. Some of the single recipes are large enough to do for two meals for our little family of four. I'm also doing a couple of our old favorites.

I used to do 'Once A Month Cooking' - rarely for the whole month, but often the two week plan. It was fun and very satisfying to have meals ahead, but somehow I got away from that level of regular organization when our Storyteller became an active one year old!!! Hmmm. Funny how that happens. I have continued to double up on dinners and put one in the freezer occasionally, but not as often as I would like to. Maybe this will inspire me to get back to it.

I am hoping that this won't take more then 5 hours, but we'll see how I do! I've already been praying for strength and a good day of clear thinking. I've even picked out some ministry c.d.'s to listen to!

Here is my final selection:

Chicken Tortilla Soup
French Onion Soup
Manicotti
Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts
Chicken in Phyllo
Italian Stuffed Chicken
Sloppy Joes
Mama's Joy's Meatballs

I used the food sales to help me choose the menu - as you can tell, chicken and ground beef are the best deals for this week, and ricotta was on too, along with the manicotti noodles, which tend to be pricey. Onions were super cheap. Even the buttermilk was on sale. If all goes as planned 10 meals for a family of four will cost about $56 or $5.60 per night - slightly higher than the author's projected cost of $3.75-$4.25, but since food costs have risen about 9% percent just in the last year, and the book has a 2005 publication date, I think it's about right. I didn't include the soup in the tally since I plan to use if for lunches. I will try to plan better another time and find better deals. I stuck to my 'close to home' stores since I didn't want my meat to rot in the heat, and I was pretty much wilted myself!

Now, I am off to read another chapter of 'From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out' and get a really good night's sleep. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!



If I have any energy left I might make another tassel or two ... I'm telling you it's addictive!
This one is hanging from the brown palm fan in our sun room and has already made my life easier -
I don't have to jump to turn on the light!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I am so enjoying participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook.
It's a great way to start the week with a focus.


For Today Monday, July 28, 2008

Outside My Window...
it is dull and spitting rain, the air is heavy and the birds are singing loudly

I am thinking...
of how much I wish I could be with the children at Mum and Dad's -
but I know they are having a great time without me!
This morning Dreamer starts a daily canoe camp -
I know she is going to have a great time and be really good at canoing!

I am thankful for...
one more week of working on projects and precious time alone with my husband.
I am also thankful that his leg is healed and that he is working with a
doctor to find the underlaying cause of the re-occurring cellulitis.

I am praying for ...
our many dear friends who are so fresh in their grief -
May God bring them healing and comfort.
Today is the memorial for Mrs. Lula and I so wish we could be there.

From the kitchen...
I used up all of the 8 oz. jelly jars Mum bought for me
and now I am having to buy more!
The Preserve Tally:
Strawberry jam - 21
Mulberry jam - 18
Black raspberry jam - 23
Red raspberry jam - 18
Blueberry jam - 18
Sweet pickle relish - 10
Golden plum preserves - 8
Fiesta corn relish - 8
Apple Jelly - 7

This week I won't be doing as much preserving since our pantry is getting full and I need to wait on our tomatoes to ripen for chili sauce, salsa, pasta sauce, etc. I will make green bean pickle, I think, and try to blanch and freeze some green beans since I don't have a pressure canner yet.
I have blueberries, raspberries and grated zucchini in the freezer.
I hope to freeze some peaches and more blueberries this week.

I have set aside Wednesday for a cooking day and will chose some recipes from
'Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer' and I hope to put 10 dinners in the freezer.

I am wearing...
my favorite white blouse over a white shell and a lightweight denim skirt.
My feet will soon have my most comfortable shoes for in the house on,
and my hair is still damp, but I'll be putting it up as soon as it drys.

I am creating...
tassels!
I've gone a bit crazy with this fun project lately!
Hobby Lobby has their upholstery trims on this week for 30% off,
so I may have to go back for more!

I am going...
to stay home today and work on the inside things that I have been neglecting!
I keep saying that when it rains I will clean, but it hasn't rained during the day all week!!!


I am reading...
This is really exciting for me!!!!
I was asked by a real author to review her book! Me! Little old me! Can you imagine?
It was sent to me this week and I am so excited about reading it! The book is called
From Clutter to Clarity: Simplifying Life from the Inside Out
written by Nancy Twigg.


I'll be posting a review of the book later this week!


I am hoping...
that I use this week wisely and honor the Lord in all I do!


I am hearing...
the occasional car pass by and the wet sound of the pavement under their tires.
Suddenly, the birds are silent, where they had been so loud!


Around the house...
I don't know quite where to start, but start I must!
I've spent some time praying for direction this morning
and now I've shared my plan with you!
I'm going to grab my trusty timer and work
for 15 minutes in each area that needs attention.

One of my favorite things...
talking with my Mum on the phone - but in person is even better


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • lunch with a friend on Tuesday and Friday - yeah!!!
  • Reading Nancy Twigg's great new book!
  • food prep for the winter and some freezer meals
  • painting projects, sewing projects
  • cleaning out our closet and my sewing closet
  • continuing the search for a bigger bookcase for Dreamer's room
  • look for some furniture for our side porch makeover - budget $150
  • still waiting to hear from Immigration - figuring out the next step

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


These have been my 'tools' for all of the preserving and freezing this week!


