Monday, January 31, 2011

Multitude Monday: 1,000 Gifts 131 - 143

holy experience

Gratitude is our most direct line to God. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us for gratitude and joy to exist in our lives. ~ Terry Lynn Taylor
131.  Pastor's Conference at FBCJax.....and being a part of it

132.  The man who changed my last name ♥

133.  My ♥mom♥

134.  Friends who convert my children's assignments from Word to a compatible format for my computer : )

135.  Birthday parties......and hearing all about them when my children get home

136.  Flip flops in Winter

137.  Unexpected notes of thanks

138.  Long, hot baths at the end of long, hard days

137.  Mercy

138.  Grace

139.  Forgiveness

140.  He sees beyond my faults.....

141. ....and meets my needs

142.  ♫ Jesus, He meets you where you are...

143.  ...Oh, Jesus, He Heals Your Secret scars
            All the love you're longing for
            Is Jesus
            The friend of a wounded heart ♫

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flax Oatmeal Cookies

Posting this recipe today in honor of my references to oatmeal and flax in earlier posts this week. I thought I might as well have a theme going....and, in that spirit, I chose the most wholesome one in my collection! ; ) 
I got the original recipe from Breadbeckers - the co-op where I order my wheat and bread baking supplies from, and have added my changes/suggestions/addtions.
Posting for any fellow wheat grinders out there! :) **NOTE**Flour amounts will not be the same if using store-bought all-purpose or wheat flour. Use 1/2 cup less flour for every 2 cups if you'd like to make these with all-purpose.

Flax Oatmeal Cookies



1 cup butter (I sometimes replace 1/2 cup of the butter with 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter for a healthier-fat/more protein alternative)
1 cup sucanat with honey (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
1 cup molasses sucanat (or 1 cup sucanat or brown sugar)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups freshly ground hard white wheat flour (I often use soft white wheat)
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flax seeds, Milled
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups almonds, chopped
2 cups chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)


Cream butter, Sucanat, and Sucanat w/Honey making a grainy paste.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Mix dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture.

Add almonds and Chocolate chips.

Make into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

**Optional Chocolate Chip Variation w/out Oatmeal:

Use 3 ½ cups fresh Soft White Wheat Flour.

Omit Oatmeal.
Use 1 ½ cups of Shredded Unsweetened Coconut in place of chopped almonds.

Use 2 cups of Chocolate Chips (or more).

Mix as directed in above recipe. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plans Interrupted......and a "Stylish Blog Award" ; )

Linking up once again with The Homeschool Village for their January Thursday theme of linking up and posting our weekly homeschooling accomplishments......although this week, I feel we didn't accomplish very much!

Last Thursday, we had our bi-monthly meeting at 4H and Jacob gave his very first devotion as Chaplain.  He learned how quickly you forget what you want to say when all eyes are upon you and I suspect that next week, he'll have notes in hand ~ just in case! ; )  I still think he did a fabulous job & pray he always desire to be a leader for Christ.

Friday is Co-op Day, and then the weekend hit.....bringing with it coughs, sneezing and high fevers that interrupted the plans we had for this week.  I have to admit, although I truly hate it when my kids are sick, it's been kind of nice to be stranded at home for several days.  Some schooling got put on hold, but Mom has accomplished a lot!  Several stacks and piles of things that accumulated here and there and never got put away due to the hustle and bustle of life got sorted and organized ~ meaning no more piles and stacks stressing me out by their presence!

My home is more organized than it has been in months and cleaner as well.  While deep cleaning my kitchen to the point that an Amish woman would be impressed, I found a cleaning chart taped to the inside of one of my cabinet doors.  I made it years ago when my children were too young to be really helpful in the whole cleaning process, taped it to the cabinet door and eventually as life got busier and busier with each passing year.....I stopped following my schedule.  It was replaced by a rather random clean-it-when-I-have-time-or-it-looks-like-it-needs-it routine that doesn't actually work very well and stresses me out!  Now, with 3 more-than-able-bodied helpers, the cleaning schedule is back full force.  Now someone can stop by my house unannounced without that dreaded feeling of, "Oh no....the house is a mess!" (although that doesn't mean it will always be nice and orderly due to these people that live with me and leave their belongings scattered all over the place!).

