Kids

Making and Canning Apple Pie Filling!

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Ok, So I am taking a break from finishing my book in order to relax a little bit and catch you guys up on some goings on around here 😀 Today’s post will share a little bit about my first time canning apple pie filling!!! Let me just say that we (the girls and I) had a blast, and I am soooo glad they were here to help me. I was a little overwhelmed, but after completing this, we looked back and realized how simple it really was!! So, I hope you enjoy this look at the lighter side of things, and if you EVER wanted to do things like this, DO NOT WAIT!!! Tomorrow is NOT promised!!

We had quite a few apples that were getting pretty ripe in our refrigerator, so I said, “Why not?” I very rarely totally plan ahead…meaning I may have a thought that I want to do something on a certain day, but it’s not until that day comes that I decide whether or not I will…and sometimes that depends on if I even remember that I wanted to do it!!! Why did I share that? To give you hope!!!! I have wanted to can things for YEARS, but was always soooooo overwhelmed and felt like I had to be this EXTREMELY organized person to do it!!! I have realized that I don’t necessarily have to be organized, but I do have to have the basic tools on hand in case the urge hits me 😀 Anyway….here’s the Apple Pie Filling Recipe & Instructions for canning!

GATHER YOUR CANNING SUPPLIES

Water bath canner (or LARGE stock pot with lid)

Canning jars

Canning seals and rings (lids)

Jar Lifter

Canning Funnel

(ALL OF THE ABOVE WERE PURCHASED AT WALMART FOR VERY REASONABLE PRICES)

Large pot or blancher

Bowls

Large Spoons

Sharp Knife

Towels and dishcloths (it gets messy/to dry jars)

Ladle

INGREDIENTS

Apples (enough for 6-8 quarts)

5C. Sugar

1C Thickener (cornstarch, flour or clear gel)

1tsp. Cinnamon

1tsp. nutmeg

2tsp. salt

10C. water

3T lemon juice

THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR HOW TO MAKE WILL BE FOUND IN THE CAPTION FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHS 😀

Before you begin, fill your stock pot and turn on high. The larger the post the onger it will take to boil the water. Start early! DO THIS FIRST :D
Before you begin, fill your stock pot and turn on high. The larger the post the onger it will take to boil the water. Start early! DO THIS FIRST 😀
I think everything neded is in this pic!!! If not it will be pictured later :D
Gather your supplies in advance! I think everything needed is in this pic!!! The stock pot and other pots are already on the stove. 😀

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I used an apple corer/slicer to cut and core the apple. Then I peeled each piece individually. Easier and quicker than it sounds.
I used an apple corer/slicer to cut and core the apple. Then I peeled each piece individually. Easier and quicker than it sounds. The remains can be used in compost for fertilizer 😀
AFTER CUTTING. CORING AND PEELING THE APPLES I SOAKED THEM IN A FRUIT/VEGGIE SOAK MADE OF 1/4C VINEGAR, 2TBLS SALT, AND A STAINLESS STEEL BOWL FILLED WITH WATER. AFTER REMOVING AND RINSING THE APPLES THE WATER WAS DISGUSTING!!!!!! THE VINEGAR AND WATER WORK TO CLEAN (vinegar) AND DRAW OUT ANY LITTLE BUGS, DIRT AND OTHER SMALL UNWANTED THINGS. Normally this is done with the skin on but the skin had been removed. This does NOT alter the taste of the fruit.
AFTER CUTTING. CORING AND PEELING THE APPLES I SOAKED THEM IN A FRUIT/VEGGIE SOAK MADE OF 1/4C VINEGAR, 2TBLS SALT, AND A STAINLESS STEEL BOWL FILLED WITH WATER. AFTER REMOVING AND RINSING THE APPLES THE WATER WAS DISGUSTING!!!!!! THE VINEGAR AND WATER WORK TO CLEAN (vinegar) AND DRAW OUT ANY LITTLE BUGS, DIRT AND OTHER SMALL UNWANTED THINGS. Normally this is done with the skin on but the skin had been removed. This does NOT alter the taste of the fruit.
While the apples are soaking in the rinse, put on a pot of water to bring to a boil.
While the apples are soaking in the rinse, put on a pot of water to bring to a boil.

