Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I found a fantastic recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  It tastes very similar to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 cup half and half (I used 2% milk)
3 tbsp canned pumpkin (I used fresh pumpkin)
1/2 cup strong brewed hot coffee
3 tbsp sugar
pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg - to taste

Combine creamer and pumpkin in saucepan at meadium heat and stir constantly until boiling (but not burnt).  Remove mixture and pour into a blender.  Whip in high speed for 20 seconds.  Pour mixture in a large cup, add coffee, stir in sugar and spices.  Serves 1. Enjoy!

We cancelled our cable this month, so last night we sat down as a family to watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on JA's laptop.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

From the Legend to the Lord

What an exciting character is Santa Claus! This mystical man becomes so real and vivid to children. Most of us recall those early memories of how we longed for his arrival. Santa is depicted as a colorful figure, given every quality needed to make children happy. We recall how:

- He was really a stranger; yet he was so approachable.

- He was mysteriously different; but we knew we could trust him.

- He had elves working to please him; but his goal was to please us.

- He had such marvelous abilities; but he never abused his power.

- He lived way up north; but he planned his days thinking about us.

- He traveled the world's skies; but he would never miss our house!

- He was our family friend; but we were glad to share him with others.

Did you ever cry when someone told you that Santa Claus wasn't real? Deep down, perhaps the credibility of your parents took some hits that day. Following such disturbing news, struggles follow between that zone of truth and fiction. Maybe you find it hard to trust people. But please don't let doubts complicate reality as we move from the mythical man to the Mighty God. In a wonderful way, we turn from the legend to the Lord! There is One who has each of good qualities that was interwoven into Santa Claus. Friend, with Jesus Christ as your hero, the satisfaction we enjoyed trusting Santa just gets better than ever! Look briefly at the qualities of Old Saint Nick as we compare the excellence of the Savior of the World!

The Legend - Santa is GOOD! Is anyone as good as Santa Claus? Think how every good and perfect gift comes from him at Christmas time. He goes unchallenged to be the supreme giver of good things.The Lord - Jesus is GOOD! God gives "every good gift and every perfect gift" (Jam. 1:17). The Psalmist declared, "the LORD is good" (Ps. 34:8). The Lord Jesus Christ is "the good shepherd" (John 10:11).

The Legend - Santa is ETERNAL! Generations come and go but you see Santa grows no older. None of us have been around as long as Santa Claus. His white hair and weather-beaten face seem to be the very picture of eternity. He's remains the same as his life never ends.The Lord - Jesus is ETERNAL! Specifying the forever past, we see "from everlasting to everlasting, thou are God" (Psalm 90:2). Likewise, the Christ-child born in Bethlehem is "from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).

The Legend - Santa is ALMIGHTY (omnipotent)! Santa Claus is pretty powerful! No storm can stop him from his yearly miracle as he delivers tons of gifts throughout the world. He totally defies nature, flying across the skies and going down the smallest, hottest chimneys. Nothing is too hard and nothing is impossible to the one who visits the millions of homes on Christmas Eve.The Lord - Jesus is ALMIGHTY! See the power of God. "There is nothing too hard for thee" (Jer. 32:17). "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6)! Think about how much power is "all power"? Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mat. 28:18). He says, "with God all things are possible" (Mat. 19:25-26).

The Legend - Santa is ALL-KNOWING (omniscient)! "He knows if you've been good or bad." He even knows what the children want for Christmas, even when they don't ask him in person.The Lord - Jesus is ALL-KNOWING! "God...knoweth all things!" (1 John 3:20). The disciples, then again Simon Peter responded to Jesus, "Thou knowest all things" (John 16:30; 21:17).

The Legend - Santa is EVERYWHERE (omnipresent)! Santa Claus appears at hundreds of shopping centers at the same time! Santa would have to go and be everywhere to visit all the homes in the world in one evening. Children wake up across the face of the earth to say, "Santa was here!"The Lord - Jesus is EVERYWHERE! "If I ascend up to heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there" (Ps. 139:7-10). The resurrected Jesus promises His omnipresent Spirit to His witnesses in all nations, saying, "I am with you" (Mat. 28:28-20).

The Legend - Santa is FAITHFUL! Children believe Santa to be totally dependable and faithful! He never fails or breaks his word. So they are fully persuaded that what Santa promises, he will perform.The Lord - Jesus is FAITHFUL! "The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us" (Jer. 42:5). The LORD (Jehovah) is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ, "Faithful and True" (Rev. 19:11). "He is God, the faithful God" (Deut. 7:9).

