Tuesday, December 18, 2007

World's Easiest Christmas Candy

Ok, I've talked so much about health, eating organically, eating simply, cooking from scratch, etc., and now I'm going to shatter all these wonderful ideals you've built up in your minds concerning me! I do allow myself and my family to splurge at the holidays, and we've taken advantage of it this year! Crystal posted on her site last year about the World's Easiest Christmas Candy. Oh, my! It is SCRUMPTIOUS! But it sounds a little strange to make. Hear me out though....

Preheat over to 350 F.

1 sleeve Saltines (yes, the crackers) spread out on a baking sheet. (Make sure to lay them out so that they're all touching, not spread out over the entire baking sheet.)

Combine 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until gooey (great cooking directions, I know!).

Pour EVENLY over the saltines. I messed this up the first time and poured it in one big glop. It dries quickly and is not very spreadable, so try to pour evenly so that there is not much to spread. If you do mess up, just push the crackers in it and hope for the best. Ours still was very yummy!

Pop in the oven for 5 minutes, until bubbling.

Remove and pour 2 cups chocolate chips EVENLY over entire thing. Wait a minute or two until it's spreadable and spread to coat.

Pop in the refrigerator until it hardens.

Oh, my, ladies, is this ever good! You will want to keep the candy in the refrigerator as it stays more crunchy. It's a great idea for gift-giving (if you can keep your own hands off of it!). Enjoy!

Ron Paul #2

I know that I haven't written my story about my journey to becoming a Ron Paul supporter yet. It's still a desire of mine to do so when I get a little bit of time. We've had some circumstances in our family that have prevented me from spending any amount of time on that project, but maybe over the holidays I can do so. Until then, I wanted to post 2 videos to youtube. These will take about 15 minutes of your time, if you have it.

Ron Paul on Morning Joe (interview with Joe Scarborough of MSNBC)

Ron Paul on CNN American Morning

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ron Paul

Did you hear that Ron Paul raised over $6 million in one day? He broke the previous record which he had set on November 5! If you don't know much about Ron Paul check him out here. My husband and I are proud supporters. Come join us in supporting a man with impeccable character (30 years of voting records in Congress will prove that) and one who is a true defender of the Constitution.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu-plan Monday

(My daughter, Energizer Bunny, REALLY likes this picture!)

Monday -- turkey burgers, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli & cauliflower
Tuesday -- bean soup, cornbread, salad
Wednesday -- turkey tetrazzini (didn't get made last week), steamed broccoli
Thursday -- hamburger gravy over rice, frozen veggie, salad
Friday -- beans & rice, leftover cornbread, kale, salad
Saturday -- Sweet Potato, Sausage and Kale Soup (thanks, Catherine!), salad
Sunday -- brisket, carrots, potatoes (all in crockpot), frozen veggie, salad

Friday, December 7, 2007

Frugal Fridays: Millet for Breakfast! *important update added*

For those of you wanting to eat healthy and are worried about pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, etc. in your food, frugality in your grocery shopping may seem like something of an oxymoron. For our family, we have chosen to sacrifice in other areas rather than sacrifice in the quality of the food that we eat. For this reason, I'm always thrilled when I can find a very healthy, inexpensive meal that my children love.

Enter millet.

What a versatile grain! It can be used as a side dish or main staple, just as rice can. In fact, you can be just as creative with millet as you can with rice. But for our family, millet is a staple for breakfast.

It was the first cereal for my oldest two, Reader Rabbit (RR) and Energizer Bunny (EB). Since Goofy Boy (GB) has had some unusual health issues, I just started him on it this week. He's 15 months old. Thankfully, he loves it too!

If you can do cream of wheat or oatmeal, you can easily do cream of millet. And it's extremely yummy to boot! My mother-in-law visited my sister when she was quite ill about a year ago. (They lived in the same town.) She made a pot of this for her to help nurse her back to health and my sister loved it! She now makes it often for her own family. Sometimes she even gets a craving for it!

I have the privilege of having a grain grinder, so I can crack my millet to give it a little more texture. But if you have a blender, you can grind it to a flour or even slightly less for a more textured cereal.

You may want to experiment with the water to grain ratio. I have my own little formula that I will share, but that's simply because it's the consistency that I like.

1 c. whole millet/4 c. water
1 c. whole millet = 1 1/4 c. cracked millet
1 1/4 c. cracked millet/5 c. water
1 c. cracked millet/3 1/2 c. water

If I'm grinding only 1 c. of whole millet, it makes about 1 1/4 c. cracked millet. That cracked millet will simmer with 5 c. water. Sometimes though, I'll cracked lots and lots of millet at one time. Then I will cook 1 c. cracked millet with 3 1/2 c. water.

