Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hiccup Cure

When we get hiccups, forget the 10 sips of water while you hold your breathe.

It's peanut butter for us.

A spoonful of peanut butter takes the hiccups away.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Soaking and Sprouting Almonds

Well, as you know . . . we had a bit of an almond problem.  15 pounds worth of almonds.  (Melanie, you almonds will be coming soon!) When I ordered the almonds I had to estimate how many pounds we would eat in a year.  But when I rationed the almonds into 12 neat bags . . . it sure didn’t look like a lot of almonds per approximately 30 days.
Our almonds are completely raw.  So they had some dirt on them.  I washed the dirt off and looked for rocks.

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I dumped my freshly bathed almonds into my sprouting jar and filled it with filtered water. 

Now, to soak your almonds you DO NOT need a fancy jar with a mesh wire lid, such as mine.  My mom “happened” to give this jar to me.  I do recommend a large jar like this—BUT a 1/2 gallon Mason jar works nicely and so does a Pyrex bowl.  When I don’t have a mesh lid, I cover the top of the jar with a clean wash cloth and secure it with a rubber band.

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Sprouted almonds are supposed to be rinsed 3-4 times a day.  Hold on to the lid, pour the water into the sink, rinse off the almonds, dump the water, and add more filtered water.

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Allow your almonds to soak until you see a 1/8 inch sprout at the tip of your nut.  Your almonds will have almost doubled in size.
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Cute little itty bitty tiny whinny sprout . . .

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Time to dehydrate the almonds.  If you do not have a dehydrator you can store soaked almonds in your fridge for 2 days and eat them raw.  Or place them on a cookie sheet and dry them at the lowest temperature your oven will allow – anywhere from 12-24 hours!  You can add salt or seasonings to your wet almonds.

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Notice the difference between a sprouted almond and a store bought almond.  They do taste different.  I personally only like soaked and sprouted almonds.

And remember soaked and sprouted beans, nuts, and grains are nutritionally better for you.  By soaking you are allowing the plant to basically pre-digest parts of itself to make it easier for your body to digest and make the nutrients readily accessible to your body.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Addictive Sweet Potato Burrito

It may not look good now . . . but it will taste good after it is all mixed together.

My sister-in-law introduced me to this odd combination of ingredients and it has been a hit in our family and in many homes with brand new babies ever since!


1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups cooked kidney beans or similar bean (I recommend sprouting and cooking your own beans for a higher nutritional value)
3 tbls chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tbls fermented soy sauce
4 cups cooled and mashed sweet potatoes
12 whole wheat sprouted tortillas, warmed
8 ounces (or more) shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sautee onion and garlic in coconut oil (butter or olive oil)  until soft.  Stir in beans and mash (often I leave them whole).  Remove from heat and stir in chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.

Mix in mashed sweet potatoes,  Evenly distribute mixture beteween the warmed whole wheat flour tortillas.  Top with cheese and fold up burrito style.

Bake for 12 minutes and serve.  You can garnish with sour cream or even use a side of Ranch salad dressing.

These burritos work great when you skip the heating process and wrap the burritos individually and freeze for a later meal.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Snowman's Shoes -- Our Christmas Card

We love snow.

We have been blessed with two snowfalls that have had some accumulation.

A recent snowfall took the Granola Boys outside.  They built Frosty.

But Frosty is JUST a story.  Like Santa.

Apparently not.  But I love my children's imagination.

I'm thankful that Jesus is more than a story.  And there is proof that He existed.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.  

It is my prayer that as you celebrate Jesus' birthday, that your time with family, friends, or even strangers would resemble the wonder the shepherds experienced upon seeing the tiny baby that would radically affect history and change so many people's lives.

God bless you.  And please know, if you ever have any questions about God, my faith, or where you should begin to search for answers, please contact me, a Biblical pastor, or even some of my bloggy friends.  I don't have all of the answers, but I read the Book that does and love the God who knows everything.  I also have an amazing husband, who answers most of my questions! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Morning With Auntie

When we lived in India, sometimes we were honored with the name Auntie or Uncle.  It was a special term of endearment that a child bestowed on an adult if they really liked or respected you. 

