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We don't have network TV of any kind (you can't have it unless you pay for cable or satellite and I'd rather pay for fast internet and a few dinners out!) but I can get my mom to tape stuff for me sometimes that I might want to watch. So I was watching The Biggest Loser weight loss reality TV show the other night and there was this commercial for a new reality show called The Baby Borrowers. If you don't know what this is, let me give you the gist of it:

Teenage couples agree to take care of someone else's baby 24/7 for three days straight. One of them must get a job, the other is the primary caregiver. Then, they get a toddler, and so on. Apparently, this is suppose to really prepare young people for what life is really like if they decide to stay together and start a family. REALLY.

I suppose this is just a glorified version of the high school experiment where you have to take a baby doll or a sack of flour home and pretend you're a mother. It's intended to be a form of birth control, but here's what the show is really communicating:

Having a family is a terrible experience, full of wiping butts and noses, fighting with your partner, cleaning, cooking, staying up all night, no time for yourself--in a word: miserable.

This TV show (and don't misunderstand me, I think TV can be lots of fun and perfectly fine) basically says that young people shouldn't have children. The logical follow through would be that if you have an "oops" you'd better get an abortion because you're obviously not ready (at 18 19, 20 years old) to care for a baby and be a responsible parent.

Here are my problems with this show and how UNrealistic it is:

As far as I know, these couples aren't even married. They've made no commitment to stick it out no matter what happens. Having a new baby is hard on anyone, but the season is short. The boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is often based on, what Voddie Baucham calls, the Greco-Roman myth of love: it's a feeling, something you can fall in and out of at a whim, can't help who you fall in love with, based on lust basically. Now tell me how THAT'S going to survive being a parent. When I was first married, I had a baby about 5 months afterward. 1 month after I was married, I was put on total, head on a pillow bed rest. How did we make it? But for the grace of God, and the fact that we had committed to each other for LIFE, making promises we had to keep even if we ate pizza all summer and watched baseball on the sofa every night. THEN came the new baby.

These couples are being exploited for TV ratings. Of course, I can say that about every other stupid reality show out there.

The show reveals the anti-children culture we live in. And this attitude has even crept into the church, as I've had friends who, when they tell other Christians they are pregnant again, get looks of distain.

There is nothing in the world like caring for your own baby. If the baby is biologically yours, there are 9 months of nurturing it and dreaming about what he or she will be like. There's the pain of labor, and the wonderful pay off at the end of a baby made in the image of God who is a physical representation of the love between a husband and a wife. These couples can't even fathom what this means or how it feels. It's what enables you to make it through the difficult aspects of parenting.

These kids don't have the tools or structure set in place for successful, fulfilling parenting. It's just going to be a side show where young people will be indoctrinated into the culture that hates marriage, children and families.

And that's scary.

I thought these few thoughts so profound. Ann V., a homeschooling farmer's wife in Canada, has such an eloquent way of expressing what God is teaching her through her everyday "mundane" experiences. This one is worth sharing.

Thanks for ministering in cyberspace, Ann.

As I get older, it has been made very clear to me that only children are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to parenting siblings. I've been saying this for a while to people I know. And here are some statements that seem to pass my lips daily:

"Why are you touching each other?"

"Why are you smiling at each other?"

"Why are you making faces at each other?"

"Who's making farting noises? Both of you stop right now!"

"No means NO! Now stop doing that to your brother."

"Why do you BOTH need the same toy. Just take turns."

"Ask each other nicely for that instead of ripping it out of his hands."

I realize that all the parenting books, of which I have read most, tell you it's pointless to ask the "why" question. Your sinful little sweet heart doesn't know the reason behind his actions. You just need to deal with the consequences and help him to make better choices.

I need some help in negotiating between brothers!

C h r y s a l i s: Practical Life: Easy Christian Seder Supper

While I've never done a Christian seder, I'm curious. This website is a great start to help you understand what it's all about. I'm excited to implement some of these ideas this year as we anticipate Easter.

