Easter Traditions

The Empty Tomb and Three Crosses

The Empty Tomb and Three Crosses-

Directions for how to make The Empty Tomb and Cross centerpiece.

If you are visiting me today from Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion, welcome!

Jesus our Lord is risen! Because He died and rose on the third day;“He that believes in Him shall have everlasting life.” When we believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance. This is cause for uncontainable excitement!

We are filled with all the fullness of God! Oh my goodness, this is glorious!

Let’s worship Him without reserve.  Lets cleanse our homes of anything that doesn’t glorify Him. Lets give ourselves wholly to Him who bought us with His own blood. Lets love Him the way He loves us!

May your Easter be filled with all the fullness of God!Coconut Cream cake

Family Meal with yummy Coconut Cream cake
Coconut Cream Cake

Coconut Cream Cake

Here’s the link for this delicious Coconut Cake Recipe. Recipe is Gluten Free but you can make it with regular flour too.

Blown out eggs, decorated-these were made 15 years ago

Decorate blown eggs- these were made over 15 years ago by our children. Some have Jesus and cross painted on, another the three crosses. . .

Directions for making decorated blown out eggs here and storage of the treasures.

I laid an old basket with a flat back on the table. The Cross was made with two twigs tied together. I love how the basket handle resembles the crown of thorns.

Easter Devotions

 For more on Easter devotions by candlelight click here.

I divided the large batch into smaller jars- they'll be on the table for Easter

Pickled eggs are a family tradition passed down from my mom

 Link  to recipe for pickled eggs here.

 

Passover(Seder) Supper

Passover(Seder) Supper

One of the greatest traditions you can start with your family is a Passover(Seder) meal. Instructions, recipes, and verses on how to do prepare for a Passover(Seder)Meal.  

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”   Easter beckon’s us to share Christ’s  free gift of salvation to the lost. It beckon’s us to be overcome with His love for others.  Who do you know that doesn’t know Christ as their personal savior? Ask the Lord how He would like to use you to bring them to Him. Should you call them, invite them for Easter lunch? Send an Easter card? Stop by with a basket and invite them to church? In the comment section, leave the name of the one you’re praying for. Your comment enters you to win a $40 gift certificate to be used at the Proverbs 31 bookstore and we’ll pray for your lost family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker.

Use your gift certificate to get this necklace or books!

Use your gift certificate to get this necklace or books!

Twelfth Night Dinner

 

 

The Story of that Twelfth Night Dinner lives on. . .

The Story of that Twelfth Night Dinner lives on in our Home

If you’re visiting from Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotions, welcome!

It was the most memorable dinner I’ve ever attended… It was a Twelfth Night Dinner.  The smell of roasted rib roast enveloped us as we walked through the front door. We were ushered through the bustling kitchen.  It was filled with homemade dishes.  Yorkshire pudding and mushroom pie were being taken out of the oven as we made our way to the family room adjacent to the dining-room.  Candles flickered all over the table.  Jars of homemade pickled watermelon rind and other delicacies adorned the table.

Their only daughter, Heidi (11 years old), was sitting on the sofa. We sat next to her.  A wig covered her sparse, thin hair. Cancer had taken a toll on her brainstem and she wasn’t who she used to be physically or mentally.  Slowly, she explained to us why her family celebrated Twelfth Night.

She looked off into the distance and recalled the beautiful story of the Magi following the star to find Jesus. The wise men were Gentiles (non-Jews) and were willing to go any distance to worship and adore Him with their finest gifts.  At the close of her story, her words got slower.  She took a long pause- we waited. Our daughters didn’t move a muscle nor did my husband or I.  It was as if she were listening to a voice we couldn’t hear. Our hearts melted when slowly she said “Come let us adore Him and give Him our best- just like the wise men.”

Clanging pots and dishes jolted us back into the twentieth century. Pat, our hostess invited us to gather ‘round the table. Her toddler started to cry. She said, “Please excuse Galen, his ear drum burst last night. He didn’t get much sleep, he’s a little grumpy.”  We joined hands and prayed.

I sat mesmerized that night, by this family.  While suffering, they served.  One child suffering the effects of brain stem cancer, another with a dreadful ear infection, a mom with no sleep, a third child that begged her attention and yet, she served us with joy. How ironic that her and her husband would host a night of worship in honor of the ultimate suffering servant, Jesus.

We ate our food with gladness and simplicity of heart, and praised God together.  Our children were young but even they could sense the sacredness of the night. No one said a word on our way home. Years have passed since then, but every 12th night after Christmas, I remember the Kastock family and that special dinner. Heidi went home to be with the Lord. But she lives on in my heart as the greatest story teller of Twelfth Night, that there ever was.

It was literally the most memorable dinner I’ve ever attended. The food was incredible.  The fellowship sweet but the living example of a suffering servant is so indelibly etched in my heart and soul that it changed me forever.

Lord, help me to never wait until my circumstances are perfect to serve. Help me to serve when nothing is perfect, when life is hard and when it’s good.  May I celebrate You all the days of my life with the same tenacity and with my finest gifts just like the wise men, and the Kastock’s.

I don’t know about you but I’ve already got the family in mind I want to invite over. How about you? We can’t wait till things get easier.  It never does! To make it easier, you could have them over for just coffee and dessert.

The best  Coconut Cream Cake (Gluten Free) recipe ever to serve with the coffee!

A make ahead dinner, try- Chicken and Dumpling  Casserole (Gluten Free) I keep one of these in freezer at all times for unexpected company. You can bake it before you freeze it or freeze unbaked, both work.

Pat Kasktock’s Twelfth Night Yorkshire Pudding

2 Corinthians 12:9a, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…”

Who are you going to invite? Leave their name in the comment section to enter the drawing to win this amazing book, Everyday Confetti written by my dear friends, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer and a $30 Target gift card to get the baking pan you need! The book is being released January 21, 2014. I’ll pick the winner next Wednesday!! Everyday confetti

 

8 Christmas Cookie/Candy Gift Recipes

 

Cookie lead photo

A memorable Christmas tradition in our family is to bring goodies to the homes of hurting people on Christmas Eve. Notice I didn’t say our favorite Christmas tradition but a memorable one. The kids didn’t actually like this tradition when they were little. Just this week I got a call from one of our grown daughters, Hannah and she said even though it wasn’t one of her favorite traditions as a child, it is as an adult. She wants to carry the tradition on in her family. Throughout the year we would make a mental note of those who had lost loved ones, endured cancer, lost their jobs or husbands. Then on Christmas Eve we would deliver goodies to their homes and pray for them.

