Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scott's BBQ or Baked Salmon

Fresh Copper River Salmon is available in my neck of the woods, and on sale to boot.  So last Friday I ran on down to see my favorite fishmonger, Shayla, and we picked up a couple of beautiful, deep orangey-red filets.

The first time I had salmon cooked this way was over 20 years ago at a 4th of July barbeque.  It was the best salmon I had ever had.  And the cook, Scott, was nice enough to share his secrets with me.  But it's okay that I share them with you because Scott doesn't read my blog!

No matter what kind of wild salmon is available or if we are going to barbeque or just bake it in the oven, this is my go-to recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: Rite of Passage

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you might remember that I have two children who are currently 12 and 10.  They are the absolute joy of our lives and the biggest and most important challenge my husband and I have ever faced.

Recently I was having a discussion with my mother about a choice I made when I was 17 that was challenging for me and my family.  Her response was that I was just a "kid".  She said that several times... "You were just a kid!"  But at 17, I felt like an adult... I was capable of caring for myself... I was able to make important decisions... I drove a car, had a job, cooked, cleaned...  At 17, normally a young woman is even physically mature enough to conceive and give birth to a child of her own.

So when is a person really an adult and not "just a kid" anymore?

I have personally read more than a dozen books on the very subject of bar/bat barakah ceremonies and guiding my children into adulthood within the past six months.  This subject is very much on my radar so when I got the opportunity to review "Rite of Passage" by Jim McBride, I did not hesitate.

Even though I have read several books about this topic, it was a very worthwhile read.  Pastor McBride offers some insight that I hadn't read or thought of before including the need for adult mentors/prayer warriors in the young person's life.  I also saw the value of the unique gifts given and the examples of the rites of passage he did with his two sons and two daughters.  I especially loved the symbolism of when he told his children that today was they day when his little boy/girl would sit down and a man/woman would stand. Also, the author encourages more than one rite of passage, making this a stepping stone on your young person's life journey.

In all, I would highly recommend this book as a part of your own research of meaningful milestone celebrations in your child's life.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

What Do You Think of Angelina Jolie's Choice?

I had a dear friend die of breast and other cancers four years ago.  This awful disease snuffed out the life of a vibrant, beautiful, strong woman that I miss very much.  She never candy-coated anything and was one of the most loyal friends I've ever had.

After the doctors could no longer make any progress with chemotherapy, experimental drugs, and the like, THEN they suggested that she try eating organic foods and getting exercise.

I hate cancer and what it does to people. 

So with that said, recently Angeline Jolie has been in the news for choosing to have a double mastectomy as she has a defective gene that could cause cancer.

My concern with her public announcement is how this may influence others to make potentially unnecessary, painful, and expensive choices that they may have not made without her celebrity.

Dr. Mercola weighs in on this subject here...

What do you think?

Menu Monday, May 27

Happy Memorial Day!

If you are like us, we never go camping Memorial Day weekend.  Not to say that we haven't in the past and learned from the error of our ways.  You see, we are much older and wiser now.  And as a homeschool family, we normally go camping when all the other kiddos are still in school.  No, we aren't anti-social.  But that is a great time to meet other homeschool families doing the same thing!

By the way, don't forget Tropical Traditions' FREE SHIPPING offer on orders of just $16 or more thru midnight today!  It's a great way to stock up on all the great products they offer!  Be sure to use the special code before checking out... 
Coupon Code 171355

B: Oatmeal with raisins, chopped apples & toasted walnuts
D: Going to a BBQ and bringing Baked Beans

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Free Shipping from Tropical Traditions thru Monday 5/27

Tropical Traditions, my favorite place to get coconut oil, 
is offering free shipping on orders of $16 or more 
thru Monday, May 27, midnight.

Just be sure to use this special code when checking out!

As an affiliate,
 I do receive a small commission 
from Tropical Traditions.  
Thanks in advance for using the link from this website!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Aha... Owning Your Own Doo-doo

I have been reading "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  I borrowed the book from the library, but I think I'm going to need to get my own copy so I can mark it all up with my trusty yellow highlighter.

Anyway, I had an absolutely "Aha" moment this morning.  I don't know if you will benefit from this tidbit or not, but just in case, I have to share it.

Page 90: Item 6 - "You have the power to seek out those you have injured and make amends."  As a friend of mine says, "Own your own doo-doo."  If you made the mess, you get to clean it up.  It is your responsibility to contact the person you wronged, name the offense and ask for forgiveness.

