Archive for April, 2012

Young Hunters and Pirates

Be sure to click this link for 
more info on the story behind the stories of my childhood.
(The Creek)

Watching my children create an entire pirate kingdom on our patio brought to mind a favorite imaginary world I had shared with my younger brother.

(Mopsy and two spring babies.)

I can remember pretending to be hunters.  We would get the perfect stick and stalk the goats through the brush (my parents had a goat farm and we had endless games involving the live stock).  One afternoon though we expanded the game, thanks to my brother getting his hands on a pellet rifle.  Now don’t worry about the goats, we where smart enough to know shooting them was a quick way into my folks bad books.  We decided, instead, to travel down river and seek out an ever worthy prey…squirrels and chipmunks.

The faithful orange Coleman canoe was loaded up, life jackets clipped on and we pushed off.  The river was actually a creek that ran through the bottom of our small farm property.  It was a very healthy water way, leading to many lakes and even a small set of rapids.  Smooth flowing water, riddled with weeds just below the surface.  It twists and turns, sleepily,  around beds of floating weeds.  Walled in by endless trees and bedrock, it is a true northern shield water way. 

(The Munro Dock)

I was guide.  We sought out signs and sounds that meant our game was near by.  I would let my brother off on land to do the hunting.  As faithful guide I waited till I hear a shot and then let out a good ‘yahoo’ for his efforts.  Never did he come back with proof of kill.  Considering how many times we repeated this process I highly doubt he even came close to tagging a tree rodent of any kind.

It kept us incredibly busy and happy… till Mom honked the horn three times…. that was our get back home call.  We where usually ready for the honk as our imaginative and wide wandering games often left us with healthy appetites.

My kids hunted down and buried treasure, fought the authorities and forced mates to walk the plank till supper; and they too ate well.

(My younger brother and I.)


My Guac! (Recipe Request)

I’m going to share a recipe that has become a family tradition in our house.  It is a long time party favorite, and has changed many a persons opinion on avocados.  Time to share it.  Sorry that I couldn’t remember where I found it, so you will have to try my altered version.

LIGHT Guacamole
(Yields 2 Cups)

(The Guac is on the left, with yellow peppers.)

1 cup cottage cheese
1 Tbsp sweet onion (or 1 1/2 tsps onion flakes)
1-3 garlic cloves minced (add as many as you think you can handle)
1 tsp salt (add more to taste)
pinch cayenne pepper
3 tsps lemon or lime juice
1-2 avocados (your choice based on how light you want it)
1 sweet bell pepper chopped

  1. Chop fine the sweet onion, mince the garlic and peel and chunk the ripe avocado(s).
  2. Process all ingredients but the bell pepper, till smooth.  I like to leave some of the avocados chunky but it is your preference again.
  3. Chop the pepper (red is nicest) and place about a third of it in the bottom of a bowl.
  4. Add half the guacamole on top of the peppers.
  5. Scatter more peppers and then add the last of the dip.
  6. Sprinkle the last of the peppers on top.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and be sure the plastic is touching the entire surface of the dip (or it will brown).
  8. Refrigerate for about 2 hours for best taste. Use up with in 24 hours.
  9. Serve with Taco style chips or veggies.


No Cocoa? No Worries!

Started melting butter for my mom’s brownie recipe when I realised I had some brownie making issues.  First off, her recipe called for walnuts and as these where for school, no nuts allowed.  Grabbed a bag of shredded coconut to replace the nuts, save.  Second, I realised I had NO COCOA!  Grabbed the chocolate chips and melted a bunch into the butter, till it was nice and dark, and SAVE again.  They where absolutely lovely brownies!

Of course my tweaking didn’t stop there… replaced the sugar with coconut sugar (because it has a profoundly lower glycemic effect) and then added some high fiber grains for good measure, this didn’t result in heavy brownies.  Finally I had no time to ice the brownies (making this quick recipe late at night) so the chips came in handy again, being thrown on top before baking made a nice replacement for icing.

I really enjoy my mothers original recipe.  It was the first baking I made as a girl.  Hopefully next time I go to make it I will have the proper ingredients on hand… that being said, these coconut brownies where very enjoyable in their own right and will for sure be faithful school lunch baking.

Chocolate Coconut Brownies

1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or more for darker brownies)
1/2 cup coconut sugar (also called organic palm sugar)
1/4 cup spelt bran
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 egg
1/2 cup unbleached flour (and a little bit more for good measure, like 2 tablespoons)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shavings
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Melt the butter and throw the chocolate chips in while warm, stirring till melted.
  2. Add melted mix to the coconut sugar.
  3. Add each item after that, mixing well.
  4. Scrape into 8×8 greased pan.
  5. Top with chocolate chips before baking.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for EXACTLY 20 minutes.

