Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old Fashioned Wassail

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2 cans frozen cranberry juice
1 gallon apple cider
1 orange sliced into 8 rings
1 lemon sliced into 4 rings

Spice packet:
6 whole cloves
12 whole allspice cloves
3 cinnamon sticks

Place ingredients in crockpot for at least 4 hours before you plan on serving it. Place 4 orange rings, 2 lemon slices, and spice packet into wassail while preparing drink.

Remove orange slices and lemon slices and replace them with fresh fruit rings right before you serve it. That way it tastes so good, but the fruit isn't falling apart.

I buy cloth spice packages at Cost Plus!

Friday, October 23, 2009


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall cleaning

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...Cleaning in the fall is rejuvenating! It is a new start. The kids are back in school, you are back into a routine and the ambience outside is inspiring! {The preferred word for Fall...Autumn...will not be used here since most are not fans of cleaning. We will save "AUTUMN" for warm, cozy dinners, scones and crisp walks etc.!}
It is a perfect excuse to have your kids go through the clothes they have outgrown during the summer or the clothes that no longer fit because the ironing never got done! Please tell me I am NOT the only one that has happened to!!!

They might find old notes or even that library book that is WAY overdue. Shorts, snorkels and other summer gear can be exchanged for warm coats, raingear, and those most adorable polka-dotted rubber boots!

I love deep cleaning with the windows wide open. It seems like the last big rush before you start "hibernating" for the winter...unless your children are in sports, and that is a whole different subject!

When the fall deep cleaning is done, I try to restock and reorganized as well...that way the holidays seem much more enjoyable and less of a threat when out of town guests call at the last minute and want to drop by for a visit.

We grow rosemary that is prolific, so I add a few fresh herbs throughout the house for an extra fragrant touch. Again, it is the simple little "extras" that take a few extra minutes to make your home filled with sweet unexpected treats.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Comforting a Sick Child

Taking care of a sick child can be a challenge. Sometimes it seems like life stops "temporarily". All plans and activities are cancelled. Life slows down...unexpectedly.

When our children were younger, I hate to say it, but i enjoyed the quiet that came over our home and now that they are older and busier, I really enjoy it. Not that they are sick, but for the quiet time that we have together.

When they were little, it was my chance to REALLY take care of them. Not just taking care of the ordinary things like: Making sure they were ready for school, hair and teeth were brushed, Show and Tells were ready etc., but it was my chance to REALLY care for them.

Years ago, we invested in a sweet, yellow, scalloped bed tray. It has served many purposes...but it has primarily been used to take meals to a sick child along with an antique bell and a "feel better bear". I know it sounds extravagant, but in today's hurried, hectic life, there aren't too many opportunities to slow down and to take care of each other.

When we care for each other we are demonstrating God's love, God's tenderness and God's compassion in a very real way that our children are completely capable of understanding.

Usually, after a long night, I make them warm oatmeal. It is both nutritious and soothing. After that, it is time for a warm Epsom salt bath.

I change their sheets,, sanitize their bedroom and open the windows to air it out!

After their bath, I have them gargle with warm kosher salt water, brush their teeth and put on clean, comfy clothes. They go back to their fresh clean room to rest. You will be shocked how much better they will feel!

Then I sanitize the bathroom, change the towels and make sure the "patient" uses paper towels to dry his/her hands until they are better...

While laundry was going, we would look at picture albums, read favorite books, pray, listen to stories on tape, or I would just hold their, little hands and rest with them until they would fall asleep.

Now that they are both teenagers, we still use the tray, the bell and the bear. It is just as therapeutic for me to take care of them as it is for them to be cared for.

This is how we were cared for as young children, we have cared for our children the same way and now it is a pleasure to watch them care for us, their grandparents, and friends who are hurting as well. It brings us joy to watch them grow in grace and in character. It is a gift to offer comfort!

Love... always protects,always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)

Shared with: multitudes on Mondays

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Astoria Trip


When the children were little, we were invited to spend the weekend with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Judi. Not only were the children ecstatic, but Scott and I were as well.
We had been talking about visiting them for some time, and every time they would come to Portland to visit us, we would chat and make promises that we WOULD visit. Finally, we called them, set up a date and planned our weekend away in the charming town of Astoria.

The drive was beautiful, the kids were content while listening to ADVENTURES IN ODYSSEY, and Scott and I were able to talk and dream...we ALWAYS seem to do that on trips...not sure why, but we do.

