Saturday, October 23, 2010

Traditional White Bread

This is my slightly altered version of Betty Crocker's recipe, and I've learned the hard way not to vary the method or ingredients too much. :) Let me know if you make it a different way and if it works for you!

7 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2 packages quick active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 1/4 cups very warm water (I microwave a glass Pyrex measuring cup for 1 1/2 minutes)
Desired amount of melted butter or olive oil for tops of loaves


1. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.

2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

3. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 or 9 x 5 x 3 inches, with shortening.

4. Heat oven to 425°. Deflate dough with fist and divide in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into rectangle, 18 x 9 inches, on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side, to form a loaf. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Press each end with side of hand to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with melted butter or olive oil. Cover and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until double.

5. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter or olive oil; cool.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

When She Says No

This week, when I said, "JoeAnna, do you want to do school?" She just said, "no." Everytime. I don't think she's to the age where it's damaging to her to not be progressing through a preschool curriculum, but there is still something inside me that cries "oh no, she doesn't want to learn!" Any veteran homeschooling parents suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who doesn't like free?

Elvis Takes a Backseat

Free Book Download!
"First-class entertainment."
Celebrating the release of Leanna Ellis's new novel, Facelift, her earlier hit Elvis Takes a Back Seat is a FREE download at Amazon through Sept. 30, 2010

Through Amazon you can download Kindle-for-PC for free and it takes only 2 minutes or so, I was reading this book in less than 3 minutes!
Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 258

Love Comes Softly (Love Comes Softly Series, Book 1)I'm elated to report that I have finished another book! September has been a rockin' month for reading at my house! But before I tell what book I finished and before some of you roll your eyes, I must say that I was compelled to read this book because it was made into a movie. I saw the movie first and just wanted to know more. Come to find out the book was almost completely different! Most of the names were not the same, lots of new characters in the book, some of the characters were drastically different ages, and needless to say most of the details were changed. So, you must be wondering what it is that I read? Love Comes Softly (Love Comes Softly Series, Book 1) by Janette Oke. I read the original though copyright 1979, and I just saw that on my link here to the book it has a different copyright date and different number of pages! Hmm... I may have to pick up that book too and look for differences.
I can't tell you how much I was touched by the similarities in the last two books I've read. Look back one post about When Life Is Hard. I found myself looking at the face of "Marty" the woman in Love Comes Softly and thinking "she's learning James 1, 1 Peter 4, 2 Corinthians 12, and Hebrews 12"! She had to face her impossible situation, her grief, her hatred and pain, her responsibilities (a 2 year old and pregnancy), and her marriage to a man she just met and learn to live WITH it all and not run from it, criticize it, fold under it, or complain about it. In Love Comes Softly you get to see the inner struggle she faces and ultimately the blessing God provides her - even though he never takes any of her problems away! 
This book was deeply touching, and I hope you read it. Or if you already have, please tell me what was your favorite part. :) 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 253

When Life Is Hard Finished book #4 for September! I think I shall reward my make-up efforts with a latte today. Seriously though, the book I finished was When Life Is Hard by James MacDonald. Please check out I've been listening to Dr. James for a long time now on Moody radio from Walk In the Word. I was actually able to attend one of his services from the bus tour he was on last year in Tampa, Florida. For me, Dr. James is a no-nonsense preacher. He doesn't give lame messages or make you feel good about being a christian. He preaches the Word of God. He digs into the facts of his own life and experience and puts it all out there - he doesn't hold back. Because of his real life and real Truth style, I've come to trust him and I am so thankful for this written copy of When Life Is Hard because it's actually the written form of some sermons he preached not too long ago while in California undergoing cancer treatments. In this book, he gives real life (his life) examples of trials, thorns, and hard circumstances. He uses four different passages of Scripture that deal with hard life purposes. He has written a "Prayer of Commitment" at the end of each chapter and a "Glimpse of Gold" at the beginning. There are "Mining for Gold" at the end too - questions or statements that dig deeper into the personal application. 
I needed this book for many reasons. I'm sure everyone has hard life stuff that we never bring to light or deal with. I found that even the hard life stuff in my life that I knew about paled in comparison to the thorn I recognized. I pray that I will continue to submit to God and His work in my life and that I will always trust His promises.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Free Download: Jeremiah's Eat Pray Love; One Woman's Search for Everything Across Israel, Egypt and Exile.

