Saturday, November 26, 2016

Do I smell....Pumpkin?!?

My siblings love it when I make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. (Or Christmas, take your pick) After making it for Thanksgiving this year, I have made 4 pies in 3 years. (made two the first year) Last year I used canned pumpkin. It turned out darker orange. And I think it tastes better fresh. :)

First off, you need a pie pumpkin. They are sold at pretty much any grocery store. They are the smaller ones.

Now, you are going to need to make the pumpkin puree. There are many other ways of doing it, but here is how I do it.

Cut the Pumpkin in half. I used a bread knife this time. Pie pumpkins can have very thick shells...just giving you fair warning. The first time I made this pie, my dad had to cut the pumpkin in half with a saw! This time I managed with a bread knife....although, as you can see, it was far from perfect. :)

Anyhow, place the pumpkin halves upside down in a glass baking dish and cover them with tin foil.

Bake at 375 until tender. I think it took about 45-60 minutes.
When it is done, you should be able to poke a fork into it pretty easy. Like this.

So now, you are going to puree this. Put chunks of baked pumpkin in the food processor. Then puree it. I ended up with 4 cups of pureed pumpkin. :)

By the way, you can roast the seeds and have munchies. :)

Next step is the crust. This is a pie crust recipe from my Great Grandma. It makes just enough crust for one 8-9 inch pie pan, and a little bit left over.
You will need:
3 cups flour
1 cup + 2 TBSP shortening
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 teaspoon salt.

In a medium bowl...cut the butter into the flour and salt with a pastry blender or two knives. (the pastry blender worked better for me.)
Add the cold water gradually and stir until it forms a ball in the middle of the bowl.

On a "lightly floured" surface, roll the dough out dough to 1/8 inch thick.

Place the pie pan upside down on the dough, and cut about 1 inch around the rim.

Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer to the pie pan.

Press down into the edges of the pan.

I don't pre-bake my pie crust. I think the edges would burn.

Now, it is time for the filling. Pull out that pumpkin you made earlier, put on your apron (you should have done that already.)
I got the filling recipe originally from All Recipes. I haven't made a ton of changes, except the way that I prepare the pumpkin.

Mix the following ingredients with a whisk or electric blender.

2 cups of the prepared pumpkin
1 (12 oz) can of evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix it well!!!! Then pour into the prepared crust.

Bake for 40-60 minutes. This time, mine took 60. You know it is done when you insert a knife in the center and it comes out clean.
And while it is baking, you read your bible...and write a blog post... oh, or is that just me?

Here is the recipe that you can print out without the extra pictures and chatter. :)

nutrition facts

Enjoy your pumpkin pie! Yummmmmm....

happy turkey day

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fading Away... A Short Story

I found this writing prompt and decided to write from it.

Story prompt

So, here goes nothing!

I watch out the window waiting for James to come home. As I sit, I ponder the fact that he forgot to take me with him to school. Junior high is a big deal, and we always share the important things. But he forgot to take me this time. In fact, I am still in my pjs...and I have been for a few months. I wonder why he keeps forgetting me to get me dressed for the day? At least he is still remembering to feed me. Oh, here he comes! Who is that with him? A new friend? Already? Do they have a ball? Yes, they do. Will he let me play? I continue to watch as the boys play with a football on the street. Why doesn't James invite me to play? He always asks me to play catch with him. Well, now the other boy has to go home. What?!? Is that our secret handshake? How dare James share that with another person? It is the best friends handshake...and I thought...AH! Does that mean that I am not his best friend anymore? Nooooo!

Now I am watching as James  is engulfed in his homework. I wonder what he is studying. It looks interesting. I crane my neck to see. High school math-Geometry! Why won't he let me study with him? He used to let me study with him all the time. Oh well, it is time for bed now. James, would you please tuck me in? No? Well, okay, I guess I'll do it myself. James, would you please talk to me? Why not? I guess high school is too demanding. Maybe you can talk to me later. I mean, you are new to this whole high school thing. Well, goodnight my old high school friend. See you tomorrow.

There is so much hustle and bustle around here these days. James is going to play football at a big university. He got his scholarship confirmation in the mail yesterday...and he didn't tell me. I saw it on the counter later. He told that other boy...Teddy...first. I wonder why. I always used to get the exciting information first...but not anymore. Well, anyway... James is packing up his last things. There are a lot of boxes. I wonder if there will be room for me. What does he have? Looks like a picture. I can't see! My neck is stiff. James, show it to me! Hey, I can see it now. It looks like a picture! I remember, James drew that when he was five... He looks puzzled. Who is Ralph? What do you mean? How could you forget my name? Oh, you remember now, James? Yes, I'm Ralph, your old friend. We had so many good times together, how could you forget? No, don't rip the paper! Please, don't rip it up! Don't throw it away! Don't get rid of me! Nooooooooooooooooo..................................................

