Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Heart of Thanksgiving

Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Proverbs 16:19
Many of us are busy in preparations for Thanksgiving, some to travel, others for the meal. I am happy to report that pies, potatoes, and cranberry sauce are all ready awaiting that feast at our house. Yet, even if the turkey is ready to cook, the pies made, or the car packed; are you ready to give thanks? In the midst of our making ready let us never forget that one thing needful, preparing our hearts for the true purpose of the day.

Thankfulness begins with a humble heart. True gratefulness of heart is never half-hearted, no, it is rather born of a deep sense of unworthiness and lowliness of mind. Who are some of the most grateful people you can think of? Would you ever in the same breath call them proud, arrogant or haughty? Never, because we can only be thankful when we realize that what we deserve we do not get, and what we don't deserve we receive. Those who believe they have earned what they have, or have some right to what they don't have, will never be thankful. Complaining comes from a wrong view of ourselves and of God.
Ah, did we but rightly understand what the demerit of sin is, we would rather admire the bounty of God than complain of the straithandedness of Providence. And if we did but consider that there lies upon God no obligation of justice or gratitude to reward any of our duties, it would cure our murmurs (Gen. 32:10).
-John Flavel

When we have a right view then we will say with the Psalmist:
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:10-12

The best way to prepare our hearts for thanksgiving is to soberly consider our own unworthiness and the great goodness our God has bestowed upon us. The blessing of mercy and grace that receive through our Lord Jesus is equal to the greatness of the punishment we deserve. Now what we receive is upon His merit, our praise can never be enough for such a gift. For most of us our earthly blessings also far surpass what we deserve. Do you have health, food, and clothing on your back? Then you are blessed far more than many in this world, all the rest we have is extraneous blessing. As we come to this holiday may it not just be one day of thanksgiving to God for us; may it renew in us a heart of continual gratitude, for this is the will of God.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18

May the Lord bless you with a thankful heart!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Free Sheet Music!

I just had to pass on this link to a beautiful piano arrangement of 'Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus by LaShannon Hyder. It is a 4-page PDF file completely free.

'Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus by LaShannon Hyder


New Semi-Complementarians or Old Feminists?

Here is an article my Mom wrote for LAF that you may find interesting regarding Mrs. Palin and her supporters.

New Semi-Complementarians or Old Feminists?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Proclaiming Thanksgiving ~ 1777

Saturday, November 1, 1777

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, to set apart a day of public thanksgiving, brought in a report; which was taken into consideration, and agreed to as follows:

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessings on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
And it is further recommended, that servile labor, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.

Where was the ACLU?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Cultured Lady

Disposition is culture. Health is the soil, intelligence the branches, and disposition the leaves, buds, and blossoms -- the robe of living beauty, fragrance, and sweetness with which a young woman is to clothe her life. Without heart-culture the finest mental culture is like a tree with nothing but cold, leafless limbs.
--Author Unknown

Taken from In My Father's House, Edited by Tamara and Naomi Valine, Lily Press, 2004, pg. 57

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ten P’s in a Pod: Book Review

A family on a mission: that describes the ten members of the Pent family in this humorous, but inspiring story. It was a mission that included traveling over a million miles, lots of faith, family unity, and consistent leadership. The rewards? A treasure laid up in heaven of many sons brought unto glory, and plenty of treasure left here on earth; including a book that will bless and encourage you as you build a vision for your family, present or future.

They were by no means your average American family from the 1950’s, in fact they named themselves “The World’s Most Unusually Family”. What made them so unusual? They were pioneers of home schooling (before the word was even in anyone’s vocabulary), they traveled singing and preaching the Gospel, and lived by faith not by bread alone but by the Word of God. Their father’s devotion to God’s word, not only for himself but for his family as well, was the sustaining force of their lives. He knew that the Scriptures were able to make his children, and all who heard them, wise unto salvation. As they traveled all those miles they had a great time and learned to love God and each other in a deep and meaningful way. Arnold and Persis Pent may have never been able to give their children much in the way the world’s wealth and success, but they gave them things much more meaningful. They trained them in the way of the Lord, the way that they should go, and gave them a life full of experiential faith and love.

