A Heart Toward Home

"...But as for me and my house, we will serve (worship) the LORD."
Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brown Sugar Glaze

When I posted my cinnamon roll recipe here I said that I would post a brown sugar glaze recipe....so here it is!! :)

The last time I made my whole wheat cinnamon rolls I was out of powder sugar when I went to make the glaze. After much thought and research this is what I came up with.
Bryan said he was glad I was out of powder sugar. :) We both agreed that this was supper yummy!!
Brown Sugar Glaze

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of chopped nuts

In a sauce pan over medium heat melt butter with brown sugar. Stir continually. Once mixed together add milk (very little) until mixture is right consistency. Once it begins to boil let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nuts. If mixture looks a little too thick add a little more milk until looks good. Drizzle over rolls. Enjoy!! (You also may need to double this recipe if you want more glaze, adjust to your liking.)
**Note: As the icing sets it thickens.**
Just typing this out makes me want one right now!! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Beginning Steps to Eating Healthier

Back in September I did a post about how I wanted our family to eat more healthy. You can read that post here. So since then I have been gradually moving toward this goal. It has been a step by step process and by no means are we the "Healthiest Eaters". :)

I wanted to share some of those first steps we have made and what our next few steps will be. I also will share with you about a great website that I have discovered along the way, how my family is adjusting to these steps we are taking, and some of what I foresee my struggles being.

I shared in my post in September that we mostly drink water, but I am encouraging that we drink LOTS of water. I found these water bottles for the kids. Each kid has their own and I am asking that they drink a water bottle full each day of water. Isaac and Sarah's bottles are 32 oz. or 1 Liter, Elijah and Timothy's bottles are 16 oz., and then Joanna's is about 12 oz.. At first they were a little overwhelmed but they are quickly catching on. The rule is that once they finish their water bottle then they may have apple juice for supper (This has caused us to drink less apple juice) and if not they have to finish their water bottle at supper. The kids drink a glass of milk with their breakfast.

I also shared in my post that I was going to try and offer more fruits and veggies during the day. Bryan and I have said many times lately that we eat more fruit and veggies now than we ever have!! :) My goal right now is to serve a fruit with breakfast and lunch and then have a fruit for an afternoon snack. Then my goal for vegetables is to serve atleast one at lunch and atleast one at supper. For lunch the other day my sweet Sarah made us a vegetable tray with bell pepper, baby carrots, and grape tomatoes on it. I was so amazed at how well that went over...we had eaten all of it!! I will let her do that more often. She also has asked to make a fruit tray, that sounds like a winner. :) Bryan has been steaming some broccoli and adding some seasoning to make some very delicious broccoli (will share that recipe soon). I have discovered that I can make my own ranch dressing and we are loving that (will share that recipe too). We have discovered that we love oranges for breakfast!! :)

Since I got a wheat grinder for Christmas I am trying to use wheat flour more often in my recipes. I have found some very good recipes and made a few recipe discoveries myself. I am so looking forward to sharing those with you. In my search I have discovered "Heavenly Homemakers" website. Check it out, I think you will enjoy it too.

One thing that each of us struggle with in our house is SWEETS and DESSERTS!!! My goal is to get to where we are only eating a dessert sweet after one meal and not after lunch AND supper. I think this will be our biggest challenge. :( The first thing Elijah and Sarah ask for after lunch is "Can I have a dessert?" and mommy wants one too. :) I have tried offering fruit instead or getting them to drink more water. I have realized that if I distract them we eventually move on and forget about it. I am also trying to come up with some healthier desserts and sweets, even using less sugar.

Our next steps are to:
Change from bottled oils to olive oil or coconut oil
Change from margarine to real butter
Continue to work on eating less desserts and sweets

Am I the only one who struggles with the sweet and dessert thing or do you too? Please tell me I am not alone! :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pattern Blocks

For Christmas we got the little boys a bucket of these pattern blocks from Amazon. I knew this is what I wanted them to have but as I looked online there was a TON to choose from!! Too many choices! So I finally went with these and am very pleased!!

