Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I never knew there were so many things to make with Whiskey...

We lived in the south for almost 4 years. I never expected to live there. But, I grew to really love and appreciate the south. There are still a few things though that I still haven't understood--like "Pit Beef". Surprisingly, though I have many cookbooks, I didn't have any Southern cookbooks. I have had no desire to own a Paula Deen cookbook. I once saw an episode of her tv show and it made my arteries cringe--I say that very kindly. But, I've always wanted a Southern cookbook with recipes from the real south.

This week I received in the mail the Jack Daniels' Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook. The cover to the left is not what it looks like now--that is the previous edition. It is now a paperback, rather than a hardback. I actually like this because it is easier to fit on my bookshelf. It is a very nice sized cookbook. But, back to the cookbook...I had no idea there were so many drinks and recipes one could make with Jack Daniels! But, what I enjoyed most about this cookbook was all the pictures and what I learned about life in the south. There was even an explanation about what "Pit BBQ" is! It was fun to finally understand since there is a church near me that has Pit BBQ every month during the summer. I have felt like a fish out of water not understanding what it is.

I'd say about half of the recipes have Jack Daniels in them. Many of them don't. My husband will enjoy trying the drink recipes and I will enjoy trying the food recipes without Jack in them (after all I don't know any child under 10 that would be inclined to try chicken cooked with Jack Daniels). But, that's okay. I'm still very glad to have this cookbook.

Normally, I wouldn't review a cookbook without trying the recipes, of course. And in this case, I am. But, that's because I like this cookbook as much for the writing and stories as I do for the recipes. Several of the recipes were very similar to other things I've already made and I'm certain they'll come out great.

If you've ever wanted to peruse a real southern cookbook, full of recipes from regular folks--then this would be a fun cookbook to check out!

Please note...I did receive this book as a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Setting up a new computer

Now we've gone back to 1 computer instead of 2, but I think it's a good thing. The tricky part is finding all of web sites I had bookmarked. It's funny how something that is supposed to make our lives easier can create so much work for us when we get into using it! =)

The one fun thing about all of this is that I did discover that I can now watch the old Bionic Woman on =) I'm silly, aren't I? =)

My little girl turns 6 today

Wow. Autumn turns 6 today. Sadly, she has a cold and we will be spending the whole day at home, but we are going to try and make the best of it!

My computer broke

Sometimes there is great wisdom in sticking to what you know rather than venturing out and trying something new. Such is the case of what happened to my new laptop that we had bought at the end of July. It had worked just fine until I decided to try a new antivirus program because it was free via the Amazon program I'm a part of. It was called Bitdefender. I had problems with it from the beginning. I'm used to Norton and have used it for 8 years. I've always stuck with it--I shouldn't have changed. Because of the problems with Bitdefender, I thought I would try McAffee when I had the chance to try it for free. Bad, bad choice. In the process, it broke my computer.

It turns out that you have to completely uninstall any antivirus program before you install a new one and there's tricks with Norton and the others that only well trained computer folks know about. Ugh! If you don't completely uninstall them, the new program see the old program often as a virus itself--foreign to the computer and can lock it up. That's what happened to me. My screen went black--it didn't even just lock up. It went black! I will never do that again. I spent an hour and a half on the phone with HP and afterwards I just didn't trust the computer anymore. I am going to stick with Norton, pay for it, and forgo the pain of breaking and returning a computer again!

In the end, free isn't always the best deal! =)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Man Worth Far More Respect than I realized...

First, I have to say, "wow." I feel like a kid saying that, but I had no idea growing up what the big deal was about Chuck Norris. Then, over the past few years I started hearing about these internet rumors about him and I didn't understand the fascination. I think I got a clue about all of that in reading this book.

This book is a collection of Chuck Norris's 101 favorite internet rumors about himself. I learned a lot of interesting things about Chuck Norris in this book. First, his first name is Carlos--he got nicknamed Chuck in armed forces. He got married 10 years ago (He is now 69) and has twin 8 year old boys. He loves God. A lot. And he loves his family and this country.

With each rumor, he shares either a story about his life or some of his perspective about life. He does talk about God a lot in this book which was very interesting to me.

I realized as I read this book that I really had known nothing (!) about Chuck Norris before I read this book. And now, I've learned a lot. Honestly, I can say that I'm glad that I read this book and I know about 10 people that I want to tell about this book right away--because I think they'll genuinely enjoy it.