Meet Mr. Smackdown, Mr. Me-Too, and Mr. Smiley’s Auntie who is in town for Christmas. 

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Auntie has been in my life since my sophomore year in college.  We met in a group called Student Christian Fellowship in college, became accountability partners, prayer partners, roommates, and eventually were in each others weddings. Now she and her husband are my hands and feet in places that the Lord has yet to call our family to live. 

I warned her that yesterday was a school day . . . and the boys put her to work immediately with reading books while I prepared our Christmas crafts.

We made a snowflake craft sparked by Confessions of a Homeschooler.

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And all the boys created (yes, even Mr. Smiley was involved) an angel handprint craft from Valerie’s website, Little Blots of Faith


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Any day is a good day when there is glitter involved. 


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Our morning with Auntie concluded with a reading of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I have a feeling that this could have been a rough and hectic morning, but with help from Auntie . . . it was perfect.


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Even Mr. Smiley participated in the morning’s readings . . . pretending that he was reading a book aloud to us!


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Monday, December 21, 2009

This Is Why He Is Mr. Smiley

Snacking On God’s Word for Little Ones

There was a time when it was EASY to spend time with the Lord.

In fact, there was a time when I remember having Quiet Times (definition: a time devoted to reading your Bible, doing a Bible study, praying, or journaling to the Lord -- kind of like a date with God) that lasted 1 1/2 hours . .  . and I didn’t have a hard time staying awake.
  • I was doing pretty good when Baby #1 came.  As Mr. Smackdown took his morning nap around 9 or 10 AM, that is when Mussie and I snuggled on the couch with my Bible.  
  • After Baby #2 came, my Quiet Time gravitated towards 2 PM during the boys’ afternoon naps. 
  • Now that Baby #3 has been with us for 20+ months, my Quiet Time occurs at any time I can squeeze it in.  (Lately, I have been getting up around 5:30 AM, though.)
For awhile, I had a tiny Bible that I could easily hold with one hand while I nursed, and an equally small journal that housed a flat pen for any philosophical thoughts that might occur while reading and feeding my small bundle.

However, once Mr. Smiley gave up his morning nap . . . and became interested in grabbing objects while nursing . . . spending time with Jesus became an acrobatic act juggling working out, homeschooling, sewing, blogging, loving on my kids, cooking wholesome meals, dating the Hottie Hubby . . . .

One thing that has always remained, though, is reading God’s Word to my children.  No matter what, this has always occurred, and at times has sufficed for my snacking in God’s Word.  I firmly believe that any amount of God’s Word that we can ingest throughout the day is beneficial.  God says about His Word,
so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
       It will not return to Me empty,
       but will accomplish what I desire
       and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11
I distinctly remember my pastor’s wife telling stories of having Bibles placed all throughout her house so that if there didn’t seem to be time to have a respite in the Word, she could grab a nugget of truth as she passed through a room.  Additionally, she read a chapter a day from the Bible to her babies while they played.

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These were wise words.  I don’t have Bibles open throughout my house, but I do read to my children each day . . . and I would encourage you to.

Most every  morning, after breakfast and the dishes are loaded into the dishwasher, the boys grab their cups of milk and I my chai and we traipse upstairs.  They acquire some toys and play quietly while I read a chapter to them from the Bible.  Currently, we are working our way through the Book of Job.  When I am finished reading, I turn on their AWANA CD or some other gospel-like CD to train them in the importance of having a time of rest and reflection each day. 
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For nap time we are reading Tyndale House Publisher’s The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 by Carla Barnhill . . . and loving it.

I am really enjoying this little devotional.  I chose to review this cute book because I wanted to see if it would be something that I could pass on to you. 
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Sometimes knowing where to begin with your children in the ways of God can be overwhelming.  Many times I have had people question me as to why I read an adult Bible to the boys . . . let me remind you why:
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
       It will not return to me empty,
       but will accomplish what I desire
       and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11
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Perhaps the thought of reading an entire chapter in Leviticus is overwhelming and you just KNOW that there is no way little Jimmy is going to sit still for 20 minutes . . .