Now that GB is eating this, I'm going to have to figure it out for 1 1/2 c. cracked millet. It's really not an easy math problem, in my opinion. I've tried simply doubling the amount of water or cutting it in half from what I know works, but it doesn't work for me. So, I'll go back to experimenting. The good thing is that it's edible no matter what!

So, how's it done? I thought you'd never ask.

1. Combine millet and water. *Add a pinch or a dash of salt (whichever you think is more). The salt really does affect the flavor.*

2. Turn burner to medium heat.

3. Stir frequently (very important!) until it begins to bubble.
-- This is the tricky step. You begin to think that it will never come to a bubble, so you decide to stop stirring it. DON'T!!!!!!! I've had to clean more millet scorched onto the bottom of my pan than I care to admit. Sure, you can do some things around the kitchen. Just make sure that every time you walk by the stove, you stir a little. That's all. :-)

4. When it begins to bubble, it will look grainy. This is good! Take it off the heat and cover. Wait 5-10 minutes and your breakfast is ready.

Our family likes it in a variety of different ways. I'll mention some of them to start your creative juices flowing!

--mixed with applesauce

--mixed with mashed banana and milk

--mixed with honey (or sucanat, or Rapadura) and milk

--with butter, salt and freshly cracked pepper (similar to grits)

--for my little babies, I've often used millet as a base for their mashed veggies. Sounds gross, I know, but babies have no idea!

Enjoy and return next week for more Frugal Fridays hosted by biblicalwomanhood.com!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Homeschooling: Kindergarten Edition

I would like to post from time to time about our homeschooling experience, since I'm just starting out. As I've mentioned before, I LOVE homeschooling!

We've been using Sonlight curriculum for going on 3 years now. I really, really like it -- most of the time. There have been a few issues that we've had to deal with, but I can get into those in future posts.

Today, I thought I would focus on the literature that it exposes students to. We used the preschool curriculum for Reader Rabbit (RR) when he was 3 and 4. He really did well with it and soaked up all the literature that was read to him. That's why we decided to continue with Sonlight for kindergarten. Here's a look at all that we've read so far. (We are 11 weeks into the school year.)

We had several of these books already and therefore did not need to purchase them this year. Although I've often wished we would have and we could have given them as gifts.

I'll just focus on a few of the books to whet your appetite!

My Father's Dragon. This book was actually recommended to us by our very close friends and RR's best friend. It's about a little boy, Elmer Elevator, who travels to rescue a baby dragon from Wild Island. He takes with him lollipops, combs, chewing gum and many other unusual items to help him in his quest. He ends up using them all! As an aside, Elmer Elevator lives in Popsicornia. My daughter, Energizer Bunny (EB), has a new imaginary friend named Popsicornia! Elmer succeeds in his quest and he and baby dragon prepare to leave.

Unfortunately, that's where the book ends. We could never leave Elmer on Tangerina (where he and the dragon flew after Wild Island), could we? So, we picked up the sequels at the library -- Elmer and the Dragon and the Dragons of Blueland. We thoroughly enjoyed all of them. We finally meet Boris' family (the baby dragon of My Father's Dragon fame) and see them safely left alone in the Blueland mountains. Even EB understood a lot of this and it was fun family time for all.

The Light at Tern Rock. We have just finished this book and it's engaging and didactic at the same time. It's about a young boy (Ronnie) and his aunt who are asked to fill in for the lighthouse keeper at Tern Rock for about a week. Ronnie is excited but hesitant as he wants to make sure he's home in time for Christmas. He is assured, by the lighthouse keeper, that he will be. December 15 (the promised pick-up date) comes and goes. By December 23, they realize that they will be spending Christmas on Tern Rock. Then on December 24, a discovery is made that challenges Ronnie's faith in mankind. This is a great work for discussing injustices with your child. I plan to read this many, many times with my children. We could have a different type of discussion each time.

Maybe in my next post, we'll discuss some of the other books.

Making Your Home a Haven

I have been wanting to participate in Crystal's Making Your Home a Haven all week. I just have not had the time. But today, I thought I might just be able to do it, but not in the laundry room as was suggested.

Last night, it snowed! The first snow of the season! My daughter, Energizer Bunny (EB) was soooooooooo excited that she got ALL of her stuffed animals and lined them up at the door to look outside. Then she proceeded to skip around the house cheering at the top of her lungs. Oh, to be a child again!

My husband is out of town until tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow evening he has an orchestra rehearsal for a Friday and Saturday concert. By the way, for you locals who view this blog, his symphony, the Anderson Symphony Orchestra, is having their debut Christmas concert in Noblesville on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. It's at the Noblesville High School and the High School Chorale and the Anderson University Chorale will be participating as well. The tickets are very affordable. Adults are $10, students 13 and older are $5 and 12 and under are free. Can you beat that? Please come. There are conflicts with other activities that night and they would like for their debut in Noblesville to be well-attended.