 Each week I let the little ones have time with the pattern blocks during school and it has been so good. It gives me time to help the big kids or get something else done. There are also pattern block cards and I want to get them eventually. I think the kids would love having the cards!
One day as the little ones were making their designs I took pictures of their creations. This is Elijah's, looks like an owl to me. :)
Timothy said this was a snowman. I love their imagination!
Mommy had to join in on the fun!! This was mommy's creation.
Timothy's other creation, a person (you have to look at it sideways).
Joanna's working on getting the hang of this! :)
Then Miss Joanna had to have her picture taken! So blessed with these sweet and beautiful children!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday!!

More to be thankful for....

8) For the school lessons we did today
9) A warm bed to sleep in
10) Birthday celebrations
11) An unsuspected package in the mail
12) The whisper of a child
13) Big brown eyes
14) A hubby that loves his family as Christ loves the church

Would love for you to share 7 (more) things you are thankful for?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole...Yummy!

 Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes (I use fresh sweet potatoes but you can use canned)
3/4 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla

Mix and pour into 9x13 greased baking dish. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

1 cup crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup of nuts (pecans)
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
3/4 stick of butter (melted)

In melted butter stir in sugar, nuts, and cornflakes and mix well. Spread over top of potatoes and bake an additional 15 minutes at 400.

This is my mother-n-law's recipe that I have tweaked a little. :) We love this and it goes well with any dish any time of the year at our house. :)  Enjoy!!

How do you like your sweet potatoes?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Day

For Valentin's Day I planned on our family making a visit to the Assisted living home across from our church. The kids and I made Valentine's and cookies to hand out to all the residents. We had so much fun putting these together. Elijah said "I could do this all day"! :)
Here is our dining room table covered with supplies to make our Valentines.
Isaac making a few of them.
Elijah got a little carried away with the stickers. :)
Sarah adding her personal touch!
Here are a few of the final cards we made.
Then we went to work making cookies!
The lady at the Assisted living home said they had 29 residents. If we wanted to give each person 4 cookies that was a total of....
116 cookies! Here are the strawberry cookies we made.
And some chocolate chip cookies we made.
Don't they look so yummy? We did make extras for us to snack on! :)
Then we placed them in bags to hand out.

The kids had lots of fun and it was nice to visit with the residents. We even made a few bags for some special people in our church that we went and visited. I love it that my kids enjoy giving to others and serving others!! That brings joy to this momma!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Math Curriculum

For Math we use the A Beka curriculum. We have always used A Beka for math. I am VERY pleased with Isaac and Sarah's math and their learning pace.

Isaac is in the 5th grade but he is doing the 6th grade math. He is very good in math and so keeping him a grade ahead in math has been a good challenge for him.

Sarah is not crazy about math (she would rather read all day) but the A Beka math has been good for her. :)

One thing I like about A Beka is when they are learning something new there is a box at the top of the page that explains what they are learning that day. It is very detailed and explains step by step how to do the new process. Isaac and Sarah can pretty much teach themselves and then I come behind them and make sure they are understanding.

We love using A Beka for Math!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A "little" Snow

On February 2nd we woke up to just enough snow for the kids to play in! They were excited! It had all melted after lunch and you couldn't even tell we had had snow. :(
Here is Timothy working hard in the snow.
Elijah throwing a snowball.
Here is a picture of our front sidewalk.
Bryan is a great dad! He took the kids out and played with them.
Here is Elijah clearing off the concrete path. :)
Sarah has been wanting it to snow and she was really excited to get some. She had so much fun playing with her daddy and siblings!!

Isaac was sick so he didn't get to play in the snow. All the kids took turns battling the flu, but praising God that we are all better and over that mess!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday!