It is for this very reason that I wanted to share with you this cute devotional book.  The stories or “devos” are short, Biblical, and to the point.  My boys have loved the precious pictures and I have been AMAZED at the discussion some of the “devos” have produced.  I have included pictures of my two favorite nap time readings thus far.

So . . . as you are doing your last minute Christmas shopping, I want you to consider about making a New Year’s Resolution – reading the Bible to your children.  Pick up this book or a new Bible while you are out!  (In fact, you can even order a free Bible from certain websites – not that I would know.)

Carve out a time each day to teach your child truth – God never changes.

His Word, the Bible, never changes.

The Bible is an amazing book that helps you parent, and provides courage to children scared of the dark or monsters in the closet.  It teaches them how unique and special they are.

But if you really just don’t know how to explain God to your children, are nervous, feel silly, I highly recommend The One Year Devotional for Preschoolers 2.  Begin January 1st . . . read a page a day. 
You will be blessed.  You will have meaningful conversations.


Tyndale House Publishers has graciously provided me with this  complimentary copy of The One Year Devotional for Preschoolers 2.  And if they hadn’t of sent me a copy for free, I honestly would have bought it to incorporate into our naptime routine.  Seriously.


OK . . . here is a totally unplanned, non-posed, precious demonstration of how much this devotional book is enjoyed in our house.  While visiting with my friend Tina this morning, Mr. Me-Too had nestled into the couch, pretending to lick a wooden lollipop, while reading his “devo.”

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Mathletics -- A Review

Instant success.

The boys loved Mathletics


The got to create their own characters.

And when you finish the game or section . . . there is a lot of hoopla.  As I recall, the hoopla sounds like the Jetson's car.  Am I dating myself?

But there is one slight problem.

It helps if you can read.  Or if mom will stop fermenting or sprouting or doing some kitchen endeavor and simply read the prompts to you. 

That aside . . . it is great. 

Have I told you what Mathletics is yet?  No, I haven't.  Oh dear me.
Mathletics is a web-based learning program that integrates home and school learning via the internet; it is one of the world’s most used educational websites. As an online learning resource it is the next generation in learning, helping students enjoy maths and achieve outstanding results.
Mathletics is a subscription and each annual subscription is for one child, as it's an individualized learning path for each child, keeping track their results and progress as they work their way through their individual grade curriculum. Each child also earns points as they are individually rewarded as they achieve mastery of concepts. 
An individual subscription to Mathletics is $59.00 per child per year. If you know the Human Calculator's Favorite number, answer is '9', you can purchase a single child subscription for $49.95 per child per year. To purchase go to and put in the answer '9' then click submit to receive this special price.
In a nutshell, it was easy for me to hand over my computer to Mr. Smackdown (and even Mr. Me-Too) to use Mathletics.  Some of the activities they could do on their own, but others they needed constant help. And it wasn't the Granola Boy's  fault . . . we just haven't progressed that far yet in phonics. 

Next year . . . once we have more practice with sounding letters out I would certainly think of purchasing a subscription to practice our math skills.  It would be nice to be able to let Mr. Smackdown play independently while I worked with his brothers.  In the end, I wrap up my review by saying that Mathletics is an easy program for the kids to figure out . . . is  fun . . . is engaging . . . and even somewhat personal! 

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews on this product

As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given access to this product for 45 days to review.  I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are delightfully mine.

Tektoma -- A Review

I know that many of you may think that I appear very computer literate.

But I'm not.

I may be a decent playwright at best (I can't be an actor because you aren't watching me right now--praise the Lord). I can talk a good lingo and nod my head. I have a few html tricks up my sleeve . . . many of which I learned from being a part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.  But when it comes down to it, I learned it all from my husband or Google answered my question.

But when it came to understanding the product we were given a 3-month free subscription to . . . I must admit that I was a little stumped at first.  I didn't understand what exactly Tektoma did . . .