I’ll never forget one year in particular. We went into the home of a family who had lost their only teenage son. We didn’t call before we came. it was a surprise visit. The dad was drunk and he wasn’t a drinker.  The mom was crying.  The kids were sitting by the Christmas tree with no gifts. Sadness consumed the house. We gathered them into a circle, held hands and prayed. They didn’t want us to leave, we brought not just food- but the joy of the Lord. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Bringing good tidings of great joy to the poor and brokenhearted; Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and open prison to those who are bound…To comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  We are His ambassadors carrying His anointing to the lost and hurting ones, He loves. Let’s be His hands and feet and bring joy where there is none.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes  to make for your goodie deliveries.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 180

Prepare your goodie containers. Save oatmeal, cocoa and coffee canisters throughout year. Wrap cans with paper you’ve saved  and have fun decorating with supplies on hand. The point is to spend the least amount of money and make it look better than anything you could buy.

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies

Soft Baked Oreo Cookies-GF

1 box of chocolate cake mix (we used a gluten free mix, any cake mix works)

1/3 cup water (depending on how many ounces the mix -you may need as much as ¾ cup)

3 tablespoons shortening or butter, softened

Mix all ingredients. It will be a little dry. If you can’t form it into a ball, you need more water. Add extra slowly. Dust the counter with a little cocoa powder, roll out dough and use cookie cutter to form circles.  If your dough is too sticky, form into silver dollar size patties by hand and flatten.

Bake on greased baking sheet for 6 minutes on 325 degrees.

Filling

3 ½ cups powdered sugar (organic)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup shortening or butter

3 tablespoons hot water

Mix well. After cookies have cooled squish a heaping wallop of frosting between two cookies! YUM

 

Candied Oranges

Candied Orange

6 thick sliced organic oranges (non-organic orange peel shouldn’t be eaten, chemicals are heavy)

4 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

Wash oranges. Quarter and peel the skin and pith off. Slice peel into thin strips. Put orange peel into a pot of cold water, bring to boil over high heat. Pour water off and repeat 1-2 more times. This helps take  bitterness away. Remove orange peels from water.

Empty pot and now add your sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, bringing the temperature up slowly to 234. Add the peels and simmer for 40 minutes. DON’T stir, it can make sugar crystals in your syrup. Drain the peels and roll in a little sugar if you desire. Let sit for several hours.

I actually used fermented oranges on one batch- OH MY GOODNESS—it was better than anything I’ve ever eaten. The oranges were soft inside and the outside was hardened candy. It was like eating heaven.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 196

Maple Walnut Fudge

2 cups organic brown sugar (all sugar not organic is genetically modified)

5 ounces whole milk (I used raw goat milk for my lactose sensitive family)

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups organic powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (don’t use artificial, it cheats you of perfection)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Butter a 9×9 inch square pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat sugar, milk, butter and maple syrup. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Take off heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour into mixing bowl and beat on medium until thick—about 3 minutes. Fold in nuts and pour into greased pan.

Let cool overnight. Slice into 1-inch squares.

 

Pecan Toffee

Pecan Toffee- GF Not hard but a soft crunch- YUM

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup butter (don’t use margarine)

1 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup or maple syrup (if you can’t find organic corn syrup use maple syrup)

¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup crushed toasted pecans

Line a 9 X 13ish baking pan with foil and grease. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped nuts into bottom of pan evenly. In pot add butter, sugar and corn syrup or maple syrup. Cook over medium high heat to boiling.

Clip a candy thermometer onto side of pot. Cook and stir over medium heat. Stop stirring after sugar melts.  Cook until candy thermometer reaches 290 degree. Watch carefully, it can burn after 280. If it starts to turn too dark after 280 turn off heat. Pour mixture evenly over chopped nuts in greased pan.

Let stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top. Let melt on top for a couple of minutes.  Spread chocolate over whole mixture. Sprinkle crushed nuts on top. Cool, when firm lift out of pan and break into pieces. Store in tightly covered container.

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 189

Banana Bread Muffins- GF

1 ¾ cups self-rising flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking Mix or dairy free Cherry

1 cup mashed bananas

½ cup milk ( you can substitute with yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup butter

1 cup organic sugar

2 eggs

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

If you use non-self-rising flour you’ll need 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda and ¾ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients. Pour into muffin pan or loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees  for 25 minutes.

Muffin topping

½ cup sugar

½ finely chopping nuts

4 tablespoons melted butter

Mix sugar and nuts together in a bowl. Melted butter in another small bowl.

Dip cooled muffin top into melted butter, then dip into sugar and nut mixture.

Enjoy!

 Flourless Decadent Brownie- GF

24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (dairy free if you’re lactose intolerant)

1 ½ sticks butter

5 beaten eggs

½ cup organic sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

1 cup pecans

Melt chocolate chips and butter in bowl and stir. Add all other ingredients and pour into 9X9 pan. Bake on 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until done.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

susan bday, christmas cookies and dinner 138

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup butter

2 cups organic sugar

½ cup milk (lactose sensitive people most often can tolerate goat milk)

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

½ cup crunch peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar, milk and salt in pot. Stir and bring to rolling boil. Boil for one minute. Stir in oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Work quickly it will start to harden!

Homemade Marshmallows dipped in chocolate are GREAT to giveaway.

Blondie’s frosted in Christmas colors

Caramel Pecan Pie Cake muffins

Marshmallow Fruit Salad- GF

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Marshmallow Fruit Salad-No photo can capture the taste!!

Some recipes are so special that you use them only at  holidays and special occasions–this Marshmallow Fruit Salad  is one of those recipes! It’s a labor of love that’ll be passed down for generations. Serves 40 people-6 0z each or 20 people with leftovers for the next day.

Use organic ingredients when possible for longevity of your life.

