Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hope for a New Year

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my Light, my Strength, my Song
This Corner Stone, this Solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All In All
Here in the Love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh
The Fullness Of God in helpless babe
This Gift Of Love and Righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save.

When on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live!

No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's fist cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny!

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His Hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

There in the ground His body lay
Light Of The World by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!

As He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me!
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I've been wanting to start baking my bread again. Store bought whole wheat bread is over priced and isn't that good. I wanted to start baking my bread again, but truthfully have just been too lazy. I don't own a bread machine-I have to do all that kneading by hand.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and purposely didn't buy bread. I was determined to bake this week of light schooling. Today,thanks to Tammy, I found a new bread recipe at the King Arthur Flour website.

Long story short, but my 2 loaves just came out of the oven. We can never wait for it to cool before cutting into it. So...we did. It's yummy! The texture is very nice. I started with their recipe for white bread, it's always a good starting place.

The recipe is good enough that you should try it. They are very thorough with their instructions so even if you've never baked your own bread, you should be okay.

Our freshly sliced loaf.

King Arthur White Sandwich Bread
*my comments are in bold*
1 packet "highly active" active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled. *I needed to use just a bit more water...guess my house is pretty dry.*

1) If you're using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
*What I did- measure out the lesser amount of warm water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl and let bloom.*

2) Combine the dissolved yeast (or instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. *This is when I realized I need the extra water+plus a bit more to make the dough nice and moist-without being sticky.*Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball. *I knead by hand for a full 15 minutes. Lightly flour the table or counter if you have trouble with sticking. Mine was good.*

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's nearly doubled in bulk. Rising may take longer, especially if you've kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to become quite puffy.

4) Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into an 8" log.

5) Transfer the log, smooth side up, to a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. Tent the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap. *I use a very clean dampish tea towel. I then set it in the cold oven with the interior light on to raise.*

6) Allow the bread to rise till it's crested about 1 1/4" over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. Again, it may rise more slowly for you; let it rise till it's 1 1/4" over the rim of the pan, even if that takes longer than an hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

7) Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, till the crust is golden brown, and the interior temperature measures 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. *I don't have this kind of thermometer. Instead I baked it for 25 minutes and checked it-When you thump it, it should sound hollow. It should also be brown. Mine needed the extra 10-15 minutes.*

8) Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. As soon as it's completely cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap; or in a plastic bag, air pressed and fastened securely at the top.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy...

I feel purt-near giddy. Really. God is so good to me!

The past few days have been a nice, contented blur. It's been a very nice holiday season. Today I'm trying to get back into my normal routine. I even made a menu plan(the first one in a few weeks).

And to add to my holiday delight? IHOP is offering their ONETHING conference to view for free!!

I wanted to go to this, but just knew I couldn't swing it. Once again, God has given me the desires of my heart. Watching it in the comfort of my own home is pretty nice. The kids can play around the tree (although, not for much longer) and I can fold laundry while we listen and enjoy.

It's free to watch, but you have to register. The second session started at 2pm central time.
onething 08

EDITED TO ADD: WOW! I can't say enough about the teaching I've been hearing all day! It's soooo good!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The After Christmas Post

I hope you had a good holiday.

I keep thinking over and over how much better this year is than last. Each time I breathe a sigh of relief.

Our Christmas was so nice. It was so much the same as other years, but yet so different. For one thing, there wasn't that underlying stress that years past have had. I didn't have the day after Christmas blues. And I think I love my husband. Pretty great stuff.

The living room floor still looks like Christmas blew up all over it. 5yo is having a blast!! It's so great to see her really enjoying herself.

I even went out and bought curtains for my freshly painted (ahem...well, sorta) living room and kitchen with LAST YEAR'S Christmas money. I know, I know....get a life why don't I? (just how long do you squirrel away those Christmas dollars?)

I'm breathing a nice comfortable sigh of content.

God is good!!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Twas the days before Christmas

'Twas the days before Christmas and all through the trailer,
nothing was ready, not even a Christmas mailer.
The presents were bought with much bustle and haste
But they sit in the trunk, and I think, "What a waste!
This season of giving is such a great hoax
And the price tags attached would make anyone choke!"

But the children's eyes are so merry
oh my, how they twinkle
They care not if I've spent only a nickle.
So I'll bake a few cookies
I'll wrap up the sweaters
I'll even work on the annual letter!

Then Dad in his work clothes, and I in my jammies
will wrap more presents for the kids, Grandpaps, and Nannies.
We'll hang all our stockings
we'll neaten the shoes
Then Dad and I will plan- next year, a cruise!

