Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast cookies just SOUND delicious, don't they? I thought so too, and that is why I decided to make a batch today to freeze for those days when I don't feel like cooking breakfast. I came across this recipe that delivered a healthy, tasty, and easy breakfast treat and, let's get real, when does a cookie NOT sound good?? :) Anyway, they were fun to make and I enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing that what I was baking was GOOD for me! Always wonderful. :) The only change I am going to make next time is the size of the cookie. I am going to make them a little larger because I must have scarfed down six or seven of them in the span of two hours. Yikes! It would be easier for me to admit I ate THREE instead of SIX....ha!

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Make-Ahead Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

½ cup peanut butter
½ cup applesauce
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1½ cups flour (all-purpose or ¾ cup all-purpose and ¾ cup whole wheat) -- I used all whole wheat
¼ cup toasted wheat germ (I used flax seed meal)
2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
1 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, or chocolate chips) -- Optional. I didn't use any

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and applesauce until combined. Beat in the brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beating until mixed. Stir in the bananas, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour and wheat germ, mixing until combined. Stir in the oatmeal and raisins.

Drop ¼-cup dollops of batter four inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down slightly with the palm of your hand to flatten into three-inch rounds.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are browned. Let stand 1 minute on the tray, then remove to a wire rack.

Yields 24

To freeze: Simply cool and seal in a freezer bag.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Juices & Smoothies || Almond Banana & Apple Celery

As I've recently posted, I am a big fan of juicing. I am also a big fan of smoothies. There are plenty of less-than-tasty things that GREATLY aid in health that can be "smuggled" into a smoothie (i.e. cottage cheese, cod liver oil...) Saturday, while I was at Sam's, I saw a book called, "100 Best Smoothies and Juices" for $4.99. Umm...YES! I had to buy it and I have already made one smoothie and one juice from its list that I will now HAPPILY share with you!

Almond-Banana Smoothie

1 cup of almonds
2 1/2 cups of milk (recipe calls for dairy-free)
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp Vanilla extract
dash of ground cinnamon

Put the almonds into a food processor or blender and process until very finely chopped. Add the milk, bananas, and vanilla and blend until very smooth and creamy. Pour into glass and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Serves 3-4 (you can also freeze what you don't use for later use!)

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. They are also high in folic acid, which makes it great during pregnancy. They are good for the brain, the heart, the skin, regulate cholesterol and blood pressure, helps fight cancer and diabetes, and it's an energy booster! WOW!

Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B, iron (which makes it great for Anemia), fiber, and they help the body fight off depression, heartburn, and even morning sickness! They are good for the kidneys and they help our body absorb calcium.

Apple-Celery Juice

2 apples
2 sticks of celery

Using your juicer, juice both the apple and the celery and enjoy!


finely dice both the apple and the celery
add 1 1/4 cups of milk
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt

Put all the above ingredients into your blender or food processor and blend until thoroughly combined. Pour into glass, add ice, and enjoy!

Apples regulate blood sugar and are good for bone health, asthma aid, and they fight lung cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, and supply galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body's need for insulin.

Celery is known to contain at least eight families of "anti-cancer compounds," one of which is acetylenics which has been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells. Celery helps break up gall bladder stones and fight inflammation, along with promoting healthy kidney function.

The Proverbs 31 Quest || pt 7

Proverbs 31:16
"She considereth a field, and buyeth it:
with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."
Last time, after I posted about Miss 31 getting up "while it is yet night," I ended up being up and at 'em before the sun came up for a few days, too! Unfortunately, and to be honest, it was not because I set my alarm to go off. It was due to my 10 month old "baby alarm." But, hey, I was up! And I loved it. One step at a time....I'm getting there!

Today, I'm hitting the next verse.

"She considereth a field, and buyeth it..."

* Considereth - plan, purpose, devise, ponder.