2 cups of cooked Arborio rice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour (I use GF)

½ tsp. salt

3 egg yolks- beaten

1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple

2 15 ounce cans mandarin oranges

1 ¾ cup of juice from pineapple and mandarin orange’s

7 cups homemade marshmallows -Homemade makes a huge difference, but you can use store bought. I actually wouldn’t make this without homemade marshmallows. It’s what makes it special.

2 ½ cups Truwhip (homemade whipped cream is the ultimate ingredient but lactose intolerant people can’t eat it. Most tolerate Truwhip which is 70% organic w/ trace amount of sodium caseinate. Cool Whip is genetically modified- don’t use it)

  1. Cook rice according to package directions. Only use Arborio rice for this recipe.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, juice from fruit- stir well and cook on medium until thick. Stir into cooked rice. Refrigerate overnight- to absorb all the goodness into rice.
  3.  Next day, stir into rice mixture; Truwhip, marshmallows, pineapple and mandarin oranges. Mix well.
  4. I make this for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet--fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    While rice is cooking make fruit dressing in skillet–fruit juice, egg yolks, sugar and flour- cook till slightly thick

    Thickened

    Thickened

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Add to cooked rice, stir- refrigerate over night so rice absorbs all the yumminess

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Stir into rice mixture- marshmallows, Truwhip and fruit

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

    Marshmallow Fruit Salad- refrigerate until ready to serve

     

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas-DIY

Let dry until no moisture is left and flowers are dried completely- few days

In the olden days people decorated their homes with homemade treasures, often with resources grown on their own farms. I’m excited to share with you 10 nostalgic fall ideas we made this year from resources grown(mostly) our property.  I hope you make a few for your home! If you have any  old-fashioned ideas for fall decorating–I would love to hear them!

An industrious woman always plans for the future. Pin this post so you can plan for the things you’ll make next fall.  In the spring you’ll want to plant  flowers that you’ll dry at the end of summer for your fall arrangement. You’ll want to plant gourds and pumpkins if you have space. Back in the day even those who had little money purchased a few basic items in town at a store, like cloves and a lemon. I spent less than $10 on everything I made in this post.  I’m not sure how much money a grapevine wreath is in the store. You may find one at a yard sale or thrift store for a fraction of the cost of a new one.  A good resource to find free treasures to decorate wreaths would be in the forest. Go on a nature hike and return with bags of possibilities.

#1 Dried Zinnia Wreath

My summer Zinnia's dried--now I can enjoy them all year!

My summer Zinnia’s dried and made into a wreath! I enjoy them all year! I’m giving away zinnia seeds to 3 people! Just tell me you want seeds in comment section! I’ll pick 3 winners next week–save them for next spring!

Picked fresh Zinnia's multiple colors-you can see them growing from the window.

I picked fresh Zinnia’s of multiple colors-you can see them growing from the window.

Pour silica crystals into a large bowl- set flowers on top

Pour silica crystals into a large bowl- set flowers on top.

Cover flowers with silica crystals. I've had my crystals for 18 years. They still work.

Cover flowers with  crystals. I’ve had my crystals for 18 years. They still work.

After the flowers come out of microwave- shake off crystals and hang with clothes pins on a drying rack

Put covered flowers  in microwave for a couple of minutes-shake off crystals and hang with clothes pins on a drying rack.

Let dry until no moisture is left and flowers are dried completely- few days

Let dry completely for a couple of days- these are ready!

Use a glue gun to glue the dried flowers into place

Use a glue gun to glue the dried flowers onto grapevine wreath

 

#2 Pinecone Tree- We have pine trees on our property, so pine cones are plentiful. If you don’t have any–ask someone who does to give you some. Most people who have pine cones have hundreds or thousands to share.

Dale made this beautiful pine cone tree for me! We're putting lights on it tonight!

Dale made this beautiful pine cone tree for me! We’re putting lights on it tonight!

Some pine cones are open, some closed. I put the closed ones in the oven to open them. *pumpkin grown on Glasgow Farm

Some pine cones are open, some closed. I put the closed ones in the oven to open them. *pumpkin grown on Glasgow Farm

Pinecones_in_bowls

 

Closed pinecones- put in 200 degree oven until they fully open- couple of hours or more

Closed pinecones- put in 200 degree oven until they fully open- couple of hours or more

Half opened

Half opened

Pinecones_in_oven_open

Fully open- you can turn heat up for faster opening or reduce to slow–they are dry and break more easily when to heated too high

 

Two large tomato cages from the garden served as the base of the pine cone tree

Two large tomato cages from the garden served as the base of the pine cone tree

Dale screwed screws into the bottom of each pine cone and then took a long piece of wire-wrapped each pine cone tightly around each screw and wrapped around base of tomato cage

Dale screwed screws into the bottom of each pine cone and then took a long piece of wire-wrapped each pine cone tightly around each screw and wrapped around base of tomato cage

Pinecone_Christmas_tree_DG_101413_Hartwood_VA_SG_inside_1186x890

Pinecone_Christmas_tree_SG_102113_Hartwood_VA

 

 

#3 Cornucopia I bought our basket- but baskets are easy to make if you’d like to be 100% authentic!

I've had this cornucopia for 20+ years- every year I fill it will fall produce

I’ve had this cornucopia for 20+ years- every year I fill it with fall produce

#4 Pine cone garland

Pine cone garland- string pine cones on twine and hang from nails at your kitchen window

Pine cone garland- string pine cones on twine and hang from nails at your kitchen window

#5 Stained Glass Dried Leaf & Flower Art

Supplies needed: Iron, flowers or fall leaves and wax paper

Supplies needed: Iron, flowers or fall leaves and wax paper

 

Stained glass dried leaf & blossom art- Pick fall colored leaves and flowers, place between two pieces of wax paper and press with hot iron until sealed all the way around and inbetween

Stained glass dried leaf & blossom art- Pick fall colored leaves and flowers, place between two pieces of wax paper and press with hot iron until sealed all the way around and in-between Can you guess what these are?