Like I said, it's been there for years and I need to print a new one.....thought we'd follow this schedule for a couple of weeks to see if I need to adjust it before I replace it.

We did get a lot of academics in, much of which looked a lot like last week, but due to being sick it was mostly do-only-what-we-have-to-do and nothing more.

Also, since I believe that tons of learning takes place outside of "school books"......

The day I made banana bread, I ground some flax seed to use as a healthy egg substitute which (as always) brought The One With The Inquiring Mind (aka: Robert) to the kitchen.

Flax seed, pre-ground....
 ....and post-ground:
You're not supposed to grind flax in a wheat grinder (too oily), I grind mine in a coffee grinder.  I usually grind more than I need and store it in the freezer for quick additions (makes a great thickener for fruit smoothies) and substitutions.

Whole grain banana bread with flax substitute for some of the eggs.  I do this quite often and it works wonderfully!

Flax Egg Substitute:
For each egg you want to substitute, use...

1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
3 Tbsp. water

Combine and let sit for 5-10 min, until water is absorbed.  Then, add to recipe as a substitute for eggs.

Although they've seen me do this countless times, on this day it peaked their interest and ended up being a lesson in itself, prompting opening the same book as last week to see why I go to the trouble.  Jacob, with a fever topping out at close to 104 on this day, suddenly found this book quite intriguing.....

....and because I don't think watching lots of movies {a couple were fairly educational ; ) } and laying around lethargically while our world was drowning in tissues, thermometers, essential oils, herbal teas, soup and jello qualifies as accomplishments, I think my "homeschooling" list is done.

I also received a lovely little award this week from Brenda at Therapeutic Crafting!

I love the way it color coordinates with my blog ; )  ......and, since I always follow the rules.....
To accept this Award you must:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.  (below)

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

1.  I almost drowned when I was two-ish. I can remember very distinctly watching the bottom of the pool get closer and closer and watching the drain get bigger and bigger the closer I got. I don't remember being scared.  My sister saved me, although sometimes I'm sure she regrets it ; )

2.  I like the beach but am afraid to swim in the ocean. There are creatures in there that I can't see.

3.  I hate to cry in front of people!  I am not a person who "wears her heart on her sleeve" and prefer to shed my tears in private.

4.  I have never in my life told my "testimony" or life story, but I love to hear others' stories. I find it fascinating to hear what the Lord had done in people's lives, how events and circumstances have shaped them into who they are, etc. To me, that's what a testimony is....not just someone telling when they got saved. If I know that telling your life story is expected before I go to an event, I usually won't go because I will get emotional and cry (see number 3).

5.  I can write about things that I can't talk about.  ???

6.  I flat-out refused to blog when everyone jumped on the blogging band-wagon.  I have friends who have been urging me to blog for years and I wouldn't consider it.  And yet, finally, here I am. 

7.  I have a very real need to laugh every single day.  I am always trying to teach my children that life is so much more fun when you can laugh at yourself and the stupid things you sometimes do. God is good and faithful - He is constantly providing them with first-hand examples of how someone should do that through the ridiculous blunders their mother continually makes. : )

I actually hate talking about myself and I'm glad it was only seven things!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Just An Oatmeal Cooking Passing Through......

As I read Chapter 3, Lies Women Believe About Themselves from Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy DeMoss, I decided I was going to take my blogging liberty and rearrange the lies as she has them listed.  I find that for me, Lie #7 and Lie #11 in the book are so closely related and intertwined that it's almost hard to separate them.  Had  I written this book, I would have put them together or made Lie # 11, Lie #8......but I didn't, and for some reason no one asked me! ; )

I'm going to start right off the bat and admit, these two lies (together, as one ~ in my case) were probably  the Number One stronghold in my life for a very, very long time.  To some degree, Satan still discourages me and gets to me with these ~ but thankfully, not as much he used to be able to.

Lie #7:  I'm Not Worth Anything
Lie #11:  Physical Beauty Matters More Than Inner Beauty

In the book, the author states that "more than 42% of the women we surveyed indicated that this is a lie they have believed".  Considering this book was written ten years ago and the fact that as time has passed, the world has become more and more obsessed with physical beauty and physical perfection,  I wouldn't be surprised if the number were higher.

In many cases, the feelings of worthlessness that many women struggle with can be the result of believing things we have heard from others, especially in childhood......because our view of ourselves and our sense of worth is so often determined by the opinion, treatment and input from others.