When I started reading this book I was seeking to find a vision for my future family that would truly glorify God. I doubt I could have found a better book outside of God’s word to give me such a vision. I was challenged, encouraged and all around inspired to be more devoted to God and His Word. I hope that if I ever have a family of my own that we can live by the principles of God’s word as the Pent family did, but I hope as well, by God’s grace, to start living more fully by them now. This book was a real blessing to me and now ranks up there with my favorite books. I think that if you read it you will find it just as much a blessing.

To purchase this book visit this link to Vision Forum.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Apple Rice Pudding

Here is an easy, healthy, frugal and delicious recipe. I make it whenever I have leftover rice and my family loves it. I found it in Wholesome Sugarfree Cooking, an Amish cookbook that uses all natural sweeteners. It is one of my favorite cookbooks.

1/4-1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 apples, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups milk
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup coconut, wheat germ, or sunflower seed, optional

In a medium saucepan, heat maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and apples until hot and bubbly. Add the cooked rice, milk, and raisins. Heat until mixture begins to bubble, but has not reached a full boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pudding thickens, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with topping and serve. This is also delicious without the toppings.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beautifying Our Homes With Flowers

Flowers add a burst of beauty and color to ordinary spaces. Having a bouquet on the dining table, a small teacup with a large bloom resting in it on the bathroom sink, or a tall vase with a flowers or two poking out on a bookshelf add a sense of beauty and peace. Even though it is fall there are still plenty of opportunities to find flowers to brighten up your home. Wildflowers, seedums (which we have an abundance of right now), rose of Sharon, hostas, and hydrangeas are just a few which are in bloom where I live. Also I can still find plenty of greenery to add to my bouquets or, as in the picture above, golden grasses. Let your creativity flow. If you haven't done much in floral arranging before these three easy steps should get you started:
  1. GATHER flowers and foliage that complement one another in color, texture, and size.
  2. CONDITION flowers by snipping stems at a sharp angle. This creates more surface for water intake and prevents stems from sitting flat against the bottom of the container and forming a seal. Remove any leaves that will be submerged in water to avoid excess bacteria buildup. Place flowers immediately in water. Add floral food.
  3. ARRANGE flowers in vessels that coordinate with the design. 1
If you need more inspiration try Googling "flower arranging" to get some handy tips and beautiful examples (popular magazine websites are often the best).

Melissa Ozawa, "10 Things to Do with a Bucket of Flowers", Country Living, July 2008, 36

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Summer Pictures

My first red tomatoes, ripe green tomatoes (special variety), and collard greens.
Herb garden.

First fitted blouse that I have ever sewn.

Cards that I made.

Me and Sam, taken back in May.

This weekend we will be gone on a short trip to visit family in Illinois and we are meeting Sam there. Then he's coming home for a week. Yippie!

Hope everyone is haveing a sweet summer. =)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Favorite Authors Tag

Who is your all-time favorite author and why?
The Holy Spirit and hence all the authors He used to write the Bible. =)

Who was your first favorite author and why? Do you still consider him/her to be among your favorites?
Nancy Rue, she wrote very adventurous historical fiction from a Christian perspective. Her books were the spark to my interest in American history. I haven't read any of her books for probably seven years, so I don't know if I would still enjoy them as much.

Who is the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

John Newton, I read a book of his letters here recently and was greatly blessed by his simple, straight forward way of teaching truth.

If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth?
Besides the above:

There are probably more that I can't think of right now.

The rules:

Link to the person that tagged you.
Post the rules somewhere in your blog.
Answer the question.
Tag six other people in your post.
Let the people tagged know they've been chosen in a comment on their blog.

I'll have to think about who to tag, it won't be six people though. Sorry for breaking the rules. (=

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Five Things I Love (to do)

I have several things that I love so I thought I would put a twist on the list and do things I love to do (especially when I am under stress).