Thank you for reading my daybook!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Elysha

The celebration of God's goodness and the life of Elysha Elizabeth Brooks will be held today.

Saturday, July 26
11am
Oakridge Bible Chapel
Oakville, Ontario

If you would like share your love and encouragement with this dear family, you will find their guest book link here. I know they appreciate your prayer support.

Family pictures courtesy of Peggy Baker

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The 'Girlfriend Warning'

There are some things that should definitely come with an official 'Girlfriend Warning', and I have two prime examples for you this week.

By 'Girlfriend Warning' I mean that uncommon courtesy that one woman must extend to another when said woman is about to engage in potentially 'risky behavior'. It's something we learned in high school, as you may recall. Often these gems of profound insight were passed along in the hallways by the lockers, cafeteria or even in the girls bathroom.

You remember. Words like, 'Don't go out with George - he has more hands than an octopus has arms!'. This warning was pretty clear - meant to help your girl friends understand that George was apt to frequently invade your personal space and was not a safe date. We all avoided George until he grew up and learned to keep his hands to himself. The 'girlfriend warning' in action.

Women have been helping one another out like this for centuries I'm certain, which is why it mystifies me that I clearly walked into two instances of obviously 'risky behavior' this week without so much as a hint of warning. A 'girlfriend warning' failure. Thankfully not life altering, but never the less, a failure.

I will not, cannot, in all good conscience allow you, my friends, to fall into this kind of circumstance unwarned. I like you all too much. After all, you read my blog, put up with my silliness, and you make kind remarks in my comments - well, some of you do!

Here, then, is my very serious 'girlfriend warning'. If this is the only gift I ever give you, it will still be of great value. Unless you choose to completely ignore me. Which is just fine. Honestly.

The first warning comes as a confession.

I went shopping without children. I went to Crafts 2000 and Hobby Lobby. Alone. For hours and hours. Ahhhhh.

Feasting your eyes on beauty, drooling over gorgeous fringe and raiding the clearance bins on your hands and knees can work up quite an appetite. Mine lead me to Panera Bread. There, on the menu board, as innocent as you please, the cream cheese selection - including - hazelnut.

No warnings, no caution - not even a raised eyebrow from the young woman taking my order.

The 'girlfriend warning' failed, and now I am subject to an addiction to Panera Bread Hazelnut Cream cheese. I can only hope it is a seasonal offering and will soon be replaced with something totally distasteful like broccoli and anchovy. It is sooooooooooo good. I wonder if there is a 'Cream Cheese Anonymous' meeting in my area? I may need it. It is a very good thing that I don't get out often - but when I am out .... Panera Bread, here I come. All other cream cheese just pales by comparison.

I'm not usually food focussed. Unless it is really good chocolate. This new addiction must result from the fact that my parents have our children and I totally want to be there jumping in the waves and getting sand in my swimsuit with them. It will pass, right?

My second warning comes from an inspiration.

I just loved a certain chenille fringe that The Nester uses in some of her fabulous tassels. I thought it might help me with a valance that I recently made that just 'needs something' 'Nester-ish' to make it truly lovely. I e-mailed her as to her secret source and she told me - Hobby Lobby. Yeah! I hotfooted it over to our Hobby Lobby, coupon in hand, and drooled over the very fringe she used. It was a dream come true.

Until I thought about just how much my husband might really hate it ... so I bought just one yard. Brought it home. Pinned it on the curtain top I'm trying really hard to like. And I hated it on the valance too - just too much poof for our bathroom. What's a woman to do with just one yard of wonderful fringe? Hmm.

Thankfully, I have a friend who loves tassels, so I thought to myself, 'How hard can it be? It won't be as pretty as the Nester's, naturally, but I could give tassel making a try!' I gathered my trusty hot glue gun, an old wooden spool and all the ribbon and trim leftovers from my past home dec projects .... and I made Mrs. M a somewhat Nester-like tassel!!!


Then, I made 8 more. One right after another. In one afternoon. When I was supposed to be sewing, cleaning and resting.

Another addictive hobby - just what I needed. My sister is already convinced that I'm the ADHD Crafter.

Where was the 'Girlfriend Warning' there, I ask you? Something clear - like 'Tassel making can be addictive. You might make tassels until your fingers cramp and still want to make more. You might dream about tassels and try to figure out how your family can eat less food so there is more room in the budget for lush trims, ribbons and fringe.'


Something simple like that would have been greatly appreciated. I'm thinking about I might need to find a 'Tasseler's Intervention' group soon or take on a part time job, because I'll need to support my new fringe buying habit, after all.

Well, I'm off to hide the hazelnut cream cheese so I don't have to share no one else succumbs to this particular 'risky behavior'. After that, I think I'll fire up the hot glue gun and make a tassel - after all my sister needs two for her family room! Honestly. She said so.

Feel free to pass this 'girlfriend warning along' and get the word out to those you care about. You just might save someone you love from ... themselves!




Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

The Message


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pray for Elysha's family please ....