We already know Miss 31 is organized. We also know that she is a godly woman. In this verse we see that she puts that organization into practice by studying a field, then making a wise purchase of that field. She doesn't do this rashly or on a sudden impulse. Being the godly woman that she is, she no doubt prayed over the matter and gave it careful thought and consideration. She had a plan for her family and she carefully thought about what she needed. Now, of course, this verse does not mean that we must go out and buy property. But I think it is inspiring that this lady put lots of planning and prayer into buying land that she can use to produce her own fruits and vegetables. Maybe wheat and cotton too! Who knows what all she planted and grew! But she considered it before she made the purchase.

Today, our decisions are often rushed and we rarely stop and pray over this-or-that before making decisions and commitments. She, however, pondered it. Maybe she asked herself:

Will this field bring honor to the Lord?

Have I consulted with my husband and sought his wisdom?
Am I financially able to purchase this field?

Am I committed to assume the responsibilities that this field will have for me?

Will this field be a blessing to my household or a burden?

As I have mentioned previously, I do not have a green thumb. I am proud of myself when I can keep flowers alive for longer than a month. For the past two years, I have wanted to plant a garden and, Lord willing, I intend on doing so this spring, regardless of my history. I want to plant my own vegetables and fruits, which will not only save money on fresh produce at the grocery store, but will be much healthier for us to eat. Of course, the pure satisfaction of simply growing something is an added bonus!

"...with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."

Maybe she didn't plant vegetables or wheat. It is quite probable that the purpose of the field was to provide a place for a vineyard so that the family and others could enjoy the fruit! Miss 31 is a business woman, we will later learn. We know she is wise and carefully considers things before making a decision. I believe this portion this tells us that she buys the field and plants a vineyard 1) with the funds from previous work she has done, or 2) with funds that her husband has allotted to her. It is "the fruit of her hands." She doesn't go into debt in order to purchase the field. Her whole goal is to bless her household, not add a strain or a burden. We need to take notes! We can all learn so much from her example.

Personally, I want to be wise. I want to carefully pray over every decision I make. I want to be wise with money. And I want to be a good keeper of my home. James 1 tells us that if we lack wisdom, He will give it to us - liberally! So let us ask....and then use that wisdom to further bless our family.

Proverbs 31:16
"She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When He's Not Superman

When I married my husband, I married a sinner. I married a human who battles against the flesh, same as me. 
I remember the first marital spat that Grant and I had. Naive as I was, I found myself utterly stunned. THIS man was perfect! THIS man had selflessly fought for me, won my heart, and patiently waited for 14 months to marry me. This man was superman! But in the moment of a heated battle, my head screamed: 
How can he be so AWFUL right now?!!

Any of you married ladies relate?

Though my husband is wonderful and amazing, he is an unfinished work-in-progress. God is still working on him….and on me. But let’s get real. Sometimes we, wives, grow irritable when our “super” husband is not super. So what do I do when he’s NOT an extraordinary superman? Below is a list I made for myself when my sinful nature rises up. It helps me and I hope it can help you as well. 

  1. First, own up to the fact that your husband married a sinner. That's you. Yes, you are a sinner. So is he. Get your perspective right and remember that two imperfect people said "I do." When we remember this truth, our pride will start to fade and our humility will begin to grow.
  2. Next, PRAY. Pick up your Bible. Get alone. Go to the LORD and present the situation to Him. You are hurt. Maybe you're offended. Maybe you are just plain mad - and want to be! Go to Him and tell Him about it. Then be quiet and let Him speak to you and calm your heart. Be still so you can know, and remember, that He is God and He can take care of any issue - big or small. He is the marriage counselor and the author of Love, so let Him speak to you and teach you. Let Him do His job. :)
  3. Make a list of his good traits and qualities. It may take a little time when you are upset, but force yourself to write down all the things you love and admire about him. As you do that, you will more than likely feel a bit more tender and kind towards him than before.   
  4. Forgive him. Remember that Jesus loves us and forgives us, even when we spit in His face and willfully sin. And His blood covers all our sins. Jesus is the goal. Jesus is the example. Focus on Him, remember what HE did for YOU, then do the same for your husband.
  5. Here comes the hard part. Apologize. Go to him and humbly ask his forgiveness. Even if you didn't "start it," take the initiative to be the peacemaker. Keep in mind that no matter what your husband does or says, YOU are responsible for your actions. You cannot justify your lashing out in anger just because he did. YOU do what's right, no matter what anyone else does or says.
Marriage is an incredible relationship that teaches us so much about the Lord and His grace. Sometimes, marriage is hard. But it is blissfully wonderful!! Nah, some days he isn't superman. But hey! You aren't superwoman all the time, right? 

