Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book Review: The Preacher Had 10 Kids - Frances Bradsher

Several weeks ago, we attended a large library book sale. I was mostly looking for childrens' books, however, this one caught my eye. It was the only one that I picked up for myself and I am glad I did. I really liked this book. It is a warm, delightful, but easy read. It documents a time very different than our own. It chronicles the life of young Frances who is the youngest of 10 children of Jeremiah Taylor Cherry, a Methodist Minister in Kentucky and his wife. They moved every year of this childs' young life. That was they way they did with preacher in those days. It was a new city, parsonage, and school. Everything about her life was turned upside down every year. Despite all this, she seemed so contented. The story reflects many of the people, places and friends she made. It chronicles the difficulty in leaving all this behind and the adventure of a newness. One place they lived, you could only get there by boat, imagine that! Some of the parsonages were inhabitable and others, not so much. Her mother made sure that it was clean, at least. It chronicles a time when folks took care of one another as there was no government help. Churches took care of their own and everyone belonged to a church. One chapter is called 'And Turnips filled the barn' and she discusses the many ways that her mother made turnips edible during this drought year when turnips was all folks had to pay the preacher with. In my own mothers' life, I recall her telling of her father, who was a curcuit preacher in Kansas, who would be paid by jars of green beans, maybe a pair of shoes if there happen to be a shoe man in the congreagation and whatever pennies were in the collection plate. Maybe that is why I liked this book so much is that it reminded me of some of the things that my dear mother may have gone through as a child. Anyway, it is a delightful read.
Blessings, Suzie

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ham and Broccoli Casserole

I have recently begun heavy coupon use in a challenge to myself to feed my family of 5 (including a teen boy and 2 tweens) on $100.00 per week, inlcuding toiletries and cleaning products. It has truly been a challenge and I have done about $120.00 per week.

This week, the local sale paper was a bit slim on the great deals so I had to find recipes that I could use with the things I had on hand. Along with all this, I am now a Weight Watcher and am counting points:)

So for dinner last night, I made this recipe. I got the original recipe from here and modified it to decrease the fat and points. This recipe made 8 HUGE servings at 7 points each.

Ham and Broccoli Casserole

20 oz. chopped frozen broccoli (I think I used more than that)
2 cups cooked brown rice
6 Tbsp Smart Balance Light Spread
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups 2% milk
8 oz chopped ham (frozen, leftover from Easter ham)
1/2 cup Sargento Chipolte cheese(from my cheese deal this week, $2.50/pound)

Cook rice and set aside. Cook broccoli and drain. Spoon rice into sprayed 9x13 pan and then put broccoli on top. Melt butter in skillet. Measure bread crumbs and sprinkle a bit of melted butter spread onto crumbs and mix well. To skillet add onions and cook til soft. Add flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly til bubbly. Add milk and stir til slightly thickened. Add ham and then pour it all over the broccoli/rice mixture. Sprinkle cheese then bread crumbs on top. Bake 350 for 30 minutes or til warm all the way through. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Simple but relatively easy meal, using things I had on hand. Everyone liked it. That is a Blessings, Suzie

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Birthday Pictures for Our Young Lady

Because the children are home schooled, we don't get school pictures. Instead, we get birthday pictures. We go to Sears because the same lady has been taking my childrens' pictures since they were babies. She is very good and all the children are comfortable with her. They typically also have really good coupons in the springtime, meaning less $$. That is ALWAYS good!

I cannot believe how grown up Dear Daughter looks. She is growing into a beautiful young lady.

Enjoy, Suzie

Monday, April 20, 2009

Leadership Training for Christ

In our congregation of Christians, we have a program called Leadership Training for Christ. In fact, many congregations of the Lord's people all over the United States participate in this event on Easter weekend each year. There are several locations across the country, but we traveled to Rogers, Arkansas. All of the children in our congregation participated in Bible Bowl or Bible Quiz and did service challenge. They have been studying several hours a week since September for these events. It was a lot of fun and the children learned a tremendous amount. This years' theme was Life, Light and the Word and the Bible bowl/quiz questions were all take from the gospel of John.

Dear daughter received a gold medal in signing for the deaf. It is a beautiful hymn! She is becoming very proficient in ASL and seeks to teach the gospel to a hearing impaired person some day.

