Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies

I love to bake. Not really a secret. Is baking a spiritual gift? If so, then I think I have it. My true gifting in life.

I don't love to cook. Not really a secret, either. The other day, one of my kids said, "Mom, what would we do without Daddy? All we'd have to eat is chocolate chip cookies." So true, sweet child, so true.

Christmas is the best season of the year for bakers like me. There's always a reason to buy butter in bulk at Costco and to turn on the oven.

At the end of the Christmas season last year, I found this recipe for Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies from the ladies at Our Best Bites. Almost everything about them was amazing. The only problem was, I couldn't get the brownie layer quite right. I've just never been able to make a homemade brownie that tastes better than the mix made by Ghirardelli's.

So this year, I decided to give them another try with a few tweaks of my own, including Ghirardelli's brownie mix.

After taking them to two events this past week, I've had a lot of requests for the recipe. So, without any further ado . . . may I present to you . . .

Peppermint Candy Cane Brownies (recipe adapted from Our Best Bites):

2 packages Ghiradelli's Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix (I use two of the pouches from the Costco pack)

Peppermint Frosting:
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 Tbsp milk
pink food coloring

Chocolate Glaze:
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Candy Topping:
1/2 - 1 cup crushed candy canes

What to Do (layer by layer):

Brownie Layer:
Bake brownies according to package instructions in 9x13 pan. When brownies are completely cool, place in refrigerator to chill.
Peppermint Frosting Layer:
Combine all peppermint frosting ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Spread evenly over chilled brownies and place back in the fridge to chill again while you make chocolate glaze.
Chocolate Glaze Layer:
In microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate chips and butter at 30 second intervals until smooth. Let sit for a few minutes at room temperature, stirring occassionally, to just cool a little bit. Remove brownies from refrigerator. Spread chocolate glaze over the peppermint frosting layer. 
Candy Topping Layer:
Previously I had always taken candy canes in the garage with a mallet to crush them. Usually an ideal job for Marshall. This year, I wised up, and just crushed them in my Cuisinart mini food processor. So. much. easier. and. safer. (But not as much fun if you ask Marshall). Sprinkle crushed candy canes over top of chocolate glaze. Return brownies to refrigerator to allow the chocolate glaze to set. 

Remove brownies from refrigerator a few minutes before you are ready to cut and serve. Also, I have cut and served the brownies without letting the chocolate glaze set in the refrigerator. Totally okay. These brownies will likely be calling your name, and it's hard to wait! Just know it might be a little messier - but equally delicious!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving, a 2 year old, and RIP MacBook

My presence in the blogger world has been lacking for the past week. Not due to morning sickness, extreme fatigue or busyness. No. It's because of a sweet munchkin who lives at my house. A munchkin who will remain nameless. But, one who spilled his/her entire cup of water over my Macbook.


R.I.P. Macbook. It was nice knowing you.

My Macbook has been sitting in its original box, full of rice, since Monday evening. We continue to hope against hope that the rice will absorb all of the water, and it will turn on again, by some miracle. There is a back-up plan (i.e. an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar). And I will be ecstatic if those Apple brainiacs can salvage my hard drive. Or at least some pictures. Oh. And maybe my Excel spreadsheet with EVERY address I need to send our sweet little Christmas cards, which are sitting on my desk waiting to be addressed. I had only made it through the D's by the time my computer met its tragic end.

In more important news, our family did indeed celebrate Thanksgiving. I took exactly zero pictures. That's right. Zero. Zero pictures of the wonderful, delicious and hilarious Thanksgiving that we enjoyed at Eric's Uncle Mike and Aunt Janie's house. But it did happen. Complete with pilgrim costumes, the turkey trot, and an ice cream cake that looked like a turkey.

Eric's Aunt Janie, who I adore, DID take an amazing picture, however. Of she and Uncle Mike in their pilgrim costumes. Hoping that these costumes make an appearance every year from now until forever.

And, Jameson did turn two years old last Saturday. He waited all day to be able to blow out his candles. Have I mentioned how much we love this guy?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


My interweb friend, Jami Nato is running a fun link-up competition on her blog this week called #letsgetpraisy. If you don't read her blog, you should. Favorite blog ever. Seriously. Go read it. Now. And, while you are there, vote for my entry. Mmmkay? To vote, you post a comment on her blog. My entry is #55.