I'm running this race with you, ladies! Let's run well....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Juicing for Baby

The other day, I had some apples and oranges that were about to go bad. To my shock, I realized that it had been quite a while since I had juiced any fruits or vegetables. So I pulled out my juicer to make me some fresh juice. While I poured my glass, I thought, "My goodness, my baby boy is a big boy...and I bet he will LOVE this." So I poured some into his sippy-cup and handed it to him. OH MY GOODNESS. You'd have thought I'd handed him the moon. He loved it. He drank it all quicker than he has ever drank anything. And boy, was I proud! Of course, I called my husband and my Mom to tell them all about it! Every time he does something new, my momma-heart swells up and I want to go brag on how awesome and smart my kid is. :) I'm sure you mommies understand exactly what I mean. :)

The next day, I pulled my juicer out again. For two months I have been trying to get carrots into no avail. He does Of course, I don't blame him. I have never liked them either. However, I love carrot juice, especially mixed with apple. So, I pulled out an apple, a bag of baby carrots, and made me and him some carrot-apple juice. Again, I poured the juice into his sippy-cup, handed it to him....and held my breath (and prayed!).

And he drank.....and drank.....and drank.....with a smile.


Juicing fruits and vegetables is SO easy, surprisingly delicious, and unbelievably healthy. I owe my health to juicing. I used to be sick almost constantly. Every cold or sickness that came around, I caught. I was sluggish and lacked energy. Then my family began juicing and now? I rarely get sick! My sisters began injesting vegetables that were avoided at all costs before! :) It became a game to create concoctions, trying to come up with the tastiest and healthiest juice (or smoothie!). So I HIGHLY recommend going out and getting yourself a good juicer. You will reap the benefits, I assure you!

Below is a small list of juices that I have made. Happy Juicing!!

  • Carrot/Apple juice
  • Strawberry/Spinach (use baby leaf spinach)
  • Apple/Celery/Carrot
  • Carrot/Blueberry
  • Strawberry/Blueberry/Blackberry
  • Apple/Orange
  • Orange/Spinach/Peach/Carrot

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Singing Scripture

A few months ago, I shared a chart that I made for me and Nathan as a way of helping me teach him Scripture. I call it my "Saturate chart." Children are like sponges and they learn so much, so fast, so early in their lives. It has been a challenge for me to remember to incorporate the Word into everyday life happenings, but we are getting there! We take it one day at a time. :)

When I was younger and in the AWANA program at our Church, I remember my mom taking the Bible verses we needed to remember and putting a tune to them. We were all singers and singing Bible somehow made it easier to remember those tough verses. There was a time when one of my little sisters, instead of reciting the verse to her AWANA leader, sang the verse....and had a few body motions to go with it! -- for effect, I guess? :)
Months ago, I began taking Nathan's bath time to recite to him Psalm 51:10. Not long after, I began to sing Keith Green's song that he wrote from that passage, "Create in Me a Clean Heart." Following suit, and being a singer, I took his mealtime verse of Psalm 34:8 and put a tune to it myself. -- Below is a video of my version.
The other day, with all of this on my mind, I thought to myself, "I bet there are Scripture songs out there!" So I pulled up Google and searched for KJV Scripture Songs for Kids. What I found made my heart happy! After looking at various CDs out there, I ended up at iTunes and downloaded fourteen Scripture songs that will make it a lot easier to instill many verses into my son's little heart.