1. Pray and Read God's word.
This week I have had a little trial and this has been my life line. God is so good to me.

2. Make something with my hands.
Sewing, crochet, card making, knitting, cross-stitch, ect., these all bring me an great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

3. Play the piano.
My favorite way to relax. I love to improvise hymns and play hymn arrangements. I enjoy classical pieces as well.

4. Fellowship with like-minded people.
I always come away refreshed and encouraged after spending time with other families of like mind. What a blessing!

5. Ride my bike or walk in beautiful surroundings.
Usually this is with my dad. Three or four nights a week we go for a bike ride on the back roads around our house. West Michigan is a beautiful place to live and right now it is in full leaf and bloom. I always return home feeling rejuvenated.

Now I get to tag four people to list their own five things they love (excluding family).

Emily at A Heart of Praise
Amy at Under Southern Skies
Emily (She isn't blogging yet, but she told me she would soon. So this is for her when she gets online.)=)
Rebecca at By His Grace and for His Glory

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The School

This poem has been a great blessing to me and greatly encouraged my heart. I hope you shall be blessed by it.

We are scholars, nothing but scholars,
Little children at school,
Learning our daily lessons,
Subject to law and rule.

Life is the school, and the Master
Is the man Jesus Christ,
We are His charity scholars,
His the teaching unpriced.

Slowly we learn, all His patience
Is hourly put to the test;
But often the slowest and dullest,
He pities and loves the best.

Still, we sit at the feet of our Master,
Very low at His feet.
Study the lessons He sets us,
Sometimes lesson repeat.

Some of the lessons are pleasant,
Pleasant, and easy to learn;
The page of our task-book simple,
Simple and easy to turn.

But anon the reading is painful,
Studied mid sighing and tears;
We stammer and falter over it,
Do not learn it for years.

Yet that is no falt of the Master;
All His lessons are good;
Only our childish folly
Leaves them misunderstood.

And still we go on, learning,
And learning to love our school;
Learning to love our Master,
Learning to love His rule.

And by and by, we children
Shall grow into perfect men,
And the loving, patient Master
From school will dismiss us then.

No more tedious lessons,
No more sighing and tears,
But a bound into home immortal,
And blessed, blessed years!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bread Tips

As I was making bread today I was thinking about how many little tips I have gleaned to help improve my whole wheat bread. I know many struggle with trying to get their 100% wheat bread to rise and have good texture, so I thought you might be interested in some of my simple techniques.

1. Use hard white wheat flour.
Most wheat flours you buy at the store are red wheat; some prefer this, but the white wheat doesn't have as strong a flavor and makes more pleasant tasting and lighter colored bread. If you have a wheat mill you can buy your own berries to grind, if not King Arther brand sells a whole white wheat flour (not white flour, white wheat flour).

2. Use a hard fat.
Butter, lard, chicken fat, bacon grease, ect. are all good. My favorite is chicken fat, I skim it off of my chicken stock and it makes delicious bread. Just be sure not to add any seasoning to your stock before skimming the fat off or your bread will have that flavor (though bay leaf does add an interesting flavor to bread).

3. Use potato water for your liquid.
This can be water you have saved from boiling potatoes or water with a little potato blended into it ( I keep some potato chunks in my freezer so I just have to thaw it and blend into my water when I make bread). Just be sure to add it to the measuring cup before measuring the water so you don't end up with to much liquid.

4.Knead until gluten is developed.
Usually this takes about 10 minutes. To test pinch off a golf ball size piece and hold up to the light. Pull gently until you can see the light through it, if it breaks before this it isn't fully developed, knead more and test again.

