Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recipe - Skinney-Dippin' Chicken

This has got to be the easiest way to prepare chicken breasts, and they are so delicious. This is a recipe that you can make without referring to a cookbook, and thus, you can impress your friends! ~grin~ When we named this dish we all agreed on Skinney-Dippin' Chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth (or make your own fresh or with bouillon cubes)
Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in 9x13. Don’t overlap. Pour broth over chicken. Sprinkle cheese over chicken. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Monday, March 29, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 27, 2010

Let's see, what went on in our home last week?

1- I finished another lesson for our Wednesday night kids' club at church. I only have one more to write, and then this year's lessons are done. Good thing, since the year ends next month! Then I get to start on next year's lessons. I'm looking forward to finishing this year, and I'm looking forward to starting next year's lessons. What a blessing it is to be able to do that!

2- I visited the health department with Kristie (my friend who is going to Kenya with me). So, we're up-to-date on almost all our vaccines. I got Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid. The Typhoid is a oral vaccine, and it makes me a bit nauseous. So, I'll be glad when that's done! I need to get a Polio booster from my doctor as well as a perscription for Malaria. Then I'll be all set with that!

3- Wayne got the chicken coop primed. And he painted all the trim. Now just to paint the main part and shingle it. I'm amazed at how much water those little babes drink. Wow! I think we'll splurge this week and get a "real" waterer for them.

4- When I stopped by my favorite grocery store this week, they had a sign declaring that March 31 would be their last day open because they are remodeling. I hope they are truly remodeling and that they will indeed reopen. I'd hate for them to go out of business. ~sigh~ That definitely wouldn't be good for the grocery budget.

5- Carl had an activity with the teens from camp. They spent Friday night playing games and doing skits. He had a great time... as usual.

6- While he was there, I connected with one of my geocaching buddies. Kathy and I had fun geocaching in Greenville. I didn't realize Greenville is home to so many cute little lakes. We had a great time, even though we ate too much at Ponderosa!

7- Saturday afternoon we helped a friend at the Bible Club Fun Day. I ran a booth for the kids. Very fun.

8- Wayne and Carl went to a Griffin hockey game. They had a good time, in spite of the fact that the Griffins lost.

9- Justin's comments never cease to make me chuckle. While the big boys were at the hockey game, we went to visit with the wives and younger kids. When Justin realized he'd be the oldest boy there (The only other boy is about three.), he said, "Mom, don't you know that boys go through three stages? They like girls. They don't like girls. And they like girls. I'm in the middle stage. I don't like girls." What a hoot!

10- We were also discussing some other people we were going to stop and see, and Justin said, "The last time we saw them they were in a motor home." I couldn't figure out what he meant. Then he said, "Oh, wait. That's someone else. The last time we saw the DeKornes they were in the motor home." Then it hit me. Motor home... nursing home... they must sound alike to a little kid! ~smile~

11- The tooth fairy also paid a visit to our home this week. Justin lost his first tooth. ~sniff, sniff~ My baby's growing up. She brought him a gold-colored dollar coin. He loves his new treasure.

Hope your week is filled with the anticipation of celebrating the joy of our risen Lord!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Here is my favorite recipe for brownies. I like the fact that it makes a full 9x13 instead of just a 9x9. So, it's great for potlucks. (A 9x9 just seems cheap sometimes!) I've tried making it without the chocolate chips, and it's not nearly as good, so don't try to skimp there. And I enjoy mint, so I usually add the peppermint. If you don't have peppermint oil, you can find it at a health food store. Just make sure it's the kind that can be used in food. It has lots of different uses besides just an add-in for brownies! But more on that another day! For today, here's my tried and true recipe for brownies! Enjoy!