Do you have a favorite baking substitute that wowed you, or just plain saved the day?  Please share in the comment section!

Happy adventures in baking everyone, and remember to learn substitute options, they will save your baking sanity for sure!


Jewelry Box

The other day a friend was chatting about how her girl friend had had all her jewelry taken in a home invasion.  None of it was of great value, except to her, and she was so upset since it wouldn’t add up to much for them anyhow.  She had expressed how each piece had memories for her, and there in was her sorrow.

My jewelry box is full, but all items hold little ‘cash value’.  I really like hand made or wooden pieces.  Colorful stones or beads win over diamonds or jewels every time for me.

I was able to understand her feelings as I have stories attached to each piece.  When I put on the earrings Grandma Smith used to wear I remember her.  The pieces my husband picked out carry fuzzy feelings with them as I wear them..  The necklace in the above photo is worthy of a photograph BECAUSE my sister made it for me.

The end of the tale told was advice to HIDE even your cheep jewelry and I decided that just didn’t connect with me.  As much as I enjoy my accessories they aren’t something I need to fear and fret for…

While you can’t replace even the cheapest of jewelry, if it holds memories, you can have and make more memories with the people that have left their mark on your earrings or necklaces.  More cheep jewelry can be given and receive by the people you love, reflecting the new memories made.  The only thing of real value in this world, that absolutely can not be replaced in any acceptable way is YOUR PEOPLE.

I am thankful for the lingering effect that my Grandmother has had on me, the continuing growth my husband builds onto my soul and the eternal change Christ’s love has given my spirit.

(My sister also made this shell & bead jewelry set, for me!)


H’orderves on the Menu

Since Garnet was diagnosed with hypoglycemia the traditional meat and potato meals have been out the window in our house.  While it was a struggle to learn to cook with NO SUGAR and LOW STARCH I am finding a groove.  Add to this dietary restriction four kids to cater to….

To be honest, this Mama isn’t the catering type.  If I serve them something they don’t like (after having tried it) I will reintroduce it over and over till they DO like it.  This is how I won on the avocado front! 

All that good parenting advice aside, I like to treat them now and again.  That means asking what they would like for supper or making something I know they will love.  On the weekend I surprised them with pancakes and strawberries for lunch (high protein and fiber, sugar free but they didn’t no that).  The other night I needed a meal in a hurry and dared to ask for their hearts desires.  They all agreed on ‘salmon h’orderves’.  I started making them cracker topped snacks years ago and to them it is the fanciest of my meals. 

Salmon h’orderves is what they call the meal in the photograph at the top of the post.  Salmon salad atop some greens on a cracker and then topped with cheese, in this meals case we had havarti.  I boiled a few eggs, steamed some broccoli and made an avocado salad for good measure… done in little time.  One of my oldest kids found the home made apple cinnamon sauce in the fridge and requested it as ‘a side’… since it too is sugar free I agreed with little pressure.

The kids had seconds and thirds and…I told them I was done making h’orderves when they pleaded for fourths.  A speedy, healthy meal all around and all the better because my crew thought it was grand! 

Do you make your kids h’orderves’?  If so what are yours like?  Fancy actual h’orderves or ‘kid style’ ones?

Bless you and your meal making efforts!


Money Talk (Marriage Monday)

Money is opportunity for a couple to work on surrender.

Money is something that can clearly effect ones relationship with each other negatively; thus certainly can stress the spiritual connection we have with Christ.  It is something that can give a person the allusion of control over their life and thus tempt one to surrender less or to see less value in surrender to Jesus.  The antidote to this temptation is indeed surrender!

Keeping Christ out of any area in our lives is not an option for the Christian.  For us, finances are just as much a faith conversation as a part of our physical circumstances.  That being said, tithing isn’t the subject in our home, when it comes to money and our faith.   The conversation is focused on the idea of including our money when we talk about and act on the concept of living in Christ.  We don’t see it as a way to live for him but to surrender to him. 

In agreement my husband and I don’t tithe.  We have moved away from the commandment idea, and are working on the ‘living in the Spirit’ reality instead.  We have a goal in mind, a goal to continue increasing in our giving and at the same time to put a cap on our lifestyle increase… in this way we hope to walk more in faith and worship day to day; understanding surrender as worship and faith building.  We hope to consciously choose to fight against the ‘american dream’ self increase ideal and instead grow in a wholly surrendered life in Christ.

Hold to your spouse and walk this road together with joy and faith!
Hold not to your finances but to Christ.


Marriage Monday is a link up opportunity, where a collection of blogging Christian women get together to post on a marriage related topic.  Click linky below to see what else was contributed and consider joining up yourself!

First Monday of every month at Chrysalis


‘Scrub’ Sports

(Photo’s from summer past, a rough version of soccer on Papa and Nanny’s lawn.)