Anyway, Jami is constantly finding the Gospel in pop culture. Her Instagram account is full of pictures with the hashtag: #letsgetpraisy. They are photos of her kitchen chalkboard with the lyrics to pop music and the corresponding Bible verse. I bet Usher, Will Smith and Chris Brown never knew they were singing about Jesus. 

So . . . here is my #letsgetpraisy competition entry:

A song about Taylor Swift and yet another anonymous boyfriend. Or, is it really about the Apostle Peter walking on water with Jesus in the storm? I mean, I know that the Apostle Peter didn't wear a dress. But they wore those tunic-things back then right? So, it was sort of a dress??

Anyways . . . Convenient that I'd already written two blogposts back in May and June explaining how, somehow, Taylor Swift's song Fearless had screamed of Jesus to me. Yes, Taylor Swift. It's crazy how pop music can be all about the Gospel. 

Now go vote for my entry. Please?

Monday, November 19, 2012

craft day

Today's blog post comes to us courtesy of Eliza Grace: 

we made pilgrim hats that you can eat. it is very fun. i like it so much. 

when we unwrapped the candys we felt like veruca salt's daddy

then we got starting on the pilgrim hats. to make these, you will need:

fudge stripe cookies
miniature peanut butter cups
1 cup yellow frosting
orange candys (note from my mom: the original recipe we found called for orange Chiclets, but we weren't able to find any. so, we cut up gummy Orange Slices into small squares.)

put some frosting on a cookie. then you put a peanut butter cup on the frosting. then you put a orange candy on.

*We got this idea from Taste of Home

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Family Advent Nights

We have the plague here at the Compton house. Boo. Okay, not really the plague . . . being dramatic. Just one kiddo down so far. Gram and Bampa kept our kids over night on Sunday night so Eric and I could stay the night in Portland. Marshall woke up at their house Monday morning with a fever. Poor Marshall. I can't remember the last time that he was really sick, and this definitely ruined the fun Monday he had planned with his grandparents.

This morning finds he and his sister on the couch watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Yes. The old school one. From the 1970s. Marshall and Eliza love it. Jameson is, well, being Jameson. Playing with trucks and trains. And hysterically loving the orange Oompa Loompas.

While the troops are occupied, instead of folding laundry, I thought I'd share a Christmas idea with you. I have Christmas on the brain. I found the Sirius/XM Christmas music stations and already preset them in my car. My Pinterest Christmas board is filling up. I have more Christmas crafts than I can count planned for the next month.

And . . . Advent is starting soon, December 2nd to be exact. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Advent season, advent means "coming." During Advent, we celebrate the "coming" of Jesus. It is a season of waiting and preparation for celebrating Jesus' birth at Christmas.

For the first few years that we had kids, we wanted to do more during Advent to focus on Jesus. Eric and I just weren't sure what to do, or how to do it. Then Eric started receiving weekly emails from Todd Wilson at Familyman Ministries. Through Familyman, Eric found what we'd been needing. Todd Wilson wrote a blogpost last year describing their family's Family Advent Nights, and we started following their model last year. I say, "we." I should really say "Eric," since this was all planned and initiated by him.

So, I thought I'd write a similar blogpost on our blog this year, in case any of you were needing ideas for Advent. Because sometimes you come across something so good, that you just can't keep it to yourself! And, it's okay as I copy as long as I give credit, right?  (Familyman didn't pay me or give me anything free - I really just think you all need to know about this!)

At our house, we have Family Advent Night every Sunday night during the Advent season. But, you could pick any night of the week that fits in your family's schedule. Family Advent Night consists of the Bible, an Advent wreath, a snack, a craft and a read-aloud storybook.

We use the following Bible passages from the Familyman blog to read each week. Each passage correlates with one of the advent wreath candles. We light one candle the first week. Two candles the second week. Three candles the third week, etc.

  • Week 1 – Prophecy candle (Isaiah 9:1-7)
  • Week 2 – Bethlehem candle (Luke 1:1-56)
  • Week 3 – Angel candle (Micah 5:2 & Luke 2:2-5)
  • Week 4 – Shepherd candle ( Luke 2:8-20)
  • Christmas Eve – Christ candle (John 1:1-18)
The Familyman website has amazing Christmas storybooks to read-aloud each week of Advent. Eric ordered the books, not sure what to expect. The books ended up being one of the best parts of our Christmas season last year. They are creative, beautiful and point to the Gospel.  We can't wait to read them again. This year, they've added books on CD. So, after each Family Advent Night, we are going to give the corresponding book on CD to the kids so they can listen to it for the rest of the season. 