Elysha Elizabeth Brooks
October 27, 2007 - July 22, 2008

Beloved and cherished gift of God to Richard & Katherine Brooks. Loved and dearly missed by grandparents Alex (Sandy) and Lorna Smith and Don & Elva Brooks; Aunt Rachel Brooks, Uncle Mathew & Aunt Sarah (Brooks) Van Essen; Cousins Caleb, Timmy, David, Lily, Linia, & Nehemiah Van Essen; Great Grandparents Nelson & Eileen Brooks. Remembered by many great aunts, uncles, and extended family across Ontario, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Dubai.
Our heartfelt thanks to the amazing staff at the Hospital for Sick Children - Cardiac Critical Care, Unit 4D, Gen Surg, Neurology & Palliative Care; our incredible Pediatrician, our Halton Region Occupational Therapist and the team at CCAC/St. Elizabeth Health Care - whose care for Elysha extended far beyond her medical needs.
Visitation and Funeral details will be posted soon. All are welcome and encouraged to come and celebrate Elysha’s life.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Hospital Sick Children, MSC (Missionary Services Canada) or to the local mission/charity of your choice in memory of Elysha would be greatly appreciated.



"My flesh and my heart fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26

Photo Credit: Peggy

Clip Art: Dover


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I am so enjoying participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook.
It's a great way to start the week with a focus.



For Today Monday, July 21, 2008

Outside My Window...
the day is bright, sunny and warm.

I am thinking...
about our children - so far from home!
I hope they are having a wonderful time with Poppa and Grammy
and their cousin T.

I am thankful for...
quiet time

I am praying for ...
those dear friends who are so fresh in their grief -
May God bring them healing and comfort.

From the kitchen...
Mum just blessed me with 5 boxes of empty canning jars - many pints and jelly jars to put up the bounty of the season. This week I hope to make red raspberry, apricot and peach jam.
I also hope to freeze and can peaches.

This week our menu will be flexible since it is just the two of us. I am really excited about 'Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer' and I hope in the next two weeks to put at least 10 dinners in the freezer. I haven't decided if I'll do an all day cooking spree or just double up on dinners when I cook this week.

I am wearing...
My 'berry picking' clothes since I'm off to pick red raspberries this morning.

I am creating...
a 'to do list' and trying to whittle it down to my top 10 goals for this
next two weeks without children.


I am going...
berry picking

I am reading...
'Small Batch Preserving' - I've got a cookbook theme here I guess!

I am hoping...
that my Historian's leg continues to heal and that he has a good week at work.

I am hearing...
The sounds of my 'servants' - the washer and dishwasher are doing their jobs! I normally cannot hear these quiet machines, but without the children here it is strangely silent!

Around the house...
I need to sort the outgrown clothes and pass them along.


One of my favorite things...
a warm summer day


A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • jam making, filling the freezer with berries and peaches
  • painting projects, sewing projects, garden projects
  • cleaning out cupboards and tidying my desk
  • more lesson plans for the fall, finish ordering curriculum
  • continuing the search for a bigger bookcase for Dreamer's room
  • look for some furniture for our side porch makeover - budget $150
  • still waiting to hear from Immigration - figuring out the next step

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Our Storyteller with his birthday bicycle and helmet
and Dreamer with her new 'matches my eyes' blue helmet.



Thank you for reading my Daybook!


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Just how did they talk me into this???

My parents are great. Don't get me wrong - I love them dearly. I just think they must have some magic mind control device which they use on me once in a while to make me do crazy things.

Like give them our children FOR TWO WEEKS!!!

Yes, you read it right. Since I couldn't leave the country ( because I am still waiting for our paperwork from Homeland Security) to go for our usual summer holiday with my Mum and Dad, the children are there without me! They have already been to the beach. Without me.

It didn't help matters to see them happily waving us good bye without even a tear or hint of sadness. They could have at least pretended they might miss us. A bit.

So, here we are - back home. No children. For two weeks.

Friends keep asking what I am going to do with myself. I'm not sure, but I have some ideas.

I'm going to clean our house - and it's going to stay clean.

I'm planning to sew a bit, garden a bit, paint a bit and rest. Maybe read a book with no interruptions. Make some meals for the freezer. Take a friend out for lunch. Get my hair cut without having to take along a child. Enjoy my husband's company, and talk without being interrupted. I won't have to ask anyone not to talk with their mouth full, use their fork or to get their elbows off the table for two weeks.

I'm praying for Dad and Mum. I know they will have a great time together, but I'm sure it will be tiring, especially for Mum. The laundry alone is a chore - but she has lots of experience - lots!

We think it is such a blessing that our children will have this time with their grandparents. Grandparents enrich our children's lives and expand their experience - they are richer for knowing them better. Thank you Mum and Dad for giving us this gift of time, and for giving the children time with you.

If I hear from Homeland Security in the meantime and they decide finish up this process and issue my proper paperwork - I'll be there with my swimsuit in 24 hours or less! I can't let the children have all of the fun!

So now I'm off to make an unreasonably long list of all the things I'd like to do, whittle it down to the top 10, and brew a big jug of iced tea to sit out on the patio with when I've checked a few things off the list!

