Friday, February 19, 2010

Mush mush mush....(okay truly most mushers say "hike hike hike")

For some fun schoolwork, we've decided to follow the Iditarod Sled Dog race.  Other teachers you can go HERE to find out more about following along with students (homeschool and nonhomeschoolers) from all over the world!!

(THANKS Laura  for telling us about this fun idea!!)

We're still working on getting our wallsize map of the race done (yes we're a little bit behind) but should have it done in the next few days so we can follow along as our racers check in at each checkpoint.  We have now officially selected our racers.  The kids went through all the mushers at the official Iditarod website and read the bios of racers.  Both kids wanted to pick a rookie. 

So let me introduce you to
He's the racer MaryKyle chose.  he's the first racer ever from Jamaica.
   hmm.....did you just get the little diddy from the movie Cool Runnings going through your head too??
"'nuff people say, you know they can't believe.  Jamaica we have DOG sled team...."    OH YEAH!!


 John Mark's choice:
She's been a wrangler in Nevada, a musher tour guide, and a member of the
Army National Guard.
And she happens to be rather attractive.....hmmm???

We'll be cheering them on from the sunny south when they begin their race on March 6th for their 1150 mile journey!!
Seriously...that's a LONG trip on a dog sled in the cold...
if you didn't know mushers are required to have one 24 hour down day and two 8 hour rest stops.
It's a facinating event to read and learn about I must admit!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Sweet Valentine

(our table set for a Valentine's day breakfast of whole wheat applesauce streusel muffins)

After insisting on my napping after our Valentine lunch of homemade lasagna and dark chocolate fondue with fruit and homemade vanilla marshmallows (one of my hubby's favorite treats) & that he would do the clean up (and skip his traditional Sunday afternoon nap) I just THOUGHT my Valentine's day celebrations were complete. 
But then.....
last night at worship my Valentine was running the projector and sound equipment upstairs so he didn't get to sit beside me and and hold my hand as usual.  But as worship began, John Mark handed me a folded up note (think school days).  On the front was written in my sweet hubby's easily identified handwriting my name and the words

"Read Me Now"

so I opened it to find this typed message:


Solomon 3:2 word 2
Solomon 2:17 word 8
Solomon 2:13 Last two words

If yes, then after the Amen

Solomon 2:11 word 1
Solomon 1:2 word 4
Solomon 1:7 word 28
Solomon 5:2 word 22
Solomon 6:12 word 12 but singular and not literal

So I cracked the code to reveal this message:

"Will you flee with me?"  

and then, since (after much thought and deliberation...ha ha) I decided I'd say "YES" it continued:

"see me beside my chariot"

Then he'd written
"After the final Amen.  Speak to no one.   No children." 

My sweet Valentine had arranged a babysitter to take the kids home and all that went with that (feeding them,  putting them to bed, etc etc)
When I walked out of the church bldg doors My sweet sexy Valentine was waiting.  "Chariot" pulled up by the doors to the church bldg, leaning on the side of the car with my door opened and waiting for me.

And off we went....
God is so GOOD!!!! 
(and so is my man!!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yummy days!

We put some snow in our freezer before it melted so that one warm day when all we want to do is cool down, we can stir up some snow cream and remember our fun last night and today!!! 
Snow cream brings back a flood of magical childhood memories for me with every bite.
I had a wonderous childhood....I'm thinking my hips might appreciate less memories flooding in.
But alas, it's magically delicious, so another bite for me please!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Surprise

I headed to Target for a grocery run as the snow began to fall!  I know I know I have the bread, milk, and eggs...but CHILI  I needed the ingredients for my new favorite chili (that MaryKyle makes...which makes it even better!!).  Granted I forgot 2 key ingredients.....really I did.  But it is also a nice convenient way for me to ask my sweet darling Valentine to run get them for he can sneak away and get me a sweet nothing note!!  See how that works?  Aren't I clever??  He'll go get the beans & then see all the pink, red, hearts, etc and say "oh yeah V'tine day is soon"...and pick up up a sweet little card!!  Yep...I'm clever that way to help him out!  Hey we girls do what we can for the men we love!