I have been challenged (through the book One Thousand Gifts) to look for ALL the blessings around me. I began to do this and of coarse wanted to share them. Let me start with these seven:

1) Thankful for a hubby who rises each morning and meets with the Master
2) The foot steps I hear each morning as the kids come down.
3) For the food that He has placed on our table for each meal today
4) For a daughter who comes to (sincerely) ask forgiveness without being told to
5) For the Sunday School lesson I am preparing to teach this week (Amos 8-9)
6) For the cool breeze that we felt yesterday
7) The voices of our children playing outside yesterday

Now I challenge you....I would love for you to share with me seven things you are thankful for. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Pie

We spend the majority of our time in the kitchen...we love to cook! Bryan and I both like to try new things and we have made some really good things and some really not so good things. :) Yes, Bryan loves to cook just as much as I do and he does a great job!

Thought I would share with you one of his "coking ideas". He made this at Christmas while my parents were here and it was a huge success.
Chocolate Pie!
Chocolate Pie

1 Deep Dish pie crust (baked by directions on package)
Chocolate graham crackers
Chocolate chips
1/4 cup of cocoa
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1 egg
1 stick of butter
4 cups of milk
1 tsp of vanilla

Bake your pie shell. Mix cocoa, sugar, flour, and egg together. Then slice your butter and add to mixture. Next add your milk gradually and whisk together. Microwave for 5 minutes and whisk. Repeat til mixture is thickness you would like (you may have to do this 4 or 5 times). Then add vanilla and whisk together well. Pour half of your pudding mixture into pie shell and place crackers on top. Pour the rest of pudding mixture on and top with chocolate chips. Serve warm or refrigerate and then serve. Enjoy!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snowmen Containers and Spiced Nut Recipe

These are some snowmen containers that we made at Christmas time. We put "spiced nuts" (recipe below) in them and gave them as gifts to family. Thought they turned out cute! :)

 I got the idea from Bryan's secretary at church. She gave Bryan a snowman container with chocolates in it. The one she gave us was a little different. We thought they were cute and a great idea.
The container itself is a "Puff's" container (baby snack) with the wrapper off. The eyes are black beads, the one given to us had wiggly eyes (for crafts). The nose is a piece of an orange pipe cleaner curled up tight in the shape of a carrot. Then for the buttons I used real black buttons (the one given to us had black pom-poms). The hats we purchased at a craft store (the one we were given had a top hat, they were out of top hats and we thought the straw cowboy hats were just as cute).

Spiced Nuts
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
4 cups of pecan halves (or almonds)

Mix egg white and water until frothy or almost stiff (use a mixer to do this). In another bowl mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. Add nuts to egg mixture and mix together real well. Then add nuts to sugar mixture and mix together real well. Pour nuts onto a greased cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. When cool, separate and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!!

These spiced nuts are so good, you can't eat just one or two....you will want more and more. The nuts we gave to family were almonds and pecans. Both are good but the pecans are the best! :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Look Back!

The end of March we will have been in Tennessee for 3 years! It has gone by supper fast!

 Anyway... Shortly after we came I attended a Women's conference with the ladies from SMBC. Such a wonderful time!! While I was there my wonderful hubby took care held the fort down. He took pictures of the children and sent them to me. I loved everyone that he sent and wanted to share them with you.

The reason I have not shared them with you already is that I never knew how to get them off my phone and on to the computer (I really don't know much about electronics). Recently we got me a new phone and the gentleman that was helping us could put the pictures from my old phone onto my new phone!! I was so excited! So the only thing I figured out to do was to email them to myself....so here they are....
This is Isaac hanging out in our bed. Isn't that such a sweet smile?
Right after we moved one of the ladies from our church brought us some goodies. Two of those goodies was pecan pies....Chocoate chip pecan pies. We love pecan pies but wasn't sure about chocolate chip pecan pies. OH MY is all I can say!! We could warm up a piece and it would just melt in your mouth!!

Bryan sent me the above picture of him eating the last piece of the pie. Isn't he so thoughtful! LOL!!

Timothy was having mommy withdrawals! :) He didn't cry the whole time I was gone...he was done and ready to get down.
My pretty girl. She looks so big in this picture but now she is even older..she is growing so fast.
Can you believe that this little boy will be 6 in May? He wasn't even 3 years old yet in this picture.
Here is all the kids right before bed. I love this picture and forever it was the background on my old phone.

I love that we have made memories and the joy those memories bring us!