Note: I did receive this book as a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishing. But, I definitely would have bought it on my own!

The perfect place for this book: In the bathroom, so that when you can shut the door and steal a few minutes of peace away from the kids-- you can sit, laugh, and read something light, funny, and encouraging!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Being a Book Blogger...

I enjoy reading. And I know it's good for me. I was just notified by one of the publishers that I review books for that I will need to state in my reviews that the copies of the books I've read have been complimentary. It's a new regulation from the Federal Trade Commission.

My husband thought this might change folks opinions of the reviews they read on my blog and elsewhere, but I wanted to share some things with you.
1) I only read books I want to. I choose them.
2) If a book is bad or if I don't like it or I have a concern, I will say so. There is no motivation for me to be untruthful in this. On the contrary, there is motivation for me to be truthful--I desire to walk rightly before the Lord and walk with integrity and honesty.

It is an interesting thing about the books I've read and reviewed on this blog--some of them might not have been my first choice for reading material--rather my second choice--but God has used them in huge ways in my heart and mind to challenge and encourage me (others I would definitely have bought myself as my first choice of reading material). The books I have received through these programs have been such a blessing to me (moms rarely buy things for themselves).

Anyways, I just wanted to share this with y'all and let you know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Cute Tale...

Recently, I read and reviewed Max Lucado's new book Fearless. I liked it very much. There is a snippet in that book of a new children's book that he just published called "The Tallest of Smalls".

It is often interesting reading stories with my children because it makes me aware of how sheltered they have been. My girls are homeschooled. Sami goes to preschool two mornings a week at a local high school where Autumn went for 2 years. They now go to Awanas, dance, and P.E. But, Autumn has seemed to remain largely ignorant of when she is not included by other children. She hasn't been hurt yet. I know the day will come though when that will happen. I don't look forward to it.

As I read the Tallest of Smalls to my girls, I knew that they wouldn't really understand most of what it was about. They don't have a lot of personal experience to connect it to. Although, there was a little girl who, when Autumn asked her to play with her one day at the church we used to go to, told her no. So, maybe she knows a little more of how it feels to not be liked or included than I realize.

I love Max Lucado's books about the Wemmicks and I love this one too. It is very similar in theme--the fact that we are all loved by God no matter what--for who we are and who He made us to be. We don't need to compare ourselves to others to feel good about who we are. I know there will be a time, likely in the not too distant future, when my girls will understand more fully the message of this book. On one hand, I do not look forward to that day. On the other hand, I look forward to them knowing that Jesus loves them just the way they are!

Quite a weekend

It seems very surreal that Molly got lost on Saturday. You'd never know by the look of her. She acts just like normal--not really phased by it. Thankfully, I think we've recovered too. I can't even fathom what it would feel like to lose a child after losing Molly. It was so scary to me! With Sami being one who must touch everything, she spends a lot of time in carts.

My husband and I had an interesting discussion about kids and dogs and this was the kids part from my end. I have come to feel that as much as I would like to give my kids the freedom to walk and not hold my hand, it isn't safe. If we are in a store, 90% of the time Sami travels in the big part of the cart and Eli in the top. If the cart is big enough, Autumn also sits with Sami. It's just easier and safer. No one gets lost. More than that, it's lots less stressful for me. Sami just doesn't seem to be able to control herself yet and not touch everything in the store! That can make for very stressful trips for me if she is walking on her own.

When Autumn was 15 months old, I realized that I should have been training her from a much younger age to hold my hand when we were out. I say much younger because she started walking at 9 months. I had wanted to give her that freedom and enjoy the innocence of those first steps and learning to walk. But, I realized when she was 15 months that I also, more importantly, needed to teach her to be safe by holding Mommy's hand and it became an issue of submitting to authority and obeying Mommy, too.

I'm going through the same thing with Eli now. But, this time if he won't hold my hand, I just pick him up. He's got a lot of Sami's spunk and so I need to make sure he understands he needs to hold my hand and be safe. I'm okay if he holds the girls' hands instead--just as long as it's somebody's hands.

There is a desire in our hearts to give our children freedom, because it seems that enjoyment will come in that. But, that freedom needs to come when they're ready for it, I think. If we give it to them too soon, it can be a very unsafe thing. It's hard for mom to be strong and insist on holding hands, but I know it's the best thing for my kids and me.

God is teaching me about sitting under His authority and I see that with my kids every day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Molly is found!!