Oldest son recieved a gold medal in song leading. See it here.

And here is youngest son also doing song leading. He earned a gold medal also.

We arrived home in time for services sunday morning, however very tired.

My prayer is that the boys will grow up to be strong leaders in the Lord's Church and that dd will be grow up to be a wonderful help meet to a man who will be a church leader.

If you want to learn more about Leadership Training for Christ you can go here.

Blessings to you and your family as you find creative ways to train your children in church leadership,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Rainbow

The other evening, as we were driving home, we saw this amazing rainbow. It stretched from one end of the sky to the other. The picture does not do it justice at all, but I tried to capture it.

What does a rainbow remind you of?
Recently we have been studying how rainbows are simply prismatic light created by water and sunlight. The children have had fun drawing and memorizing all the colors of the rainbow.
The rainbow is an amazing testimony to the power and awesomeness of God. He created it as a sign of his covenant that he would never flood the earth with water again. Genesis 9:13.
It is so amazing to me that some can simply see a rainbow as a scientific 'phenomenon' and not give honor and glory to the Creator while others see His awesomeness in His creation.
Christ had similar challeges with the people of His time, as well.

'Therefore, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand' Matthew 13:13 (NKJV)

May your day be full of blessings and rainbows,

We're Goin to a Tea Party

A Taxpayer Tea Party, that is!

If you want to find one near you , they will be happening all over the country tomorrow,
April 15, 2009.

People are organizing at a grassroots level to peacefully show how frustrated they are with excessive spending and our representatives not listening to our needs.

Our local one is going to be exciting complete with Tea Party Music
and more Tea Party Music
a speaker, and time for folks to have their own say in the microphone.

Here are some of the signs the children and I made.

I have not used my blog in the past as a political forum but have recently realized that my political stands are as basic as my stands about being a Christian. As Christians, we must begin standing up for our rights, or they will be taken away. I hope this is an area that all of us (including me) can evaluate and make a priority in our lives.

The children will also be participating. They helped make signs and it was so appropriate that we are attending TeenPact classes next week at our state capitol. As part of our assigned preparation for this class, we are reading portions of Real Citizenship by Tim G. Echols.
It is very appropriate that the children learn how to make a difference. So along with a Tea Party, we are having 'school' on the City Hall lawn! Homeschooling is AMAZING!

Blessings for a thoughtful day, Suzie

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Pirate and a Birthday

Dear Youngest Son celebrated his 9th birthday this past week and we had a big friend birthday party for him on Saturday.

His cake turned out magnificent, and tasted wonderful too.
I got the ideas for this cake from here
I covered the top of the cake with m&m's so that I could put some non edible items on top of the cake without them touching the icing. The kids loved the m&m's, too!
The inside was 2 funfetti cake mixes baked in a half sheet pan and then divided into 3 layers.
The chocolate icing recipe was from here and the white buttercream icing is my grandmother's recipe. She decorated cakes for over 40 years.

Grandma's Buttercream Icing-makes a large mixers worth

1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon water
1 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon meringue powder
1 teaspoon clear vanilla

Beat powdered milk and water til thick and then add shortening, salt and beat til creamy. Add sugar. Beat until heavy consistency adding more or less if necessary. Add egg whites and beat til good and fluffy. Add clear vanilla extract. Store unused portion covered and refrigerated. Will last a long time in the refrigerator.
For our meal we served BBQ chicken wings, hot dogs in a blanket with katsup and mustard, potato chips, and root beer in the bottle.

We all dressed up like pirates, including mom and dad, and several of the guests put on tattoos. We had eye patches, swords, belts, and tattoos for all the children.
It was a blast of fun!

Oldest son, daughter and I send youngest son on a treasure hunt. The most important thing he wanted at his birthday party was a the great find at the end was a treasure chest pinata! Some of the clues included things like...Shiver me timbers,me ship can be freezin' if we had one of these, it'd be mighty pleasin. This clue was taped to the fireplace. We found most of the ideas from Birthday Party Ideas.

Here is youngest son dressed in all his pirate garb. Yesturday at church, one of the other boys that was at the party came up to me and said, that was the best party I ever been to. It truly was a lot of fun. I even had a good time. It was so much fun to use all the pent up creativity especially to bless my family.

May you your mates have a blessed day, Suzie