Thursday, April 26, 2012

Favorite Pastime Products



My beautiful little girl :)
This is one of my earliest attempts...and my favorite early one.


Maybe my #1 or  #2  all time fave...although all time is only about a year and one half long :)

 Gotta be a hockey Mom!
Baby face.

 Peaceful and pure.


 First landscape...love. 


Love the colors and the fact that I used my fingers :)

Cool.

For my red barn obsession.

A "peek" from childhood.

For Dad. The only way he would accept a non-Ford on his property :)


Beautiful antique flowers.

End of day glow.

The power of the resurrection...for every day.

The stuff of winter dreaming.

Mystery woman.

Oh how I love boys!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Bunny Battle


The Easter Bunny was a little different this year. See, my four little sweethearts have been battling colds, coughs and congestion for far too long. I thought it would be unloving and unwise to pour bunny shaped garbage down their precious throats at this time. Hoards of sugar is the last thing they need right now...or ever really...but especially now. Being Mom however, that presents a dilemma...my kids won't have "fun" with treats this Easter weekend! What is a mom supposed to do in situations like this!? She diligently seeks out yummy and helpful recipes...and I did.

One is a tried and true chocolate pleasure that I have been experimenting with, but really needs no alteration...just about perfect on it's own. Mindy from The Purposed Heart is to be thanked for this wonderful new staple in my kitchen. I copied this recipe right from her blog, but you can visit it anyway:

I always add unsweetened coconut to the base and sometimes nuts, raisins, or on indulgent days...cherries. Next year I just might buy some little bunny or egg molds to be a little thematic...and hearts for V-day...trees for Christmas...you get the idea.

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

Preparation:

Prepare a muffin pan with 10 muffin liners.

Put all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is smooth and nicely combined. (It will be very liquid-y.) Don’t over-mix.

Pour the liquid fudge into the prepared muffin liners dividing evenly between the ten of them. There will be about a half inch of fudge in each muffin liner.

Place the muffin pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the fudge has hardened. (Sometimes I use the freezer and it only takes about 10 minutes)

Remove the muffin liners from the pan and enjoy your delicious, healthy fudge! Store in the refrigerator.


The other delight this weekend was cream puffs. My family LOVES cream puffs. I had a generic recipe for the puffs but had a to experiment a bit with the cream. They were a big hit, even with the "well" people who visited for Sunday lunch. I tried using coconut milk instead of cows, for the sake of their congestion, and it worked pretty well, but I added a LITTLE whipped cream in the end for better consistency.


Cream Puffs

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Combine water, butter and salt...boil...add flour all at once. Stir vigorously until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly after each one. Drop by spoonfulls on greased pan and bake at 425* for about 20-25 minutes. Slightly browned and full, they will drop a bit upon cooling. inject cream, or just cut the top almost off and fill. Drizzle the previously mentioned chocolate fudge on top if desired.

Cream

2 cans (398ml) coconut milk
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
1/4 tsp Stevia extract (or a LITTLE more if you like it)
1 tbsp sugar (optional)

Boil until thickened, then add a chunk of butter and some almond or vanilla extract. I added about 1/2 cup of whipping cream and combined it with beaters after it had cooled. You might have to play with the amounts, depending on how thick or runny you like it.

Big hit...loved them...low sugar treat :)


Once they are all well again, I might break out the junk that I bought in a weak moment and ration the bunny in a more responsible and timely manner. The kids were just happy that their Easter themed treats didn't amount to carrot soup and scrambled eggs :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Arms Wide Open


And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will." Mark 14:36

One of the most heart wrenching verses of scripture to read. From both perspectives...Father's and Son's. Jesus, grieved almost to death, pleads with His all powerful father to spare Him the pain of what is ahead that day. He even calls Him Abba, or Daddy...not to be manipulative as I would have, but as an expression of a vulnerable child to His protector. Jesus knew "Daddy" is always good and loving. Trusting, Jesus lays himself at His father's feet, opens His doubly filled, human and divine heart and then with all righteousness, submits to His father's will.

I don't know about you, but submitting my will to God's or that of anyone of lesser value, is probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Now, I have never been asked to be tortured, mocked and rejected for another person's problems...I have a hard time giving up an extra helping of lasagna, never mind what was on the menu for Jesus that day. His example of selflessness is the ultimate so that all of the "little" things we are asked to live with or without, pale in comparison. Don't think God doesn't ask us to suffer for Him...He does.

"I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." John 21:18

If He expected this of Peter, the Rock that would build His church, then what should we expect?? A cozy lifestyle? Accolades from the world? Whatever we want? Eventually we have to grow up and allow our Father to lead us, wherever and whatever that looks like, we must go willingly. If we are truly His, then why do we act like we belong to ourselves? Doing what will please us and what will advance our own causes? Most of the time, He just wants us to be sincerely willing, but like a good Father, He never asks us to do anything difficult that is not necessary...lavishing good pleasures on His children. Most of the time. If He expected the worst cross from His own Son, why should He expect a little bit of discomfrort from me?

And then there is the other perspective...the Father's. Earlier, I said that submission was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. Except for this second thing...allowing your child to suffer for goodness sake. Now, this really is THE most difficult thing to do. From those dreadful infant inoculations to letting them experience injustice and personal hurt. Overprotective parents don't get this...I'm talking to myself here...God is not an overprotective parent, or Jesus never would have had to endure the cross, David wouldn't have had to endure Saul's threats for 10 years and Job wouldn't have lost a thing. God knows what forms good character and what is "best" for His children...we think it's comfort, pleasure and advancement.

Because I have only beautiful things planned for my kids, I have to allow God to take the reigns of their lives and expect them to live by the scripture. If I don't, they will become spoiled babies in big people bodies, useless to the Kingdom of God and empty of joy. Fleeting happiness in exchange for lasting joy. They will stand before Him to give account and all they will have to offer the Almighty is "I was happy!". Missed the point. My object of worship is then my child and not Jesus anymore. Again, the hardest thing in the world to do. God did it first, for goodness sake and we are called to follow His example...always.

Eventually, Job regained everything and more then was taken from him, David got His throne and justice and Jesus was gloriously resurrected...with more honoring to come. God never asks us to suffer, and then leaves us regretting our sacrifice.

"Those who honor me I will honor" 1 Samuel 2:30

Recognize that God is "Abba" always good and full of compassion, go ahead and ask for mercy and grace, then trust His will...based in scripture, no matter how bad it looks. It will never last one second longer than necessary, because you are His precious child and He cannot love you less.

It's Friday...but Sunday's comin'!