Amongst other fun things we had planned to do, clam digging was at the tippy tippy top of the list! I wasn't as excited as the rest of the family, but sometimes a mom just has to do things to help make a family memory.
We put the kids to bed early, and the adults had a great time talking and reminiscing about all sorts of things.

The next morning, while it was still dark and foggy outside, we woke up the children, put on our old clothes and headed out the door.
I was sure that we were the only ones out and about at 4:00 A.M! To my surprise, as we got closer to the water, you could see flickering lights in the distance of other eager clam diggers. I guess we weren't going to be the only ones. The kids could not wait.

Grandpa Tom, our seasoned guide, told us exactly what to do. We watched him and then the fun began...we started to find the tiny air holes, and then we started to dig as fast as we could. It was sheer bliss, not to mention how muddy we were and how tired we were, but it was such a fun time experiencing something new with the whole family.

We all caught our limit, thanks to Daddy and Grandpa Tom! We went back to the house, took warm showers, had a yummy breakfast and spent the rest of the day CLEANING CLAMS TO MAKE...

Grandpa Toms Clam Chowder

• 6 strips bacon
• 3 Cups chopped onion (aprox. 2 medium)
• 6 Cups baby red potatoes (aprox. 18)
• 1/8 Cup flour
• 3 cups half and half
• 51 oz. can of sea clams (can be found at Costco)
• Butter, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste

1. Brown bacon and sauté onion in bacon fat combine both to make bacon mix and set aside for later.
2. Peel and dice baby red potatoes pour clam juice over potatoes and boil until tender.
3. Combine sea clams, bacon mix, potato mix, flour, half and half, butter, paprika, salt and pepper.
4. Heat thoroughly and enjoy.

Menu Ideas:
Sparkling apple cider
Tossed green salad
Grandpa Toms Chowder
Dads favorite cornbread

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being A Servant...

This is a word our children are very familiar with. Mr. Webster defines a servant like this: one who serves others, one who answers the need of, one who provides services that benefit or help.

When our children were little, we wanted to instill in them the utmost importance of what it means to be a servant.

In the Bible, Jesus placed real value in this. It was demonstrated over and over again where He, in all His glory, chose to be a servant. It is a mystery to me, that God Almighty, not only instructed us to be servants to others, but that His whole life WAS THAT of sacrifice. This is exactly what it takes to be a servant. One who chooses others over self...one who SERVES others.

Most times when we ask one of the children to do something "above and beyond" for the other child, or for someone else, we refer to it as “being a servant".

During prayer time "the servant" asks the other family members what or who they think needs prayer. They then take the requests and pray. It is awesome to see them take leadership at a young age.

There are plenty of times and situations when it is difficult to be a servant.

This is not about pride or about impressing people. It is about listening to God. It is about teaching our children to pray, to ask for wisdom and to be sensitive to those around them.

There is nothing more rewarding than to teach your children this value.

They see it. They know it. They recognize it. They use it. They learn from it and hopefully someday they too, will have the joy in passing it down to their children.

It becomes a character trait, that you, as a parent, have the ability to prune, nurture and make sure it is good and strong. If it is not producing, it needs to be examined and taken care of. It is one of the most prized gifts you can give your child...it is a gift that continues to give.

By no means am I implying that my children or we as parents are always willing to do what is asked of us. Being a servant takes a conscious decision to put aside our selfish desire in order to meet the needs of someone else.
Being a servant with a HAPPY HEART is worth its weight in GOLD!

"Train up a child in the way he should go,and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Shared with: Titus 2sday

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chocolate Creamboats

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My dear friend, Julie, and I were working on a project this last winter. The project was divided into two. She had completed her part and I had completed mine. We had talked about getting together to finish the last bit up as a team. It was a day that was kinda thrown together. A bit of a spur of the moment. It stemmed from a quick phone call several days ahead of time...and was basically going to be a glorified show and tell. It went a bit like this. "Okay, Julie, I will make the focaccia loaves and you can bring the Creamboats, I will take care of the props and I will see if Kim still wants to take some pictures. Fine. I am so excited, too. See you Thursday!"

My friend Kim had offered to help with pictures...bless her heart, and Julie and I have a one track mind ...FOOD. Anything to do with food. This includes food presentation, organic substitutions, vintage dishes, kitchen appliances and it filters down to old tablecloths, cute aprons, theme dinners and...you get the idea. We are just a bit obsessed. To say the least.