I hope these tips have helped you. My bread recipe can be found here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No-Frills Frilly Apron: A Pattern Review

When we recieved our first issue (free sample) of Mary Jane's Farm magazine I had to make the free apron pattern that it included. This apron is a curved darted apron with a large flounce around the bottom that tapers at the sides. The waist band is sculpted and the pattern includes two pocket options: a regular curved square and a full waist-to-flounce pocket. In the magazine it suggest using vintage table clothes and working with the details to create decoration. A lovely idea if you have old stained table cloths that can be salvaged for the project. I was able to pick up some delicate feminine specialty cottons from our local Joann Fabrics that I thought fit the pattern quite well.

The first step in this pattern was the hardest, it was to enlarge the pattern in the magazine by 400% ( it comes on a 1/4" grid). If you attempt to make this pattern save yourself a lot of trouble and have it enlarged at a copy shop. I had some 1" gridded pellon that I used to carefully copy the pattern. It came out perfect - two hours later. So I was rolling my eyes at the comment in the magazine "I used freezer paper and drew a 1" grid and just re-drew the 1/4" squares on the pattern. It went fast and I enjoyed it!" Another commenter said it only cost her $0.87 at Office Depot, so you won't save a lot by doing it at home.

The instructions were pretty straight forward, but not as detailed as most patterns. As an experienced sewer I was able follow it and make adjustments as needed, a beginner would probably need some help. Two places where I made adjustments to the pattern were adding a triangle to the pockets and joining the ties to the waist band with no top stitching (using the method that most commercial apron patterns give). Another adjustment I would make is finishing the edges where the flounce meets the body either by serging or French seam.

Over all I thought the pattern was simple and left a lot of room for creativity. I was delighted with the finished product and would consider making again. The flounce adds such a feminine touch and makes it a lot of fun to wear. I think it a great garden and outdoor apron, though you may want a more sturdy fabric than what I choose. Just be careful not to get a hand wash or dry clean only fabric. If you are interested it obtaining this pattern it is the current issue of Mary Jane's Farm (vol. 7 no.4 May-July). You can also purchase the printed pattern from Mary Jane's Farm for $8 (you still have to enlarge it yourself). I believe it may also be in her special stitchery issue Artists in Aprons which includes five apron patterns and only cost $10.99.

Also check out her free "Make-Do" apron pattern.

My Finished Apron

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rhubarb Season

In my family we LOVE rhubarb. Every year when it comes into season I am required to make large batches of these two recipes. If I had more I would probably make a wider array of recipes, but for now we have to buy it so it all goes into the tried and true recipes. Both of these recipes are passed down from my grandma (slightly modified by me to have less sugar, they still are extremely sweet). From my family to yours, ENJOY!

Rhubarb Jam

5 cups rhubarb, chopped and tough strings peeled off
2 cups sugar
1 3oz box of raspberry jello (strawberry good too)
In saucepan stir together rhubarb and sugar and heat to a boil. Simmer until rhubarb is soft and mushy. Stir in jello and boil 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more. Remove from heat and pour in to sterilized jars and cap with two piece lid. Let sit until sealed. Can also be put in freezer containers and frozen.Refrigerate after opening.


Rhubarb Strawberry Pie

3/4 to 1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unbleached white flour
2 cups chopped rhubarb (1/4 to 1/2 in. slices, tough strings removed)
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 9" pie shells

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir together sugar and flour. Add fruit and toss to coat. Pour into pie shell and top with remaining pie shell. Crimp or flute edges and slit top, or do a lattice top. Bake for 40 -50 minutes or until crust is golden and filling thick (you may want to cover edges with foil when it begins to brown). Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beautiful Spring

Spring is in full bloom and I am enjoying it immensely. This morning when I went to uncover my plants (had a light frost) I couldn't resist taking my camera with me. Our Lord has given us such beauty.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Song of Solomon 2:12

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nourishing Traditions Book Review

Nourishing Traditions is a cookbook with a mission to educate modern man about the way we were created to eat, the way man has been eating for thousands of years. Before science started creating food in a laboratory God created food that would nourish our bodies, not just feed us. He also provided us ways to prepare it that would even further nourish us. But when man thought he could find a better way of providing food he lost his way to his own good health and the health of his progeny.