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Rich Hot Fudge Sauce

July birthdays just call for Ice Cream Cakes, don't they? Our Storyteller thinks so, though for some reason he doesn't remember his last ice cream cake! He placed his order though, for a custom cake by Momma and this afternoon, I made it. We will have to eat it one day early though, since tomorrow, his real birthday, we will be on the road to Poppa and Grammy, Lord willing. While making our Storyteller's special request, I realized I was out of fudge sauce, so I made a batch of 'Rich Hot Fudge Sauce'. I thought I had shared this recipe with you all before, but I searched my blog and discovered my oversight. It is sooooooooo good - it must be shared! So, without further ado, may I present,

Rich Hot Fudge Sauce
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/3 cup cocoa ( I like the dutch process cocoa)
3/4 cup whipping cream
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter

In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar, salt and cocoa with a whisk. Slowly stir in cream until combined using whisk to smooth out any lumps. Heat over medium continuously whisking until it comes to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Take off heat. Add butter and vanilla. Stir until combined. Allow to cool for 5 minute before pouring over your favorite ice cream. Store in covered jar in the fridge for up to one week. Can be reheated in microwave as needed. If it gets too thick add a tablespoon of boiling water and stir until smooth. Makes one generous cup of rich fudge topping.

Note: The Storyteller came up with a real winning flavor combination for his Ice Cream Cake! It must come of listening to 'The Boxcar Children and the Chocolate Sundae Mystery' recently! Here was his special 'order':
  1. Toasted slivered almonds
  2. Vanilla ice cream ( Breyer's all natural)
  3. Rich Hot Fudge Sauce
  4. Vanilla ice cream ( Breyer's all natural)
  5. Raspberry Sauce
  6. Vanilla ice cream ( Breyer's all natural)
  7. Rich Hot Fudge Sauce
  8. Toasted slivered almonds
    I made it in a loaf pan, froze it for about 4 hours, and served it sliced. It would easily serve 8 hungry birthday party guests. I sliced up the whole carton of ice cream and just squished the layers together. It looked pretty when we cut it in 3/4 inch slices. Enjoy!


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Thursday, July 17, 2008

I want to be 'That Man'

Yesterday, we went as a family to the funeral of a beloved friend. While it was very hard to hold back the tears because of our loss, and much more so his precious family's loss, it was still a joyous celebration. Three Pastors led us in remembering Mr. Bob, as our children called him. He was such a humble, godly man. His testimony was strong throughout his life and to the very end. He lived what he believed. I think there will be very little 'acclimating' for Mr.Bob in heaven, since he walked so closely to God here on earth. What a joyous home going it must have been for him in heaven! So many lives he has touched with his.

He was 'found faithful' in every way, I am sure.

I left the funeral, realizing once again how short our time on this earth is, and how much more I want to make of whatever is left of my own time here. I am not being morbid, I promise, just thinking in terms of eternity. There was no question that Mr.Bob lived his life in light of eternity. His funeral was all about the Lord. There was no question as to his vocation or his advocation - he was a soldier in God's army. Instead of having to look for kind and positive things to say about Mr. Bob, there was so much to be said that it had to be severely condensed - just the highlights, a very brief glimpse into his character. A few weeks ago while teaching the adult Bible class he talked about going to heaven - deciding the first person he was going to hug was Jesus, and then their son Marc who preceded him in death almost 25 years ago. He left instructions for his funeral, 'Don't talk about me - talk about Jesus!'

I want my funeral to be like Mr. Bob's. Not that I have any thought of accomplishing all that he did, or of influencing as many as he did. God didn't make me the outgoing, hug everybody, super intelligent, traveled the world but never met a stranger, witness to everybody kind of person that He made Mr. Bob. I am quiet, shy even and my circle of influence is very small - but I want to love God fully and love my family just like Mr.Bob did. Right where I am, just as God designed me, I want to be 'that man'.

And when I die, please don't talk about me - just talk about Jesus. With God's help, I'll try to live my life so that will be just the natural thing to do, just like it was yesterday for our friend and brother in the Lord, Mr. Bob.

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Do you know the hope of heaven today? If you are not familiar with what I am sharing in this post, or don't understand what it means to be a Christian or have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you can find more information here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday#5 Cutting Board Uses




I am not a big fan of plastic, but it is a reality in the world we live in, and sometimes it is so very helpful! This tip is for all you mums who can use some help keeping things tidy - like me!

Have you discovered the simple usefulness of Flexible Plastic Cutting Boards? You can buy them at Target, but you'll spend quite a bit more than I do for the same thing at Wal*Mart - and their 'Mainstays' cutting boards are made in the U.S.A., which is a good thing, I think. A set of 3 is about $2 - or they do have a similar set at the dollar stores for $1 - often made in China.

I've already told you about trimming a cutting board to fit into a jelly roll pan so we can save the juices when my hubby carves us up a roast beef, but I have many other daily uses for these pieces of plastic, so I thought I'd share.