 

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas-DIY 049

Pansy in the center

Fall Leaf Stained Glass

#6 Pomander- Clove Studded Lemon

Prick lemon or orange with nail and then insert cloves into the holes. Cover the entire lemon or orange if you want it to last years. Then sprinkle oris root over top of it and let sit in paper bag for a couple of weeks. The orris root preserves it. The cloved lemon to the left is 18 years old.

Prick lemon or orange with nail and then insert cloves into the holes. Cover the entire lemon or orange if you want it to last years. Then sprinkle orris root, cinnamon and ground cloves  over top of it and let sit in paper bag for a couple of weeks. Every few days I shook the bag around making sure the powder covered it well.  The orris root preserves it. The cloved lemon to the left is 18 years old.

The blue bowl holding the cloves was made by my sweet nephew Thomas Killian, he makes  handmade pottery and has an online store.

Pomanders are wonderful smelling.  You can decorate them in patterns, wrap a ribbon around them and place in a bowl or cover completely and preserve them for years to come.

Supplies needed: small or medium size unblemished fruit. (Oranges, Apples or Lemons)

cloves

Spice mixture: 1 tablespoon each: cinnamon,  ground cloves and orris root

Knitting needle, toothpick or nail

#7 Corn Husk Garland

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

I bought 15 regular corn cobs @5 for $2.  Pull the husks up over the corn--like in the photo

I bought 15 regular corn cobs @5 for $2. Pull the husks up over the corn–like in the photo

10 Nostalgic Fall Decorating Ideas_DIY_004_1186_890

Tied twine around each corn husk

I tried to hurry the process by putting in the oven on 200 for 10 hours. It wasn't perfect, it overcooked the husks. You're supposed to let them dry in well circulated space for several weeks

I tried to hurry the process by putting in the oven on 200 for 10 hours. It wasn’t perfect, it overcooked the husks. You’re supposed to let them dry in well circulated space for several weeks

After out of the oven I tied all the corn cobs together

After out of the oven I tied all the corn cobs together with twine

 

 

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

All the corn stalks tied together and ready to hang over front door

 

#8 Natural Wreath

Fall wreath- Fall weeds and produce on a grapevine wreath–whatever you

find interesting in your part of the world that dry’s well- stick in the wreath

and hot glue into place. This only last one season. Next year it will be an

entirely different look depending on what I find interesting in our field.

 wreath1186X890

Weeds growing in our field- picked for wreath

Weeds growing in our field- picked for wreath

Wreath_corn

#9 Pomegranate pumpkin face

Pomegranite is hard fleshed and easy to use like a pumpkin- Crave with small knife, let dry and enjoy

Pomegranite is hard fleshed and easy to use like a pumpkin- Crave with small knife, let dry and enjoy-

#10 Retro Art

 

I'm going to send a copy of this retro Thanksgiving Day card to all my subscribers next week! Mine is framed and sitting in my kitchen window. You can find vintage frames at all thrift stores!

I’m going to send a copy of my retro Thanksgiving Day card to all my subscribers next week! Mine is framed and sitting in my kitchen window. You can find vintage frames at all thrift stores!

I’m giving away some of my zinnia seeds! Tell me your favorite color flower below to enter your name for the drawing. I’m picking three winners for the seeds. I’ll announce winners next week.

If you are a subscriber to my blog I’ll send you the retro Thanksgiving Day art next week!

Winner of $40 Target gift card and devotion book  from last week is Mary T. you posted on2013/10/14 at 12:09 PM! email me your address!

Coconut Cream Cake

 

Coconut Cream Cake

Coconut Cream Cake

My mom makes the best fresh coconut cake you’ve ever eaten in your life. She buys a  fresh coconut, uses the milk inside it and shreds up her own coconut. I could  eat the entire cake all by myself. She’ll be shocked that I used organic dry coconut out of a bag, but I didn’t have time to go get the real deal.

Any time you use fresh coconut, you can’t lose. It’s amazing. If you use fresh in this recipe, don’t toast the coconut. The moisture from the fresh is delectable so keep it that way.

Yellow Cake

2 3/4 cups self-rising flour (I use Gluten free flour)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar (organic if possible)

4 large eggs, beaten

1 cup coconut milk- I used organic coconut milk in a can, but if you use fresh it will be yummy!

1 tsp vanilla extract (organic if possible)

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured pans 3/4 full. I only have two pans, so I have to wait until one is done and clean and put the third in oven. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until done. Watch it! Let cakes cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

Coconut cream filling

1/3 cup of flour  (I used Gluten Free)

1/3 cup of corn starch, organic if possible

1 1/2 cups sugar, organic if possible

4 cups milk, wish you could have some of my unpasteurized-yum

6 Tb. butter

4 egg yolks

1 cup of shredded coconut- I used organic dry in bag, but freshly grated coconut is divine!

Icing

1 1/4 stick of unsalted butter, softened

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (Organic if possible)

1/3 cup coconut milk, canned or fresh

1 tsp vanilla

In large bowl mix butter and sugar, add milk and vanilla. Mix with mixer for 3 minutes. If it is too thick add more coconut milk.

Set aside while your cake bakes.

Mix four, starch, sugar into milk and stir until everything is dissolved. Add butter, cook for five minutes. Slightly beat egg yolks in small bowl. Add a little of the hot milk mixture to the beaten eggs slowly. Add a little more to the eggs, then add all that back into the big pot of milk mixture and stir all together. You just don’t want to shock the eggs and have them turn into scrambled eggs in your milk. Once you pour them in cook stirring constantly until thick. Add vanilla and coconut–stir.

Set aside in waiting for cooled cake. After sliced cakes cool top each layer with yummy cream. Wipe the sides if any drips down or the frosting won’t stick to the cake.

Roast 1 1/2 cups of coconut in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until browned. To be used after you frost cake. If you use fresh coconut don’t toast it.

This recipe makes three layers

This recipe makes three layers

Then I sliced the three layers in half and made them into six layers. As you can see I messed up. i was on the phone the whole time I was cutting them with the electric knife. It didn' t work well with one hand

Then I sliced the three layers in half and made them into six layers. As you can see I messed up. I was on the phone the whole time  cutting them with the electric knife. It didn’t
 work well with one hand!

