Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Review: The Helper by Catherine Marshall

The Helper by Catherine Marshall is a wonderful study on the Holy Spirit. She explains Who the Holy Spirit is and how to receive the Holy Spirit. Do we automatically receive the Holy Spirit when we "become saved"? She relies on scripture as the basis of her points and weaves in stories from her experience as supporting evidence. This book was written in 1978, and I found the "history" to be fascinating. Stories you probably haven't heard about people you have heard about. She goes in depth into different aspects of the Holy Spirit. How does He minister to us? What about the fruit of the Spirit? Does my church operate in the Spirit?

Broken up into chapters ending with scripture, a thought or quote, and a prayer, this is a great devotional book for a self or group study. I highly recommend it.

I obtained this book on my own. I have not been asked by anyone to write a review.

Healthier Brownies

Brownie with crumbs on plate.Generic Brownie Image via Wikipedia
I found this recipe on Jillian Michaels' website. I'm currently in a no sugar/no flour phase, but once I'm done, I'll be trying these! Brownies with whole wheat flour or processed sugar! Woohoo!! If you try them, please let me know what you think. :)

Jillian writes:
Trust me, I know there will be times when you are going to crave some of that ooey, gooey chocolately stuff. So, instead of getting personal with the office vending machine, whip up a batch of these amazing, indulgent, moist fudge brownies. Not only will they be the perfect answer to that cocoa craving, you won't be left with that bitter aftertaste of guilt for derailing your daily calorie limit. So, go ahead and treat yourself. You deserve it!

Fudge Brownies

* olive oil cooking spray
* 2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom
* 1/3 cups natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour
* 1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large egg, at room temperature
* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with olive oil. Set aside.

Place the honey in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high power until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey-cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the surface looks dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 squares. (Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Makes 16 (2-inch) brownies

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Your Money God's Way by Amie Streater

Your Money God's Way
by Amie Streater

Your Money God's Way takes Biblical principles and puts them in easy to understand language. If you're wondering why you're always living paycheck to paycheck and can't get things to work out, try reading this book. It won't solve your problems, but if you're willing to think and pray and change how you handle money, this is a good place to start.

While it took me longer to read this book that a noon-fiction book, this was a great read. So much to think about and ponder. Thanks to this book, we are looking at our budget differently. We are trying even harder to get the financial side of life in order and debt paid off. The author takes different beliefs that people have and compares them to the truth of God's Word. How does it hold up? Is it a valid belief or is it a problem? If it's a problem, how do you fix it? After you wrestle with your beliefs and decide which can stay and which need to change, she presents a practical way to create a budget. Not a written in stone budget, but a budget that adjusts for life so you don't go back to where you were.

I recommend this book to everyone trying to figure out how to make their finances glorify God, or even just those trying to get it together. It's only about $10, so buying the book won't break the bank!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Thank you, Jesus
The CrossImage by SweetCapture via Flickr

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Our tradition: Easter cookies

Empty TombImage by abcdz2000 via Flickr
My kids ask about making our Easter cookies every year. They are a wonderful way to bring alive the store of the Resurrection and help them understand. And there's a great surprise at the end. :)

I've posted the recipe before, here.

I hope your Easter week is memorable...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Naturally Dyed Eggs

I found this great recipe on how to dye eggs without using food coloring (aka petroleum based color). You can also use this as a science lesson. How does the vinegar help? What color do you think this ingredient will make? What happens if you mix 2 ingredients? Why does the color not stick where you put the stickers and rubberbands? What would happen if you draw on a white egg with a white crayon first? Are there other ingredients you can use to make colors? Do they work better or not as well as the ones listed below?


