Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Birthday Surprise

The week leading up to Resurrection Sunday was jam-packed with special days
for those in our family!
Not only were we remembering the significance of Passion Week 
to our Christian faith, directing and acting in  three important rehearsals 
for our church's Easter drama,
 but we also celebrated Ashlyn's birthday,
my husband's and my 21st anniversary, and my
husband's birthday!!
The intensely prepared for, long anticipated performance fell on the evening
of his birthday, and I wanted to be able to share this fun event with
the people we had been working so closely with for so many months!!

After our final dress rehearsal that afternoon, there was a cast and crew dinner!
I snuck in a cake and set up the cake table beforehand and we all sang to him
once he found the surprise!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Resurrection Sunday!!

What a wonderful day our family had together sharing
the celebration that all believers have in serving
A Risen Savior!!!

We spent the morning with our church family as well
sharing a wonderful Easter breakfast with our adult Sunday School class.

We came home to share a lovely sit-down meal of:

Spiral-Sliced Ham
 (in the crock-pot)
Baked Au Gratin Potatoes 
(using the amazing delay cook feature on my new oven!!!)
Broiled Fresh Asparagus
Fresh Vegetable Tray
Watergate Salad


The Lord has been so good to our family.
We try to remind our children of this often.
That because Christ conquered death, arose from the grave,
 we too have victory over bondage,
Robes of righteousness in exchange for our filthy rags.
Th oil of joy for mourning.
The garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness!!
Happy Resurrection Day!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Resurrection Bags/Baskets

This was just so much fun to put together for my kids this year.
Even my oldest ones.
Because who doesn't love chocolate??

Disclaimer:  With all we had going on the week leading up to Resurrection Sunday,
there was just no way I had the time
to create all of these things the day or so before.
I found these free printables months in advance, and purchased each
item several weeks before as I did my regular grocery shopping.
As I had time, I would wrap one element per evening until each item was completed.
That made it a snap to toss them into each bag, assembly line style,
the night before Easter morning.

Rollo candy!!!


Solid chocolate bar!

You can find the link for downloading all of these wonderful free printables
Click on the choice for "Holiday" printables!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Visuals from the Kitchen for Holy Week

One of our favorite things to do around special holy days is to create
delicious baked treats in our kitchen!

It's the perfect way to involve children and to teach them
principles from God's Word about that particular holy day in the process.
Teachable moments.

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; 
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross,
and follow me."
Matthew 16:24

"Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus;
Who being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God......
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, 
even the death of the cross."
Philippians 2:5,6,8

Something new we tried this year were traditional Hot Cross Buns.
My Mom always talked about these and I remember them from my childhood.
They are associated with European tradition and seen commonly
on Easter breakfast tables in homes of that heritage.
I haven't seen them ever in Texas. 

They are a fragrant sweet yeast roll dotted with either 
dried fruits or raisins or both.
A powdered sugar glaze completes the cross design over the top.
Find a delicious recipe here.

To be fully transparent, we made this late at night, after a very long day,
and we ended up rushing them or something.
I did not love how this particular batch turned out,
though my children really enjoyed them on Easter morning!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Be conformed to the image of His Son

"And be not conformed to this world....."   Romans 12:2

To adapt to new or different conditions.
Like the blocks of chocolate that we heated.
They became soft and pliable.

Conforming to the shape into which it was molded.

"For those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the
image of His Son......"
Romans 8:29

The image of Christ.

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Teaching Them Diligently: Holy Week

Several years ago, I was led into studying more about the Lenten season,
Passion Week, and the events leading up to and into both.
What I learned created an urgent desire within my heart
to pass on to my children more than simple traditions
 of a fun holiday in the spring time full of bunnies and pastel eggs
fought over by greedy, spoiled little ones.

How did our culture ever come to trade the beautifully exquisite truths
of Christ exchanging His position for our wretchedness with
Peter Cottontail and spongy Peeps?
For remembering His victory over death and the horror of His crucifixion
for a basket stuffed full of plastic grass, candy, and toys?
His glorious resurrection for a huge chocolate bunny?

I don't want my children confused.
I don't want them to confuse the richness of their spiritual heritage
 with the paltry offerings our society hands them.

Don't get me wrong.
I'm all OVER Spring and the themes related to this beautiful time of year.
But I don't see how I can legitimately mingle the two?