The other, and maybe best thing, about the Familyman website is that they sell craft kits. They are inexpensive - about $2 per kit. So, $8 per child for the season. The only thing that you need to add is glue. They are really simple, which is perfect for including pre-school age kids and for their non-craft-inclined moms (like me!). And they make planning Advent night easy and a lot less overwhelming! 

The only thing I had to do was put together an advent wreath, prepare snacks each week, and buy some glue.  And really, we discovered our kids didn't care about the details of what we did. They just loved that it was Christmas-y and that our family was together talking about Jesus. Eliza says that it was her favorite part of Christmas last year. See how easy it can be? So, let's get planning mamas! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I really am glad that we home school . . .

I love homeschool. I just love it.

I know sometimes I write about how hard it is. And, don't get me wrong. It is hard. There are moments and days where it is overwhelming, and stressful, and I wonder how it is all going to turn out.

And, come on, let's just admit it. Sometimes I am a BIG. FAT. WHINER.

But, in my honesty about the hard moments, I don't want to lose my honesty about the good ones.

Recently, I've had several moms approach me with a curiosity about homeschooling their kiddos. They are thinking about it. Praying about it. Talking it over with their husbands. Mulling the idea over in their heads. Excited. Terrified. Freaked out. Overwhelmed but energized by the thought of it all at the same time.

And, to those moms, I can't tell you what to do. All I know is where the Lord led our family. And I can be honest with you about the hard days. And, I can try to convey to you the joy and blessing that has come from following Him in obedience. The blessing of being with my kids. Of seeing them love each other. Of watching them learn about the world, and being there to help them make sense of it all. Pointing them back to Jesus over and over again, all day long. Watching them learn how to read. Seeing the "lightbulb" go off when they figure something out.

The joy from the relationships that are being built between us as we spend the majority of our days together. I have been overwhelmed in the past couple of weeks at moments we've shared, and moments that I've watched transpire between my kids. More than once I have stopped, in tears, watching Marshall help his two-year-old brother or take him by the hand to go search out a favorite toy. Watching all three of my kids play together on the playroom floor.

Watching Eliza sit and read book after book to her little brother.

Being with them all day leads to conversations that might not happen otherwise. Just the other day, Marshall said "Mom, why do you have to tell people you are going to have a c-section? Don't all moms have c-sections? 'Cause if not, then how the heck would you get a baby out of your belly?" Good question, buddy. Good question. We made it seven years before you asked that question. And, I'm glad that I was there when you asked it and got to explain the answer. Even if his response was "eww, that is so gross. I am so glad that I came out by a c-section." Love him.

I guess my point is that while some days are really messy and hard, I love homeschooling my kids. The laundry often goes undone (unless my mother-in-law comes over to fold it!). I have about a million extra opportunities to ask my kids to give me forgiveness. And, I've had to learn to be okay with a lot of things that are less-than-my-idea-of-perfect.

However. . . there are an abundance of moments where blessing, love, and joy overflow. We may never be on the cover of Homeschool Today magazine, lined up in matching denim outfits with our violins that we play with perfection. (wait.stop.actually, I'm not sure that we want to be!) But, there are camera-worthy moments. Moments that take my breath away. Moments that make me pour out my gratitude to the Lord that He would have led our family down this crazy path of homeschool. It is true beauty in the midst of the craziness.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soccer Star

For reals. Could this team of boys be any cuter? Or muddier? Soccer, Oregon style, people. Go Leopards!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's a . . .

B-O-Y!!! Another Compton baby boy! We are all thrilled. Yes, even Eliza. She has begun to realize some of the perks to being the only girl in our family. Now let the waiting game begin ... less than 20 weeks to go! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Book and a Recipe

Oh what a rainy, windy, dark morning. And . . . shhhhh . . . don't tell anyone . . . I LOVE it. There is just something about the wind and the rain and the cold that I LOVE. My friend, Samm, and I really don't mind trading in our 5:15am walk for coffee at Starbucks. (Yes, we are fairweather walkers). And, the weather gives me an excuse to stay in with the my kids - to curl up with them in our pajamas with good books. And to bake yummy warm pumpkin treats.

