Friday, March 31, 2006

The Clean Heart, Clean Home Challenge

It's so very praiseworthy to declutter your house. I'm actually in love with the after part so much more than the process. But Dandelion Seeds has started what looks like a most interesting challenge. She promises to help you not only spring clean and declutter your home - but also your heart! Her plan is to do this by following 52 weeks of online devotionals from Create in Me a Clean Heart. There is a strong focus on daily time with the Lord. The whole thing is really quite interesting so head on over to see the challenge on her blog

p.s. This is structured so that you can start it anytime, you don't have to do it live with her, but don't tell anyone!

p.p. s.s. It's actually 52 days. OOPS! See the comment from Amy!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Irish Soda Bread

Every year we enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day as a celebration not only of missionary who loved God, but also as a celebration of the Irish people. That celebration includes learning about Ireland, listening to Irish music and eating Irish food. This includes Irish Soda Bread every year. This year I tried a new recipe and my husband cast the deciding vote that this was the best ever! I got the recipe at and the recipe I used was here. It's very different than any I have used before with the addition of eggs and sour cream, but I found two like it and both had been passed on from Irish women. I did follow the suggestions in the comments and only used 2 cups of raisins instead of 3. The texture is quite beautiful and the taste is exquisite.

I also used some tips that I found at one of my favorite sites Cooks Illustrated. This is a really nice tutorial with pictures. I did not use their recipe, but I did make sure not to mix the batter too much and I baked it in a cast iron skillet. I have enjoyed several pieces toasted today with butter and honey. Perfect with tea!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Praiseworthy Toys: Gears, Gears, Gears!

My 5 year old son is one of those very mechanically minded kids. He loves to see how things work, take them apart and then build his own. From the time he was very small he was always making tools. He would usually attach a shoe string to one end which he would then stick into a drawer or something. That was his power cable of course! Well, for those of you how are getting really tired of your kitchen implements (you know egg beaters, whisks and such) being employed for these purposes, let me give you some advice. Buy Gears, Gears, Gears! for your child. I came across them on the Amazon website and thought they would be just the thing for him. I was really worried about buying them because all too often I have given my kids something that seems really great and then two weeks later they could care less. This toy is not like that because it is endlessly creative. My son has built robots, towers that move, tools that turn and all manner of things with this toy. According to Amazon's website this toy encourages independent play, mathematical and motor skills and I couldn't agree more. What's more, after a year and a half he is still playing with it on a weekly if not daily basis. If you've got a builder on your hands, I think you'll be quite pleased with this.