Monday, August 30, 2010

Favorite Songs - Are You Washed in the Blood?

I'm not sure where I picked up the CD "Amazing Grace" by the Antrim Mennonite Choir, but I have fallen in love with their music! It's all a capela, and it's beautiful. No one voice stands out. They all mingle together perfectly. When I was recovering from my ankle surgery and couldn't sleep, I listened to this CD over and over again. "Are You Washed in the Blood?" is one of the songs from it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Autumn's Coming!

Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at:

Autumn in my kitchen means … canning jars, freezer bags, and using the oven again.

Autumn in my home brings … swapping out the clothes (sweaters for shorts!), putting out a few fall decorations, and baking.

I bring Autumn indoors by …
keeping the windows open when I can and bringing in lots of wood for our woodburner.

A few favorite Autumn activities for my family are … resuming our studies, "snow days" at the beach on those perfect Indian summer days when all the other kids are stuck in school, jumping in huge piles of leaves, sitting by the campfire with no mosquitoes, watching the stars come out, more hiking, and maybe a local football game.

Two favorite Autumn recipes are … hot apple cider and any soup that needs to simmer all day in the crockpot!

This Autumn I would like to … get a good start on Christmas gifts so I can enjoy December a bit more, pick apples with the family, go camping with the family in the UP, and learn how to make a good pie.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

♫ Isn't this fun?!? ♥

Yesterday I ran across a site that told me how to make fun symbols!

To do this, make sure your num lock is on. (Some laptops have a blue FN key that changes some of the letters to numbers.)

Then hit ALT with the appropriate number:

1 for ☺
2 for ☻
3 for ♥
4 for ♦
5 for ♣
6 for ♠
7 for •
8 for ◘
9 for ○
10 for ◙
11 for ♂
12 for ♀
13 for ♪
14 for ♫
15 for ☼
16 for ►
17 for ◄
18 for ↕
19 for ‼
20 for ¶
21 for §
22 for ▬
23 for ↨
24 for ↑
25 for ↓
26 for →
27 for ←
28 for ∟
29 for ↔
30 for ▲
31 for ▼

The numbers do keep going, but those are just for things you can make with the shift key. Have fun with this!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Timez Attack!

I think most kids struggle with learning math facts, and yet these math facts are vitally important. To get a good deal at the grocery store, a young mom needs to know which is a better deal, a six-pack of toilet paper for $3.50 or a 24 pack for $12.00. Basic math is vital. A young husband needs to know how to compute interest when purchasing a first home for his young bride. Again, basic math is vital.

That's why when our daughter was struggling with her multiplication facts and a friend steered me to Timez Attack, I took a close look, and I liked what I saw.

Timez Attack is a free game that teaches multiplication facts. (You can pay for the version that has more graphics, but we didn't.) In the game your character learns a new math fact. Once he's learned 2x6, for example, he must face the ogre. To defeat the ogre your child needs to correctly answer the problems that he has already learned. So, the first time is easy... it's 2x6 over and over. If your child gets it wrong, the ogre pokes him with his club, but it's not violent at all.

Timez Attack is a game that the kids enjoy playing. Now, I must confess that my kids don't play many computer games. All their games are educational ones. So, if your child is hooked on video games, they probably won't enjoy this one as much as my kids did, but it's still a fun way to learn the times tables.

You can play Timez Attack at

If, by any chance, you know of a similar game for addition facts, please feel free to pass that information along. Thanks much, and enjoy the game!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Favorite Songs - Speak, O Lord

As soon as I heard this song, I knew it would be an all-time favorite, and so it is! May the words of this song become the prayer of your heart as well.

Here are the words:

Speak, O Lord, as we come to you
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us,
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness.
That the light of Christ might be seen today,
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All your purposes, for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes,
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see,
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail,
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our mind,
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged since the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till your Church is built,
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Speak, O Lord
Written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend
© 2005 Thankyou Music

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Recipe - Honey Roasted Pretzels

I'm a fanatic for salty-sweet. And not only does this recipe hit the spot, but it's rather inexpensive to make as well.

1/4 C brown sugar
2 Tbs margarine
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs light corn syrup
1/8 tsp baking soda
12-ounce bag of pretzels

Combine brown sugar, margarine, honey, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. (It will boil up, so make sure the bowl is at least 2 cups.) Microwave on high for about a minute (stir it once at about 30 seconds) until it's boiling hard.

Microwave on high for another minute.

Stir baking soda into boiling mixture.

Place pretzels in a 2 or 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, and pour the syrup over the pretzels.

Microwave the coated pretzels on 50% power, uncovered for 3-4 minutes, stirring twice.

Spread onto cookie sheets or counter top to cool.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Simplicity

Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at:

Simplicity means … Let's start with what it doesn't mean. It doesn't necessarily mean back to the basics because churning butter, milking cows, and doing laundry by hand may feel a bit rustic and pioneer-esque, but it would sure complicate my life at this point. To me, simplicity ultimately means keeping a clear schedule so I can spend time with our friends and family. This requires keeping daily commitments to a minimum and continually looking for ways to cut down on the time required to do things while still getting the jobs done.

I could probably simplify my kitchen by … coming up with a better way to organize my freezer space. I have my refrigerator's freezer and a chest freezer. Both are a mess. When I open the door of the first, stuff falls all over. ~sigh~ It needs more shelves, but how do you add shelves to a freezer?!?

My life needs simplifying in these areas … I'm doing too much outside the home. After this year I've dropped (or completed) two major time-consumers. I'm really looking forward to next summer because of this! Having these things behind me will really simplify my life.

I tend to go overboard with … to-do lists. There's always something else that needs to be done. But I know how forgetful I can be, too. So, I'm trying to find that balance between trying to accomplish too much in a day and enjoying time with the family.

My favorite simple dinner is … grilled cheese with a slice of tomato and basil, raw carrots, and sun tea in the summer. In the winter I prefer a a simmering pot of homemade spaghetti sauce with garlic bread.

My spiritual life needs simplifying especially in this area … I read too much. I will start a good spiritual growth book, and then put it down while I try to apply what I've learned. Because the application process takes time, I will pick up another book and start that one. I usually have half a dozen books that I'm reading at one time. I need to pick one (or maybe two) and stick with those until they're done.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - Struggling

Each Wednesday, The HomeKeeper’s Journal is led by Sylvia at CHK. You’re welcome to join The HomeKeeper’s Journal, too. To see Sylvia’s entry for this week and/or find instructions for participating, visit Sylvia’s entry for this week at:

I know. I'm a bit late with this one since it was posted last week. But we were camping then and I thought this was a good topic.

I struggle in my kitchen with … keeping healthy snacks available at all times.

Struggles of any kind have a tendency to make me …… a bit frustrated. But after I cool off a bit, I usually allow God to use them as His perfect teachable moments in my life. (At least that's my goal! ~wink~)

I struggle more when …… it's hot and humid. Ugh!

When it comes to people, I struggle … when they know the best thing but make poor choices and choose something second-rate (or even much worse). I want what's best for everyone involved, and I get frustrated when they don't seem to want the best for themselves or their children. For example, I struggle with people who spend their time living for themselves while their children are growing up to be spoiled brats because it's easier to throw money at them than to spend time with them and train them.

When it comes to struggles, I believe the Lord wants me to know …. that He is in control of all things at all times. He allows struggles into our lives to cause us to grow and to lean on Him. May I be faithful in allowing Him to mold and shape me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Home Keeper's Journal - This summer

The Homekeeper’s Journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts, in journal form, online. Normally, new topics are posted weekly, but since nothing was posted this week, I thought I'd pull from a prior week.

In my yard… This year we put in a square foot garden. I love it! We made our own dirt (as the book recommends) from compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. I love that combination! As a result of that, I have very little weeding to do in the garden. (I did use some regular topsoil for a strawberry bed, and I'm weeding that constantly.) We also put a nice chicken-wire-lined picket fence around it to ensure that we eat more of our garden's bounty than the local rabbits! I love going out to sit on the swing and watch the garden grow!

On my grill… This summer we're learning the art of making pizza on on the campfire. I've enjoyed that. It's not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It makes for a relaxing dinner. We tend to sit around the campfire and chat while the pizzas cook. Good times!

With my children… The boys enjoyed their time at camp. Alicia is there now. We are all looking forward to church camp in a week or so. Always a good time. We've spent time swimming in the pool and riding bikes. The summer slips by way too quickly for me.

On my mind… Working on writing the lessons for our church's Wednesday night program. I enjoy doing that, but sometimes I think it may be on my mind too much.

The book of the Bible I keep finding myself turning to lately… Acts. That's the book I've been studying all summer in preparation for writing the lessons for Step by Step. (We're finishing the NT this coming year.)

I am reading... Andrew Murray's "With Christ in the School of Prayer" and "Desiring God" by John Piper.

I am looking forward to… Having the Step by Step lessons all written. (Although that's awhile down the road yet!) And I'm hoping to be able to do some camping this fall with Wayne and the kids. I'd like to spend a week or so in the UP during color time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Women in the Outdoors!

I've spent much of today getting things ready for our up-coming Women in the Outdoors event. It will be held on September 18th at the West Walker Sportsman Club.

If you've never been to a WITO event, you'll definitely want to be there. And if you've been before, you know you'll want to be there! ~smile~

So, what is a WITO event?!? Well, in a nutshell, a bunch of woment get together and learn about different things that they can do outdoors. This year we will have classes on fishing (both regular and fly fishing), geocaching, archery, how to clean a fish, how to build a fire, self defense, hiking/backpacking, skeet/trap, grilling, kayaking, outdoor survival skills, plant identification, etc.

As you can see, there's something for everyone!

If it sounds like something in which you'd be interested, please go to to learn more and to download a brochure for our 2010 event!

The cost of the entire day is $45, and that includes a delicious lunch and all the supplies and equipment you need. You don't need to bring anything!

The first time I heard about WITO, I called my girlfriend, and we decided to give it a try. Five years later, and we still enjoy learning new things and teaching what we love to other women!

Hope to see you on September 18!