Had my first game of ‘scrub baseball’ with the kids.  Riddick, the family dog, was tied to a tree so he would stop breaking up the game.  He has a nutty streak that just wants to destroy every ball he sees.

My youngest, being only three, spent most of his time bursting in and out of the game… apparently he was a little confused as to which game we where playing.  I would be just about to pitch the ball to the child at bat when someone would yell, ‘Baby boy, playing through!’, on cue a boy and his yellow soccer ball would madly run in and out of our way.

The older two figured the game out in no time.  Hit the ball with bat, put bat down, run to big tree and back to home before being tagged.  We had the expected attempts to nail the runner by throwing the ball AT them as hard as possible, the occasional stomping of feet when one didn’t make it back to home before being tagged, and one person got hit with the ball… that was Mom, of course.  I knew no good could come from being the first person to teach my oldest boy to pitch… he got me in the back and then I taught him, with excellent patience and grace I might add, to aim over the plate and not AT the batter.

My five year old daughter did a great job at running to the little person’s base and back (had a shorter run for the shorter kids) but forgot to put the bat down and that sure slowed her down… considering it’s almost as big as her.

The older two really liked getting Mom out and thought it was fun to try to block me on my way back to home base.  The required, but rare, scrub baseball tackle entered the game at this point.  “Mama will knock you down”, I grinned between wheezing for breath, as I picked my 8 year old up off the ground.  Dusted him off and we both laughed about it.  Of course he pulled it again in hopes of another wrestling match with Mom… ah boys…

So we didn’t completely stick to baseball, but it was a good first lesson!

My parents introduced us to pretty much every game under the sun, the ‘scrub’ version that is… less rules, rotating teams, no counting score and just fun…  I will always cherish the times my Grandma Smith got involved and wowed all us grand-kids.  She was such a sportsman!  I hope to encourage my children to JUST ENJOY it like she did.  I figure, like my parents must have, introduce the kids to enough sports in your own back yard and you help encourage them toward an active lifestyle.  We learned quickly it was about fun and activity.  That it didn’t matter much how amazing we where if we where hearty of spirit and ready to play!


Delightfully Different Daughters

My five year old just got a ‘salon’ cut and she is thrilled.  Perhaps a stylist in the making, this girl was pumped just about getting to watch the hairdressers do their work, let alone getting a new look herself.

For weeks she has been asking to have a ‘bob’ and insisted she genuinely wanted short hair.  I didn’t know what to think.  My eldest has had such a flip out thing about getting her hair cut.  The last time I got her hair cut shorter, many many years ago, she almost had a panic attack.  Well my little lady is entitled to be her own person so I decided to go for it.  She is anything but conflicted.  Absolutely tickled about her cut and really looking forward to showing it off to her Daddy tonight.

She looks adorable, I am thrilled about the style too.  Bobs always reminds me of Christoper Robin from the A.A.Milne stories, back when bobs where more commonly on sweet little English boys.

While I clearly know my girls are different persons, it can be hard to know when to learn from the experiences I have had with eldest daughter and when to just drop them because they don’t work with my youngest daughter.  Same struggle has been going on with my parenting of my two boys… sometimes I use the old saying ‘boys will be boys’ and other times that doesn’t work for them both.

With two girls and two boys (the same sex siblings being about 5 years apart with each set) I learned long ago that no matter how experienced you are as a parent, or how many children you have, you still have to work with their personalities.  No cookie cutter kids in my house.

Their uniqueness is a treasure to this mother!


Change of Face

Well, not a complete, or drastic, change of face really…  Today was a big day for me though.  A little bit of new! 

I had been talking myself out of contacts for years, holding onto a favorite pair of frames.  With an opportunity to go to a large glasses outlet, ALONE for a couple hours, I had my chance to change my own mind.

Walking in I had a set goal in mind.  Nothing less then what I was thinking could make me put my faithful vera wang frames aside.

“Cat eyes,” was my blunt explanation at the clerks request to aid me.  Well she didn’t disappoint.  Back in a flash she had some bling bling cat eye frames that made me feel all glam librarian!  My next response was equally as to-the-point, “Sold!”

I almost talked myself out of contacts one more time.  Thanks to a very good clerk I stayed, went through the introduction to it all and discovered I am very capable when it comes to touching my own eye.

I walked around a bit, to make sure I was fine with the contacts in.  As I strolled back to get the washing kit I spotted a pair of REAL sunglasses!  They were BIG, pretty shaded glass and actually in style.  Could these be my first pair of sunglasses since I was a child?!  Casually I handed them to the lady at the desk, squealing inside, then strolled into the contacts office to get my supplies.

With that I had new glasses, contacts and sunglasses!


Gungor “Please Be My Strength”