Praise God! Someone found Molly and just called, so my husband is on his way to go pick her up. I am so thankful that she is safe and that she will be home soon. No more complaining for me about how much work she is =) !! When she went missing, I just cried. As much as I may struggle with her some days--just as I do with my kids--I love her and very much don't want anything to happen to her.

Our Puppy

Our puppy, Molly is missing as of this afternoon. Please pray that someone will find her. My husband was out hiking with her when she ran away. She loved him so much--and he her so I don't have any idea why she didn't come back! She has tags on her, but I have no idea the liklihood that someone will find her. I hope someone will--else my husband will be deeply heartbroken. Please pray that someone will find her and help her get back home to us.

Pumpkin Pie

Every year after we go to the Pumpkin farm and bring home a pumpkin, I make a pumpkin pie. This year I decided to make a Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie. I'd tried one before, but wasn't super impressed. But, I had a new recipe from a cookbook I love, so I thought I'd try again. I never read recipes thoroughly before I start in them--this time I should have!

First, I had to make the cornmeal crust and partially prebake it. Wow! This involved a lot. It involved baking it for 10 minutes and then pricking the bottom with a fork. Then, I baked it another 10 minutes. Then, I had to whisk an egg white until it was frothy and paint the poked holes with a pastry brush--and then bake it for another 2 minutes. Wow! Then, I was supposed to let it cool (I didn't have time, so I skipped that step.)

I made the filling which was really quite easy. That part wasn't so bad. I am thankful I used a deep dish pie pan so it didn't overflow and make a mess in my oven. Then, I poured the filling in and baked the pie.

Sadly, it had to be refrigerated overnight before we could taste it and find out whether all of the work was worth it! After waiting another day, we ate it! And Autumn thinks that the pie was definitely worth the effort it took! I will say, it was a good pie and although the crust required a lot of work, it was easier than the regular cheesecake I make.

But, I think I'll try and read the recipe first next time and see what I'll be getting myself into before I dive in! LOL (I say that, but I never read the recipes--even when I say I'll try and remember to do that--I've said this before, I think.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baby Miracles

When I was in high school, my Sunday School teacher Janet Church had the idea of looking for baby miracles in our lives to help us see the work of God in our lives and to help us remember how much we have to be thankful for.

Here are my baby miracles for this morning…
1. That my foot wasn’t broken when Autumn dropped a 28 oz. can of peaches on it last week. I really am thankful for that.
2. That I feel well enough to go on the field trip for the homeschool co-op we’re in that I planned and have to collect the money for today.
3. That all my kids are well enough to go on the field trip and haven’t caught my cold yet =)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book on Prayer

I just finished this book. It's a funny thing about the books I read for the blog review programs. I find that they are books I wouldn't necessarily pick out as my first choice--but I feel that God uses them in my life to challenge and encourage me. That is definitely (!) the case with this book.

When I started reading this book, I was a little disillusioned by the beginning and didn't want to continue on. But, I pressed on anyways--I'm really glad I did. I did not expect Paul Miller to take the stance that he did with Prayer. I expected him to talk about why we forget to pray, why we get distracted, etc. I was surprised that Miller says that we pray wrong--and that made me want to put the book down. I don't think prayer is about right or wrong, but I can see how it would be possible to say that and for it to be true. The Word says that if we ask but -- "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:3). But, once I got past that point and understood a little better what he meant, I felt he had a lot of wisdom to share about prayer.

There are 32 chapters--but they are very short which makes it an easy book to pick up and set down. Each chapter gives you enough to chew on and think about in small bites....a multi-course meal instead of a buffet. You can savor each dish on its own without feeling rushed to eat the rest.

One thing that I especially appreciated that the author explains in depth is why we ask in Jesus' name when we pray. It was a good reminded, because I had forgotten why. "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:13-14).

The biggest surprise for me was how much he talked about cynicism--in a very different way than I expected. I think his observations are correct and it is a huge issue in our culture. Seeing through Cynicism by Dick Keyes is a great book--but it addresses how cynicism affects our whole lives--whereas this book addresses specifically how cynicism affects our prayers.