1 1/3 C sugar
2/3 C cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 C flour
4 eggs
2/3 C oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 C chocolate chips
a few drops of food grade peppermint oil (optional)

Mix dry ingredients. Mix eggs, oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add all at once to the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Pour into a greased 9x13.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Favorite Songs - The Power of the Cross

As Easter draws near, this song has gained more meaning for me. I've been working through the book of John (mostly), writing lessons for our Wednesday night kids' club, and I'm currently working on Judas and on the Crucifixion. So, for me, Easter is kind of the culmination of what I've been working on for the past twelve months. And "The Power of the Cross" by Keith and Kristyn Getty does a good job of summing it up.

Because Christ took the punishment we deserved, we can indeed, stand forgiven. No other religion serves a god as great as our God. Our God is a God of grace and mercy. We only have to accept what He has done for us and follow after Him. When I did that, I experienced true freedom. What an awesome God I serve!

Here are the lyrics:

Verse 1
Oh to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
Nailed to a cross of wood

Chorus 1
This the pow’r of the cross
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross

Verse 2
Oh to see the pain written on Your face
Bearing the awesome weight of sin
Ev’ry bitter thought, ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow

Verse 3
Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
Quakes as its maker bows his head
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life
‘Finished!’ the vict’ry cry.

Verse 4
Oh to see my name written in the wound
For through Your suf‘fring I am free
Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live
Won through Your selfless love

Chorus 2
This the pow’r of the cross
Son of God slain for us
What a life, what a cost
We stand forgiven at the cross

Friday, March 19, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 21, 2010

Well, another week has come and gone, and this one hasn't been very eventful. (That's not necessarily a bad thing!

1~ Wayne had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off work. So, we used a couple of those days to start building our "coop de poop." Our chicks are getting bigger every day. Sunday I had to put our fireplace surround thing around it because they were perching on top of the cardboard box. The fireplace protector is about 2-2.5 feet tall. Two days ago, I caught one of them perched on that! Their feathers are not all in yet, so I'm a bit leary of leaving them outside in the coop all night. (Feathers are what keep them warm. Fuzz is cute, but not so warm.) So, by day, they are in the coop with their heat lamp. And in the evening we bring them back into the kitchen.

2~ The coop is coming along nicely though. Basically, we just need to prime and paint it and then add the shingles. Then we have to figure out how to move it to where we want it to be. I don't think that is going to be an easy task. It's quite heavy!

3~ I went geocaching on Tuesday with one of my friends. We found 13 caches and enjoyed dinner together.

4~ "You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind." I read that somewhere this week, and it has stuck with me. Rather than just making and look at to-do lists, I actually need to focus on just doing it! Quit planning (sometimes) and just do it! Hopefully I'll remember this, but temper it with a bit of planning first!

5~ We got to babysit my sister's kids Wednesday morning. The more the merrier. All the kids had a ball playing outside, and I didn't have to do anything! ~grin~

6~ Justin and I have practiced his reading and writing by leaving messages for each other on his magnadoodle. He calls them text messages. He's doing reading and he's not even thinking about it. What fun!

7~ The trees have stopped running. So, our syrup making is done for this year. It seems a bit early, but what do I know? I'm just a rookie! We made a half gallon of syrup this year. Yum!

8~ All in all, it's been a very uneventful week. But the chicken coop is almost done. Hurrah!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thankful for Sunshine!

For those of you who don't live in Michigan, winters are very gloomy. We can go for weeks without catching a glimpse of the sun. And if it does ever come out from behind the thick cloud cover, it shines so brightly off the snow that it's blinding.

The past few weeks we've made up for it though. The sun has been shining so beautifully! We've spent a lot of time outside building a chicken coop. It's almost done. (And it's a good thing because these chicks are growing like weeds!)

Today is supposed to be another beautiful day. I'm hoping to get our lessons done this morning while it's still rather cold outside so that we will be able to enjoy the fresh air this afternoon and evening. I'd like to get some yard work done, and I'd like to do something fun with the kidlets. Maybe a bike ride.