Okay, so that was a little weird and gloomy. But you know, fading away isn't fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Own Psalm 136

Read Psalm 136.
What is the author thankful for? Well, among other things, God's steadfast love. This summer, in church, we went through the Psalms, and we learned that the Hebrew word for steadfast love is hesed.

hesed love
Hesed love is beautiful. It is the love that will not let you go.

Love that will not let me go

Anyhow, this post is not entirely about hesed love. For a writing assignment today, I had to write my own Psalm 136. So here it is.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for his salvation,

For his hesed love endures forever.

He has given me eternal life,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is faithful,

For his hesed love endures forever.

He is there when friendships fail,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is creator,

For his hesed love endures forever.

He had a plan for me before I was born,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is king,

For his hesed love endures forever.

He sets up rulers and takes them down,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is my help,

For his hesed love endures forever.

He is there in times of trouble,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to Lord, for he has blessed me,

For his hesed love endures forever.

He has given me family and friends,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he satisfies,

For his hesed love endures forever.

I have found that he is all I need,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

For his hesed love endures forever.

Praise God

Why don't you take a moment and write your own version of Psalm 136? What has God done for you?

Count your blessings

Monday, November 21, 2016

"Smell of Rain" [A Short Story]

Hi everyone! Today, I'm introducing guest blogger and friend Winter Woods from Winter's Falling Fast.

Being almost thanksgiving, I asked Winter Woods to write a short story about the smell she is most thankful for.  So without further ado, here it is!

I walk slowly. The soft earth shifting under my rubber clad toes. The rain boots deflecting the mud away from my knees down. The grass flattened by the down pour. The trees slowly dripping water onto my hair. The droplets gathering in my open palm. Everything quiet. The animals have gone into hiding. The birds have stopped their song for a moment. The frogs will come out soon, to croak their songs. The crickets will come out when the sun comes out. The sounds of life will continue. But right now. Right now everything is paused. Everything is paused and one thing remains. Something that can be counted on in times like these.

            The smell of rain. The smell of warm blankets and rich coco. The smell of old books and wet window panes. The smell of gathering clouds and roaring fires. The smell of a cozy day of staying inside. The smell of wet asphalt and moist earth. The smell of rain.

            The smell of rain is one of the smells that I love the most. It reminds me of jumping in puddles. It reminds me of wet roof tops. Of animals huddling in a burrow. Of yellow umbrellas. Of wet autumn leaves that fell the day before. Of wet newspapers plastered together. Of children’s rain jackets. Of a single ray of sunlight. Of waving branches. It reminds me of everything. Yet everything is nothing. The little things that no one thinks about. The subtle signs of life. The smell of rain.

What is smell are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meet Mr. Insulin!

Sir Frederick Banting... I'll be honest, I hadn't heard the name till today.
Google Doodle

But in the 1920s, this guy was a hero...especially for Diabetics.

Fredrick Banting was born on November 14, 1891 in Canada. He served as a doctor in World War One, and after the war was over, he became really interested in diabetes and the pancreas. (Weird things to be interested in...but maybe not.)

Edward Schafer was another scientist and he had discovered that diabetes was a result of a lack of a that he named insulin.

In 1921, the University of Toronto gave Banting 10 dogs to experiment with. You know, cause when you can't have a guinea pig, a dog will work too. 😁

Anyhow, he conducted several experiments on said dogs. On the first one, he removed the dog's pancreas. Result: Diabetic dog.

The second dog's pancreas was removed, ground up and made into an injection. Giving these injections kept the dog healthy.

In 1922, a boy named Leonard Thompson was the first to receive an insulin injection. He recovered rapidly.

I have seen the effect of Banting's discovery. DodgerDog got diagnosed with T1D about a year ago. He was SO pale and sick looking before going into the hospital. With some water and insulin, he looked much more normal.

So thank you to Fredrick Banting for your amazing discovery. You have saved many lives.

And happy World Diabetes Day! 😉

(Sorry the picture is so small...trying to figure out the whole image tag thing... #nottechsaavy)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election Day is Over!

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during United States presidential election 2016After the elections were over and Donald Trump had been announced as our future president, I watched some of the speeches given following his victory. I was impressed with the gracious, sincere, respectful attitude conveyed in the speeches. Here are some of my favorite parts of the speeches.