Pour a generous portion of filling onto the first cake halve--I added more than this

Pour a generous portion of filling onto the first cake halve–I added more than this

Keep stacking with a new layer of cake and filling

Keep stacking with a new layer of cake and filling-don’t put filling on top!

Frost top and sides

Frost top and sides- the organic powdered sugar had some lumps in it- doesn’t really matter

II browned 1 1/2 cups of coconut in the oven on 425 for 10 min's--While cake is still moist add the browned coconut to the top and sides. Just toss it all over, the counter will be a mess!

Brown 1 1/2 cups of coconut in the oven on 425 for 10 min’s–While cake is still moist add the browned coconut to the top and sides. Just toss it all over, the counter will be a mess!

You can freeze this cake whole--wrap tightly

You can freeze this cake whole–wrap tightly

French pressed coffee and coconut cream cake--oh my, this is good!

French pressed coffee and coconut cream cake–oh my, this is good!

 

caravaggio_jesus

He is RISEN! Let us celebrate that this weekend! Thank You Jesus!

 

A Simple Family Passover (Seder) Supper

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

Our Seder Supper- First time ever without our girls!

We celebrate the Passover (Seder) meal on Thursday or Friday evening before Easter.  We’ve made it simple so that it would never be too hard to do. A traditional Seder meal is long.  In celebrating this feast we are honoring a feast, instituted by God and celebrated by Jesus himself.  “Because Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed for us; therefore, let us observe the festival [Passover and Unleavened Bread]… with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).  This is not to be done out of a religious spirit, or any form of “legalism,” but rather in a joyful, reflective, and instructional manner.  Enjoy!

Our Christian Passover Seder

Candles lit on the table: Representing Jesus, who is the light of the World

Food on table; Roasted lamb, unleavened bread, boiled egg, bitter herbs (horseradish), Charoseth (a sweet mixture of apples, cinnamon, grape-juice [or wine], and walnuts), salt water, parsley, and wine or grape juice

Children should know this is a special tradition.  Inform them ahead of time that the focus will be solely on the Passover and on Christ.  After the dinner they can talk about their day’s events and personal interests.

We start by reading Exodus 12:14, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.”  This passage is directly discussing the Feast of Passover.

Then explain:

We celebrate this feast to help us remember that God rescued the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.  On the night before He delivered them, God told them to kill a lamb and to cover the top of their doorway with its blood.  Every Israelite family who did what God said was protected from the plague of death in their home.

Many years later, Jesus (God’s son) came to earth in human form and died on the cross- as a fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifice.  He became the ultimate sacrificial lamb.  We no longer have to kill a lamb like they did under the Old Covenant for forgiveness of sin.  Jesus’ blood was shed so that all who receive Him as their savior are saved from sin and eternal death.  This sacrifice was all-sufficient, once for all.

Read Isaiah 53: 3-12…

In short, it says that Jesus was the lamb who was slain for all of our sins.  The chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed!  He poured out His soul unto death for us, so that we may be saved.

When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, His blood covers us- protecting us from eternal death and bondage.  The night before Christ died, He celebrated the Passover dinner with His disciples and said that from now on (until the end of the age) we are to partake of the Lords supper as a reminder of His death and resurrection until He comes again.   It is good for us to tell this story to our children, especially during the week of Passover, since it is a prophetic picture of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.  Generation after generation will be instructed on the profound importance and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, since He was/is the fulfillment of the Hebrew law (Matthew 5:17).

Read John 3:16.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Pray a prayer of thanksgiving:  For the ultimate sacrifice of Christ’s blood that was shed for us all and His resurrection.  Also, thank Him for the food that is about to be partaken of.

At this time, the head of table passes each food item (one by one) and explains what they represent…

Platter of roasted Lamb:  We eat this in memory of the lamb that the Israelites sacrificed the night before they escaped out of Egypt.  Jesus was our final perfect Lamb who was sacrificed for us all.

Unleavened bread ( I made Gluten Free Matzo): Store bought Matzo can be used.  We eat this to remind us that the Israelites didn’t have time to wait for yeast bread to rise- rather they had to be ready to go when God said “GO.” At the Last Supper Jesus told us that the bread would represent His body that was broken for us.  We eat it in remembrance of His body that was slain for us.

Boiled Egg- (In Jewish tradition it is a roasted egg) the egg stands for renewal.  The Israelites were going to start a new life and we have new life in Christ because of what He did on the cross for us.

Bitter herbs-We serve horseradish as a reminder of the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt.  Jesus suffered greatly for us that we may be saved.  Remind them that on the cross He was given the bitter vinegar on the sponge to drink.

Charoseth- This is a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, grape-juice (or wine), cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Symbolizes the mortar and bricks the Israelites used in making the bricks for the king of Egypt.

Karpas- We use parsley for this. These plants stay green all year and represent everlasting life because of Christ’s resurrection.

Small bowl of salt water- Tears of the Israelites in bondage. Today can represent our tears for those who haven’t accepted Christ as their personal savior.  Dip the parsley into the salt water bowl and eat it.

Grape juice or wine poured in glasses- At the Last Supper Jesus said that the wine represented His own blood, poured out for us all. Drink in remembrance of Him until He comes again.

Jesus is the Messiah who died on the cross and rose again on the third day!  He is alive today and all who accept Him become joint Heirs with Him.  Our inheritance is great.  We have been given not only life eternal but everlasting peace, authority in Jesus’ name, and the last will and testament that Jesus gave us- an inheritance that is vastly immeasurable (John 17: 20-26)!

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate this feast with your family. Just celebrate, fill your home with the glory of our risen Savior with praise, worship and adoration to Him who is, was and always will be!

Halleluyah!

And at this time, the meal is concluded!

Our family watches Jesus of Nazareth after the dinner.

Easter is usually the only time of year our family eats lamb. Typically I roast an entire leg of lamb the whole afternoon before the meal. I didn’t post my recipe because most people say to cook it rare. Ours always falls off the bone and is SO tender. This was the first time I’ve ever made lamb chops, next year I’ll go back to the larger piece and roast all afternoon. This was good!

Charoseth-3 chopped apples, 1 sliced banana, 2/3 cup plain yogart, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, dash cinnamon, couple tsp’s organic sugar or honey, 1 tsp vanilla-Mix all!

