Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amazing Refrigerator Rolls

refridgeratorrolls

In case you haven’t noticed, I love breads. Bread is one my most favorite things to make and eat. I’m always on the look out for new recipes and I try out many of them.

I stumbled across this recipe in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. It is my new favorite cookbook. My parents gave it to me for Christmas last year and I’m finally beginning to be able to use it.

These are very convenient because you mix them up the day before you need them. You can also make them over a few days—like I did—in case you don’t need all 4 1/2 dozen at one time.

Refrigerator Rolls

1 T yeast

2 c warm water

Stir together in medium bowl and let stand 5 minutes.

6 c flour

1/2 c sugar

2 t salt

Mix in a large bowl.

1/2 c shortening

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in yeast mixture and eggs until just blended. Cover and chill for 8 hours.

Shape as desired; cover and let rise in a greased pan for 45 minutes or until doubled. (I let mine rise for almost 2 hours and the texture was amazing.)

Bake at 400 F for 14 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter.

Yield: 4 1/2 dozen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Keepers of the Faith Camping trip

We had such a good time last weekend at our Keepers of the Faith camping trip. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Every year we stay at campground on the beautiful Blanco River.

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One of the things that I love the most about the camping trips we take is the relaxed atmosphere. The girls have a chance to really play and build friendships and we grown ladies have a chance to visit, which is great because in our monthly meetings we are all very busy with classes.

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Some of my girls headed to the river for a  swim.

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The water was cold but the littles were determined to get in.

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The big girls decided to build a dam using the big rocks that were plenteous in the river. I think there was more than one big rock dropped on feet.

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And in the midst of all the fun I managed to do a mini-shoot with Faith.

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Isn’t she adorable? I realize I am just a “tad” partial to her ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Camping!

I leave today for our Keepers of the Faith mother/daughter camping trip we have every spring. I’m excited to be able to go and spend more relaxed time with the girls in my group, but at the same time I’m not looking for to being away from my husband for a few nights. He has assured me that he’ll be fine and he is looking forward to spending the weekend with my dad and brothers.

After several years of tent camping we finally perfected our method and found a place with a large lodge with lots of bedrooms and a huge kitchen and living/dining area. It is wonderful and now it is the only place we care to go to.

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I’ve taught the same  group of Keepers of the Faith girls for four years and have had most of them since they were eight years old. Now most of them are nearing thirteen. Where did the time go? They are all blossoming into sweet young ladies who really love each other and their families. Yes, I’m very proud of my girls.

I’ll share pictures from our fun weekend ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bye-Bye Baby Annaleigh

Last night I stood beside the tiniest casket I’ve ever seen. The little porcelain doll lying in it had only a week before been wanting to play with my husband during church service. She and her mommy were sitting in the row behind us so he compromised with her and let her hold his hand while she drank from her sippy cup. He held her for a little while and gave her back. Redonia was surprised because Annaleigh was at the age where she didn’t really care for men other than her Poppy or Uncle Trent. After a little while she still wanted to play so she began patting me on the shoulder.

  There were close to 2500 people at the viewing last night. Some people waited over an hour to get in the door.

I watched Redonia go to almost every person there, hug them, and thank them for coming and tell them how much it meant to her. A little while later I watched her carry around a little girl about Annaleigh’s age and size. I can only imagine the aching emptiness her arms and heart must be feeling right now. I don’t know if I could be that strong.

  I have never seen a family grieve with so much grace and thankfulness. They are hurting so deeply but they constantly point to the Lord and say that He knows best and it is well.

Today is Annaleigh’s homegoing service. The family has called it “Annaleigh’s Playdate with Jesus.” Please pray for the family today as they say their last goodbyes to their little Princess.

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Annaleigh playing with Jacob’s hand in church.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Answered Prayers

   Miranda The Tempest

We serve an all-powerful God. There is nothing He cannot do. He can heal in an instant; He can raise the dead and restore sight and hearing to the blind and deaf. There is no limit to His power. I have witnessed first-hand His healing power when my sister Wendi was six and slipped and hit her head. She was unconscious, cold and completely unresponsive for an hour. We were living in Mexico at the time and far away from a hospital. The Lord was our only hope. We prayed, and Wendi  gradually began to warm up and woke up. She didn’t remember falling, and there was no trace—not even a bruise—of the accident. She was healed completely.

He can do anything, so why does He seemingly not do anything sometimes? Why does it seem like He doesn’t answer our prayers sometimes? When I was younger, I had a very wise Sunday School teacher who taught us about prayer. She told us that God always  answers our prayers, we just need to be able to recognize how He is answering them. Sometimes He says yes. Sometimes He says “Wait a little while”. And sometimes He tells us “No”.  He knows what is best for us and it is up to us to accept His will and not allow bitterness to take root in our heart.

