Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Review: How To Evaluate A Suitor

How To Evaluate a Suitor is a CD featuring a presentation by Doug Phillips, founder of Vision Forum Ministries, on helping a father properly evaluate a man interested in marriage to his daughter.

468932: How to Evaluate a Suitor                    - Audiobook on CDHow to Evaluate a Suitor - Audiobook on CD


What a wonderful CD for parents like me and my husband who grew up thinking that dating was the only option for finding a life partner but who now realize there is a better way: God's way. Combining biblical directives with practical wisdom, Doug Phillips gives a wonderful vision for the godly way to the marriage altar. This is one we will listen to again and again.

Click below to hear a sample of the message.

How To Evaluate A Suitor







Review: Ken Ham Creation Science DVD

Since my 9-year old son began listening to the Jonathan Park series of creation science audio dramas, he has become more interested in and knowledgeable about all aspects of God's wonderful creation.

Ken Ham's DVD, "Top Ten Questions About Genesis and Creation", produced by Vision Forum, has helped to stoke his interest even more. I found myself quite curious as to what the top questions would be from a man who for many years has been in the forefront of speaking on behalf of our Mighty Creator and His all-encompassing role in our Universe.

Some questions were somewhat predictable ("How did Noah get all of the animals on the Ark?") but others were a little surprising. One of the surprises for me was "Where did Cain get his wife?" which Ham stated was one of the most frequent questions he has received over the years. I always assumed that he married a sibling and that is exactly what Ham discusses.

Questions about the origin of races, carbon dating and the global flood were all very interesting and informative.

This video presentation of a conference lecture could be an excellent springboard to spark discussions, reading and research in your homeschool on relevant topics in creation science thus preparing you and your children to defend the biblical worldview of creation and the history of mankind.

Visit VisionForum.com to get your copy today!








Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Resting In Jesus

Our church, Broadview Heights Baptist Church is having a Holiness and Revival Conference this week. One of the themes of preaching at church over the past few weeks as well as a theme of the conference that has convicted me is the idea of truly resting in Jesus, depending on his grace and the Holy Spirit for all of my needs.

Resting does not come easily for me. I am more likely to work harder and harder on a difficult area of my life than I am to look to Jesus and his strength and power to enable me to accomplish the mountain of tasks often before me as a homeschool mom.

I am learning now to ask each morning and throughout everyday "Am I working on my own strength and power or the power of the Holy Spirit within me?"

I love this hymn I recently learned at church:

JESUS, I AM RESTING, RESTING

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Refrain
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belov├Ęd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

May you rely on God's grace and His Holy Spirit to help you to rest in Jesus as you prepare to begin for another year of homeschooling.

Go to NetHymnal to hear the tune for the hymn, "Jesus I Am Resting, Resting".








Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Review: NLT Hebrews- Life Application Bible Studies Series

I admit I was a little leery of a Bible study specifically meant to be application focused. I feared it might be too much focused on "me" like many studies I have picked up. I tend to want a study to teach me more about God and his attributes and his redemptive plan for man. This study did just that.

I was pleased that the commentary section of the study was actually quite good and detailed. It was nice to have the Scripture text on the same page as the extensive commentary. Some nice charts and tables were included as well.

I especially appreciated that the editors commented when certain changes were made in the New Living Translation from the original manuscripts. For instance, the translation often changed "brothers" to "brothers and sisters".

The questions in the study section of the book are divided into 13 sections. Some are questions from the text while others encourage the participant to reflect on his or her life. Both types of questions are helpful and should make the meaning of the text more memorable.

I liked the small size of the book which made it very easy to carry around as I was completing the study.

I believe I will go through this study with my 9-year old son once we begin our homeschool year. He is ready for more than just Bible stories at this point and I believe we will both enjoy going through the study together.

In summary, the Hebrews Life Application book is a good Bible study for anyone who wants to dig deeper and find the treasures written in the Bible to help us to glorify God by living our life as followers of the true Christ written of in the Bible.[[ASIN:1414325649 Hebrews (Life Application Bible Studies: NLT)]]







Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learning About Missionaries

Here is a slide show I put together from a class that I co-taught for our homeschool co-op this spring. I was blessed and encouraged learning from the lives of famous missionaries. Feel free to share this. A mini-study on missionaries using the very short and interesting series we used would make a great summer project for your family.









Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Celebrating Gardening

With the help of a good friend from our church, the kids and I have embarked on a gardening adventure. Debbie has graciously provided us not only with weekly "gardening lessons" at her home in her greenhouse, but she has also given us seedlings, pots and other goodies to help our garden grow.