Not that I got to stay in today.  After two beautiful days of sunshine, today - the windy and rainy day - was our Classical Conversations pumpkin patch field trip. Despite the cold and wet clothes, our kids still had a fun, muddy time!

Photo Credit: Angelina Buswell

Photo Credit: Angelina Buswell

But, if we had stayed in, we would have read books.  And, one of our favorite Fall books is Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. It was almost impossible to check-out from the library last year. I think there were enough requests for this book that I would have had to wait almost a year to be able to check it out. I went ahead and bought it, and I'm so glad I did. Such a beautiful true story that demonstrates God's breathtaking sovereignty over the course of our lives. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Finally, one of our favorite Fall recipes, passed on to me a couple of years ago by my BFF, Bethany. I'm giving you fair warning that these muffins are delicious and addictive.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

You need:
1 2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

To Do:
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. In another bowl beat eggs, pumpkin, and butter. Stir in chocolate chips and add to the dry mixture. Scoop into greased muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. I almost always take them out at 20 minutes, even if they are slightly gooey inside. Let them sit in the muffin tins for a little while on the stovetop and they will continue to bake.

Happy eating!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cain and Me

So, in the past few years I have developed a crazy love of the Old Testament. You all know about my slight obsession with the book of Isaiah. At the rate this year is going, I think Genesis is going to come in at a close second. Maybe even nudging Paul's letter to the Romans into third place (haha - am I such a dork or what, for ranking my fave Bible books).

Last week, I wrote about Genesis 3 and seeing my own reflection in Eve.  Well, the Lord decided to take things just one step further this week. He's saying that He's not done with me yet, or this portion of my heart. He has more to show me, more to peel back, more to dig up and unroot, and better fruit to replace it with.

Here's what God showed me through Genesis 4 this week:  that somewhere along the way, my heart has taken a wrong turn. A detour. Ugh. Not only am I a lot like Eve, sometimes I'm a lot like Cain. Yes, Cain, that guy who murdered his brother. 

Cain and Abel both brought their individual sacrifices before the Lord in Genesis 4. God looked with favor on Abel and his offering. But, God did not look with favor on Cain and his offering. God was not pleased with Cain. 

Now, we know from Hebrews 11:6 that what pleases God is faith. Further, "the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). And Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel offered his sacrifice by faith. 

So, it must be that Cain's offering wasn't made in faith. Cain made his offering as part of some sort of religious duty. There was something wrong with Cain's heart. As Cain's life plays out, we see his continuing resentment and anger toward God, his hardness of heart and his discontentedness with the circumstances the Lord had laid before him. He was so angry and hard hearted that he killed his brother. Based on Cain's attitude and other actions, it seems safe to say that he wouldn't have brought a sacrifice out of his love for God or his faith in God's goodness.

And this is where God struck me over the head this week.

Like I mentioned last week, I struggle with things like this:

I read every Christian book I could on biblical womanhood and being a "good wife." I followed all the rules. So, I didn't deserve to have difficulties in my marriage.

I tried so hard in that friendship or family relationship. I strived to love and show Jesus. To be kind and inclusive. But, I ended up misunderstood and slandered.

Here's another one:  I'm doing my best at this motherhood thing. I'm reading the books, praying for my kiddos, following the best Christian parenting advice. Why don't they obey 100% of the time - first time, all the way, with happy hearts?? (haha).

This week, God showed me where I have Cain's heart in all of this. I often serve others, do things "God's way," or try to follow all of the rules to gain something for myself. I don't do it consciously. And, I often truly do start off serving others or trying to do things "God's way" because I love Jesus and I desire to follow Him. He has given up everything for me, and there is a longing in my heart to give everything back to Him. 

And, then my sinful nature comes into play. My sinful nature that is so much a part of me that I don't even notice it taking over. It can start with one wrong thought or one wrong motive that I don't keep in check. Then it takes over. As God said to Cain, "But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7b). 

Think about Cain. He had spent his entire life living after "the Fall." I'm sure that his parents told him about life in Eden. That God had provided everything they needed, and more. That they had sinned. And about God's judgment upon them, sending them outside of the garden, to a life of toil and struggle. Maybe Cain had made many sacrifices over the years. Maybe Cain thought that after all the offerings their family had brought before the Lord, the Lord would have relented and let them back in Eden. Maybe Cain wasn't bringing his offerings to the Lord out of love, but rather in the hopes that he would gain something from God in reward for the offerings. And, maybe those thoughts became resentment or anger, when God didn't relent and didn't let them back into Eden, and life continued to be difficult. Cain didn't master his sin, sin devoured him, and he spent the majority of his life outside of God's presence (see Genesis 4). 