Julie arrived at my house with a pastry box of CHOCOLATE CREAMBOATS and a BIG SMILE. We experimented with the props, snacked on the bread and talked, talked,talked. I felt like a little girl who had just invited her best friends over to play dolls for the morning. We had so much fun. We were literally giddy by the time we were done.
We had made a mess with bowls, kitchen scales, napkins, straws, votive holders, yogurt glasses, milk and everything else one might need for a "photo shoot" and recipe testing.

After the girls left, the only thing I could think about was when we might be able to squeeze it into our busy schedules AGAIN...That was one big mess I did NOT mind cleaning up!

Chocolate Creamboats
Preheat oven to 350°F
Demarle Éclair tray
Makes 6 Creamboats

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Cakes: In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and oil until well mixed. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour mixture alternately with coffee, whisking just until smooth. Add vinegar, mixing briefly.
3. Place silicone tray on top of perforated tray. Scoop batter into Éclair tray, filling them almost to the top. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until top springs back slightly when lightly touched. Cool cakes in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, before carefully removing from tray to a rack to cool completely.
4. Filling: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, add the powdered sugar and shortening, beating until mixed. Add the soymilk and vanilla, beating well. Turn the mixer up to high and whip for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy.
5. Spread or pipe filling on the top half of 6 of the cakes. Place the 6 remaining cakes over the filling, topside down.

Copyright 2009 Julie Hasson http://www.everydaydish.tv/

Vanilla Creamboats: Substitute your favorite vanilla or yellow cake or cupcake recipe for the chocolate.
For a healthier dessert, use 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour in the recipe. Use organic sugars and flours.

Linked to:

Beauty and Bedlam

Friday, October 2, 2009

Celebrating Life

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Around here, our family celebrations usually happen in the evening, but this morning was different.

WE WOKE THE KIDS UP EXTRA EARLY and there were no complaints. We have been anticipating this morning for what seems like "forever"...
Our lives are full of milestones. They define our life. They are used to calculate different seasons in our lives. They can be memories or dreams...events that we look back on or occasions we have to look forward to.

Several months ago, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. My first instinct was to question God as to what He might be thinking...
Having the opportunity to have met my mother-in-law at such a young age has been a gift in and of itself. From the first evening we met, she has accepted me for who I am, she has encouraged me, and has loved me as though I were her very own flesh and blood...a daughter she never had.

She raised the love of my life. She taught him the importance of loving others unselfishly, to be the strong one when others are weak, to look at life with anticipation...knowing that even when things are rough...they will get better AND how to pick up his shoes...Thank you so VERY much!!! (We all know your secret tactic!)

She has been the Nana of all Nanas to my children. She rocked the "colicky one" with a fierce determination that she would be the one to soothe her no matter what it took...(Brandy?) She was thrilled to be in on many "firsts" and to accommodate them to make those monumental occasions special. Have you ever seen a child bundled up on a sled with a warm bottle of milk? Finding the Best gifts that tired parents just don't have the energy to hunt down especially when a two year old really needs a tool belt because he is convinced that he truly is a "working man" just like his Poppi! The list goes on and on. I am pretty sure there have been plenty of confidential exchanges between the three of them that I do not know about, nor do I really dare to find out.

...During these months of radiation, we have committed Nana to prayer. We have witnessed the Lord's peace in her life and a joy that is deep in her soul. It has been a testament in trusting God's grace and mercy. It has been a lesson in letting go with abandon and putting our hope in God...since He is in control anyway. We have sensed God's very presence through our tears and concerns.

...So as Nana was on her way to her last radiation appointment this morning, she stopped by our house. It felt a bit like Christmas morning for our whole family. The kids were excited to see their Nana. The lights were dim and it was a bit misty outside. She was glowing with her pink shirt on under her black vest. Christmas morning is not complete without a gift. So her son had the honor to do our little presentation...a card with our thoughts and a necklace with the word "SURVIVOR" hammered into the silver pennant. As I think about the inscription, I think about God as our rescuer, desperately stretching out His hand to those who have no hope without Him, no chance of survival unless they reach out and grasp the very hand that formed the universe, a hand that is fully capable of saving...a rescuer that is not only concerned with the very act of saving, but a Rescuer who offers comfort and healing..."For with God NOTHING will be impossible." Luke 1:37