We'll get up real early despite our complaints
and thank our dear parents for being such saints
We'll remember each Christmas we had in the past
and hope that this warm fuzzy feeling will last.
Then we'll wrap up the kids for a short care ride
and we'll rush and we'll hurry to be at tree side.

We'll sweep in the door and we'll hear them exclaim
You're all here so early, your driving- Insane!
It's so good to be together
this time of the year
It's so nice to be full of such Holiday cheer!

And you'll hear it ring out
as we drive out of sight
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I posted this last year around the same date. It was fun for me to read. So much so that I thought it was worth posting again. Some of them are still quite fresh and true.

For some fresh posts try visiting the BlueCastle for Living in Thanksgiving.

And now for your reading enjoyment....

"This Christmas season I'm thankful that...

there are only 5 more days until Christmas and then it's over until next year.

most of my shopping is done, except a trip to the grocery store and maybe to walmart to print up a photo of we 3 girls for hubby's gift-especially because there are only 5 days until Christmas. Do you know what the stores are like?

I live in a small place that takes less time to clean than the palatial homes I drool over. It gets messed up very quickly, but since there's less room I don't have to walk as far to put things away.

I'm a good cook and my family will eat well before we are invited over to a not so good cook's home for dinner.

we have the simple things in life. Running water, flush toilets, and electricity. These are truly things to be grateful for.

the lovely couple at church tucked a nice Christmas surprise in my card and I was able to go and buy some much needed undergarments. They really are such a blessing.

there is a store that carries the much needed undergarments in my size. It's so nice to walk in and find exactly what I need in a plethora of colors. One size really doesn't fit all.

I have the love and support of God fearing parents. Even in difficult times I know they love me and are praying for me.

Christ humbled himself and became a man. Lived a sinless life, died, was burried, and rose again to be seated at the right hand of the Father and gives me VICTORY and eternal life through His sacrifice.

May I never forget all He has done for me."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

To Do

Christmas Tree-check
Candles in the Window-Check
Homemade Ornaments/craft-
Christmas Cards-
Christmas Picture-
Traditional Holiday Long Underwear-CHECK!

At least I've got a few things accomplished.

Monday, December 15, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Have you seen those ads paid for the Corn Refiners Something Something or Other? Ever since the first time I saw them, I wanted to shout back at the TV.

No need, here is a handy dandy youtube video that says it all for me. (HT to Cheeseslave for finding the video.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Ewww! A huge flock of black birds just flew by the window. It actually darkened the sky a little. Ew!

now,...what was I going to write???? ....

I spent the week trying to get into the groove of a new schedule. Our old one just hasn't been cutting it for us lately.

The new schedule looks something like this:

Sunday Monday-like regular weekend days. Our days to relax, spend time with family. Unless on a Monday Hubs is not off. Then it's a regular work/school day. (This week we were off.)

Tues-Saturday-Schooldays (with the above exception)
Tuesday is recovery day. The day we recover from having a busy day with daddy the day before. This is the day I'll try to make regular grocery store day.
Wednesday -scouts and library day. Also the day to stop by the store for milk or bread if needed (it's on the way home).
Thursday cleaning day (moved from Saturday). This is the day we'll do the Big Clean. Also the day for the Walmart run. (groceries or last minute co-op items.)
Friday is co-op day. Relaxing, yet still productive.
Saturday- a lighter school day. A day to squeeze in a bit of whatever didn't get finished through the week. Also the day we have dinner with my parents.
Everyday is a tidy up day. You know, go through every night and get things put back where they belong. It helps cut down on clutter.

When 5yo was a baby we always schooled on Saturdays. 10yo didn't know any better. She just thought it was a regular school day. Today was the first Saturday we've schooled for a few years. She balked a little. We managed to get through 2 maths. We'll do some music later on and some language arts sprinkled sometime throughout the day.

It was hard for me to not go through and start the usual Saturday morning routine. Especially since the house only got a lick and a promise on Thursday. My back was too ouchy to do much more. I'll make up for it Monday.

Tonight we're off to a a colonial village to take part in an old fashioned Christmas. Should be fun.

OH! History! Life is good. I'll take pictures! (note to self: change camera batteries!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

A record breaker?

I know I've been rather quiet for a few days. Well,..I hurt my back. Or I guess, reinjured it, or aggravated an old injury or-something. Whatever you call it-it hurt.

We stayed home from co-op on Friday. One of the mom's decided to come over to help us. I didn't really need it, but it was a nice thought. She took care of getting dinner-fried chicken. It was good not to have to cook and clean up. Thankfully the house work was done Thursday so I was able to take it easy Saturday.