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At this point you are going to combine 5C. Sugar, 1C Thickener (cornstarch, flour or clear gel), 1tsp. Cinnamon, 1tsp. nutmeg, 2tsp. salt, 10C. water. Stir as it thickens! Let simmer.
Rinse your apples and place them in the boiling water for about 1 minute. I suggest filling a jar with apples FIRST for the purpose of measuring. 1.5 quart jar of unboiled apples will equal 1 full quart of boiled apples. For best results, only put enough for 1 jar in at a time to prevent other apples from overcooking!
Rinse your apples and place them in the boiling water for about 1 minute.

AT THIS POINT LET ME POINT OUT THAT I HAVE JARS THAT ARE FILLED WITH BOILED WATER WAITING, AS WELL AS A BOWL OF BOILED WATER WITH THE SEALS AND RINGS SITTING IN THEM WAITING. EACH JAR WILL BE EMPTIED OF THE WATER INDIVIDUALLY AND PROMPTLY FILLED WITH APPLES AS THEY ARE READY.

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I suggest filling a jar with apples FIRST for the purpose of measuring. 1.5 quart jar of unboiled apples will equal 1 full quart of boiled apples. For best results, only put enough for 1 jar in at a time to prevent other apples from overcooking!
Using a slotted spoon, begin to remove the apples from the boiling water after 1 minute. Using your funnel (this is SUCH A BIG HELP!!!)  carefully place HOT apples into jar. Place more apples into water and quickly move to next step.
Using a slotted spoon, begin to remove the apples from the boiling water after 1 minute. Using your funnel (this is SUCH A BIG HELP!!!) carefully place HOT apples into jar. Place more apples into water and quickly move to next step.

THE RIMS OF EACH JAR ARE WIPED CLEAN BEFORE THE LIDS ARE REMOVED FROM THE HOT WATER, DRIED AND PUT IN PLACE 😀

Repeat process until all of your jars are filled.
Repeat process until all of your jars are filled.
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Place jars and canning rack in stock pot ALREADY filled with boiling water. Cover with the lids and let boil for 30 minutes.
Let sit in water for 5 minutes then remove CAREFULLY! Let cool on countertop for approximately 2 hours until jars are room temperature.
Let sit in water for 5 minutes then remove CAREFULLY! Let cool on countertop for approximately 2 hours until jars are room temperature.

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This is the syrup that was left over. Use for something else...applesauce, oatmeal, or pancakes maybe???
This is the syrup that was left over. Use for something else…applesauce, oatmeal, or pancakes maybe???

STORE IN A COOL PLACE! USE WHEN YOU WISH AS YOU WISH!! ENJOY 😀

This is how we chose to enjoy it!!! Twice so far :D
This is how we chose to enjoy it!!! Twice so far 😀

 

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Homemade crust and hoomemade crumb topping added 😀
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Baked on 375 for 45-50 minutes 😀

Simple and Delicious Homemade Butter!

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A I delve deeper and deeper into the joys of serving at home, I continue to discover more and more things that “I have always wanted to do,” but just didn’t know it!!!! One of those things just happened to be making butter!!! Can you believe it??? As I prepare to turn 40 exactly one month from today, I am simply amazed at the transformation of heart The Lord has done in me, and for some reason, making butter for the first time today, as simple as it was, brought a few tears to my eyes…and a sense of satisfaction and contentment to my heart.

The first time that I can recall having a thought or a desire to make butter was 2 years ago when my youngest daughter was reading Little House on The Prairie. When she got to the end of the book, she discovered a recipe for homemade butter and in her excitement, she ran and shared it with me. And the desire was born! But like so many other things that “I have always wanted to do,” I never made the time to do it! Until now, that is. Today was the day! And I have to say, it was worth the wait!

The simple recipe that I actually followed:
1 pint of heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
Blend in food processor for 10 minutes or until butter separates from liquid
Spoon into dish or bowl with slotted spoon and refrigerate

The recipe below is the recipe that my daughter Leah found in her book. I wanted to share the exact one since she was soooo excited to share it with me and I was soooooo excited to make it!!! The pictures are from today and the simple recipe above, and I hope you enjoy them and decide to try this yourself, if you have not already!

