Sunday, January 30, 2011

A good one...

The Ultimate DVD Read and Share Bible (Volume 2) y Gwen Ellis and Steve Smallman is a good resource to add to your family’s collection. The book comes with two DVD’s that correspond with the stories from the book- each story being told in 3-4 minutes on DVD and a “full-spread” picture to follow along in the book. Twenty-six Bible stories are told in this volume. 
I popped the DVD in for my kids (ages 4&3) and was very surprised that they sat through the entire first DVD which included 13 short Bible stories. The back cover of the book says that the DVD’s feature “engaging 3-D animation”. If I hadn’t seen my kids become “engaged” in the animation, I wouldn’t have believed it had the capability of keeping their attention- but ti did! The animation isn’t horrible, but it isn’t terrific either. I did enjoy the quiet music in the background. 
Each story is just that, a story. It is not the exact words taken from scripture; however, the references are included. Additionally, a simple statement at the bottom of the story is included that summarizes the story and (sometimes) asks a question to spur a little more thinking. 
I am picky when it comes to purchasing a Bible for kids. I don’t appreciate the cheesy books available and I avoid the high-pitched music. This resource was not either of those- I will happily place my “stamp of approval” on this book. A great addition to a child’s library of Bible resources. 
A side note- this volume, being #2, doesn’t include basic stories from the Bible such as Creation, Noah’s Ark, the birth of Christ, etc. Those stories are all found in Volume One. If you can swing purchasing both, I would do that! 
Thomas Nelson gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks TNP!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ice Cream Cupcakes!

I’m about to demystify the secrets I have stumbled upon about ice cream cupcakes. Part of me wants to keep the illusiveness about these small miracles to myself. They are just so simple- they are perfect for any and every occasion. Like, say, the bills are paid and stubs organized for another month..... someone has a did all your brushed and flossed woke up on time two days in a row....any reason for a celebration....I mean really, can’t you think of a million reasons to celebrate with an ice cream cupcake. And think! Once you have made a batch, you can hide a few in the freezer and take them out on a rainy day just because God loves you. So, prepare yourself to be amazed. Prepare to kick yourself for not making these sooner. Prepare to hit the gym an extra hour this week. Are you ready? 
Get your supplies:
Yields 24 small miracles also known as ice cream cupcakes
1 box of cake mix (yes, I use cake mix- always pillsbury) 
2 or 3 eggs (whichever your cake mix calls for)
veg. oil
ice cream/sorbet/sherbet of your choice
homemade cake icing (you could use store bought, again stick with the pillsbury, it just tastes better... but homemade works better and freezes better and it’s cheaper...I’ll post my recipe for that too.)
Other supplies:
serrated knife (that’s the one that cuts bread easily)
baker’s joy pan spray
cupcake pans 
jumbo cupcake papers (Wilton makes a jumbo size that still fits in regular cupcake pans, they are just taller than normal)
Mix cake mix according to package instructions. 
Spray cupcake pan with Baker’s Joy Pan Spray very liberally. 
Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until the little babies are done. Allow them to cool WITHOUT eating any! (You’ll thank me later!)
Wash out cupcake pan, you’re going to need it for assembly time. 
When you are ready for the next step, remove ice cream from freezer and set on counter to soften while you work. 
Fill cleaned cupcake pans with jumbo cupcake papers. 
Slice cupcakes in half, just as you would a biscuit- horizontally. 
Place bottom half in the bottom of your jumbo cupcake papers. Do this 24 times. Reserve the tops for later. (Don’t eat any. Trust me on this!)
You’re ice cream should be soft enough to work with now. Place one good size scoop of the frozen confection on top of the cupcake bottoms. With the back of a spoon, spread out the ice cream. Work quickly. 
Put the tops of the cupcakes on top of your ice cream. Pop the cupcake pans, filled with deliciousness back in the freezer for a few hours or over night. Put a lock on the freezer so you aren’t tempted to sneak in there when you wake in the middle of the night to let the dogs out. 
Once completely frozen again, ice however you wish. I suggest filling a decorator’s bag with your icing. You’ll be able to ice the small miracles faster and get them back in the icebox. Eat one. Hide the others. Eat another just to be sure they are safe for others to consume. 

Can you imagine chocolate cake with chocolate ice cream, or strawberry ice cream, or coffee ice cream....or a pumpkin bread type cake with cranberry ice cream...or the possibilities are ENDLESS! Let me know if you think of other combinations~ 