"This year, try going au naturale using this fantastic recipe from Michelle Stern of What’s Cooking with Kids:
* 1 dozen hard boiled white eggs
* White vinegar
* Water
* Colorful ingredients (described below)
* Stickers and rubber bands to make patterns on the egg

1. Hard boil 1 dozen eggs and allow them to cool in the refrigerator.

2. Decide how many colors you want to make and take out the appropriate number of pots.

3. To each pot, add: 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar

4. Add the following ingredients to each pot:

* Red: 2 cups Cranberry juice and 8 cups red onion peels (Your grocer will gladly give you their discarded peels.)
* Red-Orange: 3-4 tablespoons chili powder
* Mahogany: 10-12 cups brown onion skins (Your grocer will gladly give you their discarded peels.)
* Yellow: 3-4 tablespoons tumeric
* Blue: ½—¾ head chopped red cabbage

5. Bring each of the pots to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow them to simmer for 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, prepare your eggs by wrapping them in rubber bands or putting on stickers (which will leave behind white stripes or patterns).

7. Pour the dyes through a strainer and return them to the pot or a clean bowl.

8. Gently lower some of the hard boiled eggs into each of the hot dyes.

9. The color will deepen the longer they stay in the dye, but an hour should do the trick. If you wish to keep them submerged for longer, you should pour the dyes into containers that fit into your refrigerator, and let the eggs soak in there.

10. When you are satisfied with the color saturation on the eggs, remove them from the liquid and dry them.

11. Take off the rubber bands and stickers and enjoy!

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Food Can Affect Your Child's ADHD -

Sugar sugarImage by dhammza / off via Flickr
We see this in our kids. Interesting to see what the "specialists" say. Some of the foods may surprise you. :)

"For years, doctors have speculated that certain foods may play a role in ADHD. Although much research has been done on the subject, it’s still not believed that food actually causes ADHD. What diet does seem do, however, is worsen ADHD symptoms or trigger symptoms that mimic the signs of ADHD in children. “Excessive caffeine and excessive use of fast foods and other foods of poor nutritional value can cause kids to display behavior that might be confused with ADHD,” says Frank Barnhill, MD, an expert on ADHD and the author of Mistaken for ADHD. The following foods in particular have been implicated in ADHD in one way or another."

Read more

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Toxics In Our Kids’ Foods: Where Is The FDA?

The Food ColoringImage by Matthew Bland via Flickr
I knew about the link between food colorings and ADD/ADHD and food allergies. However, I had not heard about the cancer link. I knew there would probably be a link. I mean, they're petroleum-based! Blech. Question: If these same companies already have the same products available for purchase in other countries that do not contain these colorings, how come they still offer us the crap??

Last week, in the face of a just-released report by the National Cancer Institute that showed a 9.4% increase in childhood cancer between 1992 and 2007, the FDA let moms and dads all across America down. Instead of making the long overdue move to do something serious about getting rid of toxic food dyes so ubiquitous in our food supply, they instead fell back on those two simple words so often used to stall, delay and deny: 'more research.'

In kitchens across this country, eight dyes, currently being used by manufacturers, can be found in everything from packaged macaroni and cheese to breakfast cereal to practically every piece of candy your child has ever put in his or her mouth. Links are being found to hyperactivity in kids (ADHD), cancer and serious food allergies.

But here is the truly crazy thing. Kraft, Coca Cola and Wal-Mart have already removed these artificial food colors and dyes from the same products that they distribute in other countries. They did it in response to consumer demand and an extraordinary study called the Southampton Study.

Read more

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Doctor’s Viewpoint: Pesticides

Pesticide Application in ProgressImage by ken mccown via Flickr
Very interesting read...

Dr. Phil Landrigan, Mount Sinai School of Medicine:

As long ago as 1979 the Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention remarked, 'There is virtually no major chronic disease to which environmental factors do not contribute, either directly or indirectly.'

Children are more susceptible than adults to these environmental risks because of their physiology and behavior. They not only eat and drink more but they breathe more air in proportion to their body weight. A child's increased contact with floors, soil in lawns and playgrounds, and frequent hand to mouth activity dramatically increases the chances of exposure. Children are being exposed to pesticides in their homes, yards, day care settings and schools. About one-fourth of the over 1 billion pounds of pesticides used annually in the United States are applied in these settings.