Nourishing Traditions is a guide to eating the old way. Based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist who traveled the world studying “primitive” tribes in search of healthy people and what they ate, Sally Fallon seeks to bring his discoveries and those of many other researchers to your dinner table. The way in which we provide our food today is radically different from our forefathers; dairy, meat, eggs, produce, bread, fats, and processed foods are all produced in new ways that are robbing us of the nourishment our bodies need to sustain ourselves. This book brings us back to food and educates us in the foundations of good nutrition. Fats, carbohydrates, proteins, dairy, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes each are explained and expounded on to equip us with the truth about nutrition so we can make wise decisions in our diet. After giving us the preliminary information for good nutrition she goes on to give many recipes for old favorites and new cuisine prepared in traditional ways that retain and release important nutrients, and aid in digestion. At the beginning of each section there is a commentary to further explain the concepts behind the recipes, then on the side margins of all the recipes there are quotes from many sources on proper nutrition.

I have put off writing this review for some time because I am still studying the book and rereading important parts. If is full of valuable information that you aren’t going to hear many other places. I am convinced that much of what taught in this book is just the way we were created to eat and prepare our food. Of course I do not agree with everything (especially the raw meat eating) but I have learned so much about how to nourish my family from this book. As I have done further research on the traditional ways of eating it has led me to realize that the main reason we are where we are in our food production is not because big corporations were greedy for our money, but because women left home (and consequently the food preparation of the family) for “higher work”. This is what has led us to seek for someone else to prepare our food and the large corporations were just all to willing to bring the industrial revolution to food preparation. Our health crisis is not the fault of big business; it is the fault of woman who thought their work could be done by anybody. Well, now we know it can’t, and that is why it has mainly been the wives and mothers returning from the workforce who are rethinking their family’s diets. Out of love they are preparing foods that don’t just keep their family from being hungry, but nourishes and strengthens them for the task that are before them.I truly hope that you will obtain your own copy of this wonderful book and start taking the steps necessary to nourishing your families. At first it may seem overwhelming to implement everything you learn, but you have to see it as a journey to good nutrition that you can begin today by taking one step at a time. In the future I hope to share more with you about what I have been doing to change our diet. In many ways we are restricted because of budgetary reason but I have been able to implement many of the principles presented in this book nonetheless. In fact I found many to be cheaper than what we have been doing. So don’t give up hope; catch the vision for better health for you and your family!

For more information and lots of online reading visit the Weston A. Price Foundation.

To purchase for $16.50 click here.

Good websites with information on eating the "Nourishing way":

Traditional Bread



Finding Food

Sustainable Food

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The New "Improved" Life?

The old-time farmer said, "The fast-grown punkin usually turns out to be the 'pore' one," and the saying still goes. Despite all the progress of science, the average man of today most often ends up physically poorer than the same man of a century ago. Life-expectancy in youth and middle age, for example, has naturally risen because of medical progress; but because he lacks proper exercise, nutrients, and mental relaxation, the man over sixty today is actually a weaker man than his ancestor was at the same age. The elderly man of today has less chance of living than did his counterpart of the past! In 1832 a special census was taken of all people in the United States over 100 years old. The possibility of inaccuracies was taken into consideration and hearsay, such as reports about Negro slaves, was ruled out. It was found that at one person in every 4,500 Americans was a hundred years old or more. Today the figure is only one in 34,000.

Few of us can comprehend it, but two things have vitally changed the character of food and mankind during the past century. One is that much of present-day food is grown from a more depleted soil and it is therefore proportionately deficient. Another is that nutritional losses from refining and processing further lessens the value of food. In some cases the loss may be as much as fifty percent.

Very much like today's food, which is grown larger and prettier but with less nutrient, the average man of today is larger, but lacking in stamina. A striking thing about ancient armor and early American clothing is its smallness. Statistics show that man eats more now, but gets less food value than he did in the past. He becomes softer and flabbier as he increases in size.

