Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sweeties

I am making these scrumptious sweeties for Thanksgiving dinner. You remember them, don't you? I originally posted the recipe on December 8, 2007. :) It may be that long since I've made them. They are so good...I've got to space out the calories!

We are sharing Thanksgiving dinner with some dear, dear friends. Formerly, we went to church together; since then the Lord has taken us in different directions (location wise). Our hearts are knitted together though and we are so looking forward to spending time with them.

Do you love chocolate and peanut butter? Then you are in for a treat with these sweeties!
Plan ahead because they need to chill.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sweeties
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter
3 c. confectioners sugar
5 dozen pretzel twists
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1 T. vegetable oil

Beat peanut butter and butter together. Mix in sugar until well combined. Shape into 1-inch balls. Press onto pretzels. Place on wax papered baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In heavy pan, melt chips and oil. Dip peanut butter ball into the chocolate while holding onto the pretzel. Place back onto baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Makes 5 dozen.

Oh, so yummy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Give-Aways...but not by me

Recently I've found a new blog I like to read. It's Song of My Heart. And it turns out that she is having a fun give-away with some natural soaps and such. Run right over and check it out.

Also, over at Portabellopixie she is in the giving spirit! She is having the 12 days of Christmas giveaways and let me tell you...the give aways are fantastic! Easy to enter, you just leave a comment on her blog.

Feel free to share blogs that you enjoy reading...I'm the kind of gal that will go and check them out. It's fun to find new blogs. And if you know of ones that are having give-aways--well that makes it all the more fun!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The God Chronicles

A blog I often read, Titus 2:3-5, hosts The God Chronicles--where she tells something that happened: how God answered prayer, how God works in our lives, etc. She invites others to do the same. I love this idea and wanted to share some of my own God stories.

Yesterday I was trying to get ready to go scrapbooking with some friends at church. I had been busy all day, taught the kids, baked two double batches of banana bread, made a dessert for the scrap and pretty much felt all out of energy. The thought of getting my scrapbook stuff out and ready to go, did NOT appeal to me at ALL.
<Enter selfishness.> However I was going to be dropping off my oldest daughter at a friend's house for a pizza party and then picking her up--scrapping in between. So canceling would have affected us both, not just me.
<Exit selfishness.> I started pulling items out of the craft closet and sorting what I wanted to take. Then I realized my adhesive was gone, completely out.
<Re-enter selfishness.> That's it, I thought, the last straw. I'm not going, I'm getting into my pajamas and going to bed.
<Enter God.> Opening one more drawer revealed a new package of adhesive hiding under the other items! Just a small God story, however it made me smile to think that He cares about the little details of our lives.
<Narrators notes: God is always there. Selfishness was crowding Him.>

The second one I want to share is how I love the way He weaves just the right Scripture, sermon and study at the perfect time! One example:: I signed up for Ken Boa's daily Scripture sent to my email inbox and I can't tell you how many times what I've studied for my morning Bible study directly correlates to the Scripture of the day. :) God reminders! Whenever it happens, my joy increases and I'm reminded of God's sovereignty and faithfulness to us.

Be sure to visit Titus 2:3-5's monthly God Chronicles to read more stories about how God is working in the lives of others.

Sorry I haven't been able to figure out how to make my links show up in my posts. Remember I told you about it here? Well, I don't know how to fix it. When you mouse over the words, the links will show up red, but only after you mouse over them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Unit Study Links

Some Christmas Lesson Linkage

Christmas Unit Study
A Christmas Carol Unit Study--I'm really excited to have found this resource as Dickens' Christmas Carol is our next literature club book.
Easy Fun School has a large collection of Christmas Activities and Lesson links
Cindy at Oklahoma Homeschool has a neat Christmas unit study divided into 4 weeks. There are some resources that you can access online; others would need to be obtained through the library or bought.

My girls and I have some wonderful Christmas crafts in the making! I can't share those ideas with you though in case you are on the recipient list! I'll take pictures and share them later.

Do you have good ideas for teaching your children during the month of December? Bethany and I will be learning about Christmas around the world. We are both excited! Share what you are doing, won't you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Who needs regular shampoo?