The Little House on the Prairie Butter Recipe

You will need: 1 pint of heavy cream, slotted spoon, quart-size jar with tight lid, tea towel

1. Pour the cream into the jar. Screw on the lid.

2. Shake the jar until the cream thickens and starts to form a ball of butter. This may take a while, so keep shaking!

3. Scoop the butter out of the jar with the slotted spoon, and drain it on a tea towel.

4. Squeeze the butter inside the towel to get e remaining liquid out.

5. Form the butter ball into a pretty shape, put it on a plate, and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready yo use it.

6. Enjoy!!

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Beyonce and Spiritual Warfare

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Believe it or not, many women who consider themselves ‘Christians’ also would describe themselves as fans of Beyoncé’. (I know because I have spoken to many) Hard to believe right? Well even more difficult to believe is the fact that many churches do not teach about the Holy Spirit or Spiritual Warfare. Why would I mention Beyoncé and Spiritual Warfare in the same comment?? Because the existence of the former continues to remind me of the NEED and existence of the latter. If you are listening to, watching, or are permitting your sons and daughters to listen to and watch this self-professed demon possessed woman, wake up and remove this and any other satanically influenced idols (as if there were any other kind of idol) from your homes and your circle of influence!!!!

What Has Happened to the Heart of a Mother?

What has taken place in the heart of a woman that we not only fail to protect our children in the womb, but we are failing or refusing to protect them after they are born???  Oh, we don’t want them to fall and scrape their knee, but a scraped knee very rarely if ever led a child into occultic activities or depression and suicide!! We no longer guard them from the music. We no longer guard them from the images or from the language. Witches and sorcery have become harmless entertainment!!! Our babies are murdered by us daily to the tune of over 3,000 every day!! What has happened in our hearts that we no longer fight for our children lives…for their souls?? What has happened that we no longer fight for our own!!!!!! How has it become the norm for a mother or a father to watch their children become statistics…empty vessels sitting in pews (or chairs) while chasing the idols of this world in their hearts? We dress our daughters in the likeness of the immodest, ungodly women of the secular culture, and our sons don’t appear much better, following the example of those wearing sagging pants and sloppy shirts with tattoos and body piercings all over their bodies.  We have become OK with coed church youth group swimming parties with our daughters in bikinis wrestling in water, and on land, with boys in underwear!!!!! We allow them to ‘lead their own lives’!! They have ipods full of ungodly music, and Facebook pages that we know nothing about the content of because we want them to know that we trust them!! ARE WE SERIOUS????? I trust my kids, but it is this EVIL, SATANICALLY INFLUENCED CULTURE THAT I DO NOT TRUST!!! And I am their MOTHER!!! And it is the responsibility of my husband and I to protect them, even if it’s against themselves.

My, How The Church Has Changed!

There was a time when the ‘town sinner’ would come to church and understand and demonstrate respect for the House of the Lord. If the men had a hat on, they took it off. If the skirts of the ladies were too short, they would feel shame, and the older women would gracefully put a hankee or a sheet over their laps. Any profane communication was on hold until they exited the doors. It was understood that God was gracious, merciful, jealous and just! But today, the level of disrespect displayed by those who wear the Lord’s name while in His House has caused those who would have once been convicted of sin, and repented with broken spirits, to now believe that they are ‘fine’ just the way they are. No change is needed. My miniskirt, low-cut blouse, tight leggings while leading praise and worship, marijuana smell, profane language, lustful thoughts and actions are all OK with God. My blatant disrespect of my husband and refusal to discipline (provide boundaries for) my children no longer disqualifies me from serving tirelessly in the church. The miniscule detail that I am on marriage number three no longer disqualifies me from the pulpit. After all, I liked it so I put a ring on that one…and that one…oh, and that one too! God accepts me just the way I am, and there is nothing I need to do or that I can do to earn salvation, and there is nothing I need to do or can do to keep it.  Bottom line; Our faulty theology and misrepresentation of grace has bred a generation that occupies God’s house but does not know God at all…and that’s just the adults, while the children take notes…

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And a great road will go through that once deserted land.