I made Gluten Free Matzo this year! Click here for recipe

The Seder Dinner

I got the plates here for a $1 each, the sterling silver platter for $3 and the brass candle sticks 2 for $1! Yep, thrift stores are amazing! I bought the glass dishes for pennies.

St. Patrick’s Day–Powerful Story to Share over Traditional Irish Dinner

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner- Colcannon w/ Crisp Bacon and Fermented Sauerkraut

I think it’s interesting that we rarely hear the story behind St. Patrick’s Day.  St. Patrick went down in history as being a radical Christian.  He considered himself a pagan when he was growing up. It wasn’t until he was sold into slavery by Irish slave traders that he came to Christ.  His relationship with the Lord grew while he was a slave.  After six years in slavery he escaped to Gaul.  He studied there for 12 years and then felt called by the Lord to Ireland to convert the lost to Christ, and boy did he.

Patrick was made the second bishop to Ireland. He had an exceptional ability to speak publicly and to win people to Christ. He was arrested several times for his boldness in the Lord, he escaped each time. Nothing ever stopped him from preaching the gospel.  He died on March 17th, AD 461- hence, the date we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Here are some of the many stories  that are recorded about him:

  • It has been said that he raised people from the dead.
  • He originated the symbol of the shamrock, because he used it in his sermons to represent the Holy Trinity.  Each leaf represented the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit- and how they come together to create one entity.
  • Patrick’s ministry lasted 29 years. He baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and planted 300 churches.

What will be written about you when you pass from this earth?  I Chronicles 16:8-9, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.”

Lord, help it be said of me that I ministered boldly in Your Name!  That I had passion to convert the lost to Christ, and many received You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

St. Patrick’s Day is a day to retell the story of a man who made Christ known to the nations and told of all His wonderful acts.  Share the verse and story on St. Patrick’s Day even though it’s not an official holiday.

A Shamrock Plant-Do you see the three leaves?

I’ve got the perfect recipe for you to make this St. Patrick’s Day.  To be true to Irish tradition, serve Colcannon—a dish mainly consisting of creamy mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. Serve with crisp bacon and fermented sauerkraut.  The corned beef and cabbage tradition is an American tradition not an Irish one.

When you serve Colcannon, make a depression in the middle of the mashed potatoes and put a big ole pat of yummy butter in it.

Want Celtic inspiration while you cook?  Listen to Be Thou My Vision.  I love that song!

Colcannon

5 large organic potatoes, washed, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 sticks of butter

2-3 cups chopped kale- I only had two cups left in my garden

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1 tablespoon salt

1 lb. Bacon (nitrate free)

Fry bacon.  Set aside.

1. Fry bacon and set aside.  (After I fried the bacon I poured the grease out and added kale and spring onions to the bacon skillet.  Then, added three tablespoons of the bacon grease back to it.  Stir and cook for 5-10 min’s.  YUM!)  In my ingredient list, I included three tablespoons of butter to fry the kale.  You can fry it in butter or bacon grease, which ever suits your taste buds.

2. Put chopped potatoes and salt into pot and cover with water.  Bring to boil.  Cook 12 to 15 minutes. Drain when done.

3. Whip drained potatoes with hand mixer or mash by hand.  Add 5 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of milk, whip.

4. Add cooked kale and chopped onion mixture to mashed potatoes.  Add more salt to taste.

To serve— mound mashed potatoes on each plate, then make depression in center and add generous pat of butter. Serve with several slices of nitrite free crisp bacon, fermented sauerkraut, and Irish bread (We don’t eat much bread so we didn’t have bread).

 

Our kale grew the whole winter! I’v been using it, so I only have two cups to use for our Irish Dinner

I chopped wild onion grass for the onion flavor, that’s the only onion growing on our farm right now–I chopped at least 1/3 cup

Chopping potatoes

Cooking kale in left over bacon grease from fried bacon

The house smells wonderful! Homemade bread fresh out of the oven would have been delightful with it! We splurged and had organic root beer with the meal. Typically we always drink water.

The third episode of The Bible comes on Sunday night! Don’t miss it. Here is a clip from it.

The Living Easter Basket & other Easter Traditions

The Empty Tomb and Three Crosses- John 11:25-26 
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

This past weekend was filled visiting with family, preparing for our daughters wedding and Easter! It was SO much fun!

I  put our permanent Easter egg collection out,  made our living Easter basket and  pickled eggs (You gotta have’m on your Easter table) .

The Living Easter basket is made with wheat grass, pansies and a vintage chick.  Easter baskets in the Glasgow family have always been all natural. I  fill them with homemade marshmallows cut into the shape of chicks, , homemade truffles and candies ordered from The Squirrels Nest. When the kids were little there was  always a bottle of bubbles, silly putty, the paddle with the rubber ball attached and other little toys that kept them enthralled all Easter Day. As they got older we  gave them things to help in their walk with Christ; Christian music, a Bible,  book or game that would challenge them, etc.

If you think you would want to make a living Easter basket, you should get the seeds right away. It takes 10-15 days to grow the grass depending on whether or not you soak them in advance.

I used wheat grass.  Mine cost  $1.69 and planted a 6 inch square. It grows fast and strong. You can use wheat grass to make smoothies or juices. Wheat grass is gluten free as long as you don’t let it go to seed. It must be juiced in order to get the nutrient packed ingredients assimilated into your digestive system.

Pansies are also edible and beautiful for the Easter basket.  Multi-colored petals in a spinach and spring mix salad is a sight to behold. Only eat organic pansies, as the ones you buy in the store are laden with chemicals. They’re easy to grow from seed.

I’ve only found a few sources that sell organic pansies.

Artfully arrange a vintage chick in the basket.  Add homemade chocolate eggs, all natural goodies and the treasures on Easter Day. Wrap the basket in yellow, pink or purple cellophane and complete it with a beautiful ribbon.

Don’t forget to cut your grass when it is the desired height, or it will over power your basket! My grass needs to be cut.

Have you been keeping up with your nightly Bible reading by candle light in preparation for Easter?