What is Tektoma
Tektoma is dedicated to providing children with high quality tutorials to teach game programming within a secure, monitored website. It is a perfect avenue for homeschooled children to learn advanced computer skills.  
What will you gain by using Tektoma?
  • Engaging video tutorials for ages 7-17 (I watched one!)
  • Tutorials of varying skill levels and topics (I stuck with the basics.)
  • Learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home
  • Natural progression helps develop technical skills
  • Customize your learning experience
  • Low monthly membership fee gives access to all our resources ($14.95/month or $140/year)
  • New curriculums available monthly
  • If you have questions while creating, members have access to a Member Forum, Tektoma blog, or they can just send an email.  
What do I think?

I didn't grow up playing computer games . . . OK . . . I take that back.  I played Paratrooper on the very first computer my dad brought home that was actually considered a portable computer! 

Creating my own computer game doesn't hold a whole lot of interest to me . . . but people often say that to me about Twitter, or blogging, or sewing, or gardening.  They don't see the fascination.  I think these must be the people who play golf.  Just kidding.  Although, I don't understand what is so exciting about golf or baseball.  Give me football any day, even though I have yet to understand the game . . . sad for a woman whose husband played football well into college. 


I digress.

BUT . . . I know that gamming is a lot of fun for people.  So . . . this site is a fabulous resource for parents who have children that want to learn HOW to write a computer program and follow it through to completion.  It is a safe site -- all comments are moderate by Tektoma staff.

And the best part?  You can try Tektoma out for free for $14 days!  Go for it you computer programmers who created fun things for me like Blogger, Twitter, Picasa, Goggle, and Amazon!

Here is what you will need:
  • Currently, the tutorials are for computers running Windows XP or Vista only. Macintosh versions coming in the future.
  • Broadband internet connection
  • Any browser should work, but make sure it is a current version

      Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews on this product.

    As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given access to this product to review.  I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are delightfully mine. I enjoyed learning something new from this vendor.

    Maestro Classics: The Tortoise and the Hare -- A Review

    Growing up, I used to get annoyed with my dad who would make us listen to classical music.  I find it ironic that classical music is the norm in my very own household now.  My children have been soothed to sleep with this melodic sound, stayed calm during quiet times under its influence, and now offer insight as to what emotions and feelings the complex composition evokes in them.

    Classical music is like a sustaining book.  I imagine that Winnie the Pooh enjoys a good orchestra.

    Maestro Classics has managed to equally yoke a sustainable story with sustainable music.  They sent me a Story in Music . . . The Tortoise and The Hare.

    Stories in Music™ is "a collection of works for symphony orchestra and narrator designed for children ages 5 and up." Maestro Classics offers 7 classic (or sustainable) stories, one of which is available in Spanish. According to owners Stephen and Bonnie Simon,
    Each CD is a combination of music and educational information designed to give the listener ideas on what to listen for and how to listen. It is the "backstage pass" into the minds of the author and composer, the creators of the work.  The included background information helps train the ear to hear the music in a significantly different way when the CD replays the entire story in music for a second time. Following this second performance, the final track is an Accompaniment Only karaoke track, which gives everyone the opportunity to experience the joy of performing - complete with applause.

    I'm going to share an example with you that may throw you off guard, but bear with me.  I am not a wine drinker . . . but on a trip to California with my parents when I was still under their tutelage, we toured many wineries.   Though incredibly bored at the time, I now recall the amount of time the winaries spent lecturing their patrons on the fine art of sampling, drinking, and forming an opionion on the quality of wine.

    I hope not to offend, but to me, Maestro Classics Stories in Music™ is like non-alcoholic wine to my ears.  The CD provides a rich and poignant classic full-length story, a history of the story that also includes Aesop's version of the The Tortoise and the Hare, a lesson in music, and a chance to sample the full story again but experience it with greater understanding. It is my kind of pairing--quality music with a great story.