We have learned about composting, collecting rain water and recycling all kinds of items to help us in our gardening ventures. Chase has become an expert at transplanting our little seedlings and Alyssa is our faithful watering girl.

My husband got in on the act and provided us with a lovely bed after painstakingly running the Rototiller, adding peat and sifting the stones out of our little plot.

We are planting corn, tomatoes, onions, brussel sprouts, watermelon, and potatoes.

We are also starting some herbs: chives, garlic chives, oregano and cilantro.

I am so excited for what the Lord is doing in our lives and in our little garden! I thank the Lord for all of his many blessings on our family.







Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: Vision Forum Christian Film Festival

Although I was not able to attend the San Antonio Christian Film Festival sponsored by Vision Forum Ministries, I was blessed by listening to the CD Set of the conference messages and  select performances, titled "History Has Been Made: Moments and Messages From The San Antonio Christian Film Festival".

The messages concerning Christian entertainment and media were especially eye-opening for me.  We consider ourselves to be fairly cautious in the media to which we expose our children but I learned that we could be doing even better.  The message from Kevin Swanson (of Generations Radio) was very informative in that regard.

Voddie Bauchan's talk about the "Journey In Confusion" of the roles of manhood in Hollywood was another excellent message portraying some of the problems with mainstream entertainment in America today.

I never thought that I had a particular interest in filmmaking but R.C. Sproul Jr.'s talk on Christian filmmaking was extremely enjoyable and thought-provoking.  With a challenging yet hopeful message, Sproul highlighted the growing importance of Christian filmmaking today.

Messages about entrepreneurial principles for independent thinkers and launching a radio broadcast via the Internet were of special interest to my husband and I.  We were not only inspired to contribute our creative efforts for the glory of God but to follow practical hints on debt-free financing as well.

One of the highlights of the set is the discussions of Fireproof.
 Kirk Cameron as well as a panel of others involved in the making of "Fireproof" was so powerful, moving and inspirational.  That message alone made the CD set well worth acquiring!

Sometimes, I find discussions about the decline of culture in America to be nothing but depressing.  I was pleased to find that this CD set featured so many positive, uplifting and action-oriented messages that I had no time to get depressed.

Overall, this CD set is both educational and entertaining that I recommend it for anyone concerned about the effect of mainstream media on our culture and looking for Christian alternatives.






Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh No! We Are Mess!

"Oh no! We are mess!" 
The above are famous last words heard after mommy left the children washing dishes in the kitchen to go into the other room to get the phone.

Okay, training children to wash dishes is important but they sure can get wet! 

Whatever you do, do not forget to reinforce the lesson that the water pressure coming out of the faucet should be kept fairly low to avoid the water-spraying-all-over-the-kitchen debacle.

As my sister said listenting to us over the phone: "At least they are learning and having fun."

I guess that is what home education is all about.




Best Cinnamon Bread Recipe For Bread Machine

We just made some of this cinnamon bread yesterday and my family is clamoring for more already!  The kids like getting involved.  I am nearly out of cinnamon so they grated a few sticks using the ginger grater and a multi-grater we have.  I use the bread machine for the dough. Then they punch it down, let it rest, divide it into two, roll it out, spread the butter, sprinkle the sugar mixture then fold over into thirds.

Here is the recipe:

1 c warm water
2 tbsp butter
1 egg
3 c flour
3 tbsp dried milk
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Put all ingredients in the bread machine on dough cycle.  When done, remove, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.  Dust surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out into a large rectangle. Take 3 tbsp of butter, softened and spread half on each rolled out rectangle

Mix 1/2 cup brown or white sugar, 1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl.  Sprinkle half on each rectangle and then fold into thirds.  Pinch center seam closed and pinch and fold ends under. Place dough seam side down in greased loaf pan. Let rise in warm place until doubled (about 1 hour for us, on top of a warm oven).  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 325-350 degrees.  Take out of pan, put on cooling rack once done, slice after 5 minutes and enjoy.





Thursday, March 19, 2009

Classic Bible Storybook: A Review

Our family was blessed with the opportunity to review the Classic Bible Storybook written by Kenneth N. Taylor and published by Tyndale House Publishers- Thanks, Christy!

This beautifully illustrated book contains over 100 Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments. Both the children and I enjoyed reading from this Bible storybook as part of bedtime ritual.