Sunday I was still trying to take it easy, but Hubs was home. He had 2 days off this week. The payback for that is that we wont see him until the week of Christmas. Kitchen work is like that. If someone else needs the extra time, you've got to pay the price for it.

Since he had 2 days off, we decided to go shopping. The kids stayed with my mom and dad. They even spent the night!

That means Hubs and I were alone for a whole day and night and most of yesterday!!!!

Truly, I don't remember the last time he and I were alone together for that amount of time. The last time I can remember was shortly after 10yo was born. But it was an emergency type visit and not what one would call relaxing. This weekend we had no agenda except to go shopping.

We went for a drive, got coffee, shopped, grabbed a sandwich. He helped me shop for the kids. He even laughed at my jokes (instead of being angry.) I could scarce believe it. It was pleasant. I had forgotten that we were ever like that.

You girls that have full time husbands probably don't realize just how lucky you are.

I didn't really how much I needed a break from 24/7 mommydom either. At bedtime, I realized that while I felt a little guilty over letting my children with their grandparents, I felt very relieved to not have to take care of anybody.

The shopping made the back pain flare up, but it was worth it. So worth it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


My life has changed substantially this past year. Changed and yet stayed the same. I guess what really changed was inside of me.

I can't really articulate all that I've come to realize. Many of the lessons I've learned came hard. They were not lessons that anyone else would even realize I've learned. Just me. And God.

I've learned that looking backwards only keeps you from moving forwards. Sounds pretty obvious. It was something I knew in my head, but had not moved to my heart. Or maybe one my heart chose to forget. While my mind said keep going, something deep down kept looking backwards. It never understood why Lot's why turned into a pillar of salt (other than disobeying God.)

My heart now understands. It has felt the tears wash over and over. Bitter. Thinking at first it was good, realizing that it isn't, then feeling again the deep cuts of the wounds so long in healing. Those tears were necessary: the dead lost feeling vital to learning to live again.

Learning to forgive was something I thought I had mastered. Now I see it's a continual process. Forgiving as Christ does means wiping the slate totally clean so that not even the streaks show. It means never looking behind at where I've come from, but keeping my eyes fixed on The One.

This is my now. I cannot change yesterday, as much as I may yearn to do it. All I can do is live my today.

It's a lesson learned long ago, but one that's learned anew. A continuation of my education. Another step toward home.

And I'm thankful. Thankful for lessons learned. Time that heals. A God that teaches the lesson so faithfully.


Visit Blue Castle for more Living in Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Works For me...Lacing Up

Ever wake up in the morning, take a look around and think, "What blew up in here?!"

Only about once or six times a week! It's always especially bad when Hubs has been home the day before.

One thing I've learned the last few years is that the best way to get through it is to just get to it. The work isn't always so bad once you get started.

In the past I always cleaned in my bare feet. We don't wear shoes inside. It keeps the floors cleaner. The thing is, when you clean for several hours bare footed, you wind up with aching feet, not to mention if the garbage needs to go the curb and you don't have a willing helper, it takes some extra time to put your shoes on to take it out.

Enter my mom. She's been telling me for years to put some shoes on before I do things. Did I ever remember?

Is molasses pink?

Not until recently. Something just finally clicked. I began taking my mommy's advice and started lacing up the shoes before I start my cleaning. What a difference it makes.

It puts a spring in my step, protects my feet, and I'm also ready for anything. If I need to run outside to the car for something, or take the trash to the curb, I don't have to pause to tie up my sneaks.

For more tips click on over to Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Look of Things

I know, I know...I said I needed to clean like crazy. What else is new for a Tuesday?! Did I do it????

No. Not yet. !

Instead I spent the morning singing Christmas songs with the girls (and making a new playlist). But then I decided the Green Layout for the Blog (albeit very nice) just isn't very season appropriate, especially since I changed the playlist.

Little ole 'gotta get the job done now' me, decided it was time to search for a fresh look for The Factory.

I searched and searched. I found some lovely templates. Unfortunately either the codes weren't correct (what I'd like to believe) or else I'm way too dumb to be messing with blog design (which is likely more accurate.)

I did end up changing the layout though. Unfortunately, I also managed to delete all the side bars, widgets, links, and comments. It's taken me quite a while to figure out what was missing and how to fix it.

Blogger was a little weird earlier today too. I'll tell myself that it's them not me that messed it up.

...yeah...that will make me feel better


It's Tuesday again....Pray for strength!!!!

It's all I can do to not don the work sneaks and have an all day work-a-thon.

Clearly something in my old schedule and routine is not working anymore. I've got to figure out what it is. AND QUICK!