I downloaded songs from the ABC Memory Verse CD, and several songs from the Bible Songs for Kids collection. I am LOVING them! It is a lot easier for me to "soak" him in Jesus and flood his mind and his heart with God's Word through song. And it's easier for me to memorize Scripture more too! (I'm no easy sponge anymore!)

So if any of you mommies love singing around the house and also want to teach your children Scripture, I highly recommend using Scripture songs. Find some you love....or put a tune to verses yourself! Whatever method you choose, I just encourage you to saturate your kids.
This is my tune to Psalm 34:8. I have found that there are many versions out there,
so if you don't like mine, you can find another. :) Though Nathan always gives me a
tiny smile, he is still more interested in his food. However, I am sure that if I stay
consistent, he will have those verses rooted in his heart forever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My "Love Dare" For You

Those of you who have seen the movie, Fireproof, may have recognized the title. In that movie, Caleb, on the brink of divorce, is given a "dare" by his father. The dare shows Caleb what marriage is and, ultimately, leads him to the Cross on the way.
Well today is Valentine's Day and, as I type this, I am watching the Tweets and the Facebook posts from people all over. They are posting about flowers, candy, date nights, love letters, their significant others...or their "woes" about being single on this "lover's holiday." As I blogged the other day, Valentine's Day has a pretty rotten origin. And as a Christian, sometimes it's not so simple to know exactly how you ought to respond. My husband and I talked about it again this morning. We don't want to be legalistic but we do want to live righteously. With that being said, I have my own little "Love Dare" for you today. Actually....I have two. :)

If you are single...
I dare you to draw nigh unto God...(James 4:8)
I dare you to trust in Him, with ALL your heart...(Proverbs 3:5)
I dare you to let Him show you how to love...(1 Corinthians 13:4-8; John 13:5)
I dare you to see HOW MUCH in love He is with you!....(Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 2:19-20; Romans 8:38-39)
I dare you to walk in wisdom, in love, and in purity....(Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:2; Matthew 5:8)

I dare you to let Him lead you in everything...(Proverbs 3:6)

If you are married...

I dare you to love each other as Christ loves you...(1 John 4:7)
I dare you to put one another above yourself....(Philippians 2:3)
I dare you (wives) to be your husband's help meet....(Genesis 2:18, Titus 2:3-5, Proverbs 31:10-30)
I dare you (husbands) to be your wife's protector and leader...(Ephesians 5:23-29)
I dare you to be kind, patient, and servant hearted with one another...(Galatians 5:13; Galatians 5:22-25)
I dare you to let God build your life, your marriage, and your family...(Psalm 127:1-5)

On this "day for lovers," I challenge you to fall more in love with our Lord and Savior. Because if HE is the all-complete lover of our souls, then all else will fall into place and into perspective.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ten Months Old

When Nathan woke up this morning, I picked him up out of his bed and sat him on our bed next to Grant. I went and made him a bottle and, when I handed it to him, I watched him as he took it and, while sitting up like such a big boy, he began to drink. I sat there staring at him thinking, "He is so grown....he's doing this all by himself while sitting up.....he looks like a big boy boy is ten months old." Good golly....

Well, here is the latest. :)