Growing up with highly critical parents can be devastating for some, or growing up with a parent who wasn't there can leave you feeling as if you weren't worth enough for them to make the effort.  The latter would be a lie that I believed from an elementary-aged girl throughout my teen years and into adulthood. 

I felt hurt, confused, worthless......and to fill the void and numb the hurt, food was often my weapon.  Therefore......I also developed a weight problem, which only aggravated my low sense of self worth.  As early as elementary school,  Lie #11 began to take root.......because kids can be mean & although most of us were all taught that "it's what inside that counts", for a lot of them, inner beauty doesn't count for a thing and physical beauty is everything.

The summer after I completed my last year of elementary school, we moved to a new state and I had pretty much had enough of the name calling, teasing, etc.  I lost 25 lbs. the summer before 7th grade, started my new school and thanks to cosmetics to control my adolescent skin and learning what to do with my crazy hair, I was no longer The Ugly Duckling.  I wasn't a Swan either, but my appearance finally fit in with what was Accepted.  The thing is, I was a young girl and I had completely and totally fallen for Lies # 7 & 11 and embraced them as truth.  Inside, I was still the insecure Fat Girl with low self esteem because no matter what I did, I'd never achieve the physical beauty that the world holds out as the image of perfection......and worth. 

Although I was saved as a teen, these lies continued to strongly deceive me. That  Fat Girl stayed with me through Junior High and High School. I knew that physical beauty didn't matter more than inner beauty, but I honestly didn't think there was much inside that was, often as women do, when we feel there's little we can control in our lives ~ we focus on what we can.  This lead to a love/hate relationship with food that would control me until after I married.

A huge turning point for me was having my children.  Suddenly, in my desire to give them the best I could, my heart became ready for the Lord to shed His light into the dark places that I still hadn't let Him into.  The secret places where my inner struggles that I shared with no one lurked, where those lies lay deeply rooted, were exposed and His light shined Truth that left them withered.  God has revealed more of Himself to me through my children than through anything else in my life.  In this particular area, as I looked into my daughters eyes, I knew that I didn't want her to suffer the consequences of buying into the same lies I had.  All the love and wonder I feel when I look at her, as well as my sons, is minute to the amount of love God has for me, His daughter, His Creation.

I will never be the prettiest or the most beautiful in the eyes of the world and it's been a long time since I've struggled with these lies, but that doesn't mean I don't still hear them.  Satan knows our weakest areas and remembers the power of the insecurity of that Fat Girl from my childhood, whose insecurities went so much deeper than just her weight.  Even now, she's still there, although most of the time she lies dormant.  Satan uses her against me when I'm standing in the checkout line and the magazines there shout at me that I'll never look like that, or I log on to the computer and yet another somebody is showing off her bikini bod.  Just when I think I'm completely over it and have this area of my life whipped and under submission, I find myself face to face with a reminder that it's always there, waiting for an opportunity for Satan to use it if I let him.

Several years ago, I was grocery shopping when a man stopped me in an aisle.  He said, "I just have to tell you, you are such a wholesome-looking young woman."  I think I laughed and told him thank you, to which he responded, "Really, you just look very wholesome.  It's very refreshing".  I continued to get my groceries and stood in the check-out line, confronted with images of beautiful women the likes of whom I could never compete with, thinking "How lovely.......I'm wholesome."  On the way home, I kept thinking about that word.  Wholesome. 

I arrived home and while putting the groceries away, told my husband of my encounter.  He laughed at first, then said, "Well, that was nice", to which I responded, "He said I looked wholesome!  Wholesome?!  Wholesome is boring!  Blah!  Oatmeal is wholesome!  I'm a bowl of mush?!".  Laughing at me, my husband was finding this quite comical, but I wasn't.  I said, "Stop laughing....this isn't funny!  I'm an oatmeal cookie in a world full of double chocolate chunk deliciousness!".  Without missing a beat, he replied, "But oatmeal cookies are really good.  They're my favorite kind".  There are few times in life when the men in our lives happen to say the perfect thing at the perfect time.  This was one of them for my dearly beloved, and it will remain in my heart forever. : )

After mulling this over for a while, I finally realized that I was getting upset because of that old lie. Sigh. It's actually a very good description of me.  In a world of decadence and self-indulgence, I really am an oatmeal cookie.  Wholesome.  Homey.  Nurturing.  Rated G.  Oatmeal cookies are wholesome, but that doesn't mean they are bland or boring. Sometimes we're traditional and comforting, other times we may have a little extra spice. We may be even sweeter some days...or perhaps a little sassy, depending on the type of additions we toss in......and those double chocolate chunks don't have a monopoly on deliciousness.