I highly recommend this book--whether for a young believer or someone who has been walking with the Lord for a long time. This book has been a great encouragement and challenge to me to rethink how I pray. It is definitely worth reading!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Favorite Cookbook

I am so excited--I found a new cookbook at the book sale I went to 2 weeks ago. I've always wanted a cookie cookbook. I bought King Arthur's Cookie Companion. Tonight, I made the Peanut-Mallow Brownies. I have to save they were really, really good--cakey and fudgey. The recipe was really different, but not complicated. If you ever see this cookbook--I think it's going to be one of my favorites for a long time--and it gives really good directions!

Ahh... my first cold of the winter

I think this might be my first cold of the winter. Moms can't get sick! Hopefully, it will pass quickly. But, I guess staying up till 11:30 p.m. doesn't really help =)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weather predictions

It's a very funny thing when I go to look up today's weather (since we are supposed to go to the zoo) and it says Current: 58.6 degrees Heavy Rain and then a few lines below it...12% chance of rain

I think the rain forecast is a little mixed up? =)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We are on lesson 31 in the Well Trained Mind Grammar. Today's lesson (as the several previous were) is on common nouns. I asked Autumn to name some trees. This was her Answer...

Autumn: Oak, Pine, and Leaf Trees

Oh, yes, those leaf trees--of course! =)

Great Quote

I remember when I was growing up that my mom loved Lily Tomlin. I read a quote in my Bible study this morning by her (the quote, not the book) and I thought it was really great...

“Why is it that when we talk to God we're said to be praying, but when God talks to us we're schizophrenic?”--Lily Tomlin

It made me laugh--I hope it will make you laugh too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Updated Illustrations

It is always interesting to me when a new book is updated with new illustrations. I have found that I have become a very visual person the more I have read to my kids. Kids are naturally very visual. Before they can read the words, they "read" the pictures. If a book has a conflict that can be seen in the pictures, but it's only resolved on the very last page, then the child will most likely remember the conflict rather than the resolution when they "read" it on their own.

I just read the new, updated edition of Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth Taylor. I learned several interesting things when I read the book. Kenneth Taylor was the translator for the Living Bible and so all of the verses quoted in the book are from the Living Bible. Also, Taylor was the founder of Tyndale. I never knew that. He died just 4 years ago when he was 88 years old. This book began as a collection of some of the devotions he did for his children (he and his wife had 10!).

The words in this edition are the same as the previous edition, but the illustrations are new. The Illustrator is from Croatia. I really enjoyed the book from beginning to end. I love the illustrations. They are soft and gentle, yet they are brightly colored and fun. Kenneth Taylor's words are perfect for devotions with 2, 3, and 4 year olds. I think it would be young for 5 year olds, but if you were reading it to several children, the 5 year old could definitely pay attention and learn from the devotions.

I love devotional books that encourage children to look at the pictures which is really where reading comprehension starts. And this book has great, simple questions that are totally (sorry I grew up in CA) appropriate.

This new edition of the book is a treasure and I highly recommend it if it's what you're looking for!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My girls will be 6 and 4 very soon and Eli is now 1 1/2. It's amazing to look at Autumn and hear her talk. She talks so differently now. Sami mimics everything she says. But, she's looking older too. They both want to be helpful and help me. I am thankful for this.

I am reading a book about prayer that I mentioned on my other blog called A Praying Life. I was struck last night as I read it (which it is very good by the way!) that I have gotten out of the habit of praying for my children. I am so BUSY! that I have separated my daily actions from walking with the Lord. I'm not in the habit of asking God about the little things. I need to get back into that habit. And I need to get back into the habit of praying more for the kids and their hearts. It's a lot more important than a lot of things I could be doing with my time =)

Monday, October 5, 2009

The shoe on the other foot

I think one of the hardest things about being in another person's shoes is the humbling process of it. I am thankful that God does this to me to help me grow in humility, but boy it is humbling to see my own glaring faults so clearly! This summer it felt horrible, but I think I'm getting used to it =) Hopefully, that's a good thing.


Wow! I feel so busy right now! Well, not right at this moment, because I feel exhausted, but I feel like there is always something I need to do. I think that is one of the things I hope this year homeschooling will give me--the assurance that I will get through everything and that I can take my time! =)

This morning we started off so late--lots of catch up cleaning, 2 loads of laundry to fold, etc...
But, once we started, Sami did her whole reading lesson by herself. Wow! And she read a little book herself. She was so concentrated! Now I see that strong will going to good purposeful use! She was super determined and she didn't try to skip words that she didn't like the way Autumn would do when she first started out. Interesting...

I think watching a child learn to read is one of the most amazing things!