When I pulled in the driveway I was greeted by John Mark.  Cool....he was watching for me to come and help unload the groceries.  Made me smile and think "my kid is so awesome!".  Okay he is totally awesome, but he had no interest in grocery carrying.  He was the "guard dog" you see.  I was greeted with these endearing words
"DON'T COME IN THE KITCHEN!!!"  and then he ran back inside....


remember how I just went GROCERY SHOPPING???!!!
this could be a problem.

They quickly finished their surprise and called their Daddy down from his office upstairs.  What a treat!!!
 a surprise 'date' that had been prepared for my sweet Valentine and me right beside the sliding glass door so we could watch the snow fall together.
I mean there anything more romantic than watching snow fall??
And listening to your kids play?
Nope...I proclaim.....there isn't!

The mood was set....

and it was set WELL!!
All the hearts had sayings like "let it snow" "My heart" "XOXOX" and such  But when we saw  this one we laughed out loud.  Of course there is a story behind it.  But that's for another day

For a little of this

With fun decor and hot beverages
these are the kids valentine's they made this morning...aren't they smart to make them part of our surprise 'date' decor?!  yep they pretty much rock these kids of mine....they make me quite happy.  That sweet Valentine of mine does too.  And giddy.  Yep 15 years later he can still make my heart downright flutter!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A fun giveaway

Meet my friend Amy.....
She's beautiful on the inside as well as the outside!
(even though I do have some hysterical pictures of us over the years from camping trips, church camp and mission trips together.)
Oh yeah and she happens to be INSANELY talented (it runs in her family!!).  She painted these...and if you look on HER SITE under "Let's Paint It"  you'll see other things she's done (and how you can get her to make something for you)

Well Amy has a totally fun blog that helps me save tons of money!!  I share it with people in fact when I teach coupon classes because it goes above and beyond grocery savings!  She keeps me posted on GREAT know like FREE CHOCOLATE, Croc sales, Cabella's sales & other important things in life. 
And she's also having  a GIVEAWAY on her blog!!  Check it out!! 

You can win some of her Personlized Notecards...they are SO cute!! 
Here's a few can see some more on her site.  So run over to
to try to get some for yourself...or your child...or someone else as a gift!!
Seriously, they are just so cute.  Crossing my fingers I win....but good luck to you too!!!  It ends February 19th so be sure to leave a comment on her post to get your entry in!
WagonPink Initial/ Blue

Farm Fresh

(look close at the can see the cream on the top....YUM!)

"Oh you would like more milk than the two gallons that are left in the cooler?"

"I was really hoping for six gallons" 

"No problem, let me go milk Princess for you real quick!"

"Oh and you want more eggs than what are already cartoned?  Hang on, I'll run to the hen house and see if I can gather up a few more dozen!"

You just can't beat the customer service when you buy farm fresh. 

Or the taste for that matter....or in the case of cracking eggs the mess!
That's right, if a chicken is fed a good healthy diet, then the egg shells don't crumble, and the yolks stay together.  You can even pick them up with your fingers most often. 
(and yes I really do keep my eggs in that basket on my counter)
I know we live on the edge ...such adventurers we are to drink 'pet milk'
those words on the label are required in order for farms in Georgia to be able to sell raw milk (different states have different laws...some require you to buy a share of the cow even....)

Our son who is lactose intolerant can drink raw milk to his heart's content without getting ill since it the manmade stuff in dairy from the store that made him ill.
We gave him soy for the first few years of his life....then I started reading more and decided that was no longer an option I wanted for him.
Rice milk....well was just plain "ick" to us...sorry!
So thanks to the help of a friend whose son is severely allergic to MSG and other preservatives I started researching raw unpasteurized milk.  Yes we even consulted our Dr's and I asked a friend who is an allergist his thoughts.  His response was "if I could get it where we live, it's what we would be drinking" 
We've been drinking it a few years now and all of us much prefer it to store-bought organic and the price here is comparable.  For me with Crohn's I am more likely to actually digest the vitamins from raw milk as I can digest natural vitamins better than man-made stuff. 
The first raw milk I had was almost too sweet for us.  A lot like melted ice cream.  Delicious, just SUPER  rich!   But turns out what the cow eats effects the flavor.  So in true Goldilocks style we tried a different farm's milk and it was 'just right' for us!!