But today, I'm thankful for the sunshine. It inspires us to get something done, and it gives us a bit of hope that spring is, indeed, on its way! (Especially since the weather man is predicting snow for the beginning of next week!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What I'm Reading - Raising Chickens for Dummies

Yeah. Enough said?!? A few weeks ago we brought four little chicks into our lives. I had done a lot of internet research on how to raise chickens, and so I thought we were ready. And we were, but then I heard about this book, "Raising Chickens for Dummies," and I saw that it had receieved high ratings on Amazon. So, we welcomed yet another book into our home! ~smile~

I was really looking for a book that included blueprints for building a chicken coop when I noticed this book. I never did find what I was originally looking for, but "Raising Chickens for Dummies" will be a very valuable book as time goes on.

I haven't read the whole book yet. (Since we have just three week old chicks, I'm not worried about breeding them!) I've just read the pertinent information, and, as with all the dummy books I've read, it's thorough and well-written. It includes everything I was looking for in a basic chicken care book.

If you're just getting started with chickens, this will be a book you'll at least want to browse through. And, while you could probably find a lot of the same information online, there's just something cozy about being able to snuggle up with a book. And so, this book will be on the table next to my tub for awhile as I continue to glean information from it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 13, 2010

This has been a fairly tame week. We're still without a van, and since Wayne worked every day this past week, we've been pretty much home-bound. But here's a run-down of what we did.

1~ The week was very overcast, and so the sap stopped running in our maple trees. We boiled down all that we've collected, and we have about two quarts. It's delicious.

2~ The kids worked hard on their lessons this week. Alicia and Justin finished their science for this schoolyear, and all three kids are done with history. The more subjects they finish, the more time they have to work on other subjects. I'm looking forward to the snowball effect!

3~ We had dinner with some good friends on Thursday night. They had invited someone over from church who tends to be a bit more "quiet." So, adding our family to the mix made for easier conversation. It's always a wonderful thing to spend time with other believers, and the delicious food is an added bonus!

4~ Our garage floods every spring when the ground thaws. And every winter it becomes strewn with stuff. (Our garage is under the house and opens to the backyard, so we never part there. We use it for storage, and we keep a stack of wood for our woodburner in it.) We spent part of one day cleaning it all out in anticipation of a wet floor. So, we're ready for the thaw!

5~ Justin, Alicia and I picked up all the piles of dog poop that were in the yard. That's always a big project in the spring because it accumulates all winter long. I am so glad for my helpers. Because of them another big job is crossed off the to-do list.

6~ Justin has finally grasped the fact that he can read. We've had a fun time the past few days "texting" each other on his magna-doodle. All those tears earlier in the year were worth it!

7~ Alicia is also finally grasping the concept that she isn't as dumb as she thought when it comes to math. She actually asked to do more math today because she likes it. Just a few weeks ago it was all tears and emotion. Thank you, Jesus for this change in attitude!

8~ Because I don't feel like grocery shopping when Wayne gets home from work (due to the one-vehicle situation), we've been using up some of the odd things in our pantry/freezer. It's good to have a bit of elbow room in there.

9~ I've been saving old pairs of jeans to make a quilt for our bed. I noticed that I have quite a pile of them, so I've been cutting them up. First I cut all the good material off them. I have a big tote full of good material, so I guess it's time to start cutting out some squares! Maybe I'll have it done in time for a Christmas present for Wayne. (Planning ahead never hurt anyone, right?!?)

10~ Now that the weather is warmer outside, it's also warmer in our basement where my "office" is located. When winter comes, my computer moves upstairs because it can get down to 47 degrees in our room. Brrrrr! But now that it's warmer down there, I took some time to clean up the mess that accumulates on my desk over the course of a winter. (It's akin to the mess we cleaned up in the garage now that it's warmer out there!) My desk is now so much more inviting to sit at.

11~ I've been enjoying the book "Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret." It's a great read. Very insightful, and very challenging.

12~ That's it for this week "in our home." Hope your coming week is a great one!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recipe - Hot Vanilla

Every once in awhile I get a craving for hot vanilla. Everyone is familiar with hot chocolate, but it's lesser known relative is just as good.

I don't really have a recipe, so you'll have to adjust this to satisfy your own taste buds!

