Being Thankful

Written By Amy


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Our family has been in Texas visiting life-long friends of ours.

Yesterday we feasted on all the traditional dishes of the holiday, stuffing ourselves past comfortable, but enjoying every minute.  After the last busy scuffle to set steaming dishes on the table (which Jodie beautifully set with her grandmother’s china), I approached my chair to take a seat.  I took a brief second to view the overflowing dishes of turkey and gravy, creamed corn and green beans, soft, warm rolls and cranberry sauce.   Around the table, in cheerful conversation, sat my family, whom I cherish, and good friends. I felt very thankful.

The idea of thankfulness is important to God.  He reminds us to be thankful for him, in his scriptures.

David, in the book of Chronicles, actually assigned a job to some of the Levites to thank and praise the Lord before the ark of the covenant (Chronicles 16:4) .  What if your sole role in life was to thank and praise the Lord?  I can’t think of  any modern-day job with that description, but…what if it became even a small part of our every day?

Here is what David asked of a few of the Levites in the book of Chronicles:

That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he pronounced.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.  Ascribe to the Lord glory due his name.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad:

Let them say among the nations, “The Lord Reigns!”

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 16: 8-12, 25-29, 33


We are given some great tips for thankfulness in these scriptures:

1.  Remember what God has done and tell people of his greatness

2. Look to the Lord to remember who he is, which stirs thankfulness in our hearts

3. Give the Lord the praise and glory  due his name

May God bless our hearts and stir them toward daily thankfulness.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing

Posted by Jen

Okay, these are AMAZING!  It is a MUST TRY recipe!!!  MMM.  Of course, 12 is not enough so I double it:)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing

Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips – I added almost 1 cup of chocolate chips

Cinnamon Icing (recipe below)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pan with cupcake liners (metal works better– would spray the muffin liners with cooking spray)

2. In a medium bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk, and vanilla.  Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.  Stir together with a fork– don’t use a handheld mixer, as it will make the batter gummy.  Once well combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Fill liners two-thirds full.  Bake for 22 to 24 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let fully cool before icing.



Cinnamon Icing – I doubled the icing recipe

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons margarine, melted (can use benechol or other nonhydrogenated margerine)

1 tablespoon soy milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



1. Place sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add the margarine, soy milk, and vanilla and stir with a fork until smooth.  Keep at room temperature until ready to use.  The mixture should look opaque and honey brown.  If it’s glistening a lot or looks too liquid, add a little extra powdered sugar.


To assemble:

1. Take a small plastic sandwich bag and cut out a tiny hole in one edge or fit a pastry bag with a small-holed decorating tip.  Fill the bag with icing and pipe it out Jackson Pollack-style onto the cupcakes.  You may also opt to pipe it in zig-zags, lines, or swirls.  Let the icing set at room temperature or refrigerated.

The BEST Lemonade on the Block!

Written by Jen

We have had a bunch of Lemonade stands for a cause around here. (Thanks to Jessica!  The Lemonade Stand for a cause CHAMPION!)  Each time we don’t ask for a price per cup, but a donation to a cause. We have raised money for World Vision and local food banks. Each kids chooses a cause and each cause has a donation jar. We have raised over a thousand dollars in one day! We send out evites, have great signs and even advertise on Facebook! It’s a great way to get the kids involved in giving back to the community!

If you’re going to do it, you better do it right and reward your generous passerby with the best lemonade on the block! So here is our not-so-secret recipe!

Remember the starting proportions – 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of lemon juice.

The secret to perfect lemonade is to start by making sugar syrup, also known as “simple syrup”. Dissolving the sugar in hot water effectively disperses the sugar in the lemonade, instead of having the sugar sink to the bottom.


1 cup sugar

1 cup water (for the simple syrup)

1 cup lemon juice

3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)



1. Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

2. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

3. Add the juice and the sugar-water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.


Serve with ice, sliced lemons. Yield: Serves 6. From simple recipes.