I'll probably continue to hear this lie because although I know my worth and that it's not based on outward appearances, I live in a world that does place value on those outward appearance.  More and more, I feel I don't fit in and don't belong here.....and I don't.  I'm a child of the King and was made for another time and another place.....I'm just passing through on my journey to my eternal Home.  I might occasionally envy those double chocolate chunk cookies, but I don't really want to be them.  I'm not supposed to be; I wasn't created to be anything more than who I am.....and it is so good to be comfortable with that.  My worth doesn't lie in what others think of me or what I look like.  It lies in the identity of what's inside. 

I am His. 
The world had nothing that can compete with that.
My weekly verse for Mom's Mustard Seeds, because there is nothing more powerful than the word of God when combating Satan's lies:
Philippians 4:8-9 ~ "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Little Bit of Baby Love.....

I was blessed to attend the absolute ♥sweetest♥ shower I think I have ever been to this past weekend, so guess what I was busy making last week?

After having 3 boys, God has surprised her with a ♥sweet♥ baby girl, although she says she won't believe it until she can see it for herself. ; )  She is such a wonderful Mom and I'm so excited she's going to have a little princess to help even out the numbers in her home. : )

I had so much fun making her a little rag quilt Lovey (security blanket) in coordinating colors with the beautiful bedding that was made for her......

The center square and back of the blanket is made of super soft and cuddly Minky fabric and the phrase "All of God's Grace In One Little Face is embroidered with a coordinating flower in the center square.

I attached this little poem.....

....and also made her two matching burp cloths.....because they're just too cute and fun to make ~ I couldn't resist!

All together, they make a very ♥sweet♥ gift set, don't ya think?  It's now available in my Etsy shop!

It's Tuesday, so I'm linking up with:

Get Your Craft On Tuesday
PhotobucketTuesday Tag-Alonghandmade projects


Monday, January 24, 2011

Multitude Monday: 1,000 Gifts 113 - 130

holy experience

 "O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness." ~ William Shakespeare

112.  "Mom, you're awesome!"  ♥

113.  Getting things done

114.  Clean laundry

115.  Free grapefruit (we like them!)

116.  Cinnamon ~ Oh, how I ♥ you!  I ♥ you on toast, I ♥ you in baked goods, I ♥ you in tea, I ♥ you in cider, I ♥ you in coffee, I ♥ you in oatmeal, and I ♥ your fragrance!

117.  Warm, soft, cozy blankets

118.  Babies ~ no, I am not having one nor am I hoping to have one.  I am happy borrowing from friends.

119.  The fragrance of baby products

120.  The sweetest baby shower I think I have ever been to (this weekend)

121.  Time spent with friends that leaves me refreshed and encouraged

122.  When my children's friendships lead to sweet friendships of mine

123. Being at ♥Home♥

124. My bookkeeping job (which I do from ♥Home♥)

125. Sewing students (so fun teaching something they want to learn!)

126. Homeschooling

127. Being able to give my child with a fever of 102.3 a day off of school worry-free (except that I wish he felt better)

128.  My children's health
This may seem odd given #116, but other than nasty colds and bugs, we have been blessed beyond measure with good health.  I have been reminded of how I take this for granted by a child and his family in need of prayer right now.
Please take a moment to read Luke's Story and pray for them as I am.
129. Prayer ~ a gift far greater than we sometimes acknowledge

130.  "And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear" ~ Isaiah 65: 24

Saturday, January 22, 2011

4,5, & 6......Lies Women Believe.....

Continuing my journey through Lies Women Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free.....(If you're just joining in and are interested ~ you can find earlier posts on this book by clicking on the tag "Lies Women Believe" at the bottom of this one.)

Lie #4:  God Is Really Not Enough

Do we really believe that He is?  When we walk out of the church building and back into our lives and all the crazy, difficult, discouraging things that come our way ~ do we believe His Word is sufficient to deal with them? 