I love homemade Chinese food. I think it's ten times better than a restaurant, even if it can be a bit of prep work ahead of time. Tonight we're old fogeys hosting some young pups for dinner so I thought I'd make something most hip, young folks like so I've started Sweet and Sour Chicken. I'm also making Egg Fried Rice, a super easy side dish. Here's my recipe. I've been making this for years.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/3 c. cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. salt
1 c. or so canola oil
2 tsp. onion powder
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
1/4 c. ketchup
2 T. soy sauce
20 oz. canned pineapple chunks, juice reserved
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water

Combine cubed chicken with the egg, salt, and cornstarch. Stir to combine and chill for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Fry chicken pieces until golden brown and not pink inside (test the biggest piece to see if it's done). Drain on paper towels. Set aside. This usually takes a few batches and I do this ahead of time because frying is so messy! Discard oil in skillet and wipe out any crusty stuff on the bottom with a paper towel. Combine onion powder, sugars, ketchup, soy sauce, and pineapple JUICE. Whisk and heat until blended over medium heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until smooth (sometimes I need a little bit more water, just depends). Add to sauce and stir until thickened. Add chicken and pineapple chunks. Serve with my easy crab rangoons and egg fried rice (remember I posted those crab rangoons a while back?).

I really, really liked this book.

When a Barna poll suggests that 7 out of 10 children from evangelical homes leave the faith by their freshmen year of college, it seems that we are all doing something wrong. That's the basic premise of his book. We're not accomplishing what we want to, namely raising our sons and daughters to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. Sure, our homes might be decent, where we give God our Sundays, even Wednesdays, but the other 5 or 6 days He's not even on our radar screen.

It is encouraging to see someone articulate what I believe about so many things, but he does it in a way that doesn't make me feel like the biggest loser if I've had trouble implementing some element of family discipleship. Baucham presents the case for a realistic solution to keeping our children in the faith: read them the Bible. Pray with them and for them. Take them to church and make it your first priority. Teach them Truth in every area of their education, whether it's within the context of a Christian school or a homeschool. Answer their spiritual questions honestly. In other words, form within them a biblical worldview so that when they leave your home they continue to cast situations through that lens. You might have a home with plenty of rules about media, clothing, dating, etc. but once your children leave home if all they've ever heard is what to do and not to do, but they've had no encounter with the Living Christ who has written His Word on their hearts, then they're going to go off the deep end. Our hearts are naturally inclined toward evil. When our son is off at college and there's no one to tell him not to let his girlfriend spend the night, what's he going to do? That's where a worldview becomes so important. I know there are people out there who have written better about this than I have, but these truths make me shake in my boots for my beautiful children and force me to my knees!

I will admit that there are some issues in the book that can be so counter-cultural, especially counter-church cultural, that it has forced me to seriously wrestle with how I view the role of the church in the spiritual training of my family. The church is essential, but it's also a more supporting role. I already agree that Sunday School, the origin of which was to evangelize the children of parents who weren't Christians, isn't enough spiritual food for my children. I already agree that the youth pastor's job isn't to teach my children all they need to know about Jesus. God gives parents the job of teaching Truth. My trouble is that I cannot imagine having my 8 year old, my 5 year old, and my 1 year old all together with me for Sunday morning worship. I might feel differently if I had my husband with me (remember, he's pretty tied up on Sunday morning). I know moms who can do it. But am I one of them???

I'm almost done with Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham and I've been struck with how short the time is that I have with my children. How I only have a few years to try to instill faith into their hearts, a faith that doesn't die out like the seed that fell into the shallow soil. So as I read Lisa Writes' post this morning, I absolutely had to share it with you:

If you haven't tried these yummy frozen soybeans yet as a snack or in your favorite salad, you are missing out! Now just get yourself past the fact that they are SOYbeans. Put it out of your mind that tofu and all kinds of other strange substances are made from soybeans. Edamame are in pods. You boil them for 2-3 minutes, drain them, then let your kids help you to pop the beans out of their pods. Add the beans to your salad, pasta salad, or eat them plain (I don't eat the pods, but I think you could if you wanted.). They have a slightly salty taste (you can salt the water if you want, but I don't). And while they look a little like lima beans (of which I am not a fan), they don't taste like them. Or peas for that matter (which I also don't like). You can find edamame in your frozen vegetable section. Even my po-dunk Walmart has them.