    Maestro Classics sets out to do three things:
    • expand listening horizons --  by introducing young people to an orchestra's magical sounds and
      awe-inspiring power in order to help them understand that music can be dramatic, can paint pictures, and is often filled with humor.
    • hone listening skills and accumulate musical memories -- The musical discussions will sharpen listening skills of children and adults alike, the discussion of the story will promote conversation about human values, and the musical work will leave each listener whistling a new tune.
    • encourage adults and children to listen to music together -- The very young will listen for the story, the slightly older child will enjoy the music, and the adult will be surprised how much he/she has learned.
    I would love to have the complete set of Maestro Classics Stories in Music!  I highly recommend this for your school room, children's quiet times, or car rides.   We did supplement this music lesson with a lapbook from Homeschool Share

    You can order one or more of the Maestro Classic titles at their website for $16.98.

    To read more reviews regarding Maestro Classic's Stories in Music, 
    click on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Review badge.

    I was delighted to review this product for FREE. I gave you my opinion.  I didn't have to give you a positive review to read, but I did.  So . . . let me know what you think.  I love it when people respond to my reviews.

    A Stocking For Us All – A Giveaway at Healthy Moms

    I really want and need your help.  I strongly felt like God wanted me to make Katina’s Downey’s photography and the Heral’s story more widely known.  So . . . I did what I know best . . . I blogged about it on my blog and I took it to Healthy Moms.
    WishBONE logo

    Win the book along with the CD! 
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    My goal:  90 comments. 

    How to enter:

    Click HERE and it will take you on over to Healthy Moms where the drawing is taking place!  Networking is a pretty cool thing.

    If You Give a Mom a Book: Nighty Night, Baby Jesus

    If You Give A Mom A Book

    The scene:  an early but quiet morning.

    I was wrapping up my quiet time with Beth Moore's study, Esther,

    Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman : Member

    when I heard solid footsteps plod down the stairs.  Quick, with no pretense of sneeking up on me, I knew that it was Mr. Smackdown.  He patiently sat beside me while I finished my study, knowing that my time with the Lord benefited him throughout the day.  He snuggled between Mussie and I (on the couch) with several Arthur books.

    The solitude of the morning was begging for magical moments in faraway imaginary places. Of the places that we traveled, Bethelem was my favorite destination.

    The Book:  Nighty Night, Baby Jesus by Molly Schaar Idle. 

    Nighty Night, Baby Jesus

    Sustainable . . . yes.  Would it need words to be sustainable?  No.  I was caught up in the precious pictures, drawn in a style . . . that I know not the name, only that it delights my eyes.

    The famous story of the focus of our Christmas celebration is still Jesus . . . but the book opens with the brilliant birth of Baby Jesus, whose light wakes up the animals.

    I love this line . . .
    Up for work, the Ox plowed toward
    his breakfast in the manger.
    But, in place of food, he found
    a perfect Little Stranger.
    Dreamy.  Thoughts of holding my newborn flooded memories.  I wonder, Mary did you know?

    What did you read this week? 

    If you don't know what a Sustaining Book is check out my first blog post on this topic, If You Give a Mom a Book.

    Some things that you could discuss in your blog post would be:
    • What is one book that stood out to you this week?
    • What was the title of the book, and who were the author(s) and illustrator(s)?
    • What conversations did it spark between you and your child?
    • Did the book come up randomly in conversation at some point causing your child to create an application on their own?
    • Set the scene—where did you sit?
    • Did you have anything yummy to eat or drink while reading?
    • Was music playing?
    • How did reading together help your day?
    • What was the story about?
    • Did you like the illustrations?
    • What was your favorite part about snuggling?
    • Why was your book a Sustaining Book?
    • Link up 1x a week. My goal is to post every Friday.
    • Pick one book—your favorite book from that week.
    • Use any one of the suggestions I listed above to include in your post.
    • Grab my button on the sidebar to compliment your blog post.
    • Enter the exact blog post address in Mr. MckLinky!
    • Leave me a comment that you linked up!
    I can’t wait to read about your Sustaining Book!