-- Eric Sloane The Season of America Past,
Promontory Press 1988

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Frugal Cleaning Tips

One place to cut down on waste and expense may be your cleaning closet. Over the past year I have started to implement easy ways to save and simplify the way we clean our home. Not only have I saved myself some money but, literally, the headache that comes with using powerful chemical cleaners. Now I find that when I have to clean with regular cleaners it really affects me. I used to just take it for granted that a headache came with cleaning, but thankfully no longer. So here are some tips that have helped me:

1. Make your own cleaners.
This may sound complicated but it is actually really simple. If you can follow a recipe you can make a cleaner. Often they only include a few household items that are poured into a bottle and shook up. For some great recipes I found online visit Clean and Green.

2. Use old rags instead of paper towels and cleaning wipes.
If you are like us you probably have many old wash cloths and dish rags that have seen their better days. Instead of throwing them out, give them a new life in your cleaning closet. To make sure they don't end up in the linen closet after they are washed I snip one corner off to identify them from any others. I normally can clean my bathroom with one rag by starting with the mirror, then the counter and sink, and last of all the commode. Then it gets thrown in the wash, not the trash basket. This has cut our paper towel usage in half. If you usually use a wad of paper towels to protect your hands, like my brothers (it is amazing how wimpy my brothers become when it comes to cleaning the bathroom), you can always buy a cheap pair of latex gloves to keep in the bathroom.

3. Buy supplies in bulk
When you make your own cleaners the supplies are pretty cheap to begin with, but you can save even more by buying in bulk. I can get two gallons of vinegar at our Sam's Club for $3.18 and 12 lbs of baking soda for $5.36. If you don't want to use a membership store you may be able to find the same things at any bulk store such as GFS. If you prefer to use ready-made cleaners you can often find concentrates for these at bulk stores that come out to be very inexpensive per batch.

For more advice and tips to save money visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Deep Chocolate Pudding

6-7 oz dark chocolate (bar or semi-sweet chips)
2 cups milk
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
3/4 t. vanilla

Chop chocolate into very fine pieces (in a food processor or blender). In a large saucepan combine chocolate, 1 3/4 cups milk, cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk vigorously over medium heat untill it simmers and is smooth and thick. Stir together remaining 1/4 cup of milk with cornstarch. Whisk into saucepan mixture. Bring to simmer and simmer two minutes, whisking and scraping sides of pan with a rubber spatula. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap pressing plastic to the pudding. Chill to desired temperature and serve. Makes ten 1/2 cup servings.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Boiling the Perfect Egg

In my family boiled eggs are a favorite. We use them in egg salad, deviled eggs, potato salad, or just plain with a little salt. So over the years we have tried several different techniques to make it easier to prepare and to get optimum results. Here is the process I have come up with to get the perfect hard egg.

You will need:

6 eggs (the older they are the easier the shell comes off)

1.Gently crack each egg to get an hair-line crack and place in large sauce pan.

2. Pour a little oil into the cap of the bottle and pour over eggs, continue until all eggs have a thin layer of oil on them. (See picture to left.)

3. Cover eggs with cold water and heat to a boil over high heat.

4. When it comes to a rolling boil set a timer for six minutes.

5. After six minutes remove from heat and cover. Set the timer for another six minutes and let pan sit.

6. After timer goes off drain eggs and immediately submerge in ice water. Let sit until ice melts. Drain and store in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

7. To shell simply crush shell and slip off . By cracking the eggs and pouring oil over them it creates a slick surface between the egg and the shell, which makes it so much easier to shell than traditionally boiled eggs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

© Lydia Wilwerding 2008

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Joy of Digital Photography: A Review

Photography is not just a mindless thing you do to freeze a scene, it is an art and logical process by which you can capture a picture that interprets the mood and importance of a scene. In The Joy of Digital Photography Jeff Wignall teaches you (the novice) how to harness the power of photography the way the professionals do. And his style isn’t boring either; rather, he brings out the joy of photography in a fun, yet thorough way.