Sometimes, others don't want to "own their own doo-doo".  And guess what?  It is NOT your responsibility to seek out those who have injured you or think you are upset with them because they did something wrong.  That is THEIR responsibility.  Wow.  I don't know about you, but I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Yep.  With a dog, chickens, and my own short-comings, I have enough doo-doo to take care of without having to feel responsible for other's, too, thankyouverymuch.

Oh, and I need to pick up another yellow highlighter, too.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Creamed Spinach

Photo credit
Never having been a huge fan of cooked spinach, I must admit that my family and I can't seem to get enough of creamed spinach.  Yes, it does have a few more calories in it, but boy is it ever good.  It's great served as a side dish, on top of an omelet or piece of steak or burger, even over ice cream...not really but was just checking if you still had a pulse.

Also, to save time, you can blanch and drain your spinach a few hours prior to finishing it.  That makes it a great addition when serving a multi-course meal as it doesn't take but a few quick minutes to finish it.

Creamed Spinach ~ Serves 4

(Heavily influenced by Emerill) 
  • 1 pound fresh organic spinach, washed and stems removed
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 C chopped mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 C finely chopped shallots or onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 - 1/3 C heavy cream (preferably raw)
  1. Blanch spinach in a pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain.  Squeeze out as much remaining water as possible.
  2. If leaves are large, chop finely.  If leaves are small, just leave them as is.  (At this point, you can refrigerate the cooked spinach until ready to finish.)
  3.  Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add mushrooms and saute over medium heat about 2 minutes.  Add shallots (or onions) and garlic and saute over medium heat an additional 2 minutes. 
  4. Add spinach and saute for about 1 minute.
  5. Add cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Menu Monday, May 20

Wednesday morning's "toaster waffles" are just waffles I made last weekend, frozen on a cookie sheet, and then transferred to a freezer bag.  Put them in the toaster frozen for about half the time as you would a slice of toast and wa-la.  Waffles!  Who says you need to have the store-bought frozen thingies on hand for a good, quick breakfast.  As a matter of fact, you can make sprouted wheat waffles with pastured eggs and raw milk, and served with organic grade B maple syrup for about the same as these expensive little nutritionless hockey pucks.

Just sayin'.

B: Oatmeal with pears & toasted walnuts  
D: Swiss & mushroom omelets; green beans with bacon bits; roasted red potatoes

Friday, May 17, 2013

Flashback Friday, May 17

I know this has nothing to do with homemaking, but it does have to do with life!  Do your remember this?

Book Review: Victim of Grace

"Victim of Grace", an autobiography by author Robin Jones Gunn, is a different avenue for her to share her faith.  

Throughout the book, Robin recounts her life's challenges and joys in a very honest way, relating each season in her life to a woman from the Bible.  Although her desire to become a missionary didn't come true in the way we normally think of missionaries, her stories have reached many countries and so very many women of different ages.  

I was absolutely touched by so many of the stories, but there is one in particular that really got to me.  It is the story of the polio-stricken Mary of Latvia who, as Robin tells it, God took her legs so she couldn't run on the earth, and instead became a "runner" of the heart-cries of God's children on the earth to Him in Heaven.   My throat is tight with emotion just  remembering the beauty of this woman's attitude. 

If you think you won't cry reading this book, you've got another thing comin'.  

Quite a change from her normal fiction, but so worthy of reading. 

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I was provided a free copy of this book by Zondervan Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Little Blessings Bedtime Stories and Prayers

This darling little book is destined to be an absolute favorite of the fortunate children who receive it.  The pictures are nothing short of adorable, with so much detail, bright colors, sweet children and animals.  Just looking at the pictures is so enjoyable.

As a parent, though, I thought the stories (there are four of them) were fantastic.  The first story is about how God makes nighttime too.  The second is an exercise in thankfulness while the third reminds us of how many blessings we have.  The fourth teaches how God loves us just the way we are.

I loved this book.  Looking for a baby shower gift or gift for a toddler through maybe kindergarten?  This would definitely make my short list.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review: The Winnowing Season

"The Winnowing Season" is the second book Amish Vines and Orchards series by Cindy Woodsmall.  I had the opportunity to read the first book in the series, "A Season for Tending", and found that I enjoyed this book a lot more.  I'm not sure if this is because I already knew the characters from the first book and got to know them better or if the second book was just more engaging.