  • He still has two teeth. More are on the way, but I must say that those two teeth are SO stinkin' cute.
  • He has always been a smiler, but now he has this WAY cute smile where he wrinkles his nose. *melt momma's heart*
  • He has this thing where he will deliberately take something and drop it (or throw it), then look at you and say, "Uh oh." It's funny.....and cute....and annoying when he won't stop throwing or dropping stuff.
  • When I say, "hey," I have a certain flow in my tone when I say it. I am noticing that Nathan will sometimes make the same sound and I am positive he is saying, "heeeey." :) The same goes with "thank you." Sometimes when I hand him something, he says, "ga-ga."  It sounds like "thank you".....kinda. --- I know my kid and I believe that's what he is saying, so there! :-p
  • He says, "Dadda" and he CAN say "Momma"....but he won't say "Momma" unless he's upset. *sigh*
  • Saturday (February 11), we were doing a concert. A sweet lady was holding Nathan in the crowd and, near the end when he saw us, he gave us this BIG grin. Then he saw his Daddy and wrinkled his nose and said, "Dadda!" Then...he wouldn't hush. He wanted to tell everyone how excited he was to see us. Without knowing it, Grant and I both put our fingers to our lips and mouthed, "Shhh." Suddenly, Nathan, puckered up and blinked his eyes, and pouted. ARE YOU SERIOUS?? He definitely knows how to utilize his cute factor. *shakes head*
  • If he's in the mood (yes, I have a stubborn kid), you can say, "Kisses!" and he will give you a good 'ole smack. Way cute. Although when he is hurting from teething, he may take the kissing opportunity to bite....which is something we are teaching him not to do.
  • He is clapping and!!!! I love it.
  • He loves avocados, yogurt, green beans and pinto beans, some peas, and such. BUT his two, all-time favorite things to eat is scrambled eggs and Gerber's Cheetos. That kid can put them away! Fast.
  • He is a climber. 'Nuff said.


He sleeps so weird.


Trying to catch Daddy's tongue. lol

My big boy, playing.

trying the yummy stick

EGGS! lol

Pouting. *rolls eyes*

Playing in his room :)

I'm TEN months old!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine's Day Traditions

I am a wife. I am my husband's sweetheart....and he is mine. :)

But I am also a Christian. And as such, I should be known by my discernment and should be asking questions regarding everything that comes into (or out of) my life and my home. Having said that, it brings me to next weeks' holiday. Valentine’s Day.

What IS Valentine's Day, anyway? It is so easy to fall into step with the rest of mankind and follow their customs and traditions without ever pausing a moment and asking ourself, "Why AM I doing these things?" It's so easy! So because I want to be intelligent and "in the know" about everything I participate in, I did some studying. And below is what I have discovered. I hope, just as they answered my questions, I pray they can answer the questions you may have -- and, indeed, I hope you DO ask questions about the customs you practice as well.

* What is the origin of Valentine's Day? Like most holidays, Valentine's Day goes WAY back. In the days of the Roman Empire, the month of February was the last and shortest month of the year. February originally had 30 days, but when Julius Caesar named the month of July after himself, he decided to make that month longer and shortened February to 29 days while making July a month of 31 days. Later, when Octavius Caesar (also known as Augustus) came to power, he named the month of August after himself and, not be outdone, he also subtracted a day from February and gave the month of August 31 days. We can see that it's still that way today. The ancient Romans believed that every month had a spirit that gained in strength and reached its peak of power in the middle of the month. This was usually the 15th day, and it was a day when witches and soothsayers worked their magic. Since February had been robbed by the Caesars and had only 28 days, it became a very important pagan holiday in the Empire of Rome. The sacred day of February 14th was called "Lupercalia" and on that day, they worshipped the goddess Juno, Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and known as the goddess of love and fertility. On February 15, the Romans celebrated Luperaclia, honoring Faunus, their god of fertility. Men would go to a grotto and would sacrifice a goat, don its skin, and run around, hitting women with small act which was supposed to ensure their fertility.

Then the Catholic church stepped in and, as is their custom, "Christianized" the holiday. Today, the Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. And, oddly enough, they are recognized on February 14. In an effort to conform, compromise, and put a "Christian" stamp of approval on the pagan Lupercalia festival, they glazed over the celebration of lust and fertility and chose to celebrate on that day as well, using the excuse of their martyrs. Make no mistake. It was done intentionally.
Where did Cupid come from? The little baby in a diaper that shoots people with arrows, dipped in a love potion, and makes them fall in love. Sounds like made-up, harmless fun. But it isn't. In Roman mythology, Cupid is a Roman god of passionate love. He is the son of Venus who is the goddess of love and beauty. Again, it is no mistake that he is a primary symbol that dons our Valentine's Day cards and candy.