The Classic Bible Storybook has several unique features that made it a big hit with our family:
  • Warm, charming, realistic illustrations. We find that some modern Bibles with their cartoon-like illustrations are distracting and perplexing.  For me, unrealistic, silly or exaggerated illustrations subtly convey a message that undermines the holiness of the Bible.
  • The 121 Bible stories include some that are not commonly found in children's Bible story books.  Job, Paul's Epistles and Revelation are included in the book's material at a level that children can easily understand.
  • Short review questions, usually 3 or 4 of them, are featured after each story to aid in comprehension and retention of the important elements of each story.  My children especially love this feature and each tries to answer as fast as he or she can, game-show style, to see who can answer first.  Mom is gratified because she can tell that the kids are listening carefully to the story and the kids have fun.
  • Not too "dumb-downed".  The stories often use the same language found in the Bible and they avoid irreverent paraphrases.  At the same time, the language used is certainly not too difficult for most children and this level gives the children an opportunity to ask questions when they do not understand something, helping them to learn.
Kenneth Taylor is a gifted writer of Bible stories for children and his stories have been read to three generations of children around the world, including his own ten children.

I believe the Classic Bible Storybook is a book that you and your children or grandchildren will enjoy reading over and over for years.  We continue to enjoy it nightly. It would make a wonderful Easter gift or surprise in a child's Easter basket.

Click below to find out more or purchase from Christian Book Distributors.

307695: Classic Bible Storybook Classic Bible Storybook








Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fun Trips, Sickness, New Reviews and More

It is good to be back blogging! We started February with a lovely trip to Kalahari. We then came back, got sick and cycled through various illnesses for some time. In the meanwhile, I have been reading to review one Bible storybook and one audio CD set on the growing Christian film-making movement. Add to this my growing notebooks of devotionals the Lord has been gracious to give to me that I would like to share with other Christian moms and the growing list of Christian family resources and links that I am assembling into a website and I have been pretty busy when I am not homeschooling, discipling and keeping house.

Stay tuned for more details!







Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow, Beautiful Snow!

Snow, snow every where
Snug inside, I haven't a care!


There is just so much snow outside that I am amazed every time I look out at it. My husband has a hard time understanding my awe- "It is January in Ohio you know."

Yes, I know but mounds of the white stuff do not fall every day, even here and if they do, the snow drifts do not often last long.

Grateful we were able to stay in all day.

A big pot of linguine with meat sauce seemed a fitting ending to a cozy day.








Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cub Scout Fun

I had the pleasure of attending Pack meeting with Chase this week and it was fun. Usually Dad goes so this was my first Pack meeting. Once we arrived, Chase was chosen to carry the flag for the opening of the meeting and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, boys received their loops and badges for various projects they had completed including badges for selling popcorn.

We talked about the upcoming Pinewood Derby, camping trip and Blue and Gold Dinner.

Best of all, one of the leaders had his neighbor, a wood carver, come and share about his craft. I found myself very interested in the orderly and methodical ways of creating something beautiful and/or useful from a simple block of wood. He told the boys how the same block of wood could end up in so many different shapes and colors. He should us many examples of his work, a dark brown owl, a black horse on a red rocker, a caramel colored lock all made of the same type of wood. The boys were amazed by this and asked "Is everything really made only of wood?" and "How do you get the wood different colors?".

I found myself thinking of our Master Carver, God the Creator, and how he has formed all of us into wonderfully unique and beautiful creatures, all human, yet each unique.

I just can't help it. I seem to see the hand of God every where.

Soli Deo Gloria! (For the glory of God alone)







Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grocery Coupons Online

It seems many of us are trying to save money right now. Judicious use of coupons on items that you would normally buy can be a nice cost-saver.

I just came across a grocery coupon site sponsored by Disney Family. Just click on the product and print out the coupon.

Too bad I just went shopping today!






Saturday, January 10, 2009

Best Bread Machine Recipe- White Bread

This one of our first favorite bread machine recipes. It is for a basic white bread adapted from the West Bend Bread Machine recipe book recipe for Country White Bread.
This bread is wonderful for sandwiches and picky kids. It tastes like store-bought bread that kids like but without all the additives and preservatives.

Ingredients for a 1 1/2 pound loaf:

1 cup plus 2 TBSP of milk
2 TBSP of butter
3 c bread flour
2 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast OR 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Add the butter to the milk in a microwave-safe container (I use a glass measuring cup). Heat on high for 30 seconds, stir and heat on high for another 30 seconds. Pour milk mixture into the bread pan. Add sugar and yeast and set aside. The pan mixture will begin to bubble as the yeast activates.

