Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Last year, for the first time, our family purchased an Advent Book. We spent 25 nights as a family reading the book together. It was a great time for us to take some time, sing Christmas carols, read about the coming Messiah, and we also prayed for those who sent us Christmas cards.

We all get so caught up in the shopping, wrapping presents, preparing food, and the anticipation of what we are going to open up on Christmas day. We head to church for a Christmas service, but do we really prepare for the day that we celebrate Christ? or do we prepare for everything else?

Our family really enjoyed taking the time to do this each night and my kids are excited to do it again this year.

If you and your family don't do anything for Advent and would like to start, I thought I would give you a couple helpful resources.

You can find the book that we use over at Celebrations and Traditions. They also have great ideas for things that you and your family can do to celebrate Advent as well as traditions you can start for celebrating other holidays and making them meaningful. They also have a newsletter that you can sign up to receive.

Also, if you've been coming here for any amount of time you already know that I love Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience.  If you head over to her blog you can find a link to download a free Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Book.

How do you and your family celebrate Advent? I'd love to hear what you do.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Webster's Dictionary defines Gratitude as "the state of being grateful, THANKFULNESS".

What I found more interesting were the Synonyms and Antonyms for Gratitude.
Synonyms: appreciation, appreciativeness, gratefulness, thanks, thankfulness
Antonyms: ingratitude, thanklessness, unappreciation, ungratefulness

So, lets just think about this for a minute.

If you aren't thankful you are thankless and if you aren't grateful you are ungrateful. If we are constantly complaining about what we don't have and what we don't like in our life we are being thankless, ungrateful, and unappreciative towards God!

Larry Burkett says in his book The WORD on Finances:

Are we grateful for what we have, rather than resentful for what we don't have? When we look around, there's always someone else who has more. It's easy to ask, "Why did he (or she) get that instead of me?" Satan tries to get us to be discontented by comparing ourselves to others. The way to counteract that is to praise God for what we have and not let what others have affect us. Thankfulness is not based on an accumulation of assets; it is a positive attitude toward life.

Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. I Timothy 6:6-8

As we just finished celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have all been reminded how important it is to be thankful, grateful, and content in all things and if you aren't - you are the antonyms. I don't know what your situation in life is right now but if you have Christ in your life - YOU ARE RICH! May that be your focus!

My list of gratitude continues:

435~ people who keep me laughing

436~ friends that hold me accountable

437~ passing my insurance exam

438~ heat on a cold day

439~ antibiotics

440~ a husband who so willingly takes care of things while I'm sick in bed

441~ well behaved kids that let me rest

442~ Isaac's retelling of Bible stories when he comes home from school

443~ pumpkin cupcakes

444~ cream cheese frosting

445~ licking the bowl

446~ blinds finally hanging on windows after years without them

447~ books that inspire

448~ secrets whispered in my ear from my kids

Join the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience.

holy experience

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from 2 Indian boys and 2 pilgrim girls (and their mom and dad too!)
May you all have a great day spending time with family, eating turkey, and being thankful to our God for all the good gifts He has blessed you with.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

My 2 Favorite Pumpkin Cakes

This week is Thanksgiving and that means Pumpkin Desserts! One of my favorite things to make! This year I was asked to bring dessert to 2 family gatherings. Although I absolutely love this, I am having a hard time deciding on just 2 pumpkin desserts! I have so many that I love. There are pumpkin cakes, pumpkin bars, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin rolls.

You see my dilemma?

I thought I would share with you a couple of my favorite pumpkin recipes.

The first is just a plain old pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting that has become a favorite of my kids and many others too. I love to make this into cupcakes. It's a great finger food to just grab when you want a little dessert because you are too stuffed from turkey.

Pumpkin Cake

4 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. oil
1 (16oz.) can pumpkin

Mix together and then sift in the following: (I hate sifting,so I generally don't do it)

2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp.salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves (sometimes I substitute allspice for this)

Place in greased 9x13 inch pan and a greased 8x8 pan. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 25 minutes. If you decide to make these into cupcakes, bake them about 17 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (3oz.) pkg cream cheese
3 T. butter

Beat until smooth and add 2 C. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. I love frosting, so I make a double batch!


My second recipe is a Pumpkin Sandwich Cake. I made this a couple years ago and was a little worried with the Pumpkin/Chocolate combination. When I tasted this cake, I was IN LOVE! I think this is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten.

Instead of typing out the whole recipe, I am just going to give you the link.

