Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bacon... MMMMmmmmmm

While we do not do pork (we follow a lot of the OT food laws - not because they save us, but for the same reason we celebrate Passover or fast - to remind us of who God is and what He has done). So anyways, while we do not do pork, we do eat turkey bacon. But no matter what type of bacon you use, check out this video of Alton Brown using a waffle iron to cook bacon! GENIUS! This is a GREAT way to season my cast iron waffle iron I got from Lehman's. :D

So why the waffle iron? In a pan, the fat and meat shrink and cook at different rates, and over time leave lots of grease in the pan making it difficult to cook lots of bacon. The waffle iron collects the bacon grease in its nooks and crannies, allow you to collect it to use for cooking other foods, or leave a thin layer of grease on for yummy waffles!! :D

Alton explains not only what kind of bacon to buy at the grocery store, but why the waffle iron wins out as a cooking platform. In a pan, the fat and meat shrink and cook at different rates, and over time leave a troublesome amount of grease in the pan that makes multiple batches challenging. The waffle iron pulls away bacon grease in its nooks and notches, and you can collect it to use in another food, or leave a thin layer of grease on for seriously home-style waffles.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Current Web Readings

Bug Farm
A cool game where you are a beneficial bug in your garden. How cool is this? Can I just say I want one?! :D

Plump Stocking
A bit late for Christmas, but not for those after Christmas sales in order to stuff next year's stocking!

Best Books For Girls: 20 Books She Has Loved
From one of my favorite blogs

Can Beans Cure Morning Sickeness??

No Poo Hard Water Epiphny
for those who did not have the wonderful results most of us have with no poo, this read is for you. Tells you what to try if you have hard water.

Homemade Deodorant
Oh this looks SO sweet. I so need to make me some of this!!!

Hairstyles from Yesteryear
Tutorials on beautiful hairstyles. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Doing a little happy dance right now!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like ....

STRESS! LOL!! How come after every Christmas comes a stressful shopping day, followed by a stressful time of cleaning up the tree and ornaments (Not to mention that someone stole all three of the kids sleds - I don't know why - they were the cheap circle ones and nothing special, but my three kids are now sledless and I am so sad).

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas. I had a most WONDERFUL one. So wonderful that I did not take any pictures! LOL!! I was too busy enjoying my family. I have to share with you what made this year one of the best.

It wasn't the presents (which I got some REALLY nice ones), and it wasn't the food (Brian made duck and it tasted amazing), and it wasn't the fact that it was a nice quiet time at home, just the 6 of us (well as quiet as a house full of 6 - 4 being kids - can get).

A couple weeks ago, we went to a city run Christmas event. At the event, a reporter approached us and asked the kids if they were here to write letters to Santa, and what they were going to ask Santa for. She pried and pried, finally they let her know that we don't do the Santa thing. She continued to try to get them to "well what WOULD you say if he were real?" The kids really had no answers.

She thanked us and we walked away. About 5 minutes later, she came up to Brian and me. The kids were sitting down watching a performance in the main lobby. She asked us if not doing the Santa thing relieved us from the pressures of feeling like we had to provide a lot of toys. Now me, I was thinking, I would think that believing in Santa would mean a parent could provide less toys because they could just blame Santa or the kid (for being too naughty). We mentioned that actually we try to limit the amount of gifts the kids get at Christmas anyway (regardless of the Santa thing or not, we just don't want a lot of clutter in the house). But that the one thing I noticed was that because the gifts came from an actual person instead of an imaginary being, they were more thankful for the gifts they got, be it books (which what homeschooled kids doesn't like to get books?!?!) or clothes, the children are more appreciative.

SO skip forward to yesterday, Christmas day. We beginning opening the gifts, and the children, even JJ,reaffirmed what I had said. With each gift they opened, they were so thankful. Many times, after a gift was opened, they would stop, put down the gift, and give us a hug in thanks for giving it to them. To those who were not here, comments of thanks and "how did they know?!" showered forth. It was truly touching and one of the best Christmases ever.

Today will be spent in writing thank you notes, and the following days will be spent in adoring play and reading of the special gifts we received.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Something happy....

Something happy and living after all this death....

Dipping Candles copy
Our living history ranch has a Christmas celebration each year. They always have an activity for the kids to do. This year was candle making, like they did back then. :D

MM Table Top Tree
Another picture from the living history ranch - Christmas as it used to be.