Day 11: The Gift of Printables and Creative Food for Kids

 Written By Amy

As these last days wind down to Christmas, I wanted to share a few activities to keep your kids busy before the big day.   My rule of thumb is they have to be easy, especially this time of year when everything is so busy!   The first two ideas are printables that hopefully have a little more of the true Christ-mas spirit than you might find out there.    I made them in hopes that they would be fun, yet educational as well.    They are geared for 1st grade and up (but can be done with an adult or with an older sibling for younger children).

                                             A True Christmas Word Search

                                         The Shepherds and the Angels Fill In The Blank

The next two are very simple yet creative food items for your kids to make.  The first is an appetizer that a child would be proud to bring to Grandma’s or serve to company.  It is for a little older children.  The second is a yummy treat that younger children can do with very little help.  Both of these ideas came from Family Fun online.

                 Christmas Package Cream Cheese and Herb Spread


  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Scallion
  • Red bell pepper
  1. Mix the dried dill, garlic powder, and salt into the softened cream
  2. Pack the mixture into a rectangular container lined with plastic wrap (you
    can reuse the cream cheese box).
  3. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Before serving time, set the unwrapped
    block of cheese on a platter and decorate it with a scallion bow and red pepper
    polka dots and gift tag.

                                                   Holiday Pretzel Treats

Salty pretzels combine with sweet chocolate for these fun treats that make a yummy gift few can resist. (In fact, you may want to make some extras for yourself!)

  • Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
  • Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug
  • M&M’s candy
  1. Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper,then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug.
  2. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M’s candy into the center of each Kiss.
  3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear
    plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.


Only one gift to go before we celebrate the greatest gift of all time, the birth of Jesus!



Thanksgiving Check List! It’s in 8 days!

Written By Jen

One secret to stress-free entertaining is to use a timeline, which helps you stay organized and on schedule.  You can accomplish much of the prep work in advance, freeing up your time on the day of the feast.  This is a resource from Williams-Sonoma.  Each year they have a different timeline with different recipe suggestions and expert tips and techniques.  I like the 2010 timeline as follows.  Check their site for many great Thanksgiving Day tips.  I used this last year and it was a wonderful help to a stress free Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Timeline

1 To 2 Weeks before Thanksgiving

* Carefully read though all the recipes to determine the food and cooking equipment you will need.
* Make sure you have enough plates, flatware, glassware and serving pieces.
* Shop for nonperishable food items, such as flour, sugar, butter and jarred or canned goods.
* Order your turkey.


The Weekend Before Thanksgiving

* Complete you food shopping.
* Prepare the turkey brine but do not add the turkey; cover and refrigerate.
* Make the piecrust; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze
* Organize your cooking equipment and tableware.


A few Days Before Thanksgiving

*If you ordered a fresh turkey, pick it up.
* Brine the turkey.  For best results, brine the bird for  24 hours. After the brining time is complete, remove the bird from the brine, rinse it, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to roast.


The day Before Thanksgiving

* Peel and cut the potatoes; place in cold water and refrigerate.
* Make the butternut squash soup; let cool, then cover and refrigerate.
* Cook vegetables for the stuffing; place in a sealable container and refrigerate.
* Prep all veggies, and refrigerate.
* Bake the caramel apple pie; let cool, then cover with plastic wrap.
* Set the table.
* Refrigerate wines that need chilling.


Thanksgiving Day

* Make the stuffing and bake; set aside to reheat just before serving.
* Make the biscuit dough and bake the biscuits.
* Prepare the turkey for roasting and put in the oven at the determined time.  Note: If you plan to stuff the turkey, do not stuff it until just before you put it in the oven.
* Make the veggies; set aside to reheat just before serving.
* While the turkey is roasting, make the mashed potatoes.
* While the turkey is resting, make the gravy.
* Reheat the soup and the stuffing.
* Have a wonderful Thanksgiving



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