The Living Easter Basket

 

Felicity, our adorable granddaughter was quite entertained by the vintage chick in the basket

Homemade marshmallows cut out with chick cookie cutter

Recipe for Homemade Marshmallows

The Empty Tomb and Three Crosses

The Easter egg basket- These are blown eggs decorated by our children and in our permanent collection- some of these are  17 years old

Link for-Directions to make The Empty Tomb and Three Crosses center piece and a  permanent collection of  Easter eggs to enjoy for the rest of your life 

Gathering my eggs for the pickled eggs–fresh eggs are harder to shell

Put 2 1/2 dozen boiled and shelled eggs in jar, Warm 4 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 cups beet juice, 1 cup sugar(I use organic, remember regular sugar has GMO’s), 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp whole cloves until sugar dissolves and pour on top of eggs. Refrigerate. Ready to eat as early as the next day or three weeks later (Easter day). BEAUTIFUL,MEMORABLE and YUMMY!

I divided the large batch into smaller jars- they’ll be on the table for Easter

 

After School Valentine’s Day Cookies

Children will always remember coming home  to the smell of cookies baking when they grow up. Memories like those are cherished and passed on for generations.  These are as delicious as they smell.  They ooze gooey yummy chocolate, if you don’t bake them all the way. They’re especially good to have ready on Valentine’s Day when your kids come home from school. It’s a hard holiday for kids who didn’t get what others got. Make it extra special when they come home, love can erase a lot of hurts.

No one can tell there’s no flour, added fat or gluten in them! DELICIOUS!  Recipe here: Flourless Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Using a heart shaped  5 inch cake pan makes 10-12 cookies depending on how full you fill the pan.

I made one for each of our daughters. I sent them to the ones who live away from home by the mail.

5 inch heart cake pan–I got it at my local hobby store.

Dale and I mailed a box to each of our daughters– Should arrive just in time for Valentine’s Day

I piped some (all natural dye) frosting on the cookies just to make them “Pink.” Girls love pink!

 

 

Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Homemade heart pancakes and eggs with butter cut in shape of hearts

For Valentine’s Day Dale and I rarely give each other gifts. I’ve asked him not to give me flowers or buy me a card(we make our own). At this moment in life it’s not in the budget. I don’t need things to tell me he loves me.Instead we enjoy doing the simple things together, like having a candlelit breakfast or dinner at home.

Making things you already have the ingredients for is the easiest, like pancakes.  Just make it prettier and more intentional.

I have two pancake recipes. The one I’m giving you today I use more often than the Best Pancake Recipe. This one is just easier because you don’t have to whip the egg whites.

Pancake Recipe

2 cups flour (I use GF Pamela’s Baking mix, if you use this, omit salt and baking soda)

2 eggs beaten in a two cup measuring cup

Add plain yogurt  to beaten eggs to make two cups

2 tablespoons oil, melted (I use butter or coconut oil)

2 tablespoons organic sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients and mix well. I let it sit for 10 minute’s. Heat your skillet to medium high. Pour batter, when it starts to bubble–flip it. Cook for a few more minutes and serve hot! You can buy the heart shaped pancake molds on Amazon, 2 for $10 http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Nonstick-Heart-Pancake-Rings/dp/B0000DDVWK.

I used a 5 inch heart pancake mold–I only have one–so it takes a while to make a bunch

I used the same thing for the fried eggs. I did make scrambled eggs and cut hearts out of them with a regular cookie cutter

So the egg would stay pretty on top I didn’t flip it–put a top on in the final cooking minutes and it will cook completely without flipping

I let my butter get just a little soft–then I flatted it on my cold cutting board and with a small heart cookie cutter cut the butter into hearts

Homemade Christmas Ornaments- Simple Directions Included

Homemade Ornaments-Simple and Pennies to Make

I love a tree filled with homemade Christmas ornaments. It’s nostalgic, warm, personal and brings back  memories of the good ole days years later. Making them is a great way to spend family time together on Christmas break. Enjoy creating your own memories! Merry Christmas!

Wagon Wheel Snowflake Ornaments–Made with Wagon Wheel Pasta

Supplies needed- pasta, glue, cream paint and thread

Work on parchment paper or wax paper. Design small and large wagon wheel pasta pieces into ornament shape. Glue together with glue that dries clear. Use clear coat on top if you want to add glitter. Paint them and add glitter if you desire. I wanted cream paint and glitter (I didn’t have any glitter, maybe later).

 

After glued put string through for hanging.

 

It took minutes to make, the glue was fast drying. If you already have glue, you’ll only need to buy the pasta and one small paint. The most inexpensive ornament and beautiful.

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 cup cinnamon, 3/4 cup applesauce, 2 tablespoons glue- mix all ingredients, roll out and cut! Make sure you put a hole in top before you bake for string.  Bake 200 degrees for 2 hours.

I made cinnamon ornaments for everyone on both sides of our family 8 years ago and they’re all in perfect condition. Cinnamon does cost money but these are worth making. Smells heavenly, even 8 years after making. I store them carefully.

 

Stir and knead

 

 

200 degrees- 2 hours-flip after first hour

Use puffy writer paint to write name and outline

Dried Fruit Christmas Ornament

Ingredients needed: fruit, craft varnish, thread

See this post for how to make: http://sharonglasgow.com/2012/12/making-dried-fruit-christmas-ornaments/

 

Felt Snowman Ornament

1 piece of  black, white and orange  felt, thread to sew seams, ribbon for scarf and dryer lint for stuffing

Buy white, black and orange felt. Use pattern to draw front of snowman and snowman’s back. Draw the hat (2 identical pieces for hat) and buttons onto the black felt and cut out. Cut a triangle nose from orange felt. Sew buttons on. With black embroider thread sew black eyes and mouth. Sew nose one. Sew the back and front of snowman together. leave hole at bottom to fill with lint from your dryer. After you stuff it, sew bottom closed. Sew two pieces for hat together, you can add a tiny bit of lint into hat if it fits. Sew onto snowman, leaving flap over front of face and flap over in back of head. Red ribbon around neck, tie knot.

Here’s the Snowman pattern in inch squares.

 

Sandpaper Gingerbread People  Supplies needed: Sandpaper,white paint in tube, festive thread

Use our pattern to draw your gingerbread boy or girl

Or use your own cookie cutter as a guide

Add festive string to top and decorate

Here’s the Gingerbread pattern in inch squares.