JJ LOVES to throw snowballs!

We got to spend time with family - this is my sister and her daughter sledding down the hill.

Making snow angels with family.

EE being a big sister and JJ totally enjoying it!

AA doing a puzzle - I LOVE this picture!!!

and finally...
My sister with her dd and all four of my blessings. :D


It seems that ever since July, I have been surrounded with death. Friends, friends of friends, and family all dying. 7 deaths in five months. And now I learn that my Uncle Jon has been given 3-8 months to live.

My Uncle Jon is fairly old, all the other deaths but one were fairly young (not older than 60). Some were cancer, some were horrible accidents, all were cherished and precious lives. It was interesting to see the difference, especially in those whose death was prolonged due to cancer, between those who knew Jesus as their Savior and those who did not.

Those who knew Jesus, and knew that this was not their home, had such a peace about dying. They even had peace about the suffering they were going through (their bodies were in much terrible pain). They loved their earthly family, but longed to "go home."

This last funeral I attended was this past Sunday. Her name is Rebecca and she loved Jesus more than anything. She left behind a husband whom she dearly loved and a 15 year old son, who doesn't quite understand how a loving God could tear his mom away from him. But her husband (and her) believe in a loving God whose eternal plan is much more than we can understand. They know that death is swallowed up in victory! (Your prayers for her husband and especially her son are appreciated.)

Her service was just beautiful. Children sang (she LOVED children). Her husband and others spoke about her influence in their lives. LOTS of tears at the loss of such a wonderful and beautiful woman, and yet, happy tears too, knowing that she was now home - no longer in pain. We sang two of her favorite hymns.

There were some of her unfinished projects there (she knitted). A friend commented how hard it was to see those unfinished projects there, that would never be finished. But after hearing all that she did for others, one realizes that her priorities were straight. Not in the finishing of a knitting project, but in the knitting of hearts of family and friends.

Her death was the first of the 7 that really impacted the children, because they knew her. The others were friends of mommy's or family they had not yet met. But Rebecca was THEIR friend too.

It was a wonderful opportunity to talk to the children (after they shed lots of tears) about the reality of death - that there is a heaven and a hell - both equally real. And sadly, there are people who goto both. We talked about how Mrs. B was now in heaven, no longer in pain, joyful in being with Jesus. How this is not our home, and we are here for only a short while. Life is short and precious.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Worthy of Wedding...

A new internet friend recently remarried for the second time nearly two years after her first husband's death. She looked so beautiful - full of joy!

Of course, me, I cannot even imagine marrying another man after losing Brian. But then again, I AM currently blessed to STILL be married to him all these 13+ years. :D So I guess it is a good thing that I cannot picture myself ever loving another man.

Smokey Feet

But I began to think about what would attract another man to me should I need to remarry.

I am not a good cook.
I am lazy.
I do not keep a very clean and orderly home.
I do not homeschool the typical way.
I need to lose ... weight. ;)
I am not as submissive as I should be.

Well, you get the idea. My list started getting pretty long.

And then I started thinking. First, I need to kiss my husband's feet for staying with and loving someone like me for as long as he has! :D I need to be more grateful to him! :D

But secondly, that I can become a better woman for the man I have NOW. Make him proud to be married to me. Be all the things I am praying my girls are so they can be worthy of a godly man for a husband. Be all those things in my list that I am not, but that I know my husband not only needs, but deserves.

I know my man will always love me. I am so thankful I can be secure in that. Especially in this day and age where divorces are rampant. I know he knows my faults, and loves me in spite of them. And he always will. But how much more special and meaningful to him, for me to change and be better. I know that our home is not on this earth. And that time here is very short and precious. I want to do everything I can, now, while we are both here together, to show him how much I value him.

I never thought about that. My lack of keeping the home clean and organized shows a lack of my value in my husband. I mean if someone special was coming over (hey, even if it was just the news station with video cameras to video the house), wouldn't I make more of an effort? How much more special and of value is my man than the CBS cameraman?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Web Readings

Bible Printables for Christmas

Beautiful Christmas on a Budget
tutorials on inexpensive gifts to make and give! :D

Advent Christmas Unit Study 2007
GREAT collection of links!!!