President Elect Donald Trump began his speech by congratulating Hillary Clinton on a very hard fought campaign. He went on to call the American people to unity.
"To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It's time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together to unify our great country."
Mr. Trump went on to state what he wants to accomplish in his presidency. First, he said that he wants to rebuild our infrastructure. And secondly, he want to take care of our veterans.
He also promised to be fair with all countries and to pursue relationships.
"I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America's interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone- all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict."
He thanked many people, including his family, friends, advisors, campaign managers, former competitors, secret service, and New York police.
Then he went on:
"So, it's been what they call a historic event, but to be really historic, we have to do a great job. And I promise you that I will not let you down, we will do a great job. We will do a great job. I look very much forward to being your president, and hopefully at the end of two years, or three years, or four years, or maybe even eight years, you will say, so many of you worked so hard for us, but you will say that- you will say that that was something that you really were proud to do and I can...only say that while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning."
MikePenceVPCampaignWaukeshaWIHe closed by thanking the American people and letting us all know that it is an honor.

Before Mr. Trump gave his speech, Vice President Elect Mike Pence gave a speech as well, in which he said:
"I come to this moment deeply humbled and grateful to God for his amazing grace."

The following morning, Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech. It too, was very humble, sincere, and respectful.
She thanked everyone for being there, and told everyone that she knew how disappointed they were that they did not win. But, she said, "You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life."
She went on to say: "Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead."
Wow. How's that for a loosing speech? But she wasn't done yet.
She said that we owe President Obama a debt of gratitude. Why? "We thank you for your graceful, determined leadership that has meant so much to so many Americans and people across the world."
She went on to thank her family and her campaign staff, and then had a note for young women.
"And to all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me: I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion."
She finished her speech by saying that she is grateful for this country. And her closing words were: "May God bless you and may God bless the United States of America."

President Obama had some remarks to make about the outcome of the election.
He began by saying that the sun did come up the morning after the election, regardless of the outcome.
He went on to stress the importance of a successful and smooth transition of power.
"Now, it is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush's team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure that we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing that you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency and the vice presidency is  bigger than any of us. So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago, and to work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect -- because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country."
He went on to congratulate Clinton on a great campaign. Then he said that even though some people are sad because their side did not win, we really all one because "we are Americans first. We are patriots first."
President Barack Obama He went on to give encouragement to young people: "But to the young people who got into politics for the first time and may be disappointed by the results, I just want you to know, you have to stay encouraged. Don't get cynical. Don't ever think you can't make a difference. As Secretary Clinton said this morning, fighting for what is right is worth it. Sometimes you lose an argument; sometimes you lose an election."
President Obama also addressed the right way to react to loosing.
"That's the way politics works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we're right and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes. We do some reflection. We lick our wounds. We brush ourselves off. We get back in the arena. We go at it. We try even harder the next time."
He also explained why a smooth transition is so important.
"I've said before, I think of this job as being a relay runner. You take the baton. You run your best race. And hopefully by the time you hand it off, you're a little further ahead; you've made a little progress."

So, Mr. Trump, I give you my respect as our country's future leader. I am willing to give you a chance to lead. I, too, want this to be a smooth transition.

Secretary Clinton, you did fight hard. And you achieved something great. I respect you for your hard work.

And President Obama, I give you my respect as leader for the rest of your time in office. Thank you for keeping our country free these last eight years.

Flag of the President of the United States of America
God Bless America!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Power of a Single Vote

Us flag with eagleWhy does it matter if I vote? My vote won't really count. After all, what difference does one vote make?

It was an ordinary day in 1837 in the life of Jameson Shoemaker. He was singing to himself as he plowed his field without a care in the world. He had already decided who he was going to vote for in tomorrows election. Suddenly, his neighbor rode into Shoemaker's yard. He was all excited and told Shoemaker that it was election day today! Shoemaker frantically rode into town, arriving at the polling place just minutes before it closed. They had run out of official ballots, but Shoemaker wrote the name of the man he was voting for on a slip of paper. When the votes were counted, Madison Marsh had won- 218 votes to 217 votes. That one homemade ballot of Shoemaker's won Marsh a seat in Indiana Legislature.

A few years later, in 1839, an important vote was occurring in the Indiana Legislature. They were voting for the man who was going to represent them in the senate. One of the men had already been chosen, but the other had not. Madison Marsh, after listening carefully to the counsel of his advisors, vote for James Harrigan. His one vote broke a three-way tie and Harrigan got a seat in the senate.