So here's a quick, healthy salad using your new-found edamame!

Prepare 1 bag of the edamame, popping them out of the pods
shred a bunch of peeled carrots
Wash and chop two hearts of romaine lettuce

Combine these, add some of Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Dressing (or any other Asian inspired dressing of choice). Top with (just a little bit, now) chow mein noodles.

It's getting to be that time again, so I decided to repost my traditions posts from last year. Check back often as Easter is about a month away and I'm looking for new inspirations for my own family, too, so there should be some new stuff in the mix!

We love bunnies and candy and baby chicks...but we also love to make Easter more than that around our house. For the past few years we've tried hard to incorporate the Gospel into every aspect of our Easter celebration, especially during the season leading up to Easter Sunday. Sure, we have Easter baskets and sometimes a hunt in our yard that day, but we try to emphasize why we celebrate.. So I'll be posting some of our unique celebration ideas in the coming weeks with the hope that you, too, can use these to magnify Christ in your family.

Some of my inspiration has come from Noel Piper's outstanding book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, so I can't take all the credit. If you haven't read this book, I'd encourage you to. She has chapters on celebrating birthdays, Christmas, and Easter and makes the case that our children will remember our family traditions so we must use them to glorify God and point our kids to Him. Though not necessarily an Easter tradition, I will say one of my favorite ideas from her book is to give each child a special hymn that you sing to him or her each night at bedtime. Our oldest one loves There is a Fountain. Our second child requests And Can It Be (just about every night of his entire life he's asked for it!). I've decided our new baby girl, Grace, will hear Grace Greater Than All Our Sin. I don't want the next generation to lose the value of these rich, old songs.

So, check back here periodically to help get your own creative juices flowing as we approach Resurrection day!

*originally posted March 3, 2007

Very few recipes I've found for whole grain pancakes call for all the flour to be whole grain. But these do!

Whole Wheat Pancakes by Alton Brown from his fantastic cookbook I'm Just Here for More Food

(slightly altered by me!)

2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 T sugar

2 large eggs
2 c buttermilk
4 T unsalted butter, melted

Heat a griddle to 350.

Combine dry ingredients with a whisk. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add to the dry and stir just to combine. Set the batter aside and let rest for 5 minutes.

Spray the griddle with nonstick spray. Using a ladle, scoop batter onto the griddle, cooking until bubbles form in the batter and bottom is golden. Flip for another couple minutes.

These freeze beautifully. I usually triple the recipe and freeze them for mornings when I'm pressed for time.

Genghis Grill

Yesterday we went two hours to nearest bigger city for doctor and photo appointments. We were all done and needed something fast, but not fast food. So we tried this place.

Oh. My. It was wonderful. Here's how it works:

You get a bowl and you can fill it with as much raw meat as you want (beef, chicken, sausage, shrimp, calamari, crab, etc.), as many veggies you want (broccoli, sugar peas, carrots, etc.). Then you give it to this guy at a huge circular grill where you choose what starch you want (from noodles, to brown or white rice, fried rice) and what sauce you want (everything from teriyaki to sweet sour and all kinds of different sauces in between!). The dude fries up your veggies and meat, throws your sauce and rice in with it after it's cooked through, and puts it in a bowl for you to enjoy.

And, boy, did I enjoy it! I think I would have licked my bowl clean had I been in the privacy of my own home. This has become a favorite stop for me now! Did Genghis Khan eat this well??

My Blog Roll

I've added a few new ladies to my blog roll--since I'm the worst computer person in the world and can't get any hyperlinks right with blogger, be sure to click on over there, 'kay?

I know I do this to you all the time. I start discussing a book I haven't even finished yet. It's just I get so excited I want to share it with you! I'm about 1/3 of the way through this one and I think it should be required reading for EVERY Christian family. He begins the book by showing us why 7 out of 10 kids who are raised in Christian homes leave the faith by the end of their freshmen year of college. I don't know about you, but that thought makes me shudder. But, unlike lots of family discipleship books, it doesn't make me despair that I can't ever do it well enough. It GIVES ME HOPE! Now I need to homeschool and actually get ready or I'd write more.

