Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The very best Fudge!!

I have been going crazy the last week trying to finish all of my Christmas baking. I usually give everyone in our church something that I have baked... so I had a lot to catch up on! Anyway, I wanted to share with ya'll my very very favorite peanut butter fudge recipe.  This is a super special recipe to me because it is really my best friend's fudge.  She is an absolutely wonderful person- she loves me with all of my strange little quirks - and can ALWAYS make me laugh - and not just a little laugh - but gut busting laughter.  But, she is also a missionary and lives in Wales, UK- I get to see her a few weeks out of the year. So, I love to make her recipes, it makes me feel close to her. Anyway, if you are searching for something "last minute" to make try this - it is super easy and tastes wonderful!

2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
put together in a large saucepan and stirred until boiling - set timer for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes stir in:
1 1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 small jar of marshmallow creme
Stir briskly (and quickly) until mixed well and pour into a foil lined 8x8 pan.

Let cool - cut and ENJOY!!!

Darlene and I last summer at Camp Fairview

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Be still, and know that I am God...

Psalm 46:10-11 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

God has been so good to us today. It was a blessed Lord's Day, and I have been thinking all day of what my husband shared in Sunday School.  He read Psalm 46, but reread verses 10 and 11, and made the application to our lives, and the struggles that we personally as a church - and especially as a family are going through right now.  His "concise" 3 point outline ( easy to remember - and short this time...) was BE STILL...  of all the "trials" that God has put us through - we are finding "BE STILL" to be the hardest, but oh so important.  We want HIS will - so we will BE STILL and wait for it!

Second was "BE SURE"  - we must be sure that HE IS GOD.  If we are sure in this - then we have the ability to be still- through HIS strength.  Surely, that is the sole reason we make it through the trials of our faith.

Last, we are to "BE SUBMITTED".  This psalm says that HE will be exalted in all the earth.  We are to submit to HIM as our LORD, and exalt Him in our hearts and lives. The BE STILL must be confirmed in our BEING Submitted...  He is our God, and we desire His will. So, as we are trying to be still; we are trying to be submitted to HIS will in the time of waiting. Help us Lord...

This was such a blessing and encouragement - BE STILL, BE SURE, and BE SUBMITTED! God help me today!


Friday, December 11, 2009

I am so thankful...

My grandmother tells me all the time - be thankful that God gave you a big family.  You will never be lonely...  Well, I am thankful - I am realizing more and more each day what wonderful little people they are. Not to say that they don't get on my "last nerve" now and again! :) But tonight - the "big" girls went to decorate our Pastor's house - and I was just sitting here looking around - they have helped me so much - and really made the "Christmas spirit" around here this year!  Just look at what they have done...

They put up the tree...

My favorite ornaments - all handmade by my great grandmother....

Don't they look like the crown jewels...  when I was little I thought we were rich because of these...
we are rich - but not because of any THING that we have... but only because of what Jesus did for us, and what he gives us in our children, family, and friends!

Ok - I know I probably sound like a terrible mother -but Caitlyn and Camie have been such an encouragement...  I love what they have done - and I am linking with Hooked on Holiday House Tours and Southern Hospitality's Christmas Tour to kind of show it off. My sweet girls - have definitely gotten me into the holiday spirit!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I know that I often write about whatever is on my mind - whenever I sit down to write for my blog. As most of you know we are a homeschooling family, but many of you don't know that I also write a blog solely dedicated to education and homeschooling. I plan to link my two blogs together in some fashion. Yet, for right now - I would like to just share something that I had posted previously.

In my days as a private school administrator, I cannot guess how many times I heard parents tell me that their child was gifted and they thought once enrolled, the child would simply need to be advanced a grade. It is funny, but most of those children were just good, healthy, “normal”, yet wonderful children. However, in the eyes of those parents they were so much more.
It is only natural for parents to feel that their proecious little one is a “child progeny.” I am personally thrilled when parents think their children are special (in a healthy way, of course). There are so many children who live life with no encouragement or praise from their parents. Parents who cherish their children and give them healthy praise are rare, and definitely give their children an edge by doing so. Many research studies support the fact that children who are encouraged are more confident and determined than other children who are not encouraged or praised.
Yet, praising children is more than just a pat on the back and the obligatory “Nice job!” Many childpsychologists say we need to praise our children, but if it isn’t SPECIFIC praise then it may be harmful. That’s interesting isn’t it? So, praise and encourage your children, but identify the specific behavior that they are doing so well. It is the effort that matters most – not the innate gifts that we have such as intelligence, strength, or beauty. Isn’t it true for all of us, “It isn’t what we are given that matters, but what we do with what we have been given.” Give it a try – praise your children for the effort that they put forth, a good attitude that they displayed, or even good personal discipline that they exemplified, and that will encourage them to keep at it.
But wait – can there be too much of a good thing? These same psychologists seem to think so. I guess that would compare to chocolate… I love chocolate and could (probably) eat it all day long. Yet a complete diet of chocolate is not good for me. In the same sense praising a child too much can lead to serious problems. Research has shown that children who were excessively praised were less confident and less determined to face difficult challenges.
In our personal lives we are often very busy – yet we try to be as involved in our children’s lives and education as possible. This moment by moment influence is truly one of the core reasons why we homeschool. Yet, in the midst of all of that, it is common to lose sight of the “big picture.” Whether they are doing handwiriting, spelling, or even their online schoolwork there are always opportunites to encourage them, especially in areas that they have had struggles!
This little study into praise has made me more determined  (and I encourage you also) to be a proactive parent and to foster admirable qualities in my chidren. I plan on doing this by first, praising them and encouraging them; second, being there for them; third, spending quality time with them; and finally, by letting them know just how special they are to me!

The Perfect Gift

Love so Amazing, So Divine... Demands my life, my love, my all.

At a time when "presents" occupy our thoughts, and "What are we going to give them?" is one of our primary contemplations during the day.  What can we give HIM - has been on my mind today.  We often put so much thought, creativity, energy, and when possible money - into the gifts we give.  Do we think that much about what we give to our Redeemer?  My precious Lord gave His life for me - paid for my sins - and set me free from the slavery of that sin - what can I give Him?

Not one single Christian can say that they have nothing to present to Him. We may not have as much as others, but we each have a heart and a spirit that we could offer. Which is to be most prized - the ten coins from someone who has much or the one coin that was all they had? Most often the little gift is surely more acceptable to God who weighs not the gift, but the motive. But truthfully God would have it all - our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our pocketbooks,  all given to Him to be used in whatever way would please Him.

So, what can I give Him...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ribbon key chain Tutorial

After several attempts... I think I have it!

Take 7" of grossgrain 11/2" ribbon - embroider, paint, or leave blank.

Fold in half. . .

Stitch down each side and across the bottom.

Trim the neck and use a lit match to seal the edges of the ribbon. . .

Fold over the neck and stitch across several times. . .

I use a pair of scissors to open up the key ring and then I slide the ribbon on to it and thread it around - almost done!

Once the key ring is threaded through it is ready to use!!


I finally feel like I am getting in to the holiday spirit. I enjoy doing so many things at Christmas time, but this year due to the possibility of our moving, big spiritual struggles, and the financial crunch I just haven't been on top of things.  My heart has been in deep freeze for the past month or two - and it has taken a good bit to thaw it out!  I hope that doesn't sound crazy... maybe some of you understand.

I have finally had the time to get into my Christmas projects as well (still haven't done any baking though). The projects I planned have been pretty simple this year.  I am so thankful I was able to finish the Christmas outfits to sell at the boutique in town... I am excited about these - they are so sweet!  I call them "Made to Monogram." I made each one with monograming in mind.  I can personalize them, but I didn't want to embroider anything on them yet! So they are ready for that special somone's initial! 
I just love personalized gifts, don't you?

The other two projects that I have been trying to get to over the past few weeks have been those cute little keychains made out of ribbon and recycled fur headbands. We want to give the keychains to our the children's sunday school teachers and such.  It is a cute little gift that most every lady loves. Some friends have asked for this as a tutorial. I haven't done one before, but I'm going to give it a shot! Just understand that I am definitely an amateur!

The key chains look nice with embroidery and without.

The picture doesn't do these justice - they are made out of an old fur coat - red fox to be exact. They look so Christmassy on...

My next project on the LIST is to finish my Christmas cards, but becuase I was in a daze for the last month I didn't get our Christmas picture developed - soooo now I am waiting on the pictures before I can send out the cards.  CRAZY... I have never been like this before.  I hope it isn't permanent.

Thank the Lord for sweet daughters who like to decorate... they have been such a blessing and have actually helped me get so much done recently.  Almost too much-

Has anyone else's older teenage children wrapped their own Christmas presents?


cherry banner

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Decking the halls...

We had a wonderful visit with my parents... and let 2 of the children go back with them until Christmas. Wow... that was a big step for me. They left today, and I am missing them all - already!

Anyway, we have been busy elves around here and have started decking the halls... I wasn't quite ready for the Christmas season, but I am warming up to it as we go! I have been making plans for Christmas projects and hope to have the patterns and ideas up this week to share with all of you! So, until then!!!

The big girls at Atlantic Station Christmas tree in Atlanta.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So Thankful for another Thanksgiving!

We are all so thankful for another wonderful Thanksgiving. I think over the past few years Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. There is no commercialization and after the initial "cooking" it is so enjoyable! We had a wonderful time - the children decorated the table - most of our "pretties" are all packed - but they did a wonderful job.

My husband made the desert :) - a wonderful butterscotch peanut butter and chocolate combination! Each bite makes me gain a pound, but I am so thankful that he helped. He did a great job- just seeing the picture again makes me drool!

We had corn casserole, Cheddar garlic creamed potatoes, green beans, cinnamon and brown sugar spiked applesauce, turkey - of course, and 3 DOZEN ROLLS!! I could not believe - they ate every one of them - and wanted more!

While the younger children cleaned up the dishes and listened to Bing - Sing "Round and Round the Christmas Tree" - Caitlyn and daddy put up the Christmas tree. We all love decorating our Christmas tree. My great grandmother enjoyed making hand made ornaments for the last 15 years of her life. During that time, she made several hundred of them most of which my sweet grandmother gave me. Each one is a "little treasure." I remember as a little girl, putting these ornaments on the tree and thinking they were all as beautiful as queen's jewels. This year, one of the little ones said, "Momma don't you think these look like treasures?" Isn't it wonderful to make precious memories?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Reflections...

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!      - Henry Ward Beecher

I know this time of year prompts many people to think about being more thankful.  I have to admit - it has me thinking. My own personal thoughts have been along a parallel line. I've been thinking about just how much we take for granted.
The blessings in our lives are truly innumerable. There is enough to praise God forever in just the redemption of my own heart. You know, the great big sinner, with an even bigger Savior. This is change we can be thankful for. (corny use of a recently popular cliche)
But that's not all, He picks us up out of the miry clay, sets our feet on a solid rock, and then . . . leaves us to fend for ourselves? Not a chance! He daily cares for His children, provides for our needs (but my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19), hears our prayers (The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Jms 5:16), and carries our burdens for us (Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee...Ps55:22).
There are so many things that God has done for us, how often do I thank Him? I am ungrateful, and I am asking God today to put a heart of gratitude in me. Our pastor preached a wonderful Thanksgiving message on Sunday which encouraged us to give praise and thanksgiving every time we pray - BEFORE we go to begging.
I so often just jump into praying for the burdens on my heart, for needs, or for others in serious situations without stopping to first thank and praise Him. Even the Lord Jesus praised the the Father in Matthew 6:9 "Hallowed be thy name."
It is my prayer and hearts desire to keep thanksgiving in my heart, not just because it is the "time of year", but because He deserves everything we have, and most certainly our thanks!

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving...

Amos 4:5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving...
I Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which geiveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our piece of history...

I have had a few people to ask me to post something about our "old house."  We purchased this big old house in November of 2003.  It took about 3 years of blood, sweat, and ALOT of tears to actually finish it.  I don't have time to go into all of the details about what we did, but I will just give you an "outside" tour.

These pictures are from the first time that we got to "look inside" our dream home.

                                      What a welcoming sight from the street!

It is even better from the back! That little shed - lean to looking thing was a "toilet" and laundry area. That and the outhouse just behind where I am taking a picture must constitute a 2 bath home. Ya think...

As you can see the inside wasn't much better. The neighbors gladly let us know that this is the window that the ghost looks out.  Six years and we haven't ran  into her yet!

Here we are today... 3 years of long hard work - a few broken teeth - and almost losing a finger!

As you can see, there was no electric, no plumbing, no heat system - unless you call 8 fireplaces a heat system.  We had to take all the interior walls off due to termite damage, but it did make it easier to re frame the house, insulate it, wire it, and add the plumbing. Life is always interesting. Then of course, my husband was called to pastor a church in Texas...so now we need to move! I am sure we will find another house that needs some TLC! I think that old houses become addicting!
historic homes

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kid's Favorite dessert for now...

I thought I would share with you all our new favorite dessert... though this may change at any moment.  Last weekend we tried Peanut Butter Streusel topped brownies... oh my goodness were they good!  Anyway, the kids loved them the adults loved them... they were definitely a winner! So here is the recipe - you may want to give 'em a try this weekend.

3 eggs
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c cocoa - I use dark :)
Cream this together then add:
1 to 1 1/2 c flour depending on how thick you like your batter.

Mix together until crumbly
1/2 c flour
2 TBSp light brown sugar
2Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 c peanut butter
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/8 tsp salt
Sprinkle over the brownie batter after you put it in the pan.

Cook in a preheated 350* oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Hope you enjoy this serious comfort food!

P.S. the "Freedom fairie" is getting a little better - only redressed her 2 times yesterday! Yeah!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Okay, today's post is definitely nowhere near normal or even respectable, but I am venting my frustration with my beautiful blond haired blue eyed... uhhummmmm... cherub.

Every day for the past week... about 6 times a day I dress and redress my little "freedom fairy." I have tried putting clothes on her that are difficult to take off, and clothes that are VERY comfy, yet still she persists. Yesterday we had our family movie night and while I was busy making supper and dessert the naked "nipper" struck again. (which reminds me dessert turned out wonderful - peanut butter streusel topped brownies...mmm I will have to share the recipe later)

I am sure there is some sweet and innocent childhood fixation going on behind the scenes here, but I just found her a minute ago happily playing in her castle playhouse with her dolly...clothes dropped in a little pile and long forgotten!!

 I have even tried the "mean" approach - still to no avail! So, now I am questioning my parenting skills... have I lost it?  I managed to get 5 other children past the toddler years without going through this stage... this is making me crazy. I am so frustrated, then she smiles up at me and blows a kiss -

Oh so sweet, I could just eat her up!

Any suggestions for keeping clothes on little angels with blue eyes?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why we homeschool...

Just thought that I would let ya'll know a little bit more about us...  The decision to homeschool was not something that just happened to us.  I had wanted to homeschool for a very long time. In fact, I knew when I held my first baby in my arms that I wanted to homeschool her. But life is never easy or uncomplicated is it? And things never turn out how we thought they would!

I had been working as a teacher at a private Christian school, and they asked me to be the administrator.  At the time, we needed the money, (ever heard that before?) so off I went. I had a mother from the school watch my little girl in a room right next to me. This went on for a few years, and then it was time for her to start school. I told myself that she would be just fine - she is just down the hall for goodness sake! How could I quit, they needed me. (Hmmmmm.....)  I have to admit I squelched my hearts desire until she was in 3rd grade.  We finally just couldn't stand it any longer and brought her home and then eventually her sister and then the twins. Though we dissapointed many close to us who really believe in the Christian school, we were so relieved.  We were finally doing what we knew God wanted us to do. What joy!!

Since we began homeschooling, we have tried many different methods, places, practices, and curricula. We are now homeschooling 5 of our children (the youngest is 2) with our oldest at 14 in ninth grade. I still like to be somewhat structured in my approach - I guess I just can't get away from all my college training, or all those years of teaching! But I sure have relaxed a lot (the kids are all saying yeah!!!)

Our approach is quite eclectic, but on a typical day most of us work at the kitchen table.  We start out with Bible using Positive Action for Christ curriculum, we use DVD's for Latin from Memoria Press, we scrapbook our science text from Apologia, use workbooks from ABEKA for math, handwriting, and language, and we supplement the core subjects and do history with an online education program called Time4Learning.

Just like any other home with children there are good days and there are bad days. There are messy days, and well... there are messy days! But through it all it is such a joy to see the children grow daily and turn into really wonderful and interesting people. I have to say one of the most rewarding things about being a mother and raising children is when they begin to grow up and you realize one day they are no longer just your child, they are your friend.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  III John 1:4

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WOW... what a weekend!

At our full house... we have been busy busy busy for the last few weeks and escpecially this past weekend! We have our annual Fall Festival at church on the last Saturday of October. It is always so much fun... lots of food, candy, games, fun, and our Mission Auction! I know you're thinking... what???  We don't actually auction missionaries... we auction homemade items to raise "Christmas money" for our missionaries.  This year I tried to encourage each of the children to get in on the creativity and make things for the auction.  They did so good! I was thrilled to see them learn new skills and lovingly make something to benefit another. Priceless... in this day of selfishness.
The Festival was last weekend and even though it rained (my thoughts were a beautiful sunkissed autumn day drowned in rain - boo hoo).... we still had so much fun! Here are a few pics of things we took.  I thought I had a picture of Camie's hemp bracelet and necklace sets... wow! They were soooo cute!!

They made beautiful Christmas cards!

My sweet boy drew pictures of his favorite things.

I painted a bit for the auction...

and a bit for fun!!!! Gotta love these little "animals!"

Even with the rain it was a wonderful weekend... and so nice to be with friends and enjoy great fellowship! It is wonderful memories like these that make us realize God is so good to us, He provides for our daily needs, gives us warm and cozy houses, so much love and laughter... but on top of all of that He gives us Himself - "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over..."  What more could we ask for?

Monday, October 26, 2009

How Exciting...

Wow... I really didn't think that this blog creation and blog writing course would be so exciting. After all the hard work of thinking through a title and tag line, I am so pumped to see the finished product! Like one of my fellow students in the blog course said - It is something to be proud of! It is my hope that in the coming days, my blog would be more than just a mundane rehearsal of what has happened in my life, but a string of glorious memories of the joy that God has given us! There is so much to be thankful for! I'll be back again soon!