Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Apple Butter

One of the benefits of living in the country for two years (Canaan, IN) was witnessing some of our church members make homemade apple butter.  It was such a great experience to watch a family get together and make this family recipe in a huge copper barrel over a fire in their backyard.  Everyone had a part whether it was getting the fire burning, putting in the ingredients, stirring for hours, pouring the finished product into glass jars, putting the lids on the jars, or storing the jars away.  Some of the jars even got a special cinnamon stick.
I have always liked the taste of apple butter, but once you have tasted the homemade version, Kroger brand or Cracker Barrel don't quite measure up.  I came home wanting to make this a family tradition of our own.  After a move to TN and not having the barrel or fire pit in the backyard, I stored this thought away for later use.  Then, while on Pinterest one day, I saw it - a recipe for crock pot homemade apple butter.  I have a crock pot.   I ended up combining several of the recipes I found and came up with this one.  This recipe could easily be doubled or tripled if you have a larger crock pot.  The fall is the perfect time to make this because apples are in season and everyone is in the cooking mood this time of year.  Enjoy!

9 red delicious apples
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Peel, core, and chop apples.  Place in crock pot.  Add sugar and cinnamon and stir to mix with apples.  Cook on low for 2 hours and then high for 5 more hours.  Enjoy the great smell all over your house.  Puree in blender.  Pour in glass jars.  Be careful because it will be very hot.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mothers Are Missionaries

Click here to read a blog post written by a mother of five who has a great understanding of her mission.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Ball of Emotions

I wouldn't consider myself one of those "extra-sensitive" type of females, and those who know me best would probably agree.  But let's be honest; as women, we know we are emotional beings, a ball of emotions, if you will (and sometimes more than others).

In Rachel Jankovic's book, Loving The Little Years, she uses the analogy of horses in a chapter entitled, "Spirited Riders," to discuss dealing with our daughter's emotions.  She says, "the goal is not to cripple the horse, but equip the rider.  A well-controlled passionate personality is a powerful thing" (pg. 30).  As I raise my daughter, who is currently two and a half years old,  I have become more aware of a female's emotions from even the youngest of ages.  I often describe my daughter as "spirited."  Jankovic's analogy helped me see my responsibility as a mother of a "passionate personality."  God gave us emotions and they are a wonderful thing!  But the "rider" must be equipped with self-control.  After all, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and the Bible has much to say about this godly trait.  One of the ways our daughters will learn how to control their emotions is by watching their mothers do the same.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


My MIL recently gave me a new cookbook - Fun Stuff Cookies.  Since Valentine's Day is coming up I decided to try out these heart-shaped cookies.  They took a little while to make, so I made them once the kids were asleep, but they tasted very yummy!  Alivia enjoyed hammering the hard candies before going to bed.  

I thought doing this step before the kids went to bed would be best since it was going to be loud, and it was so fun!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
20 cherry or cinnamon-flavored hard candies, crushed

1.  Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl.  Beat butter, powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended after each addition.  Stir in cranberries.  Shape dough into disc; wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
2.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Roll out dough between parchment paper to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes using 2-3 inch heart cookie cutter.  Cut out center of each cookie using heart cookie cutter; re-roll scraps to make additional hearts.
3.  Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.  Sprinkle crushed candy into each opening.  Bake 20 minutes or until candy is melted and cookies are set.  Cool completely on cookie sheets.


Also, for a special treat on Valentine's night for the hubby, I made these brownies (pre-packaged mix I bought at Kroger on sale) that came with chocolate icing and I bought some vanilla icing to melt and drizzle on top.  After baking the brownies, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut them out, and put them on a cooling rack to frost.  I thought the red sugar sprinkles added a nice finishing touch.

And last, but certainly not least . . . .

What is a Valentine's Day without chocolate covered strawberries?  A sad one, or may be just a really busy one and no access to a grocery store to buy pre-made.  Thankfully, I had the strawberries, chocolate chips and vanilla icing on hand so these were a quick treat.  I lined a baking sheet with wax paper, washed and dried the strawberries, dipped them in melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, and put them in the freezer.  After about an hour I took them out of the freezer to add the melted (just a little) vanilla frosting.  I squeezed it through the tip of a sandwich baggie after cutting a corner.  I put them back in the refrigerator to harden and stay fresh until eaten.  Yum! Yum!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Duggar Family: Making an Impact

I have seen a few episodes on TLC of a show about The Duggar family.  Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have 18 children, a daughter-in-love (as they describe her), and a granddaughter.  As a new mother with a two year old daughter and 10 month old son I was intrigued by a woman that seemed to have such a "gentle and quiet spirit" in the midst of being a wife and raising so many children.  And that is exactly what she is doing, raising them and "training them in the way they should go."  She sees motherhood as more than just getting pregnant and giving birth and even caring for them for the first 6 weeks.  To her, motherhood involves so much more and I thank God for using her as a godly example.  I recently read their book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!, and would highly recommend it.  In it they express a strong desire to honor God with their lives and their family, and they share their family rules which I thought some might find helpful:

The Duggar House Guidelines:

  1. Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.
  2. Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.
  3. Show joyful attitudes, even when no one is looking.
  4. Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain.
  5. Think pure thoughts.
  6. Always give a good report of others. Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. Use Matthew 18.
  7. Never raise a hand to hit.
  8. Never raise a foot to kick.
  9. Never raise an object to throw.
  10. Never raise a voice to yell.
  11. Never raise an eye to scowl.
  12. Use one toy/activity at a time.
  13. Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)
  14. Amendment J.O.Y. Make serving your family a priority. Put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.
For more information on the Duggar family, visit their website at www.duggarfamily.com.