Decoupage Photo Ornament: Supplies needed-Photo, decoupage, glue, tinsel rope or ribbon, festive thread

Glue photo on top of cardboard piece, brush clear coat on top

 

Put holes on both sides and string festive thread or twine through. Put child’s name and age on back

 

Cross- Supplies needed-Popsicle sticks, aluminum foil and rubber band

Two Popsicle sticks wrapped with aluminum foil-held together with a rubber band

 

One of our daughters made this years ago- tin top with punched holes

 

Dale made this when he was a little boy

Ellie made this for a state fair when she was 8 years old with homemade dough baked

 

 

Making Dried Fruit Christmas Ornaments

After dry flip over and do the other side

Back in the olden days people celebrated Christmas with greater simplicity,  gifts and ornaments were generally handmade. Making your own homemade Christmas decorations is a great  family tradition, it’s inexpensive and easy to do. You should start small and work your way up. Just try one grapefruit, orange and apple to begin with and see how you like it.

Making a popcorn string is  probably the cheapest decoration you can make. Buy popcorn kernels in a bag and pop them fashioned on the stove or over a fire. Cranberry Strings are more expensive, I paid $4 for the cranberries this year. But they’re easy to make and beautiful. Turn your classic Christmas music on and begin your tradition.

My bowl of fruit ready to be sliced

I sliced the fruit thin and threw away the ends

Only the center pieces of the apples and pears turn out perfect looking

Some people blanch the fruit before dehydrating it–I tried it, but didn’t notice it being any better than the ones I didn’t blanch

I put all sliced fruit on cookie sheets and then into the oven on 175 degrees

I put parchment paper on a few of the cookie sheets but didn’t notice any difference in outcome

7 hours later they were ready

One of my batches got over baked– you can see the brown ones–flip the fruit once while in oven

Use clear craft varnish or decoupage to lightly cover the dried fruit

After dry flip over and do the other side

They haven’t tried yet however I still poked holes through for the string

Make sure a light is behind the fruit-beautiful at night, like stained glass

The gingerbread people are made of cinnamon-these were made 8 years ago

Popcorn and cranberry strings are simple to make-you only need a needle, thread and a little of time

In years past I used these decorations for a Christmas tree in the dining room-this year for my kitchen window

Photo’s aren’t able to capture all the beauty

 

 

The Rich Home

Wooden carousel on our kitchen table. Heat from the candles make the tiers go around and around. It has baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph inside along with the wise men and angels.

The Queen of Sheba was wealthy and beautiful. She had everything a queen could want – gold, silver, ivory, precious jewels and servants taking care of all her needs.

Well, almost everything.

She’d heard about the famous King Solomon (I Kings 10:1) and his miraculous God. Even though her people had many gods to worship, none intrigued her like the Lord God of Israel. Her heart was so moved by His Name she traveled 1,400 miles across the desert sands of Arabia to visit King Solomon, a man who knew this God personally.

Camels can travel around 20 miles a day, so the trip would take her six months each way. She brought a great caravan of servants, loads of spices, gold and unusual woods to give as gifts to Solomon. Her heart and soul longed for riches she did not have, and she sensed they would be discovered through him.

When she finally arrived, she stood before the grandest palace she had laid eyes on. But her purpose wasn’t to see the most beautiful archeological place ever built, it was to find a secret treasure.

Scripture tells us she talked to Solomon for hours, asking him deep questions about God. Based on her response, she found what she had longed for and declared, “Blessed be the LORD your God” (1 Kings 10:9a NKJ).

The Queen of Sheba took great pains to find wisdom, yet the wisdom available to her at that time was the lesser wisdom of a man. Even so, Jesus mentions the Queen in Matthew 12:42 and honors her desire for His wisdom.

The wisdom we have access to through Jesus far outshines Solomon’s. If the Queen of Sheba would travel six months to find truth, how much more should we search for wisdom by opening our Bibles and hearts to Him in prayer? 

When people travel to our home this holiday, it will not be the seasonal décor or cleanliness that will ultimately impress them. It won’t be a perfectly sculpted yard or a new car in the garage. It will be spiritual insight and the presence of grace they will be drawn to — through the Holy Spirit living in us. When we share the love of our God with them they will have visited a wealthy home.

As rich as Queen Sheba or King Solomon’s palaces.

Our home is where our heart is, and our heart is Christ’s home — a dwelling place for the Lord. Let’s be sure to spend time with Him this week so we can be filled with love and prepared with wisdom to offer our guests. May those who enter our homes this Christmas, and in the New Year to come, find treasures that people have traveled the whole earth in search of!

 

Making Gingerbread Houses

Years ago our family started the tradition of making gingerbread houses the day after Thanksgiving. We spend as much time laughing and talking as we do making the houses, it’s so much fun.  We made our own gingerbread one year, it was way to much work and we’ve also bought gingerbread kits–that was too much money. So, most years we use graham crackers, frosting and various candies built on top of milk cartons.

If you have a kitchen window that they would fit on, it’s a perfect use of space.

Directions for making Gingerbread houses:

1. Cut 6×8 inch pieces of cardboard to build the houses on (however-there will always one who wants to build bigger).

2. Cover the boards with aluminum foil or the frosting will soften the cardboard and make it weak.

3. Cut  milk cartons(small, medium or large)  to the size you want.  I save the cartons throughout the year so you’re not scrambling to buy at the last-minute.

4. Cut  graham crackers to fit the carton. You don’t have to go all the way to the edge, the frosting fills in the spaces that are open. Apply frosting all over carton and secure crackers on top.

5. Start decorating!  Purchase colored frosting tubes with tips in the grocery store. Buy desired colors and several white tubes.  Stock up on a variety of candies to decorate with.

The whole family joins the fun!

Lochlan and Jeffrey making the gingerbread train, Ellie looking on:)

Hannah stringing popcorn while we’re making the houses and listening to Christmas music

Grandma talking to Hannah at the counter. Dale, Heather and Jeffrey at the table

I get the privilege of holding Felicity while the gingerbread houses are being built!

 

Lochlan’s train

 

They decorate the window at my kitchen sink