   This last week was a hard one. There were literally thousands all over the world praying for little Annaleigh, asking the Lord to heal her and raise her up. He chose to take her home.  He answered our prayers, although maybe not in the way we had hoped.

Last summer a childhood friend of mine was found unconscious and not breathing. She was rushed to the hospital and was on life support for close to a week. They did not know what caused her to stop breathing, and we were sure that we were going to lose her. Prayers went up from all over and the Lord raised her up. She was healed completely.

  He did this for her, so why didn’t He do this for Annaleigh?  I have pondered this the last several days and in my prayers reminded the Lord of how He  raised my friend up and asked Him to do the same for Annaleigh. When He did not, I accepted it as His will and rejoiced that Annaleigh was with Him. But there was still the question: “Why, Lord?” Then He brought something to my remembrance and it helped put things into perspective.

When I had been praying for Ashlyn last year, my prayers had been different in nature. While I prayed for healing for her, my main prayer was for the Lord to be merciful and give her a second chance to commit her life to Him. She needed another chance. I was interceding for her soul.

My friend grew up in and around church—both sets of grandparents were pastors. I don’t claim to know to what extent she was in church, but it appeared that she never made a commitment. Her parents divorced and she had very rough and tragic time of it.  As she grew older her lifestyle didn’t show any signs of a dedicated walk with the Lord. I was very worried about her. So you can understand the urgency of mine and other’s prayers for her when she was on life support. The Lord, who is rich in grace and mercy, raised her up.

Last Sunday my father baptized her and her sister. Our prayers have been answered and she is safe.

Little Annaleigh didn’t need a second chance. She had never known sin. Her little purpose on earth was fulfilled and it was time for her to go home. His ways are above our ways. We can’t see the whole picture from where we stand. There are some things that we will never understand until we are in Heaven. It is not that He couldn’t raise her up. He could, but it was not His will to. Who knows what will come of this tragedy, and how it will be used for the Lord’s glory.

Please continue to pray for the Smith family.

Another Facebook Cover photo for you

 

Happyhome

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Heaven is a little sweeter

This morning at 3:27, little Annaleigh went to be with Jesus. After a long, hard fight He took her home to be with him.

While it was not the answer that we hoped for, He did answer the part of our prayers that said “Your will be done, Lord.” There were literally thousands praying and fasting for this little girl all over the world. Now she is in the Savior’s arms and sitting on His knee. She is completely healed and whole now.

The following was posted by Annaleigh’s grandfather this morning:

Indecision was upon the countenance of the young mother.....
Should I really let my baby run to him....
His smile lifted as did his hand....
Suffer her to come to me.....
I know it will hurt for you to let her....
But trust me enough allow her to come to me.....
Mom trusted.....
And our Annaleigh stepped from her mother's embrace into His.....
At 3:27 a.m. April 13, 2012 our sweet Annaleigh stepped from our world to His......
And amid tears Mom saw the little brown hand and big smile turn and wave that everything is OK.....
On another day the Mom placed that baby in the room that had gotten her him.....
And processed the questions of the prophet...
Is it well with thee, thy baby and thy household?
She answered , "It is well"....
And then just a moment ago the questions were asked....
Is it well with thee, your household, and your baby....
And gently Mom knew, just at did the the others....
It is well....

 

Please continue to hold up this family and ask the Lord for strength, comfort, and peace for the long days ahead. We received a call yesterday evening that this family also had a brother-in-law/uncle pass away yesterday evening. Ask that Lord would comfort them and draw them closer together.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Annaleigh update

This is the latest update on little Annaleigh. This is from her grandfather:

Annaleigh is a very sick little girl. Again we thank you for prayers, love, visit, texts, snacks etc

The Weester has been given a 20% survival chance for tonight. Having already endured 45+ minutes of CPR already, the doctors say that they will not resuscitate in the event her little heart stops tonight. They are giving 3 drugs for her heart at maximum levels and much fluids for blood pressure therefore the balance for heart survival is precarious. Should her little heart tire out tonight, then we count that as God's decision to take her.

Should she survive the night, tomorrow's mountain is bigger than tonight's due to Friday being danger day for brain swelling. Our little girl faces a difficult time the next few hours and in all reality, we are already living with extended grace for her life.