The Legend - Santa is UNCHANGING (immutable)! In a changing world, Santa never seems to change! You can count on Santa to be Santa; always happy, jolly, and kind to children. Yesterday, today, and forever Santa Claus is the same.The Lord - Jesus is UNCHANGING! "I change not" (Mal. 3:6). "God is not a man, that he should lie" (Num. 23:19) "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8).

The Legend - Santa is LOVE! Santa loves all of the boys and girls in the world -- red, brown, yellow, black and white without partiality.The Lord - Jesus is LOVE! God made all people "one blood" (Acts 17:26). "God is love" (1 John 4:7-10). Jesus died for our sin because He loves us (Romans 5:8). Nothing can "separate us from the love of God" (Rom. 8:35-38). "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

The Legend - Santa is RIGHTEOUS! Santa, as a moral judge makes no mistakes! Every stocking contains just the appropriate gifts.The Lord - Jesus is RIGHTEOUS! The Lord is "the righteous judge" (2 Tim. 4:8). "God is judge himself" (Ps. 50:6). But still it is God the Son who accomplishes "all judgment" (John 5:22).

The Legend - Santa is SOVEREIGN! On Christmas Eve, Santa as if he is a King is uniquely in complete control. Nothing can stop him. The Lord - Jesus is SOVEREIGN! God works "all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11). Jesus Christ is coming as the "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:16).

The Legend - Santa is COMING! You'd better watch out and you'd better not cry! Children want to be ready because Santa Claus is coming to town! Hundreds of thousands of towns and hundreds of millions of people wait with expectancy for the glorious return of Santa Claus. Their wish is, even so, come! This becomes their blessed hope!The Lord - Jesus is COMING! "The Lord...which is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8). "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). "When he shall appear, we (Christians) shall be like Him" (1 John 3:2).

The Legend - Santa is WORSHIPED! He is revered by children all over the world as they seek to please him. Their little trusting hearts seem to be saying, "O come let us adore him!"The Lord - Jesus is WORSHIPED! "O come, let us worship...kneel before the LORD (God) our maker" (Ps. 95:6). "And they came and held him (Jesus) by the feet, and worshipped him" (Mat. 28:9).

The Legend - Santa receives GLORY! Clearly when the story of Santa Claus was made up, he was given the very best of all qualities as the characteristics of God. It seems as though he was made a deity.The Lord - Jesus receives GLORY! Only God is to be praised. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3). "My glory will I not give to another" (Isaiah 42:8). But Jesus Christ receives glory as "the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified." Jesus has always had God's glory: "O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). "To him be glory both now and for ever" (2 Pet. 3:18). All praises to God!

All who believed in a Santa Claus need never be disappointed, not if we transfer our trust to Jesus Christ. As Judge, He knows how bad we've been, yet He offers us the "forgiveness of sins" by His blood (Eph. 1:7). We can trust nothing else but turn to God from idols (1 Thes. 1:9). The best "gift" is "eternal life" (Rom. 6:23) - yours by trusting Jesus Christ!

- He may be a stranger to you; but He is approachable while inviting, "Come unto me" (Mat. 11:28).

- He as the God-Man, is mysterious (1 Tim. 3:16); but you can totally trust in Him. "God...cannot lie" (Titus 1:2).

- He was served by angels in Heaven; but He came to be a servant.

- He could have called 10,000 angels; but He chose to die for you.

- He lives up in Heaven; but He never forgets us (Luke 12:6-7).

- He is on the horizon (Is. 40:22); but He comes to us (Mat. 18:20).

- He is my dearest Friend (John 15:13), and we love to share Him.

The qualities of Santa Claus are wonderfully surpassed by the One who wants to be your Savior from sin and from outer darkness. Jesus Christ satisfies, He is real and He cares! The Babe of Bethlehem is the very Lord who died for you. Why not receive God's greatest gift today by telling Jesus Christ that you believe in Him alone to gain the Celestial Heaven! Why not make this day the very best in your whole life?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Violin Recital

Last Monday was Kara's third violin recital. I am so proud of how hard Kara has worked this past semester. We went from last year practicing maybe 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes if we were lucky, to practicing 5-7 days a week for 20-30 minutes. Kara has even quit complaining about having to practice. She gets excited about playing her violin.

For her recital she wanted me to curl her hair, so I attempted to curl it, but unfortunately the curlers did not take -- we'll have to work on that. She looked beautiful for her recital.

At the end, Miss Abigayle presented Kara with a medal for getting in all of her practice time (we did have to make up three days of practice that we neglected over Thanksgiving).

