Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry CHRIST* mas to YOU!

It has been a LONG week.  My dearest has been working something like 12-16 hour days.  He hasn't had a day off in over a 12 days.  My brother and sister-in-love were in town from Michigan to celebrate Christmas with us.  We celebrated with my side of the family Wednesday.  I have been cleaning, shopping, baking, being a parent, working at my part time job, hockey mom etc. etc....and oh, did I mention, SICK!  I have had some pleasant virus I have nicknamed "THE PLAGUE."  My honey said this is the sickest he has ever seen me.  (please note if you don't speak sarcasm, that would be the language I was using above...)  My point is, I have so desperately wanted to make this Christmas one to remember.  One where we did great crafts, bake oodles of yummy baked goodies, read stories about Jesus, watched great holiday movies... I had PLANS.  Well, a few things did happen.  We watched a couple movies, made two kinds of cookies, read a few books, but it was nowhere in the grandeur of my vision.

Today, I as I am lamenting my lack of completion of my vision, I thought of Mary.  She knew she was having a baby.  (Don't we all dream of a perfect delivery and birth with our first child?)  Not only was she have a baby, but it was GOD!  I think she was probably looking forward to a GREAT birth full of all kinds of perfection.  What she got was a long difficult journey and dirty manager full of animals.  Plus the esteemed visitors were dirty, lowly shepherds.  But the end result was the same.  She had a beautiful baby and it was the LORD JESUS.  She even called herself most blessed among women.  So as I go through my day today, I am no longer gonna say "I didn't get...(fill in the blank)"  BUT I am gonna say, "I GOT THE LORD JESUS!  Blessed am I!"  And truly, isn't that really what it is about today and tomorrow?  We got our LORD JESUS!  We are blessed.

Luke 2:1-20

New International Version (NIV)

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus
 1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are you Kidding me?

I recently read a friend's blog post about her sweet little girl being bullied at school.  And I am not talking about the mean stuff girls do to each other... name calling and the like.  I am talking bruises and scratches and bloody noses. She is in first grade people, first grade!!!!

It seems that almost daily we hear about bullying in the news.

People seem to think home schoolers are immune to bullying.

Not true.

Another friend of mine who home schools, had her child bullied by a "buddy" during outings.

I personally have had two of the three boys bullied.  Today was a real winner.  My little 7 year old goes to speech class once a week for a half hour.  Half an hour, once a week.  There is another little boy who has speech class with him.  Well, today that little boy decided to offer my guy a cup of water.  What a sweet guesture?  Right?  No, wrong.  My little guy, being thirsty, guzzled it down.  He set the glass down and announced to the teacher that it tasted funny.  She quickly realized hand soap had been added to the water.  The nurse called me and I went in to check out the list of ingredients.  The nurse called poison control and they said at worst it will give him a tummy ache.  Now, I read the list of ingredients (yuck!).  It also contained a few of his food allergies.  To top it off the boy refused to apologize.  Twice.  He was given the chance to apologize twice and he refused.

All I got to say, it that it is lucky my guy doesn't have anaphlaxic shock to the allergens. But I can guarantee he will have stomach issues all day.

I don't get this bully stuff and purposeful meanness.  I mean I know kids do crazy stuff to each other, I remember a few pranks in  my days, but it seems to have gotten so mean and bodily harmful.  Why?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 400 (NOT 350) temperature is important.  Too low and the bread collapses.

I do not grease my pans, I use stoneware.  I do however dust with cinnamon.  You may want to use Coconut oil or Palm Shortening to grease other types of pans.  I almost always do mini loaves.  Make sure your pans are ready before you mix your batter.  You don't want the batter to start to rise while you grease the pans.  You want it to rise as right as you put it in/while in the pans.

As the oven preheats (again, important it is at 400 when putting bread in oven) mix up the following ingredients.

1 cup turbinado sugar
1 1/2 tsp gargum **
1 stick butter (we use Earth Balance Soy Free)
2 eggs or use egg replacer (I like Ener G Egg Replacer~ follow directions on box)
1 1/3 cup flour***
pinch of sea salt (I don't use table salt at all~ most have additives and/or wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda (I use Bob's Red Mill Aluminum Free Baking Soda)
1 tsp. baking powder (I use Hain Pure Food Baking Powder~gluten and and corn free)
3 very ripe bananas

 First combine butter and sugar.  Do not overbeat.  Add in banana until most pieces are mushed.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  For this recipe add the baking powder and soda last.  That way it doesn't start to react and rise before I can get it in the pan.  Gluten free cooking is a little trickier with the rise.

Cook for 55 minutes for a loaf and about 40 minutes for 4 minature loaves.

**We don't use Xanthum Gum because it is grown in corn and we are really allergic to corn
*** I prefer Bette Hagman's Four Flour Bean Mix for this, but I have also used her basic Gluten-Free mix and Featherlight Rice Mix, it does change the taste a bit.  We can't use Jules flour mixes because of some of the ingredients they use, but I assume those would work as well.  Bette Hagman has awesome cookbooks and hers were some of the first I ever used on this journey.  I highly recommend the books and her flour mix recipes.
**** As I noted before, I use only Trader Joe's spices or McCormick because they are "clean."  Always double check, as ingredients do change.