Set up in a topic-by-topic format, this book leads you through all the dynamics of taking great pictures whether you are using a small compact digital or an expensive SLR. Some of the topics include are: choosing a digital camera, designing compositions, getting good lighting, people photography, capturing nature and tweaking you shot in a computer software to get the best resulting print. On every page you will see exceptional photos to illustrate and guide you through the process. After reading this book you will be thoroughly informed on how to capture those special moments in your life and the beautiful world around you.

I have always been one of those people that took mediocre pictures, normally nailing my subject to the middle of the frame, now I will never look a photography in the same way. After only reading a few sections I was surprised at how much my pictures had improved. Now instead of just flipping through my pictures they actually held interest and communicated meaning. Also I was able to learn how to use all those confusing features on my digital camera and how changing settings would improve certain settings. This book was launching pad for me, it inspired me to pursue photography as a lifelong hobby and art; and in our digital age it is easier and cheaper than ever to get started.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Chocolate cravings begin early!

This is a video of a friend's baby girl trying to get her M&Ms. It is funny how desperate she is to get after them!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Cookie Thief

by Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shops.
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice, I would blacken his eye."

With each cookie she took, he took one too,
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She snatched it from him and thought... oooh, brother.
This guy has some nerve and he's also rude,
Why he didn't even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair,
The others were his, and he tried to share.
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

How many times in our lives,
have we absolutely known
that something was a certain way,
only to discover later that
what we believed to be true ... was not?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Blessedness of Trusting

Another branch of blessedness, is a power of reposing ourselves and our concerns upon the Lord's faithfulness and care; and may be considered in two respects: a reliance upon him that he will surely provide for us, guide us, protect us, be our help in trouble, our shield in danger; so that however poor, weak, and defenceless in ourselves, we may rejoice in his all sufficiency as our own; -- and further, in consequence of this, a peaceful, humble submission to his will, under all events which, upon their first impression , are contrary to our own views and desires... For want of more of this spirit, multitudes of professing Christians perplex and wound themselves, and dishonour their high calling, by continual anxieties, alarms, and complaints. They think nothing safe under the Lord's keeping, unless their own eye is likewise upon it; and are seldom satisfied with any of his dispensations: for though he gratify their desires in nine instances, a refusal in the tenth spoils the relish of all, and they show the truths of the Gospel can afford them little comfort, if self is crossed. But blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: he shall be kept in perfect peace, though the earth be moved, and the mountains cast into the midst of the sea.
~John Newton

Taken from Letters of John Newton, Banner of Truth 1990, pg. 150-151

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring is Coming

I have been very busy this past week so blogging has been put to the back burner. So I thought I would share some of the things I have been doing and learning.

Last Saturday I started my first seedlings of the season. Although it looks nothing like Spring out side it is that time to get a head start on the season. I planted three types of tomatoes: Lime Green Salad, Aunt Ruby's German Cherry, and Best Boy. Also I planted California Wonder peppers.

If you are interested in starting your own seeds now is the time to try it out. It really isn't as hard as many people think. Here are some articles to get you started:

10 Seed- Starting Tips

How to Succeed at Seed Starting

Starting Seeds Indoors

Any gardening book should have instructions also, just find the best method to fit your circumstances and give it a try.

Another thing I have been learning is digital photography. I hope to share more about that later.

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

For Sale: Handmade Fabric Pins

I am offering for sale five adorable flower pins made out of fabric to use as clothing accessories, or to decorate purses, coats, or bags. Each fabric flower has a pin securely sewn to the back for easy decoration and the edges are finished with fray preventer. The diameter of each of these is 3 1/2 inches.

Fabric Pin 001
$3.50 + shipping*

Fabric Pin 002
$3.50 + shipping*

Fabric Pin 003

$3.50 + shipping*

Fabric Pin 004
$3.50 + shipping*

Fabric Pin 005
$3.50 + shipping*

*Shipping costs are a flat rate of $2.00, I only ship to USA addresses.