I mentioned I would share the homemade icing recipe. Super Easy. 1 cup crisco, 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, dash of salt, 1 tbsp water or cream. Whip in stand mixer until smooth and creamy- usually about 5 or 6 minutes of high speed mixing. Beware of the mess this will make...the greasy, horrible mess. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Recently, we added a new food to our favorite family meals. It’s small. It’s cute. It’s healthy. (It’s kinda pricey around here....) It’s quinoa! (Which is pronounced “keen-wah” not “qui-noah”!) I found it locally for $4.99/pound, but I bet it can be purchased for a better deal in a bigger city. I’ll find out the next time I leave town. 
I look forward to experimenting with more recipes, but until then, here is the one I made for my family this past week. It’s super simple after you hunt down the main ingredient. GIve it a try and let me know how you like it! 
Quinoa with Black Beans and Lime
1 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
3 cup water
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed of all canning juices)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup corn
1 cup chopped yellow pepper ( I didn’t have this, but it was still delicious without it)
5 tbsp lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic (ground, or 1 clove fresh garlic chopped finely)
1/2 tsp basil 
In microwave safe bowl, combine quinoa and water. Microwave for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. (Yes, I mean 20 minutes. That wasn’t a typo.) 
In another larger bowl, combine black beans, tomatoes, onion, corn, yellow pepper and cooked-then cooled quinoa. 
In a small mixing bowl (or, since I hate making more dirty dishes than necessary, the same bowl you used to cook the quinoa) mix the last 6 ingredients, whisking energetically. Pour sauce over the other ingredients in the larger bowl. 
Serve cool. Flavors combine and taste stronger after a night in the fridge. (I modified this recipe from one I found at
Another note about cooking quinoa. I found loads of information online about how to cook these little jewels. Everyone has their opinion. Since I have ever only eaten this time, I enjoyed it just this way, but I’m open to trying other ways. This is the same way I cook rice; a ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts water, then microwave accordingly. I grew up cooking rice this way and have no idea how to cook it on the stove! 

(Please excuse the bad photo, it was taken with my phone!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Small Step

Today, I received a copy of the Chi Alpha Connection, the national newsletter to all Chi Alpha what's on the front page??? My first real article published in a real newsletter! Can you believe that?!?! You can check it out by clicking here! Let me know what you think!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Sabbath ( Part of The Ancient Practice Series)

Have you ever wondered why God included “honoring the Sabbath” in the 10 Commandments? Have you wanted to know what exactly it means to have a Sabbath and what it looks like for you? Is it really, actually necessary and possible in today’s hurried society? 
I’m the type of person that works hard, plays hard and sleeps hard (as my husband would say...). I’m also the type of person to watch another hard worker enjoy their rest and not feel bothered to just “be”. I want to relax, but I also know that relaxation means my to-do list isn’t getting shorter- if fact, it is probably getting longer while I relax. So, I find myself wanting to share in a day of rest as I see some around me doing, but I have a hard time making it happen. 
Dan Allender’s book entitled Sabbath is part of The Ancient Practices Series. Allender defines the Sabbath as “a full day of delight and joy” (5) and bases this on his interpretation of what God did on the seventh day after he finished creating- he found delight in His creation. Allender states that the “Sabbath is not break in routine...a minivacation...or a diversion; it is meant to be an encounter with God’s delight”. (12) He forms his definition by using the Jew commentator, Abraham Herschel’s translation of the word “rest” found in Genesis 2:1-3. Herschel and Allender write than the Hebrew word for “rest” is “menuha” which means joyous repose, tranquility and delight. Allender adds, “ God didn’t rest in the sense of taking a nap or chilling out; instead, God celebrated and delighted in his creation. God entered the joy of his creation and set it free to be connected by separate from the artist.” (28)
After a fairly strong definition of what Allender feels best describes the ancient practice in Sabbath Pillars, he continues on with his sections entitled Sabbath Purpose and Sabbath Performance. 
I really enjoyed reading this book and will refer back to it many times in the future. I also look forward to reading more works in The Ancient Practices Series! 
Thomas Nelson provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Review- SoulPrint by Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson’s SoulPrint needs to be on everyone’s “To-Read” List. He quickly and clearly captured my attention with one of his opening statements; “There has never been and never will be anyone else like you. But that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to God”. (P.2) SoulPrint uses the image of fingerprints to remind us that we are more than just people walking a planet, but that we were each made individually to worship God in a way that no one else can. 
In Scene III: The Crags of the Wild Goats, Batterson challenged me to keep things in proper priority when he wrote; “If you aren’t careful, your God-given dream can become more important to you than the Dream-Giver Himself”. (P.88) To connect this statement, he shared personal experiences of when he became “disrobed”- when dreams plummeted, attempts failed, or when he just messed up. I enjoy how honest Batterson is with his writing. 
I recommend this book to the new believer in Jesus, the experienced believer, and all that fall in the middle. He reminds us of who’s we are and where we came from. On a personal note, I don’t usually jot down notes and quotes from a book as a read it. But knowing that Mark Batterson wrote this, I prepared myself and grabbed my notebook and pen. I am very glad I did! I’ll pass this book on to someone else to read and still keep the points with me. I encourage you to pick up a copy, read it, underline in it, write things down from it, and pass it on to someone else that needs to spend some time being “loved-on”. Better yet, just go buy a bunch and start handing them out instead of Valentine’s Day cards! 

 You can buy it here

Release date: January 18, 2011, soooooooooooooo mark it on your calendar and go buy it! Go buy it now! That's right, leave the blog and go get it! Hurry!