Like the first book, Mrs. Woodsmall includes some very "un-Amish" topics in her story.  The main character, Rhoda, has a gift with herbs and can sometimes foresee future events.  Jacob, her beau, is running from his past while he was "out in the world".  Samuel struggles with loving the girl his brother is courting.  Leah is just trying to figure out if she wants to remain Amish or not.

In all, this is a really good story.  We are reminded that the Amish are people, too, with real struggles.  I'm looking forward to the next book.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I was provided a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Menu Monday, May 13

Photo credit
***Oh my goodness!  This was supposed to have posted on Monday and I don't know what happened!  So sorry!!!***

I didn't make a menu last week.  The weather was so beautiful that I found it hard to be in the kitchen or at the computer to meal-plan.  This week I'm making myself sit down and do it and I know I'll be so glad that I did.  I always am.

The rain is back and so are some meals that I might normally make in the winter.  Ho hum...

On the bright side, we have arugula, bok choy, kale and some peas in the garden that I'll be adding in to our meals.  Oh, I love the garden!

B: Oatmeal with blueberries & peaches  
D: "Kitchen sink" omelets; bacon & sweet potato hash; spinach salad

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day!
...And don't forget to shut the mixer off first.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Raising a Modern-Day Knight

What's in a name?
Get it here...

Our culture doesn't think a whole lot about the meanings of names.  In the past, though, people gave a lot of thought to naming their children.  God even renamed a few people in the bible.  Remember Abram and Sarai, for example?  And how about King David's wife, Abigail.  Her first husband's name was Nabal.  That means "fool".  Do you think his parents were excited about having him in the family?  Uh-ya.

Well, as our kiddos are in their tween years and moving toward adulthood, I have been fascinated by the value of a name, by honor, and by the customs and traditions mostly forgotten by many in our Western Civilization.

What brought this on?  Well, as I've been researching the bar/bat barakah (a rite of passage ceremony... I'll be writing more on this later) I read a fantastic book titled "Raising a Modern-Day Knight" by Robert Lewis.  Although this book is written to fathers for their sons, I didn't think Mr. Lewis would mind if I gave it a peek, too.  And I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Passport to Purity Weekend

As a parent, we get to look back at our childhood and choose those things we would do the same as
our parents... and those we would change.

I'm a product of the 80's.  My parents both worked like crazy to support our family and pay the tuition to send us to Christian schools.  They did the best they knew how to do.  We were a pretty typical middle class family, I guess.

One thing as a teenager, though, was that communication wasn't very open about certain important subjects.  Like sex.

I learned about the birds and bees from girlfriends and I knew that sex was an absolute no-no before marriage.  Bad...bad...bad.  That kind of attitude really can mess with a good Christian girl after she's married and it's supposed to be okay, even good, then.  It sure would have been nice if God would have installed a switch to flip inside of each one of us, ya know?  Off...  On...

Well, anyway, this was one of those areas I looked at and really wanted something different for my daughter and son.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was telling me about Dennis and Barbara Rainey's Passport to Purity.  It's a CD and workbook that goes over some really important topics like peer pressure, sex, and a plan for the teen to remain sexually pure until marriage.  Good stuff.

I've heard pros and cons about this particular "curriculum", but what I really wanted was to open the door to discussion, to make these topics available to be talked about.  I don't want my kiddos to feel like they can't discuss something with me because they feel that it is "taboo".  And that is something I am really trying to do better!  I also understand that this is not a one-shot deal.  We can't just do this "project" and expect a stellar outcome.

So, a few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to get away with my 12-year old daughter for our"Passport" weekend.  We didn't go far and it wasn't crazy expensive.  But, the door of discussion that opened is one that I will be working hard to keep open.  We had a wonderful time connecting in a way we never had before and the memories we created are priceless.

In a couple of years, my hubby and son will go off on their own adventure.

And prayerfully, the story of our children's youth will end triumphantly.

What are you doing to keep the lines of communication open with your tween- and teen-agers?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review: American Phoenix

I love history.  It has to be my absolute favorite genre.  And when I received "American Phoenix" by Jane Hampton Cook, I was just about drooling as I opened the package.

This book is phenomenal.  450 pages of history supported by letters and diaries.  This is not what I would call an "easy" read, but one that is captivating and propels you into that period of time so thoroughly that it's hard to remember what century you live in. 

I had absolutely no idea of the story of John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa prior to this book.  Now I feel like an expert.

If you love history, this is a must-read.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I was provided a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.