Often, just as it might have been for Cain, the wrong motive that creeps into my thought life is to gain something for myself:

I try to parent the "right way" so that my children will be obedient, and thus my life will be easier. I mean, how much easier would it be if my kids were obedient 100% of the time, and I didn't have to listen to fighting, arguing, backtalk, or give out consequences? 

I try to be a "good wife" to gain my husband's approval. So that he will like me. So that he won't change his mind or forget the reasons he married me. So that we won't have any struggle or strife in our marriage.

I strive in friendships and family relationships to gain and keep people's approval. 

And when things go wrong, I get resentful or angry with God because X + Y didn't equal Z. 

Ugh. Ugh. Bleh.

God is showing me that I need to confess my sin to Him. To confess that I don't always live my life in faith. And then seek His Holy Spirit help to live my life according to His Word, as a living sacrifice for Him. Just because I love Him. And asking Him to give me a sincere love for others. Not with some ulterior motive. Trusting Him, even when things don't go exactly the way I hoped. Trusting His Word, that it will produce eternal fruit, even when following Him doesn't produce the exact results I was expecting or hoping for. Trust Him when no one else notices the sacrifices I've made. Trust Him even if my kids are naughty and no one else approves of me.  

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, "All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. (1 Peter 1:22-25).

God's Word is the only thing that will stand forever. Maybe I will suffer now for following Him, for offering myself as a living sacrifice. But, this world will pass away. The people I love and serve will wither away like the grass and the flowers of the field.  Lord, would you show me the eternal value of serving you in faith? Would you keep my motives pure and keep my eyes on eternity? Would you cause me to serve you wholly with Abel's heart?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eve and Me

Oh, Moses . . . Did you know, thousands of years ago, that your record of creation and the fall in Genesis was going to blow the socks off of a 2012 girl?  I am certain that Jocelyn Compton never crossed your mind as you memorialized such a beautiful and tragic account of history. That you never imagined that the words God spoke through you would turn my heart upside down. But God knew. God knew, when He breathed Genesis chapter 3 into existence, that I would exist someday. And that He would use those words to do a transforming work in me.

I can't say that I approached my study of Genesis 3 with any great expectation. Eric and I were headed over to Sunriver on Sunday morning. I had to have my entire week's BSF lesson done for Monday night. I just needed answers written on the page.

Then I got started. And God showed up. He met me in the passenger seat of our Jeep, driving over the mountains, listening to Mumford.

He showed me how much I'm like Eve. How much pride has a hold on me, just like it did on her. That I think I know better than God does. How whispers from the serpent can plant a seed of discontent with my circumstances. How Satan appeals to my self-determined "rights" --those circumstances and the life that I think I'm entitled to. As if I deserve anything at all.

Those little things I'm discontent with. There are moments where (gasp!) I find myself thinking that working outside the home sounds a lot better than being home. I mean, I have an advanced degree. I deserve a career and adult conversation, right?

I read every Christian book I could on biblical womanhood and being a "good wife." I followed all the rules. So, I didn't deserve to have difficulties in my marriage.

I tried so hard in that friendship or family relationship. I strived to love and show Jesus. To be kind and inclusive. But, I ended up misunderstood and slandered.

And I find myself listening to the whispers that say: "it's not fair. God is holding out on you. you played by His "rules." you did it His way. and look what it got you."

Like Eve, I focus on what I see as God holding out on me. I focus on the thing I think I deserve. Why life isn't "fair" from my perspective. The things that I want. That things that I think I need.

I forget Who He is. His Goodness. His Love. His Kindness. His Provision. His Atoning Sacrifice. The Eternal Life He gave, that I NEVER deserved. A million blessings that I somehow forget, as I focus on my "rights," just like Eve focused on that one forbidden tree. There she was in the Garden of Eden. With breathtaking beauty, a perfect marriage, abundant food and water, meaningful work, not to mention a perfect, unbroken relationship with her Creator. In the midst of all of that, all Eve could focus on was that darn tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The ONLY tree about which God had said "don't eat from it." (Genesis 2:16-17).