Flexible Cutting Board Tips

  1. I can never remember the 'color code' and can't expect the kids to either. It's easy to use a permanent marker to label each one for specific uses, thus avoiding cross contamination. Examples: Meat, Cheese, Fruit, Veggies, Bread
  2. Protect the table when your kids are playing Playdough with their own personalized cutting board.
  3. Use to protect the table from glue projects. They wash easily, and even hot glue will come off when it is cool.
  4. Did someone say 'glitter'? Personally, I hate the stuff, but my kids love it. Spills go back into the shaker easily from a smooth cutting board (not one that has been sliced and scored by much use). Where there is glitter, there are spills!
  5. Use to protect the table from painting projects - why waste newsprint when you can use a waterproof, reusable cutting mat!
  6. Use to line the drawer under your cutlery - it is easy to lift the cutlery holders out and get rid of the crumbs - which we all have!
  7. Use one under your sewing machine to keep it from 'walking' across the table when you sew.
  8. Do you have a beautiful Vera bag, but can't wash the stiff bag bottom because it is cardboard - or already did by accident? Oops! Stitch rip the end of the fabric bag liner, use the cardboard as a template and cut yourself a new bag bottom from a cutting board. Slip it in, hand sew it closed and voila - your bag is now washable!
  9. Making a new bag, but don't want to buy expensive bag bottoms and don't have any plastic canvas on hand? These cutting boards are so easy to cut any shape!
  10. They make great re-useable stencils for large detail stenciling - use a sharp blade to cut. A heat stencil cutting tool doesn't work well on the thicker plastic.
  11. Do you need to make a stiff bonnet brim for a 'Little House' or 'Sunbonnet Sue' style sunbonnet? Cut your pattern piece from a cutting board - slip it in to the brim fabric and you'll have a nice stiff bonnet that washes well. It can't be folded back, and you'll have to be careful when ironing, but this really worked well for me.
  12. These boards work well as a 'Doo Scoop', when your puppy has an accident of the more solid variety - keep 1/2 a cutting board with your cleaning supplies for scooping up 'calling cards' from the carpet.
  13. Quick - where's the funnel? We can never find ours, but rolling a 1/2 cutting mat into a funnel is pretty quick and you can roll it just the size you need for the job at hand.
  14. Cutting mats make great dividers for between 'delicate' foods in the freezer - for example puff pastry, meringues and baklava. Simply cut to size using the container's lid as a template and store them with the container for future food storage needs.
  15. Do those no drip fridge shelves work better for you than they do for me??? I hope so! We have spills that go right to the bottom, but I have a solution: Line the bottom of your fridge under the crisper drawers with flexible cutting mats and spills will be easier to clean up - slide out, soak off the stickiness and voila! a clean fridge bottom. The rest of the fridge - you'll have to figure that one out!
  16. Are you a rubber stamper? Embossing powder doesn't stick to a new (un-scored) flexible cutting board and will slide nicely into the jars after use.
  17. If you don't have a fancy pastry mat, a well floured cutting mat will do in a pinch. You can even draw permanent marker circles as guidelines for your favorite sizes of pie dishes.
  18. Years ago I carefully cut up a cutting board into thin strips to use as guides for cutting 1" lattice for pies and tarts, 2" shortbread bars and 4" diamond shaped cookies. I still use them.
  19. I have a friend who uses cutting mats for quilting templates. Her idea gave me, a non-quilter, the idea to use them when I make yo-yo's! Perfect circles every time!
  20. Cutting up a cutting board is simple - scissors work, but so does a rotary cutter or sharp Xacto type knife.

I'm sure you'll come up with more great ideas of your own!


Clean Up!

Flexible plastic cutting boards from Wal*Mart are dishwasher safe - if they aren't in the way. We slip them along the sides out of the way of the rotating spray head thingy. Some of the thinner dollar store boards don't survive the heat of the dishwasher - you'll just have to read the package. They do get stained, but can be cleaned with a bit of baking soda and a rub. For really tough stains, Bar Keeper's Friend will take practically anything off.

Safety!

They melt when you leave them on a warm burner - and they smell. Bad.
Just ask me how I know this, or read about it here!

As always, check out all of the fantastic tips at Rocks In My Dryer, thanks to our gracious hostess, Shannon!


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Monday, July 14, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Once again, I was planning to participate in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook much earlier today, but I had to run to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for The Historian who is suffering with cellulitis in his leg.


For Today Monday, July 14, 2008

Outside My Window...
the day is bright, sunny and warm.

I am thinking...
of the four families we care about who have lost loved ones this past week.
I am thankful that all of those dear ones who passed away loved the Lord
and lived their lives for Him, and so their families have the comfort of
knowing that they are in heaven.

I am thankful for...
a brand new week. We will have a funeral to attend and a memorial next week.
The news yesterday about Baby Elysha indicates that her homegoing is imminent.
Still, it is a new week, and we are thankful for the many joys it will hold.


From the kitchen...
It is jam making season, and time to freeze, can and preserve the bounty of summer for the leaner winter months.

Monday: The Luscious Leftover Buffet
Tuesday:
Wednesday:
Thursday:
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday:
Sunday:
I haven't done my meal plans for this week - for some reason,
food is the las thing on our minds.


I am wearing...
My long tan skirt and a short sleeved lovely brown t-shirt. It is another comfortable outfit. My feet are bare, and I just realized that I forgot to sunscreen my feet when we were picking berries last week - they are 'sandel striped'.

I am creating...
special sympathy cards for each of the families who have lost loved ones. I am using pretty scrapbook paper and rubber stamps, and each card includes a comforting Scripture.


I am going...
to see if my husband is comfortable - and put a fresh cold pack on his leg. I am also going to get the laundry out on the line - even if it is almost noon!

I am reading...
favorite blogs when I get a chance, and 'Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer' - yes, another cookbook!


I am hoping...
to find some time this week to create, rest and have something special to smile about.
I am praying that my hubby's leg responds quickly to the meds and heals rapidly.
We need to find out how we can prevent this from happening again, since this is the third infection in his legs in the last 20 months.