Do we really turn to Him and trust that His Word is applicable for all our issues, needs, relationships and situations?  Or, do we need Him in addition to  the books from the Christian bookstore, CDs, counselors, close friends, children, husbands, etc?

If you have a relationship with God, is that really enough?  None of the things listed above are bad things.....they are blessings given to us by Him.  But, do we look to these and other things and people to fill the empty places of our hearts?

HE is the one we need to fill those empty places.  When we truly believe and live as though He really is enough, when our hope is built only in Him, we can then enjoy all those blessings to the fullest extent ~ and when they aren't there, or people disappoint us, hurt us, etc.....our world may be shaken, but it won't fall apart.

Lie #5:  God's Ways Are Too Restrictive

I have to admit ~ this is a non-issue with me.  I can't help it and can't take credit for it ~ it's just who I am.    I've never had a problem living within God's laws, but my natural personality is not a rebellious one. 

If yours is, do you find living within His laws unreasonable, burdensome, or unfair?  Scripture teaches repeatedly that God's laws are for our good and protection.  I'm not talking about legalism within the church, but the laws found in His Holy Word.  The problem with asserting our freedoms to choose not to do things God's way is that it leads to things we are not free to choose ~ the consequences and bondage that we find ourselves in.

The Truth is that TRUE freedom comes from obedience.  His restrictions are always for our good.

Lie #6:  God  Should Fix My Problems

This is one I am sometimes susceptible to, but Satan like to us it in a more subtle way with me.  I don't really think that He's my genie-in-a-bottle just waiting to wait on me every time I call, but sometimes when I've prayed and prayed and prayed, and my prayer is for a REALLY good thing ~ even something that I could and want to us for His glory ~ and I haven't gotten my solution or the answer I want yet, I'll hear the lies that leads to disillusionment and disappointment.....that He didn't come through for me, doesn't hear my prayers, or even that  He doesn't love me.

Yes, I hear the lie, but thankfully, I know the TRUTH.  Life is hard.  I know that better than some people may realize.  It's been hard in the past, it's hard right now, and it will be hard in the future.  We live in a fallen world, but I know that God isn't removed or detached from my problems.  I also know that His goal for my life is not for me to be free from all of my's through going through the hard times, the trials, the days when all I can do is put one foot in front of the other, and working through the problems that He molds me, shapes me, and continues the process of making me who He wants me to be.  He uses my problems as part of His sanctifying process in my life.......and I believe His Word in Romans 8:28 ~ "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose."  I have seen how He has used circumstances that broke me as a child, and difficulties and problems I've worked through as an adult, to shape who I am today.  I've been in places where I couldn't understand WHY at the time, but am now so very thankful that He knew better than I.   Some of my life's biggest blessings would not be mine had I gotten what I thought I wanted at the time. 

I trust Him completely (more than I trust myself).

You can, too.

(mute the auto music player at the bottom of the page to hear the music video)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lone Star Pot Roast (Dutch Oven or Crock Pot)

The recipe gives instruction for making this in a Dutch Oven, but it also works well in the crock pot, and that's how I prepare it 95% of the time.  For the crock pot, brown the roast, then place in crock pot with the next 5 ingredients. I let it cook on low all day, then stir the next 2 ingredients into the broth, switch to high and let cook until thickened (approx. 20 min.) if serving with gravy. Serve with yellow or Spanish rice.

I often don't make the gravy and instead shred the meat and use it for burritos, etc....In fact, I usually double the recipe, omit the gravy, then shred the roasts when cool enough to handle.  Spread the shredded meat in a layer on cookie sheets and stick in the freezer just until frozen.  Break into pieces and place in a freezer bag ~ you now have ready-to-use meat (with wonderful flavor) for any of your Mexican and Southwestern recipes......and, it's a REALLY nice change of pace from ground beef!  : )

Lone Star Pot Roast


1 (3 -3 1/2 lb) boneless beef chuck roast
 2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans tomatoes, diced & undrained
1 (4 ounce) cans green chilies, chopped
2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


In a Dutch oven, brown roast in oil. Combine tomatoes, chilies,taco seasoning, bouillon and sugar; pour over the roast. Cover and simmer 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the meat is tender.

Remove roast to a platter and keep warm. For gravy, pour 2 cups pan juices into a saucepan.

Combine the cold water and flour; stir until smooth.

