October 30, 2013

Chocolate Pecan Muffins ~ THM Compliant

Have Y'all heard of Trim Healthy Mama?

I kept hearing about it so much, and I was intrigued
enough by all that I read, that I bought the book.
These girls have much to say that makes a lot of sense.
I don't know enough about them to endorse all that they
may stand for, but, the initial results I've had
from eating the way they suggest have been positive.

I've felt better than I have in a long while.
I've dropped 10 pounds without starving myself ~ it really has been painless.
And, the cravings truly are not there or, can easily be satisfied
while staying on plan and continuing to achieve your ideal weight.
It isn't a "diet" in the conventional sense ~
 it's a way of eating and nourishing oneself that is easy to stick to.
It tends to regulate blood sugars and help the body find a good balance.
I have found it to be both satisfying and energizing.  :)

Are you interested to learn more?
Click here to find the book for sale on Amazon.

One thing to mention, and it's a significant thing if you ask me ~
these sisters do not endorse sugar of any kind
if your goal is to lose weight and/or balance your blood sugars.
That means no honey, natural sugar, raw sugar, or maple syrup
for those who are trying to achieve the specific goals mentioned above.
These authors would not include growing children in that restriction.
All of God's good food is encouraged in their case.
And, for everyone, a balanced approach to nutrition is promoted.

They encourage the use of Stevia in a couple of forms.
One of those is Truvia ~ I don't know for sure how I feel about it.  

In the meantime, I have been using it.
That's my disclosure for this post, and I felt it was 
necessary to give it prior to sharing the recipe.  
There.  Now I feel so much better.  *Wink*

Having said all the above, I don't see why you couldn't make these
muffins with regular sugar if you don't want to follow the plan.
I've not actually made them without Truvia, so you'd have to give it a try to see.
According to my calculations, this recipe would require approximately 
3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar to achieve the same level of sweetness.

Oh, and just so you know.  I still have sugar occasionally.
When I do, however, the scale shows me that I've done it.
It's so empowering to know how to quickly arrest that situation
and stop it in its tracks before it gains a foothold.

Now, on to the recipe!

~ Chocolate Pecan Muffins ~
(Adapted and modified from one of the recipes
which may be found in Trim Healthy Mama)
**These would fall into the S category**

6 Large Eggs ~ Organic, preferrably
2 tsp Vanilla ~ I use the pure extract
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp Golden Flax Meal
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp Almond Flour
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/3 cup Truvia sweetener (or 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar)
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 cup Chopped Pecans
1/3 cup Coconut Oil, melted

Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.
Measure all dry ingredients together in large bowl and
stir until no lumps remain ~ I mix with my fingers.
Mix egg mixture into dry ingredients, stir lightly with a fork.
Add in melted coconut oil and stir together well.
Let sit a minute or two to let batter rise a little.

Spoon into prepared muffin tin.
I use parchment liners in my muffin tin,
but, you could grease the muffin cups prior to filling.
Fill to the tops of the liners ~ I use the large size.
Makes 10 large muffins.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes.
Tester should come out nearly clean. 
Be careful not to over bake as your end product will be too dry.
Serve warm with butter.  Enjoy!

Many Blessings,

**Disclaimer ~ I only endorse things that I use and enjoy.
I am not compensated in any way for my opinions.
They are just that ~ opinions.  Please do your own research
in order to be sure that you have made the right choice for you.  :)

October 28, 2013

Down Under Up Here

We've had a visitor.  

All the way from "Down Under" to "Up Here".
At least, from our perspective it's up.  :)
It took fourteen hours of flight for our guest to finally
arrive in our neck of the woods.
Australia really is on the opposite side of the globe.

What a thought!

This is the first time we have had the opportunity

to host the daughter of a blogging friend in our home.
Isn't it amazing what can happen when you blog?
Real live people are on the other side of the screen.
Sometimes, they are on the other side of the world.
Those people have the potential to become our friends.

And, that's how it happened.  What fun!

Miss M's Mum sent us treats from her homeland.

Included in the mix was a tube of Vegemite.
Now, that was a taste experience!
I preferred the chocolate.  :)

It's been like having a big sister for Emma around here.

They went ice skating together and played "Life".
They cleaned the dishes together and made friendship bracelets.
And, that was only on the first day.
Emma will be sorry to see her go.  

On her second day with us, we put her to work.

The employment?  Baking a Lemon Meringue Pie.

It was yummy, nummy!  SO good.  

Her Mum was right ~ 
she knows what to do when it comes to baking.

We headed out for the afternoon to our local beach.

The girls climbed up a big rock at which point
Miss M informed us of her fear of heights.
Ann...I was trying to take good care of her ~ truly!

They conquered it.
However, coming down was more of a challenge.
Thankfully, nothing got broken or even bruised.
I breathed a big sigh of relief when they were once again on solid ground.