    It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
fools will never walk there.

Isaiah 35:8

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BUT WHAT DOES THIS ALL HAVE TO DO WITH BEYONCE????

Beyoncé and her large Christian fan base represents a trend in the modern church to be in the world and of it! This trend has amassed an egregiously ungodly influence not just in the world, BUT IN THE LIVES OF THOSE SITTING IN OUR CHURCHES AND SERVING IN OUR MINISTRIES…. As a wife, it grieves me mightily that so many husbands are engaged in lustful thinking whenever her name comes up, and the images of her videos or her Superbowl performance flash across their mind…but not just her. It grieves me that so many are engaged in lust AT ALL!!!

As a mother, one of my responsiblities is to protect my children from things that would turn their hearts from the Lord and from following his ways!! Beyoncé is not alone in this example of evil influence, but she is one of the most recognized and widely worshipped singers of today. And one of the most dangerous! You see, Beyonce goes to church on Sunday!!! The lie that she walks in fellowship with God is told by her actions, while the truth of her demonic possession is told from her own mouth. As such, she influences countless young girls that her lifestyle is acceptable to the Lord…and they will influence their daughters and granddaughters with this Beyoncé’ (pagan) worship.

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And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:

“I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father,and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

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Our children need to understand that idolatry has consequences. But now that I say that I am remembering that it is not the kids alone who need to realize this fact! Its moms and dads too.  I remember a few years ago when I was teaching a group of a few hundred girls monthly. The lessons were original ones that the Lord blessed me to write called “Purity Points’, and as you can guess by the title, the topic was PURITY…separation from the love of the world.  The young girls would come back each month and tell me that they tried to implement the boundary setting exercises we talked about in the previous months lessons, only to have their mom tell them they didn’t need to follow that! These girls tried hard to honor the Lord in their daily living, but were discouraged from doing so, many of them, by their Christian parents.  They were crushed at the advice of their mothers, and while many attempted to stay the course, most of them sadly did not! Did you notice that I said mothers, and not moms and dads? You see, most fathers want their daughters to remain pure and undefiled sexually.  It’s usually the moms that don’t see a problem with a little ‘sex appeal’! It’s usually the moms that intervene when dad is concerned that daughters pants are too tight, or clothes are too revealing, and tells him that she’s young, and that there is nothing wrong with showing a little skin!!

AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH. US????? IF. WE. DON’T. GET. IN. THIS. FIGHT. AND. IN. HIS. WORD. AND. ON. THE. FRONT. LINE. AND. ON. THE. RIGHT. SIDE. OF . THIS. BLOOD. RED. BATTLE. LINE. IN. THE. SAND. OUR. CHILDREN. WILL. DIE. IN . THIS. WILDERNESS.!!!!!! …………………………………………………. And it will be our fault….:-(

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“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:18

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A Hospital For Sinners

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When the church became a ‘hospital for sinners’ it ceased to be a place of refuge, discipleship (meaning training in righteous living and in how to defend THE faith) and fellowship for the Saints. There was a time when sinners would not, could not sit in the church and be comfortable in their sin, but now we cater to the unrepentant sinner and provide false security in return for a prayer uttered from an unrepentant heart, while labeling those who genuinely love God, have repented (meaning TURNED FROM A LIFESTYLE OF SIN) and are pursuing righteous living with all of their heart, with the Holy Spirit empowering them, as legalists… But that is not what God’s Word says about us!!!

“How much more do I need to say? … They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” Hebrews 11:32-40

But we don’t fight to hang on to this identity anymore!!! We quietly slip away into silence while the enemy rages against the Kingdom of the Living God!!! But we are more than this…and so are our children!! And if we do not fight for them who will!!!???  Ladies, we are at war, and the future of our children is what’s on the line. Will we fight for them? In prayer, will we fight? On our knees, will we fight? With tears streaming down our faces, will we withstand the pull to give in and let them be in the world and of the world.  How much do they really mean to us? Are we willing to suffer through their  anger and sullen faces if need be? ARE WE WILLING TO FIGHT FOR THE SOULS OF OUR CHILDREN???? Or does the spirit of Beyoncé win?