Kara played "Lightly Row" and "Jingle Bells"
Here are all of the students Miss Abigayle taught this semester. Kara is one of three violin students, and the rest of her students are piano. We have one more semester with Miss Abigayle before she leaves for college. We are certainly going to miss her next year.

This video is different from the videos on facebook -- This is Jingle Bells.

Align Center

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vacatin Pictures

Okay, we are back from vacation now. We had a wonderful time traveling to Florida, Virginia, Kentucky, and home again. I have many stories to tell, but will confine myself to saying we had a fantastic time.

Right now, I will only give you the pictures of our vacation taken from the vantage point of our eldest child and her budding photography skills. To see the pictures Kara took of our vacation, click on the links below. Each link will take you to a separate album of pictures she took. She took a lot (and this is after I deleted about half of them).

Album 1

Album 2

Album 3

Enjoy her photos.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

If you have a little girl who loves to play dress up, then you must, I repeat you must check out this giveaway. I can't even begin to imagine how much time and work went into the design and creation of this gorgeous dress. Do make sure you stop by Grosgrain and her beautiful giveaway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Attention all Coffee Lovers

Check out this blog to enter to win some free coffee. I think they are a new company selling many different types and flavors of coffee. I checked out their store, and the variety is amazing. Hope you stop by and check out their site.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Shenandoah Costume GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Lately my girls have been into playing dress up. Check out this great costume and enter to win.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Too Quick to Judge


This week, the Lord has been teaching me multiple lessons. I don't think I could even begin to list the number of things I have been learning. However, I must say the biggest lesson I am learning is that sometimes even when I don't realize it I am much too quick to judge.

Those of you who are on facebook and have noticed my status this week would know we currently have an infestation of mice. Now I will be the first to say that I think mice are cute -- when they are outside and far away from destroying anything I own. However, when they appear inside the house I think they are one of the most disgusting things on earth -- even worse then a stinky diaper. Probably at the beginning of the summer I began to hear mice in the walls. I told JA, but whenever I said something -- they stopped. The result = my husband did not believe me, primarily because there were no signs of them in the house. That is until Sunday night. Sunday night I sat down to feed Ezekiel and saw one scurry under the couch. Monday morning I was sitting at the kitchen table and watch one scurry across the living room and down the stairs. Monday afternoon I was heading upstairs when one runs down the stairs and hides under the washing machine. Tuesday night Kara spots one upstairs running into her bedroom. Tuesday night I feel one brush against my back as I sat on the couch to watch a movie. Tuesday night we spot one under our bathroom sink. Do you get the picture -- We have a major infestation and the mice are not afraid of us!!!

Out come the traps in full force. Within the first twenty-four hours of the traps being out we catch six mice. I don't think I've ever even heard of catching that many in one day. Believe it or not the mice have not gotten into the kitchen or affected any of the food. In addition to the mice, the weather has been so nice that the kids have been playing outside a lot this week. The problem is they forget to close the kitchen door. Result = flies, flies, and more flies.

To top this off, yesterday afternoon I was standing in my kitchen looking at the dishes from the day that needed to be washed. I could not help but step outside of my situation and realize that if I was standing in anyone else's home seeing mice, surrounded by flies, and a pile of dishes I would consider them to be the most unsanitary and rather disgusting home. But if you looked at the rest of my house -- clean floors, laundry caught up, food put away, relatively clean bathrooms I began to realize that I cannot judge others. Anyone could walk into my home and at that moment walk out never wanting to return -- but that is not typical of our home, especially the mice :(

Next time I am tempted to judge someone by their home or appearance, I hope I will remember my experience this week and realize that sometimes people fall a little behind in cleaning and that the sneaky pests can get out of control before they even realize there is a problem.

Just to let you know, we have now put fly paper outside in our garage and the kids are not letting in nearly as many flies as they were before. We have stopped up all visible outside entrances into the house, and will hopefully be decreasing the mouse population rapidly. After the mice are gone we WILL be shampooing all carpets and deep cleaning the house.
But on a side note, I have to show you the picture of a mouse JA caught last night in our house. The poor thing didn't even get to taste his demise as he died reaching out for his cheese.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat
our cell phone?

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?

This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing.
Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities? And no dropped calls!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Click here for Homeschool Update

Brotherly Love

My special Blessings before we left for church on Sunday.