Read more

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Needing family

See more of Libby at Beagles of New England States rescue

View More Wordless Wednesday at, Wordless Wednesday, and . Enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Book: A Love that Multiplies

I love watching the Duggars interact with their kids and learn how they run their house so well. I haven't read the book yet as it is only available for pre-order, but it sounds like a great opportunity to take away some tips and incorporate them in our life.

Product Description from
In this second book from the Duggars, they focus on the principles that equip them to face life's challenges—drawing from their most recent challenge with the 3-month premature birth of their newest child, Josie. They also share the new challenges their older children are facing as they prepare for adult life. Central to the book is a section on the principles that the Duggars have consistently taught their children. These simply worded principles are basic to the Duggar family and are shared in a way that other parents can incorporate in their own homes. A special chapter on homeschooling gives valuable information to parents who are considering this route or are already invested in it. The world continues to be amazed by their nineteen well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children and their home life, which focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith. The Duggars show how parents can succeed whether they’re rearing a single child or several.  

Table of Contents
Preface: Our Biggest Test Begins
Part 1: Little Baby, Big Challenges 
 1. Little Eyes Watching
 2. More Babies on the Way!
 3. A Surprising Test Begins
 4. Praying without Ceasing
 5. Miracles and Milestones
 6. Difficult Priorities
Part 2: Shaping Hearts and Minds
 7. Living under the Microscope
 8. Opportunities to Reach Out to Others
 9. Developing a Servant Heart
10. Making Faith Fun
Part 3: Big Hope for Our Children’s Future
 11. Homeschool, Duggar Style
 12. Vocations, Goals, and Roles
 13. Daily Training, Tips, and Practicalities
 14. Life Is a Classroom
Part 4: Big Hearts, Full of Love
 15. Protecting and Cherishing Our Relationships
 16. Michelle’s Heart for Children and Moms
 17. Jim Bob’s Lifelong Hobby
 18. Do the Duggars Date?
P.S. Answering the Big Question

About the Authors
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar married in 1984. Some time after the birth of their first child, they prayed that God would give them a love for children like his love for children and that he would bless them with as many children as he saw fit in his timing. Soon after, Michelle became pregnant with twins! The Duggars currently have ten boys and nine girls, and all their names begin with “J”—Joshua, Jana and John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah and Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, and Josie. The Duggars are the #1 program on TLC/ Discovery Health / TLC documentaries and have appeared multiple times on national TV shows, such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Inside Edition, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Fox News Network, CNN, MSNBC, and others. Foreign television appearances include Italian Public Television, KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), and Discovery Home & Health (UK & Australia). They have been featured in magazine and newspaper articles in China, India, New Zealand, Australia, France, and Germany. As a family project, the Duggars built a seven-thousand-square-foot home. Both Jim Bob and Michelle are licensed real estate agents and conduct the Jim Sammon’s Financial Freedom Seminar in their community. They purpose to live completely debt-free—postponing  purchases until they have the cash. Jim Bob served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003 and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2002.

Links in this post are sponsored by Amazon. I will be paid a (very) small amount if you click through and buy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Free e-book: Elisha's Bones

Regularly $6.99 -- Right now $0.00!

You don't need a Kindle to read Amazon's ebooks. You can download the Kindle app for your phone, iPad, or computer for free!

This post contains affiliate links, which means Amazon pays me to promote their products.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Air Fresheners’ Real Impact On Indoor Air Quality

A basic gel fragrance air freshener.Image via Wikipedia
While important for everyone, very important for houses with kids. From Healthy Child Healthy World:
"Surprisingly, despite the economic downturn, the global sales of air fresheners are on the rise. According to the Wall Street Journal, “[c]ertain life events prompt consumers to buy more air fresheners. Getting a pet, moving to a new home, getting married and having children all motivate shoppers to pick up more air-care products…This will continue to be a key growth contributor…”

Perhaps if consumers were more aware of the real impacts these products have on indoor air quality and health, they would think twice. Here’s the unvarnished truth:"
And check out this related article on how to Grow Fresh Air!
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Is your dog cool?