Don't forget to check out the breakfast recipe-round up today at Elaine's blog:

This is my favorite breakfast casserole. It's no-fail! I've been making it since I first got married (back when I didn't know what I was doing-so you know it must be good!).

1 c finely chopped onion
1 c chopped red bell pepper
3 T. flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c chicken broth
6 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
1 c sour cream
32 oz southern style hash brown potatoes, thawed (these are small cubed potatoes-I can usually find some that are Ore Ida brand.)
7 eggs, beaten
10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Coat a large saucepan with nonstick spray, heat to medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add flour, mustard, and salt. Cook an additional minute. Remove from heat. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring until blended. Cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat. Add cheese and pepper. Add sour cream.

Combine cheese mixture and potatoes, stir well. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Pour mixture into pan. Pour beaten eggs on top.

Add crumbled bacon to the top and bake covered at 350 for 35 minutes, then uncovered for 25-35 until cooked through.

Nope. Nope. I didn't like this one. Not at all. Don't bother reading it. I finished it in a day, but it contains everything I don't like about Southern church culture. Hypocrisy, moralism, ignorance, immorality, easy believeism, all covered by a veneer of "good" Southern Baptist spirituality. It described everything I don't ever want to be as a Christian and made me cringe when it occurred to me that that's how the world often sees us. I think the author is intending the story, which has little point and is more of a collection of character studies, in my opinion, as something funny, but it truly just disgusted me to read it. I'm planning on selling back at Seems I have problems with books that boast that they are New York Times Bestsellers...hmmmm.

So I've met my two book goal, but now I'm thinking I should tackle some closets with my spare time until March when I think I'll pick up Tales From Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb...

As you may recall, I have a new year's resolution that requires I read two quality books a month. I just finished The Heaven Tree this morning. I LOVED it. I plan on reading the next two books in the trilogy eventually, but for now I'm ready to switch genres and read something that's a little less intellectually demanding (since I've been continually losing brain cells with each child I bear, it appears). So my choice is now Where Trouble Sleeps by Clyde Edgerton. It's set in the fictional town of Listre, North Carolina in 1950 and so far, as I was reading on the treadmill today, it's full of colorful Southern characters I'm anxious to get to know. I love most of the Southern culture and it should be fun to see how this born and bred Southern author satirizes his own folk. It's pretty short and I have almost all my chores done for today, so happy reading for mom tonight!

I've been reading Elaine's blog ( for a while now, and she is one cool gal. She's hosting a breakfast recipe round-up so here's my contribution! Definitely, NOT a healthy breakfast...

Caramel Nut French Toast

1 c butter
2 c packed brown sugar
4 T corn syrup
3/4 c pecans, chopped
4 1/2 baguettes, sliced to 3/4" thickness
12 eggs
3 c half and half
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix in brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until melted. Add nuts.

Slice baguettes. Put syrup mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan. Layer bread over the syrup.

Combine eggs, half and half, vanilla, and salt. Pour over sliced bread. Cover with foil and let set in fridge overnight.

The next morning, heat the oven to 375.

Keeping the pan covered in foil, bake for 25 minutes or until the eggs are set and cooked through. Serve pieces "upside down" on plates!


Have you ever fallen off the wagon? Ever since the birthday parties last weekend I've been eating junk food like never before. I've still been exercising, but it seem as though once you get a taste for it again, you're SUNK.

How do you get back on track? Before last week, I thought (deceived myself) into thinking I was really changing my eating habits.

So let me confess what I've eaten today:

3 hershey's kisses
1 handful of Valentine's m & ms
2 chocolate desserts that the church folk left us in the downstairs fridge from last night (I walked all the way over there just to get them)
1 piece of Little Caesar's Deep Dish pizza
4 chicken nuggets

oh, and i licked both the beater and the bowl when I made Sunday morning's apple kuchen.