Enough of my sales spiel! As I was saying, my husband is out of town until tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow evening he has an orchestra rehearsal for a Friday and Saturday concert. So, he would not be able to shovel the driveway at all.

Now, you all know how it is. Everyone looks around to see who is not responsible enough to clean their driveway and who just lets the snow and ice pack down and look more and more unkempt. You've been guilty of it yourself, haven't you? Remember that I have 3 kids. The oldest two (5 and 3) have to be shoved outside in the summer and the door locked and bolted in order to get them to play outside. Sometimes I have to threaten them with punishment if they don't stop staring at me through our patio doorway for the entire 30 minutes they're required to stay outside. Are my kids abnormal or what?

So, now it's cold and they are loaded down with 20 extra pounds of gear to keep them warm. Is this going to work?

Then I have a 1 year old, Goofy Boy (GB).

NONE of my children would ever let me sit them outside when they were 1. Both of the others cried and screamed and tried to hyperventilate until I took them inside. BUT I was determined to get the driveway shoveled as a special surprise for my husband. (I figured that I have tomorrow to work on the house.)

Here's the before

and here's the after!

Yay for me! I did it!

And guess what? Here's how GB sat for the entire hour it took me to do this. No crying whatsoever! I think he truly enjoyed watching his brother and sister play. They played and played and played and got out more toys than they ever have in the summer. Go figure!

My only regret is that I didn't get any pictures of their playing together. Now you know what tomorrow's post will be!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I just wanted to write and share with all of you something that I have been learning about lately -- how selfish I am. It's actually quite easy to think highly of myself -- I stay home with my children, I homeschool my oldest, I make all of our food from scratch, etc., but I'm a sinner saved by grace. I've realized anew how often I struggle with that "old man" of sin.

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Rom. 6:6)

When we went on vacation for Thanksgiving, I took along TWO bags full of books to read! I didn't actually think I'd read them all, I just wanted to be sure that I had a selection whenever the opportunity presented itself. I didn't know, for example, whether I'd be in the mood to read theology, history, history of education, a novel, parenting books, education books, a magazine....You get the picture.

By the way, this is where we've had the privilege of spending the last six Thanksgivings! Isn't it beautiful?

Well, my daughter, Energizer Bunny (EB), became ill on Wednesday night, and we had a long night. She ended up sleeping in my bed, with RR sleeping with Daddy and GB in his pack 'n' play. She was up every 15-30 minutes until 3 a.m. acting delirious. She would yell, say unitelligible words, stare at me, walk around, etc. and then just decide to lay back down. She finally slept until 5:45 when she woke up screaming hysterically. She was SO loud that my mother-in-law, sleeping next door, came running over to find out what had happened.

Because of all of that, we decided to limit her activity for the day and part of the next. So...no nice meals in the several dining rooms they had, but room service. No pool time, but reading aloud time. No hike in the beautiful Allegheny mountains, but coloring time. The list goes on and on.

Do you know what I remember most from all of this though? (I think I read a grand total of 3 verses in Genesis the entire vacation.) But I remember my daughter falling asleep in my arms, my daughter smiling at me when I whispered that I loved her, some one-on-one time with my daughter that is often neglected in the midst of homeschooling RR and tending to GB's many needs -- complimenting her coloring abilities and seeing her face light up as I exclaimed over her recognition of letters.

When we follow Christ, Who did not look "on his own things" but only "on the things of others", we reap a multitude of benefits that far surpass the temporal joys we are seeking. Would I remember the words of the books I read during Thanksgiving? Maybe, maybe not, but I don't think that I will soon forget the special one-on-one time that presented itself to my daughter and me. I don't think she will either.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Menu-plan Monday

Monday -- Turkey/rice bake, Kale, Salad
Tuesday -- Potato soup, Salad, Cornbread
Wednesday -- Turkey Tetrazzini, Asparagus, Salad
Thursday -- Beans & Rice, Leftover Cornbread, Kale, Salad
Friday -- Turkey Squares, Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower, Salad
Satuday -- Hamburgers, Roasted Potatoes, Frozen Veggie, Salad
Sunday-- Brisket, Potatoes and Carrots in the Crockpot, Frozen Veggie, Salad

We'll see just how close to this I stick as my husband will not be eating dinner with us on several evenings. It's soooooooo tempting not to cook when he's not here, but I'm really trying to strengthen my children's immune systems for this cold/flu season and one of the best ways is having food prepared from scratch.