Add to juices; cook and stir over high heat until thickened and bubbly, about 3 minute Slice roast.

Serve with gravy.

Serves 6 to 8.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater no one in this house is actually named Peter, and this nursery rhyme has actually nothing to do with this post.  BUT, the activity we did this week that my kids most enjoyed DID involve pumpkin......and every time we do this activity (usually in the fall), I think of this rhyme.  Because I am WEIRD.  And I homeschool, so I'm entitled to be weird.  Most homeschoolers are, you know.  ; )

Linking up with the Homeschool Village to share our schooling accomplishments and activities for the week.

Math:  We multiplied, divided, reduced fractions, added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided fractions, worked with measurements, labeled geometric shapes, and did word problems.  I have to add that in doing some word problems with my 7th grader, I had to teach her the most round-a-bout, confusing method of solving them that I have ever encountered (Saxon 8/7)!  I didn't say much about it as I was teaching it ~ just kept plowing ahead, keeping most of  thoughts to myself  (aside from a "Hmmmm, I don't remember doing it this way when I was in school" because it's what the book said to do.  Finally, towards the end of the lesson, my exasperated daughter says in her exasperated voice, "This is confusing!  What's the point?!" to which I started laughing and said in MY exasperated voice, "I have no idea!  It confuses me, too!".  She wanted to know why she couldn't do it the way I do it because it makes more sense to her.  If you've encountered this with your curriculum, please tell me the answer to this dilemma because it's not the first time we've encountered this issue.

Spelling:  Yep, we did it!  I've found that my boys are often done with their schoolwork much earlier than my daughter, so in Spelling I often let them read each others lists, dictation, etc. to one another.  It gives them extra reading and spelling practice that they don't realize they're getting, and keeps them busy for a little bit longer while I help Ashlyn with more difficult things (see above).

Language Arts:  We diagrammed sentences, practiced our punctuation and capitalization, worked with subject/verb agreement, compound subjects and compound verbs.....sometimes with the company of The Very Bad Cat, who has a way of making the mundane a little more bearable. ; )

Jacob made the bed, covering it with his favorite blankets.  At this point, I take all the help I can get and try not to complain about the results. ; )

We completed all our work for co-op in Science, History and Writing as well. Last week, I mentioned that I had to help with a Turtle project.  Robert had to do research and make a display board on Australian FlatbackTurtles, as well as make a model out of clay:

The finished board:

 He had some help from his cousin on the clay turtle:

And, what about the pumpkin?

This lovely little pumpkin has been sitting  decorated my kitchen since the week of Halloween when I bought it, intending to carve it.....and never did because I am a Very Bad Mom.

I finally found the time to gut the gourd-like squash (yes ~ it was still good!  Perfect, actually....these babies last for a LONG time!)  This kind of thing is right up 2 of my student's alleys and they were quite eager to help (esp. my little chef on the left).

This led to much discussion on what nutrients the pumpkin and its seeds give us, how much pumpkin we could get out of this one compared to what comes in a can, and the benefits of composting the guts as well as the shell after it was done roasting (we wasted not one bit!)

Approx. 12 cups of pumpkin

After we washed the gunk off our hands, Robert grabbed this book off the shelf:

It has a huge listing of everyday foods, herbs and spices and provides tips on how to select the best,  how to store and best use them., nutritional info on each one, health tips on what ailments they are best for and treatments suggestions, as well as recipes.  They find it fascinating to look up foods we may be enjoying and see how God provided for our needs through them. (They don't do this all the time.....the curiosity hits them randomly.)

They were also rewarded for their efforts with a pumpkin dessert after dinner that night.  : )  Since I'm feeling the urge to be extra sweet this week, I'll share the recipe with you ~ and it's not even Friday (the day I usually post a recipe)!  It's one of their favorite pumpkin desserts....tastes like pumpkin pie, but easier to make because you don't have to make a pie crust (I'm not a fan of the store-bought variety) and goes further than one pie does, too. One pie around here is good for about one evening......this dessert is good for two.  : )

Magic Pumpkin Buckle:


1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


3 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sugar


Pour butter into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

In a large bowl, beat the pumpkin, milk and eggs. Combine the remaining filling ingredients; add to pumpkin mixture. Pour over crust mixture (do not stir). Dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Yield: 12 servings.