We love our farm !!!  The kids love going with me to get milk because while I'm loading up they'll go check out the new baby calves, and other animals!!  We've gotten to watch the milking process so we can feel confident in what we drinking....and we just enjoy that it's in "let me go milk Princess for you" fresh!!  oh yeah.....

NOTE:  Yes I was buying 6 gallons of milk.  In all honesty we don't drink tons of milk ...mostly it's used for cereals, baking etc.  But we freeze it so we don't have to go to the farm as frequently. 
PLUS we're prepared if God happens to decide to bless Atlanta with a good snowfall....
I've got the milk and eggs and bread in my freezer ready and I just need the snow!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As requested and a request

I made this recipe again for our annual Chili cook-off at church this past Sunday.  I've gotten lots of requests for the recipe.  So I'm going to post it here.  However in that I have a request myself.  If you happen to look at this recipe and know of a super wonderful preservative free chocolate cake recipe that might match this moist yummy deliciousness I'd LOVE to have it!!  I don't cook this cake as often as I would if I could make it without all the mixes. I do use natural peanut butter, raw milk, fresh eggs, etc....but still need to work on getting the box mixes moved out of this recipe!!  Until then.....HERE YOU GO!!!  Got this from my cousin!  I can assure you it's YUMMY....SUPER rich...but so worth it!!!

Three  9" round cakes

Add some insanely good Peanut Butter Butter Cream

a little shaved chocolate and WALAH.....the best cake ever!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Cake
1 box Chocolate Fudge cake mix (or any chocolate cake mix)
1 (3 oz.) box instant chocolate pudding
16 oz sour cream
5 eggs
1 C. melted butter
1 tsp. almond extract
1 C. chocolate chips (I use ghirardelli 60% Cacao)

Beat all but the Chocolate Chips. Mixture will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into three greased 9” pans. Bake at 350 degrees for for about 25 min...til they are just barely starting to release from the sides of the pan.  Not fully released though. they will do that as they cool. (Keep an eye on they can overbake easily and be dry). 
Cool completely. 

Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing
Ingredients2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla
Appx 2 lbs confectioners sugar (might need a little more)

Cream shortening and butter.
Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla.
Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add more sugar (or milk) as needed until icing is desired consistency (should be firm enough to hold a shape but still smooth)
Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.

I topped with some shaved chocolate.  If you want you could probably top with chopped Reese's peanut butter cups and such as well!!  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oddly....a book review of sorts

okay I'm not much a 'reviewer' but this one is SO worth sharing! 

I'm ashamed to admit, I've never read Pilgrim's Progress, have you?  Seriously SURELY there are others out there that haven't...even though it has been  "with the exception of the Bible, read by more people than any other book in the English language."

 So a few months ago I looked it up at our local library, and was disappointed and shocked to see they don't carry a copy of it.  But last week I looked it up again for some reason....and came across this: 
"The Pilgrim's Progress Retold in Today's English" by James H. Thomas

I'm SO glad I did!  We are really enjoying it.  The best thing 8 yr old son who fights me on reading most of the time....LOVES it!!  He begs me to read more each day. 
We are all enjoying thoroughly the allegory symbolizing a Christian's walk through this world.
My kids have loved 'decoding' and putting into visual images the Bible stories they know well and the scriptures they've heard over and over! 

I have also learned the origin of the title for Vanity Fair Magazine. 
and am thankful I've never bought a copy.......just sayin'

Monday, February 1, 2010

There's no whining in housework

Just when I want to whine about this:


I remember I could have to do it like this:

and then I remember that laundry isn't so bad.  Funny thing is I actually enjoy doing laundry by hand. Now I've not had to do it that way every time ever.  But there is something about it that feels empowering. 
The picture above is my MaryKyle having her lesson a couple of years ago in how to do it correctly on a pila in Honduras. She LOVES doing laundry by hand.  Granted she's not had to do it that way in the dead of winter...or in the pouring rain when things won't dry out. 

Seriously how did the pioneer women accomplish everything they did in a day?  oh yes, no TV, email, facebook, blogs, etc....
I have the utmost respect and admiration for them!! 

(but those of you who read this and know about Honduras will appreciate my 'gringo' son in the background, dipping his hand pila....sigh....I wasn't there & our Honduran friends didn't correct him.  he's since been taught that is a no-no!!)