Should the Lord decide to take our Annaleigh on to be with him, we are so thankful for the 15 months of joy she brought into our lives. We will never forget the giggles, wiggles, bows and snuggles she brought to our home. We never thought one little girl could brighten up so many days. And who could have known that 100 pictures per day on FaceBook would give here such a celebrity status. The little thing never wore a bow or outfit 2 times, ha. That last remark will get me in trouble.

I thank the Lord for this fellowship of people who offer love and care unreservedly. Thanks to everyone for prayers offered on behalf of our sweet Annaleigh and family

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED

Please hold Annaleigh up in prayer. She is the 15 month old daughter of a friend of ours. She drowned yesterday afternoon and was placed on a respirator yesterday after they found a faint pulse. She is on full life support now and has undergone a blood transfusion. There was some seizure activity through the night as well. An EKG revealed little or no activity.The doctors have given the family no hope, but we serve a God who heals. Nothing is too hard for God.

Above all, please ask that His will be done in this situation. I’ll give updates as I receive them.

Annaleigh and her mommy Redonia

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dewberry Jelly—from Vine to Jar

   Yesterday I shared about picking dewberries (blackberries) and all of the fun that goes along with it. Picking berries and eating fresh berries is wonderful, but after you pick all of those luscious berries, what do you do with them?

    I came home late Friday evening and put my berries in the fridge with full intentions of juicing them the next day. We were gone all day Saturday and I wasn’t able to tend to the berries. Sunday afternoon I finally had a minute and was able to juice them. I was so worried that they had spoiled—some of the berries were very ripe—but thankfully they were just fine.

I have always loved canning and making jelly. There is such a sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with seeing all of your labor lined up in jars on shelves. I love listening to the happy popping sound of the jars sealing. While I was making the jelly yesterday I told Jacob that I really felt like a grown-up married lady now—making jelly in my own kitchen. ;) Even though we have been married for over a year, I sometimes still stop in amazement that I’m really married now. I thought I would share my jelly making adventure with you today.

The first step is to wash the berries thoroughly and remove any leaves, stems, or any other foreign matter that does not need to be in your jelly. When picking berries with children, there will invariably be foreign matter in your berry basket.

Next you need to cook the juice out of the berries. After you have washed them, place the berries in a large pot and almost cover them with water. You don’t want too much water or your juice will be diluted and weak and your jelly won’t have a very strong taste. It will just be a lot of sweet with a little flavor.

Cook the berries on high, crushing them with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. You’ll know when they are done because the berries will turn red and the juice will be close to boiling. It’s fine if it boils, but not for too long.

juicingberries

There are two ways to do the next step. You can mush the berries through a very fine strainer or sieve, or you can strain them through cheesecloth or an old t-shirt. Either way is fine and works great, just make sure not to get any of the crushed berries and seeds in your juice. You want just juice. I used an old t-shirt this time as I didn’t have a strainer. You can get more juice when you berryjuiceuse a strainer. If you use cheesecloth or an old t-shirt twist it very tightly and use a wooden spoon to help get the most juice out that you can. This will take a little while. The berries and juice will be hot, so be careful.

You can use the juice immediately, or refrigerate it for a few days, or freeze it for later use. This juice is ready for jelly or for cobblers or anything that you need blackberry juice for. It will make your kitchen smell wonderful. 

  From a gallon size ziploc bag full of berries I got almost a gallon of juice.

Now comes the fun part!   Here’s what you’ll need: jars, rings and lids, a jar filler, a large pot, pectin and the recipe below.

Prepare your jars and lids by checking the rims of the jars for nicks or bumps or anything that would prevent the jars from sealing. The rims need to be smooth. You can check the rims by wetting your finger and  feeling around the tops of the jars. Heat your rings and lids in a small pot of hot water. Fill the jars completely full of hot water and set aside. This ensures that they do not crack and burst when the hot jelly is poured into them.

There are 2 different types of pectin out there—liquid and dry. We have used both and my mom and I prefer to use the pouches of liquid pectin.  Certo is great and Ball also makes liquid pectin in pouches. They are both wonderful and work the same. The methods for liquid and dry pectin are different. I’ll be demonstrating the liquid pectin method.

Here is the recipe:

3 3/4 – 4 cups prepared juice

7 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 pouches liquid pectin

jellymaking1jellymaking2

Combine the juice and sugar in a 6-8 quart pot and cook on high, stirring frequently, until it reaches a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

Add the liquid pectin, being sure to get all of the pectin out of  both pouches. Stirring constantly, return to a rolling boil and  boil hard for 1 minute ( set a timer so you can be sure of the time). Remove from heat. Skim foam from top. (The foam is a great sneak peek and sample of what your jelly will taste like. We often throw a pan of biscuits in the oven while we are making jelly so we can sample the jelly by the foam.)