I warm up a mug of milk in the microwave. (You could use a pan, but the microwave is easier for me.) You don't want it boiling. Just nice and warm.

Add a bit of vanilla and a bit of brown sugar. Again, this is to taste.

Stir it in, and enjoy. Ahhh...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Favorite Songs - Before the Throne of God Above

Sometimes a song just hits me. This was one of those songs. It's called "Before the Throne of God Above," and I love Selah's rendition of it.

May it mean as much to you as it does to me. My great High Priest is always interceding for me! What an awesome God I serve!

Here are the lyrics:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands.
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Our Home ~ March 6, 2010

1~ For those of you who don't know, my son Carl publishes a monthly newsletter. A yearly subscription is $12 ($20 if you need it mailed). In his newsletter he includes a main article of something interesting we've done in the previous month, a recipe, a book review, funny sayings from his younger brother, a detailed list of what we've done this month, one of his favorite verses and why it's a favorite, etc. (If you're interested in seeing a copy, let me know.) He's saving the money he makes on his newsletter for flying lessons. He is passionate about planes and learning to fly. Well, one of my great uncles had his pilot's license. He's now in a nursing home, but when his wife learned what Carl was up to, she asked him if he'd be interested in some of her husbands old "flying stuff" in exchange for a subscription.

Carl's been sending her his newsletter, wondering how we'd ever get to Arkansas to pick up his "stuff." Well, my parents decided to visit her on their way home from Alabama. Yesterday Carl got his stuff, and to say he is thrilled would be a complete understatment! He went through those boxes as if they contained treasures, and to him they did! I know nothing about flying, but he now has a flight computer, lots of other little things he'll need some day, and more how-to books about flying. He is devouring them. His appetite for that type of thing is insatiable. It's great to see him challenging himself to learn more. So, he's been busy studying and practicing on his flight simulator.

2~ We are trying our hand at making maple syrup. Not having any taps to put into our maple trees, I improvised with what I had. Carl drilled a hole in a few trees, and I stuffed flexible plastic tubing into the hole. We caught a lot of the sap, but a lot of it ran down the tree. It was working, but we needed a better method.

The hardware store in town didn't carry taps, so until Wayne had a day off, we were out of luck. He had this past Thursday off, so we loaded up the car and headed to Blandford Nature Center. I knew we had purchased one tap from them years ago. So, we walked their sugarbush trail, asked a lot of questions, and bought "real" taps! They work much better than the tubing. We have very little waste now.

We didn't have any big buckets that we wanted to use for this project, so we are using those big gallon aluminum cans that food comes in. We had taken the covers off when we enjoyed peaches, beans, and chocolate pudding on Justin's birthday. So, we added a hole to the side of the can so it will hang on the little hook, and they work rather well. I made a couple covers out of old ice cream bucket lids. And I'm pleased with the results. Of course, we have to empty them more often than if we had used 5-gallon buckets, but we're home all day anyway, and it's kind of a fun treat to empty the cans and bring the sap into the house.

So, I feel like we're doing a good job collecting the sap, but I'm not sure about our method of boiling it down to get syrup. To get one gallon of syrup, we need to start with forty gallons of sap! That's a LOT of boiling it down. That's a lot of time with the stove running. I tried evaporating some of it yesterday in my crockpots, but that seemed to take forever. This morning I've got it sitting on our wood stove, but again, it's not hot enough to get it to a nice boil. So, we're still looking for the best method of reducing the sap to syrup. I'm wondering about using my electric skillet. I'm not sure how much power that uses to run as opposed to the stove though.

One thing we have tried was to freeze the sap for a little bit first. The watery part freezes first. So, we removed that and we're boiling what's left. I kept the frozen part though, just to see how sweet it is once more of the water has been removed, and it does have a bit of sweetness to it, but not nearly as much as what didn't freeze. So, I think freezing it will help save on the electric bill.

What we do have boiling tastes wonderful! And we are all anxiously awaiting our first batch of pancakes with homemade syrup. Yum!