Just prior to her flight out of town today,

we were able to scoot down to the city and visit Stanley Park.
It was a perfect day ~ warm-ish with blue skies and sunshine.

We've all become fast friends.

A pile of leaves is an open invitation for this ~
Wouldn't you agree?

The real reason she came to Canada was to 
visit with friends who live on the Prairies.  
So, we only had her with us for the weekend.
Just before she leaves for home, we will have her for one more day.
We are looking forward to it ~ I think she is, too. 

Thank you, Ann, for letting your girl come stay with us.
It's been a blessing to us all.
Anyone else want to send me their young people?
Let's talk.

With Love,

October 21, 2013

Making Messes

I'm at it again.  Making messes.
It seems to be something I'm good at.  

We live in an older home ~ 40+ years.
With that territory comes the need for tweaking
and re-doing and upgrading ~ multiple times, it seems.
Things break.  They wear out.  They get used up.
Boys live here.  'Nuff said.  :)

The boys' room wasn't on my radar.

However, not long ago something in the closet caught my attention.
And, before we knew it, the closet was emptied and gutted.
Then, I enlisted my Dad to come and help out.
He built all new shelving and supports ~ all to my specs.  
Tomorrow, he plans to hang the doors.

Thank you SO much, Dad!  :)

Tackling the closet led to moving all the furniture 
(except the bed) out so the carpet could be cleaned.
Where did all that stuff end up?  
In Howie's office, down the hall, and in the mud room.

Like I said before ~ It's a mess.
My poor Sweetie.  

All of these things led to my brilliant idea to strip the walls of the
posters of planes and hockey guys and the world map.
Those wall embellishments left behind a gazillion holes that required filling.
My sweet husband did the job for me ~ Thank you my love!  :)
All that filling has left me with walls to paint.

It's how it goes.

So, we are in a mess.  But, it's a work in progress.
The plan is to be done by the end of the week.
Anyone out there willing to cheer me on?
Encouragement in a situation like this is always welcomed ~ LOL!

It will be a little quiet in this space while 
this project is being completed.
Happy week to you all!

With Love,

October 16, 2013

What About Socialization?

What about socialization?

All those who have been home educating their children
for any length of time, know that this is 
THE all-time most popular, always-asked question.
I cannot tell you how many times it's been posed to us.

Many.  Over and over.  Again.
And Again!  :)

~ Emma (centre) with two friends at 
our weekly skating outing ~

Rather than re-invent the wheel,
I am going to share with you a well-rounded,
thorough, and well-thought-through answer via a link.
My friend Heather, who blogs at Cultivated Lives, nailed it.  
Find her wonderful post by clicking here.

I am sure you will be encouraged by her words.
Just as I have been.

~ Fraser and Emma playing Skip-Bo ~

Thank you, Heather, for writing such a

well rounded, well thought through article on this
topic that we all must wrestle with.
Not just those of us who home educate.
All of us.

Many Blessings,

October 10, 2013

Time Stands Still

Our Austin is outside of time.

For now, we live within it.
That means that Calvin, Fraser and Emma
will catch up to their big brother in age.
If the Lord allows, they will pass him.

In this way ~ Time stands still.

It's a strange thing, really.

I never thought I would live longer than any of our children.
I thought they would all outlive me.
However, that was not to be.

Our desire for each of our children is that they

would love and serve and follow the Lord all their days.
And that they would go to live with Him in Heaven for all eternity.
I never expected that any would be called Home first.

But, one has.

Our Austin has gone before us.

~ Calvin, Fraser, Austin, and Emma in 2004 ~

Our destiny is the same.

Not for anything good in us.
But, because of the goodness of our Saviour.
He is perfect.  He lived perfectly.
He died to pay the penalty for the sins of His people.
That each one might be made acceptable with God.
So that one day we might go live with Him for all eternity.

What an incredible thought!

May the peace that comes from these truths be yours.

May you know without any doubt where you will spend eternity.
If you are not sure where that will be,
Please seek the Lord while He may be found.

"...behold, now is the day of salvation." 

~ I Corinthians 6:2b ~

"...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,

and thou shalt be saved..." 
~ Acts 16:31 ~

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;

and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
~ John 6:37 ~

Many Blessings,

October 8, 2013

The Harried Here and Now

It's easy to do.  I admit it.

Easy to get caught up in the here and now.
Easy to forget that this is not our Home.
The Lord is gracious to send us trials to wean us 
little by little from this world.
To cause us to cling to Him more closely.
And rely on Him more deeply.

To make us long for Heaven more.

"...having lost sight of the "sweet by and by", too many Christians
busy themselves with the harried here and now,
and they themselves are consumed by consumable things."

"Because the church doesn't really have heaven on its mind,
Christians tend to be self-indulgent, self-centered, weak and materialistic.
Our present comforts consume too much of our thoughts, and it we're not careful, 
we end up entertaining wrong fantasies about heaven --
or thinking very little of heaven at all.
No Christian should ever fall into that trap."