Arrangement of polling place
Many years went by, but in 1845, another important election occurred, this time in the U.S. senate. The territory of Texas wanted to become a state. The President of Texas, Sam Huston, was anxiously awaiting the news. Would they win in the senate? They only needed 36 votes, but could they get them all? Finally, news came by horseback that Senator James Harrigan had decided to cast his vote in favor of Texas becoming a state- granting Texas the 36th vote that they needed. Texas became the 28th state by a margin of one vote.

So Jameson Shoemaker voted for Madison Marsh, who voted for James Harrigan, who voted for Texas- and all of them won by a margin of one vote.

Voting United States
Wow. Sometimes it doesn't feel like our vote is worth anything. But yours just might be the one vote that makes all the difference. So go out there and vote! :)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Teens and the Presidential Election

Meet  Trevor Secor, Micah Gutman, Joel Namtug, Aaron Georgeson, Matthew Thompson, and Caleb McGurth.

Who are these people?

They are teens gone undercover as Presidential Candidates.

Just Kidding.

Sort of.

These teens, and one more, got together to film a mock presidential debate (and eat pizza). You may view it below.

Hope the video made you laugh.
Don't forget to vote for your favorite candidate. (you can do that in the comments below)

So why do I share this absolutely funny (and somewhat random) video with you?

Because I want to answer a question that I have NO DOUBT many other teens are asking...What can teens do to be a part of the election? I mean, they can't vote.

I have a friend  who is so curious and concerned about the election that he watched all the debates that he could. He knows all the ins and outs of the candidates.

My brother wrote a persuasive speech about Prop 64 and presented it to his speech class at our homeschool group.

My sister (who is not quite a teen yet) was in an elections class in our homeschool group. Today, they had a co-op wide vote for best candy bar... Snickers or 3 Musketeers. (you can vote for that in the comments too.) She knows how the electoral college works, and what the constitution says about voting.

Our family talks about the election at the dinner table. For 2 months straight, it was all we talked about at lunch time. Jellybean (age 5) even knows who Donald Trump is...just because she has 3 tween/teen siblings who care *somewhat* about the elections.

Those are just some things that teens I know did.

I think it would be really easy for teens to just decide not to care about the election. "I can't vote, why do I care?" But I also think it is extremely important for teens to be informed.


Because the choices that the president elected tomorrow will affect the adult lives of the teens. The laws that people vote in will be in effect when we are adults.

And from a Christian point of view, we need to know what is going on and care about it because the leader elected is the leader that God has chosen to be in charge of our country. And we are commanded to respect that leader.

Also, there will come a day when we WILL be able to vote. And if we don't know what we are doing or how voting works or why it matters.....that could be bad. As an American Citizen, and as a Christian, I will one day be responsible for voting for godly things and getting rid of the bad. (or at least trying too.)

So, to sum it up, I think that teens should be informed about what is going on in politics. Talk about it with your friends and family, research the candidates and laws, learn how voting works. Earlier in the race, I had even considered writing a letter to Ben Carson telling him that if I could vote, I would vote for him.

If you have any other ideas on how teens could be involved in the elections, put them in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas!

And by the way, I'm not saying that everyone has to be like my friend who watched every debate. You don't have to care that much.  :) I guess what I am trying to say is that I think it is VERY important for teens to be INFORMED.

And watch the video again. And laugh. Hard. And vote for your favorite candidate. And candy bar. :)

(A good place that I have found for teens to become informed is CNN student news. You can find their daily 10 minute current events videos here)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

2016 Presidential Election and the Bible

[The Pharisees said] "Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.”
(Matthew 22:17-21)

Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2: 13-17)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  (Romans 13:1)

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:7)

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Prayer for our Nation

Praying Hands
(Betende Hände)
by Albrecht Dürer
Dear Lord God, you are a Great God. You are a good, good father. You love us and care for us. You have a plan for my life and you have a plan for this nation. You are in control of all things and for this we praise you.
Lord, as we are heading into this years presidential election, we ask that your will be done. Please accomplish your purposes through this election no matter who is elected. Lord, have your way in our lives and in this country.
God, our nation has wandered far from you. There are so many awful things happening every day in this world and in this nation. Sometimes it is hard for us to believe that you are in control. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that nothing happens aside from your will. Please bring our nation back to you.
Lord, as in all things, not our will but yours be done. Whoever is elected, please accomplish your purposes. Strengthen the Christians in this nation so that they can stand up for what they believe in. Please assure us that you ARE accomplishing your will.
Help us to honor those that you put in authority over us. Help us most of all to honor you.
In your name I pray, Amen.