One thing I have to tell you about my kids is that despite how frequently they fight, they each have a lot of love to share and give. Psalms says "Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity. This seems very true of my two special boys. Andy absolutely adores his little brother. Every morning, if Ezekiel is in bed with us, Andy (Andy tends to wake up before everyone) will come over and start saying baby and pointing at Ezekiel. If JA is already up and Ezekiel and I are still in bed, Andy will crawl up and lay down and JA's side of the bed. He will then commence to try and have Ezekiel hold his hand (regardless of the fact that Ezekiel is usually asleep).

When Ezekiel is laying on his activity gym, Andy loves to go over and lay beside him. He will try to entertain Ezekiel or simply smother him with kisses. I love just watching the two of them interact.
Note: I do make sure not to leave them alone because for the few moments I stepped away this morning I return to find Andy trying to wrestle his baby brother -- I am looking forward to being able to watch them play together when Ezekiel is older.

Andy was more than happy to pose for these pictures with his baby brother.

First Trip to the Dentist

Wednesday Kara and Lydia had their very first dentist appointment. I must say I was very nervous about how this trip would go. JA stayed home with both boys, and the girls and I traveled the thirty minutes to go to the dentist. I was sure that both girls would have a fit the minute the dentist told them to open their mouths. I am so thankful to report that I was completely wrong. Both girls did great, and I think that reading books to them all week about going to the dentist helped to prepare them for the experience. The book I liked most about going to the dentist was Dora the Explorer Show Me Your Smile.

First to hop into the chair was Kara. Kara chose to bring her favorite Kitty cat with her.
Dr. Potter told her that he was going to count kitty cat's teeth but since her mouth was
sewn shut he wasn't able to. So he counted Kara's teeth instead. Counting her teeth
while he was looking for cavities kept her from being afraid of the hook.
The middle picture is the Hygienist showing Kara how her special toothbrush will tickle her
teeth -- she had the toothbrush tickle Kara's finger. By the time Kara had the fluoride
treatment in the last picture she was completely at ease and letting them work with her mouth.

Lydia was very eager to hop into the chair after Kara was all done. I was able to get a picture of the dentist "counting' her teeth. You can see Lydia holding onto her puppy in the first picture.
Both girls chose the bubble gum flavor toothpaste to have their teeth cleaned with.
Lydia was proud to be able to smile during the fluoride treatment. And I was surprised neither girl balked at the vacuum thing stuck in their mouth.

Since both girls had to wait 30 minutes before eating and drinking, I drove them to the park to play for a little bit before I took them out for a special dinner. Here are my girls showing you their lovely smiles.

For dinner we stopped at the "Chubby Pickle" a little diner in Phillipsburg. I had to get their picture with the huge pickle on the front. Until Lydia saw her french fries and hamburger without pickles, she kept saying "I don't want pickles" -- I guess she thought pickles was all this diner served :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Apples, Apples, and More Apples

Last week was a wonderful blessing for our family. On Monday, we decided to take the kids apple picking. I have to admit I was very tentative about taking them because I figured there would be no way we could keep track of them in an apple orchard. Now I am thankful we decided to take them. We picked five pecks of apples -- that comes to be 1 and 1/4 bushels of apples. And the kids each had a fabulous time.
The kids stopping to eat lunch (banana muffins)

Lydia and Andy preparing to explore the Hay Maze

Kara and Lydia in the middle of the Hay maze by the Scarecrow

Lydia on her way out of the maze
Picking apples
Kara looking for the perfect apple
Andy actually needed two hands to pick this apple
JA topping off the last bag of apples
Ezekiel slept through the entire experience until right before we left.
Ezekiel and me in the middle of the hay maze
Because the apples had been damaged by hail and
were a little wormy, we had to cut them up and turn them into
applesauce and apple butter.
We were able to get about 30 quarts of applesauce, and 24 jelly jars of
apple butter all for the grand price of $10

Andy wanted to try his hand at making applesauce.
With our trip to the Apple Orchard, we spent a lot of time in school last week talking about apples for school. Making the applesauce and apple butter was also a part of our schooling last week. Below our the pictures the kids drew of their apple orchard experience. Notice the black stroller in the bottom right hand corner of Kara's picture. She is really beginning to discover a purpose in her drawing instead of simply scribbling.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ezekiel's Baby Shower

I feel so blessed to be a part of a wonderful church family. Not only did they bring me a couple of meals after Ezekiel's birth, but they also planned a wonderful baby shower for us. I took Kara and Ezekiel with me to the shower, and Kara became the official photographer.

We received some adorable items including three packages of diapers about six packages of baby wipes; some lotion, baby oil, and baby wash; baby socks, some bibs; an adorable photo album; some creative memories scrapbook and baby stickers; and a beautiful picture frame to hang on the boys wall.

If you would like to see more pictures from the shower click here.