This year, I prepared enough a head of time, to find
a concrete visual that we could incorporate into our family devotions
to prepare our hearts and infuse our minds with
the Scriptures that lead us straight to a full understanding
of the Easter season.

And I'm so glad we did this.
Did we make it through every devotional?
But we made a concerted effort to sit down as a family
as many evenings as time allowed us to read through these
stories, these signs that pointed to our need for a Savior,
and that Christ was the perfect fulfillment of that need.
Most importantly, we remember His resurrection as the culmination
of every prophecy made about Him and by Him,
and that without this event our Christian beliefs have no foundation!!

To read more about this devotional and to download
your own version, go here.

To see ways that we prepared our hearts in the past
 and felt God's great love and mercy toward us
during the weeks before Resurrection Sunday,  
look here and here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Happy Birthday Reprieve

Last week, bar none, was one of the single most difficult weeks
I can remember in a very long time.

There was just so much that had to be done as we finished up our rehearsals
and preparations for the Easter Drama our family had been involved
in since January.
Homeschooling, two birthdays, and our anniversary were all packed into this week.
Not to mention a major holiday celebration on Sunday.

On top of all that I was having some annoying health problems 
that were only getting worse the closer we got to performance day.

I had taken careful steps to try to lessen the stress levels of that week,
but I was NOT prepared for how heavy the onslaught would be.

But right smack in the middle of the week, Wednesday,
was Ashlyn's 17th birthday.

She had been talking about it for weeks.
Different ideas of what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go,
who she wanted to celebrate with.
It wasn't until a couple of days before the day that she finally had
a concrete picture in her mind of how she wanted to celebrate.

We agreed she could take the day off of her schoolwork,
and she decided she wanted to spend the day on the town.

We started the morning at our favorite local coffee house.
But I surprised her by secretly inviting one of her sweet friends to join us!!

After coffee, we had such a delightful time shopping for our Easter accessories
and capping that off with lunch together!!

After lunch, Ashlyn wanted to go back to the Korean market we had
visited with our Advanced Foods class the previous week,
and what a relaxing time we had perusing the local shops
and trying new treats.

In retrospect, isn't it just like our Good Shepherd 
to lead us to green pastures where we can lie down and rest? 
 Isn't it just like Him to lead us beside still waters?
To give us a break when the demands are heavy.
Maybe when we have no idea what is yet ahead?
To whisper, "Be still.  I am with you.  All is well."

In the middle of a hard Holy Week, I found a reprieve 
I didn't even realize I was going to need.
Goodness and mercy were following me.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ashlyn!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

British Invasion: Advanced Foods Class

We launched our unit on European and Asian food with a bang!!!

I have friends who are church planting missionaries in Great Britain!
Our family has committed to pray for them almost daily, and to do
what we can to encourage them 
and let them know that we support what they are doing
for the Lord in this spiritually dark place!

Imagine how thrilled I was then I learned they were coming back to the states,
to stay with their family in the next big city over from us,
just as we were about to begin this unit!!!
So as they were packing for their flight,
I sent a message asking Ashlie if she would be interested in coming
to our class to discuss British food culture!!

She said, "YES!!"

What an amazing morning this was!!!

Because Great Britain was part of the European Union, they had to switch
all their measurements over to the metric system; therefore, all the recipes
are written in grams and milliliters.
We learned how to use a scale to measure out our ingredients. 

Next, we made two wonderful dishes that are common and very popular in England:
1.)  Banoffe (rhymes with coffee) Pie
2.)  Coronation Chicken

 Banoffe Pie is a caramel/toffee pie with banana topped with fresh
 unsweetened whipped cream topped with shaved chocolate!! 
 Very popular with the locals.

Coronation Chicken is a recipe that was developed to serve at the coronation
of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.  It's made with a mango chutney
and curry powder giving a nod to the Indian culture so prevalent in Great Britain!

Of course, we HAD to learn how to make a proper cup of English tea!!


We finished up this lovely morning by sitting together sipping hot tea,
tasting our sandwiches and pie, and hearing Ashlie's testimony
of how she uses hospitality to reach so many women for Christ
in Great Britain.  She and her husband live in
a community that is very multi-cultural and heavily muslim.
These ladies are often very lonely and isolated and crave the fellowship
of other Moms.  Using hospitality has been a marvelous, Biblical
tool to reach into homes that they might never reach otherwise.

Thank you, Ashlie Gillit, for your graceful presentation and for all the thought
and preparation you put into this!!!
What a blessing it was to us!!!