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

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Not only is Beyoncé evil, but all sin is evil. She is a representation of the sin that Christ came and died to free us from. If we love Him, and we love our children, we need to guard them from the influence of this woman and any other influence that denies the light of Christ!

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1 Peter 5:8 issues this very appropriate warning; “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.

He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

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Since you have heard about Jesus…Live no longer as the Gentiles do!

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Quite often the last thing we do as Christian bloggers is the thing we should do the most…let God’s word speak for itself.  We are told to add images to hold the reader’s attention and not to write lengthy posts. We expound and explain and add in our stories and experiences, but none of these are known to change or soften the heart of a rebellious man or woman.  In most cases, though not all, they work to mimic the soft shoe approach of the church today towards evangelism via entertainment.  

In an age where it is very easy to be discouraged at the state of those who lay claim to the Body of Christ but who do not live for Christ in any area that is visible, we have seen the uprising of a new era that promotes a lack of accountability and biblical accuracy. ‘The ‘Don’t judge me’ era has birthed unbelieving lifestyles that, in ages past, have brought the wrath of God upon humanity, but today only delivers more inaccurate sermons on grace! If you were to join us for our family study time in the mornings, right now you would find us in Isaiah 15-16, and chapter 6 of Eric Ludy’s Bravehearted Gospel. During our morning discussion today on morality and the lost commitment to church discipline, my oldest son, Isaiah, asked the question, “How do you get your name back from that?”, referring to a church leader or ‘Christian’ living in sin and refusing to repent. Our response was not in regards to re-building your name, but how to maintain a good name from beginning to end…below is what we shared with our kids…PLEASE meditate on this…write it down..commit it to memory…As believers, the Spirit of the Living God now lives in us!!!! If the instructions being issued to the Ephesian church, and every other body of believers, were not possible, they would not have been given!! We can live lives that honor him!!! Do we genuinely want to, is the question…

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“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.” Ephesians 4:17-31-5:5-10

I believe nothing else needs to be added…

To Cook or Not To Cook? To Change or Not to Change?

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Ukali and I realized a little while back that each time we chose not to cook dinner and to spend the money to eat out instead, that we just weren’t demonstrating very much wisdom in the finance area.  And we also were not setting a great example for our children either.  We spent so much time saying that we just couldn’t afford to eat healthy.  It simply costs too much and we couldn’t afford it.  But that wasn’t the truth. The truth was that we chose to spend our money on fast food (pizza, Chik-Fila, Subway, chinese) instead of on food that we could prepare at home.   But something changed this year.  Not something….us! We decided to change our eating habits, so we just did it!  And we have learned a few things along the way.

Here is something that we COMPLETELY REMOVED from our diet!

McDonald’s Hamburger Happy Meal and a cream cake my daughter brought home from church. This picture was taken 6 days after the Happy Meal was purchased. 

This food sat on my kitchen counter for 5 weeks and DID NOT deteriorate at all.  The food shriveled up into some sort of ‘plastic’ feeling substance and just sat there.  Not one single bug was attracted to this, not even the gnats that come out of nowhere when food is left exposed.  So needless to say, we do not spend our money here anymore, or at other places like this. Oh, and the little blackened pieces are apples…who knew!?

Now here are just a few of the things we’ve learned and have put into practice this year. As a result of these changes, along with other healthy practices we have adopted, our household has witnessed 65 lbs. disappear. I want to share a few pics of some of the things we eat on a regular basis…no recipes, just pics. Be sure to read the captions for a description. 😀

Delicious fresh fruit salad made of strawberries, kiwi and red grapes!
A wonderful green salad made with mixed Romaine and organic spinach, with black beans, onions, sweet corn, cucumber, tomato, and green peppers. Seasoned lightly with sea salt and pepper and drizzled in olive oil! One of these accompanies almost every meal outside of breakfast.
Oatmeal made with Steel Cut Oats sweetened with honey and peaches, or honey and cinnamon.
Fruit Smoothie! Add a little Almond Milk and it’s perfect!