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Empty the water from the jars  and pour the jelly into them. A jar filler is the best thing to use, but if you don’t have one, just pour slowly. Fill the jars, leaving about a 1/2 inch headspace from the top.

jellymaking5

Oh, look, the hubby snapped a picture of me ;) Now you can see how messy my kitchen gets when I can ;)

jellymaking

Next, place the rings and lids on the jars and screw them a little past. finger tight (as tight as you can get them with your hands). Turn them upside down and leave them for 5-10 minutes. This heats everything up and helps the jars seal better.

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Next, turn them over and listen for them to seal. The popping sound of jars sealing is one of my favorite sounds. Let them set overnight before moving them.

Jelly

Hurray! The finished product! From my juice (almost a gallon) I was able to make 8 pints and 2 half pints of jelly.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Picking Berries

berries

Last Friday I spent the day with my dad, mom, and baby sisters for some much needed get-away time in country. Daddy took me to lunch at the local cafĂ© and it was so nice running into old friends and church members that I had not seen in a while. It was nice to be able to just relax and spend several hours visiting with my Daddy—we are all so busy it is rare for me to have him all to myself.

We had a busy day that involved some of the grandparents dropping by, and aunt and some cousins stopped in for a little while.

We ended our fun day by picking blackberries on our farm. Ever since I was young, we have always picked berries for jelly and cobblers. Often times my aunts and grandmothers would come pick with us and it was like a party.

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There are three different varieties of blackberry that grow wild in that area. Dewberries—which is what we picked Friday—are ripe at the beginning of April. The berries are huge and there are not as many thorns on the vines.  Dewberries are our favorite. They grow close to the ground in most cases and they are great for little kids to pick.

Mayberries ripen in early May. The berries are a little smaller than dewberries. Then there are blackberries that ripen around the end of June-beginning of July. The berries are small and have lots of thorns on the vines. We usually don’t pick blackberries because they are not as people-friendly as the first two and the snake factor goes up considerably in the summer months. I can remember being young and picking blackberries and seeing rattlesnakes. In addition to the snake factor, it is so hot during the summer months that it just isn’t worth the  effort for the berries. Usually during April and May we pick berries every other day.

Below are some peeks into our evening.

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littlesal

When sat down and began to eat berries it made up think of the story about Little Sal, so of course I had to take a picture ;)

Lyddieberry

Lydia was ever vigilant to go ahead of us and find berry “jackpots”.

We were blessed in our efforts and after a short while had picked well over a gallon of berries. Mom sent a gallon Ziploc bag home with me for my jelly making plans. But that is for another post.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another set of Facebook Cover Photos

 

Here are a couple more cover photos for you ;) If you like them, please leave a comment. Please feel free to share them with your friends, but please let them know where you got them.

 

gardencover (850x303)

Philippians 4:8  Click Here to Download

godlywomancoverphoto

Godly Woman   Click Here to Download

Monday, April 2, 2012

Free Facebook cover photos

 

With Timeline going into effect for everyone on Facebook soon, the need for neat, cute, pretty and edifying cover photos has risen.  With so much nonsense and drama and discouraging stuff on Facebook it is always refreshing to see or read something that actually lifts you up or brings glory to our Savior.

I’ll be offering several homemaker-ish, feminine, and Scripture-based cover photos here at CCM. If you have any ideas for cover photo themes, please let me know ;)

Here are a couple I put together to share with you. Look for more soon.

 

sheepofhispasturecoverphoto

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sacredhouseworkcoverphoto

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Taco Seasoning

Here is a quick recipe for taco seasoning like the packages you buy at  the grocery store, only without all the MSG and extra added stuff. This is how my Mom has made our taco meat for years and it is so good. I’m not sure where she found the recipe, but we use it all the time. I’ll also include the chili variation at the end.

tacomeat

Taco Seasoning

Brown 1 lb. of hamburger meat, straining to remove excess fat and grease. Add the following and mix well:

2 T. chili powder (make sure it doesn’t have salt in it. It needs to be pure chili powder)

1 t. ground cumin

1/2 – 3/4 t. salt

A dash EACH of onion powder and garlic powder

You may need to add a tablespoon or so of water to help everything mix well. Adding a can of Ranch Style Beans or pinto beans to the meat is very yummy and helps it go further.

Chili Variation:

Prepare as for taco meat, using either hamburger meat or chili meat and adding 1/3 c flour, 2-3 cups of water, and a small can of tomato sauce. Let simmer til thickened.