Let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add flour and salt to bread pan. turn machine on to Basic/Medium Crust setting.

Enjoy the smell of fresh bread in your house until the loaf is ready. Let bread rest for 15 minutes before cutting (we have to set a timer because people around here get a little antsy about fresh-baked bread and will tear into it burning hot!).

Cut with an electric knife and enjoy!

This bread is very flavorful with a smooth, low-crumb texture and the crust is soft. No wonder kids like it so much. Adults do too. This bread machine bread is great for sandwiches (if it lasts that long).


We shop on Amazon for many of our grocery needs for cost-effectiveness and time-savings. We are Amazon Prime members and so get many items shipped for free. Below are some select suggestions from the Amazon site for this recipe. Don't forget to read the reviews on Amazon!

Amazon.com Shopping List Suggestions

White Bread Flour, Unbleached, 5 lb.

Bob's Red Mill Active Dry Yeast, 8-Ounce Packages (Pack of 8)

West Bend 41200 Programmable Bread Machine, Stainless










Friday, January 9, 2009

Pork Slow Cooker Recipe: Cherry Cranberry Pork Chops

I modified this recipe from the classic cherry pork chop recipe that uses cherry pie filling.  By using plain, unsweetened, uncolored, unflavored canned cherries, I made the recipe healthier and more appealing for my husband in particular.  Paired with Easy Cranberry Rice, this recipe was a real winner tonight.

Cherry-Cranberry Pork Chops (a 6-quart slow cooker recipe)

Ingredients

1 can of tart cherries packed in water, uncolored (I use Oregon Fruit brand)
3/4 c sugar
1/3 can cranberry sauce, jellied
1/2 c apple juice, unsweetened
6 bone-in pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
2 TBSP vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
Salt for sprinkling
Ground black pepper for sprinkling
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3 TBSP corn starch
1 c milk

Combine cherries (with liquid), sugar, apple juice and cranberry sauce in a medium pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Cranberry sauce may not dissolve- that is OK. Set aside.

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat your oil in the largest pan you have. Brown pork chops over medium-high heat in the oil. Brown the chops n batches if necessary.

Place chops in crock then pour mixture over the top.

Cook on high for 3 hours or until chops are tender.

To make the sauce for spooning:

Drain juices out of crock into a medium saucepan, being careful to remove any bones that may have become dislodged from the chops during cooking. I find it easiest to spoon the juices out, leaving the crock and meat in place because they will be very hot. I can get most of the juices out just fine this way.

Next, dissolve the corn starch in the milk. Add the milk mixture to the juices and heat over medium-high setting, stirring often until the juices have thickened. Add salt and pepper to the sauce to taste.

Spoon the juice over each chop as you are serving and spoon some over the Cranberry Rice (see below) as well.

This a tasty tangy and sweet treat that looks nice too.

Rice Cooker Recipe: Cranberry Rice

Ingredients

1 1/2 c brown rice
1/2 tsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 c water
1/3 c dried, sweetened cranberries

Place all ingredients in the rice cooker and press start. When finished, fluff the rice with a fork and serve with a rice paddle.

This recipe is so easy yet so good. The little extras like a small amount of butter and salt and added cranberies make accepting brown rice a lot easier for this family! I also served this with Oatmeal Apple Bread, made in the bread machine.

See below a listing of shopping list suggestions and ingredients and equipment I use. Click on the link to find reviews, prices and ordering information. We belong to Amazon Prime which gives us free shipping (on items shipped directly from Amazon only). Also, receiving items in bulk by mail saves me much grocery shopping time.


Amazon.com Shopping List
Oregon Fruit Pitted Red Tart Cherries in Water, 14.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 8)

Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar, 16-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 12)

Grown Right Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce, 16-Ounce Can (Pack of 6)

Morton Iodized Kosher Table Salt - 4lb. box

Tone's Spices Restaurant Black Pepper (18 oz) - Large Restaurant / Food Service Size Shaker Container - Best Value per Ounce

Free Range Grass Fed Organic Pork Chops - 4 Pounds - Fresh (Not Smoked)

Corn Starch, 1 lb.

RiceSelect Organic Texmati Brown Rice, 36-Ounce Jars (Pack of 4)

Ocean Spray Craisins, Sweetened Dried Cranberries, 48-Ounce Units (Pack of 2)

Panasonic SR-G06FG 3.3-Cup Rice Cooker/Steamer

Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

West Bend 41200 Programmable Bread Machine, Stainless

Let me know what you think!







Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Slow Cooker Saved My Life



Okay, so maybe not exactly.  But it will help me to keep my sanity.  My MIL graciously got me the Hamilton Beach digital, programmable, 6-quart slow cooker with the meat probe.  This is truly the most useful kitchen appliance I own.

I first used it to roast an entire chicken and then a rump roast.  Amazing!  These are jobs that my old slow cooker definitely could not do!  Since then, I have been crafting so many wonderful recipes.  I do almost all of my cooking in the morning now, leaving with more time for homeschooling, writing and of course to wage war in my never-ending battle with clutter.

I have been reading dozens of cookbooks and blogs and I am having much fun adapting recipes for my family.  The biggest challenges with recipe-finding have been:

1.  Finding recipes for large (5-quart or 6-quart) slow cookers
2. Finding recipes that avoid ready-made components with certain ingredients we are trying to minimize (corn syrup, MSG, artificial flavors and colorings).
 I am going to be featuring some recipes here that I have adapted from other sources.

Tonight's recipe, for instance, was Cherry Pork Chops made with canned cherries and sugar instead of canned cherry pie filling.  I served it with Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Rice (made with the rice cooker) and Oatmeal Apple Bread (made with the bread machine).  My family was very pleased so I am happy.

I will post the recipe next time.

God And The Bread Machine

God can truly work in mysterious ways, even through an unsuspecting bread machine.

As my faithful readers know, I have long struggled and asked God and other moms to help me with my home management skills to make me a good steward of all that He has given me.  As I have felt the Lord calling me to write and share more of my Bible studies in the past few weeks, I began to pray that our Lord will help me to find the time that I need without neglecting my important duties as manager of our home, homeschool mom and wife.

His answers to me have come in ways that I never could have predicted.

First, my wonderful friend and sister-in-Christ, Elizabeth gave me a bread maker machine.  When she first offered it to me I was fairly unenthusiastic.  "I don't really need a bread machine- I can make my own bread plus I have enough clutter around this house anyway." is what I thought to myself.  "I'll think about it." is what I actually said, hoping that she would forget about it.

Well, one day she came over so the kids could play and what do you think she was carrying as she got out of her van? That's right, a bread machine!  I said "Thank you" as politely as I could and tried to figure out what I would say when she asked had I used it and I had not.

I never could figure out what I would say so I decided to go on and begrudgingly "try" to use the bread machine.  As I opened it to begin to examine it and see exactly how I was to use the contraption to make bread, I saw an unopened jar of bread machine yeast.

My heart melted and I felt so ashamed of myself!  The Lord had blessed me with a friend who would not only give me a bread machine but she even equipped me to use it!  How ungrateful I had been but from that moment I had only gratitude that God is a forgiving God and that he cares enough to point out my sins of selfishness, grumbling and ingratitude.  I also then remembered that Elizabeth had e-mailed me her favorite recipe to get me started.

And so it happened that I made my first loaf of bread machine bread.  I then made another and another and another and now I can not seem to stop!  The fresh-baked smell, the lack of preservatives, the ability to make fancy loaves of bread for a fraction of bakery prices and most of all, the happy looks on the faces of my husband and kids has kept me going.

I know this bread machine saga may not seem like much to some of you.  Trust me though- when you are struggling with not having enough time yet you need to save money and be frugal, the addition of a bread machine to our family's meal times has been a tremendous help.

Little did I know that the bread machine saga, answering a prayer that I had not even prayed, would lead to even more kitchen appliance blessings.  Once my heart was turned more fully to my home and my family, I began to see that I needed serious help in the areas of meal planning and meal preparation.

When will I learn to fully trust God and lean not on my own understanding?  God is interested in the smallest details of my life so that I may glorify him in all that I do at all times.  I  count myself blessed to have such kind and understanding Father, Redeemer and King. Soli Deo Gloria! (For the glory of God alone).

Stay tuned to find out how a kitchen appliance saved my life (or at least my sanity and that is just as important.

Look for bread machine recipes to follow in the coming weeks and months.




Sunday, January 4, 2009

Looking For A New Year's Resolution for Your Soul?

How about a Bible reading plan? My Bible reading plan will involve reading whole books of the Bible at a time, a practice I felt led to try but have had little practice with so far.

Via Emmaus has a useful list of 2009 Bible Reading Plans to get you started.  Choose the one that seems best and go for it!  As the post states, it is more important to read the Bible, regardless of the plan you choose.

I had been using the Bible reading list from HomeschoolClassifieds.com because it does not tie you to a schedule.  Instead, it records all the reading that you complete each day.