Beth Moore: Free Download: Jeremiah's Eat, Pray, Love

I'm currently listening to this - I had read Gilbert's book and thought Moore's perspective would be more suitable for me. Let me know what you think and if the link works!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 247

Never Let You GoFinished the 3rd book for September! I think I'm on a roll. This one was the faithpoint book club selection for this month. I just love having books selected for me that are so different and quality. Like last months book club selection The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances, this months selection Never Let You Go was amazing and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Never Let You Go now takes first place on my list of favorite faithpoint fiction for this year - I like it even better than Crossing Oceans.
Classified as "fiction/Christian/Suspense" I would also call it a thriller. I read so often that I usually don't have those moments where "I just can't put it down" either because I have to because a child is in trouble or because I know I'll just pick it back up in the morning; this book, however, I could not put down last night. I kept Rob up and made him listen as I told him all about it last night.
From the back of the book:
A rare novel that will satisfy a wide range of readers, Never Let You Go explores the high-stakes decisions played out in the thin spaces between heaven and earth. As the enemy's grip tightens around Lexi, she will have to decide what's truly worth holding on to.
Here's another hint at the quality of this book (from the discussion guide in the book pg. 340 #9)
Angelo tells Lexi on more than one occasion to "listen to love." What does this advise mean to her at the beginning of her journey? How does it compare to her understanding of the wisdom at the end? How does Molly listen to love as a child compared to how Lexi must listen to it as an adult?
For me, this story of powerful forgiveness and love (the 1 Corinthians 13 kind) had the feeling of an allegory like The Pilgram's Progress. It still has me thinking of the reality of the unseen world and the truth: 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

If you read it, let me know what you think!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 240

Finished the second book of September and the second book in a series: Remember by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley. It's amazing reading these books because I am truly edified by reading them - even though they are fiction! The back of this book says:
Novelist Karen Kingsbury and relationship expert Gary Smalley have teamed up to bring you and inspiring series of stories that explore the relationship principles Gary has been teaching for more than thirty years.
I simply love that about these books - the fiction is creative, the characters are engaging, and the life principles are right there in application form for the reader and the character alike.

Remember (Redemption)
    Book One was:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 233

Just finished another book! Some might say, "great way to start September - finishing your first book for the month!" But I know that it is actually - bad way to end August...on the 3rd of September. Oh well. I'm still I think 2 or 3 books behind my goal, but with at least 4 other books started I'm sure I can crank out 3 books a month for 3 months.

What I read: The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. This was Books-a-Million's August Faithpoint book club choice. It is a "blend of historical fact and engaging fiction" labeled as "self-help/motivational/inspirational" for the sake of the real people behind the story. Knowing that this story, although some of the details were of the author's imagination, was indeed true caused me to pause and realize that I cannot understand what life was like during WWII. I can't believe so many amazing life stories are hidden under blue hair!! :)

Read it!! Tell me what you think!
The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grocery Day

Thursday is grocery day here and I am in need of an easy list today - I just don't feel like writing everything all out. Here's a quick link to some awesome pre-made lists you can download for free from - Soon I'll post how I used the preschooler chore chart! I love seeing JoeAnna grow in her abilities to accomplish tasks and her help really helps!!
Here's my list ready to go!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mommy Teach Me!

First attempt at non-plastic scissors. I think we both learned a valuable lesson... 

Sorting: (much easier and less clothes threatening) Develops concentration, visual discrimination, and coordination. She did great! (Easy clean up, and I purchased these "gems" at the dollar store.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Book Received

So far so good with the Paper Book Swap! Here's my first book received today, I requested it on Monday! I hope to update it more tonight and come up with a reading plan and wish list for the rest of the year. Any suggestions? Please leave a comment and let me know what books have impacted your thinking lately.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Now these books are at the library!

I mentioned in the previous entry that I'm having to use the Paper Book Swap because not all the books I need for the Sonlight curriculum are at the library, or I don't have enough information about them to thoroughly search for them.
But I just found this awesome list of books and so far I have 5 of them on hold at the library!
10 picture books that teach important life lessons from
Check out the list and tell me what you think! Have you read any of these before? I'll let you know what I pick them up if I like them, or if the kids like them. I like that the list also summarizes what the life lesson is from each book. I can pick and choose in the future that way.
Library tomorrow, I just can't wait!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 220

Finished another book. Not quite so important as the last one I blogged, yet important and distinct none the less. As I read this book, I was challenged by the author's drive to seek devotion, to seek healing, and to seek balance. Although I was challenged by the author, I was not inspired to copy or follow her. Instead I contemplated the author's journey making note of the things she did well, the things that are similar to my own, and the things that she gained through different disciplines, and now I am ready to articulate for the world my own journey. As I read, I was motivated to learn myself, giving attention to the areas of my mind and heart that I so often ignore for the sake of "making it through the day." Also, I was motivated to be more disciplined in my pursuit of God, to take on new activities of devotion to Him, and to write about it.
Let me be the first to introduce you to a new amateur author - myself. I've started writing something real and I'm going to go for it. I hope to interview this author someday, and tell her about my saving faith. But for now, I'm okay with praying for her.
So, the book was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Do you think I should go see the movie? Hmm...

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia