Archives for September 2013

God’s Wonderful World

God’s Wonderful World
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Psalm 8:3
– When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

I love photography, especially nature. I truly enjoy just spending time in nature taking pictures of God’s creations. There are so many amazing things to see. I decided today would be a good day to share some of the “art” work God has been producing! Please enjoy!

Blessings

Julie

Lake edit 10 wonderful world

DSC02411 godThey are so sweet! I am happy that 6 of the 7 eggs hatched!! godDSC_1504 god

 

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Healthy Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Fall is in the air this week  in Michigan after a brief hot spell and I was in the mood for some pumpkin bread!  This is a recipe I found in an issue of Good Housekeeping from their Healthy Makeover Recipes section.  It is very moist and makes a perfect afternoon snack with a hot cup of tea!

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Pumpkin Bread

Makes 1 loaf (16 servings)-I split it into two smaller loaf pans because it cuts down on the cooking time.

1 c. packed light brown sugar

2 lg. egg whites

1 c. pure pumpkin

1/4 c. canola oil

1/3 c. low-fat plain yogurt (I use organic  low-fat vanilla flavored yogurt)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour (you can also use whole wheat white flour)

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (I use a little more cinnamon because I don’t use the nutmeg-just my preference)

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

2. In large bowl, with wire whisk, combine brown sugar and egg whites.  Add pumpkin, oil, yogurt and vanilla extract; stir to combine.

3. In medium bowl, combine all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture; stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Invert pumpkin bread onto wire rack; cool completely. **In my electric oven it too 80-90 minutes to cook in one loaf pan which is why I split the batter into two smaller loaf pans.

Each Serving: About 140 calories (1/16 or 1/8 if you split into two pans), 2 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate, 4 g total fat(0 saturated), 1 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 165 mg sodium.

What about you?  Do you have any favorite healthy fall recipes?  We would love to hear about them!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

In Remembrance of 911

911 remembrance15 years ago today we were all celebrating September 11 as the day my niece was born. It was a great day, and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the day I got that call. Fast forward 3 years later and that date brought a great tragedy to our nation. Again, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing that day. I remember the shock and disbelief on everyone’s face. Now it is 12 years later. I hope to God that we never forget what happened that day. It is too important. We must make sure our children, and our grandchildren, and everyone knows what happened that day. We need to remember those that ran into the smoke and fire and destruction to try and save who they could. Not only the human rescuers, but the canine.

911 remembrance rescue dogs It was a great team effort. I would like to end this post with a song by Michael W. Smith. I believe he has a great message. God bless everyone and continue to bless those who serve and protect us every day.

In Remembrance

Julie

 

The Organization Tip That Saved My Sanity and My Marriage!

We are now into our second week of the school year and it has been non-stop!  Our calendar is already filling up with school open houses, music lessons, church activities, family commitments and on and on and on!  It can be a bit overwhelming to say the least!

A few years ago Hubby and I found ourselves having a lot of little arguments over things related to the activities in our lives. I would tell him in passing about a birthday party or school event that was coming up and he may or may not have been completely listening and then I would get mad later when he claimed I never told him about the event.  So Hubby and I came up with a system that solved many of our communication issues that revolved around the busy calendar.  We decided to designate a time every week that we call “Calendar Time”.  This one simple thing has literally changed our lives on a day to day basis!  No more panicked calls wondering where he is because we have an event or unpleasant surprises when we realize that someone is not available to pick up someone from somewhere!

We set aside an hour each Sunday after church and we sit down together with our individual calendars and our family calendar.  We have set up some very strict rules with the girls about not interrupting us during this time.  I make myself some tea, and Hubby grabs a snack and we go through the week together and sync our calendars.  It looks like this:

 

IMG_2861     We are pretty low-tech as you can see, but it works for us!   This allows us to decide who will be in charge of what and helps us catch any potential conflicts that may arise.  At the end of our Calendar Time, we ask Oldest Daughter to join us to add anything that might be going on with her that week that we might not know about and we fill her in on anything she needs to know pertaining to the week.  Sometimes we will look a few weeks ahead, and as the holiday season approaches we will try to plan out those activities too.  Finally, we have a dry erase color coded calendar (each person has their own color) by the back door where we record all of the events for the whole family to see.

This simple organization strategy has greatly reduced our weekly stress, strengthened our communication skills and made everything flow more smoothly overall.  Probably my favorite part of Calendar Time is at the end where we pray for our family and the week ahead.  It allows us to pray for each other, the girls and the specific needs of that week.

How about you?  How do you organize your family schedules?  I would love to hear any tips and tricks you have as we are always trying to improve in this area.

Wishing you a happy, blessed and organized week!

~Blessings,

Jen

Zuchinni-Banana Bread

DSC_1934 bread

 

This year is the first year I have planted a garden in a long time. It has been an learning experience for me. For instance….do NOT plant the whole package of squash! Needless to say I have LOTS of squash…zucchini zucchini everywhere! (We won’t even talk about the winter squash yet…which took over my whole gardedn!!) Here is a recipe I found to try and use some of my abundance of zucchini!!  A little twist on zucchini bread. I found it on Pinterest and it was called Zucchini Banana Bread. I must say healthy and delicious!! Instead of bread I made mine into muffins as I felt they could be more portion controlled!

Zucchini Banana Bread

4 eggs

1 1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. oil

1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

2 c. shredded zucchini

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. white flour

1 c. wheat flour

1 c. rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp backing soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp. salt

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix until combined. Add mixture to 2 greased loaf pans or you can make muffins. I got about 30 muffins. Bake in bread pans at 350 for 40-50 minutes. The muffins took about 25 minutes.

Overcoming Fear

overcoming Fear

As I was trying to decide what to write about today, I thought of a devotional I had written for the Upper Room Devotional Magazine on fear.  The devotion below was printed on November 11, 1999, almost fourteen years ago.  I still struggle with fear and worry, but it is less paralyzing for me and I try to take my own advice and give my fears and worries to God through reading scripture and prayer.

“If you make the Most High your dwelling-even the Lord, who is my refuge-then no harm will befall you.” Psalm 91:10 (NIV)

My husband’s job in the military once required him to spend days, sometimes weeks, away from home.  His absence caused me a great deal of stress because I do not like to stay alone.  After checking the locks on all the doors and windows, I would lay awake at night listening for noises.  Fear clutched at my heart as I imagined all the terrible things that could happen.

During those long, sleepless nights, I began to think about fear and its effect on my relationship with God.  I decided to turn to the word of God for guidance in dealing with my fears.  I found many passages that describe God’s promise to love and protect me, but I also saw that I need to trust in God’s love.

     My husband is not away as much as he used to be, but when I am alone, I’m no longer afraid.  When I begin to feel uneasy, I turn to God’s word.  Through reading the scripture and saying prayers, my fear fades away.  I realize I am never alone because I am surrounded by God’s never-ending love.

Prayer: God, help us to remember you are with us always, and when we are afraid, to trust in you completely. Amen

Trusting God can help us to face our fears and to overcome them.  Do you struggle with fear?  How do you cope with it?  We would love to hear feedback from you in the comments.

~Blessings,

Jen