Changing some things is a good thing to do, especially when those things are habits that have been proven to be detrimental to our health.  We are always looking to learn how we can do things even better.  What are your ‘get healthy’ habits? How did your family adjust, or has this always been a way of life?  We would love to know what changes have you made this year?

Bananas and Babylon

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Our less than wonderful neighborhood Save-A-Lot periodically sells their very ripe bananas for .25 a lb..  You automatically know which ones are the discounted bananas because they wrap them in red tape in order to draw your attention right to them.  We literally celebrate when this happens, and we buy up as many as we can.  We bring them home and we peel, break in half, and FREEZE them!!!!! 😀 I know this does NOT sound like anything to rejoice over but man oh man, it really is! We use frozen bananas daily, so at the going rate of .44 -.58 per lb, getting them for .25 is fantastic!  You would think the bananas sell quickly once they are marked down, but they don’t.  People coming into the store will go right over the bananas that are already browning for the ones that are still a little green on the outside, or at least yellow with no sign of aging.  You see, at first glance, the bananas above look a little worse for wear.  There’s one on the bottom that is just screaming ‘Put me out of my misery, PLEASE!’  If we are not careful, we will be sooooo focused on the outside of the banana that we’ll miss what lies inside.  I mean, seriously, most of us do not want over ripened, squishy, brown bananas…I know they’re not my kids favorites. Even though they may be very sweet, the brown soft appearance of them isn’t exactly appetizing.  But most of us have probably found that it’s when the banana looks like the life is going out of it, that they taste the best.  After all, the yellow skin is NOT the banana, it’s what protects the banana that’s inside.

Now, let’s think about that as it pertains to people.  Just like we have our bias’ when it comes to fruit that looks less than perfect, our culture has promoted the development of that same bias towards people who appear to be less than perfect. I even read a story recently in which a woman and her husband were pregnant with twins and discovered that one of the twins had a congenital heart defect.  Due to the probability of years of surgery for the child, the parents opted to abort the less than perfect baby and keep the healthy one.  The doctors mistakenly aborted the healthy one instead to the dismay of the parents. The unhealthy child was then killed during a three hour long emergency c-section! Click the link below to read the story.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2065670/Woman-pregnant-twins-agrees-abort-sick-foetus-doctors-terminate-healthy-one.html

My heart breaks over the ‘bananas’ in the world who appear less than perfect on the outside, but are filled with treasure and joy and goodness on the inside.  How many decisions have we made about people without even knowing them, simply based on a first impression, or their outward appearance…or something we heard from someone else.  I really wish those parents had made the choice to enjoy loving and being loved by both of their children.  When we prejudge based on information that could be faulty or misleading, we risk losing so much more than we gain.  I have made some terrible first impressions in my life much like my ripe bananas, and I have been judged for those and saw potential relationships wither before any real growth could take place.  And I have judged, or made decisions about people or situations, without having all of the facts, and without displaying much grace.  Having been on both sides of the fence on this one, I can say that in most cases I was wrong, as were those who prejudged me. I guess my point in all this is think with your head and your heart when it comes to life and people and worth.  In our society we mirror Babylon in so many ways.  I couldn’t help but think of King Nebuchadnezzar’s command to Ashpenaz…

“Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives.

 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace.”

Daniel 1:3-4

 And my heart broke…. Are we there? Do we only want the strong, the healthy, the good-looking?  Are we only interested in the intelligent, the gifted and the wise?  If we are, God help us… We have to place a value on every life that exceeds our outward appearance or contributions.  We have kids killing themselves because they are mocked and bullied because they don’t look like they’re bound for the big screen…and we have parents killing their kids because they will be born less than perfect.  Don’t overlook the bananas that have brown spots all over them.  Don’t ignore them or make fun of them or throw them away.  Don’t tell others that it’s not worth it to open them up and see what they have to offer…how they may enrich your life, and how you may enrich theirs.  Don’t do it.  The world around us may be actively involved in that kind of classification, but we don’t have to be.  Take some time to get to know the real person..like God does.

Have you had experiences where you were prejudged or you did the prejudging?  What was the end result?  How did you feel? What did you learn from that experience? 😀