I am hearing...
The chime of our grandfather clock reminding me that time is fleeting, and the birds through our open windows. Occasionally there is a car going by, and somewhere far off, I hear some machinery - I wonder if someone is baling hay or straw on such a fine day.


Around the house...
Mount Ironmore is soon going to rival Everest! Our whole house needs dusting, and a good vacuum, but somehow it just doesn't seem pressing.

One of my favorite things...
65 jars of jam lined up on my counter waiting for me to find room for them in the cupboard.
So far we have Strawberry, Mulberry and Black Raspberry
- just the start of preserving time!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • Birthday party plans for Storyteller - gift to buy
  • getting ready to travel - if the Historian is able.
  • piano lessons, a bit of daily school work
  • homeschool pool day Tuesday
  • more lesson plans for the fall, ordering curriculum
  • continuing the search for a bigger bookcase for Dreamer's room
  • look for some furniture for our side porch makeover - budget $150
  • still waiting to hear from Immigration - figuring out the next step
Storyteller turns 8 on Saturday!!! We plan to meet my parents so that they can take the children up to North Bay for 2 weeks. Hopefully, I will get some kind of notice from Homeland Security that will permit me to travel without problem, and I will be able to go up too, but if not, we will have two childless weeks. I'm thinking I can get a lot of projects done in two weeks,
if I am feeling up to it!


Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Beauty at the Butterfly Conservatory

Thank you for reading my Daybook!


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Friday, July 11, 2008

4 Compelling Reasons

What do you do when your almost 8 year old boy presents you with four compelling reasons to do something that you are not sure he's really mature enough to do? Well, if it is 9:30 at night and your brain has retired for the evening, it might just go something like this.

Storyteller: 'Momma, I really want to go tomorrow with Daddy to Mr. Glen's funeral.'

Momma: 'Ah, Chum, I know you do, but it is going to be a really long day, and even Mommy isn't feeling up to going with Daddy, though I'd like to be there too. It's more than six hours in the car, and you'd have to be very quiet and respectful during what might be a long funeral service. Glen is with the Lord, so we're not sorrowing like those who have no hope, but it is a very hard thing and many will be crying.'

Storyteller: 'Momma, I really want to go.'

Momma: 'It's nice that you want to keep Daddy company, Bud, but Farmer Dave will be riding along with Daddy and they will be just fine. Remember, that's why we tidied up the van after supper?'

Storyteller: 'I know, but you don't understand Momma, I really need to go.'

Momma: 'Why, Bud?'

Storyteller: (big smile - I think I've got her attention now) 'Well, for one thing, I need to pay my last respects to Mr. Glen. He was a great young man, even though I didn't know him very well. For another, I need to honor Pastor Lynn and Mrs. Suzie and their grown-up girls. Their family has suffered a great loss. Tomorrow is my only chance to support them this way. And, it's a been long time since I've been to a funeral and I need to remember the solemnity of life.' (the Momma brain finally comes back on ...I need to remember this, I need to remember this, I need .... hey wait a minute!)

Momma: 'Um, do you know what 'solemnity' means, Chum?'

Storyteller: 'Yeah, it means sad and serious - like the kitchen servant who inspired C.S. Lewis to create the character of Puddleglum. He always saw the solemnity of life.'

Momma: 'Ah. I should have known. Well, do you have any other reasons?'

Storyteller: 'Mommy, (a bit exasperated) do I really need more than four compelling reasons? I don't have another reason. (big grin) I really want to go. Please?'

Momma: 'Alright, Bud. Daddy and I will talk it over again, and if it's alright with him, it's alright with me. Will you give Pastor Lynn and Mrs. Suzie big hugs and give them my love?'

Storyteller: 'Yes, Momma. I'll be an ambassador for the girls of our family, since Sister gets car sick in the back seat and can't go either.'

Momma: ' Thank you. I love you, Bud. I think God is very pleased with your compassionate heart - and I know I am! Now, get back to bed!'

What a boy! One minute he is like a five year old, getting into everything, making countless messes, avoiding bedtime and being far far too noisy, and the next, he has grown beyond me, and shows understanding far beyond his just shy of 8 years. Both of our children are marvelous gifts from God, but this is the child that has me continually seeking God's wisdom and patience, and wondering if perhaps He ought to have chosen much wiser parents for this unique little boy.

Before Storyteller finally went to sleep, The Historian went over it with him again, and painted a pretty realistic picture of the long day ahead. He also warned him that he was only going to awaken him once, and if he wasn't up, he would need to stay home. This morning, Daddy kept his promise to awaken him. Storyteller was in and out of the bathroom, dressed and out at the table for breakfast within 5 minutes. Eyes half closed, one still swollen shut from a bad mosquito bite, but he was there.

We've been thinking and praying about this dear family all day, and for our guys - praying their presence will bring a measure of comfort to those who have lost so suddenly.

2 Corinthians 1:2-4

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our tribulation,

that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble,

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

New King James Version



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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

When one member hurts ...

Last night after supper we got a phone call informing us that our Pastor, his sweet wife and family have suffered the sudden loss of their son Glen who just turned 24. Our hearts are hurting for them deeply. We have spent much of the night praying for their family and for our church family, since we know that as a local church family, all will be sorrowing.