Hot Chocolate on a Stick
OH YEAH! YUMMO! This blog is GREAT!!! This link is just to hot chocolate on a stick, BUT ....
THE WHOLE BLOG is worth checking out!!! This blog is all about making and giving gifts!! WONDERFUL blog!!!

DIY Therapy Sacks

Tutorial of Felting for Kids
I have NOT seen it done this way before. NO MESS!! This is a mom after my own heart!!! :D :D :D

Patchwork Soup Mix in a Jar
GREAT idea!!!

Christmas Traditions of the McDonald Family.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Prayers are needed

A dear dear friend of ours passed away Wednesday night. It has been very hard on our family, mostly because this is the first death the girls have personally dealt with (as they actually knew and loved this lady very much).

Your prayers are appreciated as the girls continue to deal with their emotions and the spiritual aspects of death.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Carols - Love Came Down At Christmas

I love love LOVE this song. I heard it first just a couple of years ago on a Shawl Colvin album my husband bought. I LOVE her version. Sadly, I cannot find a copy of it anywhere online for you to hear. There is a very nice Jars of Clay version all OVER youtube, but this version I shear comes CLOSEST to Shawn Colvin's version:

I just love Ravelry. A complete stranger (to me, but won't be after this, I am gonna track her down! :D ) found a link for the version of the son I was wanting to share!! THANK YOU (you know who you are!!!).

SO HERE is the way to listen to this song! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this CD and it is almost practically all I listen to at Christmas!

Love Came Down At Christmas, by Shawn Colvin

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Carols - All Is Well

I have never heard this song before, but it is SO VERY beautiful!!

Take a listen:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Movies - White Christmas

Oh how I LOVE this movie! Brian watched this all the time growing up, but I did not watch it until after Brian and I got married. It is watched at least twice during the season. And the kids just LOVE it. All the singing and dancing... WONDERFUL!!!

And it has some great lines! And I love how it shows the respect for the elderly and how people cared for one another back then. "Doing it for a pal in the army." And there are LOTS of laughs in the movie.

Definately something worth checking out and watching. I think you will love it as much as our family does.

Christmas Readings

Twas The Month Before Christmas
A little late, but still GOOD stuff here!

Fabric Water Bottle Carrier Tutorial
This would make a GREAT gift for anyone living in TX (don't look Katie!) :D LOL!! :D

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Movies - A Charlie Brown Christmas

OK, so my husband, being totally a Charlie Brown himself, loves this movie. We watch it at least twice during the season.

It does have the redeeming value of it actual has Scripture in the movie talking about the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

However, that being said, I will admit that I did NOT let the children watch this when they were younger. Having three daughters, they would look at Lucy as an example. Lucy is a very harsh little girl. And she is a bit of a bully.

Now you may disagree with me, and that is totally fine. But I wanted my children to have an understanding of how to behave properly before watching. Yes, I might be a bit more protective (I am sure some of you are reading OVER protective), but there is no harm in waiting a few years before showing a movie to your child. :D

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Movies - Elf

Yep, call me a heathen, but I love the movie


Will Ferrel can sometimes be a bit much, but he does it just right in Elf. We watch this movie at LEAST 3 times during the season. I quote this movie a little bit too.

I will warn that there is one bad word in here, said twice, with an accompanying action. This happens near the end of the movie. The son says it, then the father repeats him. My children know where this scene is, and we just skip over it (at least until we get a Clear Play). :D

I like smiling...Smiling's my favorite!

Please share some of your favorite movies in the comments below!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Movies - It's A Wonderful Life

I thought it would be fun if we shared some of our favorite Christmas movies!! While we do not watch a lot of TV, during the month of December, we have a movie on every day - yes, even Christmas.

SO you HAVE to start of the season with Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart!


Can you believe that I did NOT watch this movie growing up. I cannot recall watching it before I met Brian (but then again, my mom has a better memory than I do and would know FOR CERTAIN if I had or not. :D

This movie is one of my all time favorites. Brian and I quote the movie frequently to each other. IN fact, "Brian (last name) lassos stork" is how I told him we were pregnant with our second child! :D

Christmas Web Readings

Holiday Open House and Christmas Links

My December Basket

16 Christmas Photography Tips
Some REALLY good tips on what to do to avoid the "why didn't any of my pictures turn out?" syndrome. :D