3~ The weather has been beautiful this whole week. Bright sunny days, and clear cold nights. Perfect for collecting sap! But not so perfect for our qunizee. It's still standing, but it has a nice sunroof now! ~smile~

4~ This beautiful weather has me wanting to plan my garden. I'm itching to get outside and dig in the dirt for awhile. Last year I got a garden in, but my ankle surgery prevented me from keeping up with it. This year...

5~ We've been faithfully plugging away at lessons. I'm hoping to have all the kids done with school by May 1. Carl should be done in just a few weeks. Then he'll have more time to pursue his own interests, like studying those flight manuals! I'm ready for the school year to be done, and it's only the first week of March. This isn't a good thing.

6~ I saw the first bluebird today. What a delight!

7~ I spent Thursday afternoon geocaching with a good friend. For those of you who don't know what geocaching is, it's using a GPS to find "treasures" that other people have hidden. It's fun, but it's just as fun to spend time with my friends. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be out and about. We found 13 caches. What fun!

8~ I've been saving up for a trip to Kenya. One of my best friends moved there last July, and I knew I'd want to go see her. Especially since Van and her husband, Jeff, are expecting their first child the end of April! All the more reason to make the trip! My friend Kristie expressed a desire to go as well, and yesterday we put our money where our hearts were and bought our tickets. We fly out of O'hare on May 19, and we will spend a little over a week with Jeff, Van and Baby before heading home on the 29th. I am absolutely thrilled about this opportunity, and I am excited to see them again and spend time with them.

9~ Well, that's it for what's been going on in our home this past week. May God bless you throughout the coming week!

What I'm Reading - Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

This book has been recommended to me many times. So much so that I purchased it, but for some reason I never got around to reading it. So, when our Pastor recommended it from the pulpit a few weeks ago, I thought it was time to dust it off and delve into it.

Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China. I'm not too far into the book, but what I do appreciate already is his reliance on God. He doesn't seem to worry about things, but rather he leaves them in God's capable hands. One example of this is before he left for the mission field. His boss forgot to pay him, but Hudson Taylor didn't feel right about asking his boss for his pay. Well, Hudson needed to pay a bill by a certain time, and while this was a pressing matter, he put the whole situation in God's hands and was content to rest in Him. The boss remembered, but by the time he did so, it was too late to go to the bank. Hudson still continued to trust that God would meet his needs. As they were closing up shop, a man rushed in to pay his bill. He paid in cash and Hudson received his pay.

So often we say we leave something in God's hands, but then we start worrying about it. Deep down we wonder if God will really take care of us. If He will really provide our needs. (A discussion on needs vs. wants is a whole different topic!) Worrying about something we've turned over to Him is akin to ripping it from His capable hands because we think we can do it better ourselves. Oh, how this must grieve our Father!

Instead of worrying (who of you by worrying can add a day to his life or a hair to his head?), we are to remember that God promises to provide all our needs (Philippians 4:19). We are told to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us (1Peter 5:7). God faithfully provides for His children. He longs for us to trust Him fully. He wants us to cast our cares on Him so that we won't concern ourselves with worry. If He is your Father, trust Him... completely... all the time.


Oh Father in Heaven,

How often we fail You. How often we tell you the troubles of our heart, laying them at Your feet, only to pick them up again. Forgive us for not believing. Increase our faith. Increase our trust. Teach us to love You more.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Free Audiobook!

Every month Christian Audio gives away a free audiobook. It takes a little while to download it, but it's free! ~grin~ Their website is You have all month to download it, and on the first of April, they will have a new book available for download. Read the info on that first page, and it will give you a coupon code to use during checkout in order to get the download free.

This month it looks like they are offering two books! The first is "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I've never read the book, but I have listened to his biography, and it's riveting. I'm hoping this book is as well.

The second book is John Piper's "Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die" I haven't read that one before either, but I am greatly looking forward to listening to it while I walk!


And PS - Happy March!