Glen was a really great young man, a seminary student, a sports fan and engaged to be married. He loved the Lord and was looking forward to serving Him in pastoral ministry. He didn't show up at work yesterday, and when they checked his dorm room, they found him. He suffered an epileptic seizure, but we don't know much else.

Our Pastor has compassionately come along side many who have suffered loss, and now it is our turn, as a church family to lift them in prayer, bring comfort and hope, and meet their physical needs, as we are able. I pray that we love them well.


"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Matthew 5:4

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Redeeming the Berries



re·deem
1.to buy or pay off; clear by payment: to redeem a mortgage.
2.to buy back, as after a tax sale or a mortgage foreclosure.
3.to recover (something pledged or mortgaged) by payment or other satisfaction: to redeem a pawned watch.
4.to exchange (bonds, trading stamps, etc.) for money or goods.
5.to convert (paper money) into specie.
6.to discharge or fulfill (a pledge, promise, etc.).
7.to make up for; make amends for; offset (some fault, shortcoming, etc.): His bravery redeemed his youthful idleness.
8.to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom.
9.Theology. to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.

Are there ever times when you wish you weren't quite such an honest customer? For example, when you stop at a roadside berry stand and buy exchange your firstborn for a quart of black raspberries, only to get them home and find they are more tart then the sour patch gummies that make your eyes water and your tummy ache. That's when you might just wish you had 'taste tested' before buying.

We know a certain Grammy who shall remain nameless, who is not above sampling the green grapes in the grocery isle. Just one, of course, and only to see if they are juicy and sweet or will take a layer off of the roof of your mouth and send your tongue into rehab for a week. We love her dearly, but in this case we won't follow suit. It just doesn't seem right somehow. I'd rather pay first and return them later if they are not nice, but I do see her point, for sure.

Since it would have cost more in gas to take back the berries, I sought a simple way to redeem them. Black Raspberry Tart - easy, quick and tasty.

Usually, I don't precook my tart filling, but I didn't want to take the risk of not adding enough sugar, so I did this time. Good thing, because it took a lot of sugar to redeem these berries. When I finally had the balance between sweet and tart just so, I threw together some pastry and popped it in the oven with our supper - which by the way was not as planned yesterday, since I am still facing weekend leftovers. We used up the last of the ham from Saturday in a Cheddar Ham Quiche - mmmm.

So, just in case you have some berries that need a little redemption, here is my recipe. Served warm with vanilla ice cream and a cup of hot tea - quite pleasant.

Black Raspberry Tart

Black Raspberry Filling:
4 cups of black raspberries, washed, drained and slightly crushed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2-3/4 cups of sugar, depending on the tartness of berries and your preference
2 tbsp. Clear Gel (pie thickener) or corn starch

Stir everything together in deep saucepan and cook over medium heat for 7-9 minutes or until thickened. Cool to room temperature. This is enough for 2 10" tarts, or the leftover would be great over ice cream or warmed on waffles!

Basic Sweet Crust:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Using pastry blender, work in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and work with fork until the water is incorporated and the dough comes together. Add more water as needed to make a smooth dough, being careful not to over-mix. Form the dough into two disks, one slightly smaller than the other, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This recipe is enough for 1 10" tart.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the bigger dough disk to fit into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the pan and cut until trim with the edges. Fill with filling. Don't over fill since it will bubble up a bit. You'll have enough filling for two, remember. Roll smaller dough disk and cut into strips. Place over filling. Higgaldy Pigaldy is just fine - it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful - look at my picture! I don't bother weaving the top crust - I am not Martha, and I think when you cut it up, it all looks good! Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.


As Storyteller was exclaiming over his slice of tart, The Historian explained that these very berries were the ones that he himself had declared far far too tart to eat. I mentioned that I had 'redeemed' the berries by putting them in a tart with a lot of sugar. Storyteller knew one definition of redeem - to buy back, and he used the example of God, our Creator, sending His Son Jesus, who paid the price for our sin so that we, His own creation, could be dear friends with God again. We had to explain the other uses of the word - as in, 'the extra sugar made up for the tartness of the berries and they were redeemed'.
Theology and vocabulary at the dinner table - I love it!


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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook



I was planning to participate in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook much earlier today, but I got distracted by the impending delivery of our new range!!! For a brief moment, I was all excited about getting it a whole week early, but then the delivery guys opened it, and it was broken.
*sigh*
Back to the drawing board. Another 32 days wait time.
I've been on the phone trying to get it moving a bit faster, but you know how these things go.

On to more pleasant pursuits ....
For Today Monday, July 7, 2008

Outside My Window...
the day is so bright, sunny and very warm. There is a breeze, making it quite bearable. I have been watching a couple of Blue Jays and their crazy antics. My, they are noisy when they play!

I am thinking...
of how nice it would have been to have my new stove in place and working.

I am thankful for...
this new lesson in patience.

From the kitchen...
Monday: The Luscious Leftover Buffet
Tuesday: Chicken Tostadas
Wednesday: Maple Pork Chops with Grilled Veggie packets
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Wraps
Friday: Homemade Pizza

Today the cookie jar is almost empty and I haven't taken any baking to Mr. Neighbor in a couple of days, so maybe some cookies would be good. I have some very sour black raspberries to try to make into something yummy - I'm thinking a tart would be simple, while the oven is on for the cookies. That is, if I can 'trick' it into working again!!!