This post may cost me a few readers...or at least it will make my regular readers (all 3 of you) shake your heads in bewilderment. I am trying the baking soda hair cleansing method and the vinegar rinse.

First a couple reasons, then I'll share the method (easy peasy).
1. Very inexpensive. Probably enough said about this reason...shampoo and hair care products are incredibly expensive.
2. Natural, no chemicals.
3. Wanted to see if it made a difference in my girls' hair. Their hair tends to be dry and can be frizzy. We are buying more and more products, trying all kinds of different ones to achieve soft, healthy hair. It's all too much!!

I need simple and effective. So this is what we're trying:
Baking Soda Hair Cleansing
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 cup warm water

Pour over hair, massage into scalp. Rinse out well.

Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon
1 cup warm water

Pour over hair and rinse out well.

* Your hair will not smell like vinegar, trust me. Oddly upon smelling the vinegar, I was transported back to my grandma's kitchen dying Easter eggs. {good memories} aside, I sure didn't want to come out of the shower smelling like one. :)
* There is no lather with the baking soda, which for some reason makes us think we aren't getting our hair clean. However, suds don't have any bearing on the cleanliness.
* From many of the articles and personal accounts that I've read online, the ratio of baking soda to water and vinegar to water, varies and will need to be tweaked for your particular hair type.

I will have to post an update in a few weeks after we've done this for a while. Hopefully our hair will be healthy and luscious. I have read though that your hair will go through a detox period where it may seem more oily. For my girls, that will be great (because they have such dry hair). We'll have to see how it goes for me.

Here are some links that deal with baking soda and vinegar hair care.
Keeper of the Home talks about her hair adventure.
Sorta Crunchy has a great guest post about the whys and hows of going shampoo free.

Certainly there are many more links I could give you, but these two will start you out, along with the traditional 'google' search. Let me know if you go shampoo free!
Go to We are That Family for more Works for Me Wednesday posts!

Edited January 12, 2010
I keep forgetting to tell you how this hair adventure went. Well, it was hair raising, that's for sure! The first couple days I was sold. My hair was manageable, clean and well, good. Then it became not-so-good. It seemed to go downhill quickly. My hair was NOT clean and gross. I could go on with more details, but just think--not washing your hair for 5 days straight. ewww.
I see benefits in using the baking soda and vinegar once in a while to clarify your hair. But this sure didn't work for me. Is it working for anyone else?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Harvest Fruit Bars

These bars are delicious! I haven't made them in several years, however every fall I think of them. My good friend Julie gave me the recipe for these bars, in fact the recipe card is in her handwriting. I can't help but get a little teary eyed making them. They were a hit at a get together we had yesterday. We got together with Julie's husband and 3 kids along with Julie's sister and parents. Julie's sister owns a tumbling gym and she invited us all for an afternoon of jumping, running and eating! We all had a great time.

Make up a batch of these for any fall get together.
Harvest Fruit Bars

6 oz. or more diced dried fruit (ie cranberries, pineapple, raisins, apple, coconut, etc.)
1 cup chopped or mashed bananas (about 2)
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp. cinnamon or apple pie spice (more needed at bottom of recipe)
3/4 c. butter, softened (original 1 cup)
1/2 c. brown sugar (original 1 cup)
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. quick oats, uncooked
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Set aside stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add flour, oats and 1/2 t. cinnamon. Mix until crumbly.
Reserve 3/4 cup of oat mixture for topping.
Press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of 13x9 baking pan.
Bake 15 minutes.
Spread fruit evenly over crust. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture and nuts evenly over fruit.
Bake 16-20 more minutes. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

It makes me smile when I read Julie's recipe cards. She liked to cut down on fats and sugars whenever possible. So this recipe has several reductions with the original amounts in parenthesis. I've used the reduced amounts with fantastic results.


p.s. ever since I changed the background to my blog, my links within my posts are not showing up the color they are supposed to. I've tried to fix this and can't seem to figure out how. If you know how to fix it, feel free to contact me or leave it in the comments. For now, when you mouse over the text that is linked it will show up another color.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The Lord appoints the number of the stars
And calls them each by name. (Psalm 147:4)

This verse was in my email inbox unopened until just this very minute, from Ken Boa's Daily Scripture. I love it when what I'm studying and learning on my own in God's Word lines up perfectly with the Scriptures that come to my inbox (from Ken Boa's site and K-Love's encouraging Word). God is so good.