What is the origin of Valentine cards? I remember, as a little girl, exchanging Valentine's Day cards with friends. We would count them up and, hopefully, have more than everyone else. I remember receiving plenty of "be mine" notes. But....where did that custom come from? Now I know. Remember the above, when on February 15, men would go to a grotto, sacrifice a goat, wear its skin and whip women to ensure their fertility? Well AFTER that, the young women would gather in the city and their names were put into boxes. This was called a "lottery" and these “love notes” were called “billets.” The men of Rome would draw a billet, and the woman whose name was on it became his sexual partner with whom he would play erotic games and fornicate until the next "Lupercalia"....or February 14th. And it was all done in honor of Juno, the goddess of "love"....though "lust" is more what it looks like.

Sadly, THAT is the origin of the, seemingly harmless, "Be my Valentine" tradition.

Obviously, it wasn't about fidelity and true, agape love that 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of. It wasn't even about marriage. The whole thing was to honor pagan gods of fertility and the "love" of the flesh. February 14th - and 15th - became a time of unbridled sexual lust.
So there is some information concerning Valentine's Day and its origins and traditions. I pray that you will take this information and pray and ask the Lord how you should respond. Then obey.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Household Management Notebook -- updated!

Yesterday I spent about two hours or more working on my household notebook. Before, I had Nathan's schedule, natural remedies, Bible verse memorization and things like that. Yesterday, I told myself, "This HAS to be more organized and added to. Pronto!" So I worked hard and I am so happy with the results. Here is a peek at what I have:

When I first open the binder, I have our calendar on the left, inside the
pocket pouch. On the right, I have my daily/weekly/monthly schedule.

The next page is all about perspective. On the left, I have a print out
from Confessions of a Homeschooler that I love, called "Super Mom vs. Abiding Mom."
This is a great encouragement to me, as a mommy, to have the right
perspective going about my day. On the right is what I call my "saturate" chart
with the verses of Scripture I am working to recite to Nathan at various parts of the day.

After that, I have Nathan's info sheet and our daily routine that we some-what try
to stick to. It's just our general guideline. Routine is goooooood.
Below is my edited, fit-for-blogging version, but the real one has
his picture, his SSN, his place of birth, insurance info, etc. But, as you can see, 
it also has his current favorites, routine, likes and dislikes, etc.

Next. On the left, I have a handy freezer "cheat sheet" that reminds me
what lasts in the freezer for certain lengths of time. On the right, you can see a few of my
coupons. I noticed that I kept forgetting them when I went out, then they would expire.
SO, my new method is to have the ones that will be expiring within one month IN my purse.
The rest are kept in this pocket. :)

Then comes "the family area." I have a page of phone numbers.
One side has all of our family's home and cell numbers. The other side
has my doctor, the family doctor, Nathan's pediatrician, and emergency numbers.
And at the bottom are a few extra numbers we use from time to time.
After that section comes our bill info, last month's income, our home info,
all of our car info (make, model, year, etc.), and then all of our account
numbers for....everything. lol. :) That way, it's all in one place for me to grab and look up.

Then I have our "address" area. On the left is a print-out of addresses, stapled
together and slid inside the page protector. The ones highlighted are the ones
we use often. Then on the right is an area where I can write down new addresses to be added
to the master list later.

Next is our lists of birthdays. We both have big families, so it took me quite a
while, but I have two calendar-lists of birthdays. One list is of all the birthdays
and anniversaries in our family. The next list is of the birthdays and anniversaries
of our friends that we need/want to remember. :)

Next are my lists. Grocery list. Household needs list.
Nathan's needs list. And my "To Do" list.

Then the last section is for natural remedies, natural cleaning
supplies, anti-inflammatory foods, and a list of the best (aka - healthiest)
foods to ingest in our body vs. the worst possible foods you can eat.

And there you go! This is, by far, the best (and most useful!) my household notebook has ever been! This website has lots of free printables you can use, should you find yourself in need of a household management notebook yourself. :)

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