I am wearing...
My long chocolate brown skirt and a short sleeved blouse that is a bit wild for me - but I like the brown, aqua and moss print on cream, and the lovely brown cotton lace at the edges. It is a comfortable outfit. My feet are bare, and now that I look carefully - they need some lotion! My hair is all wild and curly because of the humidity, so I put it up!

I am creating...
nothing new right now at the sewing table - just plugging through the mending pile.
I did start a very simple 'flag standard' wood working project, copying a great idea from Joy at Joys of Home.
It still needs some black spray paint.

I am going...
to help our Dreamer dust her top shelf - the one thing I didn't get to last week in my attempt to muck out her room.

I am reading...
oh, you are going to laugh! I am reading an old cookbook cover to cover like a novel, and the instruction manual for a pattern grader - trying to figure out of I can grade a vintage dress pattern without buying the dreadfully expensive grader machine!

I am hoping...
that there are still some mulberries left on our friends trees. We had so much rain over the weekend, and I wasn't feeling up to picking yesterday. I am hoping we can get enough for jam.

I am hearing...
my happy children playing nicely together, and the occasional car going past. Because I've been tired, and the heat is a contributing factor, my hubby closed up the house and put on the a/c for the first time in a week.
That makes things much quieter.

Around the house...
Mount Ironmore is overflowing with Dreamer's clean camp laundry, and the sun room needs a quick sweep. Where did that sawdust come from? Moi?

One of my favorite things...
the smell of some of my herbs basked by warm sunshine as I walked by this morning to hang up the sleeping bag to air.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • piano lessons, a bit of daily school work
  • starting lesson plans for the fall, ordering curriculum
  • continuing the search for a bigger bookcase for Dreamer's room
  • finish the mending and get to some fun sewing
  • a new dress for Dreamer is first on the list - my that girl is growing!
  • waiting to hear from Immigration - figuring out the next step


Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Dreamer and her Camp Counselor, Miss Summer

Thank you for reading my Daybook!

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

What do I do?


As many of you know, I have chronic liver disease. There are good days and there are bad days, thankfully more good then bad. My doctor is just waiting until I get worse before turning me over to a specialist and putting me on the transplant list. We hope and pray that it will never come to that, and we are doing everything in our ability to try to keep me as healthy as possible. It is an amazingly faith building experience to live with a chronic illness.

Sometimes I don't see why God has allowed this journey through illness for our family. It is hard on everyone who loves me. I know that they are using it as an opportunity to grow in their faith as well, as they pray for my healing, and trust me to God's care. Ofttimes I think it is hardest on the children. I'm not exactly the 'fun' Mommy. I don't have scads of energy to do lots of things with them. I can't make promises or plan too far ahead. It isn't easy for my husband either, I realize, but thankfully he has the maturity to deal with it far more graciously than I would if roles were reversed. We all just have to trust the Lord each day and rely fully on His strength.

When I look around, I see so many facing difficulties far far greater than ours. I find our struggle so small and insignificant by comparison. It gives me great comfort to think in terms of eternity - for this is really just a brief skirmish before the great reward. It is our battle, though, and so there are sometimes questions, fears and discouragements. We bring them all before the Lord each day, and trust Him, fully.

Once in a while He gives me these wee glimpses into how He is using our circumstances to build character in our children. These moments are precious reminders that there are no accidents with God.

The other day, I was ironing and Storyteller was playing with his stuffies, Mackinaw and Tiger. Tiger was the Daddy and he was hurting, having just broken his leg, a hip and his collar bone in the most dreadful accident known to man stuffed animals. He was explaining to his boss, Mr.Mackinaw Bear, that he would do what he could, but since he just got out of the hospital, his strength was pretty limited.

Mr. Mackinaw Bear: ' Well, how are you going to get along?'

Mr. Tiger: 'Just fine thank you. I have my crutches.'

Mr. Mackinaw Bear: 'Can you work if you are in pain?'

Mr. Tiger: 'Well. I am sure there will be good days and bad days. I'll work really hard on the good days.'

Mr. Mackinaw Bear:'Oh. What will you do on the bad days?'

Mr. Tiger: 'I'll still keep working, just 10 times slower. I'll just rest when I need to and keep going. I'll get my work done though. Don't you worry, God will give me strength to do what I need to do.'

Mr. Mackinaw Bear: 'I guess that will be alright. I like your attitude. Your one of my best workers. I think I'll give you a raise. How does $7 sound?'

Mr. Tiger: 'Sweet!'

Sweet.


Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?



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Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!


I hope you had a lovely day with family and friends. We had a very quiet day, tidying, reading and playing. Of course we had the Historian's wonderful grilled burgers and a few other favorites, but all in all, a pretty quite day without our special girl!

Tomorrow, we pick up Dreamer from camp. I have missed her so much! Her room has been quite a dreadful chore all week - I've decided that next year she will clean her room before we take her to camp, and I will have a week of fun with Storyteller, and sewing! The best laid plans - I'm writing it here so that I might even remember! Did I say this last year? I was so tempted a few dozen times to just scrap it all and find a big green garbage bag. What a keeper she is! I think she could possibly start a museum one day - maybe a 'history of restaurant kids menus' or
a ' silly notes sent to brother' display.

The boys will be returning from the fireworks soon, so I will wish you all a

Happy 4th of July!

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