Pumpkin Sandwich Cake at Better Homes and Gardens

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas is Coming, A Gift Idea For Your Kids

Christmas will be here before you know it! I always like to be organized and be ahead of the game, that's why I have been freaking out lately because I haven't made all my lists of who I need to buy for, how much I'm going to spend on each of them, ideas of what I'm going to buy them....AHHHHH!

I know! Christmas is 38 days away!!!! For some of you that may seem like a lot of days and for some a little. For me, it's a little. I've already given up and decided half the people that are on my list (or will be once I make that list) are going to get gift cards.

Does anyone else ever have grand ideas of making a cute little something and handing it out to all your friends and then they ooh and ahhh about it as you give it to them about how crafty you are? I do this every year and then none of my friends actually get something. As you can tell, I've already given up on this idea. So, if you are a friend of mine....this will be another year that you are thought of but you get nothing. Sorry.

Anyway, since Christmas is almost here and I'm sure your kids just can't decide what they want because they don't really like toys have a million things on their list already but I thought I'd share something that I think should be on their list.

The Lightlings by R.C.Sproul is one of my favorite children's books. I actually think most adults will find this book interesting. He takes creation, the fall and redemption and turns it into a story that children will love. I love the contrast of living in darkness and living in the light. Why we are afraid of the darkness? Because we were made to live in the light.

One of my favorite things about the book is that in the back he has a few pages of questions and Bible verses to discuss with your children the deeper meaning of the book. Now that my kids are older we are able to go through those questions and I just love the discussion it brings up.

So, if you are looking for a good book to buy your kids this Christmas, this a must for your bookshelf. R.C. Sproul also has a couple more children's books that are on my list for my kids this Christmas.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where do they come up with this stuff?

I won't make you guess this time as to what they are doing, I'll just tell you.

Isaac is a black cat and the socks on his hands are his white paws. He is laying in the house they built by making a wall of toys. Alex is also a cat and Amanda is standing in the Barbie house reading them the Bible.

Yes, it is all very odd and random.

(Sorry about the poor quality picture, I took it with my phone)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Imagination - UPDATED

*Go to bottom of post to find out the answer

Being part of a family that has 4 kids within 13 1/2 months has it's good points and it's bad. Sometimes I feel like my kids miss out on some things because of the closeness of their age, but there are also so many good things. Like the fact that they always have playmates. Since they are all around the same age, I love to see their imagination and their creativity as they play and what all their little minds come up with together.

For a couple days they were outside playing this.

I went outside to take a picture and ask them what they were playing. I could easily tell you, but thought it would be fun to see if any of you can guess what they are doing.

So, use your imagination and take a stab at it and I will post the answer later.

**I can't believe that only 2 people took a stab at this one. Thanks to both of you and Anonymous- whoever you are, thanks for the laugh.

The kids are camping.

At first I wondered how this was camping, but I guess when we camp there is a lot of stuff in a small area.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fun with Food

I have been dying to make this cake that I saw on one of my favorite blogs for months now.

It's a banana cake with cream cheese frosting.

When we were going to be at my brother-in-law and sister-in-laws house on his birthday, I asked if I could bring a cake and it just so happens that he loves banana cake. Perfect! I got a lot of compliments on it and Alexandra told me it was her most favorite cake ever! Of course, I think any cake with cream cheese frosting is the most delicious cake ever! So, if you want to try it out for yourself, head on over to i am baker and get the recipe.

The same day I made the cake, I also made these little cupcakes.

Once again, I got the idea from i am baker. I love copying all her creativity! This is really very easy. Just bake cupcakes, take the wrappers off and smother them with lots of frosting! You can go to i am baker and get the exact details.  I used 2 batches of Wiltons Buttercream

The worst part was that the night before I was laying in bed and realized I did not have orange food coloring. I did have red and yellow, so I mixed and mixed but never did acheive the exact orange that I wanted. Then I went to get my green and it was gone. I loaded up my kids (whose hair had never gotten combed yet that day and were looking pretty raggedy) and we headed to the store to buy green food coloring. I must mention that I was looking pretty scary myself, but I was not giving up at this point. Moral of the story...... PLAN AHEAD!

I was told that these are very delicious but I did not partake in this sugar high.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Backyard project.....after!

If you didn't catch the before pictures of our backyard transformation, you can find them here.

But today you get to see the after!

Much better, don't you think?

Still have a few little things to get done but we've been enjoying it all summer and are still enjoying it this fall having fires in the firepit.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Backyard before.......

The beginning of the summer we started a large backyard project and I am finally going to post some pictures for you to see.

I have so many pictures, I figured it might be better in two posts, so today I'll post before and you can come back tomorrow to see the after.

I know! Really bad, right? Come back tomorrow to see the huge transformation!