My big revelation this morning was that it's not so much that I'm so special that God has the hairs of my head numbered (Matthew 10:26-33) but that He is incomprehensible. His knowledge, His sovereignty, His power, His omniscience, etc...it's about Him, friends. And the above verse confirms it, He knows the stars BY NAME, the stars that are so numerous that we cannot count them. He knows the number...in fact...He designated the number.

And the sparrows, those little sparrows, He knows them too and neither the stars nor the sparrows are as special as mankind whom He made in HIS image. Yes, I am special to God, yes, He knows the number of hairs on my head and knows when each one falls (and when each one turns gray), and yes, this makes me fall on my face before my incomprehensible God.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meltdowns

One of the new favorite sayings around our house is in response to the question: "Where's Mom?" The response: "She's on the roof having a meltdown." I think this is (mis) quote from "Horton Hears A Who" when the dad is on the roof having a meltdown.

Not sure what's causing my recent craziness, but I'm just putting one foot in front of the other and trying to do the next, right thing. If you are feeling a bit whacko, you are welcome to join me...you'll find me on the roof, where today it's cloudy with a chance of meltdowns.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some go out, some come in

Fun computer time this weekend with my favorite teenager at my side! We (really she) figured out how to change my blog template with something other than the regular blogger templates. I like the finished look and am now getting used to 3 columns. (Seriously, who, other than me realizes that there are now 3 columns instead of two??)

And to add to the blogging fun, I went through my list of blog favorites (in my bookmarks) and deleted ones that I no longer read or that no longer update their blog. Interestingly, I also went through my medicine shelf and spice shelf and threw away outdated, no longer used medicine, vitamins and spices. But, I suppose that's another post.

I wanted to share some new blogs that I've bookmarked in my favorites::
  • The first one is none other than my favorite teenager! She's a new blogger. So go on over and encourage the blossoming writer...and then leave her a comment reminding her to get to her schoolwork!! :)
  • Simple Mom is the second new one. I have to come back to this one, but at first glance (okay, first 30 minute perusal) it looks like I'm going to enjoy it! I'll try to remember to let you know what I think as I have more time to look around.
Okay, now to finish up a good weekend with some family time--watching Extreme Home Makeover. :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

I wish I had a picture of this beautiful bread to post here with the recipe. But I don't, I think it gets eaten too quickly! :)

I make this delicious dough in the bread machine, then transfer it to a loaf pan to bake it. I like the traditional loaf and one day I'd like to have a Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment. However, for now I'm content, really content with what I have.

Now, here's the recipe for you...

Homemade bread recipe
1 1/8 c. hot water
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
2 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 T. gluten
1/2 T. lecithin granules
1/2 t. salt
2 t. (heaping) yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer. Set on dough cycle. When complete, shape, put dough in loaf pan and put in cold oven. Turn on to 350 degrees. Bake 23-27 minutes, or until done.

This bread is good. And when it's baking in the oven, the yummy smells wafting from your oven will make everyone's mouth water. Watch out, the loaf won't last long.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sweet Potato Muffins

A dear friend gave me this recipe years ago. She had graciously baked these delicious, moist muffins and brought us a batch. I had to have the recipe. And then I proceeded to make the recipe maybe 3 times over the last many years. Each time I make them, we all rave about how yummy they are. I really should make them more often, much more often.

The most surprising fact is that the muffins are made with sweet potatoes. You'll never know, trust me. So run and make them. And make a batch for a friend, she'll appreciate it, trust me.

Sweet Potato Muffins
3 c. self rising flour--(to make own: 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt for each cup flour)
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl

4 eggs
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil (I cut down to 3/4 c. and still plenty moist)
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat together in 2nd mixing bowl.

2 c. mashed cooked sweet potatoes--stir into liquid ingredients, then stir the liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, just until moistened.

1 c. raisins (can use less)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Fold in raisins and nuts.

Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.