Is it possible for your stomach to instantly expand as soon as you fill it with junk?

Tomorrow will be better. I hope.

What do you do for Valentine's Day?

We don't do much of anything, of course, with my hubby EVERY DAY is like Valentine's...

Tonight our church is having a catered couples dinner so I'm helping to decorate for it. Maybe it will help me get in the spirit of things?

My best Valentine's gift, of course, was my sweet baby girl last year on the 13th...

Is it obvious I'm not terribly motivated to write today?

In addition to my parents being here to visit (as one reason I haven't been blogging), I've also been reading this book by Edith Pargeter. It is EXCELLENT. It's a large undertaking and if I don't get some more time, I won't finish it before it's due back at the library (it's an interlibrary loan).

The book is part of a trilogy and considered by the author to be her favorite work. It follows the story of Harry, a Lord's son in 12th century England, near the tense Welsh border, who is falsely accused of a crime with his foster brother, Adam. Illustrating the barbaric nature of the middle ages, Harry's punishment is mild, but the villein's son, Adam, a boy of lower status, must lose his hand. Harry and Adam run away and seek employment as stone masons and wood carvers. They find work all over France, and their talents, particularly Harry's, astonish all. Harry's passion is to create his own cathedral and when he is commissioned to build one for a wealthy Lord, he jumps at the chance. He and Adam make their way back to their homeland.

And that's all I've read so far! :) I'm about halfway through, but I thought a quick review was in order. I'm fascinated by medieval times, and when I've traveled to Europe, the cathedrals have been my favorite part. I've seen the Notre Dame and Chartres and was simply amazed at the amount of detail carved into doors and columns, the exquisite strained glass windows. And all without any modern tools or machines.

Remember my utter disappointment and disgust with Ken Follet's PIllars of the Earth (which was basically a Danielle Steel novel wrapped up in the middle ages)? Well, I've found my antidote in Edith Pargeter. As one reviewer says on the back of the book, "If you do not appreciate this superb novel, I despair of you."

We have big birthday parties for our kids on significant birthdays. The other years we just have a small together, maybe with a friend or two. Well, this year my sweet baby girl turns 1 and my middle sweetie pie turns 5. Their birthdays are 6 days apart, so we're having one birthday party tonight, and one tomorrow since my folks are here. My 5 year old's party is a swimming party at our recreation center's indoor pool, and I've invited the entire church and a few community friends over to our house for my 1 year old's party.

What was I thinking????

So, I'm tired.

And can't wait for Monday. :)

You all know I'm terribly fascinated with the whole Muslim culture. There are so many beautiful things about it. But there's also a lot to parody, thanks to Remy! Apparently, this is a take on some other song called Hey Delilah.

YOU can do it!

I"m officially down to 157 lbs, from 180 back in the fall. It's been slooooooow, but I am fully convinced that there is no other way to do it but to exercise (and break a sweat!) 4-5 times a week and watch what you eat. I don't do well with full-blown diets, I just limit my junk and I've tried to eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day.

Fitness is contagious!

I won't write much because I still need to read my Bible today, but I've found a way that has worked well for me these past few years. I've read through the entire Bible twice, so I'm on my third time. One of those times I used an actual plan from Discipleship Journal, which was fine. But the first time I read through it I did it like this (and this is what I'm doing again this year):

Pick a book, any book, especially one that's difficult or not familiar to me and read it. Put a little check mark in my table contents next to the book.

Pick another, read it. Check it.

I have no daily quota to meet, and if it takes me longer or shorter than a year, that's OK. This time the only difference is that I'm looking at the outline in my Reformation Study Bible and breaking up my reading of that book in a logical fashion. So far I've read Leviticus, John, Ecclesiastes, and 1 Corinthians. I'm starting Proverbs tonight. I also read the notes, since this is the first time I've had a study Bible during my daily reading. I really, really like my Reformation Study Bible.

This plan gives me some direction, but it doesn't tie me down. If I get behind, it's not like I've got lots of days unchecked off on my Bible plan sheet so that I get discouraged and give up.

So I'd better get reading. It's late!

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