Quoted from "The Glory of Heaven" by John MacArthur, page 65.

We are reading as much as we can on Heaven these days.

Since our precious Austin was called Home ~
 we find ourselves wanting to know more about where he is.
We are seeking to be careful to choose books from reliable sources, of course.
There has been much written on Heaven that is not Biblical at all.
The Bible must be our basis for formulating ideas about the eternal.

This book, among others, has been a great encouragement to our hearts.

Truly, if we are the Lord's, then Heaven is our Home.  
We are just sojourning here as long as our Lord deems best.
For as long as He desires to use us here.

Until He calls us there.

How precious it is to rest in His perfect plan.

How precious to know that our times really are in His hands.
May we live for His glory each and every day.
May we be used to promote His Kingdom and serve Him.

By His grace and in His strength.

Moment by moment.  Day by day.
As long as He gives us breath.

With love,

**Photo in this post courtesy of our Calvin ~

Thank you my love!  XO

October 7, 2013

Cauliflower Soup ~ SO Yummy!

Okay.  This is just about as good as it gets.
Comfort food at its finest.
Truly.  One yummy bite after the other.
Calvin proclaimed this to be his all-time favourite.

Is it time for soup where you live?
We've turned the heat on in our home,
and the rains have started.
It's time for soup!

Click here for the recipe.
You won't be sorry.  Promise.
Even if you don't like cauliflower ~
You'll like it anyway.  Give it a try and see.  :)

Many Blessings,

October 3, 2013

Seeking to See

It's a good thing to notice the seemingly little and insignificant
things in day to day life and living.
The little things really can be the most precious of all.
It is too easy to take so many things for granted.  So often.
When we overlook the little, we miss out on so much.  Too much.

Much of life is little.  Insignificant.  Routine.
But, these things are not little at all ~ they're big.
All added up and rolled into life ~ these moments are significant.
Very significant.  Very precious.  Anything but routine.

We often don't realise this until we look back.

On this day, I am starting up again.  Beginning afresh.
Seeking to see the tracings of His Hand in the everyday things of life.
They are there and they are precious.
 If only we will stop to consider.
If only we will slow down to take it all in.

These moments?  They are all precious gifts from His Hand.
By God's Great Grace, I am seeking to slow down to see.
These are the moments to cherish.

I am thankful for the ability to teach my girl to sew.
She is learning on the very same machine I learned on.
Isn't that something?  I *love* it.  :)

I am also thankful that she wants to learn!

Thankful, too, that our little project (a joint effort) turned out.
It was a skirt for Emily ~ Emma's doll.  :)
See the little purse?  It was a gift from a precious little friend.
Thank you Miss R...it's perfect!

I am thankful for my young men who work diligently at their studies.

And, I'm thankful for moments like these (above) when we catch
our Fraser doing what he loves best ~ studying about other lands and cultures.

This young man is able to work in the office
while Howie works in the background ~ it's a gift.

We are finally able to tackle the boys' room and fill 
all.those.holes. ~ Can you tell I'm excited about it? 

Yes, Calvin and Fraser both contributed to the state of the walls.

I was sad that I neglected to get a before photo for memories' sake.
They had posters of airplanes and countries and hockey plastered everywhere.
It was a sight to behold.  Maybe it's a good thing I forgot to take a picture.

Yes, a very good thing.  Smile.

I am thankful for this little rose tree and that we were able to plant it in this spot.
It was a gift in memory of our Austin.  Gorgeous blooms were produced all summer long.
Every day, as I come and go from our home, I pass by it.

Our precious Austin's entire memorial service has been 
preserved for us on DVD ~ thank you so very much Jonathan!  
We are very pleased with how well it turned out ~ what a gift of love.

I enjoy seeing the boys' hockey gear drying on the rack in the great outdoors.
It's been such a blessing to have hockey in our lives for all these years.
When the boys were little, I didn't like the idea of them playing hockey.
However, I now see that it's been a blessing, and I am thankful.

Our street is street-hockey-friendly.
As the streets all around us have become busier, 
ours has remained very much the same as it always has been.
It's another gift.

Emma was sick last week ~ it was a precious thing to see her tucked in on the couch.
It's even more precious that she is almost all better now.  
God is always so Good.  No matter what.

Still in her housecoat, she blew some bubbles on the back deck.
Thankful that she is still little girl enough to enjoy these sorts of things!
The laughter we shared as the bubbles blew away is a memory to cherish.

Isn't the bubble in this photo a powerful visual 

of how fleeting these moments really are?

May the Lord help us to enter into the moments He gives.

All the moments string together to make a life.
By God's grace, and in His strength, may we live them all for Him.

He alone is worthy of all our praise.

May we be found praising Him with our lives.
With all our hearts.  For all eternity.

Many Blessings,