It's frustrating. I want to reach into her story and shake her. Don't you see, Eve??  Don't you see all that God has given you?  Quit looking at the stupid tree!  Change your thoughts. Focus on God. Think about ALL that He has done for you!  Think about all that He has given you!  God is right there. Run to Him, tell Him your struggle, and ask Him to help you to stay away from the tree!

And then, totally appalled, I see ME. I see ME in Eve. And God used Genesis 3 to shake ME up. To say: Don't you see, Jocelyn?  Don't you see all that I have given you?  Quit looking at the things that you don't have and the circumstances that haven't been perfect. Turn your eyes upon Me. Focus on Me. Think about ALL I have done for you!

And even better, God says: "I am right here!" We may not live in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered the world and separated us from God. But, He is still right here because of Jesus. Because Jesus paid the penalty for my sin, I can approach the throne of grace with confidence just like Eve could when she was in the Garden. (Hebrews 4:16)

Because of Jesus, I get to hear God saying: "Run to Me, tell Me your struggle, and ask Me to help you keep your thoughts off of your "rights" and your "discontent! I want to help you keep your focus on Me."

Without Jesus, the temptation to give in to discontent, grumbling, complaining and doubting God's love seems overwhelming to me. It's so easy to believe the lies about what I deserve, what I am entitled to. Satan is good at disguising the lies, since he is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11), and he "disguises himself as 'an angel of light.'"(2 Corinthians 11:14). He takes Truth and twists it. Just enough that it is hard to see the lie. I mean, how am I supposed to stand up against that?

But I am not defenseless. We are not defenseless. Satan is powerless against Jesus and against God's Word. Ephesians 6:11 says "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." God has given us prayer (1 Thess. 5:17). He has given us His Word. He has given us Himself. A Mighty Fortress and a Refuge from the lies.

And He is moving me (again) to choose Him. To run to Him. To respond to His truth instead of the lies. To keep my eyes turned upon Jesus.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Word & Music by Martin Luther, 1529

Monday, October 1, 2012

What is there that a little Call Me Maybe can't fix . . .

Rough morning. Every person in this house woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Every.one.of.us. Maybe it was the chocolate cake a little too late last night. Or maybe it was the slight cold that some of us have. Or maybe it is just a case of the Mondays. But, whatever it was, it brought tears and cranky heads.

So, I did what any good homeschool mom would do.

Piled all the kids in the car and drove to the Bux. Got a nonfat Caramel Macchiato. Thankful to be feeling better enough that I can (occasionally) see the face of my favorite drive-thru barista again. (Love you, Carmel!)

Closed the books. Put away the pencils. And put on a little Carly Rae. And Jessica Simpson. And Katy Perry. Threw in a little old school Madonna for good measure. And we danced.

Turned on the oven. And mixed up some of Grammy Sue's pumpkin bars. With Gram-Gram Robyn's buttercream frosting.

Problem solved. Caffeinated mama. House smells like fall. Kids have smiles. This is the Monday the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

If you're looking for a yummy fall recipe, to fill your house with pumpkin smell, here you go. I know there is a cream cheese frosting recipe at the bottom of the pumpkin bar recipe card. We don't use it at our house. Not too many cream cheese frosting fans. So, we substitute in the buttercream recipe.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunriver Vacation . . .better late than never

First of all, I can't neglect to point out that Duck Football season is upon us. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Now, before I lose them, I want to get these memories from our week in Sunriver recorded. There is so much of our summer that will go un-documented because I was one nauseous mama most of the time. All nausea aside, we did have a great week of vacation. Eric's parents joined us for part of the time, including a freezing cold (but really fun, truly) trip floating down the Deschutes ... of which there are no pictures.

But, I did get pictures of pony rides, which was really a horseback ride for Marshall.

Oh Jameson, someday we WILL lose that binky

Miniature golf for the boys. Marshall opted out of the train ride. I think he is starting to feel too old for it . . . sigh.

And finally, the Sunriver Half-Marathon. Eric ran the half-marathon. Marshall ran in the half-mile kids' race. Eliza ran the quarter-mile kids' race. And well, Jameson and I just cheered on the sidelines. I had completely forgotten that it was a Susan G. Komen event until we went to pick up Eric's packet. It was fun that Marshall and Eliza's first-ever race was a Komen event, since many of you know I lost my mom to breast cancer eight years ago. Marshall was even willing to wear a pink shirt for the race.